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Limbo - MCH Analysis

Limbo - MCH Analysis

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Published by stephancollishaw
Limbo - GCSE English Anthology
Limbo - GCSE English Anthology

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Published by: stephancollishaw on May 23, 2008
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11/08/2010

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Limbo
by Edward Kamau Brathwaite
CULTURE
West Indies:
Colonised by European countries in the18
th
century
Slaves brought from Africa by theseEuropean countries to work in the sugar cane fields and other crops
SURFACE MEANING
During a customary limbo dance the dancer isreminded of the history of Afro-Caribbeans asslaves
LANGUAGE
ImagerySimile = “limbo like me” – either 
 join me inthis dance
or 
 I am in limbo
Metaphor:
“And limbo stick is the silence in front of me”
“long dark deck is the silence in front of me”
“stick is the whip / and the dark deck isslavery”Personification:
“and the dark still steady”
“long dark deck and the silence is over me”
“and the water is hiding”
“and the music is saving me”Sound PatternsAssonance:
“stick hit” (harsh “i” sound like something being struck)
“stick is the whip” (as above)
“stick knock” (“ck” sound again likesomething being struck)Alliteration:
“limbo limbo like me” (musical)
“dark deck”
IDEAS, ATTITUDES, FEELINGS
Ideas:
Although the limbo dance is now thoughtof as a spectacle for tourists, its historycomes from the exercises slaves used to doto keep themselves fit on the slave shipsAttitudes:
If the limbo stick represents the shackles of slavery or life, then the dance is an act of liberation and a way to be free of these ties(figuratively and literally) (“up up up / andthe music is saving me”)Feelings:
Oppression
Suffocation and being overwhelmed (“thewater surrounding me”, “the silence is over me”)
There is no real sense of anger at slaveryas you might expect but rather the sense of it, like the limbo stick, is an obstacle thatcan be overcome
Release / Joy (“and the drummers are praising me”, “and the dumb gods areraising me”, “and the music is saving me”)
STRUCTURE
24 stanzas of varying length No punctuation except final full stop at the endLoose structure and rhythm involving singlelines or couplets followed by “chorus” of “limbo limbo like me” except from lines 32 tothe end where the “chorus” is replaced threetimes by the actions of the dancer (“downdown down”)Heavy beat to first line of some the couplets by using monosyllabic words withoutconjunctions (“stick hit sound”) followed bythe more flowing next line that does useconjunctions (“and the ship like it ready”)Rhyme:

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