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A Far Cry from Africa

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"A Far Cry from Africa"

The main feature of Walcott's style in "A Far Cry from Africa" that jumps out to me is his ability to make it seem like the experiences and thoughts in the poem are the readers own experiences. The reader is planted directly into the narrators mind. We can feel the speaker's inner turmoil as he wrestles with himself. In this man vs. self conflict, the narrator has to choice between the two races that "divide to the vein" his own being. Obviously half-British and half-native, the narrator must choose between "the English tongue he loves" and "this Africa". However, the narrator describes Africa with such a heartfelt longing, one can almost tell where most, if not all, of his heart lies. The vividness with which this apparent battle scene where the "colonel of carrion" reigns supreme is such a loving description of a gruesome scene that it could only be done if the speaker truly knew the beauty of the land he described.

The second stanza was particularly interesting to me. Walcott talks about the British colonization of Africa and describes it as if the British believed their conquests were "divine" in truth. According to Walcott, the British "seeks his divinity by inflicting pain". The British are colonizing African continent through violence and bloodshed and are deeming it a "brutish necessity". They have to do this, for it is God's will.

All this is taken into account as the narrator struggles with his inner turmoil. Does he choose the beast that is Britain, or does he choose the relatively helpless Africans? The man vs. self struggle is what the poem centers on, in my opinion. Walcott's style allows us to see and feel this struggle, as the narrator stands by a battlefield as the Africans and British tear each other up, and struggles with which side of his split heritage he should align himself with.



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