Categories : Blog Posts

Celebrating the World Book Day: Lagos Schools Tour by: Dr. Bayo Adebowale, the author of Lonely Days

bayo adebowale picThe World Book Day has been designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries around the world.

As Nigeria joins the rest of the world in celebrating the World Book Day, Dr. Bayo Adebowale (author of the best-selling novel “Lonely Days”) embarks on a tour of schools in Lagos from 13th to 27th March 2017 to share his joy of writing and reading with students in presentation full of visual props and ready to use ideas.

The novel, Lonely Days, has been prescribed by the West African Examinations Council (WAEC) as a prose work for the 2016-2020 Literature-in-English examinations. This prose work is popular among teachers and students of literature in secondary schools in Ghana, Sierraleone, the Gambia and Nigeria.

 

In a 90 minute session, the author would do the following:

  • Read to the students from the book;
  • Engage in a critique of the book;
  • Do a pep-talk on creative writing. A pep talk from a pro can spark even the most timid young writer;
  • Entertain questions from students and chat with them as he signs and personalizes their books.

You can bring the fresh perspective of a working writer to your students by inviting Dr. Bayo Adebowale to your school.

For bookings and further enquiries, please call +234-8084244904 or email us at info@bookstomydoor.com.

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10 Most Outstanding African Classics of All Time

I was scanning through my bookshelf today and stumbled on old copies of some of my favourite African classics. I read quite a number of them growing up and would gladly read them over and over again. I know it’s the same feeling for anyone who grew up reading Chinua Achebe, Peter Abrahams, Ngugi wa Thiongo, Cyprian Ekwensi and other authors in their league.

Sadly, most of their works have been confined to the classrooms to be used as part of school curriculum. I think they are great for leisure reading and should be kept as souvenirs for future generations. These authors introduced us to the beauty and diversity of the African culture.

If you’re wondering what to do in your free time or how to get your teenager engaged during the school holiday, getting some of these awesome works of art would be a great idea.

Find below the 10 most outstanding African classics of all time. Please feel free to appraise and add to the list.

In no particular order:

1.Weep Not Child by Ngugi wa ‘Thiongo

weep not child

Published in 1964, “Weep Not Child” is the first novel from the great Kenyan writer, Ngugi wa ‘Thiongo. It tells the story of two brothers Njoroge and Kamau. Njoroge is to attend school, while Kamau is to train as a carpenter. However, their country, Kenya is in a state of unrest. In the forests, the Mau Mau is at war with the white government, and the two brothers and their family need to decide where their loyalties lie. For the practical Kamau, the choice is simple, but for Njoroge the scholar, the dream of progress through learning is a hard one to give up.

Weep Not Child tells in graphic details the impact of the infamous Mau Mau uprising on the lives of ordinary men and women in Kenya.

 

 

 

2. The Concubine by Elechi Amadi

the concubine

Published in 1975, Elechi Amadi in The Concubine illustrates the complexities and the uniqueness of African traditional systems especially marriage, customs and values through the relationship of three central characters: Ihuoma, Emenike and Ekwueme.

This novel introduced me to some traditional Igbo names.

 

 

 

 

 

3. Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe

things fall apart

Published in 1958, just two years before Nigeria’s independence, Things Fall Apart tells the story of Okonkwo, a high handed man who constantly lived in fear especially fear of domination and weakness.

What I enjoy in Things Fall Apart is the use of proverbs. I’m sure you’ll remember a few:

-“Eneke the bird says since men have learnt to shoot without missing, he has learnt to fly without perching”

-“The lizard that jumped from the high Iroko tree to the ground said he would praise himself if no one else did”

 

 

 

4. The Passport of Mallam Ilia by Cyprian Ekwensi

the passport of mallam ilia

Written twelve years before its publication in 1960, The Passport of Mallam Ilia appeals to young readers and explores themes of betrayal, revenge and trust. It tells the story of Mallam Ilia who spends a greater part of his life seeking revenge for wrong done to him by one Usman. Though he is able to avenge the wrong, it comes at a very high price and we are left to wonder if the whole revenge mission is worth it.

 

 

 

 

 

5. Toads for Supper by Chukwuemeka Ike

toads for supper

Published 1965, Toads for Supper is set in a conservative time in Nigeria. It is a tragi-comedy about the dilemma faced by Amadi, a young university undergraduate sponsored by his community.

Amadi is caught between choosing Aduke, a sophisticated course mate whom he loves dearly and the timid Nwakaego, his bethroted wife.

Amidst this chaos, he gets lured by a “sweet-time” girlfriend who later claims he is responsible for the baby she is carrying. This earned him a suspension. Will Amadi escape his woes? How will he tell his people back home?

 

 

 

6. No longer at ease by Chinua Achebe

no longer at ease

Published at independence in 1960, No Longer At Ease is the story of a man whose foreign education has separated him from his African roots and made him part of a ruling elite whose corruption he finds repugnant.  More than thirty years after it was first written, this novel remains a brilliant statement on the challenges still facing African society.

 

 

 

 

 

7. The Famished Road by Ben Okri

the famished road

Since it won the Booker Prize, The Famished Road has become a classic. The main character, Azaro, is an abiku, a spirit child, who in the Yoruba tradition exists between life and death. The life he foresees for himself and the tale he tells is full of sadness and tragedy, but inexplicably he is born with a smile on his face. Nearly called back to the land of the dead, he is resurrected. But in their efforts to save their child, Azaro’s loving parents are made destitute. The tension between the land of the living, with its violence and political struggles, and the temptations of the carefree kingdom of the spirits propels this story.

 

 

 

 

8. The Last Duty by Isidore Okpewho

the-last-duty

This is one book you’ll surely love to read again. The writer, Isidore Okpewho is in a league of his own. His writing is simple, yet very deep. Each character tells his own story in the form of a dramatic monologue thus giving the reader a good understanding of the character’s persona and the motive for his or her action.

Set during the civil war, the story revolves around six main characters: Toje, Ali, Oshevire, Aku, Odibo and Oghenovo.

I beam a smile whenever I see The Last Duty on a shelf. Money back guarantee on this book.

 

 

 

 

9. Lokotown and Other Stories by Cyprian Ekwensi

lokotown and other stories

Published in 1966, Lokotown is a collection of short stories by the outstanding story teller, Cyprian Ekwensi.

Lokotown tells the story of people who lived in Lokotown, a town mostly inhabited by men who worked with the Nigerian Railway Corporation and their escapade with Lokotown sensation-  the elegant, fashionable and exploitative lady called Konni. Beyond the plot of the story, I was enthralled by the fact that in times past, the Nigerian Railway Corporation employed so many people that the economy of a whole town was tied to its fortune. Men had jobs and could support their families.

On the whole, I think the book “Lokotown” is a great read and a collector’s item.

 

 

 

10. So Long A Letter by Mariama Ba

so-long-a-letter

So Long a Letter is a landmark book – a sensation in its own country and an education for outsiders. Mariama Ba, a Senegalese writer and longtime women activist, set out to write a book that exposed the double standard between men and women in Africa. The result, So Long a Letter, eventually won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. The book itself takes the form of a long letter written by a widow, Ramatoulaye, to her friend, over the mandatory forty-day mourning period following the death of a husband.

Do you agree with this list? Feel free to add yours.

 

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Top 5 Money Books by Nigerian Authors

Top 5 Money Books by Nigerian Authors

money picture

 

 

You will agree that for a long time, there was not much literature on the subject of money or wealth creation from the Nigerian perspective. For decades, we have had to make do with books written mostly by American authors. Books like “Think and Grow Rich“, “Multiple Streams of Income“, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” “Billionaire Next Door”, and a host of others dominated the scene.

Though inspiring and helpful, I usually felt there was something lacking in them. They were not written with the Nigerian situation in mind. The authors wrote for the American market even though some of the principles are applicable in other parts of the globe.

Today, we are beginning to “tell our own stories” in the area of wealth creation and management. I have read a number of books on money written by Nigerian authors and find them absolutely intriguing. Grab a seat as I share with you top 5 money books by Nigerian writers.  In no particular order:

  1. Dangote’s 10 Commandments on Money
dangotes ten commandments
Have you ever wondered how Dangote became one of the world’s richest men? Peter Anosike in “Dangote’s Ten Commandments on Money” answers this question as well as a myriad of other questions on entrepreneurship. It is a motivational book that seeks to build the entrepreneurial spirit in youths and a fitting tribute to one of the most successful businessmen of this generation. Through the strategies and principles described as “ten commandments”, you will learn how to make, manage and multiply money from one of the world’s richest. If you’re thinking wealth creation or shopping for an ideal gift for a younger one you care about, this could make a great gift.
2. The School of Money
school of money

The School of Money provides insight into wealth creation. It contains pragmatic principles on how to generate and execute business ideas. Described as the enterpreneur’s blue print, it comes highly recommended for anyone who seriously desires to get out of the rat race. The author, Olumide Emmanuel, a leading motivational speaker and life coach has mentored quite a number of people on entrepreneurship. It is a widely sought after book and you should consider including it in your reading list this year.

3. Skills That Pay the Bills

skills that pay the bills

I call this book the “skills handbook”. The author, Emi Iyalla offers practical steps to acquiring skills relevant in today’s highly competitive job market and further provides insights into how to re-tool your existing skills. It’s a must-have for anyone who wants to earn a decent living and keep afloat in this harsh economy.

4.  1000+ Practical Business Ideas and Directory of Money Sources

1000 practical

Sunkanmi Vaughan offers over 1000 practical business ideas that you may never have thought of. After reading this book, you will realise that most of the opportunities we ignore and count as insignificant can actually be turned to cash. This well-researched, well-written and easy-to-read book discusses several money-making ventures in the different sectors of the Nigerian economy.

It’s the No 1 business opportunity handbook for everyone- whether you’ve just lost your job, still working but looking for an extra stream of income or just concluded NYSC. It is also valuable for students who wish to support themselves in school.

You will also learn where and how you can get funding for your business idea and how you can protect your idea.

Sunkanmi Vaughan is a consultant, University of Lagos-trained pharmacist and speaker who helps individuals and organisations overcome the challenges of business start up and survival.

His consulting firm, Biz Lifelines has attracted numerous clients including businesses, non-profits and entrepreneurs.

5.  Money Won’t Make You Rich

money wont

Sunday Adelaja examines the subject of money from the biblical point of view. When you understand God’s principles about finances, you can control your money without letting it control you. In this practical, inspirational guide, Pastor Adelaja combines biblical truth, financial advice, and his own life experiences to explain such topics as:

  • The meaning of prosperity
  • The nature of poverty
  • The secret of success and four principles of continuous success
  • Three laws to making your money work for you
  • The reason for financial failure
  • And much more
 Have you read any good book on money in recent times? Feel free to share. I would like to hear from you.

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Wonder, Wonder by Eziorobo Gabriel Ajiri

My heart ceases to function
so my brain stops to think
so i wonder,wonder
where will i be?

The beauty of the earth is fading
so the birds sing ah!ah!ah!
So i wonder wonder
what does it mean?

The drummers drum
so the dancers dance to the rhythm of the drum
so i wonder,wonder
what is the rhythm of the drum?

Eziorobo Gabriel Ajiri is a student. He loves poetry and has a number of poems to his credit.Eziorobo lives in Lagos.

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The Night by Eziorobo Gabriel Ajiri

The night is dark
so the beauty
of the earth is down

The night is scary
those who wake up
are the survivals

The night is the spirit-battle
so the night ask;
How was your night?
How many people are alive?
How many people are dead?


Eziorobo Gabriel Ajiri is a student. He is an indigene of Delta State. He loves poetry and has a number of poems to his credit. Eziorobo lives in Lagos.

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School Fees: How much is too much?

school children

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at freedigitalphotos.net

 

With the recent hike in the cost of goods and services, many schools (primary, secondary and even some tertiary institutions) have upwardly reviewed their fees. Most parents are in a dilemma as they tinker with the idea of changing their children/wards’ schools. But like we all know, there are lot of things to consider when changing schools. First is the hard task of preparing the child psychologically for the change (trust me this is not an easy task at all). Then comes the main challenge of shopping for a desirable school, at least something of about the same standard as the former one.

However, if the increase in school fees is the only reason you want to jump ship, you may be tempted to just stick it out even in the face of dwindling finances. How do we find a balance between quality education and the need to live within means? There comes the question: How much school fees is too much school fees? I eagerly await your comments and contributions.

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Say It Loud: My Memories of James Brown: A Review by Odunayo Ajani

say it loud

A good historical account of Funk or better still Soul music you all believe will not be complete without the mention of the godfather of soul music himself, James Joseph Brown. Are you pondering who James Brown aka Mr. Dynamite is? Well, if you’re not too young back then, his 1968 release ‘I’m black and proud’ or ‘I Got You (I Feel Good)’ released in 1965 should strike a remembrance in you. Below is an unrefined feel of the person of James Brown according to Don Rhodes live experience with him.

There was a controversy on if Susie (James Brown’s mother) moved with her family to Augusta but officially, records did state that 1947, 1948, and 1949 Susie still lived with her family. Don Rhodes did state in parts (speaking, in relation to longtime friends witness and release of Augusta official records) but was unable to arrive at the final and authenticated conclusion of Susie’s whereabout.

Kudos for Rhodes analytic unveiling of the turns of event into James Brown’s early life, which of course described his personality adjectivally. Narrating how James met a fellow inmate by the name Bobby Byrd really shaped his life, and one would have wondered what would have become of him had it been he wasn’t rounded up by the city police in the spring of 1949.

Ben Bart (second famous flames group manger) finally destroyed the unity of the musical band with the change in the group’s nomenclature. Rhodes gave quite a good pointer here again just as he had followed the group’s make up from the very beginning and at the later end telling of how the applauded group went their separate ways due to the fact that the group was named after James Brown. Through this precarious act perpetrated by Ben, the group then gradually disbanded in later 1950s.

Syd Nathan of King Records ever contended with James Brown’s over the issue of recording a live performance, though James Brown felt his fans would love it. The dogmatic approach of James Brown on this issue though translated into a huge success and wore him the crown of the hardest working man in show business.

Rhodes really lived in music himself. His Poli-historical analysis of the choice of music in the sixties drove home the fact that he really understood how music takes effect on the thought of the populace, relating to their present political emotions.

Even though James Brown was a dropout, he still promoted education. He presented $1,000 scholarship at his old Elementary school- Silas X. This, to serve again as an example that not all dropout are irresponsible. After all, major pacesetters in the world today are dropout and had gone ahead to give back hope to their alma mater

Rhodes telling these reading public of how James Brown showed a philanthropic gesture via the act of getting thirty kids on the recording of his most popular album, “Say it loud, am black and proud” and then handing them ten dollars alongside his album buttressed the second time his title of being the most hardworking man in show business. It is therefore very certain, those kids will always live to remember that time they had with him.

Relating his (Rhodes) personal experience with that of the legendary icon communicated the chronological unfolding of his (James Brown’s) life better than just the straight forward narration. Rhodes personal experiences with James Brown helped to give more life to the turnout of each of the happening around him.

Even before he was The Godfather of Soul, he already started referring to himself as The God father of Soul after he watched Black Caesar. Deviating from the original discussion, it is crystal clear that his optimistic pronouncement, coupled with his existing Christian belief won him that title, though it will quite be ungrateful of us if we fail to acknowledge the fact that he really worked to attain that height in his musical career. James brown lived a tough life in the face of several bullies in the Augusta neighborhood where he grew up. Tough order of the day with several interferences with street urchins and bullies made him stand firm even at the face of a wrong act when his speedometer rose to 80km/h.

James Brown never allowed anyone to define who he’s. On the movie set, The Blues Brother, when he was told by the director to calm down his usual stage move, he stood his ground never allowing anyone to define him. No wonder quite some number of his fans applauded him for this saying, ‘Life on the road with James Brown certainly was never dull’.

James Brown was not just a musician but a dedicated show man who took the lead with his show business. No wonder a review in People Magazine quoted; “Brown issue not just a singer. His voice is an instrument enmeshed with and leading his band in a way that has never been duplicated”.

Sincerely speaking, James Brown had a near smooth experience in his musical journey to fame but the fact that he gave in to drugs dented some better part of his personality. Several accounts and close affiliate confirmed that the real James Brown is a kind and humble man, who even at the point when heaven was calling him home; still had his usual enthusiastic sense of appreciation, a high sense of humor, and an unreserved drive to give. Up till his death in the concluding chapter nineteen of this book, he was of the interest to work alongside Michael Jackson (whom he said took after his style), and Prince. Up till the point he gave up the ghost, James Joseph Brown who was fondly tagged with the name, ‘the God father of soul’ has always been an advocate in his city of Augusta all through the seventy-three years he lived, fighting the course of humanity and the Black folks most especially.

NB: James Brown though at a point in his life time did live a rough life after several charges of drug intake and assault on his wife. But it is quite clear enough on the account of this book that the effect of a broken home he earlier experienced with his parent took a toll on him. Hitherto, the whole of Africa and most especially the inhabitant of Augusta will forever live to remember this legendary figure who stood all through for the right of the black folks.

I can therefore categorically tell you this day that if you haven’t had a taste of this book, then you haven’t really read well.

 

odunayo

Odunayo Ajani presently functions as an Admin/Media Assistant at New Africa Book Publishers. He is an active member of the Future World changers club international which has her headquarters in Lagos Nigeria. He is a writer and an erudite photographer, who also doubled as a blogger, covering news article both in his home country and Africa as a whole. He is a novelist, a book reviewer a bard as well, with some good number of his works published on www.allpoetry.com/poem/niftyrules.

He is a general researcher, a serial entrepreneur and also a student at Diana Nadin’s, writers Bureau in Manchester England, where he is presently mining the treasures in the art of creative writing. Writing has been a great companion to him and he is at present the Coordinator of Ekó Book Club.

 

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The Domestication of Munachi by Ifesinachi Okpagu

munachi

In a society where marriage is considered the be-all and end-all, Munachi rose to challenge the status quo by doing the unimaginable. Like Maggie Carpenter in the Runaway bride movie, she eloped to the chagrin of everyone, on her wedding day thus putting an end to the celebration of a marriage painstakingly arranged by her parents.

She confided in just one person- Adanna, her timid elder sister who was trapped in an unhappy and abusive marriage arranged the same way.  Both sisters were haunted by a past- a past they struggled to overcome. However, unlike Adanna, Munachi refused to be stampeded into marriage.

Strongly craving more of what life could offer beyond marriage, Adanna left Awka town for the ever-bustling Lagos city. She found solace in her aunt- the rich, classy, and misogamistic Aunt Chimuanya who was elated at her niece’s defiance. She had plans for Munachi but helping her secure a job was not one of them. Rather she made her believe that the fastest way to live the Lagos dream was to become a mistress to some wealthy business man.

Meanwhile, Adanna endured her husband’s persistent physical and emotional assault. She soon found the will to fight back and courageously returned to her parents’ home.

Adanna unknowingly got entangled in a money-driven, roller-coaster affair with KJ who was husband to Aunt Chimuanya’s best friend, Nkoli. With this twist of events, she was thrown into the cold streets of Lagos.  Would she run again? Where and to whom would she run? Find out in this amazing story.

The Domestication of Munachi is a courageous novel written by an author who had long nursed an irrepressible urge to address social issues of domestic violence, women independence, marital infidelity, materialism, and false religiousity. In this thrilling chronicle of social conundrums, Ifesinachi Okpagu tells her society that marriage is not the answer to all of life’s problems and should not always be viewed as a woman’s ultimate goal.

The Domestication of Munachi is a great read. Buy a copy now!

 

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The Pulley by George Herbert

When God at first made man,
Having a glass of blessings standing by,
Let us, said he, pour on him all we can:
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie,
Contract into a span.

So strength first made way;
Then beauty flowed; then wisdom, honour, pleasure.
When almost all was out, God made a stay,
Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure,
Rest in the bottom lay.

For, if I should, said he,
Bestow this jewel also on my creature,
He would adore my gifts instead of me,
And rest in Nature, not the God of Nature:
So should both losers be.

Yet let him keep the rest,
But keep them with repining restlessness:
Let him be rich and weary, that at least,
If goodness lead him not, yet weariness
May toss him to my breast.

About the Poet
George Herbert was born in to a noble Welsh family on April 3, 1593. His poetry was influenced chiefly by the puritanical stance of the 17th century in which he was born. After graduation from the University, he was ordained as a priest and served in a little church in Bemerton. His major collection of poems titled “The Temple” was published after his death.

Analysis
The poem “The Pulley” illustrates the relationship between God and man especially his benevolence to man. The first stanza describes how God made man and blessed him with worldly riches: “When God at first made man, Having a glass of blessings standing by”. The stanza also portrays the concept of Trinity as seen in the Biblical creation story in Genesis: “Let us, said he pour on him all we can” (Note the use of the phrase “Let us”).
In the second stanza, God actually poured his blessings of strength, beauty, wisdom, honour and pleasure on man but withheld one important blessing- The Gift of Rest: “Perceiving that, alone of all his treasure, Rest in the bottom lay”.
In the third stanza, God gave his reason for withholding the gift of rest from man. He withdrew this blessing because he felt giving man the gift of rest would make him conceited or excessively proud and man may not worship him: “He would adore my gifts instead of me, And rest in nature, not the God of Nature”. With the withdrawal of rest from man, man is thrown into perpetual restlessness so that he can always remember his creator whether as a result of goodness or weariness: Let him be rich and weary, that at least, If goodness lead him not, yet weariness may toss him to my breast” .
Themes
i. God’s supremacy and love for mankind. He blessed man with many gifts but shows his supremacy over man by withholding the gift of rest.
ii. Man’s dependency on God.
iii. The insatiable nature of man’s needs. This throws man in a perpetual state of restlessness, anxiety and worry.
Structure
The poem is rhythmic with an alternating rhyme scheme. The first stanza rhymes a b a b a as follows:
When God at first made man, (a)
Having a glass of blessings standing by, (b)

Let us, said he, pour on him all we can: (a)
Let the world’s riches, which dispersed lie, (b)
Contract into a span. (a)

Mood and Tone
The mood as well as the tone is reflective. The poem is a product of the poet’s long, quiet and thoughtful reflection on the Biblical creation story.

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The Panic of Growing Older by Lenrie Peters

The panic

of growing older

spreads fluttering winds

from year to year

 

At twenty

stilled by hope

of gigantic success

time and exploration

 

At thirty

a sudden throb of

pain. Laboratory tests

have nothing to show

 

Legs cribbed

in domesticity allow

no sudden leaps

at the noon now

 

Copybook bisected

with red ink

and failures-

nothing to show the world

 

Three children perhaps

the world expects

it of you. No

specialist’s effort there.

 

But science gives hope

of twice three score

and ten. Hope

is not a grain of sand.

 

Inner satisfaction

dwindles in sharp

blades of expectation.

From now on the world has you.


About the Poet

Lenrie Peters (1932-2009) wrote the poem The Panic of Growing Older. He was a Gambian writer, poet, singer, broadcaster and surgeon. He studied in Gambia, Sierra Leone and England. He published his collection of poems titled Satellites in 1967. Though renowned for his poems, he has a novel to his credit titled The Second Round. In The Panic of Growing Older, the poet brought to bear his medical background as he described the physiological and psychological process of aging.


Analysis

The poem is about the different phases of human development starting from birth through adulthood and old age. The aging process is slow: spreads fluttering winds from year to year.

In the second stanza, the poet describes what happens in early adulthood. This period is filled with high expectations, hopes, ambition, and adventure. One also has the advantage of time: At twenty/stilled by hope/ of gigantic success/ time and exploration.

The next stanza describes age thirty as the period when one begins to experience pain that lacks medical explanation: At thirty a sudden throb of pain. Laboratory tests have nothing to show.

The fourth stanza portrays what happens in old age. As one approaches old age, weakness sets in and one loses agility: Legs cribbed /in domesticity allow/ no sudden leaps/ at the noon now. Often, one spends all his years on earth trying to copy others without success: Copybook bisected /with red ink and failures. In the end, he has nothing to show the world except children which the poet does not consider an achievement: Three children perhaps/ the world expects /it of you. No/ specialist’s effort there.

Although science gives hope of living up to seventy years, this is not a sure fact: But science gives hope of twice three score and ten. Hope is not a grain of sand. In old age, the thoughts of unfulfilled dreams and aspirations bring weakness to the mind: Inner satisfaction dwindles in sharp blades of expectation.

With not much time left, the aged has very little control of his life and simply resigns to fate: From now on the world has you.

Structure

This is a free verse poem with no consistent meter pattern or rhyme scheme. It has eight stanzas written in short phrases and arranged chronologically. Each stanza describes the different phases of life.

Language

The poem’s language is simple. However, the poet uses symbols to represent the aging process. Examples include: “legs cribbed”, “throb of pain”.

Theme

The poem’s main theme is the fear of aging or growing old. Other themes are mortality of man and life’s uncertainties.

Mood and Tone

The mood is passive. Though the pain associated with aging is undesirable, the poet accepts that aging is inevitable. The tone is calm.

Poetic Devices

1. Metaphor: Example- “fluttering winds” which describes the anxiety of aging.

2. Symbols: Examples- “sudden throb of pain“,”legs cribbed” represent weakness associated with aging. “Hope of gigantic success/ time and exploration” represent the youthful age.

3. Repetition: The word “hope” was repeated in the seventh stanza.

4. Alliteration: Example- “from year to year”

What other figures of speech can you identify in this poem?

See also The Dining Table, Ambush, Vanity, The Anvil and the Hammer, The school boy, and Othello.

 

 

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Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti

The land is a giant whale

that swallows the sinker,

with hook, line and bait

aborting dreams of a good catch

fishers turn home at dusk

blue Peter on empty ships

all Peters with petered out desires.

 

The land is a saber-toothed tiger

that cries deep in the glade

While infants shudder home

the grizzled ones snatch their gut

from bayonets of tribulation

halting venturous walk at dusk

 

The land is a giant hawk

that courts unceasing disaster

as it hovers and hoots in space

 

The land lies patiently ahead

awaiting in ambush

those who point away from a direction

where nothing happens toward the shore of possibilities.

 

Background

Ambush is written by Gbemisola Adeoti, a professor of English Language at the Obafemi Awolowo University, (OAU) Ile-Ife (Nigeria) and the director of the Institute of Cultural Studies of the same institution. He is a seasoned poet, a social commentator and writer with many works to his credit.

Analysis

The poem Ambush portrays the socio-political problems facing Nigeria. The poet describes how lofty dreams, aspiration, visions, and hopes are shattered by the political class that continually plunders the nation’s resources.

In the first stanza, he directly compares the ruling class with a giant whale that swallows the nation’s resources leaving nothing behind: The land is a giant whale/ that swallow the sinker/ with hook, line and bait aborting dreams of a good catch.

By way of allusion, he further relates the Nigerian situation to the Biblical event where Apostle Peter toiled all night on sea without catching any fish until he met Jesus who told him what to do: blue Peter on empty ships/ all Peters with petered out desires.

As a result of the many years of failed governance, the country experiences all kinds of social problems like violence, robbery, insurgence, kidnapping thus becoming a sabre-toothed tiger/a giant hawk. The youths and elder statesmen refrain from agitation for fear of being persecuted or repressed by government: While infants shudder home/the grizzled ones snatch their gut/from bayonets of tribulation/halting venturous walk at dusk.

In the last stanza, while the poet looks forward to a generation that will take the nation out of its hopeless state toward the shore of possibilities, his hope is threatened by the ravenous nature of the ruling class: The land lies patiently ahead/ awaiting in ambush, ready to devour the future change-agents.

Structure

It is a four stanza poem arranged in sequence. It does not have a consistent meter pattern or rhythm.

Language

The language is simple but metaphoric. Imagery There are lot of symbolic expressions in the poem which enhance the poet’s message. Examples: “giant whale”, “giant hawk”, “petered out desires”, “sabre-toothed tiger”, “grizzled ones”.

Mood and Tone

The mood is gloomy and sober with a corresponding tone of lamentation and pessimism. There appears to be a shift in tone in the last stanza as he expresses hope but he ends the stanza on a pessimistic note.

Poetic Devices/Figures of Speech

1. Metaphor: This is direct comparison. Examples: The land is a giant whale/ The land is a sabre-toothed tiger/The land is a giant hawk.

2. Allusion: The poet alludes to the Biblical Peter in stanza 1.

3. Alliteration: Examples: that swallow the sinker/all Peter with petered out desires

4. Personification: The poet gives life to land. Examples: that swallow the sinker/The land….hoovers and hoots in space/The land lies patiently ahead.

What other figures of speech can you identify in this poem?

 

 

 


 

 

 

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How To Answer WAEC Literature Examination Questions

I have received quite a number of requests from students on how to answer WAEC Literature questions. Though I love literature and can analyse texts and poems, I am always quick to point out that I am not a teacher of literature. I believe the question “how to answer WAEC literature examination questions” would be best answered by a qualified literature teacher who prepares students for WAEC examinations.

In my quest to have a literature teacher on board, I met Mr. Ismail Owoseni, a seasoned literature teacher and a member of this forum and discussed the possibility of doing a write-up on the topic. Luckily, he shares the same passion with me and offered to do a write-up on the topic “free of charge”. Please find below the article “How to answer WAEC Literature Examination Questions”. I hope you find it helpful.

 

Owoseni Ismail, Literature tutor at Galad Advance Studies School, Ilorin. He is a writer, motivational speaker and poet.

Owoseni Ismail, English literature tutor at Galad Advance Studies School, Ilorin. He is a writer, motivational speaker and poet.

I feel delighted and honoured for this great opportunity given to me to write on this topic.
To start with, candidates should know that there is no shortcut to success especially for students of literature. They should also know that Literature-in-English is all about reading, analyzing and writing. I strongly advise that they read the full texts prior to the examination day, not at the eve of the examination.
For every literature question, your answer must relate to the question and must be concise, meaningful, contain relevant information and ample references from the text. Candidates who do not make references from the text may not score well. Let us take a quick look at these questions.
1. Write a short note on these characters:
a. Yaremi
b. Aloho

These are characters in  “Lonely Days” by Bayo Adebowale and “Harvest of Corruption” by Frank Ogodo Ogbeche.
Literally, how do you know a character in a text? You know a character by the following:
1. what he or she says;
2. what people or other characters say about him or her; and
3. what he or she does in the text.

If for instance, you say “Yaremi is a good mother”, you need to show “how” and “why” she is a good mother. The question can only be answered from the text.
You should know that the examiner expects you to use each question to show as much as your knowledge about the text as you can so it is important to read and study each text extensively. Summaries are never enough. You must read and study the text in detail.

Equally important is the need to plan your answers. Spend about five minutes thinking of the points you need to answer each question. Make use of quotations from the text. These may be in form of short phrases picked from the text to support your points.

Ensure you end each answer with a conclusion which is a summary of all the points in your essay.

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