The play, The Sea at Dauphin by Derek Walcott depicts the livelihood of the people that reside in the land of Dauphin. Three prominent aspects of their living conditions include poverty, alcoholism, and heighten religious presence. These features mash together creates an image of a small community, therefore reflects the culture of a family island called Eleuthera, in the Bahamas.

The people in Dauphin live in poor conditions. Afa states, in lines 109-111 “swell little children belly with bad worm, and woman to wear clothes white people use to wipe their foot”. Consequently, as a means of survival fishing is utilize therefore providing employment and food. Likewise, in Eleuthera, an island in the Bahamas, the similar characteristic also exists. There is no mega-resort or hotels. The only options available are becoming a civil servant, or work in a privately owned business. If neither, you are borderlining to poverty. Subsequently, men that fall in this predicament usually use the sea as their livelihood. Therefore, going out into the harbor and selling their fish on the dock.

Moreover, alcoholism is also a shared characteristic amongst the two communities. The play features alcoholism amongst the fishing community, as a way of life. In addition, the play also features a hit spot for the fisherman, which is Samuel Café. Likewise, in Eleuthera fisherman know how to “love them self” after a long day of work. For instance, majority of them would flock to “Ronnies Hide-A-Way” to get there fix of drink.

Lastly, both Dauphin and Eleuthera share a sharp religious presence with their community. In Dauphin, the jargon use was coated with religious overture. For example, line 26 Garcia mentions, “God forget us”, line 93 “Ah, God, you hear”, and line 157 “God will bless you.” Therefore, attesting “dirt and prayer is Dauphin life”. Similarly, Eleuthera have the similar characteristic of religious traits embedded in the community. For example, jargon wise, its common to hear people say “God rest the dead” when talking about a dead person. Or when talking about the future, normally a person would say “lord, spare life”.

In conclusion, poverty, alcoholism, and heighten religious presence embodies not solely aspects of Dauphin, but small communities too. This play perpetuates cultural norms that can adapt to any range of Caribbean islands.


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