e-ISSN 2231-8542
ISSN 1511-3701

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Achille and the Unhomely Pull of Atavistic Homeland in Derek Walcott's Omeros

Zargarzadeh, H.

Pertanika Journal of Tropical Agricultural Science, Volume 24, Issue 2, June 2016

Keywords: Walcott, Omeros, Achille, homecoming, Bhabha, topophilia, community relatedness

Published on: 05 May 2016

Pan-Africanists and proponents of Negritude associate home with Africa. However, Derek Walcott detours from this essentialist belief. My interpretation of his epic poem, Omeros (1990), provides a detailed analysis of Walcott's negative attitude toward Negritude. Among the characters in Omeros, this paper focuses on Achille's quest for self and identity in Africa. Taking Homi Bhabha's concept of the "unhomely" as an analytical tool, I will show how Walcott critically illustrates the unhomeliness of Africa as home for Afro-Caribbeans. Even though essentially Africa is regarded as the ancestral homeland for people of African descent, the uncanny feeling it creates, negates this association. Yet, Omeros proposes that the New World itself, in spite of its ambivalences, can be home for the New World inhabitants as it could create a sense of familiarity—or what Yi-Fu Tuan terms "topophilia"—and a communal sense of relatedness. As I will argue, these features can be taken as characteristics of home and can create, albeit not a true home, but a sense of at-homeness with the context of the new location.

ISSN 1511-3701

e-ISSN 2231-8542

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