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    Walcott and Rhys Essay (734 words)

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    However, one of the key differences between Walcott and Rhys is that Rhys represents oppression as one of the psychological effect on Antoinette rather than a physical oppression. This is particularly visible when Antoinette has ‘die[d] many time. In [his] way, not in hers’, showing that he is making ‘use’ of Antoinette to his preference and thinks. This can be seen as a way of oppressing Antoinette psychologically as Antoinette can not get her thoughts across as Rochester only thinks however he wants to, and yet he manages to get what he wants.

    Walcott’s presentation of oppression is more physical. Furthermore, presentation of dominance and oppression differs as the attitude towards the ideas is presented differently. Walcott, although discontent at first, reconciles near the end with an understanding thought of the ‘Albion too was once/ A colony like ours’. On the other hand, Rhys portrays the negativity of having dominance and oppression in the Caribbean from the arrival of Rochester until his departure. In ‘A Lesson for this Sunday’, Walcott presents the Caribbean society to be more oppressive.

    There are racial division by the use of specific colour term of ‘Black’ and the fact he writes ‘Black maid’ represents the post-colonial Caribbean society, under the oppressive dominance. Women are minimised as objects due to oppression. There are lots of violent vocabularies used such as ‘cries’, ‘scream’ and ‘grief’. This is similar to the animalistic use of vocabularies in the poem ‘Conqueror’; especially the theme on metal is influential on the presentation of dominance in the Caribbean society.

    The man are described to be ‘bronze, preside flayer of horses’, questioning their dominance; as strong as a metal. This is further extended by the use of metaphor as the ‘iron deliverer’, exploring the oppression which takes place in the society. Walcott puns on the word ‘deliverer’ to mean the European dominance in the Caribbean to ‘deliver’ safety. However, it could also mean that they were the ‘iron deliverer’ as in delivering the ‘iron’, the sword, into people. ‘A Lesson for this Sunday’ also uses the children as to be ‘sin[ful]’ characters in the poem.

    This reflects on the cruelty and oppression which had been carried out to sustain the dominance. The use of rhyme ‘Heredity of cruelty’ has a strong impact in representing the oppressive nature of the post-colonial society and how even the children are adapting to these ideas. This oppressive nature of the society in order to be able to sustain their dominance is also represented similarly in Wide Sargasso Sea. Rochester, by calling Antoinette ‘Bertha’, he oppresses her to be dominated by him; she has lost her identity. He recreates Antoinette to suit himself as he ‘think[s]s of [her] as Bertha’.

    This can be seen as psychological oppression, as she is forced to think of herself as someone who she is not; she is to comply with however Rochester wants to feel like. Rochester’s presentation of dominance is shown to be more psychological oppressiveness towards Antoinette whereas in Walcott’s poems, his dominance is represented by physical oppression. In conclusion, Walcott presents dominance and oppression in the post-colonial society as a negative existence, although there seems to be some sense of grief and reconciliation.

    It is interesting to see how the similar view given by Walcott towards the negativity of dominance/oppression existence is also explored through Rhys. However, Rhys uses the format of the three parts in the novel, which can be seen as a way of showing dominance and oppression. Although Part one starts with Antoinette’s narrative, Rochester soon takes over in which the story is told in accordance of his conscious and feelings. Also, the fact that it is in the middle of the two parts of the Caribbean voices, it could suggest the White male dominance over the other narratives.

    Furthermore, Part 2 is the longest part of the three, showing the White man’s dominance over the Caribbean oppressing Antoinette to be more silent then she had probably given the opportunity to speak. On the other hand, Walcott’s presentation of dominance and oppression are more subtle as his poems are mostly written in the style of stream of consciousness thus the readers can view different perspectives and approaches towards dominance and oppression. Therefore, Rhys and Walcott present similar settings to the presence of dominance and oppression, but how their attitudes towards them are quite dissimilar.

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