Theme for English B- Langston Hughes
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc In his poem “Theme for English B,” a response to an assignment given by his class instructor, Langston Hughes writes about the differences between himself and his instructor’s race. He talks about being the only “colored” person in his class and expresses the feeling of being similar to other races, primarily “white”, and yet different throughout the poem. Although he details the commonalities between the two races, Langston manages to write a poem that is representational of his “colored” ethnic background, using his community, Harlem, as a source of inspiration.
The instructor’s assignment in the poem can be interpreted as a challenge to the students to write a paper with feeling and emotion. In the poem, the instructor advises the students to, “Go home and write a page tonight. And let that page come out of you,” The instructor believes that by getting the students to write a paper from the heart, whatever is written “will be true.
” Langston’s paper, in the form of a poem, details what he feels.
His feelings come from his school and community, Harlem, and its impact on him. For example, Brent Staples in his essay “Black Men in Public Spaces” narrates about the fear he imposes on mainly white women in public spaces. In his essay, Staples details many of his experiences in which he was the victim of racial profiling. He gives details about women crossing the street and even quickening their steps to avoid his presence. The experiences Langston would have felt being the only “colored” person in his classroom would have been similar to experiences Staples narrates about in his essay. Langston, therefore draws on his experiences from going to school and living in Harlem, a poor community at the time, and expresses it in his poem, “I feel and see and hear Harlem, I hear you: hear you, hear me-we two-you, me, talk on this page.” Harlem does not only have an effect on Langston but on his “white” professor and classmates as well. They are going to school in the community on a daily bases and share in the same emotions Harlem imposes on Langston. This is a parallel link between the races Langston does not address. He fails to show how the similar effects a poor neighborhood will have on any race. Instead he chooses to illustrate everyday activities almost all races engage in.
He states in the poem “I like to eat, sleep, drink,” and “I like to work, read, learn, and understand life.” By using these mundane activities he manages not to single himself out from his classmates or his instructor, but shows the similarities they share. He uses the statement “I guess being colored doesn’t make me not like the same things other folks like who are other races.” to further strengthen his point of being comparable to his “white” counterparts. Using these common links, Langston illustrates how he can be from any race and goes on to tell the instructor in the poem, “You are white-yet a part of me, as I am a part of you. That’s American.” suggesting that by being American you are part of all races. To his credit Langston does suggest that his professor will be free from Harlem’s poverty effects. His statement “Although you’re older-and white and somewhat more free” made later in the poem can be interpreted as the professor’s freedom to be omitted from the emotions Langston derives from Harlem.
At the time Langston had written his poem, 1949, “colored” people were not treated as fairly as “white” people were and was not entitled to the same benefits, economic or other, some “white” people enjoyed. Therefore the professor would have been able to reside out of Harlem or live in one of its better parts, whereas, Langston would not. Thus, even after proving his similarities with his professor, he maintained that his experiences would still be different. His statement “So will my page be colored that I write? Being me it will not be white.” exemplifies this point of view. Overall Langston’s poem echoes his pride of belonging to a “colored” background. This is revealed in his statement, “Sometimes perhaps you don’t want to be a part of me. Nor do I often want to be a part of you.” However, he admits that even though he shares a different ethnic background with the instructor, he proclaims that the similarities they share make them part of each other and he refers to that statement as being “true”. Langston’s poem takes the reader on a journey through the commonalities between races but does so from a “colored” view. In my opinion his poem is a good representation of what he was feeling inside at the time and therefore makes it “true”. Epitaph
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc In Dennis Scott’s aptly named “Epitaph,” the speaker examines the difficulty of writing about historical events by using the language of composition to describe the physical and emotional effects of slavery. They hanged him on a clement morning, swung between the falling sunlight and the women’s breathing, like a black apostrophe to pain. The poem begins with an indefinite pronoun “they” which does not have a clear antecedent. One may assume “they” refers to the masters who have hanged the slave on a “clement morning” which implies justice (clemency) but is also an ironic detail about the weather. The speaker also uses the word “apostrophe” to introduce the difficulty of writing about slavery (an obvious trope), and the hanged slave (imagine his body curled in pain) becomes a “black apostrophe.” An apostrophe is not only a symbol of punctuation, but is also ‘”the addressing of a usually absent person or a usually personified thing rhetorically” (Webster’s) All morning while the children hushed their hopscotch joy and the cane kept growing he hung there sweet and low. The emotional impact of the hanging results in the children’s “hushed” hopscotch joy.”
Added to the previous statement of the “women’s breathing,” the speaker highlights the physical/emotional effects of the hanging balanced against nature’s indifference, ” the cane kept growing” and the slave becomes part of the oral histories of so-called Negro spirituals, swinging “sweet and low.” At least that’s how they tell it. It was long ago and what can werecall of a dead slave or two The speaker reinforces the idea of the master’s version of history, “at least that’s how they tell it,” which implies emotional distance and doubt, “it was long ago” and indifference, “and what can we recall of a dead slave or two.” except that when we punctuate our island tale theyswing like sighs across the brutal sentences, and anger pauses till they pass away.
The tone of the poem changes with “we” –those who “punctuate our island tale,” and the emotional difficulty because”they,”‘ the hanged slaves, “swing like sighs across the brutal/ sentences.” “Brutal” contradicts the idea of clemency and “sentences” is pun not only on the idea of justice, but a clear reference to the writing trope. vgbHowever, the last line of the poem is ambiguous because it raises the question, how will the text be written after “anger pauses? The speaker’s word choice emphasizes the uncertainty because “they,”could refer either to the slaves or masters. Both masters and slaves have become joined in the detritus of memory.
ANALAYSIS OF THE POEM “SOUTH” by Kamau Braithwaite
By Mwuah Rain Razah in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc The poem “South” has a dream-like quality about it, and is nostalgic. The persona recalls his island home, from which he has travelled to various cold Northern cities before going ‘South’ to a shadowy forest with a river that does not appeal to him, because it seems to accuse his people. He suddenly decides to journey with the river, taking his people past the obstacles that have kept them back. Arriving finally at the seashore, which is their island home, welcoming and full of promise.
The persona leaves his turbulent homeland, to travel perhaps to Britain, then to Africa, but is uncomfortable in both places, until he accepts, on behalf of his countrymen, the lessons of the African river(the need for continuity and determination), and the river leads them to the sea where they can feel at home and welcome.
The opening lines of the poem suggest that the persona has just found again, the beauty of his island home, which he has lost or forgotten. He stays for short periods in cities that were built of the strongest materials, yet were the least friendly. He endured painful, wind-blown, half-frozen rain, and icy pelts of hail, and salt-less air, which to him was dull and unstimulating. He describes the river as tepid, to indicate that it was unwelcoming. The repetition of “but today” in line 19, sends us back to the optimism and nostalgia of the opening lines of the poem. The poem ends on a high note, as the persona has returned, or recaptured the familiarity of hope, with all that is refreshing and bright. Orchids
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc Analysis
Lines 1-2: The persona has been living in the house for 5 weeks and is boxing up her belongings tp get ready to move to her next location. Persona is possibly a travelling business woman. Lines 3-4: Persona is sending the boxed up belongings to her future residence. Lines 5-8: Everything that was in her house was sent to her future residence except the orchids that someone sent her. the person who sends the flowers makes it a habit to send orchids to new persons that come to reside in the neighbourhood.
Because of this reason, the persona sees the orchids of little value since it was sent without sentiment. Lines 9-11: Even though the flowers are odourless, the orchids’s purple centre still make them seem attractive. Lines 12- 16: The persona watered the flowers once when they were at their liveliest (..”when the blossoms were full blown”). She had expected them to die after that from a lack of water so she could toss them out with the five-week litter that she had. Lines 17-21: When the orchids finally bloomed, the persona plucked the flowers and pressed them between “pages of memory” (possibly a diary). This was so she could learn to appreciate the orchids. Literary Devices:
“…the blossoms were full blown like polished poems”: the orchids are being compared to polished poems. The word polished impliies perfection and pleasant to read, which would suggest that the flowers were eye catching and beautiful. 2. Pun
” purple petals draw you to look at the purple heart”: Literally, the purple heart refers to the splash of colour in the centre of the orchids bloom. Metaphorically, it refers to the bravery of the flowers. This is so because in the army, a purple heart is a medal received by a soldier for bravery. The flowers were brave in the sense that even though the persona did not water them for a very long time, they not only survived, but flourished. 3. Irony
“I’ll discover their peculiar poetry”: This highlights the persona’s desire to find value in the orchids. This is ironic because she waits until the flowers are dead before she can find value in them. Normally, people find value in live flowers were pleasure can be given through their beauty. Other Words and Phrases:
“from a bouquet one who makes a ritual of flower giving sent”: Persona sees no value in the flowers because they were giftet without any sentiment attached. “unfurled”: Literally means to open. Despite the persona’s attempt to kill the flowers through starvation, they ended up flourishing nonetheless. “blossoms were full blown”: Represents the flower at it’s peak when it is most full of life, and where it is usually most appreciated. Mood:
Pensive: The persona is thinking of the lack of value she placed on the flowers. Tone:
Bored Musing: the persona was in deep thought thinking of the dullness of the flowers. Themes:
Survival, Death, Nature
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc Derek Walcott’s poem talks about a man called Le Brun who has, due to greed, changed and become a dreadful and an ostracized person. One could interpret the poem as describing a drug dealer, perhaps located in the Caribbean, who has greedily dealt with some evil men and become ‘bankrupt’. This is expressed in the 8th line “Ruined by fiends with whom he’d made a bargain” and in the 3rd line “his greed has brought old Le Brun down”. There are several other descriptions which support the idea of ‘Le Brun’ being a drug dealer. One of them is his way of clothing which is expressed in the line “When he approached them in white linen suit | Pink glasses, cork hat, and tap-tapping cane” which leaves the reader with an image of ‘Le Brun’ as a big feared drug dealer dressed in a fancy suit and exclusive apparel. Also the line “A dying man licensed to sell sick fruit” may hint at drug dealing as if he was ruined and was selfishly selling drugs that he knew were bad.
Walcott’s poem opens with the line “A curious tale” suggesting that we, already from the beginning, should be questioning the verity(truthfulness) of the story since tale usually is associated with fiction. The title of the poem “Le loupgarou” literally means werewolf and comes from the Latin word ‘lupus’ meaning wolf and the Germanic word ‘garoul’ meaning man. In the line “A slavering lycanthrope” Walcott has chosen the word lycanthrope which is a synonym to werewolf and loupgarou (french word for ‘werewolf’). “Le loupgarou” is written in a Shakespearian sonnet form with three quatrains and with an ending couplet. It stands out a bit to the original form since the perfect rhyme occasionally is broken and the final couplet does not present perfect rhyme. Perhaps Walcott wants his poem to stand out from the usual, original Shakespearian form, in order to show that this is not one of the typical and customary sonnets.
This could be used by Walcott to make these lines stick out and hint that something different is about to happen, that a change is on its way. A change or transformation does indeed happen, literally, in the 10th line where Le Brun is described to have “changed himself into an Alsatian hound” and after line 11 the focus of narration is changed when Le Brun no longer is referred to as a human but as “the thing” and “it”. This depersonalization describes how Le Brun has lost his dignity, respect and how the people now look upon him as some sick animal (represented by the werewolf). The first and second quatrain are linked together by enjambment (“slowly shutting jalousies | When he approached”) while the third quatrain stands alone and is isolated from the second quatrain by the punctuation. This separation somewhat enhances the change which Le Brun undergoes and also the change in time which happens in the third quatrain. The change in time is expressed in the line “It seems one night..” where the narration changes from describing Le Brun to what has happened to him. Tone: Harsh, Dramatic and Dark
The harshness comes from the repetition of T’s in the beginning and the long, steady flowing sentences. Also the diction of the poem gives it a slightly harsh and dark tone with words such as; “greying”, “greed”, “Ruined”, “slavering” and “howled”. The purpose of the harsh and dramatic tone is to create a suitable atmosphere for the ‘curious tale’ that is told which undeniably is harsh and unkind. The expression “greying woman” suggests ambiguity as the color gray” commonly is spelt with an ‘a’. Even though the color can be spelt; “grey”, one can not deny its associated to hounds e.g. ‘greyhounds’ and the famous werewolf ‘greyback’. Walcott has definitely chosen this way of spelling grey for a purpose. If read carefully it somehow foreshadows the upcoming actions in the text (the transformation to a werewolf).
Walcott used several techniques to emphasize certain parts of his poem. One can find an example of this already in the first line “A curious tale that threaded through the town | Through…” where he used both alliteration and personification to create a brilliant sound image. The repetition of T’s in this line accentuates the effect of how the tale was “chattered” trough the town, told from person to person (t,t,t,t,t). Another example containing alliteration and personification can be found in the 4th line; “slowly shutting jalousies” where the repetition of the “sh” sound accentuates the hushing sound which occurs when people stop talking about him as he “approached them”. The mixture of Walcott’s diction, alliteration, foreshadowing and personification all working together creates sinister and harsh atmosphere over the whole poem. The atmosphere is something Walcott wanted give his poem in order to deliver his ethical message. As one of the seven deadly sins state you shall not be greedy
God’s Grandeur Cont’d
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc Summary
The first four lines of the octave (the first eight-line stanza of an Italian sonnet) describe a natural world through which God’s presence runs like an electrical current, becoming momentarily visible in flashes like the refracted glintings of light produced by metal foil when rumpled or quickly moved. Alternatively, God’s presence is a rich oil, a kind of sap that wells up “to a greatness” when tapped with a certain kind of patient pressure. Given these clear, strong proofs of God’s presence in the world, the poet asks how it is that humans fail to heed (“reck”) His divine authority (“his rod”).
The second quatrain within the octave describes the state of contemporary human life—the blind repetitiveness of human labor, and the sordidness and stain of “toil” and “trade.” The landscape in its natural state reflects God as its creator; but industry and the prioritization of the economic over the spiritual have transformed the landscape, and robbed humans of their sensitivity to the those few beauties of nature still left. The shoes people wear sever the physical connection between our feet and the earth they walk on, symbolizing an ever-increasing spiritual alienation from nature. The sestet (the final six lines of the sonnet, enacting a turn or shift in argument) asserts that, in spite of the fallenness of Hopkins’s contemporary Victorian world, nature does not cease offering up its spiritual indices. Permeating the world is a deep“freshness” that testifies to the continual renewing power of God’s creation.
This power of renewal is seen in the way morning always waits on the other side of dark night. The source of this constant regeneration is the grace of a God who “broods” over a seemingly lifeless world with the patient nurture of a mother hen. This final image is one of God guarding the potential of the world and containing within Himself the power and promise of rebirth. With the final exclamation (“ah! bright wings”) Hopkins suggests both an awed intuition of the beauty of God’s grace, and the joyful suddenness of a hatchling bird emerging out of God’s loving incubation. Form
This poem is an Italian sonnet—it contains fourteen lines divided into an octave and a sestet, which are separated by a shift in the argumentative direction of the poem. The meter here is not the “sprung rhythm” for which Hopkins is so famous, but it does vary somewhat from the iambic pentameter lines of the conventional sonnet. For example, Hopkins follows stressed syllable with stressed syllable in the fourth line of the poem, bolstering the urgency of his question:“Why do men then now not reck his rod?” Similarly, in the next line, the heavy, falling rhythm of “have trod, have trod, have trod,” coming after the quick lilt of “generations,” recreates the sound of plodding footsteps in striking onomatopoeia. Commentary
The poem begins with the surprising metaphor of God’s grandeur as an electric force. The figure suggests an undercurrent that is not always seen, but which builds up a tension or pressure that occasionally flashes out in ways that can be both brilliant and dangerous. The optical effect of “shook foil” is one example of this brilliancy. The image of the oil being pressed out of an olive represents another kind of richness, where saturation and built-up pressure eventually culminate in a salubrious overflow. The image of electricity makes a subtle return in the fourth line, where the “rod” of God’s punishing power calls to mind the lightning rod in which excess electricity in the atmosphere will occasionally“flame out.” Hopkins carefully chooses this complex of images to link the secular and scientific to mystery, divinity, and religious tradition. Electricity was an area of much scientific interest during Hopkins’s day, and is an example of a phenomenon that had long been taken as an indication of divine power but which was now explained in naturalistic, rational terms.
Hopkins is defiantly affirmative in his assertion that God’s work is still to be seen in nature, if men will only concern themselves to look. Refusing to ignore the discoveries of modern science, he takes them as further evidence of God’s grandeur rather than a challenge to it. Hopkins’s awe at the optical effects of a piece of foil attributes revelatory power to a man-made object; gold-leaf foil had also been used in recent influential scientific experiments. The olive oil, on the other hand, is an ancient sacramental substance, used for centuries for food, medicine, lamplight, and religious purposes. This oil thus traditionally appears in all aspects of life, much as God suffuses all branches of the created universe. Moreover, the slowness of its oozing contrasts with the quick electric flash; the method of its extraction implies such spiritual qualities as patience and faith. (By including this description Hopkins may have been implicitly criticizing the violence and rapaciousness with which his contemporaries drilled petroleum oil to fuel industry.) Thus both the images of the foil and the olive oil bespeak an all-permeating divine presence that reveals itself in intermittent flashes or droplets of brilliance. Hopkins’s question in the fourth line focuses his readers on the present historical moment; in considering why men are no longer God-fearing, the emphasis is on “now.” The answer is a complex one.
The second quatrain contains an indictment of the way a culture’s neglect of God translates into a neglect of the environment. But it also suggests that the abuses of previous generations are partly to blame; they have soiled and “seared” our world, further hindering our ability to access the holy. Yet the sestet affirms that, in spite of the interdependent deterioration of human beings and the earth, God has not withdrawn from either. He possesses an infinite power of renewal, to which the regenerative natural cycles testify. The poem reflects Hopkins’s conviction that the physical world is like a book written by God, in which the attentive person can always detect signs of a benevolent authorship, and which can help mediate human beings’ contemplation of this Author.
God’s Grandeur- Themes, Motifs and Symbols
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc
The Manifestation of God in Nature
Hopkins used poetry to express his religious devotion, drawing his images from the natural world. He found nature inspiring and developed his theories of inscape and instress to explore the manifestation of God in every living thing. According to these theories, the recognition of an object’s unique identity, which was bestowed upon that object by God, brings us closer to Christ. Similarly, the beauty of the natural world—and our appreciation of that beauty—helps us worship God. Many poems, including “Hurrahing in Harvest” and “The Windhover,” begin with the speaker praising an aspect of nature, which then leads the speaker into a consideration of an aspect of God or Christ. For instance, in “The Starlight Night,” the speaker urges readers to notice the marvels of the night sky and compares the sky to a structure, which houses Christ, his mother, and the saints. The stars’ link to Christianity makes them more beautiful. The Regenerative Power of Nature
Hopkins’s early poetry praises nature, particularly nature’s unique ability to regenerate and rejuvenate. Throughout his travels in England and Ireland, Hopkins witnessed the detrimental effects of industrialization on the environment, including pollution, urbanization, and diminished rural landscapes. While he lamented these effects, he also believed in nature’s power of regeneration, which comes from God. In “God’s Grandeur,” the speaker notes the wellspring that runs through nature and through humans.
While Hopkins never doubted the presence of God in nature, he became increasingly depressed by late nineteenth-century life and began to doubt nature’s ability to withstand human destruction. His later poems, the so-called terrible sonnets, focus on images of death, including the harvest and vultures picking at prey. Rather than depict the glory of nature’s rebirth, these poems depict the deaths that must occur in order for the cycle of nature to continue. “Thou Art Indeed Just, Lord” (1889) uses parched roots as a metaphor for despair: the speaker begs Christ to help him because Christ’s love will rejuvenate him, just as water helps rejuvenate dying foliage. Motifs:-
According to Hopkins’s theory of inscape, all living things have a constantly shifting design or pattern that gives each object a unique identity. Hopkins frequently uses color to describe these inscapes. “Pied Beauty” praises God for giving every object a distinct visual pattern, from sunlight as multicolored as a cow to the beauty of birds’ wings and freshly plowed fields. Indeed, the word pied means“having splotches of two or more colors.” In “Hurrahing in Harvest,”the speaker describes “azourous hung hills” (9) that are “very-violet-sweet” (10). Elsewhere, the use of color to describe nature becomes more complicated, as in “Spring.” Rather than just call the birds’ eggs “blue,” the speaker describes them as resembling pieces of the sky and thus demonstrates the interlocking order of objects in the natural world. In “The Windhover,” the speaker yokes adjectives to convey the peculiar, precise beauty of the bird in flight—and to convey the idea that nature’s colors are so magnificent that they require new combinations of words in order to be imagined. Ecstatic, Transcendent Moments
Many of Hopkins’s poems feature an ecstatic outcry, a moment at which the speaker expresses his transcendence of the real world into the spiritual world. The words ah, o, and oh usually signal the point at which the poem moves from a description of nature’s beauty to an overt expression of religious sentiment. “Binsey Poplars” (1879), a poem about the destruction of a forest, begins with a description of the downed trees but switches dramatically to a lamentation about the human role in the devastation; Hopkins signals the switch by not only beginning a new stanza but also by beginning the line with“O” (9). Hopkins also uses exclamation points and appositives to articulate ecstasy: in “Carrion Comfort,” the speaker concludes with two cries to Christ, one enclosed in parentheses and punctuated with an exclamation point and the other punctuated with a period. The words and the punctuation alert the reader to the instant at which the poem shifts from secular concerns to religious feeling. Bold Musicality
To express inscape and instress, Hopkins experimented with rhythm and sound to create sprung rhythm, a distinct musicality that resembles the patterns of natural speech in English. The flexible meter allowed Hopkins to convey the fast, swooping falcon in “The Windhover” and the slow movement of heavy clouds in “Hurrahing in Harvest.” To indicate how his lines should be read aloud, Hopkins often marked words with acute accents, as in “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” and “Spring and Fall.” Alliteration, or the juxtaposition of similar sounds, links form with content, as in this line from“God’s Grandeur”: “And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil” (6). In the act of repeating “red,”our mouths make a long, low sound that resembles the languid movements of humans made tired from factory labor. Elsewhere, the alliterative lines become another way of worshiping the divine because the sounds roll and bump together in pleasure. “Spring” begins, “Nothing is so beautiful as Spring— / When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush” (1–2). Symbols:-
Birds appear throughout Hopkins’s poetry, frequently as stand-ins for God and Christ. In “The Windhover,” a poem dedicated to Christ, the speaker watches a falcon flying through the sky and finds traces of Christ in its flight path. The beauty of the bird causes the speaker to reflect on the beauty of Christ because the speaker sees a divine imprint on all living things. Similarly, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” meditates on the innate behaviors and patterns of beings in the universe: the inscape of birds manifests in their flights, much as the inscape of stone manifests in the sound of flowing water. Christ appears everywhere in these inscape manifestations. In Christian iconography, birds serve as reminders that there is life away from earth, in heaven—and the Holy Ghost is often represented as a dove. “God’s Grandeur” portrays the Holy Ghost literally, as a bird big enough to brood over the entire world, protecting all its inhabitants. Fire
Hopkins uses images of fire to symbolize the passion behind religious feeling, as well as to symbolize God and Christ. In “God’s Grandeur,” Hopkins compares the glory of God and the beautiful bounty of his world to fire, a miraculous presence that warms and beguiles those nearby. He links fire and Christ in “The Windhover,” as the speaker sees a flame burst at the exact moment in which he realizes that the falcon contains Christ. Likewise, “As Kingfishers Catch Fire” uses the phrase “catch fire” as a metaphor for the birds’manifestation of the divine imprint, or inscape, in their natural behavior. In that poem too, the dragonflies “draw flame” (1), or create light, to show their distinct identities as living things. Nature’s fire—lightning—appears in other poems as a way of demonstrating the innate signs of God and Christ in the natural world: God and Christ appear throughout nature, regardless of whether humans are there to witness their appearances. Trees
Trees appear in Hopkins’s poems to dramatize the earthly effects of time and to show the detrimental effects of humans on nature. In “Spring and Fall,” the changing seasons become a metaphor for maturation, aging, and the life cycle, as the speaker explains death to a young girl: all mortal things die, just as all deciduous trees lose their leaves. In “Binsey Poplars,” the speaker mourns the loss of a forest from human destruction, then urges readers to be mindful of damaging the natural world. Cutting down a tree becomes a metaphor for the larger destruction being enacted by nineteenth-century urbanization and industrialization. Trees help make an area more beautiful, but they do not manifest God or Christ in the same way as animate objects, such as animals or humans.
Dulce Et Decorum Est
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc Stanza I SummaryGet out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.Lines 1-2 Bent double, like old beggars under sacks,Knock-kneed, coughing like hags, we cursed through sludge, The soldiers in this poem are crippled, mentally and physically overcome by the weight of their experiences in war. Did you notice how unwilling our speaker seems to introduce himself (and his fellow soldiers)? We’re almost all the way through the second line before we (the readers) hear who “we” (the subjects of the poem) actually are. In fact, we get simile upon simile before we are acquainted with the subjects of this poem. We hear that they’re “like old beggars” and “like hags.”
The speaker’s searching for images that his reader can understand, as if he’s convinced that none of his readers will be able to understand how horribly twisted and deformed the bodies of the soldiers have become. Lines 3-4
Till on the haunting flares we turned our backsAnd towards our distant rest began to trudge. The battle’s about to end for the day.
The soldiers turn away from the lights and noise of war and head back in the
direction of their camp. There’s an oh-so-subtle irony in the reference to the soldiers’ “distant rest” (4). Sure, he could be talking about the barracks to which we guess that they’re headed. Then again, they’re soldiers in a war that wiped out over nine million men. Nine million. The “distant rest” to which our soldiers are heading may just be death. Trudging through the sludge is a pretty decent description of the trench warfare that became the battle plan for much of the First World War. Check out our “Best of the Web” links for detailed analyses of how disgusting and awful the trenches were. Line 5
Men marched asleep.
Owen’s opting for concise realism here: there’s no need to fancy up the language of the poem. The horror of men walking as if they were dead (out of exhaustion, we’re guessing) says it all. By ending a sentence in the middle of line five, Owen creates a caesura (a pause in the line), a formal effect that underscores the terseness of the poem’s language at this point. Lines 5-6
Many had lost their bootsBut limped on, blood-shod.
We mentioned that these guys seem a bit otherworldly before, but we’ll say it again. Notice how lines 5-6 collect lots of “l” sounds? Words like “lost” and “limped” and “blood” all roll on our tongues, making the experience of reading the lines seem even lllonger. It’s all part of Owen’s technical dexterity: he’s trying to get us to feel how interminable the soldiers’ march seems right now. Also notice that the blood that has been shed seems to clothe them now, (or at least their feet). This creates a vivid image suggesting that the war – figuratively and literally – is enveloping their very beings. Lines 6-8
All went lame; all blind;Drunk with fatigue; deaf even to the hootsOf tired, outstripped Five-Nines that dropped behind. Once again, the choppiness of lines 6-7 mimics the terseness of tired men. The rhythm of the lines even sounds a bit like the tramp of men marching in rhythm. Plus the repetition of “l”s continues.
Notice how we’ve moved beyond the elaborate similes at the beginning of this stanza. Our speaker’s not worried about comparing his comrades to things that the folks at home can understand. Worn out by the march, he’s content to speak in sweeping observations. All the men are rendered disabled by the traumas that they’ve experienced. Maybe this isn’t exactly an accurate historical account of a soldier’s life in the war. After all, all of the men can’t be lame and blind, can they? Or…can they? Perhaps the “drunk” and “deaf” soldiers might be temporarily overwhelmed by the never-ending strains of battle. Even the shells seem “tired” and “outstripped.”
(Five-Nines are gas shells. We’ll hear lots more about them later.) The whole war, in other words, seems worn out.
Stanza II SummaryLines 9-10
Gas! Gas! Quick, boys! – An ecstasy of fumbling,Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time; The repetition of a frantic cry, “Gas! Gas! Quick, boys!—” draws us straight into a frenzy of action. We’re in the midst of an “ecstasy” of fumbling for helmets and gas masks. (If you’re wondering just how nasty and terrifying gas attacks were, check out some of the historical links in our “Websites” section. Believe us, on a nastiness scale of 1 to 10, we put gas attacks at 10.5.) Does the word “ecstasy” seem strange here? It does to us.
We’re guessing that Owen’s trying to draw upon an apocalyptic language: at the end of the world, just about anything that you’re doing will probably seem ecstatic. The “ecstasy of fumbling” which goes on here, however, is anything but rapturous. We’re back to the sort of ironic language that we’ve seen in the title – combining elevated language with absolute chaos makes the whole experience seem totally out of proportion. Lines 11-12
But someone still was yelling out and stumblingAnd flound’ring like a man in fire or lime… The eeriness of this line might have something to do with the fact that we don’t know who the “someone” stumbling about in the night actually is. Notice how the verbs here have changed: our speaker’s no longer describing universal conditions that could apply to anyone. He’s in the
moment, watching as a man is “stumbling” and “yelling” and “floundering.” Those “–ing” conjugations of verbs create a sense of immediacy. The man’s out there right now. His actions occur as we speak. As we say in our “Quotes” section, lime, or quicklime, is a chemical compound that can burn through the human body (sort of like fire). In other words, whatever the gas is doing to that man out there, it’s awful. It’s so awful that our speaker can’t face it head-on: he has to describe it through similes, (like those similes we talked about in the first lines). Lines 13-14
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,As under a green sea, I saw him drowning. The repetition of the word “green” here allows our sense of the scene to fold in upon itself, almost as if the fog of green stuff is surrounding us as well. The long “ee”s of green lengthen the time it takes us to read the lines, slowing our tongues down slightly. It’s like those scenes in horror movies that suddenly shift into slow motion: what’s going on here is so awful that we have to pause in order to take it all in. Stanza III
In all my dreams, before my helpless sight,He plunges at me, guttering, choking, drowning. What’s with the fact that these two lines form their own stanza? Shouldn’t they be part of the second stanza? We don’t have a solid lock on Owen’s intentions here, of course, but here’s what the poem itself tells us: this stanza fits into the rhyme scheme of stanza two. In fact, it’s almost like Owen snapped it off of the second stanza and pushed it down the page a little ways. Why? Well, for one thing, these two lines bring us out of a past experience (the experience of the gas attack) and into a horrific present. In some ways, the present is a lot like the past – after all, all our speaker can think about is the gas attack. In others, however, it’s a marked shift in the momentum of the poem. We can’t think of the dying soldier as part of the past, if only because he plays such a huge role in our speaker’s present. “All” his dreams have been taken over by a nightmarish memory of the gas attack. Notice now how the speaker seems to be directly involved in the man’s suffering: in lines 14-15, watching through “dim” light as his comrade goes down. By the time we get to line 16,
however, the other soldier “plunges” directly at our speaker. Moreover, the helplessness of our speaker takes center stage. He can’t do anything. He can only replay the horrors of the scene, turning them over and over in his mind. It’s almost as if using the word “drowning” at the end of line 15 triggered our speaker’s memory, making him re-hash the horrors that he’s witnessed. “Drowning” occurs again in line 17. In fact, it actually rhymes with itself. Stanza IV
If in some smothering dreams you too could paceBehind the wagon that we flung him in, Ah, now we get to the “you.”
Are we the audience to whom Owen addresses this poem?
We’re not quite sure.
Several earlier versions of this poem were explicitly addressed to “Miss Pope,” or Jessie Pope, a British propagandist who printed public letters urging men to take up arms in defense of their country’s honor. Owen could be addressing the poem specifically to her.
For the sake of argument, though, let’s see what happens if our speaker’s “you” is supposed to be us (the readers). If we accept that we’re the people to whom our speaker addresses himself, something interesting happens: we’re told that we can’t understand what’s going on in the poem…even as the speakertells us what’s going on. In fact, it’s like a story that your friend might tell you. They might try to describe something that happened, but then end by saying, “you just had to be there.” These lines actually take it a step further, though: our speaker doesn’t even care whether wecould actually experience the horrors of battle or not. He knows that we can’t share those experiences with him.
He’s just wishing that we could share the dreams of the experiences of battle, but we can’t do that. Such deliberate distancing of the speaker from the “you” of the poem creates a huge gap of isolation in which our speaker dwells. We just can’t understand how horrible his life was…and is. Lines 19-20
And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin; We’re still in the land of hypotheticals here.
Our speaker’s going into detail, forcing “you” (or, well, us) to imagine just how horrible his dreams can be. The body of the dream-soldier writhes in surreal agony.
It’s almost over-the-top, unless, of course, you’ve read descriptions of the pain and suffering of gas victims. Notice all the “s” sounds stacking up in the last line? (For starters, there’s “face” and “devil’s” and “sick” and “sin.”) When you read line 20 aloud, it’s almost as if you’re hissing your way through the line. The fancy technical term for repeating “s” sounds is sibilance…it’s what snakes do. (And devils, if you take John Milton’s word for it. Describing a devil by using an aural technique that forces the reader to hiss? That’s pretty darn cool.) Lines 21-24
If you could hear, at every jolt, the bloodCome gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cudOf vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues,– This is pretty disgusting.
And that’s our speaker’s point.
He wants to ram home just how absolutely degrading, humiliating, and surreal the destruction of the human body can be. Within minutes, the body of a young man turns into a mass of aging sores – almost as a version of cancer moved through his body at warp speed. Owen takes on a bitter, ceaseless realism towards the end of this stanza. His speaker is deep in the memory of his own dream – and he’s dragging us along for the ride. Lines 25-27
My friend, you would not tell with such high zestTo children ardent for some desperate glory,The old Lie: Now we get to the serious teeth of this poem: after drawing us deep into the hell of his personal experiences, our speaker lashes out at the those who helped get him into this mess. As he bitterly reflects, the war efforts begin at home.
Lots of people are willing to convince young (and, he suggests, gullible) “children” that they can find glory on the battlefield. When you compare the heightened rhetoric or (“high zest”) of these “patriots” to the stark
realism of the lines preceding it, the difference between the two seems almost farcical. Owen sets up an implicit comparison between personal experience and national rhetoric. It’s almost like we see two separate versions of war being fought: the one that’s full of “glory” and “honor,” and the other that breaks men in to “hags” and hallucinations. Lines 27-28
Dulce et decorum estPro patria mori.
If you haven’t buffed up on Latin lately, don’t worry. Your friendly Shmoop translation team is here to help. These Latin lines are quoted from Horace (a Roman philosopher and poet). Here’s the lines in English: “It is sweet and proper to die for one’s country.” After reading all of the stuff that our speaker (and our speaker’s comrade) have gone through, it’s pretty hard to believe that Horace actually knows what he’s talking about. We’re guessing that that’s Owen’s point.
Notice how the last line of the poem doesn’t have anywhere close to ten syllables? For readers accustomed to seeing or hearing a line that’s ten syllables long, this would sound like a huge, awkward silence. Maybe like the silence of death.
Even before the shells drop and the world turns into a living nightmare, Owen concentrates on the ways that bodies get warped by the war. Emphasizing the ways in which men break under the stresses of war, our speaker creates a battle zone peopled by the walking dead. Line 1: “Bent double, like old beggars under sacks” is a simile, which compares the men marching to beggars. Starting the poem off with an image of men “doubled” creates the possibility that the soldiers really have become two people: the men they were before the war and the creatures that they are now. Line 2: More similes. This time the men are “Knock-kneed, coughing like hags.” How do we know it’s a simile? Well, it’s a comparison that’s created by using the word “like” to link the subject (the marching men) to another term (the hags). Line 5: “Men marched asleep.” Line five starts out with a stark image. People don’t usually walk in their sleep, unless something is seriously wrong. Making abnormality the norm seems to be one of the major functions of
this war. Line 6: The parallel construction of the lines “All went lame; all blind;” emphasizes misery as a universal condition. No one escapes. No one. Line 15: The speaker’s reference to his “helpless sight” creates an almost paradoxical image: his sight works well. After all, he can see the image of the man dying – in fact, it’s our speaker’s all-to-active sight, which becomes the problem. What Owen is actually describing, however, is the helplessness of the speaker himself. If that’s the case, then “sight” functions as a synecdoche, standing in for the speaker as a whole. Line 18: The imagery created by describing “the white eyes writhing in [a soldier’s] face” is horrendous. It’s almost like the eyes have lives of their own: they’ve detached from the working of the body as a whole. Lines 21-24: Owen is racking up some serious imagery points here. From gargling blood to cancer-like sores, we’ve got it all. This poem is a true house of horrors. We get to witness as a soldier’s body breaks down entirely. Allusion
Although we don’t get too many allusions, the ones we do get are central to the message of the poem. In fact, we begin and end with a shout-out to one of the founding fathers of Western literature, Horace. Why? Well, that’s a good question…. Line 2: The simile comparing soldiers to old hags has potential as an allusion as well. Think about it: literature is chock-full of nasty old hags. There’s the witch in “Hansel and Gretel” and the witches ofMacbeth. Even the old crone who helps the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thievescould probably fall into the “hag” category. Owen probably knew that his description would carry lots of cultural weight and used it to his advantage. Why compare soldiers to witches? Well, we’ll leave that up to you. Line 20: The devil’s always a popular allusion in poems about bad stuff. Frankly, he’s about as bad as it gets. Lines 27-28: Ah, the biggie. This is the allusion to beat all allusions. It’s one of the most-quoted lines of 20th century poetry…and Owen didn’t even write it himself! Referring to a popular school text allows Owen to take a swing at all the popular rhetoric about the glories of war. Nightmares
Just how “real” is this war scene that we’re reading about? Well, that’s a
tricky question. For our speaker, it’s too horrible to seem real at all. That’s why we get so many descriptions of the battlefield as a bad dreamscape (you know, like one of those horrible night terrors that you had as a kid). The only difference is that you could wake up sweating and run to your parents. For this guy, the dream is the real deal. Line 2: See our analysis in “Allusion” of the simile comparing hags to soldiers here. If hags are witches, then they fit pretty well into the whole nightmare vibe that’s being created. Line 2: Check out the alliteration in this line: the repeated “k” sounds begin to have an echoing quality, like the words that bounce around in a nightmarish fog. Lines 13-14: The imagery of these lines is pretty intense. Murky green lights and all-encompassing fog? Sounds scary to us. Lines 15-16: Here’s where our speaker gets serious about his dreams. The image of the dying soldier becomes a literal nightmare, one which haunts the speaker for the rest of the poem. Line 19: This line is all alliteration all the time. The “w”s in this line just keep stacking up. Line 20: More sound play. Sibilance is the name of the game in this line: repeating “s” sounds create a sort of hissing on our tongues. Oh, and did we mention the allusion to the devil in this line? He’s pretty nightmarish. Sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge Spetember 03, 1802
By Dania Dobbs in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc Lines 1-8 SummaryGet out the microscope, because we’re going through this poem line-by-line.Line 1 Earth has not anything to show more fair:
While crossing over the Westminster Bridge, the speaker makes a bold statement: he has found the most beautiful scene on the planet. All you other artists can call off the search! Wordsworth has located the very heart of beauty, or “fairness.” Of course, though, he’s exaggerating. He really means something like, “At this particular moment, I can’t imagine anywhere being more beautiful than the place I’m standing.” It’s almost more a reflection of his mood than of the outside world. He can’t compare the scene from the bridge with anything except his own memories, but since that’s all anyone can do we’ll let him run with this one. The line ends with a colon, letting us know that he’s going to tell us what earth is “showing” after the line break. Line 2-3
Dull would he be of soul who could pass byA sight so touching in its majesty: Instead of trying to describe the scene, as we might expect by now (hurry up, a sonnet is only 14 lines long!), the speaker tries to express how beautiful it is from another angle as well. He justifies his decision to stop his coach along the way to look at the view from the bridge. He says that anyone who didn’t stop, who just passed by with a glance, would be “dull…of soul.” The opposite of dull is sharp, so we’re imagining that the speaker’s soul must be like one of those knives they advertise on TV that can cut through coins. The person who could just pass by has been jaded and worn down by experience to the point of dullness. He’s also boring, which is another meaning of the word “dull.” The sight from the bridge is “touching in its majesty,” an intriguing phrase that suggests both intimacy and grandeur. “Touching” scenes are often small and intimate, like a kid giving flowers to his sick grandmother. “Majestic” scenes are often large and public, like a snow-covered mountain or a king entering a throne room. The view from Westminster Bridge combines both this elements. The speaker feels both awed by and close to the landscape.
He uses another colon: maybe now he’ll stop keeping us in suspense and describe this amazing view. Lines 4-5
This City now doth, like a garment, wearThe beauty of the morning; We learn what time it is: London “wears” the morning like a nice coat or some other piece of clothing (“garment”). These lines hint that maybe the morning, not London itself, is responsible for the stunning quality of the view. As in, the garment could be so beautiful that it doesn’t matter what the person wearing it looks like. Anyone could be wearing it, and you’d be like, “That’s one heck of a garment, there.” Similarly, the word “now” shows that the beauty depends on the time of day. It’s a fleeting, transient beauty. Maybe when the morning is over, and London is forced to change clothes, as it were, the speaker would think, “Oh. Now it’s just London again. Been there, seen that.” (There we go with our skepticism again.) Lines 5-7
silent, bare,Ships, towers, domes, theatres, and temples lieOpen unto the fields, and to the sky; In general terms, the speaker describes some of the
sights that are visible from Westminster Bridge. The words “silent” and “bare” are positioned in the poem such that they could describe either the morning or the sights. Because of the semi-colon before them, the sights are the more obvious choice, but the ambiguity is important. The setting is “silent” because of the early hour which, from Dorothy Wordsworth’s journal, we know was around 5 or 6am. “Bare” is an interesting word that means “naked” or “unadorned.” It contrasts with the image of the city wearing clothing from line 4. Here, the ships and buildings are nude. From Westminster Bridge in 1802, you could have seen a lot of the highlights of London, including the “ships” of the River Thames; the “dome” of the famous St. Paul’s Cathedral, designed by the architect Christopher Wren; and the iconic Tower of London. One thing you could not have seen in 1802, but that you could see today, is the Big Ben clock – it wasn’t built yet. Despite being all crowded together within one city, the speaker gives an impression of spaciousness by noting that the ships and buildings are “open” to the fields of London and to the sky. One source points out that London had fields that were close to the city in 1802 but that no longer exist (source). Line 8
All bright and glittering in the smokeless air.
The speaker sums up the whole scene at the end of the poem’s first chunk of eight lines, called an “octet.” He focuses on the early morning summer sunlight, which makes the buildings “bright and glittering.” The word “glittering” in particular suggests that the scene is not static but rather constantly changing with the shifting light. Our favorite word in the poem is “smokeless.” What a word. He means that neither the characteristic London Fog nor smoke from chimneys obscures the bright light. In London, as in San Francisco, it is common for fog to cover the city throughout the morning. The speaker is lucky to catch the city on a morning that is completely free of fog. Lines 9-10
Never did sun more beautifully steepIn his first splendour, valley, rock, or hill; The speaker returns to his bold claim from the beginning of the poem: that earth has never presented a scene quite so beautiful as this one. Specifically, he compares the morning sunlight falling on the city to the
sunlight that might cover more remote parts of the countryside, such as a valley, a boulder or mountainous cliff (“rock”), or a hillside. These sights would have been more familiar to Wordsworth than the scenery of London, who spent most of his life in rural parts of England, such as the picturesque Lake District in the northwest part of the country. “First splendour” just means morning.
Basically, he’s ragging on his hometown, saying even it can’t compare with this view of London. The word “steep” means to submerge or cover – think of how you let a tea bag “steep” in water. Lines 11-12
Ne’er saw I, never felt, a calm so deep!The river glideth at his own sweet will: The speaker continues on the topic of the Greatest Scene Ever. He describes how the vision of London makes him feel calm, which is perhaps surprising because London is a huge, bustling city. That’s a little like saying you go to Manhattan to get away from it all. The speaker seems to again compare London to places that you would normally think of as calming, like the hills and valleys from line 10. This section of the poem engages in the personification of various elements of the picture. Here the river is described as a patient person who takes his time and doesn’t allow himself to be rushed. He moves according to “his own sweet will.” The river Thames is not a fast-moving river.
Dear God! the very houses seem asleep;And all that mighty heart is lying still! You would think the speaker couldn’t possibly get more excited about this view after declaring it the most beautiful thing on earth, but no: he gets more excited. He cries out to God as if he has just recognized something astonishing he had not noticed before. He personifies the houses as asleep, when it’s actually the people inside the houses who are sleeping at this early hour. The city looks like one big, peaceful, sleeping body. Shh…don’t wake it. The “heart” of this body is “lying still” for the moment before the city awakens for a new day. The heart probably doesn’t refer to anything specific, but rather the city’s energy or vitality. The last two lines mark a shift in tone with their two exclamation marks. The
tone goes from amazed to Really Amazed!
Line 4: The morning beauty is compared to clothing, a “garment,” in a simile. Only people can wear clothing (OK, dogs can wear sweaters, too, but those are strangely disconcerting), so London must be personified. Line 10: “His first splendour” is a roundabout way of talking about the sunrise. The sun ispersonified as a male. Line 12: The river is personified as a person who likes to take things at his own pace. He’s like the person in front of you at the supermarket who’s going to spend 10 minutes at the cash register and there’s nothing you can do about it. Line 13: The houses are personified as sleeping people because the city is quiet and still. In reality, the people inside the houses are the ones who are asleep. Line 14: The city is personified as a person with a heart. The heart is “lying still,” perhaps because the city, like its houses, is asleep. Line 4: The morning light is compared to clothes worn by London. A “garment” is just an article of clothing. Line 5: The word “bare” could be a pun that means both “open to view” or “unadorned” but also “naked.” Symbol Analysis
Wordsworth’s claim that his vision of London is the best on earth is clearly an exaggeration, not to mention impossible to verify. But it’s an innocent exaggeration, one that puts us “in the moment” of his passing experience. It’s really not much different from an expression that many people use all the time nowadays: saying that such-and-such is the most fun ever, or the best movie ever, or the most awkward party ever. In other words, Wordsworth talks a little like a contemporary teenager. Line 1: Earth, you really outdid yourself on this one. The claim that no sight is more beautiful than the view from Westminster Bridge is a case of hyperbole, or exaggeration. Line 2: The word “dull” suggests a contrast with a knife or some other sharp object. In the implicit metaphor, the dull person’s soul has been worn down by time and experience. Line 3: To say that something is “touching in its majesty” is almost a paradox, a contradiction in terms. A touching sight is intimate and personal, while a majestic one is grand and public. With this phrase, Wordsworth comes close to capturing the indescribable feeling of familiarity and distance all at once. Lines 9-11: Lines 9 and 11 have a parallel structure, in which he claims that the effect of the morning light
on London creates a beauty that has “never” been experienced before. As in the first line, these claims are hyperboles. Wordsworth uses personification in several places in the poem, in reference to the city, sun, river, and houses. He creates the impression that nature is a living being with a soul. It’s as if all these forces have decided to come together to treat the speaker to a “One Morning Only!” show of Nature’s Greatest Marvels. In “Composed Upon Westminster Bridge,” clothes are a metaphor for the way the city and nature in general seem to put on different appearances depending on the way the light “dresses” them. This raises the question of whether it’s only the clothes that make the person beneath them beautiful, or whether that person is beautiful as well.
Line 13: This line contains a simile that compares the inactivity of the houses to the sleeping people within them. It would have been a metaphor if Wordsworth had written, “the very houses are asleep.” Line 14: Is the city, with its energetic “heart,” also being compared to a sleeping person? We think so, because the heart is “lying still,” like a person in bed. For the speaker, a large part of the city’s charm early in the morning is the fact that this huge metropolis – a hub of energy and activity – lies completely still. Most people are still literally asleep, so the city seems metaphorically asleep.
Berry – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYBerry is about a young black man called Millberry Jones who is employee at Dr. Renfield’s Home for Crippled Children. He was reluctantly employed by Mrs. Osborn, the housekeeper, because the Scandinavian kitchen boy had left without notice, leaving her no choice in hiring Berry. Her reluctance to hire Berry stemmed from his race, initiating questions like where he would sleep? How would the other servants react to the presence of a Negro? She had a meeting with Dr. Renfield and they decided to hire Millberry on a reduced salary. He was overworked and underpaid, but took solace in the children, whom he loved. An unfortunate incident occurred, however, where a child fell from his wheel chair while in the care of Berry. The result was that Berry was fired and given no salary for the week that he had worked.
Dr. Renfiled’s Home for Crippled Children
New Jersey coast
CHARACTERSMillbury Jones (Berry)
A Black male, approximately 20 years old.
Described as good natured and strong.
Poor and uneducated.
Very observant and intuitive about people and places.
Very good with children due to his gentleness.
The housekeeper at the children’s home.
Rumoured to be in love with Dr. Renfield.
Very high handed with her staff, but docile with Dr. Renfield. Displays racist characteristics in subtle forms.
Rumoured to have romantic affairs with his female staff.
Berry observes that the Home is ‘Doc Renfield’s own private gyp game’ (Hughes, p. 162), meaning that he runs his establishment for his own profit, instead of a desire to take genuine care of the children. He is blatantly racist.
THEMESRacismThis theme is apparent when Berry was being considered for employment at the Home. Mrs. Osborn was concerned about where Berry would sleep, implying that he could not sleep with the white servants because he was considered to be beneath them. His salary was also cut due to his race, and he was overworked, with no discussions of days off, ‘everybody was imposing on him in that taken-for-granted way white folks do with Negro help.’ (Hughes, 162). Even more importantly, when the unfortunate accident occurred with the child, there was no attempt at discerning what had occurred that led to the incident, but blame was laid on the obvious person – Berry. As a result, he was relieved of his job a hail of racist slurs.
Blackout – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARY
This short story is about a white American woman’s encounter with a black man on the street of an unnamed island in the Caribbean. The story opens with the young lady waiting at a bus stop on the night of a blackout. She encounters a young man who approaches her and politely asks for a light (for his cigarette). She explains that she does not have a light, but he points out that she is smoking a cigarette. She grudgingly acquiesces to give him a light from her cigarette. She holds her arm out for him to take her cigarette and light his, but instead, as is the case with many smokers, he bends over the offered arm and lights his cigarette. He looks up to thank her and realizes that she has discarded her cigarette. An ongoing internal monologue occurs, where it is revealed that the white woman is racist. The black male proceeds to educate her on the differences in race relations in the Caribbean versus America. The situation remains unresolved as the woman boards the bus and goes on her way and the man remains at the bus stop, where he picks her half smoked cigarette out of the gutter.
An unnamed island in the Caribbean.
The story occurred around the time of World War II.
CHARACTERSAmerican Woman (White)
Took pride in the fact that she was an American young woman who did not scare easily. Considered herself to be superior to the young man.
Caribbean Man (Black)
Had a sense of pride about being black.
Did not consider himself to be inferior to the American woman. THEMERacismThis is a strong theme in this short story. The simple act of asking for a light becomes a tension filled moment in time where two individual’s honestly confront each other about their beliefs. The fact that the woman feels that she is superior to the man, based on race, is highlighted when she expresses the following views: 1. ‘She could snub him quietly, the way she should have properly done from the start” (Mais, p.10)2. ‘In America they lynched them for less than that’ (Mais, p.10)3. ‘Do you really think that all men are created equal?’ (Mais p.10)The young man’s reaction to her rejection of him is to be quietly contemptuous, a reaction
that she categorizes as insolence, proving that she believes herself to be superior to him. Her reaction implies that he should be accepting of whatever she ‘dishes out’ to him. She boards her bus, shaken, but still holding on to her beliefs, as seen in her refusal to take a last look at him. However, the young black males show of strength is, ironically, lessened by the fact that he picks her cigarette out of the gutter.
Emma – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story is told from the first person perspective of a little girl called Dorian York. The focus of her thoughts is her mother; the games that they play together, and the games that she plays with her friend, that revolve around her mother. The first person perspective of the narrative gives the reader an intimate view of how the little girl sees her mother, as well as how she feels about her. We are also able to garner information about the people around her from her innocent narrative, innocent because the little girl does not understand many of the things that she reports. The audience learns that Emma and Mr. York have a volatile relationship that is seemingly caused by his infidelity. This infidelity is initially implied by Emma’s constant watching of the clock and waiting for her husband to return home, as well as the fight that Dorian reported. Grandfather’s visit brings a happy atmosphere to the family unit because daddy starts to do things with the family, and they seem more like a conventional happy family. The audience is given the impression that things go back to normal after grandfather leaves, however, due to the spectral presence of the ‘lady at the train station’, as well as Mrs. Robinson’s pointed discussion about Mr. York’s status as a ‘player’. The narrative climaxes with the death of Emma at the train station. She saw her husband with the mysterious lady and runs away, followed closely by Dorian and Jack. Unfortunately, when Jack caught her by the arm, she ran into the path of an oncoming vehicle and was killed. Jack and Mrs. Robinson then get romantically involved, and they send both Maria and Dorian to St. Agnus, a boarding school, in the country.
The story occurs in three places; the York residence, an unnamed mall and the
old train station. The mood of the story fluctuates from happiness to sadness.
CHARACTERSJack York (Daddy)
He is Doran’s father and Emma’s husband.
He is characterized as a ‘player’ by Mrs. Robinson.
He is not faithful to his wife.
He was not ready for the arrival of his daughter, Dorian, and does not seem to have a close relationship with her. Emma York
She is Dorian’s mother and Jack’s wife.
She is a good mother who plays with her child and treats her well. She is a good wife who loves her husband (as seen in how she greets him when he gets home) and is considerate of his feelings; as seen in her reasons for not having another baby. She is a very smart and polished lady who can handle herself with people who are coy and critical of her; as seen in her argument with Mrs. Robinson in the mall. Dorian York
A very innocent little girl who is the first person narrator of the story. She is younger than her friend Maria, who is nine (9) years old. She adores her mother and her grandfather.
She is often puzzled by the content of adult discussion.
Brought joy into the family because daddy stayed home, came home early, and spent quality time with the family, due to grandaddy’s implied interference. Loved her grandfather because he seemed to do what her dad didn’t – spent time with her – and her first person perspective of him reflected her love. Ruby Robinson
She is Emma’s friend and Maria’s mother.
She is not a good friend to Emma because she is both critical and jealous of her. She gets romantically involved with Jack after Emma dies.
She’s very impatient with both girls.
She sends Maria and Dorian to boarding school in order to enact her plan to keep the ‘player’. Maria Robinson
She is the nine (9) year old daughter of Ruby Robinson.
She is Dorian’s playmate.
She filters and explains a lot of the adult conversations that Dorian does not understand. THEMESInnocenceThis theme is epitomized by Dorian York. The story is told from her perspective, therefore, the reader gets a firsthand view of the innocence behind her misunderstanding of adult conversation and situations. She senses emotions, but misses a lot of the innuendo, as is seen when she tells the audience about the fight that her parents had. Her innocence is also seen in her expectation that her mother would come home after the accident, but instead, she finds Mrs. Robinson in her mot her’s bed. Her growth, or advancement into maturity, is highlighted in the end of the short story when Dorian reassures Maria that everything will be ok, they will play adult games better.
Love and family relationship There are two types of families in this short story, the nuclear family and the single family unit. Dorian’s family is the nuclear family, consisting of mother, father and child. This family is a troubled one because the father is seemingly more absent than present due to an implied ‘other woman’, who is later confirmed as very real. He also seems uncomfortable around his only child, as is confirmed by Emma, who decides to forgoe having another child because ‘Jack wasn’t ready for Dori’ (Cole, p.53). Emma, on the other hand, seems to live to please both her child and husband. She is very affectionate with Dorian, and this love is returned ten fold, as seen in the adoration that imbues the tone of the narrator. She is the same with her husband, but the reception is less enthusiastic. It would be unfair to say that the family is dysfunctional, because one parent is at least invested in the emotional happiness of the child, but the family has issues because the head of the household’s concentration lies elsewhere.
Mrs. Robinson is a single mother, parenting her only child; Maria. She does not appear to be particularly liked by both girls because no-one wants to ‘play’ at being her. She aggravates her child constantly and appears to be unhappy with her life. This family structure can be seen as dysfunctional because the parent does not seem to devote her energies toward making her child feel loved and comfortable, which is one of the primary aims of any family structure.
FriendshipThere are two contrasting friendships in this short story. There is the friendship between Dorian and Maria, which is characterized by play, conversations and support of each other. Then there is the friendship between the adults, Emma and Mrs. Robinson, which is contrastingly characterized by cattiness and jealousy; mostly on Mrs. Robinson’s part.
MOTIFPlayThe motif of play appears to be a strong one in this short story, perhaps due to the fact that the narrator is a young child. The children ‘play’ at being adults, immitating – and fighting over – their favourite adult. They also literally see the life of adults as play. Dorian confirms this at the end of the story when she reassures Maria that ‘I learned a lot about this game. When it’s our turn to play, we’ll play smarter.’ (Cole, p.58).
SYMBOLDeck of cardsThe deck of cards that Emma carries around in her purse is a powerful symbol for life. In any card game that is being played, every-one has a chance at success, or failure, depending on how they play the game. Mrs. Robinson gives Emma an alternate way to play the game of life, with success being the joy of keeping her ‘player’ husband. Emma, however, chooses to play the game in an another way, one in which she attempts to satisfy the needs of both Dorian and Jack. Emma is the loser in the game, however, because she dies with the joker in her hand. This signifies that her future could have gone in any direction because the joker introduces the element of chance to the game; it can be a bonus, a penalty, or both, depending on how it is used in the game. In the game of life, Emma lost because she chose to take a chance with pleasing both members of her family, instead of concentrating soley on her husband, as Mrs. Robinson suggested. The game of life gives every-one chances however, just like a card game, and Mrs. Robinson was given a chance to bag her rich man with Emma’s exit from the game.
Mom Luby and the Social Worker – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story is about an elderly woman, fondly called Mom Luby, who fosters
two small children. The story opens with her visit to the Social Welfare office, in order to obtain monetary assistance in taking care of the children. She then returns home to find people waiting to get let in to the speakeasy that she runs in her back room. There is a knock on the door, but instead of the police – coming to collect money – it is a social worker. The social worker, Miss Rushmore, visits in order to investigate the living conditions of the children. She is skeptical about some of the answers that Mom Luby gives, but gives her information about the many forms, along with lengthy directions, regarding the acquisition of clothes and shoes for the children. Mom Luby is astonished, yet slightly amused, about the length of time it could take to obtain clothes and shoes for the children. She responds by stating that she simply did not have enough time because she had a long list of chores to attend to. Miss. Rushmore volunteers to go along with Mom Luby, expressing her disbelief that she could accomplish so much in such a short time. They both return from completing the chores, with Miss Rushmore looking very bedraggled. She states that Mom Luby does not need her help because she got more things done in two hours, than Miss Rushmore has managed to complete in two years. The great irony of the situation is revealed when Mom Luby comments that the Social Welfare office should consider hiring her, but Miss Rushmore comments that that is not possible because Mom Luby is not qualified.
The United States of America.
Between 1920-1933, the time of the Prohibition in the United States. CHARACTERSMom Luby
An elderly woman who is as strong as any young woman.
She has white hair and false teeth.
She runs a speakeasy in the back room of her house.
She fosters two young children.
She is a midwife, herb doctor and ordained minister of the Gospel. She’s a very productive woman who helps the people in her community. She is very proud.
She works at the Department of Child Welfare, Bureau of Family Assistance. She is very thorough in her investigation of Mom Luby.
She is awed by Mom Luby’s productivity.
Elijah (narrator) & Puddin’ – The two young children that Mom Luby fosters.
THEMELove and Family RelationshipThe love that Mom Luby has for her two young charges is apparent by her simple act of fostering them. She is a poor, older woman who runs a speakeasy to survive, this is not the profile of someone who should be willing to take care of two young children, as well as a whole community. The act of visiting the Social Security Office is a testament to her commitment to taking care of the two children. The great irony in this short story is that a poor, older lady, is able to take better care of two little children than the State agency that is assigned to do so. This is because she can get more accomplished in two hours, to benefit them, than the agency can accomplish in two years with their most motivated agent.
Septimus – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThe short story ‘Septimus’ is set in Barbados. It is told from the perspective of an adult and opens in the ‘present’. Mama is crying over a letter that she has received from Septimus. The last sentence of the letter makes Mama cry “… at last I can have a whole apple for Christmas”. A flashback occurs at this point. Septimus’ family resides in the Gap and the reader learns that the seven children have claimed the place and its residents. The story really begins one Christmas Eve when Mama sent the girls on an errand to Aunt Bless’ house. She had recently returned from shopping in town and Septimus saw three shiny apples on the top of the shopping bag. He ran off with one because he wanted it for himself. He was told that this was impossible because the three apples had to be shared among the nine members of the family. Septimus was not pleased, but he was appeased by Aunt Bless, who later gave him an apple for himself. When he returned home, he sliced the apple in nine pieces and offered it to his mother.
SETTINGThe story is set in Barbados.
Gentle and caring.
Strict with her children, for example, the girls thought that Septimus would get in trouble for accepting the apple. Septimus:
The seventh child out of six.
The only boy and the youngest child.
6 years old at the beginning of the story with a childish selfishness. Performs a caring and beautiful thing by sharing his apple.
Real name is Letitia.
Given the nick name by Septimus because of her habit to greet people with a blessing. Loves all the children.
Septimus is her favourite of the seven children.
A watch maker.
A very grumpy man who tolerates the children.
THEMESPoverty:The family is very poor, as seen in the description of where they live, the Christmas gifts that Mama bought and the sharing of three apples among nine people. The narrator herself confirms that the family is poor, “the principle had to be established that what we had – which was not much – had to be shared…” p. 107.
Happiness:Despite their physical state of being poor, the seven children were very happy. A major part of this happiness was their ownership of the Gap and the people in it, they had a sense of belonging.
Innocence:Septimus defines this through his youth, as well as his actions based on his youth. He is perturbed by the concept of sharing, initially, but once he got pass this feeling, he embraced the concept with the vivacity of innocence and youth.
SYMBOLApple:The apple represent knowledge and a loss of innocence because a six year old child is forced to face the reality of being poor. He cannot have a whole apple for himself. The child is no longer innocent after he is faced with this reality because he learns that life is not fair because he cannot always get what he wants. The apple also represents growth as well
because Septimus is able to accept his situation by voluntarily sharing his apple.
Shabine – Literature Notes
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARY’Shabine’ is the story of Justene, a mixed race woman who is constantly mocked for being poor, of mixed heritage, and presumably promiscuous. She was taunted with the words jamette and shabine (half white, or of mixed heritage) on the streets. The story opens with the narrator explaining that she had a fiery temper, which she unleashed on her tormentors when provoked. Her two sons, Gold and Silver, were subjected to similar taunts, with Silver reacting in the same way as his mother, while Gold tried to do damage control. The reader then learns that Justene had lived with her mother, who was a maid in Justene’s father’s house. It is implied, by the narrator, that her mother invited white sailors surreptitiously into her house to sleep with Justene. The rest of the story is filled with the narrator’s regret for what could have existed between him and Justene.
The name of the Caribbean island is not mentioned.
The story is set around the time of WWII, when American troops were prevalent in the Caribbean. MAJOR CHARACTERSJustene (Shabine)
She is described as having ‘pale, reddish skin colour, the mass of coarsish red hair that resembled the wool of sheep, the grey eyes … the chocolate freckles.’ (Simmonds-McDonald, p.14). She is very coy and provocative, as can be seen in her response to the narrator. She does not fear her taunters, but boldly defends herself.
She is fiercely protective of her children, as can be seen when she defends them. She is a proud woman who does not want her children to stoop to the level of their taunters. Narrator
He is male.
He seems to be completey enthralled by Justene, as is seen with the token of fruit, paradise plum, that he ritualistically left for her on the gate post.
He mourns the loss of the possibility of a future that he might have had with Justene. MINOR CHARACTERSGold – Justene’s son. He had thick wooly red curls, red bushy eyebrows, a freckled face and grey eyes.
Silver – Justene’s son. He was sort of blond, he had straight close cropped, sun bleached white hair and he was fearless.
Mr. Cazaubon – Justene’s mother’s employer. He is also Justene’s father, but he does not acknowledge her.
Mrs. Cazaubon – Wife to Mr. Cazaubon. She is aware of Justene’s parentage, and treats mother and child in a contemptuous manner.
Shabine’s mother – Mrs. Cazaubon’s maid. It is rumoured that she died from ‘too much rum and grief because Misie Cazaubon had never kept his promise to her to acknowledge Justene as his daughter and to send her to Convent School.’ (Simmonds-McDonald, p.13).
THEMESLove and Family RelationshipThis theme is brought out by Justene and her two children. She protects them by dispersing her children’s tormentors in a hale of her own words and stones. She then told them that they should not respond to their tormentors because they would become like them. This is the hallmark of a loving mother. She defends and protects her children, yet teaches them the value of maintaining their pride. This is in contrast with the very vague details surrounding the relationship with her mother.
Whereas the reader sees Justene hugging and comforting her children, there is only the implication that Justene’s mother allowed white sailors to ‘visit’ her home, implying that Justene might have been the lure, or the mother herself. The narrator also implies that he had good intentions towards Justene through his shy, patient and consistent courting, however, Justene’s mother discourages this: ‘Justene’s mother had come to complain about his giving of paradise plums and putting ideas in Justene’s head and upsetting her life’ (Simmonds-McDonald, p.14 ). The narrator implies that she robbed her daughter of a future that was close to ‘paradise’ as Justene would have gotten. She is not a totally bad mother, however, because she stands up for her child when Mrs. Cazaubon attempted to treat her like a servant.
Women in SocietyThis short story highlights the fact that women, in general, have very few choices. Justene’s mother has a child by her employer and remains under his roof. Many people would argue that she had a choice to leave with her child, but that is easier said than done. Raising a child takes a village, so it is difficult for anyone to decide to leave a space of financial security. The argument is the same for Mrs. Cazaubon. She stays with a man who has fathered a child, in her own home, with their maid. What is even worse is that the maid and the child, the evidence of her husband’s indiscretion, remains in her home. Her impotence, concerning the situation and her life, is seen in her treatment of Justene and her mother, as well as her quarrels, or rather, abusive monologues, with Mr. Cazaubon. Both women are tied to this man based on the fact that he provides financial security in a world that can be even more cruel to women who lack this.
The severe hypocrasy in the society, as it concerns the sexual indiscretions between men and women, is also highlighted in this short story. Justene and Mr. Cazaubon are treated very differently for their sexual indiscretions. Mr. Cazaubon remains a respected gentleman, despite fathering a child with the maid, and having them reside under the same roof with his wife, while Justene is stoned and castigated in the streets for keeping company with white sailors, as implied by the narrator. Society appears to have different rules for women and men in the sexual arena.
SYMBOLParadise PlumsParadise plums represent the alternate life that Justene could have had. The fact that this candy/ ‘sweety’ was used to court Justene in such a shy, innocent and consistent manner, implies that her life with the narrator could have been very pleasant and healthy.
Literature Notes The Boy Who Loved Ice Cream
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story is about a little boy’s obsession with ice-cream. Benjy is a little boy who lives in rural Jamaica. His family is extremely poor and the most important, and festive, day for them is the Harvest Festival. It is an even more important event for Benjy because this is the only place that he can access the coveted ice cream. Benjy has never tasted ice-cream, but he
relishes the very thought of it through the second hand description that is passed on to him by his sister. The story opens with the family’s preparations to attend the festival and their scenic journey down the hill. Benjy’s obsession with ice-cream becomes evident at this point because he cannot enjoy himself due to his anxiety surrounding when the ice-cream will be forthcoming. This mirrors his father’s obsession with scouting out the man whom he believes to be his wife’s lover and Benjy’s father. The obsessions collide when Benjy finally gets his ice cream and it falls out of his hand because his father sees a male talking to his wife and drags Benjy along to confront him. The story, therefore, ends in disappointment for Benjy.
The story occurs in the small town of Springville in rural Jamaica. The family is from an even smaller town called One Eye, located in the mountains of Springville. CHARACTERSBenjy
The second youngest child.
He is a really intense child in terms of achieving his desires. Elsa
Benjy’s older sister.
She takes care of Benjy when his mother is busy.
She introduces Benjy to the foggy concept of ice cream.
She was very progressive and forward thinking.
She was a very sociable and friendly person.
Always eager to go or do something different.
He was a farmer.
The short story reveals that he was wedded to the soil.
He did not like to go out.
He preferred a predictable lifestyle.
He was very jealous.
THEMEJealousy:Papa is irrationally jealous about his wife’s activities. It is revealed that he believes that she cheated on him when she spent three weeks away from him in Springville, where she was attending to her dying mother. He watches her like a hawk at the Harvest Festival, thereby getting very
little enjoyment out of the fair. This jealousy has serious implications for his relationship with his son Benjy. He does not believe that Benjy is his biological child, but a product of his wife’s ‘affair’ in Springville. Benjy, therefore, is not treated well by his father, but viewed with suspicion and slight contempt. The narrator tells us that Benjy is in a state of constant suspense in terms of what his father’s response to him will be.
SYMBOLIce cream:Ice cream, in this short story, is the symbol for anything that is intensely desired, anything that is anticipated to bring great pleasure.
Literature Notes The Day the World Almost Came To An End
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story was told from the perspective of an adult and chronicles the events behind a child’s (the adult narrator) belief that the world was about to end. The story is set on a plantation in Louisiana in 1936, where the church was the axis around which plantation life revolved. Despite this fact, the narrator was holding on to being a sinner because she believed that she could not ‘live upright’. One day, while she was playing, her cousin Rena informed her that the world was coming to an end. This was based on a conversation that Rena overheard, and misunderstood, about the eclipse. The hellfire sermons in church did not help to stem the narrators mounting panic and she worried herself into a frazzle as a result. She had a conversation with her father about this issue and he tried to quell her fears, but unfortunately, he only managed to increase it with his statement that the world could come to an end at any time. The narrator spent the night conjuring images of dooms day, which led to her overreaction to hearing the rumblings of an old airplane. She ran out of her house screaming that the world was coming to an end. Her father caught her on the road and calmed her down. She appreciated life a lot more after that and lived her life to the fullest.
SETTINGThe story occurs on a plantation in Louisiana in 1936.
Has a good relationship with his daughter
1st person narrator:
THEMESReligion:This is the central theme in this short story. Plantation life was centered on religion to the extent that even the narrators father was a deacon. Religious fervor, in the form of hellfire preaching, is also the fuel for the panic that overtakes the narrator/protagonist in this short story.
Love & Family Relationship:The love and trust between father and daughter is glaring. When the narrator/protagonist was worried about the world coming to an end, the first person that she thought to consult on this issue was her father. His response to her childish fears, in turn, highlights the easy relationship between the two. Daddy’s care in covering his daughter after her mad dash through the turnrow is also an indication of the love that he has for his child.
Literature Notes- The Man of The House
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story is about a little boy called Sullivan who has a sick mother. Sullivan is initially unconcerned about his mother’s illness, and mildly pleased, because he got to stay home and play at being the ‘man of the house’. However, his initial delight changes to concern on the second day due to his fear that his mother has pneumonia. The second night and the third day are even more frightening because he had to fetch the doctor and travel to the North Dispensary to get her medication. At the dispensary he meets a young girl who tricks him into drinking, and sharing the medicine, with the result being an empty bottle to take home to his mother. Sullivan suffers extreme guilt as a result of this and goes home crying. His mother consoles him and forgives his childish misdemeanor.
A town called Cork, in England.
A very responsible little boy.
Enjoys playing at being a man by taking care of his mother and the household chores. Mother
A sickly lady.
She feels guilty that her son has to display such maturity by taking care of her. Displays what a loving mother she is by understanding that Dooley is an innocent boy that succumbed to peer pressure. She also takes excellent care of her son when she is able to do so. Minni Ryan
She is a family friend who advises Dooly during the course of his mother’s illness. A middle aged woman who is very knowledgeable.
Very pious and gossipy; according to Dooly.
He was a fat, loud voiced man.
He was the cleverest doctor in Cork.
THEMELove & family relationshipThis is shown in the relationship between the mother and her son. Sullivan is frightened that his mother will die of pneumonia, so, despite his fear, he enters a public house (pub) in order to ensure that she gets her home-made remedy, and travels to an unsavory neighbourhood in order to get her medicine. The mother is equally devoted to her son, as seen in her guilt over the fact that he has to take care of her. She is also very understanding when he succumbs to the peer pressure of drinking her medicine. She understands that one cannot expect a child to be a man, no matter how well he does at playing at being a man. Her love for her child is also manifested in the pride she feels when he displays the level of maturity akin to an adult.
InnocenceThe fact that Sullivan does not recognize that his new friend is using him for a taste of his cough syrup proves that he is still an innocent young man, at least in relation to the ways of the world. Despite playing at being a man, he is still an innocent child. His reaction, after realizing
that he was used, also points to his innocence. He reacts in the manner that any child would, he ran home crying.
Literature- To Dah Duh In Memoriam-
By Demii Selena Robe in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc SUMMARYThis short story is about a young girl’s visit, from New York, to the island of Barbados. The protagonist, along with her sister and mother, visit Dah-Duh. The visit is an interesting one in which Dah-Duh and the protagonist develop a caring, yet competitive, relationship. Dah-Duh introduces her to the riches of Barbados (nature), while the protagonist introduces her grandmother to the steel and concrete world of New York (industrialism). There is a competitive edge to their conversations because they each try to outdo each other on the merits of their separate homes. Dah-Duh, however, is dealt a blow when she learns of the existence of the Empire State building, which was many stories taller than the highest thing she had ever laid her eyes on – Bissex Hill. She lost a little bit of her spark that day and was not given a chance to rebound because the protagonist left for New York shortly after. The story progresses with the death of Dah-Duh during the famous ’37 strike. She had refused to leave her home and was later found dead, on a Berbice chair, by her window. The protagonist spent a brief period in penance, living as an artist and painting landscapes that were reminiscent of Barbados.
The story is set in Barbados, in the 1930’s.
A small and purposeful old woman.
Had a painfully erect figure.
Over eighty (80) years old.
She moved quickly at all times.
She had a very unattractive face, which was ‘stark and fleshless as a death mask’ (Marshall, p.178). Her eyes were alive with life.
Had a special relationship with the protagonist.
Protagonist: A thin
Nine (9) years old.
A strong personality.
Competitive in nature.
Had a special relationship with Dah-Duh.
THEMESRace:This theme is apparent when Dah-Duh and the protagonist discuss the fact that she ‘beat up a white girl’ in her class. Dah-Duh is quiet shocked at this and exclaims that the world has changed so much that she cannot recognize it. This highlights their contrasting experiences of race. Dah-Duh’s experience of race relations is viewing the white ‘massa’ as superior, as well as viewing all things white as best. This is corroborated at the beginning of the story when it was revealed that Dah-Duh liked her grandchildren to be white, and in fact had grandchildren from the illegitimate children of white estate managers. Therefore, a white person was some-one to be respected, while for the protagonist, white people were an integral part of her world, and she viewed herself as their equal.
Love and family relationship:This story highlights the strong familial ties that exists among people of the Caribbean, both in the islands and abroad (diaspora). The fact that the persona and her family left New York to visit the matriarch of the family, in Barbados, highlights this tie. The respect accorded to Dah-Duh by the mother also shows her place, or status, in the family. The protagonist states that in the presence of Dah-Duh, her formidable mother became a child again.
Gender Issues:This is a minor theme in this short story. It is highlighted when it is mentioned that Dah-Duh liked her grandchildren to be boys. This is ironic because the qualities that are stereotypically found in boys – assertive, strong willed, competitive – are found in her grand daughter. An example of this is the manner in which the protagonist / narrator was able to win the staring match when she first met Dah-Duh, this proved her dominance and strength.
SYMBOLEmpire State BuildingThis building represents power and progress. It is in the midst of the cold glass and steel of New York city and, therefore,
deforms Dah-Duh’s symbol of power; Bissex Hill. It is not by accident that the knowledge of this building shakes Dah-Duh’s confidence. Steel and iron, the symbol of progress, is what shakes the nature loving Dah-Duh. It can, therefore, be said that her response to the knowledge of the existence of the Empire State Building – defeat – is a foreshadowing of her death. This is the case because it is metal, in the form of the planes, that ‘rattled her trees and flatten[ed] the young canes in her field.’ (Marshall. p.186). This is a physical echo of her emotional response to the knowledge of the existence of the Empire State building. The fact that she is found dead after this incident is not a surprise to the reader.
By Antoinette Davis in CSEC Revision Stuff (Files) · Edit Doc The history of the Caribbean did not begin in 1492 with the arrival of Christopher Columbus. In fact, it began thousands of years earlier with the indigenes (Tainos, Kalinagos and Mayans). These indigenous peoples (Amerindians) had developed societies that spread across the Americas – the Caribbean and parts of South and Central America. The ancestors of the indigenous peoples were originally from Central East Asia and came across the frozen Bering Strait/Beringia to North America during the Ice Age. They were nomadic peoples who followed their food (mammoth) and this is presented as a factor that accounted for them wandering from Asia into North America. The nomads wandered southward through North, Central and South America, evolving distinct physical and cultural characteristics (please see Figure 1 detailing Beringia theory). Three distinct groups developed societies in parts of the Caribbean and in Central and South Americas. The Tainos were located in Hispaniola, Cuba, Puerto Rico and some parts of The Bahamas and Trinidad. The Kalinagos in Grenada, Tobago, St Vincent, St Kitts & Nevis, Puerto Rico and Hispaniola. The Mayans were located in Mexico, Belize, Honduras and Guatemala. Social organisation of the Tainos, Kalinagos and Mayans.
Division of labour
In Taino villages the duties were designated based on one’s sex and age. In this regard, men and boys undertook tasks such as clearing the fields,
hunting, fishing and defence of the village. Additionally, the men and boys played integral roles in house construction and canoe making. The women and girls were in charge of crop cultivation, spinning and weaving of cotton, making handicrafts (baskets, hammocks, aprons and utensils) and child rearing. Marriage
Taino women had little choice in marriage as parents often arranged marriages when the girls were close to puberty. Polygamy was a common practice among the noble classes and it was usually the norm for the chief or cacique to have many wives. The ‘ordinary’ Taino men usually had only one wife for economic reasons. This is so as men desirous of marrying had to make payment of a ‘bride price’ and many commoners had to pay for their wives through service to her parents. Elite men and chiefs, however, could afford to pay for their bride in trading goods. Village Life
In Kalinago villages there was the segregation of the sexes and a communal house was established, to which boys went at puberty and where adult and adolescent males lived, slept and ate. This was not the case in Taino communities. Taino villages were normally established on sites with easy access to reliable fresh water and with the availability of flat fertile ground for cassava (manioc) cultivation. Additionally, because of the military struggles taking place in the region, military defence was part of the consideration in setting up these villages. They were generally laid out around a central village square and consisted of individual houses with thatched roofs and timber walls. These villages housed between 300 and 500 people.
The indigenous peoples of the Americas (Part 2) Debbion Hyman, Contributor In this week’s lesson we will cover the following areas: Religious, political and economic organisation of Taino, Kalinago and Maya RELIGIOUS ORGANISATION
Religion and religious practices were important to the indigenous peoples of the Americas. These groups were polytheistic in nature; they believed in many gods. Tainos
Tainos worshipped idols known as zemis. Each family in the village would have a zemi but the cacique’s was thought to be the most powerful in the village. Zemis were considered to possess potent skills – they controlled the weather, crops, sickness, war and peace. As such, communication was quite critical with them and this was carried out by the cacique. The zemis were often fed cassava because it was believed that if they went hungry, they themselves would fall ill. Kalinagos
The maboya was essential in the religious life of the Kalinagos. Many Kalinago boys were trained as priests or boyez. During this time, they frequently had to fast and abstain from eating meat. The boys had to undergo a rigid initiation process as well. One of the boyez’s duties had to do with overcoming evil spirits; the maboya was used in this process. They felt that since each person had his own maboya, all evils, whether sickness, defeat in battle or even death, came because of a spell put on them by an enemy maboya. Mayans
Instead of idols, the Mayans had several gods; these included Yum Kax (god of Corn) and Chac (god of Rain). They believed in immortality of the soul and practised burying the dead with several of their favourite items that they would use in the afterlife. POLITICAL ORGANISATION
The cacique/chief of the Taino society enjoyed a hereditary position. This was passed from father to son. However, if there were no male heir, the eldest son of his eldest sister would assume the title. I should point out, however, that this was quite rare. Nobles or nitayanos assisted the cacique in the village; these were usually older men who were considered wise and mature. The cacique was entrusted with several responsibilities such as: a) making the laws
b) distributing land and allocating labour
c) officiating religious and social festivals
d) heading religious ceremonies
e) being the final judge in all disputes.
The ouboutou was the chief of the Kalinago society – one had to defeat or kill several enemies in battle to be elected to this position. In essence, he was chosen because of his prowess in combat. Lesser governors for their villages, who ruled in times of peace, assisted the ouboutou. These men were called tiubutuli hauthe and carried out duties such as supervising the fishing and cultivating as well as leading in social ceremonies. Other leaders included the nobles and priests (boyez), the latter’s primary role being that of a religious nature. The duties of the ouboutou included:
a) presiding over victory celebrations
b) deciding when raids were to be held.
The position of Mayan chief (the halach uinich) was inherited through family lineage. This position passed from father to son; however, if the son of the deceased ruler was not competent, one of his brothers became head of state. If this were not successful either, a council of nobles would elect a suitable person from the ruler’s family. Nobles and ppolms (merchants) were other important persons in Mayan society. The ppolms were important merchants who had their own laws, worshipped their own gods and did not have to pay taxes. ECONOMIC/AGRICULTURAL ACTIVITIES
The indigenes were also very good mariners, trading beyond the limits of the Caribbean Sea and further afield to South and North America. To facilitate this trade they made huge canoes from tree trunks, which could be as long as 25 metres, with the capacity for 50 people. In these they transported their wares like cotton textile goods and ceramics, which they traded with neighbouring peoples and further afield. They also possessed well-crafted stone tools – knives, scrapers and axes that further facilitated the constructing of their important boats and allowed them to make impressive
woodcarvings. In terms of agricultural practice, it was primarily subsistence farming that was practised by both the Tainos and Kalinagos. Crops cultivated included maize, peanut, sweet potato, hot pepper and cassava. They ate animals such as snails, shellfish, turtle eggs, iguanas, agoutis, birds, yellow snake and their favourite dish pepper pot. The Kalinago cultivated crops such as cassava, sweet potato and yam and ate animals such as manatee, birds, agouti and fish. They did not eat pig or turtle because they believed these foods would make them stupid. They also refused to consume crabs before a voyage, as this would have caused rough seas. Mayans
The Mayans had a rich seafood diet that included fish and oyster. Their economic system was more complex and they had land and seaborne trade between city-states carried out by the ppolms. A barter system was in place that facilitated the exchange of foods, textile and minerals. Cocoa beans were the official currency. Europeans in the ‘New World’ Debbion Hyman, Contributor
At the end of the lesson you students should be able to outline the factors motivating Europeans to explore and settle in the Caribbean up to the end of the 17th century. Desire for Mineral Wealth
The desire to gain mineral riches pushed European expansion. Countries measured their wealth in the amount of gold and silver (bullion) that it physically held. It was, therefore, in the best interest of each country to secure as much of the world’s bullion as possible. Since this theory held that one nation could only prosper at the expense of another, voyages of exploration were seen as necessary to find new lands and untapped reserves of bullion before other competing nations found them. Trade
The desire to trade served as a motivating factor for European exploration and eventual settlement in the ‘New World’. Prior to their arrival in the Americas, their focus of trade was in the East. European products such as linen cloth, wine, furs and woollen goods were exchanged for jewels, ivory, gold, perfume, cotton, silk, coffee, dye and spices. Merchants, adventurers
and government officials were optimistic of finding precious metals and expanding the areas of trade, especially for the spices of the East. Many of these spices were used to preserve meat, as well as to add flavour to food. Arab traders who had a monopoly on the trade route primarily provided these spices. These overland trade routes were quite dangerous since they were plagued by bandits. Caravans that could take very little goods and experienced a long journey also traversed the route. The Portuguese thus sought to achieve a sea route to the East to trade with India and China for these spices. The Portuguese sought to gain access to the spice trade by sailing eastwards through the Indian Ocean. Later, the Spanish, aiming to decrease Portugal’s trade in the East, sought after an alternative trade route to the East. It was this desire by Spain to find an alternative trade route to the East that would see Christopher Columbus reaching the Americas. Figures 1 and 2 below outline the routes. Overland Trade Route
Technology also served as another important factor for European exploration beginning in the 1400s. The Renaissance had produced a period of immense learning and discovery. This entailed an increase in ideas in science, politics, religion and geography. Europeans had developed remarkably seaworthy ships and had learned how to build ships large and strong enough to sail in any waters. Their cartographic skills improved to the point where Europeans had accurate maps of the known world. Before, sailors had to rely on hand-drawn maps (portolani) which were usually inaccurate. In addition, they developed new navigational instruments such as the compass and the astrolabe. The compass showed in what direction a ship was moving and the astrolabe used the sun or star to ascertain a ship’s latitude. Quadrant
Other devices included the quadrant, hourglass, sextant, sundial and cross-staff. In addition, there was an improvement in ship designs. Bigger ships were built that could carry a larger amount of traded goods. These ships were known as carracks. These new technologies provided the Europeans
with the catalyst to undertake exploration. Religion
Religion was another important factor that prompted European exploration and settlement of the Americas. By 1492, the Spanish and Portuguese had driven the Muslims Moors out of Europe. The Catholic faith was an integral part of European life and, as such, there was a deep desire to spread the faith to ‘pagan’ peoples. Religious zeal was high among the adventurers who went out to explore on behalf of their nation. This saw them exploring in the aim of spread Christianity to distant lands. It is these significant changes in 15th century Europe that accounted for extensive maritime exploration. Wind System and Ocean Currents
The trade winds were important in European exploration as this was the wind system which would take the Europeans from Europe to the Americas. The currents, specifically the North Equatorial Current and the South Equatorial Current (they flowed east to west), were equally important as they took the ships back out of the Caribbean. Trade Winds
The Spanish-American empire Debbion Hyman, Contributor
At the end of the lesson students should be able to discuss Spanish colonisation and its effects on the indigenous populations. Last week we outlined some of the factors that accounted for European exploration in the 15th century. In this week’s lesson we will assess the arrival of the first group of Europeans to the Americas – the Spanish. We will also assess their settlement and the consequences of contact with the indigenous peoples. Settlement
Although the Spanish claimed the entire New World for themselves, they only established settlements in a few places. These included Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola. Use a map to identify and label settlements.
The Spanish were farmers, ranchers, miners and ship builders. The natural
resources of each territory or settlement determined the most popular industry. The Spanish Monopoly
Mercantilism – a policy of restricting foreign trade with the colonies. All traders had to have a licence to from Spain to trade in the colonies. This ensured maximum profit for Spain as they were ensured at least duties on all goods traded. Even the trade in slaves was protected. Traders had to have a special licence called an asiento. The organisations in charge of trade to the Indies was called The Casa de Contractacion. The Colonists
Creoles – White settlers born in the colonies of Spanish descent. ↓ Peninsulares – Lesser Nobility (Hidalgos), officials, peasants who came from Spain. ↓ Metizos – Inhabitants who were mixed with Indian and Spanish. ↓ African Slaves
Roman Catholic – They appointed a priest to every village and were given land grants. They were in charge of education, medical care and spiritual life of all inhabitants, including the Indians. The Government
1. The King
2. Council of Indies – Established regulations and policies for the colonies. 3. Viceroys – The New World was divided into four vice royalties. Viceroys supervised the settlements in a particular area and put laws into effect. He held office for three years. 4. Governors – In charge of a colony.
5. Audiencias – A council of lawyers who ensured that laws were enforced. 6. Cabildos – Town councils, the only area in government open to creoles. 7. Visitadors – They came from Spain every two years to ensure that the viceroyalties were well run. Columbus introduced the system of repartimiento (the division of natives among settlers for labour) and began the practice of encomienda, which was the grant of natives for labour, in return for the trust of educating and Christianising them. One system of measure to protect the indigenes was the Laws of Burgos. The laws simply stated that: a) the natives were free peoples
b) the natives were to be converted to Christianity
c) the natives were to be made to work.
Bartholomew de las Casas was an influential Catholic priest who worked immensely to improve the conditions of the natives. Under his influence, the New Laws for the Treatment of the Indians were passed. Some of its stipulation included:
a) all enslaved natives must be set free
b) natives could not be enslaved for any reason
c) the courts must protect the natives from ill- treatment.
In spite of these policies, within 50 years of Spanish arrival there was a massive decline in the indigenous population. What, in fact, occurred was genocide (deliberate extermination of a race or nation). For example, Hispaniola in 1492 had a Taino population of 300,000. However, by 1548 this declined to under 500. Jamaica, in 1492, had 60,000 natives but by 1655 the Tainos were extinct. Several factors accounted for the destruction of the Tainos, these included: a) the encomienda system
b) diseases – the Europeans introduced diseases for which the Tainos lacked immunity, chief of these was smallpox c) suicide
d) infanticide – the Tainos began the practice of killing their babies rather than allow them to be subjected to Spanish cruelty e) murder
The Spanish-American empire Debbion Hyman, Contributor
At the end of the lesson students should be able to assess the process of Spanish administration in the Americas and its effects on the indigenous populations. The Spanish Colonial Administration
The Spaniards established a centralised administration and put in place a military organisation to protect its empire. Legal regulations were also adopted. Though their monopoly was penetrated, they managed to keep their empire in place for a long time. Spain operated as an absolute monarchy. The House of Castile (the administrative centre of the state) had total power and control over the new lands that were added to Spain’s territory. As the empire expanded, the Crown established a system of administration that would allow the monarchy to maintain control. This was under a conciliar system of
government. Under such a system, the monarch remained the head and central power. Governance was divided among three arms of government: The Council of Finance: in charge of government expenditure The Council of Castile: advisory council to the monarch
The Council of the Indies: the supreme power (along with the monarch) in matters involving the ‘New World’: civil, military, commercial, ecclesiastical; supervised the collection and expenditure of royal revenue, scrutinised reports from the colonial officials, planned the development of towns, controlled commerce. This administration was highly centralised and most of the decisions about the ‘New World’ were taken after extensive and careful deliberations, often by all three councils and the monarch. Since the empire was so widespread, and because transportation was so slow, administration of the Indies was slow and difficult.To a great extent then, the administration of the colonies was in the hands of the colonial administrators. At the head was the governor who initially had a great deal of power, but by the 1520s this began to change. As the empire became larger, the Crown decided to split its overall administration into two parts: the Vice-royalty of Peru/New Castile (all of South America except Venezuela and Colombia); Vice-royalty of New Spain (the West Indies, all territories bordering the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico). The person in charge of these were viceroys (who appointed governors and mayors, alcaldes, in towns) while governors were responsible for individual territories. For a balance of power to be maintained in the administration of the colonies, a series of measures were introduced. These included the residencia, visita and audiencia. The supremacy of the governor was checked by the residencia, which was an inquiry into the administration of a governor, which took place at the end of his term (sometimes a formality but could be used to bring the governor to answer charges). The visita was also a check on power; it was an inquiry carried out during the governor’s term of office. The visitador acted on the authority of the Crown and was extremely powerful. The audiencia was similar to a travelling court. It was appointed in Spain and had the authority to hear complaint gainst government officials, including the governor. The audiencia also had an administrative function (when it was called the acuerdo), where it administered portions of the
empire. The ordinary settlers in Spanish colonies were governed by local governments called cabildos. It was at this level that most of the governance of the colonies occurred. Members of this local government were rarely elected; most were appointed. They imposed local taxes, maintained the defence and police and were in charge of the roads and hospitals. The Crown became concerned about the power of the cabildos so another government official, the corregidor (corrector), was appointed to check/correct their dministration. The Spanish system of government lasted for 300 years, with only occasional modifications. While the checks on power seemed to ensure the curbing of excessive power, there was widespread abuse/corruption in the system. The administration was burdensome and trying, and very often the administrators did exactly as they pleased. The Spanish, apart from establishing a system of administration to govern the affairs of the colonies, introduced measures by which they could acquire labour from the indigenous population. Such a system had a negative and lasting impact of the native peoples of the area. Genocide
What factors accounted for the extermination of the Taino population in the Americas? Undoubtedly, it resulted after their contact with the Spanish settlers. Below is a cartoon illustration depicting a conversation between Bartholomew De Las Casas (protector of the Indians) and a Taino woman living on the island of Jamaica depicting the factors that resulted in their rapid decline. A.
Taino Woman: Mr. Les Casas we have been treated so badly by the spanish Laas Casas: I have been hearing accounts of this. What has been happening? B.
Taino Woman: Well, the Spanish have introduced a system known asecomienda. Laas Casas: Oh, I have heard of this. By this system the natives in a specified area were entrusted to a Spanish encomendero. In return for keeping a priest in the indigenes villages and supporting the conversion of the natives in his area, the encomendero was entitled to collect tribute – in goods and in gold – from the natives. C.
Taino Woman: You are correct. However, other factors have accounted for our dwindling population. Laas Casas: Please tell me more. D.
Taino Woman: My people have died from disease such as smallpox and measles that were introduced by the Spaniards. As well, many committed suicide or killed their babies because of how badly the Spanish treated us. Assault on Spain’s empire in the Americas! Debbion Hyman, Contributor At the end of the lesson students should be able to:
1. Explain what is meant by the suggestion that the Caribbean was the ‘cockpit of Europe’. 2. Discuss three measures used by Spain to protect her Spanish empire in the Americas up to 1763. 3. Discuss three measures used by other European countries to break the Spanish empire in the Americas up to 1763. The Cockpit of Europe
Have you ever heard the suggestion that the Caribbean was the cockpit of Europe? Do you know what it means? For us to clearly understand the suggestion, we have to understand what was happening in the Americas, specifically the relationship between the various European countries. Spain had established herself as the dominant power in the Americas by the end of the 16th century. However, her possession of the region was being threatened by the French, Dutch and English who wanted to gain territorial and mineral wealth. It is against such a background that the Caribbean would be described as the cockpit of Europe.The idea of the Caribbean being the cockpit of Europe emerges from the imagery of a popular blood sport involving the use of male fighting birds called gamecocks. These birds are placed together, usually two at a time, into a small, enclosed arena where, upon seeing each other, they instinctively begin fighting until one dies. This imagery then of a cockpit is, perhaps, a very appropriate one for describing the interactions of the Europeans in the Caribbean during this period. The analogy is quite appropriate, because, the game birds – these European nations – sought to fight to the death in a small arena with the hope that at the end of the fight only one combatant would remain in charge of the cockpit – the Caribbean. How did Spain protect her Empire in the Americas?
Spain introduced several measures in the aim of protecting her vast American empire. The measures included: 1. The establishment of the House of Trade
– the House of Trade or Casa de Contrataci on was a government agency from the 16th to 18th century which attempted to control Spanish exploration and colonization. The House of Trade had several functions, these included: a) Collecting all taxes and duties
b) Licensing captains
c) Approving all voyages of exploration and trade
d) Maintaining secret information on trade routes and new discoveries 2. The fortification of important town – this would reduce the likelihood of attacks by rival European nations. 3. The use of a convoy system – this was a collection of merchant ships with an escort of warships. This was introduced to reduce the likelihood of privateers and buccaneers attacking Spanish vessels. 4. The monopoly port system – Spain ensured that only legally authorized ports could conduct trade with the settlers in the American empire. 5. The use of the Guarda Costa – these were coast guards that patrolled the waters against smugglers and other marauders. 6. The Asiento – permission given by the Spanish government to other countries to sell items to the Spanish colonies. How was Spain’s monopoly broken?
Spain, undoubtedly, introduced several measures in the aim of protecting her control of her vast Spanish-American empire. However, there was still challenge by other European countries that hoped to reduce her hegemony in the area. They implemented several measures or strategies to reduce Spain’s stronghold. These included: 1. Privateering – Privateers were usually issued with Letters of Marque – special papers given by their home government granting permission to attack, take by force and return the goods from enemy merchant ships. Please note that buccaneers were not under the directive of any home government. In essence, they were pirates without licences. However, their efforts were just as effective as they plundered Spanish ships. 2. Illegal trading – Spain tried relentlessly to protect her trade in the Americas.
This protectionism, however, caused problems with the settlers as it prevented them from purchasing from other European settlers. Oftentimes, Spanish settlers had to wait until the fleet from Seville had returned to get goods before they were able to gain items. This led to shortages in the colonies. Traders such as the English illegally sold goods such as wine, oil, tools and textiles to the Spanish settlers. By the end of the 17th century, it was the Dutch who were the busiest illegal traders. 3. Settlement – The French and English established settlements as a means of containing Spanish dominance in the Caribbean. They settled islands that were considered insignificant by the Spanish. The end result of the attempts to reduce Spain’s hegemony in the Americas was successful, as by 1763 Spain’s dominant position in the area had dwindled.
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