Caribbean Literature Analysis

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The West Indies is English-speaking islands located in the Caribbean. England colonized in America on the 17th century and was an economical source to England due the labor of African slaves. With the arrival of the African to the West Indies a new culture was born, mostly based on their religion and African tradition. “African culture survived in the Caribbean through religion” (Brathwaite, 31). African slaves were emancipated and received a colonial education, and “became literate in a language which was foreign to them, `liberated` into a culture which was not theirs” (Brathwaite, 33). African slaves were punished for not following the English idea of civilization. The West Indians has resisted cultural imperialism by clinging to their African…show more content…
He proposed that the official use of the language of the workers and slaves of African origin should create the concept of a national language. In his essay, “The African presence in Caribbean literature” he gave a lot of credit to the oral tradition and he celebrates the African culture. Also, Brathwaite criticizes the European scholars that wrote about the African and described them as people with no philosophy, no social life, no family structure, no arts, and no sense of personal or civic responsibility. “African culture not only crossed the Atlantic, it crossed, survived and creatively adapted itself to its new environment” (Brathwaite, 29). The author examines the African influences on the Caribbean folk traditions, highly focused on the religion point of view. African cultural practices and norms survived periods of slavery and colonization and they continue to influence Caribbean folk culture in very important aspects like: form, literature, and rhetoric. One de-celebrated calypso that Brathwaite uses as an example on his essay is “Dan is the man in the…show more content…
It was considered a dialect for the English people, but in reality it was the burning soul of the West Indian pouring into each other, preserving their culture and their ways of life. This language has unique tunes, tones and rhythms that are imperative on their culture. For the West Indies, Creole was a form of resistance, and revolutionary, because it sounds like Africa. It is the nation language of the West Indians, and although it was constantly reshaping itself, it was still pure African, “adapting to new environments” (Brathwaite, 98). One of the adaptations is the way this culture pronunciate their speech. It is based on their orality and the sentiment they provoked with the noise. If the rythm and noise were lost, the essence of the language would also be lost. This is why the meaning of the language is lost when is being written. Another adaptation is the rupture of the iambic pentameter to the use of dactyl, which is more aggressive. An example of an iambic pentameter would be: “Two households, both alike in dignity”, (Romeo & Juliet, Shakespeare); also, the dactyl was employed through the Calypsos. Because of this, the West Indian gain complete expression of the oral

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