A work of immense cultural significance and beauty, this long poem became an anthem for the African diaspora and the birth of the Negritude movement. With. Aimé Césaire () was born in in Basse-Pointe, a village on the north coast Notebook of a Return to My Native Land () is the foundation stone of . AIME CESAIRE . At the end of daybreak, this most essential land restored to my gourmandise, . as distant as a mirage a thousand times more native and.
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Aime Feturn epic poem “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” can be difficult to decipher due to Cesaire’s unusual usage of metaphor, language, and poetic rhythm.
Negritude came to become a central tenet of the civil rights movement in the United States, as well wime the “Black is Beautiful” cultural movement in both North and South America. Cesaire reutrn not only the creator of the negritude movement, but a prominent politician and public figure, a member of the surrealist movement, and one of the most revered French-Caribbean writers of all time.
Aime Cesaire grew up in Martinique, one of the French Caribbean islands, before leaving for Paris to continue his studies.
During the time that Cesaire grew up in the islands, African identity was something largely absent from both literature and everyday lexicon.
While many of returrn residents of the Caribbean had dark skin and were the descendants of slaves, this heritage was generally regarded as a mark of shame.
The dominant trend in society during was a distancing of oneself and family as much as possible from African origins. This meant speaking the language of the colonizing country, France, and as in Cesaire’s case, reading European literature and attending schools strictly run in the fashion of the colonial country.
It was during this formative period that Cesaire began to realize the need for a redefinition of black consciousness, one which would include the reclamation of history and a strengthened sense of identity independent of colonial powers. It was after Cesaire’s graduation nativd the Lycee, on a holiday to Yugoslavia, that he first began writing “Notebook. The speaker of the poem lanc on a journey to confront history, the bative and the positive, and to find a way to understand the identity both of himself and his people in light of that history.
The central metaphor of “Notebook” is that of trying natibe masks. As the poem’s narrator returns to his native town, he is struck by the perceived inertia of the residents. The have become complacent, to poverty, to colonialism, to self-loathing. The speaker of the poem wants to do something that will affect change in the black people of his town.
He wants to be the voice that heralds a metamorphosis of belief and identity, but he is not sure how to begin. The rest of the poem is goes through a series of metaphors pertaining natve masks of identities. The speaker tries on first one mask of identity, then another, in hopes of finding a regurn with which to motivate his natvie and force the reevaluation so desperately cesair.
From the grandiose role of liberator, of speaker for all the oppressed of the world, to speaker for only the black people of the Caribbean, to descendant of a glorious African heritage, all of the masks are inadequate for the task at hand.
The poem alternates been ecstatically hopeful and deep despair as the speaker is enamored, then disillusioned with his various masks. The epiphany or turn in the poem starts to come with the introduction of the concept of negritude.
While Cesaire explicitly spells out all of the things that negritude are not, he never provides an exact definition for what negritude isexactly. Upon closer analysis, it appears that negritude is more than a simple state, naative, or theory, but an action pertaining to intense self-analysis and redefinition. The narrator of the poem is unable to create an idea of a people based solely on African heritage and tradition, for as he states:.
I may as well confess that we were at all times pretty mediocre dishwashers, shoeblacks without amition, at best conscientious sorcerers and the only unquestionable record that we broke was that of endurance under the chicote [whip] In order to create a new identity that is more than just fantasy or wishful thinking, the narrator must accept both his African heritage as well as the legacy of slavery, poverty, and colonialism.
He will never be able to be a voice for his people or represent an idea of an integrated, whole person if he does not face his very real history.
And negritude, more than just a feeling of pride in the color of one’s skin, or in one’s origins, mmy to be found within this process of self-and cultural discovery. At the conclusion of “Notebook,” the narrator is humbled and has begun to understand the process of his own negritude. Only then is he finally able reyurn speak for and to the inhabitants of his “native land.
It is this confrontation with his own origins, his own insecurities, his own self-hatred and conflicted past that allows the speaker to be a voice to inspire others to transcend their passive and horizontal identities.
Writes Cesaire in the final pages of the poem:. Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.
Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites. I was thinking about it the other day, kand the whole consciousness redefinition issue really applies to so many groups. Maybe not so much any more in the African-American community in the US, I think its been pretty sucessful, but plenty of immigrant groups, and more recently LGBT groups are going through some similar issues This is really a great hub thanks for sharing.
The redefinition of Black consciousness is compelling and vital to understanding and growing self-awareness. I just read Christophe, good read!
Unfortunately I took Spanish instead of French in school, so I’m limited to the English-only versions. From what I hear, Cesaire’s writing loses a lot in translation Great — great hub!
We have been reading Cesair La tragedie de Roi Christophe thus this was a very interesting followup, I look forward to more. Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners. HubPages and Hubbers authors may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with aiime including Amazon, Google, and others.
Central Metaphor The central metaphor of “Notebook” is that of trying on masks. Negritude The epiphany or turn in the poem starts to come with the introduction of the concept of negritude.
Return to my Native Land by Aime Cesaire | : Books
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Understanding “Notebook of a Return to the Native Land” by Aime Cesaire | Owlcation
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