Omeros: the River of Ancestry and the Importance of Idenitty

In: English and Literature

Submitted By NizsA
Words 3950
Pages 16
Omeros: The River of Ancestry and the Importance of Identity
What defines a location, a place in space? Is it those who are there or those who have been there? Is it the life this position exudes or the life that is being suppressed? How does one define what is in front of them? How does one differentiate between the history of a place, the lives – the feelings, everyday happenings of the people – and the History of the place, that is to say the history that is imposed on the people? This is a problem when discussing places that have been colonized. The history of the people is assumed to be the History – the histories of the colonizers. The lives of the colonizers are projected onto the colonized – their religion, their rites, their businesses. The actual lives of the people are forgotten . The lives of the ingenious people are forgotten. And in places where slavery and indentured servitude was a practice, the original and true histories of those people are forgotten. This is a phenomenon that West Indian author and poet Derek Walcott addresses in his insightful and touched the Nobel Prize Lecture delivered after receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1992. He begins his lecture describing a performance that takes place on the island of Trinidad, every year by the East Indian population of the town Felicity. The performance is a dramatization of the Hindu epic Ramayana, a major representation of their original history and presentation of their identities. Walcott talks about the simplifying of these identities and how that translates to the view of the Caribbean as a whole:
These purists look upon such ceremonies as grammarians look at a dialect, as cities look on provinces and empires look upon their colonies. Memory that

yearns to the join the centre, a limb remembering the body from which it has been severed . . . In other words, the…...

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