(1). Revision of last term work.

(2). Introduction to African poetry. ’Vanity’ Birago  Diop .

Themes and   content analysis, poetic devices of the poem Vanity.

(3). Gbemisola Adeoti ‘Ambush’. Themes and content analysis, poetic

devices of the poem Ambush

(4)    Gabriel Okara ‘Piano and Drums’. Themes and content analysis, poetic

devices of the poem

(5)      Gbanbam Hallowell ‘The Dining Table.’ Themes, content analysis and

poetic devices of the poem

(6)   ‘The Panic of Growing Older’ Lenrie Peter. Themes and content analysis

of the poem, Poetic Devices of  the poem.

(7)   ‘The Anvil and the Hammer’ Kofi Awoonor.

The themes and content analysis of the poem, Poetic Devices of the poem.


‘Crossing the Bar’ Alfred Tennyson. Themes and content analysis of the

Poem, poetic devices of the poem.

(9)   ‘The Pully’ George Herbert. Themes and content analysis of the poem,

poetic devices of the poem.

(10) ’The Proud King’ Williams Morris’  Themes and content analysis of the

poem, Poetic devices of the poem.

(11)  ’The School Boy’ William Blake.  The themes and content analysis of the

poem, poetic devices of the poem

(12)       Revision

(13)      Examination.


WEEK ONE.                Revision on Literary Terms.


Content; Literary terms are words used in literature mostly in the genres of literature to make the work of art meaningful and beautiful. Some of these terms are; Dialogue, Setting, Character, Themes, Conflict, Tragic flaw, Aside, Allusion, Burlesque, Denouement, Fable, etc.

Reference to Exam Focus on Literature in English by Nwachukwu Agbada.

Class Work; Give the meaning of the selected literary terms stated above.

Assignment. Write out ten literary term with meaning.

WEEK TWO                  African Poetry ; ‘Vanity’ Birago Diop


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) 


The following are themes that could be identify in the poem.

  1. Theme of poverty.
  2. Theme of helplessness.
  3. Theme of death
  4. Theme of heroic deeds.


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.

  1. Repetition – Line 1
  2. Paradox  _Line 4-5
  3. Synodoche   _Line 8,10,11,12 etc
  4. Simile – Line  13.
  5. Rhetorical question –Line 3,5,11,14,etc
  6. Personification – stanza 4,line 1 and 2.

CLASS WORK ; Explain the content of the poem.

ASSIGNMENT ;  Discuss five themes in the poem Vanity.



CONTENT : 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 an agent of frustration to her peoples hope at every turn.


The following are the poetic devices used in the poem.

  1. Personification-Stanza one,stanza two,stanza three and stanza four.
  2. Metaphor – line 1,line 8, line 14.
  3. Allusion – stanza one.
  4. Metonymy –stanza one to three.
  5. Run-on –lines –all lines in the run into each other.
  6. Symbols: many symbolic expression are used in the poem. The images are giant whale,giant hawk etc.
  7. Alliteration : -lines 2,7 and 16



  1. The spectre of social unrest in the country
  2. The irresponsibility of the ruling class
  3. The feeble resistance of the masses
  4. The suppression of voices of dissent 
  5. The hope of a bright future



Identify and explain the poetic devices used in the poem ‘Ambush’


  1. Discuss five themes in this poem
  2. Discuss the used of alliteration in the poem
  3. Comment on the poet style.

Reference to Exam Focus on Literature in English by Nwachukwu   Agbada



                             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.


The following poetic devices are used by the poet in the poem.

  1. Simile _ line 3 and 4
  2. Metaphor _line 2,line 9 and line 10
  3. Transferred epithet – line 16
  4. Personification _ lines 17-18
  5. Alliteration lines 6,9 and 20
  6. Symbols: There is abundant use of symbols in the poem.
  7. Exaggeration _ stanza 1 and 2



  1. Clash of culture
  2. Primal youth of the African
  3. Beauty of the concerto
  4. The decay of African civilization.
  5. The theme innocence



Give a detailed account of the poem


  1. Compare and contrast ‘Piano and Drums’ with ‘Vanity’
  2. Discuss the poet attitude in ‘Piano and Drums’.





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.


The following are the poetic devices used in the poem.

  1. Metaphor  -lines 2, 7, 10, 11, and 13.
  2. Personification _lines 8, 9 and  10.
  3. Rhetoric question _  line 16.
  4. Alliteration _ line 5 and 20.
  5. Repetition _ line2 and  25, lines 3 and 8, lines 4 and 8, lines 12 and 15 and lines 21 an d 23
  6. Paradox _line one and two.
  7. Symbols: This is one of the strength in this poem.The poet  uses many symbols to make the poem meaningful and beautiful



  1. The destructive consequences of war as seen in gun wounds and other deprivations  the people suffered.
  2. The disorder, fears and chaos that accompany civil strife as seen in the children scampering for food and safety.
  3. The problem of malnutrition, hunger and outbreak of diseases in war –torn societies as seen in cracked lips and cholera epidemic.
  4. The flight of reason and unity in the event of war as seen in the last stanza where the poet’s resolution fell like a pack of cards because there is no one to support his revolutionary ideas. 



Discuss the theme of war in the poem.

ASSIGNMENT: How would you describe the background of the poem.





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 still be hopeful that things may get better but the major challenge would now be physical strength, inner agility and time. This is the time when inner satisfaction loses substance and  man  awaits the call to glory.


The following poetic devices are used by the poet in the poem ‘PANIC OF GROWING OLDER’.

Metaphor; the whole poem is an extended metaphor about the transitional stages in man’s life.

Personification; the poet personifies ‘fear’ which he describes as ‘spread fluttering words’.

Symbolism; ‘blades of expectation’ – line 31.

This symbolizes the young stage of man when he is full of expectation. The poet says, this will no longer exist. It would have disappeared sharply.


  1. Transitional stages of man.
  2. Hope against hope.
  3. The vanity in life of man.



  1. Identify and discuss fully two themes in the poem.
  2. Comment on the poet’s use of language in the poem.







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.


  1. A forceful fusion
  2. Conflict of the way to go.
  3. Nation building
  4. Tradition and modernity




                                                            WEEK  EIGHT


                                                            NON AFRICAN POETRY



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.


The following themes are found in the poem;

  1. The inevitability of death.
  2. Life after death.



  1. Metaphor: The journey between life and death is compared to crossing the sand bar.
  2. 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) crossing from one end of a river to the other (i.e crossing over the bar that separates life from death).
  3. Alliteration: There is repetition of some consonant sounds in some lines. E.g.

Sunset and the evening star, (line 1)

…..clear call                               (line 2)

…..May…Moaning                    (line 3)

…..Flood…Far                            (line 14)

…..Face to Face                        (line 15).




Discuss the poet’s attitude to death in ‘Crossing the Bar’.

Discuss the theme of hope in the poem.


                                                     WEEK NINE

                                            THE PULLEY: BY GEORGE HERBERT.


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 by giving him everything but rest.


The following themes could be found in the poem.

  1. The superiority of God, the all-knowing God, over man.
  2. The frailty of the human mind.
  3. God desires that man should look up to Him
  4. The reason for man’s restlessness.
  5. Man must accept his limitations.
  6. God’s love for man is limitless.



The following figures of speech and sound devices are apparent in the poem.

  1. Alliteration: This is found in line 6 ‘so strength’ and line 7 ‘repining restlessness’
  2. Assonance: This is found in line 8 ‘When almost all was out……..’
  3. Biblical Allusion: The poem is an example of biblical allusion as all its content allude to the creation of the world and man in Genesis 1-2.
  4. Consonance: In line 2 ‘blessing standing by’.
  5. Personification: Two things, goodness and weariness, are endowed with human attribute in lines 19-20. ‘If goodness lead him not, yet weariness/May toss him to my breast’.



  1. ‘The Pulley’ is an example of metaphysical poetry. Discuss
  2. Identify and discuss the major themes in the poem.

Literature In English SS 2 Third Term Lesson Notes

                                                WEEK TEN

                          THE PROUD KING BY WILLIAM MORRIS.

CONTENT: ‘’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.



  1. Pride and the vanity of material wealth
  2. Supremacy of God.
  3. Death is inevitable.
  4. Impermanence of wealth, status and position.
  5. The immortality of art.
  6. The corruptive nature of wealth and affluence.
  7. Sinners must repent of their.
  8. Leaders are answerable to God for their action.



  1. Alliteration: In several lines of the poem, words, having similar first consonant sound, occur very close to each other.

‘more mad than mad’ (line 405)

‘royal race’ (line 474)

‘visage vanished’(line 141)

‘sins thou straight shall shrive’(line 652)

  1. Antithesis: The poet also uses contradictory expressions to convey ideas:

‘And is mighty lord to slay and save’ (line 648)

‘New things becoming old, and old things new’ (line 784)

  1. Oxymoron: The use of two contradictory words to suggest an idea is found in the following expression: ‘Though bitter-sweet thou knowest well this is (line 747).
  2. Personification: The poet deploys the use of this devices to create mental images in the minds of the readers by giving human qualities to non-human things. This is depicted in several lines of the poem:

‘Not made a monster by unhappiness’ (line 617)

‘angry eye’ (line 708)

‘naked feet’ (line 714)

  1. Rhetorical question: Rhetorical questions are used in the poem to provoke deep ruminations from the reader about certain ideas.



  1. Discuss ‘The Proud King’ as an example of narrative poetry.
  2. Identify and discuss the dominant theme in the poem.

                                                    WEEK ELEVEN

                               THE SCHOOL BOY: WILLIAM BLAKE


‘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.


  1. Education acquired in a natural setting is more fulfilling than formal education in a classroom.
  2. The beauty and splendour of nature.
  3. A quest for fulfilment in nature.
  4. Children should be given the opportunity to chart their destiny.
  5. Formal education in a classroom is a form of imprisonment.


  1. Personification: The use of personification is evident in the first stanza of the poem. ‘When the birds sing on every tree’

And the skylark sings with me’(line 2 and 4)

  1. Metaphor: In line 14, ‘learning’s bower’ is a metaphor for classroom.  ‘The bird’ in line 16 is metaphorical reference to the boy.
  2. Consonance: This is found in line 12, where the /n/ sound is repeated in ‘And spend many an anxious hour’ and in ‘blossom blown’ (line 22)
  3. Apostrophe: The poet persona deploys the use of this device when he addresses his parents as if they are present: ‘O father and mother if buds are nipped’ (line 21).ASSIGNMENT
  1. Discuss the poetic devices employed by Blake in this poem.
  2. Write short note on the poem’s major themes.




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