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Name: Linae Hendricks
School: St. Mary High School
Centre #:

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#1b
A response to Olive Seniors Stowaway

Name: Linae Hendricks


School: St. Mary High
Territory: Jamaica
Centre Number:
Candidate Number:
Subject: Literatures In English
Teacher: Ms. Wellington
Unit#: 2
Year of Submission: 2015

The Promised Land


By Linae Hendricks

The silence was deafening


Blocking out my thoughts
Waves of doubt beating,
against my vessel.
My heartbeat as loud as the
thudding footsteps above my grave
My path was still unclear,
As I had nowhere to run.

So you dragged me away


My footprints still left in the sand
Memories stained of my homeland
Stowaway?
Now the price I must pay

From rags to riches?


Rather, from rags to white witches
Blinded by my foolish pride
The grass not so green on the other side.

Explanation

Stowaway written by Olive Senior is a poem set in the Caribbean which tells the tale of
racial history in which blacks had to hide and flee so as to spare their own lives. The poem tells
of the emotional and physical struggle faced by the persona during a voyage to an unknown
destination and how she managed to stay unnoticed. Extreme desperation is experienced by the
persona as she is on the verge of being discovered by those aboard the ship. The readers are left
in suspense as the poem doesnt specify what exactly happens to the persona if or when they
reached the Promised Land. Due to her desperation, it makes her desire for freedom a dominant
theme in the poem Stowaway
Through the presentation and structure of the poem, there is a mixture of moods as there
are varying levels of uncertainty. The poet creates a sympathetic mood as the persona sits in fear
for her life not knowing when or if she will be discovered and captured. A pensive mood is also
created as the persona is in deep thought about whether or not she will make it to the Promised
Land and be free. The persona speaks in a doubt-filled tone as she contemplates her freedom.
The significance of the title Stowaway is quite literal as it tells about the journey of a
stowaway to an unknown land.
The poetic response to Olive Seniors Stowaway, entitled The Promised Land is a
poem written in free verse telling the story of what happened after the personas arrival at The
Promised Land, which was the unknown land that the persona so desperately wanted to reach. At
The Promised Land the persona is regrettably captured by the persons who were aboard the
ship. The first stanza tells what happens before the persona disembarks the ship, the prolonged
suspense and the emotional pressure felt by the persona, but she is later captured by those aboard
the ship. Here, the persona is speaks in frightful tone as the ship has docked and now she doesnt
know what is going to happen next. In the second and third stanza it shows the regret and

disappointment faced and felt by the persona as she was captured by the voyagers, resulting in all
her efforts going to waste. The theme of survival is highlighted as the persona now has to fight
for her survival. The Promised Land is structured so that the events lead up to one another.
That is: from inside the boat after arriving at the Promised Land to being captured and drawn
away by her oppressors. The order in which the story is told makes the story of the stowaway and
the Promised Land a vivid one allowing the readers to better understand it.

Justification

Olive Seniors Stowaway tells of the struggle endured by the persona fleeing from her
oppressors. In the poem there was a prolonged dramatic suspense as the persona awaited her fate
as to whether she was going to be captured or not. After leaving the readers to wonder what was
going to happen to the persona, the researcher felt obligated to give the readers some closure as
to what happened after she arrived at the Promised Land hence the name of the poetic response
The Promised Land. The response is an extended version of Olive Seniors Stowaway and is
geared at continuing the story of the stowaway as she is now deemed hopeless as she has
abandoned her people just to be recaptured by her oppressors. The response is also aimed at
highlighting the deep regret that the persona feels as she has escaped just to be recaptured.
In societies today citizens are longing to be freed, not necessarily from slavery but from
varying societal issues; that is: financial problems, the high rise in taxes, family and marital
problems and even crime and violence. As a result of these observations, the researcher chose the
The Promised Land as a suitable poetic response as this place of financial balance could be
their Promised Land. Thus leading to the researchers decision to choose the theme Desire for
Freedom, which was highlighted as one of the dominant themes in both poems: Stowaway and
The Promised Land seeing that the personas main intention was to be freed from the
oppression and from the boat itself.
The writers intention is to draw the readers attention to the struggles faced by blacks so
as to heighten their awareness on slavery and racism. The Promised Land is the most suitable
response for Stowaway seeing that both poems are similar in the sense that they both have the
same persona and they both have the theme of desire for freedom. Hence, The Promised Land
is an extension of Stowaway giving the readers the answers to questions that may have been

asked in Stowaway such as: What happened to the persona? Was she caught? Did she escape
to safety?
This is good but you cannot end the justification with a quote. It is anticlimactic.
Besides, you can add some information about Seniors concern for the struggling Caribbean
native here. Include information about what critics and Senior say about her concern with the
history of the region.

Evaluation
The poem The Promised Land and Stowaway works hand in hand as The Promised
Land is an extended version of Stowaway, a poetic response which tells what happens after
the persons fear filled journey to the Promised Land. This interpretation shows the
similarities between the two poems as they both seek to bring forward the theme of survival and
freedom.
The phrase Promised Land usually gives the impression that it is a safe place. This is
alluded to the story of the Israelites and the Promised Land. However, in the poetic response it is
seen as the total opposite. The persona had arrived at her destination but she was recaptured by
her oppressors. Through the use of various devices, the poet clearly depicts her intentions
through the use of similes, metaphors, onomatopoeia, oxymoron and pun.
In stanza one, they have arrived at their destination but the persona is still in the
hidden compartment of the boat. There was no sound as said in line one: The silence was
deafening. This line stems from Seniors poem Stowaway: Without soundings, theres no
telling. This line is also a metaphorical phrase as the silence is so prolonged that it compared to
something of a loud nature as it was said to be deafening. Due to the anxiety possibly faced by
the persona, not knowing what to expect, the silence was Blocking out her thoughts
Line 2 says Waves of doubt beating my vessel. This statement is a pun in the sense that
the persona is doubtful, being the waves and her physical body being her vessel, giving the
meaning that she is uncertain of her fate; whether she will be captured or if she will escape to

freedom. The line could be seen literally that literal waves were beating against the sides of the
literal vessel. In lines 3 and 4 the literary devices of simile and onomatopoeia are used to
compare the sound of her beating heart to the thudding sound of footsteps. The comparison made
of the beating heart and the thudding footsteps allows the reader to understand that the persona is
fearful causing her heart rate to increase as she anxiously waits. The sound device onomatopoeia
is used to allow the reader to use their audio visual sense of imagery to imagine what really
happened. The thudding of footsteps is usually loud, therefore the sound of her heartbeat must be
loud as the comparison between both sounds is used. The persona stated that my path was still
unclear, as I had nowhere to run as she had created a plan as to what she would have done when
she arrived at the Promised Land. It could also mean that she had gotten off the boat but she was
surrounded by those who were aboard as it goes on to say in the second stanza So you dragged
me away
The second stanza describes what happens to the persona after she is captured by
the inhabitants of the boat. Rhyme is used where it says My footprints still left in the sand,
Memories stained of my homeland as the events that took place are described. These two lines
imply that the persona deeply regrets her decision to run away because things just too a turn for
the worse. The persona speaks as if though she regrets her decision to flee. Where it says
Stowaway? it is as if the persona is questioning herself because she had made the worst
decision she could have ever made and Now the price I must pay as said in the last line.
In the third stanza, as she is being dragged away she thinks about what she had done and
blames herself for getting into this situation. Through the use of famous sayings such as From
rags to riches the intensity of the situation is shown as the persona thought that fleeing would
have made her life better but Rather, from rags to white witches as she is now led into the

arms of the whites. In Stowaway she stated that she was blinded by the Promised Land but in
The Promised Land she is now blinded by her foolish pride. She comes to terms that she is no
longer free so she blames her foolish pride. Branching off from the famous saying The grass is
greener on the other side to bring across the point in the poem the researcher says The grass
not so green on the other side so as to make notice that things did not get better as she was
captured. This line is also symbolic in the sense that it could be a message to the people she left
behind that they may think that things will be better if they try to escape but in essence not
everyone will have the same luck, some people will just have to die trying.
The poem is told from the perspective of the stowaway so as to give the readers a clearer
understanding of what really happened in the voyage. To tell the story from her point of view
makes it easier to read and analyse the poem. In Olive Seniors collection of poem Gardening in
The Tropics she gives us her opinion on the history of the Caribbean people; both good and bad.
Through Stowaway she highlights the fact that the persona abandoned her roots trying to get a
better life but in the process she got caught making it a bad example of Caribbean people and
travellers tales. As she is making it seem that Caribbean people are all for themselves and will
abandon their culture to make themselves better off thinking only of themselves and not others
which when compared to gardening is a negative form of gardening. However, the response The
Promised Land effectively examines the events that took place after the persona arrived at the
Promised Land.

Good effort here, Linae, but your evaluation needs much deeper analysis than this.

Instead of analysing the poem stanza by stanza, as you began, structure the evaluation in
such a way that discuss the poem technique by technique. Let your techniques be the main
focus. Also, what about other elements of the poem? You need to discuss the use of tone and
mood in your poem as well as form. You must show the examiners that you understand
everything about the nature of poetry, not just figures of speech. Also, you must do the
same for Seniors poem. You need a more intimate analysis of hers as well, showing, also,
that you understand her use of various techniques, her tone and mood.
Additionally, you have not explored the themes in depth as you should. Just
mentioning the theme is not enough. You need to discuss how it is developed IN DEPTH. In
doing so, you must say, in turn, how the devices you used and the devices Senior employed
are effective in developing the theme. You must show how each element of the poem is
related/interconnected. Otherwise, this is not an analysis but an explanation.
Furthermore, your MUST show evidence of RESEARCH. You need to do some
research about what critics have to say about Seniors collection. Discuss how this poem
fits into the collection and the section entitled Travelers Tales. Also, you need to do some
research on the background or literary context of the poem and include it in your SBA.
You must discuss how the history of the region where migration is concerned- is reflected
in the poem. Remember, Senior writes about history, about real life situations in the
Caribbean. You need to show how she does this in her poem and how you have also
reflected this in yours. You can even use sources from textbooks and news articles, even
editorials. This is what we mark for under Knowledge and Understanding and Application
of Knowledge.

Knowledge and Understanding - 9/15


Application of Knowledge - 12/23
Organisation of Information - 7/10
Total - 28/48

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