The comparison of the author's use of imagery of trees in "Heirs to the Past" and "The Dark Child" by Camara Laye

Essay by roy8545High School, 12th grade April 2003

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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...