Nigeria, country blessed with wealth But many people there do dwell In squalor, lack and ill in health As government claims to change propel. By strife and greed her seams were slit To serve those who must riches gain, Few men who morals did omit With ruthless hands these things they drain. The tribes around the Niger spread With hatred each the next does view From east to west and north ahead All plotting bloody change through coup. So let us mourn our crumbling home That sinks in deep and dreary foam.
This is the intellectual property of UDE, Chiedozie. This poem should not be copied or printed in any form without the writer’s permission.
Adichie, generally, should be applauded for being able to shine in the literary world of Nigerian literature which has been largely dominated by the Soyinkas and Achebes. I read Purple Hibiscus for the first time in 2011. Back then, I read it for what it was: an interesting story. However, of recent, I cannot help but give kudos to Adichie for the manner in which she approached everything in this book.
Firstly, her use of her protagonist, as the narrator, helped us to see things from the perspective of a girl made timid by familial obligations and religious constriction. Undoubtedly, the use of this mode of narration helped to endear the character of Kambili to the readers. Adichie’s descriptions of the events are actually how a teenage girl would describe them; thus, giving credence to her choice of Kambili as the narrator.
Secondly, I love her character development. At first, we get to see Kambili as a naive lady, but as time goes on, she comes of age and is able to make several decisions without feeling guilty. One of such is her decision to confess her love to Father Amadi, a man whose job as a preacher requires celibacy. Other instances of this transition can be seen in the way she develops other opinions which are contrary to those of her religious zealot father. This coming of age is what reinforces the bildungsroman aspect of the book.
Also, in terms of character development, we see Jaja grow from a spectator to a key player who begins to look after his sister and mother. Of course, the defiance he shows to his father helps to make the conflict more interesting. Unarguably, the most important act performed by Jaja is when he decides to take the blame for his father’s murder in a bid to protect his mother. This act performed by Jaja debunks the claims made by many that Adichie is totally against the male gender.
Furthermore, Mama also experience this growth; howbeit, not in terms of ageing. She metamorphoses from being a timid woman who lived to please her abusive husband to a woman who would kill her husband in order to protect the children and herself. However callous this may seem, the premeditated murder of Eugene by Mama is justifiable.
Another thing that makes this book worth the hype is that this text discusses a lot of sociological issues that happen in Nigeria — both past and present. The past events covered in this text include: the military coups, the transition from military to civilian rule, the killing of journalists (Ade Coker). The murder of Ade Coker draws great semblance with the murder of the historical personality, Dele Giwa. Thus, we have to give Adichie credit for covering these issues in her text.
Of modern concern in this text has to be themes such as: patriarchy, religious rigidity, the depleted educational system of Nigeria, amongst others. Patriarchy is displayed through the way Eugene Achike rules his family with an iron fist. The religious perspective, also, cannot be underemphasised because many of the actions in the text are instigated by the religious beliefs of the characters. Eugene, for example, believes his father is a pagan; thus, he refuses to respect and help his old father.
Indeed, Adichie’s Purple Hibiscus is a story that is totally worth the hype. It is one that will forever be treasured by yours truly.
They took the burden on their shoulders Their necks had no rest Their hands always pounding Their heads always calculating They thought of everyone except themselves They loved like no other They took the pain with joy And the sorrows of their children They took upon themselves
Their eyes were shut But they never slept Their lips always ready to put their husbands to rest Their breast sagged so fast due to excess loving They had enough strength to trek a thousand miles to distant farms They thought values and gave knowledge to infants
All they ever wanted was peace They gave their all in all Even after being abandoned by fathers who left them to pay the fees Still, after little tears They rose to their feet to lift Sons and daughters With the help of their maker They succeeded eating the fruits of their labour
“The Flea” and “To his Coy Mistress” are two very similar poems. This similarity is exposed by the fact that they are, by form and content, metaphysical poems. The metaphysical tradition is one which discusses issues on religion or love in a philosophical way, usually through the use of specific poetic devices like conceits and hyperboles. It is based on the witty and philosophical manner in which Donne and Marvell treat their subjects that will constitute the focus of this analysis.
John Donne’s “The Flea” can be regarded as a typical metaphysical poem. This is brought to the fore through a lot of factors. One of such factors is Donne’s use of a passionate persona who does all in his power to woo his mistress into having sexual relations with him. The persona makes use of witty arguments in order to convince his lady to cave in to his demands. To buttress his point, the persona makes a very unlikely comparison, using an insect — a flea. He compares the act of blood-sucking done by the flea to the consummation of a union through sexual intercourse— “And in this flea, our two blood mingled be”. This unlikely comparison is a device known as conceit. Also, it is expected of the lady to rebuff the persona’s act of seduction.
Likewise in Marvell’s “To his Coy Mistress”, the employment of a passionate lover as the poet persona also stands out. Marvell’s persona also employs wit in his bid to seduce his lady. He presents an imaginary situation whereby time is not a factor. The persona uses a series of hyperboles to educate the lady on the extent he can go to show his love for her if only time was nonexistent:
“An hundred years should go to praise Thine eyes, and on thy forehead gaze; Two hundred to adore each breast, But thirty thousand to the rest; An age at least to every part, And the last age should show your heart.”
He informs his lady that he can afford to be patient if he had enough time, but because this is unlikely, he impatiently tries to convince the lady to use the opportunity presented by youth to have sex with him. Undoubtedly, the passionate stance of Marvell’s persona towards is lover reinforces the metaphysical origin of this poem.
Another thing that is noteworthy in these poems is the recurring motif of courtly love. Courtly love is one which requires a man to attempt wooing a lady. It is because of this convention of courtly love that we are presented with a passionate persona who does his best possible in order to convince a lady of his love for her. Thus, it comes as no surprise that both personae in the poems are presented as desperate men who use various tricks to aid the seduction of their mistresses. Both personae are philosophical in their approach. While Donne makes use of conceit, Marvell uses the shortness of time to strengthen his argument for the consummation of their union. On the other hand, the lady, the object of the persona’s affection, is expected to be unreceptive towards his advances.
Furthermore, metaphysical poetry is also marked through the argumentative style. Some times, this argument is in the form of a dialogue between a man and his mistress; but other times, it is in the form of a monologue. Marvell’s and Donne’s poems fall into the later category. Both poets craftily deploy their wits by citing various reasons why their ladies should submit to their demands. Donne presents his argument by using a flea who sucks blood from his mistress without having to go through the stress of winning her affection. To Donne, this act done by the flea is as inconsequential as the act of losing one’s virginity as a lady. So, Donne argues that the lady should be more accepting to his amorous desires. Similarly, Marvell presents his argument adroit fashion. He informs the lady of how time is an enemy of youth and beauty. He follows a pattern by first establishing what could be achieved if time was on their side. He then moves on by declaring that time cannot be defeated; thus, proving to his mistress thst the only logical thing to do is to seize the day — Carpe Diem.
Today, instead of discussing religion or politics, I have decided to go back in time and narrate an incident which at first I did not find funny.
The year was 2013 and our SSCE results were out. I decided to go to Ilasa to see my friends. I had this friend called Dare Oke, a plump boy who seemed to roll instead of walking(we are still in touch). He, alongside I, decided to visit some girls (sisters) which I’ll call X and Y.
Being parochial, we hatched a plan to tell their mother that we had forgotten our WAEC registration number and we think that her daughters would help us remember them. Back then, this sounded like a master plan for we were sure that X and Y’s extremely smart mother will not suspect that we had other motives. The plan looked perfect; it was time to visit some ladies.
When we got to the house of X and Y, we could not garner the courage to knock at their door; so, we spent almost 30minutes rehearsing our speech, removing the parts we felt were wanton and also trying to embellish our speech with a plethora of high-sounding words because we knew that their mother was a tough one. We had to appear saintly.
At last we summoned courage and knocked, a maid opened the door and guess what?? We met them (the whole family) eating dinner. X and Y looked at us, really astonished that we had defied reason and common sense to visit them for we all knew quite well that their mother was a tyrant
The look we got from the mum could have frozen hell. In fact, I saw her eyes glint with danger. My heart melted. Maybe we were wrong to visit. We were in for it.
After dinner, their mum stood up and walked majestically across the room with the sure-footedness of an alpha wolf marking its territory. She was the embodiment of affluence, and also had this aura of charisma. To aptly describe her, she is the modern-day Madea in terms of sheer size.
God, she was huge! I don’t know why but for the first time I felt small, really tiny, and my nerve left me. I forgot all that we planned to say as the reason for our visit. In fact, the only thing that was still keeping me there was the fact that the doors were locked. Immediately she asked the first question which was “Why are you here?” I quickly blurted out that I was just escorting Dare, and in fact, I had no business there. Who WAEC registration number help?
Time flies, I wish I could meet that mum again, let her see a Dozie void of fear, an alpha male.