[Caribbean Literature]

Pantomime and Polyrhythm


David P. Lichtenstein '99, Brown University, Contributing Editor, Caribbean Web

Derek Walcott's play Pantomime represents a marked departure from the literature of the past, both West Indian and otherwise, in its presentation of a West Indian man. Like many Caribbean authors, Walcott sets the rhythms of the colonial against those of the imperial power. But unlike so many of his predecessors, he equalizes the footing of these two currents (embodied in the play in the characters of Harry and Jackson) to a much greater degree than ever before. While the two still remain attached to and confounded by the categories that would divide them, nonetheless plumbing the depths of their characters demonstrates how Walcott has truly allowed them to share the stage on which they act.

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