An Analysis of Le Loupgarou by Derek Walcott


This poem tells the tale of old LeBrun, a man that was rumoured by the townspeople to be a loupgarou. Old women would relax under the eaves and gossip about Le Brun, while literally shutting him out of their lives with their closing windows. The prevailing gossip, in this poem, is that he transformed into a hound one night, but was dealt a wound by his own watchman. He then lugged his entrails back to his doorstep, almost dead.



•Lines 1-3: This alliteration gives the reader visual imagery of the manner in which the gossip about Le Brun spread. A thread is thin and fine and can weave itself in any crevice, sometimes in a very non-linear and sinuous manner. This describes the way in which the gossip spread. It managed to touch the whole village in an almost insidious, and complete, manner.

•Line 5: This literary device speaks to the results of the gossip. Le Brun is alienated from the people of the town. Their fascination with him, however, is evident by the fact that they slowly shut their jalousie/windows. The lack of speed implies that they are watching him, while also alienating him.

•Lines 17-21: This alliteration highlights the severity of the loupgarou’s injuries. You can almost see and hear the wetness of the blood, as well as see the entrails trailing wet through the use of this device.


The tap-tapping cane is a part of Le Brun’s physical description. He appears to stand out, in terms of his physical appearance, down to the use of his cane.


This statement appears nonsensical at first but actually makes sense in the long run. The loupgarou is, in fact, a man who is leading a half-life as man and beast, so he is not really ‘living’. The fact that he can pass on the ‘gift’ of becoming a werewolf clarifies the fact that Le Brun is actually ‘licensed to sell sick fruit’, or pass on his sick ‘gift’.


The words ‘Christian’ and ‘witches’, placed together, emphasizes the dual nature of the women in the village. They are good Christian women who mean no harm, but their fear of the ‘difference’ that they sense in Le Brun (contributed by his mode of dress), leads them to react in an unchristian manner, like witches, in dealing with him.

* IRONY-It is ironic that Le Brun’s own watchman dealt him a lethal blow.


5. curious 

This word emphasizes the strangeness of the story that is circulated about Le Brun.

6. white linen-linen suit, pink glasses, cork hat (and cane)

This outfit would let anyone be seen in a crowd or otherwise. It emphasizes Le Brun’s difference, hence, one of the reasons that he would be the focus of gossip. Imagine an individual dressed in the combination below:

7. Alsatian hound, a slathering lycanthrope 

This description of Le Brun displays the distaste that is felt towards him in his animal form.


The mood of the poem is reflective.


The tone of the poem is calm and reflective. The persona appears to be simply recounting a piece of gossip.



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