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Old New England

Uploaded by Admin on Nov 13, 2000

Derek Walcott’s “Old New England” is a poem concentrated upon the history of the beginning of New England colonies in America, but instead of presenting our past as a triumph, he manages to illustrate our most prideful moments as a dishonorable time period. By mentioning harsh things and using vivid imagery, it fabricates the poem to seem like a conviction rather than an ode honoring the country.

Symbolism is used quite regularly in this poem. For example, “the war whoop is coiled tight in the white owl, stone-feathered icon of the Indian soul, and railway lines are arrowing to the far mountainwide absence of the Iroquois.”(1) This entire line concentrates upon the spirit and extermination of the Iroquois, providing the railway lines as a permanent reminder to readers who the original owners were for that land. Also in the last stanza, regular objects are associated with religion. For instance, the church symbolizes where all of God’s good intentions lie, a trail of birch in the forest is His wandering mind, and his rage is the vats that boiled the melted beast that the black clippers brought home from the East. The black clippers are mentioned in the very beginning of the poem as well as in the end, showing that perhaps the most dominant aspect in America then was the rage in God - the awfulness that has bestowed upon American society.

The imagery used in this poem allows the reader to see the author’s point of view of America. Words like black, pierces, war, wounded, blood, burnt, splintered spread throughout the poem contributing to the severity which is another contribution to the horror he views of American history. His words are neither kind nor sweet and pose to be harsh and cringing to read. “The splintered suns of beads and mirrors are nothing but broken promises that molded the Republic to what it has become”(2) is an illustration of the callousness Walcott sees.

Walcott was expressing how he felt about society in America and was being polluted from the start. The Americans were rotting the land and practiced dishonesty and deceit ever since the beginning of the New World.

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Uploaded by:   Admin

Date:   11/13/2000

Category:   Poetry

Length:   2 pages (357 words)

Views:   2753

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