Transcultural Harp?

Henry Derozio’s poem The Harp of India depicts an individual who is at their lowest point and ends with the hope of turning it around. While that is a general idea of the poem it actually goes beyond that if you consider the historical context. India, just like Ireland, had faced a multitude of challenges brought out by their colonizers. While enduring these attacks it made not only an individual but also a country silent. The title being a Harp symbolizes the lively melody so when Derozio suggests that there’s a silent country it represents silence in politics and culture. As stated, “Unstrung for ever, must thou there remain;/ Thy music once was sweet — who hears it now?” (2-3). The Harp is originally a symbol in Ireland to represent their fight for survival and adapting in a changing society. Since the poem brings up silence it may represent India not having their own sense of identity and having problems in standing out such as the melodies of a harp.

 

Having the perspective of silence in the poem suggests that the poem may both extend and complicate history. The issue that the poem meant to address was a country, India, being overrun by Europeans but can the same overshadowing occur with the Harp? While an excellent symbol for Irish identity it also does not directly come from India thus it complicates the history of where they derive their sense of identity. Within the extended history outlook the idea that finding a sense of identity may be challenging suggests that we don’t necessarily know how. We, just like the India people, have been conformed on what it right and wrong in society.

 

– Kristy Frausto

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