With reference to two poems you have studied, discuss the main ideas you experienced in relation to your society. Four main ideas from each poem
With reference to two poems you have studied, discuss the main ideas you experienced in relation to your society. Four main ideas from each poem.
Poems usually have main ideas or the themes they want to communicate to the society for the purpose of educating, criticizing, or correcting the societal ills.
This statement can be proved by the main ideas presented in, “A Freedom Song” by M, Macgoye and “Development” by K. Faraja. To start with “A Freedom Song” the poetess communicates the following main ideas.
One of the main ideas discussed is the issue of child labour. This has become a burning issue that attracts the attention of most social activists. Atieno in the poem represents children who are working as house girls and are not taken to school.
Atieno is working at the age of 8 and strangely enough without pay. In our country today we see many children in the streets selling things like plastic bags, washing cars and so on. This has to be stopped immediately.
The second main idea is Exploitation and Oppression. The young girl in the poem is not only exploited but also oppressed by her own uncle. Although she works and does all the domestic chores she is not paid nor given any good care. Here says the poetess.
Since she is my sister’s child Atieno needs no pay
This is common in Tanzania today where many people are working but are not paid according to their labour.
Another main idea is the issue of early pregnancy. This is another common problem among the teenagers today. Many girls today have failed to reach their educational goals because when they become pregnant, they are kicked out of schools altogether. At the age of fourteen Atieno becomes pregnant.
This is partly due to poor parental care. As the poetess says that her aunt has gone to study and uncle is busy with the work while poor Atieno has no one to teach her what is right..
The poet also discusses the issue of Poor parental care. It is evident from the poem that Atieno’s parents are irresponsible. They have no time to make regular follow-ups to check the kind of upbringing their child goes through. Atieno goes to work in her uncle’s home at the age of eight, and her parents are not making follow- ups.
Atieno’s uncle is also portrayed as a bad parent since he mistreats his own niece. Today most parents are avoiding this most important responsibility claiming to be so busy.
Turning to the poem “Development” the following main ideas are presented
The poet talks about selfishness. We see the high class misuses the national resources at the expenses of the lower. Kundi Faraja criticises the hypocritical behaviour of most African leaders who think of themselves (being the minority) while the majority whose efforts are wasted are disregarded. Their selfish tendencies are expressed by the poet in these terms.
I reckon the minority More sensitive to egoism
Than to national development
This is common among many post-colonial African leaders who are thinking in terms of me, myself and I.
Moreover the poet has portrayed the issue of corruption. He shows that it’s not the common people who are at the forefront in giving and receiving corruption but the leaders.
Critically speaking, the issue of development is even more complicated when we come to think of the fact that those to whom we have entrusted power are the same who are corrupt. Thus the poet comes to a poet when he shows there is no way a country whose leaders have invested in corruption can develop. He says
When the people to whom We have entrusted power Are corrupt?
This is common in our country where we see ministers signing bogus treats that affect the country’s economy because of corruption.
Furthermore the issue of Classes and marginalization is also presented. Realistically speaking, classes in any society are inevitable. In most cases it has been evident that whenever these classes exist, the high class oppresses, exploits and marginalises the lower.
The poet uses strong symbolic comparisons to bring the message home. While the minority (whom he calls privileged few) enjoy the national cake, the majority have been marginalized and disregarded.
I plead the stomachs Of the privileged few
Greater than the rift valley They cannot be satisfied With a normal share.
This is common in Tanzania where we see most government officials (the high class) enjoying life, buying luxury cars living in decent mansions while the majority can hardly afford the three basic meals of a day.
Generally it can be said that poems do not develop in a vacuum. They usually have something to communicate to the society that emanates from the society in which we live. They criticise bad behaviours so that we may reform and they educate on the good morals