Archive for January, 2009

January 27, 2009

The Fortunate Traveller

by ashleywestenberg

Ashely Westenberg

A Portrayal of the Third Horseman: FAMINE

“The Fortunate Traveller” displays beautiful and tragic ironies of the relationships between races and cultures; exposing the truths and horrors of famine, greed and the ingenuity of the Catholic Church. Derek Walcott is an incredible writer who has the ability to say one word and create a thousand emotions. “The Fortunate Traveller” is the story of a man who leaves his simple life and finds himself overwhelmed by his new one; that of a traveller engaging in international relations. The common theme of this particular story by Walcott is the injustice of famine; again and again Walcott points out a variety of ways of how the world “have not charity”.

Walcotts’ protagonist is plagued by the things he sees; this is also ironic because many think he is “so fortunate to see the world”. The sadness surrounding his travels is undeniable. Walcott captivates the reader by continually exposing truths that are humbling and horrific. For me, reading “The Fortunate Traveller” brought up many emotions, yet pulled me in closer, breaking down personal barriers. Walcott is able to capture his purpose in this particular quote : “and the brown globe crack like a begging bowl, and though you fire oceans of surplus grain, and have not charity.

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January 26, 2009

Nervous Conditions Online Discussion

by jentooley
Jennifer Tooley
The entire work Nervous Conditions is all about the development of the mind; in this case the development of a young girl not only becoming an adult but finding her own path of becoming a person despite the constraints of being a woman. We see that Tambu fought long and hard to have the opportunities that she made available to herself, she struggles to find what she wants. Along the way there are the different tensions represented by the different women in her life; her mother wants her to remember where she comes from and honour her roots; Nyasha wants her to have a companion in her modern and foreign thought processes; and her aunt wishes her to be somewhere in between. Tambu is left to define her own proper path while the outsiders can argue whether she freed herself or remains trapped in a way similar to the rest of them .
The story has an underlying feminist tone to it, do you think a women’s studies class could read this book and analyze it through a feminist perspective? What points would they be missing if it was only analyzed through this approach?
Looking at the meaning of the title did it reflect what you think the story was about or did it remind you more of a psycology textbook? At which point in the book did you make the connection that Dangarembga was commenting a concern for the character’s conditions?
January 26, 2009

The White Man’s Burden: Quintessential Representation of Subjectivity in Post-Colonialism Africa

by valdesjoha

Robin Morris and Johannes Valdes

White Man’s Burden

Take up the White Man’s burden–
Send forth the best ye breed–Pears Soap Ad circa 1890's
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives’ need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild–
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.

Take up the White Man’s burden–
In patience to abide,
To veil the threat of terror
And check the show of pride;
By open speech and simple,
An hundred times made plain
To seek another’s profit,
And work another’s gain.

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January 22, 2009

North and South

by cristinamoody

 

Cristina Moody

North and South 

Derek Walcott’s poem, North and South, imparts the experiences of a Caribbean traveller visiting the New England and South-Eastern areas of the United States. The cold nature of the New York winter and its citizens leaves the traveller in a state of emotional exile, “a single, circling, homeless satellite.” He is cynical of the northern imperial world, aware of its oppressing power, but at the same time wishes to be part of it so that he can be one of the races that “fear and hate” rather than his experience of being afraid and hated. 

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January 22, 2009

Jean Rhys

by justineb89

Justine Burlo

The poem “Jean Rhys” by Derek Walcott describes the lives of women in postcolonial states throughout the Caribbean. Jean Rhys is a Dominican novelist who was similar to the women described in the poem, growing up and attempting to create a career for herself in a postcolonial society. Similarly Walcott’s heritage includes family, which was brought to the America’s as slaves, and he himself saw in his home, the West Indies the effects of colonialism.

Walcott begins by describing “faint photographs” of people who appear to be of little means as the women sit in “wickerwood armchairs” as well with “their features pale”. Moreover Walcott describes the men as “bone collared gentleman” as opposed to white or blue collard, exemplifying that their profession requires much physical labour. Walcott ends the stanza stating “all looking colored from the distance of a century” describing the century of colonialism which existed in the Caribbean.

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January 22, 2009

The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid

by angelakm

Angela Matthews

The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid serves as a bridge between two worlds, the modern and the untouched. Unfortunately untouched is not be the correct word to use as it becomes apparent that this village has in fact had its fair share of visitors.

The story begins itself with one of these visitors being led through the village by a wise old man. The man speaks in a sincere tone and with a voice of experience that gives the sense that this isn’t the first time he has had to do this, as if it had become some kind of routine. He confesses to the visitor that yes their life is hard but that they have become a “thick-skinned” people. Upon the mans visit the old man makes it of most importance that he see the Doum Tree of Wad Hamid and hear of its story.

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January 22, 2009

The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid

by robinkate

The Doum Tree of Wad Hamid is a story by Tayeb Salih, a Sudenese author born in 1929. It is a story surrounding the battle of tradition and spirituality versus modernization and progress. Salih uses the Doum Tree to represent tradition and how it is in danger of getting lost amidst current trends of progress and change.

This short narrative begins with an old local man telling the story of his village to a young guest. “Tomorrow you will depart from our village, of this I am sure, and you will be right to do so (2).” The old man mentions this often enough and in a tone that makes the reader believe that it has been said before. He tells tales of townspeople, preachers, and government officials who have passed through the village with ideas of progress only to leave the very next day, deflated and weary and covered in insect bites. While many new ideas have come to this village, there is yet one which has managed to stay.

There is great contrast between the old man and the young guest. The old man who has lived in the village his entire life shares the oral history of his village in a slow, methodical way delivering mythical qualities of the story intertwined with dateable facts. “When you arrive at your destination, think well of us and don’t judge us too harshly (20).” says the old man in his final words to the young guest. He fears that the young guest will not understand the village’s reluctance to move forward with progress and change, while the tree will become just another monument where the true meaning will be lost, even if the tree remains. In contrast, the young guest who is clearly an outside is focussed on the future and progress, and will be quick to move on, perhaps to the next village, the next day. He is a literary, able to record the oral story of the old man and pass it on to the next place he visits. While he respects the old man and his values, both the young guest and the old man are aware that progress will happen eventually, and nothing can be done to stop it.

The speaker weaves in and out of spiritual tales and social and political ideology, pushing the reader forward as they learn the history of the village. The Doum Tree has faced many perils however the greatest it has yet to face is when the villagers no longer dream of the tree in their sleep. While everyone is torn between tradition and progress, the old man realizes that “What people have overlooked is that there’s plenty of room for all of these things (19).”

Robin Morris

January 21, 2009

The doum tree of Wad Hamid

by haleywilliams

Haley Williams

“Look at it, my son, look at the doum tree; lofty, proud, and haughty as though – as though it were some ancient idol.” The doum tree of Wad Hamid is more than a mere tree to the village that it overlooks; the tree is a spiritual symbol, a cultural icon, and a part of rural village life. Tayeb Salid uses beautifully descriptive language to show the passion and respect that the village feels towards the doum tree and through the stories of an unnamed elderly man, the listener comes to learn of the difficulties that the village faces to dissuade progress from the city from ruining their place of worship and traditional lifestyle.

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January 21, 2009

Can North and South Meet in the Middle?

by christinahall2

North and South by Derek Walcott

Christina Hall

Can the North and South ever reconcile? After all the hurt, pillaging, and attached stigmas, and despite their similarities, can one ever truly feel comfortable in the presence of the other?  In his poem North and South, Derek Walcott invokes imagery and events from the two hemispheres to demonstrate the discourse that continues to exist within the people who inhabit the different halves of the globe.

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January 21, 2009

The doum tree of Wad Hamid

by valdesjoha

Johannes Valdes

Born in the Northern Province of the Sudan in 1929 and coming from a background of small farmers and religious teachers, Tayeb Salih is a writer well known for incorporating themes such as colonization in his literature. “The doum tree of Wad Hamid” is a short story that stresses on the theme of progress and loss of tradition due to external colonial influences. Using the doum tree as a symbol and means to uncovering a message, Salih shines light on the unification and way of life in Wad Hamid preceding an anticipated modern future.

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