FAQ: South by Kamau Brathwaite | Quelpr (2024)

FAQ: South by Kamau Brathwaite

Q1: What is one poetic device that can be used to carry forward the poems message, and how does it contribute to the poem's mood?

The poem is mostly about embracing memories, so we'd choose a device that shows embracing memory, such as the personification of the sea urchins ("small urchins look up from their traps to salute us"). In that line, the persona is remembering his Homeland through the idealized lenses of childhood memory. He is embracing his past by infusing every individual image with happiness and joy that amplifies the memory with almost fantasy-like reality.

This device creates the poem's later half's mood of joy and happiness by relating a childish recollection of memory; one that is so idealized and polarized by the innocent happiness of youth that it completely overturns the previous mood of pessimism. The speaker's tone becomes more optimistic, as with the personification of the very small animals that were a part of his childhood, he relates a ln exuberant eagerness in reminiscing happily.

Q2: How could you start the conclusion of an essay on South?

Most conclusions start with a general statement: "Overall, South focuses primarily on the memories of a man who has departed from his homeland but now seeks to reclaim his memory by embracing it happily..."

Q3: Explain the comparison the persona makes between the ocean and rivers and say why he chooses to join the river.

The comparison made between the river and the ocean is the difference in their movement and their taste.

The persona particularly cites the tepid taste of of the river as a deterring aspect of the river. As he travels the world, he notes the absence of the salty ocean, ‘saltless savannas,’ etc, showing that the ocean is an integral part of both his identity and what he longs for. The Volta of the poem, where the persona chooses the river, is a direct reflection of his choice to reminisce and embrace the sanctity of memory. The river flows infinitely, like his longing, and his initial denial is a denial of this longing. By saying that he would join it, he is essentially saying that he will embrace the longing for his homeland.

Q4: What are the two roles played by the river in this poem?

The river serves as both a metaphor for the infinite nature of his longing for his homeland, and a symbol of his return through embracing memory. Alternatively, it also serves as a wise entity that reproves the persona and his people for their complacency (But that could be within its metaphorical significance as a symbol for endless yearning).

Q5: Describe the persona's experience being away from his homeland.

He is constantly bereft of the ocean, and cannot find anything similar to its flavour anywhere. While in the forest, he feels oppressed by the shadows, showing that the lack of sunshine similar to his homeland affects his emotions. The slanting sleet and hail and cold weather conditions contrast with what he is used to in a tropical climate. The cities, to him, are stony, denoting both their industrialized appearance and the notably harsh interactions of the people within them.

Q6: What do lines 7-9 mean?

"Since then I have travelled: moved far from the beaches: sojourned in stoniest cities, walking the lands of the north in sharp slanting sleet and the hail," After leaving his island home, he travels to places far away from the beaches he was used to. The distance between him and the beaches is reflected by the differences between his homeland and these 'stoniest cities,' which are built atop stony foundations and filled with (presumably) equally stony (unfriendly) people rather than the sand, sea and communally friendly place he was used to. So too, he has experienced adverse weather conditions that again are reflective of the distance between himself and where he belongs. The lands of the north, full of stony cities and people along with 'slanting sleet and hail,' are, in every way the opposite of his southern island he so loves.

FAQ: South by Kamau Brathwaite | Quelpr (2024)
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