Yeats implies that ownership is futile as, with the inevitability of death, comes the inevitability that one day ownership will be lost when-as Yeats puts it-“the [master is] ride”. The fact that “mice can play’ once the “masters buried” brings together a new Idea of owning-or possessing-people and the Idea that through this ownership comes a hierarchy which leads to people being treated like “mice”. The fact that they can now “play”, now that the master has gone, Implies that the master oppressed them through his ownership of them. However this section of the poem where the “mice play” is linked to a previous section which talked of dreams.
They are linked through rhyme. In the previous section, which starts “Mere dreams, mere dreams! And continues until “As if some marvelous empty sea-shell flung”, has the rhyming scheme A. B. A. B. A. The fact that Yeats has also given the section, that Includes the mice playing, the same rhyming scheme, Indicates that this Is a “mere dream” and that the ownership is still present and needs to be relinquished before they can play. Walcott in particular references the idea that-through the idea that one human owns another-the humanity and the rights of the owned human can be stripped away.
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This links to Walkout’s main theme of the slave trade. The line “some slave is rotting in this manorial lake” shows this idea the best. By describing the lake as “manorial” Walcott has linked the ownership of the lake to the death of the slave and thus Implements the owners In the Implied crime. This could lead to the desire to renounce ownership of the lake so as to escape the implementations associated with it. The line: “protecting the great house/ from guilt” shows that with ownership comes the need for pride in possessions-also shown in the Yeats poem with the “escutcheon’s ours”.
However, Walcott also makes reference to the idea that the mice can play once the “masters buried”. Walcott has been described by critics as a “poetry pirate” from other poets and uses them for his own purposes. This is the most obvious way Walcott challenges the idea of ownership. He takes these lines-such as “Part of the continent, piece of the main”- and uses them ironically for his own meaning. It is often ironic as the original meaning of the lines is normally the opposite of what Walcott uses them for.
This contrasts to Yeats-who implied that the idea that the mice can play is a dream-as Walkout’s ‘poetry piracy is an example of the mice playing. Indeed it links with the Yeats line: “And maybe the great-grandson of that house… ‘s but a mouse. ” Walcott, a descendant of slaves, is this mouse and-by taking ownership of lines that others own-he is playing. This shows how the shackles of ownership, set upon the slaves in Walkout’s poem, have been relinquished by the inevitability of the loss of ownership and by “the leprosy of empire. ”