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Analysis Of Abiku By Wole Soyinka

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The Poet's Notion

Some people claimed that Abiku by Wole Soyinka symbolised the poet's military imprisonment. They claimed that Wole Soyinka wrote the poem to prove to the military government of the period that he would remain unsubmissive: "In vain your bangles cast Charmed circles at my feet; I am Abiku, calling for the first And the repeated time."(line 1-4)

 [Read: Cultural Reflection From Abiku By John Pepper Clark]

Other people claimed that Abiku by Wole Soyinka is a poem written to speak of the well-known African believe of a child dying and been given birth to by the same mother: "So when the snail is burnt in his shell Whet the heated fragments, brand me Deeply on the breast. You must know him When Abiku calls again."(line 9-12) It might be coincidental that Wole Soyinka was imprisoned around the time he wrote the poem "Abiku" but I do not support the team that believed Abiku was a symbol of his imprisonment.

My Own Take

Judging by the context of the poem, the poet at a point said "I am Abiku" in line 3 but the poet switched to the use of third person singular "You must know him/When Abiku calls again" in line 11 and 12. Again, the following lines in the poem: "Mother! I'll be the/ Supplicant snake coiled on the doorstep" is another line that proved no relationship between the poem and the poet's imprisonment. 

The Summary

Lets ignore argument and view the plot of the poem. In the poem, Abiku speaks of himself as if yet known; to the extent, he considers mentioning those things that can appease him: "Must I weep for goats and cowries For palm oil and the sprinkled ash? Yams do not sprout in amulets To earth Abiku's limbs." (in stanza 2) The poem is of 8 stanzas with 4 lines each. It holds a rural setting with a boastful tone. The few poetic devices evident in the poem are rhetorical question in line 5-6, personification in line 23, an apostrophe in line 26, imagery in line 16, metaphor in line 13-14, run-on-line in line 10-11, repetition of Abiku, time, oil, etc.
Few of the themes are (1) cultural believe (2) supernatural (3) pride (4) discontentment NEXT


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 Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry (the Leo with wing flying)
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