The Zulu Girl Literature Commentary

Topics: African people, Africa, Ethnic groups in Africa Pages: 3 (759 words) Published: September 8, 2013
* Elizabeth Teoh (26) 5.08
* This essay will examine the overarching notion of the far-reaching consequences of the colonialism of African tribes. In the poem The Zulu Girl, the poet utilizes the rich relationship between a mother and her child to eloquently exemplify the impacts of colonialism on the Africa’s older and younger generation, through the utilization of symbolism, imagery, similes and diction. * Firstly, the poet reveals the impacts of colonialism on the older generation through his parallel and symbolism of the mother-child relationship, as well as his utilization of similes. In the poem, the “Zulu girl” is a clear representation of the elder generation, “loom[ing] above” her child “like a hill.” Her fellow comrades are depicted as the “sweating gang”, who together with her, are engaged in menial work, “down with the sweating gang its labor plies, a girl flings down her hoe.” From this, it is evident that the older Africans have been subjected to years upon years of labor. Additionally, their rather relaxed views of the impacts of colonialism seem to stem from an “old … heat … of beaten tribes.” Through the poet’s use of similes, we see that the elder generations views of colonialism are “like a broad river sighing through its reeds”, akin to “deep languors ripple(s).” Through the diction used, the words “sighing” and “languors” suggest as sense of defeat and hopelessness directed at their situation of colonialism. Thus, the poet clearly reveals the elder generations largely apathetic, defeatist attitude towards colonialism due to its longstanding presence in Africa. * * Secondly, the poet moves on to depict the Zulu girl’s child as the representation of Africa’s younger, significantly more disgruntled, generation, through the utilization of imagery, similes and diction. In the first stanza, the oppression of the younger generation as a result of long-standing colonialism is clearly revealed through the poet’s diction: “Unslings...
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