This item is only available as the following downloads:
ECHOES AND ECHOES OF ELIOT : EXPLORING INFLUENCE IN POSTCOLONIAL WRITERS DEREK WALCOTT AND LORNA DEE CERVANTES BY MELINA ECONOMOS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requireme nts for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Miriam L. Wallace Sarasota, Florida May, 2011
ii This one, my friend, is for You
iii Acknowledgements I hope you can hear my resounding thanks through the page: Caroline Reed, Miriam Wallace, Andrea Dimino, Wendy Bashant, Sean Marlow, Jody Mailer, James Birmingham Steve Rizzo Jeremy Gisselle, Chelsee, Tess, and Natale. A special thanks to some of my ghosts: Brandon Jones, Franklin Arthur, Peter Hoyt, Alexander Bourgeau. To my friends who have listened to me talk for too many hours, I gi ve you my thanks and my apologi es: Maxi, Natalie, My forest friends, the Big T.S. Eliot, Katie Brown, Randy Chase, R ichard Crance, Ken Castelli, Jonah Parks, Fred Arthur, Pete, Tim Anderson, Tim M., Joey and Rob at Memories Wendy and her cats. My loving family, m y Andrew, Rachel Mathias, Bukowski, Poe and Charlie, Mom, Tim, Code, and Ell Bell; you were my support, my home, and my sanity through this mess. And, Robert Zamsky. This never would have happened without you.
iv Contents Dedication ii Acknowledgements iii Contents iv Abstract v Foreword My Ghosts, My El io t 1 Introduction 7 Chapter One Haunting Derek Walcott: Ghosting Eliot in the Caribbean 14 Chapter Two 35 Conclusion Derek Walcott and Lorna Dee Cervantes in Four Qu artets 71 Bibliography 74
v ECHOES AND ECHOES OF ELIOT : EXPLORING INFLUENCE IN POSTCOLONIAL WRITERS DEREK WALCOTT AND LORNA DEE CERVANTES Melina Economos New College of Florida, 2011 ABSTRACT onial writers Derek Walcott and Lorna Dee Cervantes are influenced by the modernist canonical poet T.S. Eliot. Both writers allude to and revise Four Quartets Eliot not only to change their relationsh ip with colonial writing, but to bring Eliot into postcolonial discourse. of influence. Inferno Dante is reunited with a past poet/teacher as a ghost figure in hell. In Little Gidding Part Four of Four Quartets Eliot reshapes this reunion scene into a modernist construct, the image of the compound ghost. Finally, in Chapter XII of Omeros Walcott revises and combines aspects from both
vi how Lorna Dee Cervantes uses Eliot implicitly. In Drive: The First Quartet Cervantes uses Eliot to shape her work in entirety through the form of epigraphs. Eliot begins each section of poetry becoming a lens and a presence in Drive that allows for Cervantes t o manipulate the world of her poetry. This thesis focuses on one section of Drive and famous figure David Kennedy. Overall, the relationshi p these postcolonial writers build with T.S. Eliot is an odd one. This thesis works to understand how and why these important relationships occur between figures of the oppressed and a representative figure of the oppressor. Miriam L. Wa llace Division of Humanities Division of Humanities
1 Foreword My Ghosts, My T. S. Eliot My father was born and raised in Athens, Greece. He moved to America when he was fifteen in the hopes of making money and returning to Greece a rich man. Now, he is reece in ten years. My mother was born and raised in Clearwater, Florida. On the maternal side, her family has been in Florida for decades. She is now 49, and still l ives in Clearwater with my stepfather and two half sisters. My father and mother met one d ay because my dad had a cat on his shoulder while riding to work on his bicycle. My m om thought the cat man was interesting and exotic. My father thought the giggling girl watching him was beautiful. think at the time they knew that they would spend the next fifteen years together in a violent, abusive marriage that would relationship created the sole positive of their time together, Me. I was three when they divorced. I spent w eekends with my father and week days with my mother. I would spend at least two weeks with my dad over school vacations. The constant changes were difficult. Not to mention my parents hated each other. My father was prone to drinking already, but as my mother began moving on with her life, my father drank heavier and acted more erratic. Maybe to draw attention to himself. drugs, and multiple girlfriends, my father found time to kidnap me, wave guns aro und at my mother, and be an all around asshole.
2 I remember being very lonely. My parents were always very busy, yelling at each other or talking to other people about how m uch they yelled at each other. Even now, I They still go through me to relay messages to each other. They still place blame. My mother still cries sometimes when she does t much to drink. They both tell me how much they loved each other and how much they hate each other for it. and drug houses. So during these special trips he would drop me off in Tarpon Springs to roam the streets till he came to pick me up. Sometimes it would be a couple hours. Sometimes full days. I was five when this mode of parenting started and twelve when it stopped. My moth er never left me places. But she was usually busy keeping my dad from trying to kill us. Between dealing with my father and working a shitty part time job, she was exhausted. So I spent a lot of time wandering. And reading. Both allowed my imagination to t ake over. In my head, I could go to all kinds of places. I could be any character in any of my books. The best part about pretending was not having to worry or yell or cry. Plus I was never alone. As I grew older, the characters in my most loved books be came my best friends. them had never heard of feta cheese, and they certainly In Tarpon Springs, the Greek kids would tease me because of my white mother. White
3 a Greek girl not speak Greek? I was a half breed. No t wholly one thing or the other. So I read and I wandered, accompanied by people I never met, who only existed as text. By the time I turned twelve, I started feeling more and more isolated; from both my peers and my family. I stopped speaking to my fath er. And my mother and I became enemies. For my birthday that year, my mother gave me a book of poems. T. S. Eliot, The Complete Poems and Plays. I read through the poems, trying to find one I really liked. I was locked up in my bedroom, fighting my bed tim e with my light st ill on well past nine. I found The L ove Song of J. Alfred Prufrock and fell in love. Eliot, Prufrock 6). I made me cry. How is how I feel. Someone I had never met found my exact emotion, and wrote it down so others could know what it feels like. Yes. This was it. By the ti me I turned fifteen I was hanging out in the hood. Stealing cars, doing drugs, and loving boys. I never stopped reading Eliot, and I found new poems that spoke atedly was ( Eliot 9). I started buying flowers for myself after that poem. Unfortunately, though I found friends, none of them knew anything about books, and had never heard of Eliot. At sch ool I would get interesting looks from my teachers W hy are you reading Eliot embarrassed of being able to speak well and of my hobbies in literature, so I hid them.
4 Senior year I got out of the hood and out of the drug game. I wanted to be awake for life. For my Senior Project I chose to do a creative a ssignment about the life of T. S. A Perfect Life That is when I found out V ivienne was hess, that Pound was a fascist and an amazing editor, and that Eliot was an exile. From the m on I kept talking about Eliot and Poetry. I decided to pay my way through St. Petersburg College, the community college in town. I had a pretty decent GPA in high s chool though I almost dropped out a few times, and got some scholarships. I exchanged add ictions, drugs for education. I looked around me and saw my friends being arrested, shot, killed, pregnant, and poor. I wanted out. I wanted away from all of it. Books were my escape, yet again. At SPC I found a professor who loved Eliot too, and we would talk after class and during office hours. He helped me get into New College. He said he would have gone At New College, I began working with Robert Zamsky immediately, and though he was surprised I liked Eliot so much, I was no longer embarrassed about sounding too academia was both beautiful and scary, and the hood world I grew up in didn sense here. I chose my thesis topic and tried to keep my head up, even though the pressure of being brilliant was suffocating. I kept reading Eliot. ********
5 I have been reading T S Eliot for ten years. He was there when I was coming down off s ome high from the night before, when I tried to commit suicide the first and second time. Reading his poetry still reminds me of that something, that unidentifiable emotion I originally experienced while reading his works. I can honestly say, without sarca sm, that he is my friend. And that his words saved me from that horrible world I found myself in so often. should be happy being a waitress. I make good money, and as soon as I get some good shoes the veins in my legs will stop being so vibrantly colorful and then there will be no downside to my job. Or so they tell me. I feel the same as I did in my childhood; I am not wholly an academic, yet not completely a waitress. My thesis deals with this idea of a fractured identity which propels the thesis into a completely different sphere. It is not to present to my professors. I may not be able to articulate it well, but I know the loss Walcott and Cervantes are talking about. I know the ghosts, and I also have clung to Eliot in hopes of bridging some gap, making some kind of sense of all the pieces. I wrote this thesis to get to the conclusion, to find out some beautiful universal thread that makes sense of my life and my obsession with Eliot. I realized at the end of it all, that Eliot belonged o n my bookshelf all along. That he should be read in the ghetto, in the barrios. Overall I have learned a lot about myself through attending New C ollege and
6 happen th e way it did. This thesis raised some serious issues of mine to the forefront. I In terms of academia, my thesis is about the ways that postcolonial writers have been inf luenced by T. S. Eliot and how those influences work in their writings. If I were
7 An Introduction Caribbean P oet Laureate Derek Walcott and Chicana poet/pioneer Lorna Dee Cervantes share a relatively new space in the literary world, that of postcolonial literature. Though these writers are from opposite sides of the ne w world Cervantes is from Cali fornia, Walcott from St. Lucia they both struggle with the problems of postcolonial identity, an identity that is hybrid, multifaceted, and born of the mixing of cultures through the history of colonialism and domination. Of the many things these two poets have in common, one stands out as bizarre and unexpected: the Chicana Cervantes and the Afro Caribbean Walcott both create a textual relationship with canonical modernist poet, T. S. Eliot. Specifically, each poet rewrites, alludes to, and quotes from Four Quartets. Derek Walcott explicitly mimics Eliot, and subtly referential This thesis is primarily an examination of how transformed by both Walcott and Cervantes from different, but arguably postcolonial, locations. As a poet T. S. Eliot is complexly situated, described in many ways including Fascist, English, elite, classicist, bourgeo is, and of course Religious with a capital R. It seems odd, then, that of all the literary influences they could have chosen to use, Cervantes and Walcott choose Eliot. Although we remember T. S. Eliot as the great English writer and critic, it is valuable that he grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Like his literature, which is saturated with
8 allusions and references, it is easy to forget what the origins of the man and his works actually were. Even an epic Eli ot work like the Wasteland with its many notes, references, and extensive bibliography, is still primarily a poem rather than a work of curious accent, and his in clusion in the canon, Eliot was still an American expatriate, living in London, trying to fit in with a new culture 1 Thus, Eliot himself can be Ultimately, Eliot was able to become s omething more than just an American poet or an American poet trying to be English. In fact Eliot was able to separate himself from his original cultural ties and change his identity. By the end of his career his classification as a major poet of English be came more important than his cultural heritage or his I argue that Walcott and Cervantes not only use Eliot to make sense of their own cultural selves, but they al so use Eliot to elevate themselves into Poets, not just postcolonial writers. Though they have not abandoned their postcolonial identities, they are able to move themselves outside of that identity, claiming poetry for themselves. The work that Walcott a published poems. Four Quartets was written from 1936 to 1942. Sections were printed during these six years until 1943 when the works were finally published as a whole. Four poems make up the collect ion (in order): Burnt Norton East Coker The Dry Salvages and Little Gidding Each poem is further divided into five sections that are numbered sequentially. The names for all four poems are taken from real places: Little Gidding is 1 An Imperfect Life and Pound had 3 9).
9 the only poem that do es not have biographical relevance to Eliot, 2 while Dry Salvages is the only one of these locations not in the UK 3 To Eliot, these four places were personally religious and sacred spaces. Four Quartets is a surprising and complicated work for these post colonial writers to use. Stylistically, the poems range from elevated poetic language, to narrative, to the voice of a lecturer. But, as the title suggests, the Quartets is not without a melody. Part V of each section is dedicated to a literary self evalua tion, in wh ich the speaker falls into self reflection. Four Quartets works towards purification of the soul in its content. Fittingly, the styles Little Gidding 141). This simultaneous act of refining of subject matter through style and language allows the Quartets poet and man. The end result a ttempts to elevate ordinary men beyond common experience and dialogue. Quartets are deeply religious. Themes of religious torment and obsession with sainthood cyclically, melodically, operate within the text. The patterns and repetition mimic biblical scripture. The overall emotional curve of the text is simple, Four Quartets : to try again and yet again for the perfect The Four 2 Little Gidding is located in C ambridge shire United Kingdom. From 1626 to 1646 the space was home to a communal Christian community run by Deacon Nicholas Ferrar. The inhabitants would frequently fast, hold services in the multiple churches for the community, and at least one member of the com munity was pra ying at all times ( Kershaw ). f faith and sacrifice for God 3 Dry Salvages is a tiny collection of rocks of the coast of Rockport, Maine. In his childhood, Eliot spent time boating in this area.
10 Quartets are a culmination of personal and religious trials, while attempting to finally discover pure godly love, allowing for the movement into an elevated pure bein g. The Quartets the poet admitting he was finally unable to reach the divine fire. Yet while elevating poetic personality, he elevates his personal life too, r efining both personal and literary identi ty in the process of writing poetry. Lorna Dee Cervantes and Derek Walcott each use a very specific concept from Four Quartets Craig Raine addresses a specific reoccurring image, coincidentally the one that Walcott and Cervantes but as Raine shows, Eliot suggests that ghosts in a larger sense are everywhere in the world of Quartets In Part One of Burnt Nor ton only be the echoes (Raine 100). Instead of explicitly saying that these echoes are ghosts East Coker s who climb from the earth (Raine 103 4). Finally in the last poem, Little Gidding Eliot names the echoes for what they are with the image of the compound ghost. Little Gidding is a famous construction that Eliot scholars hav e discussed extensively. This ghost is a figure that stands for past literary influences. He speaks in allusions, and critics have identified references to Dante, Milton,
11 Coleridge, Yeats, and many others. It is important that this image is a ghostly one; world and outside of it. The compound ghost simultaneously represents many distinct identities while existing as a single character. The ghost is one person, but i t is a dozen at Omeros s Drive : The First Quartet to see how the influence of T. S. Eliot operates, and what his influence exploration of predecessors in The Anxiety of Influence This thesis will also argue that it is not a Four Quartets, which co ntains reoccurring ghost images. In the postcolonial rewritings that most strongly allude to Four Quartets The Anxiety of Influence may seem strange; there are distinct differences between them, not to mention Yet their interplay is productive for my project. p oet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone. His significance, his appreciation is the appreciation of his relation to the dead poets and artists. You cannot value him alone; you must set him, for contrast and comparison among (my e mphasis, Eliot 38). I believe that what is happening in Walcott and Cervantes is just this,
12 a complex interaction that goes both forward and backward in time between the living poet and the dead influence. But this influence is occurring internally, or con textually, influence on Walcott and Cervantes. As outlined by Bloom, Apophrades is named from bit the ingested that it seems he is writing again. For these postcolonial writers Eliot returns to the house he lived in most, poetry. In my first chapter I will be look Omeros Book One, Chapter XII. In this chapter, Walcott explicitly rewrites the image of the compound ghost from Little Gidding Raine argues that Walcott also borrows from the echo ghosts in Burnt Norton as well. Chapter One tr Drive, the First Quartet Kennedy. Cervantes uses the ghost image of the iconic David Kennedy as a w ay to mourn for her deceased mother something that she cannot initially do directly. In a the Quartets are religious.
13 In these two great contemporary poets, one from the Caribbean, and the other from the San Franciscan transformed through the thematic of ghosts, hauntings, and ghostly echoes.
14 Chapter One Haunting Derek Walcott: Ghosting Eliot in the Caribbean suggests the enormity of critical work available to take into account. Moreover, his fire for some time. 1 predominately Standard English poetry is, to some critics, a step back for Caribbean voices. His literary influen ces are mainly English canonical writers, and his allusions language and allusions to describe Caribbean identity, when that culture represents a history of violence and destruction imposed on the native peoples and enslaved Africans brought to the Caribbean? To respond to this overwhelming question, I want to look at one literary influence that Walcott adopts: the voice of T.S. Eliot. In his book New World Modernisms C harles Pollard extensively analyzes the Omeros Thick with canonical allusions and references, no t least the classical Greek poet Homer, signaled in Omeros 1 Kamau Brathwaite is one of the leading critics against Walcott and his use of Standard English influenced by T.S. Eliot, as well, but instead utilizes early Eliot, in which native language is primary. Instead of refining language like Walcott, Brathwaite traces Caribbean language to its roots in Africa and created a style of writing called Sycorax. In New World Modernisms Pollard brill iantly describes the ways both Walcott and Brathwaite use Eliot in their respective writings.
15 repositions characters like Achilles an d Spoiler into Caribbean culture by having them speak French patois and English Creole (Pollard 149). Overall Omeros aims to rewrite the Greek epics the Odyssey and the Iliad into a Caribbean context. But specifically, Chapter XII alludes to and rewrites k ey ghost Burnt Norton and Little Gidding. Omeros in which Derek, the speaker of the poem, reunites with his deceased father, Warwick. For the poet speaker Derek, Warwick literary influence (as an author figure whom Derek wishes to emulate in his own writings). Four Quartets influences this key scene in O meros contextually a discussion of influence. The reunion of Derek and Warwick is a rewriting Little Gidding, Chapter Four of Four Quartets But in Little Gidding, he replicates the Scene in the Inferno in which Dante is reunited with his literary fore father, Brunetto Latini. To help explain this complex arrangement and show the multiple levels of influence occurring within these allusions, I examine how the reunion section of Omeros is a discussion of literary influence. Then we will look at the poem contextually as an apophradic Eliotonian moment. 2 This will show ho w Walcott is working within a 2 Anxiety of Influence : s achievement makes it seem to us, not as though
16 synchronic view of literature. Not only do his allusions reposition Caribbean writing into English literature writ large, but in doing so, he also repositions canonical writers and their literature. In the reunion scene, Cha pter XII, Walcott creates his ghost out of many pieces of literature. Key elements are the allusions to Dante and Eliot. Although my main concern nte and Eliot each use images of a ghost influence as ways to show cannot b influence is chronologically linear, from teacher to student, for Eliot influence runs both dire ctions, so that a great modern poet changes the significance and import of those who came before. Walcott has a different way of handling literary influences; he does not simply the two concepts of influence from Dante and Eliot. Contextually Walcott mimics Eliot, but conceptually he combines aspects of Dante with Eliot. influence and the influenced In Eliot, influence shifts into an amorphous figure and his ghost is a manifestation of synchronic time and therefore synchronic literary influence.
17 s, 3 Little Gidding Dante returns from the dead into the more literary influence into a synchronic image of all litera ture. Dante is changed by Eliot as he also influences Elio t done in the synchronic divisions of influence are woven into a Caribbean history that adds another layer to Elio by his predecessors, creating a third model of influence, one that can include the synchronic vision of Eliot but also incorporates New World and Old World influences d transformed into a separate theory of literary influence. After looking at these two models t both Eliot and Walcott are rewriting Dante, I argue that the three works operate synchronically 3 so as to make change possible should have
18 ghosts. In Inferno Canto XV, Dante reunites with Brunetto Latini, a past teacher/poet, in the circle of hell reserved for the sodomites. Dante quickly recognizes his teacher among 1.15.30 ). Though Dante is surprised to see Latini there, even in Hell the customs of hierarchy between student and master are still in place: Latini gives his pupil advice and Dante Within my memo ry is fixed and now moves me your dear, your kind paternal image when, in the world above, from time to time you taught me how man makes himself eternal; and while I live, my gratitude for that must always be apparent in my words (1.15.82 87) To Da nte, Latini not only represents a literary influence, but a father figure as well. It is also important to note that Latini is a kind paternal influence. Eliot and Walcott the influencer and the influenced. While hell may not be the best place to find advice, Dante still honors the bond between them. Dante understands influence and remembering or self 1.15.85 (1.15.87)
19 This is an important scene to rework for Eliot and Walcott. First it deals with the importance of memory, which both successors develop in their rewritings. Eliot focuses on his inability to remember, while Walcott in many ways is forced to remember his influential ghost image. In both ways memory is more problematic for the later poets, student and protg, is an important element to rewrite. Dante does not influence Latini, r ather the influence b etween authors is a way for the younger poet to honor and show gratitude for the knowledge gifted by the elder. Words become a strategy to memorialize past poet/teachers, perhaps suggesting a kind of progress from the former to the latter. It is also impor tant, perhaps more even for Walcott than for Eliot, to envision the poet teacher as a paternal image. Casting these as quasi familial relations shapes the way the past literary influences interact with later works, or how we as readers view literary influe nces operating. A paternal influence means the influence precedes existence of the impossible. It also seems relevant to address the written word as a method to achieve imm ortality. For Eliot, immortality is a given in his synchronic view of literature. For Walcott, his compound ghost of literary influence is personally tied to him in a way that it is impossible to divorce the ghost from his life. The last thing to keep in it is, yet how clear the relationships are and how clear ly the divisions of hell are
20 man, Brunetto Latini, and on ly his voice. Dante creates clear visions of hell, heaven, and influence. For example, though he creates a multilayered hell, Dante knows exactly which circle of hell Latini is in. This clear, developed system from Dante is the very structure that Eliot an d Walcott place their rewritings upon, though it is later barely recognizable. Moving to Eliot and Little Gidding we can trace the model of literary There are a few of influence. First, the speaker of Little Gidding does not have to travel into the rings of hell to reconnect with his influencing ghost. In fact, the speaker is merely walking through a so environment. Influence in this modern world is encountered in an urban, social world. Immediately Eliot begins to revise the clear Dantean model of influence. Where Dante meticulou super natural tone and pointing to a liminal time. Yet the scene does not completely break with reality, it still exists within the familiar urban sprawl and points toward clock time composite figure of influence; his Hamlet Walc ott will later develop this embedded allusion. Eliot further complicates model of influence with other allusions.
21 The speaker in Little Gidding squints at the apparition, attempting to recognize of the speaker shows how influence operates as a foggy intangible that cannot be identified. The ghost moves towards him, recognizing him model of influence: I caught th e sudden look of some dead master whom I had known, forgotten, half recalled Both one and many; in the brown baked features the eyes of a familiar compound ghost both intimate and unidentifiable (140) Dante sees Brunetto Latini and recognizes him alm ost immediately. For Eliot, l a specter of influence and a speaker listening to the influence. But now, the ghostly influence is transformed into something more complex than a single teacher, becoming multivocal. There is only one ghost figure, but that single figure represents an ar Eliot furthers the familiar yet unidentifiable facets of his compound ghost in the lines following the initial meeting. Eliot complicates the model of influence further by making the speaker of Little Gidding multiv ocal as well. As the speaker is talking to his influences, the speaker shifts into an influence himself: So I assumed a double part, and cried you Although we were not. I was still the same, Knowing mysel f yet being something other And he a face still forming: Yet the words sufficed
22 to compel the recognition they preceded. (141) In the first four lines of this section, the speaker of Little Gidding becomes a rds. The speaker becomes a double part: you compound ghost, but will never be able to give it a single name, or achieve the clarity of First it is the compound ghost of influence that is multivocal and unidentifiable as already inherently a part of the influences that came befor e him. This apophradic move internalizes influence in the speaker, as well as suggests a larger theory. This scene implies that regardless of the intention, writers are condemned to speak in a way that both memorializes and honors their predecessors. Unl ike Dante who promises to memorialize Latini through his own poetry, the speaker of Little Gidding bears the mark of his influences inherently, revealed in his famous encounter own theory his own generation in his bones, but with a feeling that the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within it the whole of literature of his own country has a simultaneous Tradition and the
23 Individual Talent choice; he already is influenced. The next lines of Little Gidding etain the The wonder that I feel is easy, Yet ease is cause of wonder. Therefore speak: I may not comprehend, may not remember. (140) The amorphous character is a frustrating blend of voices, c inability to remember his teachings for certain. This differs from Dante, who claims that shows that the influence does not need to be rem embered precisely or specifically for it to have an effect on the poet. Poetic immortality is thus more than remembering the name of a poet or reciting their words. Influence has become for Eliot something larger than an individual or a single work, as wel l as something that does not move solely in one direction from the past forward. The advice given to the speaker of Little Gidding operates within the major themes of Four Quartets urging the sp eaker to remember that one must suffer to burn off the sins of a human life. Four Quartets As Lyndall Gordon reminds us in her biography of Eliot, An Imperfect Life num ber of Americans, Eliot is writing a form of scripture. He draws on the cadence of the bible with its long line, its rhythmic cumulation, its riddling, oracular language, its both
24 modernist fractured experience. For Eliot as well as Dante, their ghosts and their advice are rooted in Christian religious themes. For Walcott, however, the compound ghost focuses on personal familial history, not religion. street, but instead a domesti he feels a personal bond, but Walcot t makes the bond between influencer and influenced much more intimate. For Eliot, the compound ghost was a blurry, multivocal identifiable figure, this ghost is not without comp lexities. As Warwick and Walcott claim their Caribbean identity, they claim a multifaceted self that includes, but is not limited to St. Lucian, British, African, and Caribbean. Therefore Warwick is also a compound ghost of literary influence intrinsically all three, I am focusing mainly on Part One. This reunion scene occurs early on in the epic, happening in Book One, when primary characters are being introduced. This is the first time Derek appears as a speaker of the poem. For clarification, though I believe they creator of Omeros Importantly, Walcott begins a discussion of his personal life early on; thus beginning a conversation about the personal struggles of his own Caribbean identity and poetic work.
25 converted into Walcott creates a landscape where even the physical setting revolves around the production of language, furthering the connection writer Derek simultaneously sees the house for what it was, his childhood home, and ses, while noting early on that many of his memories no longer exist in physical form The past and present are layered over each other. reunion with his father. Derek is physic ally confronted with material losses as well as will be the dominant image: with its rose quilt where we were forbidden to sit. Pink handbills whirred under their spinning negative and two girls stacked them from their retractable bed as fast as my own images were reprinted as I remembered them in an earlier life that made the sheets linen, the machines furniture, her wardrobe her winged, angelic mirror. (67 68) As the speaker converts the real objects he sees in the present moment of the poem (machines, pink handbills) to th e memories he has of his childhood (her winged, angelic
26 mirror) his loss is emphasized. The dreamlike scene puts reality and imagination next to personal items like bed s and linens evoke universal ideas of home and create the environment for the ghost of literary influence to enter. w stopped. And there was a describes the house/printery as a home, this is the first time it is actually called a home; past, but through the machines, / clear as a film and as perfectly projected / as a wall cut had done a self portrait, it was machine physicality to a painted portrait differentiates the living image from the ghost; Derek knows this apparition is an e cho of the man he knew not the real object. This understanding changes the reception of the ghost so that Derek sees him as both present and absent in reality. biologica as literally paternal. In his transparent hand was a book I had read.
27 my father smiled and the calling that you practice both reverses and honours mine from the moment it blent with yours. I swallowed (68) Focusing on the first five lines, literary influence works unilaterally and synchronically. becomi existing because of work. Like Dante and Latini, writing is seen as a way to honor predecessors and the ir Derek loses. Because Warwick is not brought back to life again but instead appears as a fe. Derek apophradic move. Derek and Walcott, by internalizing the influence of Warwick, are o ut in fiction. spin on re verses write, re speak. Here, his father believes Derek is actually rewriting which means that literature also works synchronically, such that the later poet can rewrite the original, not change of their words results in a multifaceted view of influenc e. Once the influence occurred,
28 s him. What is happening in Omeros is a complicated moment of apophrades. First, Derek is haunted by his personal life. Secondly his writings are a re versing of his father contextually, and third ther to be created in literature. Both Warwick and his own ghost father states that they are entwined through writing and finalizes the statement with h is the boy s, /which is the father s personal voice. I n Little Gidding a part of him, but he does not know where the words come from. But by combining to create an influence that is known, yet still intangible. The ghost literary influence is identified, but is still a haunting specter, a reminder of what Derek has lost. Twice his Now, father and son have one voice, but what does that voice say and how does it reconfigure both the original living Warwick and the son Derek?
29 Shifting away from his relationship to his son, the ghost starts talking about his own life and his struggles with his writings. Already a dual figure, he now becomes a more complex character that works within the colonial setting. He begins answering the he said, in an accent of poli shed weariness, where my bastard father christened me for his shire: (68) This naming process opens up a dif ferent perspective on the ghost father. The name not only English. His father, an unnamed, illegitimate child from Warwickshire in Caribbean. Though Warwick had this connection to England, marked by his name inherited from his father, he was not a part of t In this moment, the foreign machinery, perhaps Eliot and Dante, are at their furthest from his ghostly appearance within the home of the printing press. As a bastard, his father, putting the issue of father
30 gland, the homeland from not maintain ties with England, yet they cannot relinqui sh the relation of colonial heritage either, so that England and English Literature haunt them. Warwick was marked by his European name, forcing him into a linguistic and even literary tradition, from the time he is born. This alludes to a forced influe nce on Warwick emphasizes that there was always a separation between himself a nd European tradition actualize the inheritance that the name claimed for him, an anxiety occurs between Warwick and ic image of the poor but important poet, Warwick also uses a pun on will, referring to William Shakespeare, the lineage that associates the uncertain connection to both the great figure of English language poetry through a
31 Wa lcott creates a very complex overlapping lineage of influence that mimics the fractured identity felt by the Caribbean. A person is English, but not fully; native Caribbean, but not completely; a poet, but not a Poet It becomes contextually clear why Walc ott would choose T. S. Eliot to mimic. Eliot in his multilayered identity was like Warwick, trying to assimilate into a culture and a literature that was not his own. The difference is that Eliot decided to stay in Britain, and for characters like Derek an d Warwick, the sense of displacement is inherent within their identity. Warwick is thus a compound ghost, and not solely because he begins to quote that other ghostly influence, Shakespeare, but because his very heritage is a compound. He represents a doze n pieces of identities that, added up, make him the haunting image of influence father, poet, printer, named for paternal origins in Warwickshire, tied to the birthplace of Shakespeare, failed literary figure, neither fully English nor fully Caribbean but complexly both and neither. After revealing the distance between the European model of literature and the poetry Warwick writes, Warwick evokes an even deeper anxiety. Even in his death, rthday, one April. Your mother Sewed her own costume as Portia, then that disease I believe that parallel has brought you some peace 4 (68 69) 4 was a birthday at the age of thirty four.
32 Warwick dies on April 23 rd Merchant of Venice Julius Caesar and Hamlet By referring to Hamlet Warwick addresses another thread of influence. In the open ghost, telling his son how he died and asking Prince Hamlet to seek revenge as a dutiful parallel between Warwic k, Derek, and Hamlet senior and Hamlet the son. Not only the figure of Shakespeare the Poet, but also the literary figure of the haunted Hamlet Eliot in his haunting mou rning also alludes to Hamlet speaks of here is not only the parallel between his death date the act of apophrades. While Warwick was unable to bridge the gap between his own Derek by ingesting the influence of his father, is now able to. Much like Warwick, Eliot is also used by Walcott to fill the space between Caribbean and Canonical writings by putting Four Quartets both in the Caribbean and in his own personal life story. The final scene in Part One is an implied metaphorical conversation about influence and literature. At the door to the yard,
33 (69) believe this is the saddest moment of moment. Derek has lost both people and things, and we are reminded, here, of all of them. If Derek remembers something as small as a grape plant, he surely can remember other aspects of his father. To no one in particular, Warwick asks a rhetorical but (69). This question could be asking multiple things. Is the ghost separating himself from his life and looking at the life of Warwick, wondering why he tried to be accepted by the literature of the colonizers? Is it a more general question, why does colonization occur? Does Warwick long for the soil of the colonize homeland? The chapter concludes a line later and the question ultimately goes unanswered. into the next chapter. Warwick and Derek go on a tour of St. Lucia, looking at the land and its people. Though I will not go into detail about this long, involved reunion, I believe Four Quartets is a useful way to s ummarize the extended experience between Derek and his ghost 5 Though Eliot names only one ghost 5 Four Quartets
34 garden of Burnt Norton and the pages of Quartets he echo a compound ghost than his echoes, but in the remaining sections where Warwick is touring his island with Derek, echoes still exist. Because of the allusion to Eliot in Chapter XII, Warwick represents an echo of Eliot. After the initial reunion, Eliot becomes more of a phantom figure than Warwick. Eliot properly describes the encounter between Warwick and Derek in Four Quartets turn, and bring us n echo of influence surrounding the construction that is Warwick. ting is not simply corrective. The influence of Eliot is internalized in Omeros which Walcott makes his own internalizing the influence of Eliot, Eliot becomes for Walcott and others a part of postcolo nial discourse. For Walcott, Eliot is not an anxiety, but a haunting part of literary Omeros does not take away from Caribbean identity, but rather creates a positive relationship between English poe try and the voices of the Caribbean. In Chapter XII, we see how Warwick, like Eliot, becomes a bridge for Walcott. Both Eliot and Warwick connect Walcott personally and poetically to 1.15.83 ).
35 Chapter Two then poet Lorna D ee Cervantes ghetto, for Cerv antes and many other Mexican Native Americans, the literal space was a while it was still Mexico, including the area she was born and still lives in, the Mission Dis trict of San Francisco. As the borders of California were redrawn, her family experienced an odd kind of displacement. Though they had not themselves moved or been removed, their environment had suddenly been altered around them and like many of northern A immigrants despite their own local belonging. These old feelings of displacement became a pivotal understanding, a foundation, for the experiences Lorna Dee Cervantes has in the barrios. L ike many American born, Mexican Cervantes struggled with issues of identity, as her own identity continued to fracture. Growing up poor and tough, Cervantes worked in her adult years to highlight violence and abuse in poverty stricken areas of the Mission District through the written word. Her early works, Emplumada and From the Cables of Genocid e worked very seriously on early poe ms are as combative as the scenes they depict. Frequently autobiographical, Cervantes uses her personal experiences to highlight and explore themes very common to
36 the barrios and ghettos of America. After her mother was violently murdered, Cervantes finish ed Cables of Genocide in 1991 and stopped publishing, withdrawing from the public eye. Overall, Cervantes and her peers can be classified as postcolonial writers, but her own relationship to that term is more specifically devoted to her personal heritage a nd her experiences as a Chicana feminist and literary figure. In an interview with Sonia Gonzalez from 2007, Poetry Saved My Life Cervantes describes her relationship to history and California: [My mother] was very literate. But she was bitter. She had t o drop out of high place is in the home and marrying. And then, she gets divorced, and then, no g that you can get out of this life. So you better make sure that you know how to Being a home girl, a chola, [my mother] would always correct my grammar, and I would be punished for speaking Spanish. She wanted me to grow up without an accent because she said people are going to judge you by how you speak. So there were all these messages, and again this idea that they [her Native American ancestors] lost their land due to the written word. So this is my relationship to history. (4) While the above statements are personal memories for Cervantes, her history is one that was shared in the barri o. Ideas of what a woman is capable of, what a C hicana is allowed to do, and a forced disconnect from colonial written language are all common memories in the barrios. Speaking Spanish was also frowned upon, which left Cervantes, and many others, silenced. Borderlands by Gloria Anzalda
37 tenets and your l aws. Don't give me your lukewarm gods. What I want is an accounting with all three cultures white, Mexican, Indian. I want the freedom to carve and chisel my own face, to staunch the bleeding with ashes, to fashion my own gods out of my entrails And if going home is denied me then I will have to stand and claim my space making a new culture una cultura mestiza with my own lumber, my own bricks and mortar and my own feminist architecture." ( Anzalda 21 from the world of maids or shame about a mixed racial heritage. In 2006 Cervantes returned with a five part book Drive: The First Quartet. Drive operates much differently than her earlier works. The cut throat shocking images of pain and poverty are still here in this collection, but they are now refined. Instead of just pointing out the injustices, she seems to be leading readers somewhere besides the point of impact. Expe Drive may not be entirely what fans and critics were anticipating from the Chicana poet laureate. While still at times combative, her writing no longer points directly at the material torment of the barrios. Instead, Cervantes seems to be waving her hand across a series of situations and problems, creating a landscape of distress and loss. Drive though Cervantes considers each section its own book and the collection an antholog y of her writing, spanning the years of her silence in the publishing world. One of the most obvious but elusive characteristics of Drive is the repetitious appearance of T.S. Eliot. 1 The first allusion occurs surprisingly in the second half of her 1 Curiously, Cervantes has not yet explained her use of Eliot in interviews or her blog. In a recent interview from 2010 she mentions The Hei ghts of Macchu Picchu how that is a whole conception, or Howl Ariel
38 title: T he First Quartet Four Qua rtets divided into four sections and she borrows quotes from the first, Burnt Norton, and the last, Little Gidding An Eliot frame surrounds the book: an Eliot quote begins the text and another one is also included on the very last page. These bookend quotes come from Little Gidding Four Quartets Each section of D rive also has a Quartets Burnt Norton. Quartets Little Gidding is divided into five sections. Cervantes uses the last line of Part Five of Little Gidding as her first epigraph and the first lines of Part Five of Little Gidding as her final quote. This along with the play on titles creates a corkscrew effect by which Cervantes complicates the relationships a synchronic cycle, where all of literature exists simultaneously, one on top of the other. practicing it in Dri ve The text occurs within and around the work of Eliot. Eliot has also claimed that influence works forwards and backwards. By practicing synchronic time, Eliot is able to frame Drive and Cervantes is able to revise Four Quartets My project is to show t and understanding of Drive her poetry. So how does Eliot operate within her text and what does Eliot allow her to do? The section that be st highlights this dialogue of literary influence is Section Four of Drive
39 murder direct ly, Cervantes uses David Kennedy as a way to cycle through mourning and come out of it. In this section Cervantes creates a relationship with both her past literary influence, T.S. Eliot, and the public figure, David Kennedy. The relationship between Lorna Dee Cervantes and Kennedy exists in an imagined space that is not possible Four Quartets The epigraph from Eliot then creates the world of the section. rst poem is separate from the from Journal Entry April 25, 1984, journal entry written on the day David Kennedy was found dead Kennedy. The other fourteen poems follow the train theme, as laid out in the title, and are poems are arranged visually like columns, with two or three words making up each line. punctuation, save some exclamation marks. Some are compressed lines, where one word is the end of one sentence and the beginning of another. This fluidity causes a fast pace and the reader tumbles down the columns. The compressed lines create the only pauses where the reader has to return to the moments and read them more slowly to figure out this world can be manipulated.
40 dates, others a named holiday, others just a year. According to the dates given, the station are both dated June 5 th the date Robert Kennedy was shot 2 Thus, Robert The epigraph that creates the world in which Cer Burnt Norton : If all time is eternally present all time is redeemable. But what might have been is an abstraction remaining a perpetual possibility Only in a world of speculation. What might have b een and what has been Point to one end, which is always present -T. S. Eliot from Burnt Norton (Cervantes, 186) Epigraphs are the first communication between reader and text. An epigraph is very similar to a preface and in the case of Drive the epigraphs become a preface. Brent Edwards, in Practice of Diaspora discusses the purposes of prefaces and what they can reception for the documents it presents. It pur ports to strike a path, to point the reader just a lens but also a framing mechanism. Edwards continues, As a formal device, the preface speaks double in this way: it is outside, it marks very force that animates the book, that opens it for us and shows its contents. The preface therefore is a frame not always easily separable from the artif act itself, 2 Robert Kennedy was shot on June 5, 1968, but actually died the following day.
41 even as it rhetorically holds itself to be distinct from and prior to what it introduces. (Edwards, 45) how important Eliot becomes to Drive Every epigraph in this work is pulled from T.S. Four Quartets describes their connection. Four Quartets Drive backdrop, an omnipresent voice, manipulating reality for Cervantes, so she can begin a friendship with a man she maybe knew. 3 Four Quartets is also helpful for under standing the ways Eliot influences Drive Analyzing the same section Cervantes uses, Raine defines a central experience of Burnt Norton problem of Four Quartets is the problem of the mystical experience which by definition takes pla ce outside of time, both conventional, linear time and simultaneous date, allowi ng her relationship to be with the ghost of David Kennedy, not the living man. Unlike Walcott who borrows the image of the compound ghost, Cervantes creates 3 they did or did not know each other. They both attended Harvard around the same time and they could have had a relationship before he dropped out of school.
42 based on the Kennedy tragedies. Though Eliot does not appear contextually, he is the work, but named only as echoes not ghosts. Eliot exists on the peripheries of Cervantes colle ction, much like his own echo ghosts in Quartets Note to David tone from the rest of Letters to David 4 Written in paragraph form, this poem sets up the main themes of the remaining s April 25 th 1984, and the first paragraph, only two sentences, expresses his death in up in a Palm Beach hotel suite h e was found on the floor of his room between two king ng through my ears like a mantra. Two beds. $250 common speech, it appears that Cervan tes knows enough about David to be angry about his self destruction. The beginning of the third paragraph, however, reveals that this familiarity is not grounded in an actual, physical relationship with David. She does not know David Kennedy personally, a s familiar as she seems to be with him, and learns of his death like 4 intervention, I have chosen important passages from most of the sections versus giving a full explication of the entire section which runs at 59 pages. Focusing on a few key sections shows the emotional curve ld of her poetry.
43 The remaining paragraphs begin an underlying discourse on the media that carries Letters their imagined friendship. They both find out their parents have died by watching television, and it is mass media that gives Cervantes enough information to feel and speak intimately ab out David Kennedy. ( Cervantes and is the foundation for Cervantes was only 12 years old, young David stayed up in his hotel room late at night and watched his father on television. A family friend found him seated in front of the set switching the archived People article discusses these losses for Mrs. Kenn arlson 45 ). David category of mourning to the mental state Freud labels m elancholia. defeating, aggressive, and sometimes fatal reaction, melancholia. Freud shows that in early phases, these two is loved, contains the same painful frame of mind, the same loss of interest in the outside would mean
44 replacing him) and the same turning away from any activity that is not connected with mourning does not end. Eventually the cycle of mourning should come to a close and in which the libido is bound to the object is brought up and hyper cathected, and 5). In he desire to liv e that entails abandoning the other, and a desire to die that entails clinging to physically reconnect with the lost love object and the will to live outweighs the will to accompany the loss to the grave. I n melancholia, the mourner is u nable to complete the cycle of grief and is unable oss of the love object as an ego loss, and cannot separate the loss of the person or thing from his actual self. As Freud observes, the of the instinct which compels ev the victim b egins destroying his own ego, literally being consumed by his grief. In bullet.
45 Cervantes shifts in the fifth parag was assassinated. as the nows death is inevitable. Ants begin to accumulate around the scene, waiting. Like David, watching the death. Instead of talking directly about the Kennedy deaths, she s ubstitutes the dying cat to begin her process of mourning. While the cat does not become a primary character in the following poems, this idea of substituting to allow for mourning becomes an overarching theme throughout the Stations. In the last paragra Cervantes pulls out her old journal to read the entry for the 2 nd leaves to the page as I lie back in my bed. June 2 nd 1968. Today, Robert Kennedy was shot! Kitty di ed .// That was the day I learned the word: apocalyptic 5 The other mourning for her murdered m other a death so painful she cannot speak of it directly. Cervantes substitutes for the death of her mother the real, but hidden lost love object 5 June 2 nd 1968 is actually three days before Robert Kennedy is assassinated. She later uses the correct date what this does or what she is trying to do with the confusion of dates.
46 the more communally shared death of Robert Kennedy 6 Substituting Robert Kennedy for her mother, she looks at mourning instead of her own. She forges a friendship with David Kennedy, and when he dies within her poems, chooses to carry him posthumously to a resolution outside of melancholia by bringing him through her phases of melancholy. In the act of w from bereav assessment and affirmation of his surviving powers, one of the most important of which is his continued use of language. By representing the loss of the other, the poet establishes a di stance between the original object and the arbitrary verbal signs that 9). While Cervantes does use the act of writing in the way defined by Sacks, she has to do it by substituting the lost love object first, then coming to terms with her own personal loss later. The Stations begin on the day Robert Kennedy is assassinated, beginning the process of mourning. Time in this poem operates in a very Eliotonian way. The poem does not stay in the memory of June 5, but jumps to the last day 6 Cervantes actually calls her earlier collection, From the Cables of Genocide s my grief book because Cables to accept her loss an d move on from it.
47 inevitable death, while also keeping him alive. be able to watch his farther die on TV just like David, but this poem is overly aware of their opposite societal positions. The Station begins: I remember it was a very hard day there were buds the size of plums on the sugar tree daddy was a word wandering in the night your daddy talked nationwide (191) This moment demonstrates multiple kinds of mourning. The first line begi ns with ent ails a kind of hyperremembering, a process of obsessive recollection during which the survivor resuscitates the existence of the lost other in the space of the psyche, replacing are memories surrounding the substituted lost love object, not yet memories of her mother. is a vital springtime place. In the next lines, however, all the vitality is removed from the
48 only in language, an abstract word with no person to fill the si gn. Cervantes had a father, more similar to the loss Cervantes feels for her mo ther than to her feelings towards her to turn on the television to see his. how little David learns of the news: the chosen prince you were on the doorstep of his shoes between two worlds in that LA motel you were in your pajamas he was on the floor I remember the sun was very hot (192)
49 People magazine, he was watching his father on TV and saw his father shot. Relatives tried to pull him away from the news, but he sat and watched it over and over again flipping channels to see the footage of the shooting (Carlson 42) He is a little boy in his career. By saying that Bobby is on the floor, the poem avoids explici / the sun / was very ere were you when [insert dying cat, she remembers the sun being hot the day Robert Kennedy dies. In this moment, she leaves out her cat and makes her relationship to h is death simple. David was in pajamas and she was hot. This simple statement is also a reminder that she too was only a child when this event occurred. rk on racial relations during his career. you were in a worldwide Disneyland your dad the TV mascot through the race wars I spent my life ducking the bullets from duck! I said duck! (192)
50 id. To her, again discussed in terms of media coverage. While Bobby is working towards civil rights, Cervantes, living in poor districts of California, has learned to deal with the race wars in a more active fashion. Talking about civil liberties and ducking from bullets will. It is second nature for her to yell her advice to Robert Kennedy this, Cervantes still tries to save Robert, t ries to change history. Her own life is a stark the scene. Inextricably linked to actual Kennedy history, this passage references multiple articles published in memory of David. that morning they found you stuck between two beds in your Brazilian Court suite y ou hung a painted flower over your head your last request still for art they call you an artist they call you the other
51 // victim in an endless film loop (193 4) world of unable to complete the cycle of mourning, replace his lost love object and so free his ego f his, Robert Driscoll, was staying at the same hotel as David at the time of his overdose (Carlson 41) Driscoll was commissioned by David to paint a red anemone. In the book, this part is divided by a page. I have included // to show when the page ends. red from his family and perhaps society as well. Calling him an artist works in the same fashion. He is not a different. David has done very little in his life besides b eing forever tormented by his they could have accomplished, the potential they could have reached if their lives had not been cut tragically short. David could not live up potential in his family. The second meaning is reminiscent of the quote from People is also consumed b y mass media; he also becomes a victim in an endless film loop and
52 the bullet that killed his father leads directly to his death. In the world of the poems, David is a ghost for Cervantes and yet is still dealing with his own ghosts of familial influence. using the same vocabulary and imagery from the Kennedy deaths: and the red flower bloomed on my pants brown as the blood of a father gone fifteen years dead the flower you said was very se xy (195) The blood on her pants suggests both the start of her menstrual cycle or the loss of exposed to the air. Also, this image points to Cervantes raped before her assailant murdered her. This disturbing relationship between blood blood as fertility, blood as life, blood as the sign of maturity, blood as the sign of violence and death shows the vast difference between Cervantes and David. While he is still her cycle beginning because she, as a character in the poem, exists in 1968. She would be in 7 th grade, and that is a reasonable time for her to begin menstruating. The discussion of David though jumps to 1984. In the poem, the two different years, the different bloods,
53 the different deaths are simultaneous an / you said / was very (Carlson 41) David said that he wanted the sea anemone because it was phallic. Cervantes is just beginning puberty while David is becoming a playboy. Blood beco mes a universal symbol for death, life, sexuality and pain. The blood imagery also pulls together all the characters within the Stations Towards the end of first station, the poet goes back to watching Bob by being shot on television. duck I said duck but the television showed it all (196) Repeating the word duck, here there is a space between the word duck and the s to move out of the way of the bullet. As much as she tries to warn him, it has already happened, even when it was live feed on the television. This shows again that double world. Cervantes is able to watch Bobby, but at the same time, she is too removed to be of any use to him. Third Station is dated Fall 1974 which is David poem discusses briefly his experiments with drugs, but more importantly highlights object. did you think
54 of the family penchant for practical jokes of Ethyl still driving the famil y car BOBBY is the last you ever see when she goes (203) Ethel Kennedy was the widow of Robert and the mother of David. Cervantes changes the spelling of her name to Ethyl, which in chemistry is defined as a specific kind of radical: "Certain free radical s are stabilized by their peculiar structures; they exist for appreciable lengths of time, given the right conditions. Most free radicals, however, including such simple ones as...ethyl radicals, are capable of only the most fleeting independent existence" This play on words describes Ethel as half of a whole. Without incapable of separating his mother from his dead father. When he sees her, he sees BOBBY. Fallin g deeper into melancholia, David feels ostracized by the way the rest of the family is able to overcome the assassination when he cannot. Ethel can still drive the family car, but David is forced by her license plate to remember yet again his loss when his plate literally spells out B O B B Y, so David is reminded of his father in multiple ways. are together while both are living. Conveniently, it is also the only poem without a date. In the chronological timeline of the given dates for the poems overall, in Fourth Station David should still be attending Harvard. By this time Cervantes begins at tending Harvard
55 as well. Technically speaking, the interaction depicted in this poem could have really rtain hour before the the year you went to Harvard I met you on the stairway going up you were going down they said that fall you are a walking death (204 5) This metaphorical moment h but they are both still separate from each other. While Cervantes is moving up in life, David is rumored to be / By F ourth Station, David is following Bobby, refusing to let go of his melancholia. It is important to note that Cervantes and David do not become friends in Fourth Station. It takes more than this meeting to further develop their relationship. By Fifth Station Cervantes and David begin to resemble each other more and more in habits and environments. This poem has little to do with David, focusing more
56 This is yet anothe r poem that relies heavily on information gained through mass media. that morning they find you I am still up from the fix my connection and I had gone on in the night about money desire and work (207) Dated Fall, 1979 the first few lines of this poem drug problem. In Fall of 1979, David Kennedy was found in Harlem badly beaten in an David was trying to buy drugs ( heroine or junk) Cervantes is still up from her own cocaine fix. Her mother has not died yet, but Cervantes is moving toward a addictive lifestyle and depression. and the way she learned of her death. is contextually a conversation; David is the fr iend who listens in her time of grief. She begins talking directly to David here, instead of about him or repeating public newspaper descriptions of his life. I do not profess to under stand you I remember
57 when Tragedy was only a hit tune (211) Referrin understanding of the word. Though she says that she does not understand David, they ar e metaphysically in the same place where tragedy takes on more immediate and personal significance. I remember my sophistication and the flight back home to the nightly news to the bloodiest weekend history I remember face on the screen most brutal case our house gone up black in his flame (212) their home from an impersonal television set. The loneliness of this moment happening yet again in this series of poems is devastating. According to the T.V., her mother is just reminiscent of David, earlier in the Stations, who also sees his father is dea d by watching
58 the news. Here, Cervantes is not able to admit in language yet, that her mother is actually gone. Ending this poem, she continues her conversation with David: what you and I together understand is how we lose the Self when under attack and t a knack we never lose (214) loss [is] transformed into an ego double meaning of their losses: loss of S elf, the loss of family and, therefore, a part of the self, and the knack of losing Self which one does not lose. The one thing they are both unable to forget is how to lose themselves, yet they are never able to actually accomplish this. Eighth Station is the climax of the Station series. David dies in the world of the poems, which is treated differently than the other deaths Cervantes experiences. Cervantes is leaning on their imagined relationship more than ever, now that her mother has passed. Their connection is at its strongest. Cervantes originally substitutes the loss of
59 mother allows her to connect with a larger group of people, but in terms of the S tations, the substitution allows her to create a friendship bond with David. But now that bond is David has been an echo for most of the Stations. Like Eliot, Cervantes does not call him a ghost, but implies that he is not a part of her life as a physical form. With David now actually dead, she still does not call him a ghost. Instead she adds him to the folds of mourning she has already began, the mourning of Robert, her Mother, and now David, who was helping her move out of depre ssion. the morning you die I go watch trains die in the tunnel near my burnt house (218) This moment with the trains helps explain the names of all the poems. As the trains disappear from her view, they die, because she will never see them again. This p oem moves towards her desire to commit suicide, as more ghosts are added to her world. same smell in the fifteen years since I came to this track to die to dive into that tunnel as the cars headlong in front of me
60 smashed assassination through the tunnel (218 19) Instead of calling her death a suicide she uses and italicizes assassination. This brings victim of that bullet. According to Freud her thoughts 246 ). For Cervantes, it seems both the world and her Self are empty. The poem slips in time; fifteen years ago she came to this same place to die. At the time this book had been published it was fifteen years since her mother died. The stations lead up to this crucial decision, does she jump? suggested that she wil l do, she resurrects him. She begins the conversation again, and again it is the duo against the world. Though he has died, the connection she created is not broken. what you and i together understand is that know shit when they say you did it t o forget you never forget you always remember (221)
61 : residue of unresolved grie f signals that emotional bonds have not been broken [between reject the notion of a complete working through of loss and adopt a notion of mourning as an endless proces with drugs or alcohol. Maybe not even by death. For Eliot, the compound ghost in Little Gidding is an inherent influence, and the speaker of the poem speaks under influences, even if h e cannot place where the influence originated. For Cervantes and David, loss is the influence, and once it is experienced, it wears like a brand on both her and David. What is not clear here, is what side Cervantes is on. This moment, along with the aforem entioned suicidal thoughts, seem to put her closer to melancholia and closer to David. David is not just resurrected through the conversation that is Eighth Station. Cervantes brings him back in a distant echo of El returns to her burnt up house and walks around inside. She imagines David coming with her: I think of you joining the joke and we go get beer I buy two for I ha ve your company I sit in
62 her room I open the bottle offer the other to you (223 24) end, Dante, Eliot, and Walcott all use their poetic power to resurrect their lost influences and have conversations with their respective ghosts. Cervantes chooses not to After resurrecting him, they do not solve anything. David keeps her company. But because Cervantes resurrects David instead of mourning him, she is able to keep him on Cervantes is aware that her ghost friend is only an echo and reminisces on things they will never do. I wish we could talk about abstract expressionism about you and Bobby hitch hiking to elect poverty for president did you ever come out my way did you ever confess
63 or did you know they would tell of you crying in your pillow was that the price and demand for the telling for the silence for the life of the victim who pays (224 25) Though Cervantes speaks to David a few times in this series, in Ninth Station it is clear that he is not able to respond to her. As she remembers all the events of t heir artist, his father fought for racial tolerance, he was Catholic, and David is alone. Freud points out that a patient who is suffering from melancholia is unable to punish the lost love Cervantes and David are both separated from society because of their loss; Cervantes ger community. A little over halfway through the poem, there is shift to make David more real. Cervantes speculates on where David is in the afterlife, and then decides to keep him with her. where are you now I imagine you here where do you go to the mos t familiar (227)
64 As friends sharing the same type of loss, they have become in more ways than one, the David the ability to communicate with Cervantes over their bee r. Cervantes chooses to give him a voice, where before he was mute: everything they want I have and they can t understand use it to the fullest you said you would never use it you could never be the president you would never be a millionaire you could never judge the law you would never join the military that was out of the question you would not be a clerk a priest a lawyer a martyr you did not love school you would not
65 write the novel you could not fault your father you could not fin d the truth in the papers with every ink spot of rust on the needle you would never be alone you would always be surrounded by silencers the silver bullet in every crank (228 29) This scene is pivotal, in terms of trying to reach the end of melanc holia. Cervantes quotes and is given its own line. The word jus t his cannibalistic ego punishing himself. Maybe it is just the truth. David the family name, and regardless of his capabilities (money, fame, etc.) to reach for the stars, addiction as well as that bullet that murdered his father became his company. His life, his identity, was the victim of his assassinated father. That was
66 who he was, who he is now in this poem, and he is able to be that person here, honestly without fear of judgment, with Cervantes. The next four stations are much angrier that the others and focus more on the cause of her melancholia. More drug use occurs, she is force d to sell her burned tortured by those around her who try to make it better for her, who try to help her through the loss. David remains her confidante and ally. In Fourt eenth Station, there is a drastic change in tone and the writing becomes simple and declarative. As Cervantes finally completes the mourning process the echo all disappear Reality gains the day, as Cervantes honestly depicts she did in her earlier poems, she separates herself and David by their respective classes. But by now the readers know better than to believe the separation is complete. your father was on the tv my mother was in the bar (243) through the image of Robert Kennedy is able, finally, to verbally mourn her mother. Repetition in the following lines shows that the losses they both suffered were similar in multiple ways. she was
67 drinking vodka he was drinking vodka he f ollowed her home she was a sitting duck (243) Her mother was drinking vodka and so was the man who murders her. David Kennedy death. It seems that alcohol is operating a s a leveling mechanism. Regardless of class, been used exclusively about the Kennedys, as a descriptor of her own family. Robert Kennedy and her mother, in their own ways, this transition towards likeness between her and David: I know your father was almost the president my mother was a drunk but we all cry in our hearts when death is too strong (243) For the first time she admits, says the word death in regards to Robert and her Mother. your David down the same path of mourning. The language is so simple, it almost becomes / cry / in our hearts / when death
68 that this last Station is simple with purpose. After all the deferring done in the past poems, now that she admits her loss, she can only say it simply, as if she is worn out by the process of grieving. Loss also is not something that can be over intellectuali zed or repressed or substituted forever. At some point the mourner just accepts it. explaining the judgments placed on them both after death. there were mistakes on both side s said the judge your father was guilty said the conspiracists my mother was guilty says the conspiracy of her court (243 44) conspi racists would say, died because of to African Americans, Native Americans, and other minorities and fought for the rights ert Kennedy wished to change and make better. Some mother died because she was a minority inability to relate to David a loved ones are gone. Arguing over why they are gone will not change it. In a very sad goodbye, Cervantes lets go of her closest friend, David. Already in the poem she has, for both her and Da vid, accepted that their parents are gone. Now, she
69 admits to helping David mourn while she was also using him to help her mourn. Like a eulogy, she speaks of David before the pain and loss. boy I see you as you were then a fine blue the color of sky whe n seen through a hole shot through the fog by the direct laser will of God I throw it away he gives me some extra do it for David he goes I do (244) In the end, David will be remembered by Cervantes as the boy, as the potential kept has been/ point to one end, which triumphantly in the end, to remind Cervantes and the reader that it is possible for the potential to conti nue to exist in an imaginary world of a poem. I believe that she is not mourning for the death of David in these last lines, but mourning for his life, for the pain and loss that forever dictated his every move. As she throws it away, rids herself of her o God, maybe the courts, maybe the ghost of David she has carried, maybe Eliot, asks her,
70 tells her complete. But unfortunately the present tense also starts the cycle over again. Only in the end does she admit to why she began in the first place, the purpose to sav e herself and David Kennedy. The Eliot quote ending her book in entirety is fitting for the move 12).
71 Conclusion Derek Walcott and Lorna Dee Cervantes in Four Quartets Derek Walcott and Lorna Dee Cervantes each use T. Four Quartets in their own distinct ways, but their poetry treats the same situation, the loss of a parent. Walcott intellectua lizes his relationship with his father, bringing in an array of literary power to elevate and expand his depiction of loss. But the reunion scene of Chapter XII, lev young, and, through poetry, Walcott is able to resurrect his father to speak to him again. Cervantes uses Eliot as an implicit lens, framework and background to create an Walcott, Cervantes does not bring her mother back as a ghost. Instead she uses David ning. The losses experienced by both writers echo the sense of loss described in Four Quartets In using Quartets Walcott and Cervantes use T. culmination of his poetic career and arguably his life. At first it seemed odd that th ese dead. But even Eliot experienced and recorded personal loss. In her biography of Eliot, Lyndall Gordon argues that the brilliance of Quartets lies in the inclusi personal struggles and failures. It took grim courage to let go the visionary moments with their latent promise, and let judgment fall, with the utmost severity, on what he most wished to forget. We recall that Eliot had confided to Virginia Woolf that what he feared above all
72 was humiliation. But the reward of honesty was what is probably the greatest passage of poetry he ever wrote, as he turned from the plot of attainment to the habitat of pain. ( 378 ) the fact that he was not a candidate for the divine spirit 385 ). Though not the same as the loss experience the Quartets end with a man coming to terms with his short comings. These losses and echoes create spaces for Walcott and Cervantes to fit into and expand. I believe these postcolonial writers found his loss familiar and used his definitive failure as a way to move their own personal losses into poetry, which is a move towards acceptance. Quartets ork speaks of its importance Little Gidding best stood the test of saying exactly what it meant. And, as she said, the 90). praise for his work may also be a reason for Walcott and Cervantes to use his text. He went from Tom, the shop boy, to the great Poet, and the Four Quartets moved his failure into a description of universal loss. Drive Omeros are shaped a nd changed by their inclusion of Eliot, the Four Quartets is also changed and resurrected by Quartets urges readers to continue where Eliot
73 me day, it might once more call out a perfect life not necessarily his own. The true artist he quoted s I do not think that Walcott and Cervantes are necessarily trying to reach the same divine fire as Eliot, but they are looking for their own peace in their struggles and loss. failures are, after all, picked up and changed. In the end, Eliot is neither an overwhelming anxiety to be overcome as Harold Bloom might see it, nor condensed into just an epigraph to lend each of these poets respectability. Rather, he is able to return as Tom, a ghost between the pages.
74 Bibliography Alighieri, Dante The Norton Anthology of World Masterpieces : The Western Tradition Ed. Sarah Lawall. New York: Norton, 1999. 1293 1429. Print. Anzalda Gloria. Borderlands/ La Frontera : The New Mestiza San Fr ancisco: A unt Lute Books, 2007. Print. Bloom, Harold. The Anxiety of Influence : A Theory of Poetry New York: Oxford University Press, 1997. Print. Carlson, Peter. "David A. Kennedy 1955 1984." People Magazine 14 May 1984: 40 49 Web Cervantes, Lorna. Dri ve: The First Quartet San Antonio : Wings Press, 2006. Print. Clewell, Tammy. "Mourning Beyond Melancholia: Freud's Psychoanalysis of Loss." Journal of the American Psychoanalytic Association 52.1 (2004): 43 67. Web. Edwards, Brent. Variations on a Prefa The Practice of Diaspora : Literature, Translation, and the Rise of Black Internationalism Ca mbridge : Harvard University Press, 2003. 16 68. Print. Eliot, T. S. The Complete Poems and Plays, 1909 1950 San Diego: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980. Print
75 --. Selected Prose of T.S. Eliot New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich 1975. 37 44. Print. Freud, Sigmund Standard Edition of the Complete Psychological Works of Sigmund Freud. Vol. 14 London : Hogarth Press, 1953 1974. 243 258. Print. Gallardo, Susana L. Making Face, Making Soul A Chicana Feminist Website ." May 9 2007. Web. 21 Feb. 2011. < http://www.chicanas.com/ >. Gonzle z, Sonia V. "Poetry Saved My Life: An Interview with Lorna Dee Cervantes." MELUS 32.1 (2007): 163 181 Web Gordon, Lyndall. T. S. Eliot : An Imperfect Life New York: Norton, 2000. 338 391. Print. T he Giddings, Cambs, UK. Paul Crank. n .d. Web March 12, 2011. < http://www.thegiddings.org.uk/ > Mish, Jeanetta Calhoun. "A Conversation with Lorna Dee Cervantes." World Literature Today 84.4 (2010): 28 32 Web. Pollard, Charles. New W orld M odernisms : T. S. Eliot, Derek Walcott, and Kamau Brathwaite Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2004. 139 178. Print.
76 Raine, Craig. T. S. Eliot : Lives and Legacies New York: Oxford University Press 2006. 95 114. Print. "R ad ical." Encyclopdia Britannica. Encyclopdia Britannica Online Encyclopdia Britannica, 2011. Web. 17 Mar. 2011. < http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/488669/radical >. Walcott, Derek. Omeros New York: Farrar Stra us Giroux, 1990. Print.