The Comparison Of The Author's Use Of Imagery Of Trees In "Heirs To The Past" And "The Dark Child" By Camara Laye

1323 words - 5 pages

Trees have been often used as powerful images in literature to represent various meanings. The imagery of trees has been used to represent various themes such as life, re-growth, and possession . In the books Heirs to the Past by Driss Chraibi and The Dark Child by Camara Laye, trees have been used to represent different elements and ideas, both directly and ambiguously.The arboreal elements in both books play a significant role in the imagery, often as metaphors, or to set the general ambience of the scene. Driss Chraibi uses the imagery of trees to illustrate the role of the Seigneur in Driss' life, Driss' emotions towards the Seigneur, and as a personal identity of Driss. "How I recognized the square from my childhood, but not one tree remained. Only the 'iron cagings' were still there, and they were almost a symbol ." The Seigneur is the head of the family and is respected by all who know him. The "iron cagings" are defining the Seigneurs' territory, as a leader, and as the head of the family. At the time, there are no trees, for the Seigneur is dead; no trees are left in Driss' native land or in his heart. The reason that the author chooses trees is because even though the Seigneur is tough, as he has authority and power, he provided hope to many of the locals, he was a "provider and our dignity"; and still flexible as a trees' branch (Chraibi 30).Throughout the book, there is a consistent use of the imagery of trees to represent the Seigneurs' relationship to Driss. During the Seigneur's funeral, the scene is opened with references to trees, which are used as images of life, and contradict the funeral theme of death. The presence of the canary on the tree is connecting Driss to his father; for once the funeral procession starts, the canary leaves the procession, symbolizing the freedom of the Seigneurs' family from the "iron cages" (Chraibi 30).The Seigneur is portrayed as an honorable man and a leader. Driss realizes that the Seigneur is a role model and a person that helped him continue his life. "I was born of the East and the traditions of the East. I had received my schooling and education in Western schools. And not only had the graft taken, but the tree had never given so much fruit (Chraibi 104-5)." Driss rebelled against his father when he moved to a new culture in hope of gaining greater knowledge and an improved society. However, it was Driss' homeland that made his tree flourish. Driss' culture and traditions were more rewarding and providing than the West's. Here the trees are used to show how the Seigneur was a leader, and a provider to Driss.Imagery of trees is also used as a personal identity. Chraibi is portraying Driss' emotions as well as a connection between the past and the present by using the imagery of trees. Driss notices "a fresh, soft breeze," which is a warm image. During the funeral, Driss also observes that the tree has changed, "assumed a different color," like his native land after sixteen years. Driss...

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