From Malediction to Benediction: Acceptance of Self and Healing of History in Derek Walcott's Another Life

  • Peter Onwudinjo
  • Chris Egharevba

Abstract

The West Indies is largely a migrant society of African, Indian and European origin. This boxing-in of people of different racial backgrounds has engendered hybrids and multiple complexes among the Caribbeans. This condition, complicated by the claustrophobic littleness of the islands and the economic and political insignificance of the whole region, combined to generate centrifugal forces that drive many of the educated and business elite to flee the islands and migrate to Europe and America. Derek Walcott, a mulatto and foremost poet of the Caribbeans, has all the reasons to follow the migration trend, but decided to stay back to find a solution to his tensions of hybrids, and formulate a theory of history which will nullify the linear history that he finds inapplicable to the Caribbean situation. Walcott loves his native island of St. Lucia. He views all the hurts of Caribbean history, including his divided condition with compassion which apportions neither condemnation nor exoneration to the hurts of history. In his Another Life, the poet evokes his childhood experiences through which he celebrates the enchanting beauty of St. Lucian landscape. The thrust of this study is to highlight Walcott's positive conception of the Caribbean landscape and people and re-formulation, re-orientation and myth of history in contradiction of the conventional linear theory which he is convinced, can only create a crippled hate-and-revenge literature of the Caribbeans.

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eISSN: 1813-2227