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SS 2 Literature -in- English (1st Term)

Literature in English


‘The School Boy’ is a Romantic poem. It helps to foreground the focus of attention of the poet. The poem is the lamentation of a young boy who is not happy with the restriction placed on him, which has not allowed him to fraternize with nature as he would loved. The regimentation of  this child’s life by a host of parental and social rules and regulations leads to the child becoming sad as he longs for freedom to bask in the beauty of summer. For the boy, nature is the only place where he can find  emotional, physical and psychological fulfilment and happiness. He is not happy that he has not been allowed the freedom that is associated with nature. He is not happy with is parents, who want him to go to school. THEMES Education acquired in a natural setting is more fulfilling than formal education in a classroom.… Read More »THE SCHOOL BOY: WILLIAM BLAKE

Literature in English


’The proud king’ is a poem about the evil inherent in arrogance and pride, which is a thematic preoccupation that is present in many culture around the world. ‘The proud King’ is a long narrative poem, of epic proportion. It has 119 stanzas in all. 117 of these stanzas contain seven lines each with the first line of each stanza indented. However, the last 2 stanzas have nineteen and eleven lines respectively. The rhyme scheme for the seven line stanzas is consistent. The ‘Proud King’ is didactic in nature, as the aim and objective of the poet is to teach certain values and virtues which are essential for the well-being of each individual. It revolves round the relationship between man, represented by king Jovinian and element of the supernatural realm, symbolized by an angel.   THEMES Pride and the vanity of material wealth Supremacy of God. Death is inevitable. Impermanence… Read More »THE PROUD KING BY WILLIAM MORRIS


A clear understanding of the poem requires that reference be made to Pandora’s box of gifts. Closly related to the Pandora’s box myth and also aiding the understanding of The Pully, is the biblical account of the warning given to Adam and Eve by God in the garden of Eden, not to eat a particular kind of fruit out of the abundance of fruit in the garden. But they disobey and this led to their eviction from the garden. Also, the  poem focuses on the relationship between God and man. Herbert uses the metaphor of the pulley to talk about man’s dependence on God and the fact that without God man is nothing. ‘The Pulley’, the first part narrates the creation story, while the second part describe endowment of man with virtues like riches, honour, etc. In the third part, God finds a way to retain man’s interest in Him… Read More »THE PULLEY: BY GEORGE HERBERT

Literature in English


This poem is said to have been written in 1889. The poet, Tennyson, wrote it after a serious illness at sea. No wonder the poem treats death as a main issue. The poem reflects the mind of the poet who is about embarking on a voyage of no return. He is about crossing the bar, the bar that separate  life from death. ‘Crossing the Bar’ has been used metaphorically to represent leaving the word for the great beyond, which in fact must become the lot of all the living. THEMES The following themes are found in the poem; The inevitability of death. Life after death.   POETIC DDEVICES Metaphor: The journey between life and death is compared to crossing the sand bar. Imagery: There are images of ‘the moving tide’; the sunset and the evening star’; twilight and evening bell’. Importantly, the image is created of a man (the poet)… Read More »CROSSING THE BAR BY ALFRED LORD TENNYSON

Literature in English


The poem talks about the experience of the poet on how to cope with modern trends. He found himself struggling for survival between the old and the new order .He believes that in comparison, the experience of the past that is, the old  order, could be more acceptable than the present day ideas. He thus asks for away out from the gods. The African in a colonial situation is akin to a piece of metal which finds itself lodged between ‘the anvil’ and ‘the hammer’. ‘ The anvil’ represent the African tradition while ‘the hammer’ is the foreign culture. Both of them impact on African in the process of forging and transforming him/her into a new being. THEMES A forceful fusion Conflict of the way to go. Nation building Tradition and modernity   See also THE PANIC OF GROWING OLDER BY LENRIE PETER THE DINNING TABLE BY GBANABAM HALLOWELLPiano and… Read More »THE AVIL AND THE HAMMER. KOFI AWONOOR

Literature in English


The poet examines the transitional stages in man’s life. He tries to point out what man feels or knows at the time of his growth till he gets old. Also the poet points out that the fear of growing older is just like an excited state of agitation in life of man. That at every time man thinks of getting older, the fear shows in his face. He points out that there is a period in a man’s life, when he would be full of hopes, aspirations, and excitement for success. At another stage, the excitement will be mixed with anxiety. A particular time will come when man will resign to fate, when there would be nothing to show for all his youthful efforts. All expectations from life would have become nothing. But because it is believe that man is expected to live for seventy years on earth, he may… Read More »THE PANIC OF GROWING OLDER BY LENRIE PETER

Literature in English


The poem has its background in the ten year civil war that ravaged the country of Sierra – Leone during which a lot of lives and properties were lost and many Sierra –Leones were displaced. The poet is one of the few Sierra –leoneans that decided to go into  reconstruction and rehabilitation of Sierra –leone after the war.  Apart from his physical and financial contributions to rebuild the war rauaged country,the poet also  ventures into writing to expose and teach the Liberian youths the evil effect of war. POETIC DEVICES The following are the poetic devices used in the poem. Metaphor -lines 2, 7, 10, 11, and 13. Personification _lines 8, 9 and Rhetoric question _ line 16. Alliteration _ line 5 and 20. Repetition _ line2 and 25, lines 3 and 8, lines 4 and 8, lines 12 and 15 and lines 21 an d 23 Paradox _line one… Read More »THE DINNING TABLE BY GBANABAM HALLOWELL

Literature in English

Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara

The poem is a reflection on the impossibility of living two different culture simultaneously. The two culture concerned here are African and European culture. The former is depicted as natural and simple while the latter is described as strange, fascinating and complex. The poet struggles to identify with a particular one but gets lost in the process. The European culture introduce strange  and surprising things to Africans. Most of such things were easily rejected while a few, especially material artefacts, were enthusiastically embraced by both the commoners and the nobilities. As Aficans got more and more exposed to European ways of life through Western education, they found more aspects of it very fascinating but complicated. The poet being one of those privileged to access Western education when it was available to only very few Africans, happened to experience this uncanny fascination. POETIC DEVICES The following poetic devices are used by… Read More »Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara

Literature in English


The poem is a metaphorical depiction of a nation as destroyer of the dreams and aspirations of her citizen. The nameless nation referred to as ‘the Land’,is likened to different predatory animals. It is likened to ‘a giant whale’, which swallow other water creatures alive to satisfy its own hunger and sometimes greed and leaving  in its wake frustration and sadness. The land is  also likened to ‘a Sabretoothed tiger’ whose cries send other creature of wild, especially  the vulnerable and weaker ones, into a run for their dear lives. Having used animals of water and land for his imagery as stated in the poem ,the poet uses that of space in third stanza. The land is likened to ‘a giant hawk’, a dangerous predatory bird that attacks other birds, both flying and non- flying ones, and even other animals like rodents and reptites. The poet see the land as… Read More »AMBUSH

Literature in English

African Poetry; ‘Vanity’ Birago Diop

CONTENT ANALYSIS. Birago Diop is a poet who is conscious of the continuing presence of the ancestors of the symbolic and meaningful expression of their experience which they have left in the elements around us. In this poem, there is a warning that if we fail to heed  to the voice of the ancestors we have lost our hope of protection, psychological defence against the changing fortune of life. The poem has something similar to that of the Bible ‘Vanities’saith the Preacher, all is Vanity (ECCL 1:2) THEMES The following are themes that could be identify in the poem. Theme of poverty. Theme of helplessness. Theme of death Theme of heroic deeds. POETIC DEVICES The poem consist of five stanzas full of imagery and rhetorical question.The poet who was in a worry mood when writing the poem adopts a tone of concern. Repetition – Line 1 Paradox _Line 4-5 Synodoche… Read More »African Poetry; ‘Vanity’ Birago Diop

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