Olive Senior- Using Nature as a Theme in Her Book Gardening in the Tropics

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  • Topic: Sun, Taíno, Poetry
  • Pages : 3 (1259 words )
  • Download(s) : 3231
  • Published : May 6, 2013
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Olive Marjorie Senior is regarded as a distinctive voice in West Indian Literature and many critics have praised her reproduction of authentic Jamaican Creole in her written work, as well as her insightful exploration of such issues as identity, cultural nationalism, class stratification ant the oppressive impact of religion on women and the poor. In the poems ‘Anatto and Guinep, Guava/2 and Paw Paw’, by Olive Senior portrays different themes and styles through Nature. Senior uses nature in these poems to portray historical, mythical and cultural references to the Caribbean. In the poem Anatto and Guinep the use of these two seeds has been carried out for a long time in the Caribbean. Senior makes reference to this through her historical link to the Arawaks who used the seeds to make dyes to put on their bodies. The poem speaks about history in the Caribbean, as it talks about the Sun’s use of the red dye and the Moon’s use of the guinep to dye its face black. This legend of the Sun and Moon can be heard in a story where Brother Moon tries to commit incest with his sister Sun but she leaves a black mark on the face of her attacker which later identifies him. This is why Sun and Moon are forever chasing each other across the sky. This link between the Sun and the moon shows how nature has been a necessary part of the Caribbean from the beginning of time. The reference to the Arawaks shows the many uses of the Anatto and Guinep; hence it was shown that for the Arawaks, the seeds were used as dyes while for present day inhabitants of the Caribbean it was used for food. Historical reference is also made in the poem Guava/2. In this poem the poet remembered when she visited Barbados during Guava time. She recalls how uncomfortable she felt because of the excess quantity of guava and makes reference to a Taino (Arawak) Zemi of the dead Maquetaurie Guayaba (Lord of the Guava). Her reference to the Zemi God is an historical reference because it links back to the time of...
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