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KELANI, Mercy Timilehin: Mimetic Analysis of “Akintunde, Come Home”

Department of English, UNILAG.

100 Level



“Akintunde, Come Home” is a free verse poem based on its form. The poem is a reflection of the Nigerian society, just as literature mirrors and reflects the society. “Akintunde, Come Home” exposes political ills prevalent in Nigeria; it reflects the malevolence and corrupt practises of African political leaders exhibited in their act of governing. The poet who seems to be more experienced, elderly and politically vigilant than the addressee exposes dubious acts of African leaders. The poem could be said to be a piece of advice or admonishment to young minds who find themselves in this political realm of corruption. The tone of the poet is rather persuasive as he calls political minds back to order. Apparently, its truthfulness to life is portrayed by the themes that can be derived from the poem. Some of these themes are: oppression; corruption; selfish ambitions; repercussion etc. Also, this poem, as an African poem, portrays core African values as seen in the way the persona employs adages to make his point clearer.

The poem opens with a rhetorical question of an African adage; “if a man’s mouth is small must he borrow a bigger one to talk to his child?” This adage brings us to a typical African society where proverbs are used to convey messages of inspiration, consolation, advice and many more, but precisely, the African adage used at the opening of this poem could be said to convey a message of advice and admonishment. The use of this adage portrays the poet as a typical African who is concerned on voicing his intent to his addressee on a pressing issue. Adages are common in African societies as it opens ground for dialogues; great writers like “Chinua Achebe” make use of adages in their works; novels, essays, poems etc. to make it full of wisdom. Africans believe in the truthfulness and effectiveness of adages on dialogues, even “Chinua Achebe” once wrote; “proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten”. Evidently, the adage used at the beginning of the poem shows its truthfulness to life as it shows us a picture of the African society.

In addition, the African society is governed by cold-blooded leaders with selfish ambitions. The poet in a serious manner, exposes the corrupt practises and malevolence of political leaders in the African society. Some of these callous acts by the ruling elites include: unfulfilled campaign promises; disregard for the poor; overpowering the weak, among other things as displayed and carefully highlighted in the poem.

Furthermore, the poem’s truthfulness to life is clearly seen in themes of oppression, corruption, selfish ambitions and repercussion, these themes aptly describe the nature of African politics. Oppression and corruption complements African politics as shown in the poem: “…where life is a race in which the strong trample the weak, dashing for the flattering fragments of stolen trophies”. Corruption takes most part of African politics as African leaders engage in looting of public funds, embezzlement of public funds and the likes. Oppression also is not left out as striving citizens are impoverished through deprivation of some rights. Rich politicians in the society look down on the poor with contempt. All these themes, undoubtedly, are aids that strengthen the fact that Niyi Osundare’s poem, “Akintunde, Come Home”, is one which accurately describes issues that are plaguing the African society.

Niyi Osundare also subscribes to the classical, or rather human law of retributive justice. This belief can be placed under the theme of repercussion. Repercussion, as employed in this poem, denotes that there are always consequences for every human action, be it good or bad. This can be seen in the poem as the speaker admonishes his addressee to quickly return to his roots before he would become a victim of the cases aforementioned. The persona vividly portrays his belief in repercussions in this line: “Come home before the sword you wield turns round to claim your neck.”

In conclusion, the who’ve explanations clearly show the relationship between the poem and realism: its truthfulness to life. The use of an African adage at the opening of the poem and themes that relates to present happenings in the African society evidently depicts the truthfulness of the poem to life. Also, from a mimetic point of view the poem could be said have being written in an attempt to curb political ills.

*The Standard Essay*

Extracts from: *_HOW TO ANSWER LITERATURE QUESTIONS_* (A work in progress)

A standard essay should have three parts namely: the introduction; the body; and the conclusion. This is applicable to every essay in every discipline. These three parts must be present when one is drafting one’s outline. Hence, ensuring that one’s essay is properly divided into paragraphs.

For an essay to be considered as standard at this level, the essay should have at least five paragraphs — that is, one paragraph for the introduction; three paragraphs for the body; and the last paragraph will be for the conclusion. It is important to note that only one idea should be discussed in a paragraph. For example, in an essay titled “The Effects of Drug Abuse”, you may outline at least three effects and discuss them in different paragraphs.

The different parts of an essay perform different functions. The introductory part, just as the name implies, introduces the essay. It contains the thesis (What the essay aims to accomplish.) and perhaps, the definition of the concepts. An essay should have a good introduction that is catchy enough to attract the reader. The body of the essay is the point where you discuss your points while the conclusion is the point where you summarise and round off your essay.

Aside having the proper form, a standard essay should also show one’s authority in the use of language — that is, the grammatical construction of words and the correct employment of punctuation are keys to writing good essays. On this note, it is advisable for students writing literature exams to master topics such as: The Rules of Concord and The Correct Ways to Use Punctuation Marks.

Knowing the aforementioned topics is important because most literature teachers usually assume that these things have been taught in English so they do not waste precious time trying to teach the students basic things like subject-verb agreement and where to put the punctuation symbols when writing.

Another important skill to have while writing is the ability to ensure the smooth flow of thoughts from one sentence to another or from one paragraph to another. This is otherwise known as cohesion. Cohesion can be achieved in an essay through the use of connective such as: firstly, lastly, in conclusion, however, furthermore, nevertheless, conclusively, etc.

To summarise all that has been said, one needs the following in order to write a good essay:
1. An outline.
2. Proper paragraphing.
3. The correct application of grammatical rules.
4. Mechanical accuracy — the correct use of punctuation marks.
5. Cohesion between sentences and paragraphs.

Below is an example of an outline and essay on the topic: “Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.”

*Introduction*

Paragraph 1: Define the concept and list out some points that will be discussed in the body. State your thesis.

Body

Paragraph 2. Youth empowerment reduces the dependency on the government.
Paragraph 3. Youth empowerment reduces poverty.
Paragraph 4. Youth empowerment reduces crime.

*Conclusion*

Paragraph 5. Restate your thesis. Comment on what your essay has been able to achieve.

Why Youth Empowerment is Important for National Development.

Many of the developed countries of the world today are where they are because of the efforts the governments of these countries have made in terms of empowering their young citizens to be self-reliant. Self-reliance simply means the state of being able to provide for oneself the basic needs of life — water, food, housing, clothing and pleasure. Because the youths in the developed countries of the world are self-reliant, there is less dependency on the government, less poverty, and of course less crime. The word “less” is used before all the aforementioned because it is impossible to have a country whereby there is zero crime and no poor citizens etc. On this note, this essay will discuss the importance of youth empowerment to national development.

As mentioned in the preamble, if the government of Nigeria decides to invest in its youths by teaching them various skills that will make them to be able to fend for themselves, there will be less dependency on the government. If this is done in Nigeria, there will be an upsurge in the economy because the people must have learnt the skills needed to produce some of the things which are usually imported and subsidised by the government; thus, providing more funds for the government to carryout other tasks. It is no news that when people are happy and healthy, the government of the country will not have much problems; hence, doing this provides an opportunity to the government to pursue other pressing needs that will also aid national development.

Empowering the youth of Nigeria is surely going to reduce poverty. Due to lack of any official data at hand to back up claims that many Nigerians are poor, I will be giving a subjective description of poverty in Nigeria. Going through the slums of Ajegunle, I cannot help but feel nauseous when I see the poor living conditions of the people. Their houses are often old and dilapidated, usually without running water and proper toilets. To summarise, the places many a Nigerian lives is not worth living. Sadly these unhealthy environments and accommodations are what most can afford due to the high rate of poverty in the country, and in fact the ones who can afford these houses are often considered as lucky when compared to those who sleep on the streets. The high rate of poverty in the country will easily be reduced if only the government can train the youth to be self-reliant by conducting different workshops that will provide a platform for people to develop their skills and make money from it. If this is done, the standard of living of the people will increase significantly.

Finally, training the youth in skill acquisition will surely reduce crime in the country. In Nigeria today, crime — both high-profile and low-profile crimes — is the order of the day. Many youths involve in different vices in order to cater for themselves. The adage — “An idle hand is the devils workshop.” — is, everyday, proven to be correct in Nigeria because it is only those who are not gainfully employed that can find the time to involve in vices such as stealing and prostitution etc. All these will definitely reduce if only the government could provide a genuine means of making money for the youth in the country.

Youth empowerment is important for national development because the youths are the future leaders of the country. If those who will lead the country in the nearest future are responsible and self-reliant citizens, we can rest assured that the country will continue to grow and will soon be at par with the “Japans”, the “Germanies” and the “Chinas” of this world. In conclusion, this essay has discussed the importance of youth empowerment to national development.

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*UDE, Chiedozie Orji (Atomic)*

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