The persona, a white male, proudly enters Sabina Park to watch a cricket match between England and the West Indies. The persona notices that the game is slow and that the crowd is not reacting well. He is, in fact, initially shocked that there is a crowd at all because this is usually not the case at Lords. By lunch, England is sixty eight for none, and the crowd gets abusive. They even state that maybe they should borrow Lawrence Rowe. The persona tries to explain the reason behind the slow pace of the British side, but fails to convince even himself. His embarrassment at England’s performance has him eventually skulking out of the venue.
LITERARY DEVICES 1. RHETORICAL QUESTION
Stanza 2, lines 6-7: This question reveals that, despite the fact that cricket is a popular sport in England, the venues for the matches are not crowded. This question could also point to the fact that Sabina Park was very crowded.
Stanza 3, line 10: This question represents the general frustration of the West Indians in the crowd. They are annoyed that the cricket match is progressing so slowly.
Stanza 4, lines 16-18: These questions imply that the West Indian crowd’s level of frustration has escalated.
2. ALLUSION–The allusion to Lawrence Rowe, a very colourful and successful West Indian cricketer, emphasizes the fact that the match is slow and boring.
3. SARCASM- To ‘boycott’ is to abstain from, or to stop, doing something. Therefore, the persona is being sarcastic because excitement is a good thing. People usually boycott for something negative, therefore the persona is, again, highlighting the slow and boring pace of the cricket match.
IMPORTANT WORDS/ PHRASES
4.’rosette of my skin’
Rosette implies a reddish colour, or tint, to the skin, that sometimes resembles a rose. This description immediately identifies the race of the persona as caucasian. The persona is proud of his race, as he enters Sabina Park.
‘This word means to walk proudly. It emphasizes the fact that the persona is proudly walking into Sabina Park.
6.’something badly amiss’
The persona is jolted by the fact that the match is going slowly. The word ‘amiss’ implies wrong, the game should not be going so slowly.
Vociferous means to be very noisy and clamorous, while partisan is a person who shows biased, emotional allegiance. Therefore, the West Indian crowd was extremely noisy in their support of their team. They were also very unappreciative of the slow pace of the match.
8.’England sixty eight for none at lunch’
While this is a good score, it never-the-less highlights the slowness of the match, hence the fact that the experience, for the crowd, was far from exciting.
9.’the wicket slow’
The purpose of the wicket is to ‘out’ the opposing side. Therefore, no ‘outing’ is occurring, the wickets are standing. Everything about the match is going slowly.
This implies a sticky, or awkward situation. It highlights England’s situation.
The English team was being loudly abused.
12.’skulking behind a tarnished rosette’
Skulking implies hiding in shame, and tarnished means tainted. Therefore, the proud Englishman is now embarrassed, and the rosette of his skin is making him stand out. Initially this was a very good thing, but now it is a disadvantage.
At this point, the Englishman admits to being embarrassed for his team, as well as himself.
*There is a distinct CONTRAST between the beginning of the poem when the persona is proud, and ‘struts’. However, by the end of the poem, he is embarrassed and ‘skulking’
There are two distinct voices in this poem. The Englishman’s and the West Indian’s.
The mood of the poem is tense.
The tone of the poem is one of frustration (West Indian) and embarrassment (English man).
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