Olive Senior Essay

Topics: Irony, Double entendre, Poetry Pages: 3 (1013 words) Published: March 23, 2012
With reference to at least three(3) poems in Gardening in the Tropics, discuss the stylistic and thematic features that help to create a distinctive voice.

Olive Senior is a Jamaican poet of high repute and is the author of Gardening in the Tropics. In this poetry volume Senior seeks to tackle history, moral issues, travel and environmental crises. Senior’s poems are pervaded with irony, humour and sarcasm and her tone is conversational and calm. Senior’s style of writing aids in creating a diacritic voice which is evident in the poems “Seeing the Light”, “Meditation on Yellow” and “Stowaway”. Senior in an interview with Kwame Dawes entitled “Talk Yuh Talk” admits that she has been haunted by the absence of the Tainos and was always unsatisfied with the image of the Tainos being a simplistic group of people that existed before Columbus’ arrival and then they suddenly became extinct. Her interest in the Tainos is evident in her poems “Meditation on Yellow” and “Seeing the Light” where she sows seeds of discourse to the colonial notions that the Europeans achieved anything positive in their conquest. The poem “Seeing the Light speaks to the destruction of the Caribbean by the Europeans. Their conquest to the “New World”/Caribbean was aimed at introducing civilization to the Taino society and Christianity through evangelism. Au contraire, their conquest terminated the lives of the Tainos and resulted in severe deforestation. Senior employs a bracketed aside to express counter discourse to the productivity of the European systems. “(Though in their chronicles they may have recorded it by another name: Conquista? Evangelismo? Civilización?)” Senior manipulates Spanish diction which is the tongue of the European colonizers to embellish her argument of counter discourse by mocking and criticizing them. The question marks are utilized to interrogate the Europeans. Additionally, Senior skilfully exploits rhetorical questions to challenge and cast on doubt on the...
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