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West Indian Literature - Essay Example

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The poem begins with an allusion to Shakespeare and Marlowe, the two names that are symbolic of the literary and cultural refinement of the British colonialism. However, this allusion to the British suaveness is typically questioned by what the poet continues to say in the proceeding stanzas. In the following stanzas, Roach unravels the pathetic and cruel history of the British colonialism, which was secured with the active help and aid of ruthless and unscrupulous pirates and privateers (Jennings 2005). In the third stanza, Roach specifically mentions the name of John Hawkins, who happened to be an infamous British slave trader, and who was involved in the buying and selling of the slaves to the Spanish for pecuniary gains (Jennings 2005).
In the stanza five, Roach comments on the colonial tempering with the subaltern history. Here Roach also elaborately deals with the dubious nature of the English language, which the slaves inherited from their British oppressors (Jennings 2005). The irony of the matter is that this so-called literacy, instead of being a medium for the popular emancipation, becomes the very tool that was used by the imperial forces to strengthen their grip over their ill-gotten empire (Jennings 2005). Hence, the call “Advance Brittania (44)” though seemingly being a validation of the British colonialism is in fact a tacit and ironical condemnation of the unjust and merciless aspects of the British colonialism (Jennings 2005). ...Show more
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Summary

The paper “West Indian Literature” is a comparative analysis of the two poems written by Eric Roach, which are ‘Caribbean Coronation Verse’ and ‘For the Peasant People of the Islands’. These two poems are complementary to each other in the sense that they present two sides of the same coin. …
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