Interpretation of Letter from Mama Dot
Writer: Fred D’aguiar
The current poem “Letter from Mama Dot” is written by Fred D’aguiar. He was born in 1960 in London. The poet is very conscious while writing this poem. The speaker of the poem is obviously a Caribbean mother who is writing to her son working abroad in England. Her son has gone abroad due to the unemployment and property in the country.
There is dictatorship in her country even after independence. Due to American influence, Caribbean identity has been lost gradually. She is worried about her son. She thinks that her son’s identity might be in crisis. Therefore, she wishes her son to maintain his birthright and come back home. She finally tells her son to reply the letter but there is no proper transpiration and communication facility available. It takes a long time for his letter and parcels to reach to his mother.
The Caribbean mother is living a life full of problems and the condition of home has become worse in the absentia of her son. There is violence. Everywhere is food crisis so that she tells him to send some foods. In this way, the productivity of the county is going down. There would be good rice production in the past but now there is no rice. People have to stand in queue for several hours to get food. They have to eat only salt-fish everyday.
The Caribbean mother writes to her son that their language is becoming pidgin and losing its purity. Language is a marker of national identity but the identity is threatened through language. The country is underdeveloped third world country. England is a prosperous country compared to her native Caribbean country. As she indicates in the poem that her son was born in England, he has the right to gain British citizenship. But she is worried that her son might lose that right. She has the sense of loss and feels uncomfortable. If this is so, doesn’t she want him to put down the roots in British? Of course, she is writing the same thing through her letter to her son. Finally, she ends her letter expressing ‘Neva see come of see’ in local language that shows the local identity.