Book Four: Walcott in North America


  • Walcott in New England reflects on the imperial past of the U.S.
  • Back in Brookline, a suburb of Boston, Walcott struggles with his recent divorce and the resulting loneliness.
  • The curse on the house


  • Walcott in a plane over the Dakota sees a Crow horsemen and reflects on Manifest Destiny and its impact.
  • He compares his divorce to the loss on land the Native Americans underwent after the introduction of the railroad.
  • The scene switches to Catherine Weldon, a teacher and missionary among the Sioux in the Dakotas, who sings an elegy on Indian summer for the muses :


  • Walcott visits The Trail of Tears and reflects on the connections between Greek slavery, Southern slavery, and the treatment of the Native Americans.
  • Catherine Weldon recalls her return from the Plains to New York. (There is no historical evidence, by the way, that Weldon ever knew Wild Bill Cody.)
  • Weldon in her final letter decries the betrayal of treaties. Walcott is reading a book (about her?) and sees in Weldon the potential for a character. He hears in her the question of whether Christianity is for the Indians.


  • Walcott at a Boston museum finds Achille in Winslow Homer's The Gulf Stream and reflects on the imperialism of Melville in Moby Dick. Walcott finds he can't flag a cab after dark in Boston due to his skin color.
  • He reflects on the fear of race in Boston.
  • Walcott on a cold beach meets his father's ghost again, who tells Walcott that he must travel to the great cities of Europe before he returns to cherish St. Lucia's simplicity.