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Keywords: IMAGES OF SOCIAL VICES IN CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN POETRY
As a result of social vices in our immediate environments this research work aims at bringing out how contemporary writers have reacted to the bad happening in the society, especially using Denja Abdullahi’s Mairogo and Jide Balogun’s The Desert in the river using sociological theory to investigate social vice that were present in the two texts and it is discovered that poetry is used as a means of achieving an egalitarian society.
Nigerian poetry is the poetry of the Nigerian people that is written in order to show the experiences of the people, their culture, socio – economic and political status.
Poetry is a work of art that deals with style like other genres of literature which can be used to expose the societal vices or ills done by man. Vices such as socio – economic, political and cultural vices among others.
As a result of societal decadence, writers or poets use their literacy works as interventional tools to effect a change in the society. Earlier poets like Wole Soyinka, Niyi Osundare, Odia Ofeimu, Ezenwa Ohaeto, Funso Aiyejina, Ikekwu Ogine, Femi Osofisan among others are in this category. Many critical works and many articles in journals Newspaper Magazines, etc have been written by them so as to expose various forms of vices.
In an interview by Jane Wilkinson (1985)
The only problem we all face is one which besets not only writers but citizens in Nigeria. The problems of our unbelievable and unacceptable socio – political situations, which get and more reactionary and in human with every succeeding regime.
For this reason, Soyinka (1985:68) sees the social economic and political situations of Nigeria as frustrating.
Examples of literary essays and literary works that have been written by some Nigerian scholars include, Chinua Achebe’s essay, The Trouble Nigeria, (1993), and also Odia Ofeimu in his poetry titled The Poet Lied, (1980), Tanure Ojaide’s Fate of Vulture (1997) and Invoking the Warrior Spirit (1998), also Niyi Osundare’s Village Voices (1984) and The Eye of the Earth, (1986) among others. All these works reflect the social vices that are rampant in the society.
In the Fate of Vulture: Poems like “the music of Pain” is addressed to the issue of social and political status of the society, in the form of protest and agitation for justice. Also, the poem identified as the “chorus of resistant cries” depicts lament song used as a bid against corruption and also, it shows the dauntless spirit of the people’s voice and will, including the poet. As illustrated of the victories against overloads.
… I wanted communion to shame
Chief of selfish role.
… drawing into its veins
The strength of millions,
It took the course of the country
Into its expanding heart
… listen to my song
The music of communion pain (p.2)
In addition, the poem “Compatriots” shows the political disappointment, mockery of the national integrity, nonchalant attitude of the custodians of power, moral and social dereliction among others. Some lines from the poem include:
As soon as they had their hold on the land,
They upset the customs of the truth
Now they have blunted the sacred sword
How will justice be executed (p.13)
Moreover, in the village voices poem like “Eating with all the fingers” establishes the greediness spirit in the life of people in the society especially the politicians who care not for the others in the society, but they want every thing to becomes their own personal properties. It says
The affairs of this life
are like people eating
some dip ten fingers
and close their throats
their greed chokes the land
with sprawling dirt. (p.15)
In addition, the poem “The land of Unease” shows moral and social decadence in the life’s of the people. It also shows the attitude of the leaders toward the economy of the country, as the one which does not improve it but to destroy the one which does not improve it but to destroy the economy. As illustrated
Men forge unequal knives
A few slashing the yam
With machete greedier
Than Esimuda’s sword
leaving mere peelings
This research work is aimed at showing how contemporary Nigeria poets use their poetry to expose the social, economic, cultural, religious and political vices in Nigeria so that adequate changes can be made.
This research work shall consider Denja Abdullahi’s volume of poetry Mairogo and Jide Balogun collection of poems, The Desert in the River and materials to be used in discussing and analyzing the images of social vices in contemporary Nigerian poetry.
1.2 PURPOSE OF STUDY
The purpose of this research work is to show themes and cultural influences in the poetry of Denja Abdullahi and Jide Balogun. Furthermore, this research work will place emphasis on the socio – political, economic, religious and cultural subjects in the poetry of Denja Abdullahi and Jide Balogun and their struggle for positive change.
1.3 SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY
To the best knowledge of the researcher, no research has been carried out in this area using Abdullahi’s Mairogo and Jide Balogun’s The Desert in the River. Therefore, the researcher is studying these texts using sociological theory to discover how these texts have depicted socio realities. The research work is going to be of benefit to both literary and non – literary students. Students at the secondary level can also benefit from it.
It is also a contribution to the body of knowledge in the area of sociological theory in relation to literary texts.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION OF STUDY
This research work will focus on the themes of social vices in the poetry of the two poets. Also, it will discuss the literary techniques employed by the poets to pass their message.
The limitation of this research work will be the volume of Denja Abdullahi’s poetry Mairogo and only part one of Jide Balogun’s “The pulsating pulses” in The Desert in the River because this is the only part in the collection that has much relevance to the research word
The sociological approach is adopted for this research. This method is useful in investigating the socio – political, cultural religious and economical relevance of Denja Abdullahi’s and Jide Balogun’s Mairogo and Jide The Desert in the River. Relevant secondary sources will be used to strengthen the interpretation of data.
1.6 CHAPTERISATION OF STUDY
This research work will comprise only four chapters
Chapter one will be the introduction of the study purpose of the study, significance of the study and lastly the scope and limitation of the study.
Chapter two will be the literature review which talks about the review of what some scholars have said on social vices.
Chapter three will be the analysis of Denja Abdullahi and Jide Balogun’s poetry as well as discussion on the use of literary techniques employed by the two poets in the poetry to pass their intended message.
And lastly, the fourth chapter will be the summary findings and conclusion of the research work.
Keywords: IMAGES OF SOCIAL VICES IN CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN POETRY