Compare 'vultures' By Chinua Achebe With One Other Poem To Show How Poets Use Poetry To Make A Protest

865 words - 3 pages

Sample essay: The poem I have chosen for comparison is 'Not My Business'. Like 'Vultures . it is written by a Nigerian poet and set in Africa. However, in both cases the African setting simply provides a background for events that could take place in many other countries around the world. Both poems protest about the way in which human beings treat each other, but they do so in different ways, using different techniques such as structure, vocabulary and poetic voice.

The protest made in these poems makes me wonder why humans behave the way they do. How can the commandant in Achebe's poem go shopping for chocolate with the smell of 'human roast' still 'clinging rebelliously to his hairy nostrils'? This horrifying image makes me feel the protest strongly. In a similar way, Osundare, when he writes about 'they'- the violent people who casually pick up Akanni one morning - makes me react strongly to the words 'beat him softly like clay'. Again the distressing image of someone being beaten senseless as though he weren't a human being is very disturbing. The fact that the Belsen commandant is identified in one poem and the victim has a name in the other, helps to reinforce the protest because it becomes personal and specific.

Both poems also protest against the basic survival instinct of human beings, showing how they can be cowardly and corrupt. Achebe's poem tells the reader to 'despair' because 'kindred love, love of the family can be infected with the 'germ' allowing the perpetuity of evil'. Similarly, Osundare thinks that eating just to survive can become a weak and cowardly act, as his poem suggests that there are people who will let anything happen to others, 'so long as they don't take the yam.' Here the poet seems to be criticising the selfish nature of mankind.

Perhaps the strongest protest that comes through both poems is against those who turn a blind eye to the corrupt regimes that human beings create and allow to exist. This is the main focus of 'Not My Business' , where the chorus is used ironically in the first three stanzas, 'what business is it of mine'. The poet is ridiculing the attitude of the 'head in the sand ' approach to problems. This theme is echoed in 'Vultures with the line ' her head turned to the wall' suggesting that we tend to ignore the horrors around us and think it is no business of ours.

Achebe's use...

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