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The novel Bomboy revolves around the character of Leke, a single young man who is portrayed as quite restless and antisocial; hence, he develops the habit of stalking women and stealing irrelevant things from people. He later finds out through a series of letter written to him by his biological father that the cause of his queer mannerisms stems from a generational curse placed on his family by a witch doctor whom they wronged. Having found the source of his troubles, Leke embarks on a mission to rid himself of the curse. All the events in the story prove that the novel Bomboy is one that can be analysed based on the verisimilitude it shares with the human society.
The novel Bomboy is rich in content in that it displays the relationship between modernity and tradition as it portrays human life. The novel portrays modernity through several ways such as the author’s depiction of a plethora of instances when Leke seeks modern and professional help in his search for rest and peace of mind. By so doing, themes such as: the universal theme of cultural conflict, as depicted by the clash between the Nigerian and South African beliefs; the theme of identity; the theme of love; the theme of racial discrimination; and the theme of the despicable nature of the prison system etc., are projected by the author. All the aforementioned help reinforce the argument that this novel contains some present issues faced by people in the society.
However, it is, arguably, the author’s use of traditional events that make this novel really stand out. By fusing tradition into the story, the author, who is of the Yoruba origin, has been able to reinforce several notions postulated by other Yoruba authors such as Wole Soyinka in Death and the King’s Horseman, Femi Osofisan in Women of Owu and Ola Rotimi in his Nigerian adaptation of Sophocles Oedipus Rex — that is, The Gods are not to Blame. One of these notions is the belief in the gods and their ability to affect destinies. Consequently, we have the theme of fate. All these themes combine to strengthen the argument that Bomboy is a realistic work of art with happenings that are peculiar to man.
The theme of fate can be considered as central to this story. The author develops this theme by employing several literary devices such as flashback, suspense and other factors such as happenstance. Through these devices, the theme of fate is established and the reader is also able to link different events to the subject matter. One may be tempted to argue that the author’s use of similar dates to convey past events that have significant effects on present events is purely coincidental; but however, it simply strengthens the argument that everything has been premeditated by the gods. Hence, one can be justified to describe the gods as domineering and all powerful because they are capable of determining the destinies of man. This theme of fate is arguably most prominent in the life of Oscar, who from a very little age realises that he will never know peace or be happy because of the curse of the witch doctor, an emissary of the gods, on his family. Therefore, one can be justified to declare that it is the pronouncement of the gods that made Leke to behave awkwardly.
Another theme that is worthy of attention is the theme of cultural conflict. The concept of cultural conflict is a universal phenomenon which appears in many works of art. This theme is portrayed by Oscar who finds it difficult to get along with his South African colleagues because of his belief in the stories which surround the mythical and ancestral Queen Moremi of Ile-Ife. Because of this belief, Oscar fails to acknowledge South African heroes such as Rhodes. This clash of beliefs adequately sums up the tensions that plague the relationship between Nigerians and South Africans in the modern era — that is, 21st Century.
Closely related to the theme of cultural conflict is the theme of identity, another universal concept. The theme of identity is brought into focus in this book through the plights of biracial people. Both Leke and his father are the products of interracial unions; hence, they can hardly pass as whites or as blacks. This issue plagues Leke’s childhood because he gets bullied by school mates who recognise, through his white foster parents, that he was adopted. Another instance which reinforces the theme of identity is Leke’s name. Leke, because he was not raised by his biological parents, is forced to answer awkward questions about the meaning of his name and its origin.
The theme of love is another recurring idea which helps to project realism in the text. Love, however abstract, may be regarded as the force behind the actions of the characters. For example, Oscar’s grandmother is motivated by her love for her daughter; hence, she refuses to honour her promise by withholding her daughter. Unarguably, love may also be regarded as the catalyst behind Oscar’s decision to have Malcom Feathers killed. Also, everything Jane does for Leke is motivated by love and this explains why he really adores her, even after death, as seen in his ritual of planting 4 o’clock flowers. The budding love affair between Leke and Tsotso cannot be exempted. Through this theme, the characters have been able to vividly portray the sacrifices humans can do for their loved ones.
Another theme which ensures that this novel possesses verisimilitude with its environment is the theme which captures the despicable nature of the South African prison system. The South African prison system neither rehabilitates or reforms. Rather, it is a place where different vices such as murder, homosexuality, rape violence, etc., thrive. The pathetic situation of these prisons are vividly portrayed in Dennis Brutus poem: “Letters to Martha” where Dennis Brutus describes in detail the atrocities that are committed by inmates on one another. This inter-textual evidence strengthens the theme being discussed because it proves the truism of the theme through the similarities in the way the inmates in both texts act —that is, violence, homosexuality and killing are the order of the day. With all this evidence, one will surely not receive Oscar’s death in prison with much surprise. Therefore, one cannot gainsay the fact that the theme of the despicable nature of the South African prison system as portrayed in Bomboy captures the reality of prisoners in South Africa, and by extension, prisoners all over the world.
In conclusion, the text Bomboy is one which portrays real life with its setting — places drawn from real life; themes — ideas that are universal; and character actions etc.
As is the case with most literary works of art, Niyi Osundare’s “A Song for Ajegunle” is a work of art which portrays realism. Realism is portrayed through the setting of the poem — that is, a place in Lagos known as Ajegunle. The place setting is reinforced or rather made known through the title of the poem. Aside from the setting which is drawn from real life, realism is also captured in the text through the way the poet vividly describes the happenings in the location. For example, his description of how so many children that should be in school are out of school aptly captures the situation of many a child in Ajegunle. Hence, one can without any iota of doubt say that this poem is, indeed, realistic.
The poem “A Song for Ajegunle” is one which captures the social, economic and political realities of Ajegunle. The poem centres on the poverty-stricken ghetto area known as Ajegunle. It contains the persona’s description of the dirt-infested and government-ignored area in the morning, evening and night. The persona does not mince words as he vividly describes Ajegunle, using a series of figurative expressions to give maximum effect to his description. Because of the indepth knowledge which the poet has of this area as exposed by the simile “curious bird”, this essay will seek to analyse the poem based on how it represents the poet’s feelings and attitude towards the subject matter.
The poet is a well-known romantic who, through his poems, has been able to promote the conservation of nature. Hence, it comes as no surprise that he bemoans the unhealthy situation of Ajegunle. Some of the issues which the poet raises in this poem include: poverty, insecurity, underdevelopment, irresponsible government, and filth etc. These issues are developed through the poet’s choice of words and of course, his use of figurative expressions.
The issue of poverty is central to this poem in that the poet does not mince words as he describes the pathetic situation of the people who live in Ajegunle. He brings this into focus by describing the smoke which comes out of their idle kitchens as pale. The phrase “idle kitchen” is apt because it depicts the lack which is inherent in this place. Niyi Osundare further comments on the issue of poverty by describing how children are unable to go to school and also how many households cannot afford decent meals — that is, the tables are without bread. Through the poet’s cacophonic choice of words such as rumble, manacling, battering etc., his unhappiness at the state of affairs is evident.
Another issue that is on top of the poet’s mind is the issue of underdevelopment. This issue is brought to the fore by Niyi Osundare through the use of contrast. In comparison to Ikoyi, Ajegunle is simply an empty bag that is sprawled. By this, Niyi Osundare, unequivocally, states the backward nature of Ajegunle in comparison to other popular areas of the state. The poet goes on to lament the deplorable housing condition of Ajegunle. To him, the poet, the houses are hovels or slightly better than hovels. He expresses his unhappiness by his repetition of the word “through” in stanza three. The repetition is significant because it serves as a medium which the poet uses to reveal how backward Ajegunle, indeed, is.
Of course, the theme of underdevelopment is related to the theme of bad governance. Niyi Osundare exposes the inability of the government to provide basic amenities for the people in Ajegunle. Niyi Osundare draws light to this by commenting on: the poor state of roads; the poor toilet facilities as exemplified by people’s penchant for defecating in the gutters; lack of good water as seen in the phrase “taps without water”; and of course, not forgetting the apparent lack of electricity which is exposed by Osundare’s nighttime description of the sweaty stupor of people sleeping in crowded mats. Through his use of different imagery such as sight, touch etc., Osundare is able to comment on the issue of bad governance.
Osundare sticks to stereotype in that this poem is in tandem with other poems written by him which talk about the environment. Due to this, it comes as no surprise that Osundare’s description is filled with visual images of filth. These images are further reinforced by the refrain which continually describes Ajegunle as a place that is sprawled. This issue of filth is one is dominant in the stanzas. Firstly, the poet describes the place as weed-infested. He goes on to address the issue of people defecating in gutters and this is unhealthy because it instigates the outbreak of water-borne viruses such as cholera. Osundare further comments on the issue of filth by drawing upon the image of smell. This is made known through the metaphor “the hooded stench of nightsoil” which further reinforces the issue of filth in the poem. Through this issue, Osundare expresses his disdain for the environmental hazards plaguing Ajegunle.
In conclusion, the poet fully utilises the expressive power of literature in this poem because he is able to shed light on several personal and national issues. In fact, this poem may be described as a poem which the poet uses to protest against the rulers of Nigeria; thereby, championing the cause of the masses.
“Don’t you DARE cry for me. You understand me?” Liam took my chin in his hands. He stared into my eyes. He could tell that I want so badly to cry right in front of him. And yet, I couldn’t. I couldn’t because I knew if I did, he’d die hating me. I didn’t want him to leave me feeling the same way when we first met; angry and alone. I wanted Liam to leave me with happy thoughts. I want him to close his eyes forever with a smile spread across his face like peanut butter. I wanted Liam to die laughing so that his final memory before he leaves is us.
But in my mind, I knew this could never happen. I knew Liam could never be happy. I knew he could never die with happy thoughts. I knew he couldn’t die with a smile spread across his face like peanut butter. I knew he could never die laughing. I knew all this because he wasn’t the one dying.
I was the one lying in the hospital bed. I was the one who’d been stupid and gotten sick in Minnesota. I was the one who was gonna die angry and alone because I couldn’t help Liam. I couldn’t be there for him. I couldn’t make Liam happy. I couldn’t do anything anymore because I was the one who’d leave Liam the same way I found him; angry and alone. “I can’t promise you that, Liam. You know I can’t,” I turned my head away from Liam. I couldn’t let him see me. I couldn’t let him see me cry and yet, he squatted down next to me. He placed his calloused hand on my shoulder.
I shuddered at his touch. “Look at me. Lia. Look me in the eyes and tell me you won’t cry for me,” he told me not to cry for him. He told me to be brave and to look fear in the eyes and say “No.” Liam grabbed my chin once more and turned me to face him. “I’m sorry.”
Tears ran down my face. The salty tears stung my eyes. I could feel it in my nose and taste it on my tongue. My face was red and I’d felt flustered. My eyes were as red as an apple. My head was hot and it hurt to breathe. “I’m sorry, Liam. I really am. I’m so sorry…,” Liam tucked me away in his arms. I could feel his heart beating against my face. The reassuring thumps pounding from his chest calmed me down a bit. Enough for me to give Liam a chance to speak his feelings.
“Lia, did you know that when we first met in Minnesota, upon the waterfall, you were the first thing I saw? You were down in the stream while I was at the top. I was a pretty sad and lonely kid back then, so when I saw a face in the middle of the woods, I was shocked. I didn’t know anyone would be out there during the winter. But you were. You were there but… you were alone. You were alone in the middle of the woods clueless about the dangers of being in that scenario. And yet, you didn’t scream. You didn’t cry for your parents. You didn’t worry or panic at the time. Instead, you stayed calm.
“That’s why I don’t want you to cry for me. You can’t cry for me. Because I’d you do, I’ll cry too. I’m sorry, Lia that I couldn’t give you a happy life. I knew how you felt. I knew you were feeling miserable, but I couldn’t do anything. I didn’t do anything. I let you fall and I left you there because I thought you were going to die. I didn’t want it to seem as though I killed you but, I guess in a way I did.
“I’m sorry I couldn’t help you in school when you were being bullied. I spent so much time focused on my life, I didn’t look into yours. When I first moved to New York, I didn’t know anyone. I had no friends or anyone I could talk to. You came to me looking to be my friend and I pushed you away. You asked me to the school dance a few times but I rejected you. You even asked me to join you and Kori every now and then but I shot you down. Then, when we went on the trip back to Wisconsin, I relived that moment when were kids and let you fall from the cliff.
“I made your life a living hell and all you did was care for me. When I found out who you were, it was too late. You were in the hospital and I had no idea. When I did learn of your condition, I came every day but you didn’t know because you’ve been in a coma.
“I know I’m not the best person in the world, but I’d like to try. I like to have a proper introduction with you. I want to dance with you every day. I want to go out with you and Kori and all of our friends. Maybe just you and me sometimes. I want to travel the world with you and protect you with my life. I want to be there for you. But the one thing I don’t want to do with you is cry. Because I know if we cry together, it means one of us is sad and I never want there to be a day when you’re sad. Never.
“I love you that much.”
“I love you so much. I don’t even care if you don’t love me back because the thought that you are even alive makes me happy. So please,”
Liam took my head in his hands and planted a kiss upon my lips…
“Open your eyes…”
…it didn’t matter, though…
…because I couldn’t feel it…
…because I was dead.
There is an event being held at only one school, where once a year, all the lights in the city are turned off at night for a couple of minutes, and everyone is forced outside of their comfort zone. During this time, anyone can do anything to anybody without anyone finding out.
It’s 7 PM at the moment. The venue is gorgeous; the ceiling, pitch black with little blue bulbs which are lit up like stars. In the center, there is a huge chandelier that gives off a dull glow. Beautiful tables are scattered along the room,excluding the stage. Everything would have been perfect if my friends didn’t ditch me. Wonderful, right?
We girls are all wearing gowns or cocktail dresses, while the boys are dressed in expensive suits, with matching bow or ties. This night would go along much better if I had a date. Oh well, at least my best friend, Gail is happy; flirting with her so called boyfriend. She happily smiles at my direction as I walk over.
“Angelina, don’t give me that look, I’m sorry for not accompanying you,” she looks at me with pleading eyes. I roll mine at her.
“It’s okay, be happy with your boyfriend,” I say sarcastically, emphasizing the word ‘boyfriend’.
Suddenly, Gails boyfriend -Rease- contributes into the argument. “Are you jealous of Gail not being with you, or are you jealous of me being with her?” he mocks.
Once Rease started going out with Gail, he changed. We all know how terrifying it would be if she found out that Rease is going out with other girls. In short, he is afraid of my best friend. He is such a coward. I let out a smile, and remember that he had the nerve to tease me.
I stare, shooting daggers at him. Then he laughs. “Get out of here and get your own date, so you won’t be lonely anymore. And if you don’t find a date, I’m here. I can date two girls at the same time,” he chuckles and winks, as Gail slaps him on the shoulder playfully.
“If you dare to,” she starts. “Then I wouldn’t have a choice but to leave you dead cold in the middle of the street,” she grins then starts to laugh.
“No babe, we both know you won’t do that, you can’t resist me.” he pouts.”Aww, you’re so cute.” she leans into him giving him a peck on the lips. I jokingly cover my eyes at them being lovey in public place. I then slap the back of Rease’s head.
“Hey you two, no PDA here! God, you’re so embarrassing,” After my remark, they both laugh.
“You’re just jealous, admit it already,” he teases me again.
I sigh. “Okay okay, if that will make your mouth shut. I will leave you two now, it seems like you want me out of here anyway.” we laugh.
While I give them space, I walk to the catering and look at the food. As my eyes wander among the tables of entrees, my mouth starts to water. I decide to eat now, since there’s no way I would ask a guy:
“Would you be my date? Because I don’t have a date,”
That would never happen, it’s far too embarrassing. That’s why I should eat everything in plain sight. There is still is an hour before the party starts. I need to find my other friend, Russel. I cross my fingers, hoping he is still dateless.
“Hey there, Angel,” well, speaking of the devil. I smile as I turned around to see him.
“Hey-” I stop when I see him with a girl, and my smile turns into a frown.
“Why didn’t you tell me you have a date?” I raise my eyebrow as I question him. He’s with a girl who is quite pretty, wearing baby pink dress falling above knees, hugging the shape of her body matching her silver heart shaped necklace.
Surely, Russel knows how to pick a girl.
” I just met her, her name’s Trisha. Where is your date, Angel?” he asks me suspiciously.
I start panicking. “I don’t know, I think my prince’s late, well he didn’t really ask me I think. Okay I’m not going to lie, I need to find a date. What should I do Sel?” I whisper at him. I could tell he sees the fear in my face. as he looks at the students scattered around the venue, everyone seems to have a partner.
“Well good luck, Angel. You look beautiful tonight, I’m sure you’ll find your prince. Sorry I can’t be your partner,” he smiles and kisses me on the forehead. Well, my friend is naturally sweet.
I couldn’t help but smile. “Thanks Russ, go enjoy your time with Trisha, she’s your date right?”
“If you need me I’m there,” he points to bar beside the cater. The bar has various types of drinks: pop, juice, and even tea.
“Ehem Ehem, mic test,” The principal says while holding the microphone, and standing is the small stage. “Our party is now starting!” All of the students scream happliy “Let’s start with my very long speech,”
We all grumble in unison, which made us all laugh, including the principal,
“Just joking. I want to thank you all for coming to this event, this is a celebration for upcoming valentine’s day, yes tomorrow will be the day, I want to thank my wife for taking care of me, for loving me with all your heart, I love you, and always be in love with you,” As people start to lose interest, he quickly to wraps up. “Students, enjoy this party, I made this for all of you, for my wife, and for all the couples there.” The principal in his mid thirties. Young and handsome, wearing simple white tuxedo. We all cheer as he takes out a bouquet of flowers and gives it to his wife sitting at a table.
“Wow sweet.” I said bitterly. I still don’t have a date, and everyone is slow dancing right in the center of the hall. How can I be the only one who doesn’t have a partner?
Suddenly, someone taps on my shoulder. I look in their direction, and see a pair of green eyes. I Immediately know who the owner of those eye are. “Sel? Why are you here? ” I ask, confused.
“Can I have the honor of this dance, my lady?” he takes out one of his hands.
I step closer. ” Where’s Trisha?”
“Don’t worry, she didn’t ditch me, she said we should dance with our friends and later we would meet up again,” he smiles.
“So, would you be my dance? Angel?” he says with his unrealistic British accent. He’s wearing red polo inside his black coat with matching green necktie, which made his beautiful emerald green eyes sparkle. I am wearing a red and black sweetheart dress that matches his outfit perfectly .
“Yes mister British,” we laugh. I then I take his hand, and we go to the dance floor.
We talk about the memories we share during our childhood: the amount of embarrassment we caused, and all of the fun we had with Gail, Hans, Raven, and Sean.
“Come to think of it, where’s Sean now?” I ask Russ. Sean was the one who always bullied me. Not the typical kind of bully, he is more verbal; always insulting me: my looks, failures, and many imperfections I make. You think I would ditch him, but he was very nice if he put his mind to it.
“He went to France two years ago. Remember?” he points out like it is the most obvious thing in the world.
Why didn’t Sean tell me? Am I the only one who didn’t know?
“Don’t tell me he didn’t tell you?” he says, startled. “That’s why you couldn’t come that day, when we sent him off in the airport,” I’m so shocked, that I am unable to even mutter a word. “He said you’re sick. Angel.” Russ finishes.
I don’t feel well now. “Russ, lets meet later,” I say, distantly. “Dance with Trisha now, I’m going to bathroom.”
(Play the song here===>)
I retreat from his sight. I’m more than confused. Oh my God, Sean didn’t tell me anything, and he is one of my childhood friends. As I was franticly keeping calm, I heard a click sound, and my sight was gone. God, already? I am still in the dance floor, and I don’t have any plans to be kissed by a stranger. Yet, I don’t see anything, and I don’t know which way I should go.My mind went blank, when someone suddenly grabs me. He places both hands on my waist. Once I realize he wasn’t letting go, I wrap my arms around his neck. The song is still playing, and I am starting to believe it is a wonderful night. I don’t even know who this guy is; yet I won’t say anything, since he might recognize who I am, which would ruin the magic. I sway with the mysterious man, feeling bubbly inside. He smells like expensive cologne, which is very addicting. When the song stops, everything started to happen in slow motion.
I felt his breath fanning in my lips, and in a second maybe, before he starts kissing me. I was frozen still, savoring the minty yet sweet flavor of his lips.”I missed you, Angel,” he says in a whisper. His voice was unrecognizable. I can feel my body is slightly shaking