2023 ONDO JOINT LITERATURE ANSWERS
The Lion and the Jewel” is a captivating play written by Nigerian playwright Wole Soyinka, first performed in 1959. Set in the fictional village of Ilujinle in Nigeria, the play explores the clash between traditional African culture and Western influences during the post-colonial era. The setting of the play plays a significant role in highlighting the cultural and social dynamics at play.
Ilujinle is portrayed as a traditional African village, rich in customs, folklore, and rituals. Soyinka vividly describes the setting, with its dusty streets, huts, and the central marketplace bustling with activity. The village represents the essence of African culture, steeped in its history, mythology, and deeply ingrained traditions. It serves as a microcosm of the broader Nigerian society, reflecting the tensions and transitions faced by the country at the time.
The clash between tradition and modernity is symbolized by the characters of Sidi, the beautiful village belle, and Baroka, the crafty and powerful Bale (chief) of Ilujinle. Sidi represents the allure of Westernization, embodying the changing values and aspirations of the younger generation. On the other hand, Baroka embodies the traditional African values and seeks to maintain his authority and control over the village.
The setting also encompasses the school, a symbol of Western education and progress, which adds another layer of conflict. Lakunle, the schoolteacher and a self-proclaimed progressive, represents the clash between Western ideals and African traditions. His desire to “modernize” the village and emancipate Sidi reflects the influence of colonial education and the tensions it generates within the society.
NON AFRICAN DRAMA
In the play “Look Back in Anger” by John Osborne, religion is depicted through the lens of the main character, Jimmy Porter. Osborne’s portrayal of religion is critical and disillusioned, reflecting the prevailing sentiments of the “angry young men” movement in post-war Britain.
Osborne presents Jimmy Porter as a disillusioned and embittered young man who is highly critical of traditional institutions, including religion. Jimmy is frustrated with the society around him, which he perceives as stagnant, hypocritical, and suffocating. He rejects the conventional values and beliefs that religion upholds, considering them empty and outdated.
Throughout the play, Jimmy frequently expresses his disdain for religion and its adherents. He mocks religious figures, calling them “Bible bashers” and “sky pilots.” He sees religious rituals and practices as empty gestures that fail to address the real issues affecting society. Jimmy believes that religion is a tool used by the ruling class to maintain control and perpetuate inequality.
Moreover, Jimmy’s atheism reflects his broader rejection of authority and tradition. He views religion as a form of escapism that distracts people from the harsh realities of life. In his famous “there aren’t any good, brave causes left” speech, Jimmy criticizes religion for its failure to offer meaningful solutions to the social and political problems of the time. He argues that religion and its promises of a better afterlife serve as a distraction from the need to fight for justice and change in the present.
Osborne’s portrayal of religion in “Look Back in Anger” is representative of the broader social and cultural climate of post-war Britain. The play reflects the disillusionment and anger felt by many young people who were dissatisfied with the conservative values and structures of the time. Through Jimmy’s character, Osborne critiques the ineffectiveness of religion in addressing the real issues facing society and calls for a more active and engaged approach to social change.
“Buchi Emecheta’s novel, ‘Second-Class Citizen,’ explores the theme of selfishness through the lens of the main character’s experiences and the societal pressures she faces. The protagonist, Adah, struggles against the selfishness of both individuals and society, which hinder her pursuit of personal fulfillment and success.”
Throughout the novel, Adah faces various challenges in her pursuit of education, career, and personal happiness. One recurring theme is the selfishness displayed by those around her, including her husband, family members, and even society as a whole. Adah’s dreams and ambitions are frequently disregarded or undermined by the selfish desires and expectations of others.
Adah’s husband, Francis, exemplifies selfishness as he constantly belittles her ambitions and restricts her opportunities for personal growth. He disregards Adah’s intellectual pursuits, prioritizing his own desires and expecting her to fulfill traditional gender roles. His selfishness creates a power imbalance in their relationship and stifles Adah’s aspirations.
Similarly, Adah’s family members, particularly her mother, exhibit selfishness by pressuring her to conform to societal expectations and prioritize marriage and motherhood over her education and career. They fail to consider Adah’s individual desires and talents, reinforcing traditional gender roles that limit her opportunities for personal and professional growth.
The society depicted in the novel also reflects selfishness through its systemic marginalization of Adah as a woman and an immigrant. Adah encounters racial discrimination and limited access to resources and opportunities, all stemming from a societal selfishness that places little value on the rights and aspirations of individuals like her.
Despite these obstacles, Adah demonstrates resilience and determination in her pursuit of personal fulfillment. She challenges the prevailing selfishness around her by asserting her independence, pursuing her education, and striving for financial independence. Through her actions, Adah resists the selfish expectations placed upon her and asserts her worth as an individual.
NON AFRICAN PROSE
In Emily Bronte’s novel “Wuthering Heights,” the weather serves as a significant and powerful literary device, acting as a reflection of the turbulent emotions and intense relationships among the characters. The weather in the novel is often used to create a gloomy and desolate atmosphere, mirroring the dark and brooding nature of the story itself.
Symbolism of the Moors: The novel is set in the Yorkshire moors, a wild and windswept landscape. The harsh and unpredictable weather on the moors serves as a metaphor for the intense passions and conflicts between the characters. The moors are isolated and rugged, much like the characters’ emotional landscapes.
Reflecting Emotional States: Throughout the novel, the weather changes with the characters’ moods. Stormy weather often accompanies moments of intense conflict and emotional turmoil, while calm and serene weather may signal moments of peace and reconciliation. The weather acts as a mirror to the inner lives of the characters, reflecting their emotional states.
Foreshadowing: The weather is often used as a foreshadowing tool, hinting at future events or impending tragedy. For example, storms and rain often precede moments of intense drama, suggesting that conflicts are about to erupt or that dark revelations are on the horizon.
Atmosphere of Haunting and Gothic Elements: The use of harsh weather, such as snowstorms and chilling winds, contributes to the novel’s Gothic ambiance. It adds a sense of mystery, gloom, and foreboding, making the setting feel eerie and haunted.
Contrast Between Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights: The contrast in weather between the two houses, Thrushcross Grange and Wuthering Heights, reflects the contrast in their inhabitants’ personalities and lifestyles. Wuthering Heights is often associated with storms and bleakness, mirroring the turbulent and passionate nature of characters like Heathcliff and Catherine. In contrast, Thrushcross Grange, with its manicured gardens and more tranquil environment, represents the more refined and gentler characters like the Lintons.
“Binsey Poplars” is a sonnet written by Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1879. While the poem doesn’t rely heavily on alliteration, there are instances where Hopkins employs alliteration to enhance the sonic qualities of his verse. Here’s an analysis of a few examples:
1. “My aspens dear, whose airy cages quelled” (Line 2)
Here, Hopkins uses alliteration with the repetition of the “c” sound in “cages quelled.” This creates a soft and melodic effect, emphasizing the gentle movement and containment of the aspen trees.
2. “fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls” (Line 4)
Hopkins uses hyphenation to combine words, such as “fresh-firecoal” and “chestnut-falls,” where the repeated “f” and “ch” sounds create an alliterative effect. This technique helps to evoke the crackling sounds and vivid imagery of falling chestnut pods.
3. “Shining-down sedgy rivers” (Line 5)
In this line, the repetition of the “s” sound in “shining-down sedgy” creates a hissing sound, which mimics the movement of the rivers and enhances the sensory experience.