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The Curse of her Beauty - Essay Example

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The Curse of her Beauty

The woman's contradictory appearance is conveyed through a series of similes. She is old as ocean yet young as mornings. In spite of the woman's contradictory appearance (which seems to foreshadow ambiguity), the observer takes great delight in her.
Roach personifies the beauty of the land through the woman's characteristics (That saw beauty walk on the wind and the sea). He speaks of nothing more about the woman other than her physical beauty. Much like the poet, tourist know of nothing more than what meets their eyes (the land's physical beauty), which is equivalent to the woman's physical appearance. The Caribbean is known to attract tourists with its lush vegetation and mild climate. However, Roach points out the land's deceptive seduction of the land's beauty. In fact, the land's beauty taints its true image. Rather than seeing the land for what it truly is (a place enduring the abusive lashing of the sea spray), the poet is tantalized and intoxicated by kisses that cause him to envision a beautiful goddess (Love tinted that shore). As he realizes the goddess's true repulsive side, the poet finds out that there is more than what meets the eye.
Reality sobers the poet. He is no longer intoxicated by the beauty of the land. ...
In The Odyssey by Homer, Sirens lured sailors with their sweet hypnotic songs. Their songs detracted sailors from their careful journeys and caused them to crash their ships into the rocks. In its efforts to lure and trap unwary observers, the land produces an attractive woman who is similar to the sirens.
In essence, the woman is the land. Normally, Roach uses the land as a metaphor for the struggle between Eurocentric hegemony (dominance) and Caribbean independence (Jennings 25). The evidence of dominance is shown in the first stanza. The trees are symbolic of the Caribbean people who endured much abuse from the Europeans (lashing sea spray) but remained strong. As an islander who was forced to conform to European studies (Breiner 113), Roach uses examples from his studies (the siren coast; deceptive Sirens from Homer's Odyssey). In addition, Roach struggles with the identity of the land (shown in the ambivalent view of the woman or land). In doing so, he denounces the history of the land while acknowledging its undeniable beauty and his love for it.
In the end, the poem makes a full circle (back to the beginning) where the he reflects on the devastatingly true image of the shore. The only difference now is that remnants of his love accompany the brutalities of the lashing sea spray.

Works Cited

Breiner, Laurence A. An Introduction to West Indian Poetry. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

Jennings, Lisa Gay. "Renaissance Models for Caribbean Poets: Identity, Authencity and the Early Modern Lyric Revisited." MS Thesis. Florida State University, 2005. ...Show more


The opening scene of the poem is one of distinct disarray. The first three lines of the poem convey an unattractive image-one with ravaged, disarrayed trees that are continuously abused by lashes of the sea spray. Normally sea spray tickles the face. This image, however, shows a violent spray that beats black or darkness into the surrounding trees…
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The Curse of her Beauty essay example
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