Analyse the se of Intertextuality in Derek Walcott’s Poetry


In the literary kingdom, texts are in one manner or another interconnected with the history of written linguistic communication and really frequently, a work of art is built on the foundations of already bing pieces. As Julia Kristeva ( 1980 ) so clearly asserted it, “a literary work is non merely the merchandise of a individual writer, but of its relationship to other texts and to the constructions of linguistic communication itself, [ … ] any text is constructed of a mosaic of citations ; any text is the soaking up and transmutation of another” . This is peculiarly noticeable in Derek Walcott ‘s verse form,Ruins of a Great House, where he makes an inordinate usage of intertextual mentions to discourse about the British Empire through the metaphor of the disintegrating colonial Villa. In this stance, this essay will supply an in-depth analysis of intertextuality inRuins of a Great House, by concentrating on the grounds behind the recurrent mentions to canonical writers and later, their part to the creative activity of the poet’s really individuality.

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Walcott additions a poetic vision that correlates to a larger vision for his civilization. To utilize Edward Said’s word, Walcott achieves a ‘contrapuntal’ vision that converts him from his location of being a poet ( adult male ) life with a sense of expatriate to the one expatriating his province of expatriate. This is apparent in ‘Ruins of a Great House’ as Walcott constantly resists the adversarial divisiveness promulgated by binary categorizations and argues alternatively for a cross-cultural merger or a stance which allows individuality to steal between the cyberspaces of inactive essentialist classification. ‘Ruins of a Great House’ besides confronts issues cardinal to Caribbean civilization, taking the destiny of a former estate house as a metonym for the passing of Empire. The house represents the security of the purportedly stable Old World societal order which crumbles down in the New World societal order of Caribbean land. The verse form emphasizes the subject of the transiency nature of human life and in making so, debunks the oppositional aesthetics rooted in impressions of cultural and racial double stars along with the essentialist political definition of ‘Power’ . The opening line of this poem provinces:

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Rocks merely, the disjecta membra of this Great House,Whose moth-like misss are assorted with candledust,Remain to register the lizard’s dragonish claws… ( IGN 19 )The transition besides remarks on the peculiar breakability of the former plantocracy’s manner of life and the verse form goes on to propose that the colonial presence has been but a ephemeral stage in a perennial Caribbean natural rhythm:

Deciduous beauty prospered and is gone. ( IGN 19 )

Both slave and master inherit histories of tormenting hurting, inhuman treatment and maltreatment. Walcott proves that one can lift above the duskiness of dusk into a new twenty-four hours, by proving the boundaries of the dark. The Europeans taught the laden nil of their heritage, but where there was nil Walcott saw a well of chances and decided to impart this avenue alternatively of losing his individuality and constructed from his in betweeness, a different and personal individuality. Through this created individuality, Walcott defines himself as a literary creative person non bogged down by the fortunes of people one time colonized.

Derek Walcott, both a timeless critic to post-colonial optimism and imperial Romanticism, is a lacerate adult male – hovering between his paternal white heritage and the black civilization of his female parent ‘s side. This struggle of individuality prompts him to reflect on the doctrines of life, and this is clearly reflected in his usage of intertextuality. In this verse form, Derek Walcott ‘s character reflects on the fissured ruins of a plantation great house remembering the past luster of the age in which the plantations, their nobility and their architecture was comfortable. He finds himself able to appreciate this past glorification, the accomplishmenst and what he could see as the illustriousness of the fallen imperium despite the fact that he knows that it was built on the foundations of bondage, race murder and orgy. Walcott combines the acrimonious cognition that:

“Some slave is decomposing in this manorial lake

The Albion excessively was one time A settlement like ours”

Derek Walcott makes usage of an epigraph, citing Browne’s ( 1658 )Urn Burial, a novel that deals with Man ‘s battle with mortality, and the improbableness of his fate and repute in this universe and the following. By including the quotation mark “it can non be long before we lie down in darkness, and have our visible radiation in ashes, ” Walcott might be indicating to the derived function intervention which clip and mortality finally step out for all of world. In the terminal, the imperialists might confront the same flagitious terminal as those they dominated. The terminal, decease, is the same for all ; no 1 escapes the inevitable effects of clip and mortality. Walcott uses the metaphor of the Great House to picture an Africa ruined at the manus of its colonizers. The colonial swayers have robbed Africa of its wealth and destroyed its people. The different similes and metaphors that Walcott uses depict a violent intervention of the colonised. In other words, the British lizard with “dragon-like claws” has devastated the “moth-like misss of Africa.” The Guardians ( gate-cherubs ) of the Gatess had been slaughtered ( streaked with strain ) . I believe that the verse form is a agency for Walcott to convey his choler about the adversities and torment the slave had to travel through and that the intent of this intertextuality is to denote the torment that they had to travel through earlier happening “our visible radiation in ashes.”

Furthermore, the imperial power interferes and interrupts the natural patterned advance of the civilization and the linguistic communication of the settlement. What was experienced by the oppressor, the self-seeker as “The world’s green age” ( 35 ) was to the exploited, the less powerful “a decomposing lime” ( 35 ) . What might hold been the world becomes a mere procedure of disillusion. It is impossible to rewind the clock of clip to the beginning, to the point of intersection. The present can non hedge the influence of the doctrine, the will or the purpose of that which forcefully superseded. Admiting about the obvious “sins” of the British Empire every bit good as a similarity in footings of a colonial yesteryear, Walcott expresses his inability to be considerate through the words “But still the coal of my compassion fought/That Albion excessively was once/A settlement like ours, “part of the continent, piece of the main” ( 43-46 ) . He reminds the reader that the oppressor was besides one time the oppressed, an ancient England at the clemency of a greater power. This intertextual mention to Donne’s Mediation XVII suggests the interconnection of world to clip that went by, to the present clip and on through to the future clip. What affects one affects the all, and every portion, whether a “clod” or a “promontory” or a “manor of thy friend’s, ” it is important to the whole. This mention brings the verse form to a surprising stoping. Where earlier the Empire was portrayed as wicked and evil, a power that wrought great agony and hurting, now at the terminal there is a softening toward its image: “All in compassion ends/so otherwise from what the bosom arranged” ( 49-51 ) . The bosom had other programs, other agreements, possibly to detest or to ramp against the unfairness, the dictatorship, but in the terminal compassion seems to glance through all the negativenesss.

Besides, by including the quotation mark “Kipling heard, the decease of a great imperium, the maltreatment of ignorance by Bible and by sword” ( 28-30 ) , Walcott is citing the verse form ‘Recessional’ , in which Kipling is beging God for mildness and protection, as the Empire pursues its pursuit of colonisation. However, Walcott foresees the at hand day of reckoning of the imperium and attributes it to the maltreatment of the power conferred to them and an overuse of the settlement A period of history would shortly be coming to an terminal, the British Empire would hold to confront its inevitable decease, but the “leprosy” has left its grade and the harm that it has inflicted will go on to be long after the last “farewell” ( 11 ) . For none of us is an island to ourselves what affects one affects the whole, we are all “part of the continent, piece of the main” ( 43-46 ) . By umpiring to Kipling, in my sentiment, Walcott is seeking to supply a condense of the different faces of colonialism and how it came about its day of reckoning.

Through intertextuality in ‘Ruins of a Great House’ , Walcott makes mention to canonical British writers, seeking to give a voice to the once colonized. He “writes back” ( Ashcroft et. Al, 2002 ) non to fault or kick to the colonials but to order his freshly found individuality after old ages of creolization and imperialistic attitudes. He allows the postcolonial to come to footings with his/her divided individuality and therefore build a different and personal individuality, which seeks no signifier of credence from coloniser or colonized, for the Caribbean individual is no longer the ‘Other.’ What predominates in the verse form is Walcott ‘s cognition that he is contemplating the devolution that has impacted an establishment that was one time powerful.“ Ruins of a Great House ” farther reinforces the tensenesss of incorporate individualities. The persona moves from an exhibition of choler, bitterness, hatred and resentment to a compassionate apprehension of his British Masterss, who themselves were one time slaves to the Romans. This greater position of things enables the talker to accept the experiential nature of his divided-self and that of West Indian adult male.

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