Date of Award

2015

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Department

English Language and Literatures

First Advisor

Anne Gulick

Abstract

This project examines Patrick Kavanagh’s “The Great Hunger” and Derek Walcott’s “The Fortunate Traveller” as sites of postcolonial resistance. As presented in these poems, the main characters are caught between the memories of the colonial and anti-colonial pasts and the faltering promises of postcolonial independence. Instead of choosing between being defined solely by the past or accepting an independence under contrived terms, or attempting to reconcile the two, Walcott’s and Kavanagh’s poems propose conscious inaction in order to resist the apparent inevitability of the choice. Written at similar moments in their respective postcolonial regions, placing these two poems together for analysis preserves the particulars of Irish and Caribbean postcolonial experiences while allowing for cross-cultural solidarities to be drawn and the lingering preconditions of postcolonial experience to be examined.

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