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How Does Okara In "Piano And Drums" Respond To The Two Types Of Different Music And Instruments?

989 words - 4 pages

In the poem "Piano and Drums" the narrator: Gabriel Okara, responds to the two types of music and instrument; Piano and drums differently. His response to the drums is that of excitement and youthfulness, however, his response to the piano is of unfamiliarity. Okara shows his two different attitudes through his choice of diction, rhythm, metaphors and symbolism.The choice of diction used to describe the drums and piano creates a strong emphasis on the contrast of African and western cultures. The first two stanzas talk of the mystic rhythm and excitement of the drums. The words used to describe the drums are violent and raw: "bleeding flesh", "pounce" and "blood ripples". These words show the wildness and primitive culture of the African way. The names of wild animals show the danger of the open and the drums as a means of communication; "drums telegraphing". The last sentence of the first stanza; "...hunters crouch with spear poised..." Okara places himself as a hunter ready to hunt the "leopard". This illustrates the freedom and youthfulness experienced by the hunters. They have the freedom to go out into the wild and hunt for survival and the hunter's "primal youth" unleashes inside of them with the adrenaline of the chase and the fast pacing drums.The second stanza show's the narrator's nostalgia and of how the drums bring back memories of his youth and past. Okara is on his mother's lap "suckling". The familiarity of the drums brings him back to the past. The narrator's feeling is roused the "green leaves and wild flowers" that grow out in the land. This again emphasizes the freedom and wildness; flowers growing and the trees thriving without the need for human assistance and their ability to spread out freely with no boundaries. Okara shows that there are no restrictions in this life and enjoys the primitive culture which is close to heart and in his blood.Contrast to the choice of diction used to describe the drums, are those used to describe the piano. The narrator's view on the piano is expressed in the first line of the third stanza when Okara chooses to say "a wailing piano" instead of maybe a singing piano. This shows the negative thoughts expressed by Okara and his views on the western culture. The piano is strange and foreign. It fails to rouse the same excitement and freedom that was articulated by the drums. Okara's choice of jargon; "diminuendo", "counterpoint" and "crescendo" show how complex western cultures are and their restrictions in life. To the narrator; Okara, the complexities of the piano and it' music or sound is different and while it may sound wonderful and grand to a westerner it fails to do the same for Okara.The poem is free verse allowing Okara to express his thoughts and feelings without any restrictions to rhyme and rhythm. However, the poem inhibits...

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