Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Notebook of a Return to the Native Land

There are a few points that I find very interesting from lines 261-275 in Cesaire's Notebook of a Return to the Native Land. One of the most interesting aspects in these lines is relationship between Africa and France. For example, when he speaks of himself, who has presumably been living in France for some time, he describes himself as "sleek and young," but he describes Africa as having hideous sores. Here, he seems to be acknowledging that leaving Africa is the best way to improve one's quality of life. I suppose I just wonder if he would still consider himself "sleek" if he was raising his voice after living in Africa his entire life. Furthermore, he even admits that the natives may not trust him as much because of his time in France, urging them to embrace him "without fear." The fact that they would ever fear one of their fellow countrymen speaks volumes for the strained relationship between Africa and France.
I also found the last couple lines to be extremely interesting. He seems to be warning himself with them. Since he admits that all he can probably do is speak for his people, he is worried about losing his human compassion for the situation and becoming more of an observer who records what is occurring. Then, in the last line, he states for himself, and especially for others, that these atrocities are not merely trivialities or entertainments, but are actually real people suffering. Another way that I think that the last statement, at least the part about the dancing bear, can be interpreted that he is in fact the man screaming. However, due to the lack of respect of the black voice, he is worried that his writings will be taken for merely literary or face value, instead of as cries for help for his people.

No comments: