| Explanation/Discussion | Evidence |
Title | Colonial Girls School | |
Poet | Olive Senior | |
ELEMENT | | |
Point of View | The speaker’s point of view is sad and confused. Why do we have to learn about all these people? All these languages? Yet we learn nothing about ourselves. | “[We’re] told nothing of ourselves…nothing about us at all”Lines 12-13 |
Tone | The speaker is angry. She’s angry about the fact that her mind and her thoughts are filled by these people with “northern pale eyes” and not one space is free in her mind to think about her background. | “How those pale northern eyes and aristocratic whispers once erased us…debased us”Lines 14-17 |
Mood | The ...view middle of the document...
Stanza five (5), a quatrain, gives the reader a better understand of their “syllabus”. It is heavily European dominated. They are forced to ignore their own history while being taught about the European history.Stanza six (6) , a couplet, further reinforces stanza five in the sense that there is nothing left of their culture. It is shadowed by “aristocratic history”.Stanza seven (7), a tercet consisting of 3 lines. This stanza is the first reference of a black person in the poem. It speaks about Marcus Garvey and how distraught he would be if he were alive to see the treatment his people are enduring. It also makes reference to the segregation dispute that happened in America and Africa.Stanza eight (8), a couplet, is placed here as the recurring stanza to emphasize the struggles their people endure only to get no recognition.Stanza nine (9), a cinquain consisting of 5 lines, speaks about the effects of being forced to learn European education from an early age and continuing for months, even years. It also makes note to the fact that not only was their education sought after, so was their way of speaking. So much so, that their local Creole was frowned upon and considered “bad talking”. If they were caught “talking bad” they would be punished.Stanza ten (10), the reoccurring couplet, this time speaks about trying to look for anything that points to their true culture and history. It talks about searching, but finding nothing.Stanza eleven (11), a cinquain, has a reminiscing mood to it. The speaker seems to be talking to someone, telling them that when they’re older, they will talk about all the fairytale stories they’ve heard and all the local folk stories too.Stanza twelve (12) is a tercet. It speaks about their views of Europeans now and how their attempts to erase them have been futile.Stanza thirteen (13) is a singleton and is the last line in the poem. Even though it is just one word, it is a continuation of stanza twelve in the sense that it digs deeper in the speaker’s newfound sense of identity. | “Borrowed images willed our skins pale,”Lines 1-2“dekinked our hair”Line 6“yoked our minds to declensions in Latin and…Shakespeare”Lines 10-11“Told us nothing about ourselves…nothing about us at all”Lines 12-13“…pale northern eyes and aristocratic whispers…erased us”Lines 14-15“…our loudness, our laughter debased us”Lines 16-17“There was nothing left of ourselves”Line 18“Studying: History Ancient and Modern”Line 20“Kings and Queens of England, Steppes of Russia…”Lines 21-22“…Nothing of our landscape there”Line 24“Marcus Garvey turned twice in his grave”Line 26“They were talking of desegregation”Line 28“Feeling nothing about ourselves”Line 33“Months, years, a childhood memorizing Latin…”Lines 35-36“(For our language-‘bad talking’- detentions)Lines 37-39“Finding nothing about us there”Line 40“…the mirror broke, Who kissed us awake, Who let Anansi from his...