Language and meaning in Derek Walcott’s epic poem The Schooner Flight are shaped by the culture and context of the Caribbean during postcolonial times. Schooner Flight tells of a voyage taken by Shabine, the protagonist, during postcolonial times and centers on Shabine’s memories of the past, many which reflect the poet’s personal experiences. Walcott uses language, patois, and poetic language to communicate the history of the Caribbean, as well as the cultural changes that colonization initiated and the affects of this.
The language used in part 2 (stanzas 5-8) of the poem reveals the cultural roots of the Caribbean. Spanish, French and English as well as other colonies in the Caribbean, had a great impact on the development of the Caribbean, especially on the evolution of its language and culture. Since language is rooted in culture, language is used to convey culture and can reflect cultural ties, allowing culture to be passed on. Walcott uses both island patois and formal poetic language in The Schooner Flight. This blend enables him to communicate the fine ties that bind Caribbean and European culture. Island patois (Creole) arose from the colonization of the Caribbean and includes elements of French, Spanish, English, and…show more content… His poem refers to the personal, political, and cultural scars that remain from British colonization of the Caribbean and the pressure it leaves on individuals is emphasized through the incorporation of personal experiences. Walcott’s cultural identity and West Indian heritage shapes the way language is used in the poem, it results in the colourful use of patois blended with other forms of English. This blend of languages is used effectively to create evocative descriptions of the Caribbean and its cultural history while at the same time preserving culture and encouraging opposing cultures to