In the poem "A Far Cry From Africa", the author, Derek Walcott, creates the universal idea that no amount of pressure can change how a person really feels on the inside. Derek Walcott uses poetic devices such as imagery, point of view, and symbolism in order to convey the theme. This poem is about a country's struggle and a man's struggle against colonialism.
Imagery plays a large part in developing the theme for the poem. The narrator's words produce images in the reader's mind that shows the harshness of colonialism. For example, the narrator says, "Batten upon the bloodstreams of the veldt. / Corpses are scattered through a paradise." (Lines 3 & 4) This creates the image of a beautiful country ruined from the brutality of the colonialists. Dead bodies are seen across the land because no compassion is shown toward them. The narrator then says that statistics and scholars say that colonialism is good for those being taken over. (Line 7) He questions this statement by stating, "What is that to the white child hacked in bed?" (Line 9) The image created from his question is that of a young child killed in his sleep one night. This child is of the colonialist's own kind, yet he is still killed; stressing the point that no one is safe form colonialism. In relation to the theme, these images show that colonialism uses the pressure of violence in order to make an entire country conform to their ideas and beliefs.
The point of view in this poem is that of a man who is a victim of colonialism. This man is torn between the ideas of conforming to the colonists and betraying Africa, or staying who he is and getting killed. His struggle between the two ideas is shown throughout the entire poem. At one point he asks, "Where shall I turn, divided to the vein?" (Line 27) In the entire first stanza, the man describes the cruelty of colonialism, yet he is still considering being like them.