Ecocentrism and Ecofeminism Analysis
In my exploration of the texts that was read in class, I will be using the following texts; Re-visioning a Poetics of Landscape: Resistance and Continuum in the Poetry of Kamau Brathwaite and Derek Walcott, The Double Bind: Women and the Environment in Chambacu and A Saint is born in Chima, Androcentrism and Anthropocentrism, Parallels and Politics, and lastly Landscape, Narratives, and Tropical Nature. My analysis will focus on the analysis of the texts and identifying the evidence of ecocritical and ecofeminism in the texts. Walcott uses imagery and vivid description in his poem, ‘The Acacia Trees.’ Imagery is the use of descriptive language to create images in the minds of the readers. This literary device uses the five senses of smell, sound, taste, touch, and sight. Walcott says, “I watched the doomed acres where yet another luxury hotel will be built with ordinary people fenced out.” In reading this, we can build the image of the land in our minds and the way the other people are locked out of the luxurious hotel.
The island where Walcott stays is in jeopardy of being turned into a tourism site. He also uses vivid descriptions to describe the events and the nature of the environment. He explains how the island was before and after the leaders greedily destroyed it. This shows ecocriticism as the actions of humans go directly into affecting nature. Walcott says, “The Sea is so deep that it has lost the stirring memory of our hate.” He views this as a concern for the environment (Tillis 78). What he tries to say is that humanity negatively impacts the environment, and the sea is at the stake of being destroyed for the selfish reasons of the humans. Walcott also uses dramatic contrast to describe the difference of the island before and after it was transformed. He talks about being able to watch doomed acres, but now all that was under siege since the leaders only cared about the profits that the land could produce and did not even care about the natural habitats of the island. He describes them as greedy people who fed without guilt. The people that live in the islands are also affected by these changes since there will be too much tourism yet, so little employment hence increases in stealing as a way of survival. He ecocritally shows how human activities can negatively affect the natural beauty of the world. This dispossession robs the humans of their cultural relationship and their families.
Braithwaite, in his mother’s poem, “Alpha,” describes how the ancient watercourses of the island, the sunken voice of the glitter in the sea, portrays how nature has changed due to human activities. He talks about how he loved the fresh springs and the barren places that were fertile. The colonial ideology in Shakespeare’s narratives also expresses the doctrine of the relationship between the master and the slaves. Braithwaite uses his poem to describe the relationship between nature and humankind ecocritical. He does this by comparing before slavery and after. Zapata, in “The Double Bind,” shows the relationship between women and the environment. Women struggle to self-determine themselves. They are reduced to irrational and infirm objects which are destined to suffer in the hands of the superior men. Women are faced with the dilemma of being victimized in the context where men are privileged. Women are faced with the threat of displacement that is clothed in the impoverished state of the community. Women being equal to men is seen as something that is not typical. Black families are also at risk of being displaced. Chambacu is a place that has undergone environmental pollution, and the subjugation of women makes the survival of Chambacu almost impossible. Zapata mentions that for the citizens of Chambacu to acquire self- determination, they need to heal the ecosystem. The induced civilization compromised the natural beauty of Chambacu.
Suriname has undergone high modernity. Women are dispositioned, and so is the city. Elizabeth Samson has been mentioned a lot of times as having succeeded in marrying a white man considering she was black. She was a daughter of slaves, but she managed to flourish and become a free woman. She, however, ended up dying because of overwhelming anguish when she realized she could not fight discrimination. This is because she was black and a woman. This combination was seen as a very vulnerable type, and having an identity was impossible. This shows how nature has affected women and their strive towards their self-identity. Clark Accord also talks about a woman, Maxi Linder, who was a prostitute from Paramaribo. She was very successful in her work as a prostitute, and she used her money from the business to educate poor children, and her connections in the political world were used to help the members of her society. But by the time her life ended, she had used up all the money that she had and the influence that she had on others. She ended up dying alone. This shows how nature affects feminism.
Orality in a piece of literature is the depiction that technologies and literacy knowledge are unknown entities. This means that communication is done verbally, and there is no record whatsoever of writing and reading. An example of oral tradition in Black Atlantic is the use of sound. They used black music as an entity of providing proximity to feelings from the concept of blackness. They used folk music that did not require any form of training to be composed. They also used oral slam poetry. How the music and the poetry were performed was of moral significance to the people in Black Atlantic. They used storytelling as a way of passing the time and entertainment.
Elizabeth Samson is a character who is seen as one who is hungry for identity as she was struggling to be like the whites without finding her own identity. She is a daughter to slaves, managed to get married to a white man, and became the richest woman of Paramaribo. She then became hungry for her identity in the place she was, and the frustrations that came with it acted as the case from her demise. Being black and a woman for that matter, she was faced with a lot of challenges. When she got married to a white man, she thought that she was in a better position to fight discrimination (Sturgeon n.p). This undying urge to fight discrimination ended up killing her when she realized she could not do anything about it. She is used as a symbol to represent the typical African woman who is on the quest for material success in the city.
Wilhelmina Rijburg alias Maxi Linder was a well-known sexual worker who would use the money that she got from her job into funding for poor children’s education. She had connections to authoritative sources, and she used these to help other people who were in need. Even after all these, she ended up being forgotten and broke. She died in poverty and the company of her fifty-one dogs. Maxi Linder is a symbol of a person whom all the legends and myths still survive (Senior 90). The fact that she had gone against the cultures of her society by becoming a prostitute made many people not want to associate with her. She was treated as an outcast, and all the authoritative links that she had did not want to associate with her.
Teacher Ilya leaves his profession as a teacher in Paramaribo and goes to the outskirts of the town in his piece of land. He builds up a house and starts up the cultivation of different products. Ilya awaits the arrival of his wife and two children for the celebration of his fiftieth birthday. However, the plane that they were in crashes just before landing, and all the passengers die. By the end of the book, however, we discover that Ilya’s wife and children were not on the plane, but his first love, Foetida, and his mother were on the plane. Their death acts as liberation for Ilya to declare his devotion to the woman who lives in his house
Kankantri is a tree that to different people portrayed different meanings. In the legends of Caribs at the Maroni River, the tree undergoes metamorphosis into an animal. According to Albert Mungroo, the lamentation of the Lanka tri was for the remembrance of the two brothers, Akwawe and Dombe. Harry Jong Loy, on the other hand, terms the tree as a mother tree of a Maroon village in the Don’t-Bother-Me-Country that does not exist to the outside world. This is a symbol of the intercultural relationship as the Kankantri is there to ensure that there is no violence and drama. It functions as a landmark for the inside and outside world.
Polyphony is a musical texture type that consists of two or more lines of independent melodies. Polysemy, on the other hand, is the capacity that a word holds for it to convey different types of meaning. In the Black Atlantic, they used polyphony to compose the musical forms that they had. The sound was their oral tradition, and for the sounds to be composed, they used musical textures that contained different melodies. Traditionally, they would use a word to convey different meanings, and this meant that you had to look at the context for you to determine what the word meant.
Senior, Emily. The Caribbean and the medical imagination, 1764-1834: slavery, disease and colonial modernity. Vol. 119. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Sturgeon, Noel. Ecofeminist natures: Race, gender, feminist theory and political action. Routledge, 2016.
Tillis, Antonio D. Manuel Zapata Olivella and the” darkening” of Latin American literature. University of Missouri Press, 2005.