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Poem Analysis: Vanity By Birago Diop. by Sirneij (m): 5:53am on November 20
Idogun John
Federal University of Technology, Akure
Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Computer Engineering option)
400Level, Nigeria.
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Birago Diop is one among the poets of culture. The following poems of his - Vanity, Breath, etc. are proves of his love for African customs and norms.

He was a Senegalese poet of African folktales and folklores who lived between 11 December 1906 and 25 November 1989. Till date, his name has never been undermined when mentioning the pioneer figures of the Négritude literary movement.

As a faithful steward of African tutelage, Birago Diop understood the implications of paying deaf ears and lip services to the deep rooted ways of the forefathers. In the poem vanity, Birago Diop cried out his regrets for himself and the contemporary Africans who have belittled the African tradition by cherishing and glorifying the alien cultural lifestyle.

He did not forget to mention that those who had downgraded their African root suffered it; leaving the signs of their punishment everywhere:

"Just as our ears were deaf
To their cries, to their wild appeals
They have left on the earth their cries
In the air, on the water, where they have traced their signs

For us blind deaf and unworthy Sons"
This thirty line poem, chopped into multiple stanzas, has an unhappy tone and candidly speaking, the reoccurring rhetorical questions and repetitions of lines reflect the poet's mood of admonition. With the use of words such as "air", "water" and "earth", the poem can be partly considered a poem of nature; but what can be said about the setting? The setting of the poem seems communal (truly really humanlike).

Themes.

1. We have the theme of African cultural decadence. The message of the poet shows that Africans are no longer following the valuable paths of their ancestral living which happen to be the only way African culture can remain intact.

2. The theme of irreversibility: The title and the chosen words of the poet through his pessimist tone, show that the deed is done and will never be undone.

He claimed that even his lamentation will go in vain because their "ears were deaf" and they were also "blind deaf and unworthy Sons".

3. The theme of death and punishment: In the poem Vanity by Birago Diop, the word “Dead” appeared more than once and in the forth stanza it was used to symbolise the ancestors.

It shows the importance of ancestral believe in Africa. Dead in the poem, if keenly examined, symbolized punishment. Other signs of punishment in the poem is the mentioned act of crying and clamouring seen in the poem which shows the unwholesomeness that exists within the African society.

“If we cry roughly of our torment”
It is very crucial to note that the word “cry” in the above quote is a metonymy used to replace the word “rage”.

Figures of speech

1. Imagery: "sad complaining voices of beggars" in line 4 is an imagery describing the people's voices.Another imagery is found in line 14.

2. Metaphor: "Plaintive throats" in line 14 is a metaphor. Line 4 and line 9 also have a metaphor.

3. Rhetorical Question: "What eyes will watch our large mouth?" in line 8 is a rhetorical question. There are also rhetorical questions in lines 5, 10, 11, 14, and 30.

4. Alliteration: "gently gently" in line 1 is an alliteration. Others are in lines 8, 15, and 22.

5. Sarcasm: "sad complaining voices of beggars" in line 4 is a sarcasm. Line 8 and line 10 also possess sarcasms.

6. Simile: "like a tumour" in line 13 is a simile. "Just as our ears" in line 17 is a simile.

8. Personification: "our Dead come" in line 15 is a personification which gives a walking ability to the Deads.

8. Repetition: The following words are repeated in the poem "gently", "voices", "ears" "deaf", "Dead", "cries", "hear" etc.
The poem also used synonyms in form of repetition.

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Adegbite Victor Oluwaferanmi
, Nigeria.
Op, Birago Diop died on November 29, 1992.
You forgot to mention the fact the poem made mention of the state of poverty and neglect in Africa.

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Re: Poem Analysis: Vanity By Birago Diop. by Sirneij (m): 9:14am on November 20
Idogun John
Federal University of Technology, Akure
Electrical and Electronics Engineering (Computer Engineering option)
400Level, Nigeria.

[ @Ernest777: ] Op, Birago Diop died on November 29, 1992.
You forgot to mention the fact the poem made mention of the state of poverty and neglect in Africa.

Thanks boss!

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