Derek Walcott: IDENTITY
The poet and playwright Derek Walcott from
Trinidad, in St. Lucia has become a great
literary figure among postcolonial writers.
He writes about socio-economic and
political inequalities. Delving into Nobel Prize
laureate Derek Walcott’s play is a dive in the
depths of the Caribbean past, present and futures.
Walcott represents the anguish of the underdog countries over those colonizers. He reiterates himself in an undefined transition of freedom and imprisonment. His texts of postcolonial literature discuss the negative relationship between the colonizers and the colonized. Colonizers’ movement whose goal was to improve the lives of the colonized is a sort of misconception. Instead, their motives were entirely self-centered which is economic exploitation. Thus, critics penned:
The intricate relationships between the colonized
and the colonizer and the ways in which the
Caribbean is gashed between different places
and loyalties are central themes of Walcott’s writing.
I would like to relate the idea of colonialism in real-life setting. We may not be colonized literally but we are colonized in a subtle way. That is called being subjugated or manipulated. We’ve all been manipulated by other people at some points in our life. Telling a white lie in order to get what we want is one way of manipulating someone. Students are notorious for telling teachers that they couldn’t get their paper in on time because their computer crashed last night or they are not feeling well. Politicians inflate a problem or make misleading statements in order to gain public support for their agendas. Those are the examples of emotional manipulation in a non-obvious way that I observe nowadays.
Symbolization of Identity Crisis and Fragmentation in Derek Walcott’s Writings
One of the acknowledged works of Derek Walcott
is Ti-Jean and His Brothers: In Ti-Jean and
His Brothers, the themes of colonization, identity
and the ancient theme of good versus evil are
prevalent. All that changes when he and his
two brothers, Mi-Jean and Gros-Jean, are challenged
by the Devil to make him feel human emotion:
anger, compassion, weakness… It is a bet that
only the Devil can make: he who succeeds
gets riches and happiness, he who fails will suffer
Let me tackle how the devil takes control of everyone’s lives. Devils take in a beautiful form and they attack without us knowing it. All of us have weaknesses or insecurities and sometimes we are aware of them, but we don’t expect that someone will take advantage of our vulnerabilities. We sometimes have the need to please others so to be accepted –and this trait can be spotted easily by an emotional manipulator. They sometimes know our vulnerable areas better than we do and they exploit them to their advantage. This is how I interpret Walcott’s writing in real-life situation wherein the Devil is an emotional manipulator that we need to be aware of.
In fact, the play reflects the complex identity crises
in the Caribbean islands through Jackson and
Trewe, who sway between master and slave identities.
It is, in this respect, the representation of the
unrepeated problem of the colonial master and
slave relationship together with the white and
black binaries and polarities – this time in the
postcolonial period – in a reversed form.
When we manipulate other people, we deprive them of their integrity and their ability to make decisions based on their own accurate reading of reality. Manipulation shows disrespect to the other person. We give ourselves the illusion of control, but it is hardly a feeling of control that we can be proud of. Therefore, I am convinced that they are lonely deep inside who also need understanding and help.