literary analysis of themes in bans a killin

In the literary analysis of themes in Bans a Kilin, there are two themes present, which are Identity crisis and the Imposition of language. 

About the poet 

Louise Bennett is a famous Jamaican poet, presenter, poetess, folklorist, and comedian. Bennett was born in Colonial Jamaica. She used to do a radio show on BBC Radio called Caribbean Carnival and West Indian Nights. On television, her popular show was Ring Ding. Apart from these, many of her shows were pretty well known on both mediums. She was given honorary Doctor of Letters by York University. 

Louise Bennett is one of those Jamaicans who have supported the cause of restoring Jamaican identity and culture. 

Jamaican Patois 

Language is the identity of any nation. Therefore, Jamaican Patois is known as the national identity. Patois was originally generated from the language of English masters and local African slaves. These slaves were brought to Jamaica for slavery reasons by Britishers. 

Literary Analysis of themes in Ban a Killin 

Identity Crisis 

Louise Bennette has reflected over her own identity when she asks Mr Charlie if he wants to end all the dialects of English? She is unable to understand that whether it is for all the dialects or specifically the Jamaican one. 

For someone who is already a part of a postcolonial region, it is painful for them to see their identity in threat. Initially, these people saw crisis when their customs were intruded and if this was not enough, the so-called civilized wants to snatch their language as well. 

Bennette has further said in her poem Bans a Killin:

If you’ve examined the English Language,
Then what makes you feel inferior when
it comes to dialects?

Although, it clearly shows that she wants Mr Charlie to see the fact that if he takes a close look at the English language, then he will realize that it is a mixture of all other languages around. When this language is itself a dialect, then what is the point of disliking other dialects? Why Mr Charlie feel like if other dialects will make English look inferior. 

Imposition of language 

If you can’t sing ‘Linstead Market’ And ‘Water come a me yeye’ Then we have to stop singing ‘Auld lang syne’ And ‘Comin through de rye’.

It is certainly an imposition of a language when you have double standards. It is that at one point, you want them to sing your folk songs while on the other hand, you do not want to sing othe’s folk songs that are dear to them. 

She referred to Scottish folk songs like Auld lang syne and Comin through de rye, which colonists wants colonized to sing.  

It is indeed an imposition of language when one language is consider to be lesser than the other. 

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