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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Upon an Honest Man’s Fortune by John Fletcher

Literary Analysis (Summary)

During the Jacobian era, there was an evolution of modern science. There was focus in the areas of navigation, cartography and surveying. The era commemorates the commencement of the reign of King James 1, who ruled over a unified kingdom of England, Scotland and Ireland. It was during this time that King James 1 commissioned the translation of the bible which is now famously known as King James Version (KJV). So, people were very religious. Still, they were curious to know more about their future and they strongly craved success. Consequently, they resorted to astrology. They deserted their faith in God to the study of the positions and movements of the stars and how they might influence their fortune and existence on earth. This they did through the horoscope.

To His Coy Mistress by Andrew Marvell

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Andrew Marvell’s To His Coy Mistress is a metaphysical poem written in dramatic monologue. Moreover, it is a lyrical traditional carpe diem poem. The speaker of the poem, an anonymous man with no biographical detail in the poem, addresses a young unknown lady, a silent listener, who is timid in responding to his sexual advances. To be coy means to be shy. Since life is too short to play hard to get, he pleads with the mistress to seize the day (carpe diem) and accept his love.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Ambassadors of Poverty by Philip Umeh

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Africa has long been bedevilled by poor leadership. So many years after independence, the continent’s biggest problem still lies with leadership. Africans agitated for self-government from their colonial masters, which they got with the hope of a promising future devoid of foreign interference. But years after, African nationals are yet to enjoy the dividends of independence.
Ambassadors of Poverty is a satirical poem that ridicules and captures with extra dimension the nature of bad leadership in Africa as a whole and Nigeria in particular. The poem aims at different set of people whose actions and inaction have contributed in plunging the continent into economic misery. These are the citizens whose roles in one way or the other have compounded the rate of poverty in the country. They are the leaders whose corruptible and bad governance have led to poor economic growth.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Homeless not Hopeless by Sola Owonibi

Literary Analysis (Summary)

This simple poem by Sola Owonibi focuses on homeless people, their plight and significance in the society. In every society, there are people of different societal strata. We have the upper, middle and lower classes. The poet’s Nigerian society is not egalitarian. We have the rich and the poor. In such a society, there is always a chasm between the poor and the rich. On a universal scale, the privileged and the underprivileged have no meeting point.

Daffodils by William Wordsworth

Literary Analysis (Summary)

In earlier versions, Daffodils is titled “I wondered lonely as a cloud”, which is the first line of the poem. This lyrical poem is William Wordsworth’s most famous poem. It is also a romantic poem that appreciates the beauty of nature. The work of nature being appreciated in this poem is daffodils, a tall yellow spring flower with tube-shaped part in the middle.

The Fence by Lenrie Peters

Literary Analysis (Summary)

The Fence is an African poem that meditates on the internal moral conflict human beings are burdened with when faced with making a decisive choice between what is good and what is bad. For someone to sit on the fence at that crucial stage, it implies one is avoiding taking sides or making a specific decision. This is Lenrie Peters’ central preoccupation. The poet is deeply troubled with the indecisive and neutral stance of major stakeholders in the society in times of making the right decisions that would better the lots of the helpless masses. Lenrie Peters feels it is necessary for one to stay on a side in times of struggle. We should not maintain a posture of being neither here or there. One should not sit on the fence when policies are being made. Maintaining a neutral pose in critical times can only encourage more evil to be perpetrated.

Monday, 30 March 2015

Expelled by Jared Angira

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Expelled, written by Jared Angira, a Kenyan foremost poet, chronicles the negative intrusion of colonialists into the heart of Africa and its adverse effects on their economy and social being. The colonial state established in Kenya forcibly seized land, livestock and other means of livelihood from the indigenous people.

The white minority colonial government settled in the hinterland of East Africa, cultivating their land. They took control of the Kenyan economy and government and crippled the African traditional market system they met in place. In course of trading with the East Africans, the white foreigners discovered how fertile their land was. So, they started settling down and acquiring land and property until they dominated the economy and drained the natives of their resources. It was called settler colonialism.

The Negro speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Langston Hughes wrote this poem while travelling by train to visit his father in Mexico in 1920 when he was just 17. The poet, an African-American, gives a historical account of his deep connection with Africa, his ancestral root. The voice in the poem is that of a Negro in a predominantly white community. Years after the Emancipation Proclamation of January 1, 1863 by President Abraham Lincoln, the Black community was still suffering from racial discrimination in the American society despite the fact that they helped in building the American dream.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Hardlines by Gbemisola Adeoti

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Hardlines by Gbemisola Adeoti x-rays the daring nature of the truth in a society where the political system and social institutions are in a shambles and the leaders in positions of authority are doing nothing to salvage the unpleasant situation. The country is enmeshed in mischief and all sorts of indignity. Adeoti reveals how hard it is to voice the naked truth about the dwindling fortune of his homeland, Nigeria, where deceit, lies, pretence and all manners of corrupt practices hold sway. Hence, the truth tends to be bitter and hard to admit, especially when it is blunt.

Serenade (Traditional)

Literary Analysis (Summary)

A serenade is a love song performed in the open, especially at night, by a lover under the window of his mistress, professing his undying love and affection. This traditional serenade is a Swahili love song from Kenya, East Africa.

The poet begins by calling on the sad lady to “be calm and cry not”. He appeals to her to forget her sorrow and sing to her suitors, those who guide her from being harmed and the “passers-by” who acknowledges and appreciates her outstanding natural beauty.

Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen

Literary Analysis (Summary)

This poem dwells on the futility of war. Written by Wilfred Owen, Strange Meeting is inspired by the First World War (1914-1918). Owen was a British soldier during the World War 1 and so he witnessed and participated in the most devastating war in the annals of human history. He was killed in action in 1918 just one week to the end of the war.

Being a veteran of the war, Wilfred Owen witnessed the massacre of people and the destruction of lives. Armed with this tormenting experience during the World War, he writes on the horror of war and why waging war is a dumb idea. The poet has first-hand knowledge of the World War 1, an apocalyptic war on humanity.

Boy on a Swing by Oswald Mbuyiseni Mtshali

Literary Analysis (Summary)

Set during the apartheid regime in South Africa, the poem x-rays the cruelty of the apartheid system and the struggle for freedom by the African natives. During the apartheid era, the freedom and rights of blacks were repressed. It was a time when colour bar held sway. There was racial segregation between the black and white communities. Many young and vibrant activists in South Africa were incarcerated because of their agitation for a class-free society.

Unseen Prose and Poetry

Unseen prose and poetry are literary extracts dedicated to any poet or author. It is used to test the knowledge of literary skills in students. In the prose aspect, a passage is provided and students are expected to answer questions below the passage. A poetry extract is also provided to assess students’ familiarity with poetic terms and other literary devices.

Difference between English literature and Literature-in-English

English literature is the literature written by the British showcasing the English lifestyle and culture. This type of literary work is written in English language which is the mother tongue or native dialect of these people. The works written by the English people cover the three genres of literature: Prose, Drama and Poetry.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

The Soul’s Errand by Sir Walter Raleigh

Literary Analysis (Summary)
Written by Sir Walter Raleigh, an English poet and explorer, The Soul’s Errand also known as “The Lie” in some editions is a satirical poem of a dying man’s instruction to his soul to expose the lies and imperfections of his time. The poem was written about 1592 on the eve of the poet’s execution by James 1, whom he fell out of favour with, although he had enjoyed Queen Elizabeth’s patronage earlier.

Naked Soles by Gbemisola Adeoti

Literary Analysis (Summary)
This poem paints a glooming picture of people under massive enslavement. The first line of the poem introduces us to the gory condition in which man has found himself. The poem is a tragic depiction of suffering and injustice to humanity. The naked souls are the less-privileged people who have been stripped of freedom and liberty, and compelled to work for their paymasters under unfavourable environments of pain and agony.

The Journey of the Magi by T.S Eliot

Literary Analysis (Summary)
This poem, written by T.S Eliot, is a travelogue. It is an account of the three wise men (biblical magi) from the east, who visits Jesus Christ in Chapter 2 of the gospel of Matthew, shortly after his birth. The bible details how the magi are guided by the Stars of Bethlehem from the east to Jerusalem. The star has informed them of the birth of Jesus Christ. Consequently, they set on a journey to find the messiah and King of Judea and to present him with their gifts.

Bat by D.H. Lawrence

Literary Analysis (Summary)
The poem reveals the impression and attitude of the poet towards bat, a nocturnal bird which sees at night but blind during the day. This flying mammal is also known as “Pipistrello” in Italy, which actually means little piper.

D.H Lawrence begins the poem by introducing us to the setting of the poem. The setting is in Italy.