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    Discuss the importance of the ideas of roots Essay

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    Conversely, it could also mean that people are not respecting the traditional values thus it is becoming demented. The on the beach, there are ‘forked limbs of girls toasting their flesh’ suggest the ideas of the tourists disgracing the long-established principles of the Caribbean. The use of semantics to do with food such as ‘forked’ and ‘toasting’ suggest that for a long time, the island’s main industry have been through agricultural aspects such as fishing, but the tourists are almost imitating these images and disgracing these ideas by ‘toasting their flesh’.

    Walcott expresses his ideas about these tourist industries by personifying the island and the sea to describe his emotions; ‘Their grief/ howls seaward through charred, ravaged holes’. The fact that ‘their grief/howls’ suggest that the ‘grief’ has been there for a long time and the personification of the sea ‘howl[ing]’ suggest that the nature itself can not bear the modern situation, almost trying to protect the long-kept legacy. In comparison, Rhys uses nature images to make Rochester, a microscopic imitation of colonialism, feel uncomfortable; nature strikes back at Rochester since he is not familiar with the surroundings.

    The personification of the fact that ‘hills would close in’ on Rochester reflects the fact that he feels entrapped. Furthermore, there are repetitions of intensifiers ‘too much’ to describe his surrounding; emphasising on Rochester’s over-whelmed emotions. Although both Rhys and Walcott personifies the nature to describe emotions, Rhys uses nature to strike back at Rochester to make him feel like he does not belong there, thus he feels ‘rootless’ and aware that he is ‘rootless’ within the environment he is in.

    On the other hand, Walcott uses nature to express his own emotions and anger towards his changed homeland, thus he suddenly feels he is ‘rootless’; not necessarily he does not belong there but he feels he does not belong there. In ‘Veranda’, Walcott expresses his own personal feelings towards how he is torn between his own heritages, questioning his own ‘roots’. Since he had two black grandmothers and two grandfathers, he feels that it is important for him to understand about his ‘roots’. However, the two races have such diverse history that he feels torn between the two.

    In this poem, there are semantics of history such as ‘voices’, ‘Roman’ and ‘age’. This reflects on the fact that Walcott tries to find out more about his own family history but the fact that it is ‘fading world’, Walcott can not find a certain accurate answers. The use of word ‘Sire’ has a specific impact on how Walcott feels that it is his duty to know about his own inheritance, thus there are connotations of obedience. He expresses his confusion of his ‘rootlessness’ when ‘your genealogical roof tree, fallen, survives’.

    ‘Genealogical roof tree’ implies his mixed background of which the white generations in the Caribbean has ‘fallen’; the empires, but then ‘survives’ because parts of him are black, so he survives. Feelings of ‘rootlessness’ is also paralleled through Wide Sargasso Sea when Rhys herself is very multicultural. Antoinette can be seen as the self-portrayal of Rhys herself, and by writing this novel; she accentuates the feelings she had through the character Antoinette. This is particularly visible when Antoinette claims that she “will be a different person when [she] lives in England and different things will happen to [her]”.

    Due to her loss of identity, she feels ‘rootless’ as a result she feels that the only way to get her identity back to by moving away from home. However, this is highly ironic as later when she moves to England, she becomes the ‘mad woman in the attic’; she does change. However, the readers witness that Bertha has completely different characteristics to Antoinette and perhaps through losing her identity, this is how she became to feel ‘rootless’ thus changes into Bertha. Both writers see the importance of the ideas of roots and rootlessness, seen especially through their own personal attributes towards these concerns.

    Both writers’ personal background of them being multicultural adds to the fact that they are more personally engaged with the concerns in their writing; both writers expresses anger towards the loss of identity leading into ‘rootlessness’. However, Walcott presents ideas of ‘roots’ and ‘rootlessness’ on the changes made to his homeland so when he comes back, he does not feel at home, whereas Rhys conveys feelings of ‘rootlessness’ by putting the characters in a foreign environment where dominance and oppression takes away their identity leading the characters to feel ‘rootless’.

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