Chapter

Carnival and Afro-Cuban Ritual in Nicolás Guillén's “Sensemayá: canto para matar una culebra”

Thomas F. Anderson

in Carnival and National Identity in the Poetry of Afrocubanismo

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780813035581
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780813038131 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5744/florida/9780813035581.003.0004
Carnival and Afro-Cuban Ritual in Nicolás Guillén's “Sensemayá: canto para matar una culebra”

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This chapter aims at demonstrating that “Sensemayá: para matar una culebra” can be viewed as an evocation of the controversies surrounding Afro-Cuban comparsas during the early decades of the Cuban Republic. The chapter argues that this particular poem can be easily read as Guillén's reaction to the bans imposed on Afro-Cuban comparsas in the twentieth century. The chapter also analyses while reading the poem that the act of the killing of the snake in the poem cannot only be understood as a symbolic annihilation of traditional carnival comparsas but also as a metaphor for symbolizing the attempts made to abolish other Afro-Cuban cultural signs.

Keywords: comparsas; Nicolás Guillén; Afro-Cuban; Cuban Republic; twentieth century; cultural signs

Chapter.  10871 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Society and Culture

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