The Past

The Past
formulating the others

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Death of a Salesman: flAshes

I’ve never been able to make time real for myself. I can’t remember whether something happened two weeks ago or three years ago, or when I was in England the last time. The calendar doesn’t seem to exist in my head. It all melts together. It always has. It’s probably a form of insanity. I thought I would try to write that way – simply melt the days, the months, and the years, because I really do believe that we move through the world carrying the past and that it’s always alive in the back of our head. We are making constant references between what we see now and what we saw then. Between what we hear now and what we heard then. This face reminds us of a face long gone. (Arthur Miller, October 15, 1995)
The flashback scenes in Death of a Salesman are the most useful sections of the play. These periodic glimpses into the history of Willy and the Loman family provide more than just a literary element. Flashbacks are often used to recount events that happened prior to the story’s primary sequence of events or to fill in crucial back-story. It is a term which probably derives from the cinema, and which is now also used to describe any scene or episode in a play, novel, story or poem.  It is inserted to show events that happened at an earlier time. Willy’s flashbacks can be interpreted as much more; as a representation of his guilt felt for things he did, and did not, accomplish in his life. The flashbacks take on a psychological aspect, encompassing the notion of repressed memories and the feelings of shame and guilt. The flashbacks in the play serve more than just detailing the history of Willy but also show the painful memories he has tried to repress throughout the years. These memories stand for his feelings of longing for the life he never had and the life he wishes he could forget. The fluid treatment of time: past and present flows into one another seamlessly and simultaneously as various stimuli induce in Willy a rambling stream-of-consciousness. It is important to remember that the idyllic past that Willy recalls is one that he reinvents; one should not, therefore, take these seeming flashbacks entirely as truth. The idyllic past functions as an escape from the present reality or a retrospective reconstruction of past events and blunders. Even when he retreats to this idyllic past, however, Willy cannot completely deny his real situation. He retreats into his daydreams not only to escape the present but also to examine the past. He searches for the mistake that he made that frustrated his hopes for fame and fortune and destroyed his relationship with Biff. Arthur Miller does show that the past is as alive as the present in Death of a Salesman. Miller’s decision to have Death of a Salesman takes place “in a single setting, in a night or day” has a dramatic impact on the play. The past and the present are represented on stage simultaneously, making one day and night span many years in the life of Willy Loman. There are no scene breaks in either act of the play so the action runs fluidly.

The play is mostly told from Willy's point of view, and it shows previous parts of Willy's life in his time shifts, sometimes during a present day scene. It does this by having a scene begin in the present time and adding characters onto the stage that only Willy can see and hear, representing characters and conversations from other times and places. Many dramatic techniques are also used to represent these time shifts. For example, leaves often appear around the current setting (representing the leaves of the two elm trees which were situated next to the house, prior to the development of the apartment blocks). Biff and Happy are dressed in college football sweaters and are accompanied with the "gay music of the boy's". The characters will also be allowed to pass through the walls that are only obeyed to in the present as told in Miller's stage directions in the opening of ACT 1:
Whenever the action is in the present the actors observe the imaginary wall-lines, entering the house only through its door at the left. But in the scenes of the past these boundaries are broken and characters enter or leave a room by stepping 'through' a wall onto the forestage.
However some of these time shifts or imaginings occur when there are present characters onstage, one example of this is during a conversation between Willy and his neighbor Charley. During the conversation, Willy's brother Ben comes on stage and begins talking to Willy while Charley speaks to Willy. When Willy begins talking to his brother, the other characters do not understand who he is talking to and some of them even begin to suspect that he has "lost it".
Willy: I’m awfully tired Ben.
Charley: Good, keep playing; you’ll sleep better. Did you call me Ben?
Willy: That’s funny.  For a second there you reminded me of my brother Ben. (Death of a Salesman)
However, at times it breaks away from Willy's point of view and focuses on the other characters, Linda, Biff and Happy. During these parts of the play, the time and place stay constant without any abrupt flashbacks as usually happens while the play takes Willy's point of view. Willy dies self-deceived.
The play's structure resembles a stream of consciousness account: Willy drifts between his living room, downstage, to the apron and flashbacks of an idyllic past, and also to fantasized conversations with Ben. When we are in the present the characters abide by the rules of the set, entering only through the stage door to the left; however, when we visit Willy's "past" these rules are removed, with characters openly moving through walls. Whereas the term "flashback" as a form of cinematography for these scenes is often heard, Miller himself rather speaks of "mobile concurrences". In fact, flashbacks would show an objective image of the past. Miller's mobile concurrences, however, rather show highly subjective memories. Furthermore, as Willy's mental state deteriorates, the boundaries between past and present are destroyed, and the two start to exist in parallel.
Ben’s remarks, the flute music, and the offstage voice of the Woman illustrate Miller’s concept that everything exists at the same time-at least within the human mind. The Salesman image was from the beginning absorbed with the concept that nothing in life comes next, but that everything exists together and at the same time within us; that there is no past to be ‘brought forward’ in a human being but that he is his past at every moment and that the present is merely that which his past is capable of noticing and smelling and reacting to. Music sets the mood of past:
·         Opening stage direction ‘a melody is heard, played upon a flute. It is small and fine, telling of grass and trees and the horizon.’ Flute is an expressionist device.
·         Flute is an instrument associated with nostalgia and it can be heard playing when Willy begins to imagine a happier life in the past.
A source of conflict in the play is Willy’s inability to distinguish between illusion and reality. Much of the action unravels in flashbacks from Willy’s mind, and as a result the drama lies not so much in reality but in Willy’s own perceptions and recollections of events. Willy is under the illusion that a man can be successful as long as he his popular, this is his own delusion and at the end of the play we are able to see the reality as the only people to attend his funeral are Linda, Biff, Happy and Charley. Willy is also under the illusion that he and his sons will make something of themselves despite their setbacks, yet the truth seems to be, in the new capitalistic and technological world, they are all destined for failure. The mingling of the past and the present shows Willy’s internal conflicts. Inconsistencies which Willy displays show the conflict inside of him. Willy says that his car is ‘the greatest car ever built’, but later contradicts himself when he changes his opinion to ‘that goddamn Chevrolet’ He has always been a figure of several faces to the boys he must be the successful father, to Linda the provider, and to himself the great salesman. He needs to believe in himself in order to survive. He cannot accept the supposed hurt to his pride that a job offered by Charley might inflict upon him.
It is important to examine the evolution of Willy’s relationship with his family, as the solid family is one of the most prominent elements of the American Dream. In the present, Willy’s relationship with his family is fraught with tension. In his memories, on the other hand, Willy sees his family as happy and secure. But even Willy’s conception of the past is not as idyllic as it seems on the surface, as his split consciousness, the profound rift in his psyche, shows through. No matter how much he wants to remember his past as all-American and blissful, Willy cannot completely erase the evidence to the contrary. He wants to remember Biff as the bright hope for the future. In the midst of his memories, however, we find that Willy does nothing to discourage Biff’s compulsive thieving habit. In fact, he subtly encourages it by laughing at Biff’s theft of the football. As an adult, Biff has never held a steady job, and his habitual stealing from employers seems largely to be the reason for this failing. Over the years, Biff and Willy have come to a mutual antagonism. Willy is unable to let go of his commitment to the American Dream, and he places tremendous pressure on Biff to fulfill it for him. Biff feels a deep sense of inadequacy because Willy wants him to pursue a career that conflicts with his natural inclinations and instincts. He would rather work in the open air on a ranch than enter business and make a fortune, and he believes that Willy’s natural inclination is the same, like his father’s before him. Willy settles on Biff’s discovery of his adultery as the reason for Biff’s failure to fulfill Willy’s ambitions for him. Before he discovers the affair, Biff believes in Willy’s meticulously constructed persona. Afterward, he calls Willy out as a “You Fake! You phony little fake! You fake!” He sees beneath Willy’s facade and rejects the man behind it; to be exposed in this way as a charlatan is the salesman’s worst nightmare. Assuming a characteristically simplistic cause-and-effect relationship, Willy decides that Biff’s failure to succeed is a direct result of the disillusionment that he experiences as a result of Willy’s infidelity. Despising Willy for his affair, Biff must also have come to despise Willy’s ambitions for him.
The Woman: You had two boxes of size nine sheers for me, and I want them! (Death of a Salesman)
Willy’s earlier preoccupation with the state of Linda’s stockings and her mending them foreshadows the exposure and fall that the Boston incident represents. Until the climactic scene in the restaurant, when Biff first attempts to dispel the myths and lies sinking the Loman household, the only subconscious trace of Willy’s adultery is his insistence that Linda throw her old stockings out. The stockings’ power as a symbol of his betrayal overcomes Willy when Biff’s assault on his increasingly delicate shield of lies forces him to confront his guilt about his affair with The Woman. When Biff, the incarnation of Willy’s ambition, rejects the delusion that Willy offers, Willy’s faith in the American Dream, which he vested in his son, begins to dissolve as well.
It is Loman’s psychic poverty that appeals to us that nearly overwhelm us. Essentially a dreamer, Willy is fated to dream only dreams of guilt, the guilt of a bad father and a bad husband who wanted only to be the best of fathers and the best of husbands. Arthur Miller begins this play at the point at which all hope is almost gone.  Willy has already attempted to commit suicide.  The main action of the play is intended to show what pushes him over the edge, and how the people around him influence and react to his downfall.  Willy is a victim not of society but of his own faults.  Miller used the flashback scenes in order to illustrate those flaws and the slow development of them. The scenes guide readers to identify Willy's motivations and lead readers to the themes of perception and the American Dream. The American dream pervades miller’s seminal drama. Willy Loman covets all the trappings of success that define the American dream, just as George F.  Babbitt does in Sinclair Lewis’s Babitt, a novel that probably influenced Miller. Loman follows advice regarding the attainment of societal success derived through charm, style, and popularity – advice popular in that era and perhaps attributable to the publication of Dale Carnegie’s bestseller,  How to Win Friends and Influence People (1936). Loman informs his sons that Bernard will not succeed in a career because high grades and diligence do not carry as much weigh in America as appearance and charm: “Because the man who makes an appearance in the business, the man who creates personal interest, is the man who gets ahead. Be liked and you will never want”. Throughout his play, Miller seems to criticize this ideal as little more than a capitalist's paradigm.  Though Willy spends all of his adult life working for a sales company, this company releases the salesman when he proves to be unprofitable.  Willy confronts Howard, his boss (and Miller indicts free market society), when he charges, "You can't eat the orange and throw the peel away-a man is not a piece of fruit." Here, Willy feels that Howard has gone back on his father's word by forgetting him in his golden years, throwing away the peel after eating the orange, so to speak.  Thus, Willy is unable to cope with the changing times and the unfeeling business machine that is New York.
Despite his desperate searching through his past, Willy does not achieve the self-realization or self-knowledge. The quasi-resolution that his suicide offers him represents only a partial discovery of the truth. While he achieves a professional understanding of himself and the fundamental nature of the sales profession, Willy fails to realize his personal failure and betrayal of his soul and family through the meticulously constructed artifice of his life. He cannot grasp the true personal, emotional, spiritual understanding of himself as a literal “loman” or “low man.” Willy is too driven by his own “willy”-ness or perverse “willfulness” to recognize the slanted reality that his desperate mind has forged. Still, many critics, focusing on Willy’s entrenchment in a quagmire of lies, delusions, and self-deceptions, ignore the significant accomplishment of his partial self-realization. Willy’s failure to recognize the anguished love offered to him by his family is crucial to the climax of his torturous day, and the play presents this incapacity as the real tragedy. Despite this failure, Willy makes the most extreme sacrifice in his attempt to leave an inheritance that will allow Biff to fulfill the American Dream. Ben’s final hymn of “The jungle is dark, but full of diamonds” in Act II turns Willy’s suicide into a moral struggle and a matter of commerce. His final act, according to Ben, is “not like an appointment at all” but like a “diamond . . . rough and hard to the touch.” As opposed to the fruitless, emotionally ruinous meetings that Willy has had with Howard Wagner and Charley, his death, Ben suggests, will actually yield something concrete for Willy and his family. Willy latches onto this appealing idea, relieved to be able finally to prove himself a success in business. Additionally, he is certain that with the $20,000 from his life insurance policy, Biff will at last fulfill the expectations that he, Willy, has long held for him. The diamond stands as a tangible reminder of the material success that Willy’s salesman job could not offer him and the missed opportunity of material success with Ben. In selling himself for the metaphorical diamond of $20,000, Willy bears out his earlier assertion to Charley that “after all the highways, and the trains, and the appointments, and the years, you end up worth more dead than alive.”
Willy Loman seemed to be somewhat a man of importance for a small period of time, unfortunately because of his irresponsible actions and high expectations of fulfilling the “American Dream”, he had to spend most of his life struggling through feelings of guilt and failure. Willy’s obsession with his own personal tribulations and lack of insight destroyed all his relationships and caused him to betray his own set of values, proving to be a failure of societies “American Dream”. He is simply an ordinary man, whose dreams and expectations have been shattered by the false values of the society in which he has put his faith. Throughout Arthur Miller's Death of a Salesman, the flashback narrative technique or the mobile concurrence was used to help illustrate Willy's loss of reality from the world, the drastic change within Willy and his son Biff's relationship, and most evidently the causes that ultimately led to the destruction of Willy and his inner conscience. The present lifestyle of an individual is always a representation of their past. In order for the reader to truly understand the life of Willy Loman the "flashback narrative technique" was necessary.
·         Text
·         Barron’s Book Notes: Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
·         Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman: edited and with an introduction by Harold Bloom
·         Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009.
·         Class lectures
·         <>

Elements of Simplicity in Frost’s Poems

          Frost's poetry mainly reflects life in rural New England, and the language he used was the uncomplicated speech of that region. Although Frost concentrates on ordinary subject matter, he evokes a wide range of emotions, and his poems often shift dramatically from humorous tones to tragic ones. Much of his poetry is concerned with how people interact with their environment, and though he saw the beauty of nature, he also saw its potential dangers. His poems deal with the wisdom of simplicity, wisdom of common people that come out from their daily experiences.
Frost’s poetry can be divided into three general kinds of poems: lyric poems, long verse poems, and philosophical poems. These three kinds or genres often overlap, so that not every Frost poem can be assigned definitely to one genre alone. Generally speaking, however, Frost’s lyrics are usually short poems, divided into stanzas or written in sonnet form, about country things: animals, plants weather, the seasons, and etc. Frost’s narratives are longer poems, usually written in blank verse, again about country people and country situations; these can be thought of as short stories or one act plays in poetry. The third kind of poem Frost wrote is more difficult to define:
“Stopping by woods on a Snowy Evening” sounds like a simple description by the driver of sleigh, with close observation of rather simple actions and facts. But part of the poem’s reputation is due to the deeper meanings suggested by these simple verses: “The woods are lovely, dark and deep, /But I have promise to keep” in which a great deal is said about responsibility in only a few words.
According to Cecil Dew Lewis, the simplicity of Frost’s poetry “is the simplicity not of nature but of a serious and profoundly critical spirit”. In Frost’s poems, one often finds layer of meaning. But even one fails to grasp the deeper significance, he is still satisfied with the surface meaning:
“Fire and Ice”, a lyric poem, looks simple but not simple at all. Though it is simple because of the talking tone and its structure, the apparent simplicity of “Fire and Ice” is deceptive. It is not so much that this nine line poem is incredibly complex in its theme, but that it is so compellingly profound in its wisdom. In fact, its very simplicity is important: its theme is basic in its simplicity, and thus it is very deep. The first two lines present the main images and the main viewpoints developed in the poem: “Some say the world will end in fire, /Some say in ice”. These things are important for they are the two generally held views concerning the ultimate fate of earth. The speaker considers the age-old question of whether the world will end in fire or in ice. This is similar to another age-old question: whether it would be preferable to freeze to death or burn to death. The speaker determines that either option would achieve its purpose sufficiently well. He juxtaposes the ideas- love sustains and binds but destroys also. In this poem “Fire” represents not only love which binds lives but also an uncontrollable desire, a kind of love, which can destroy. “Ice” represents hatred. For destruction it is also great. 
At least part of Robert Lee Frost’s reputation as a poet of “simplicity” derives from the metrical tools he selects. Opening a copy of the Complete Poems at random pages, the average reader gains two solid impressions. The poems are preponderantly short, seldom running from one page to another. Also, the verses are composed in brief forms, the quatrain appearing briefly, along with numerous stanzas only slightly longer. Exceptions appear notably in the longer blank verse pieces, but they do not alter the dominant impression of brevity, hence simplicity.
Though the “Death of the Hired Man” is a long verse poem it deals with a very familiar scene of rural structure. As a longer verse poem it should have imposing themes but Frost always deals with the wisdom of simplicity, wisdom of common people that come out from their daily experiences. The themes that are present in this poem are life as well as death, family and friendship, “Home” and belonging. One of the themes can be explained:
Life and Death
The sense of death is set when Mary says "he has come home to die: / you needn't be afraid he'll leave you this time" and the couple starts to reminisce of Silas's life and the things that he used to do. The poem also shows how Silas lived and how he celebrated his life by doing the things that he wanted to do instead of doing what other people wanted him to do. This is evident when they are talking about Silas's brother "Silas is what he is -- we wouldn't mind him--/But just the kind that kinsfolk can't abide."
The ending of the poem also shows the impact of death, as Warren silently sits besides Mary and he only gives a one-word answer of “Dead”. This emphasizes the impact of Silas death and what it means to the couple. The candor of his reaction gives a feeling of grief and disbelief.

Frost’s images-woods, stars, houses, brooks-are usually taken from everyday life. He wrote poetry with common speech, direct expression, folksy candor, and steadfast adherence to rhyme meter, and other formal issues. He showed a strong liking for traditional versification or old fashioned simplicity. He composed his poetry, to use Wordsworth’s memorable phrase, in “the language really used by men”. His poetry is clear, straightforward, and often, nevertheless, tender and poignant. In his style he is traditional-he has compared writing free verse to playing tennis with the net down-but in his subjects he is original, obtaining his most marked effects obliquely by writing about seemingly trivial subjects or moments or situations. Close observation of everyday things is turned into poetry by Frost, and through his poetry-lyric, narrative, and philosophical-little, unnoticed things come to life. He demands of his readers the effort to recognize these things as he has, but he leaves them implicit in his poems as they are in reality.


Friday, June 3, 2011

African Poetry’s Conflicts on Varied Perspectives

Zahidur Rahman Nahid

Conflict is the way of substantiate something through opposing or developing the contradictory doctrines between two objects. In African poetry, conflict mingles with its essence of perception. Here, conflict not only contradicts the western concepts and values but also develops the identity of Africa with its own history and perspectives. It creates through contrast with the western concepts and symbols. The opposing aspects of the Europeans made the Africans to contradict with them. African poets focused the conflicts in culture, nature, race, generation, power, values, religious, psychological and so on. Unlike these issues the double consciousness of the poets also creates the self contradictory conflicts. Where, overlapping these problems are really challenge to them and to face the challenge making conflict become inherent.
Cultural conflict is one of the most striking points in African poetry. In Africa what is culture and tradition that seems uncultured or peculiar to the western. The constructed culture of Europeans is subverted by the African poets through imposing their own culture and tradition. In Africa, there were festival songs, work songs. So, poetry has some benefit. They write about their problems, they wanted to convert the oral tradition in to the written form. It is the combination of traditional and modern element. African poet Gabriel Okara focuses the ice-cold attitude of Europeans to the African culture. In Africa what is traditional and cultural that appears as uncultured and humorous to the Europeans. They also represent the African culture in the humiliated sense. Okara in his poem “You Laughed and Laughed and Laughed” focuses this humiliation:
        “You laughed at my song
you laughed at my walk
Then I danced my magic dance
to the rhythm of talking drums pleading, but you shut your
eyes and you laughed and laughed and laughed” [Anthology of Commonwealth Poetry, page 127, L: 9-13]

Gabriel Okara focuses the ice-cold attitude of the Europeans to the Africans. This ice-cold attitude of the Europeans creates the conflict between Africa and European and Okara make the self identity of African culture through his poems. The conflict in Okara’s poetry substantiates the self identity of Africa. This conflict continues by Okara to satirize the artificial European manners and their cultural attitudes. Gabriel Okara in his poem “Once Upon A Time” satirizes European speech manners:
           “And I have learned, too,
            to laugh with only my teeth
            and shake hands without my heart
            I have also learned to say ‘Goodbye’,
            when I mean ‘Good-riddance’;
            to say ‘Glad to meet you’
            without being glad; and to say ‘It’s been
            nice talking to you’, after being bored.” [Anthology of Commonwealth Poetry, page 130, L: 27-32]

Above lines are presenting the artificiality of European manners and this also glorify African manners because it’s natural and instinct in this sense. This showing of European fake manners makes the deconstruction of European attitudes and reverses the humiliation.  Okara was greatly concern about the African people and in his rhythm he brought back the folk tradition. To focus on the folk tradition, Okara works on rural settings and drawing local images which conveys the traditional culture of the native Africans.

Moreover, Okara in his poetry “Snow Flakes gently down” bring out the cultural conflict as theme. The theme is the conflict of cultures of the confrontation of Europe and Africa. Here conflict shows metaphorically by using symbols. Besides the previous conflicts, this cultural conflict prefers the conflict against the constructed culture of Europe to the Africans. Some others poem like “Nuit de Sine” of senghor focuses on the black culture on the opposite of white celebration.

Nature means the feature or aspects of something which is instinct. It is usual that nature of anything is different from the others. In African poetry the portraying of African nature is noticeable. Focusing true African nature in foreign language became a tradition of African poets. Though having double consciousness, the African poets wanted to glorify the African nature rather than the constructed European nature. Poets like Leopold Sedhor Senghor, Gabriel Imomtime Okara, David Diop and Dennis Brutas are the successful portrayer of the nature of Africa in their poetry. Celebration of black, portraying matriarchal system etc is the contradictory doctrines of the western concepts. Bringing these issues African poets make the representation of true African nature and it deconstructs the European ideology. Such as Leopold Sedhor Senghor in his poem “Nuit De Sine” use the theme of black woman and show a tribute to the matriarchal system. Senghor in his poem “I will pronounce your name”, praises ‘Naett’ which symbolizes Africa:

            “Naett, coin of gold, shining coal, you my night, my sun!...” (A selection of African poetry, page 28, line-9 )

This praising line not only glorifies the Africa but also make the counter discourse [1]. This is an utter conflict of the African poets against the western concepts of ‘Dark Africa’. In this poem the poet has used many indigenous images to confirm their stand in conflict with colonial concepts. Where the whites counts black as nasty, impure there the poet Leopold Senghor glorifies ‘black’. One of his innovations in African poetry is his inversion of traditional images associated with black and anything dark. Rather than see black and dark as outrageous and evil, Senghor portrays it as beautiful and good. Traditional idea of black is totally absent in this poem, rather he is celebrating the ‘black’, it is ‘gold’ to him, it is his ‘shining coal’ and it is his ‘sun’. Gabriel Okara in his poem “Once upon a time” satirizes European culture through binary opposition. He criticizes European manner, their attitudes, talking manners as artificial and refer the Africans attitudes as natural.

Generation conflict portrays successfully in Gabriel Okara’s “Once Upon A Time”, in this poem the speaker was the father and the listener was the son. Father’s experiencing of colonialism illustrate to the son. A vivid description about the colonialism and the attitudes of colonizers describe here. As a teacher, father talked about his past to teach his son. Nostalgia of youth and age of father encourages him to teach his son. But at the ending this teaching is reversed by the statement of father:

“So show me, son,
            how to laugh, show me how
            I used to laugh and smile
            Once upon a time when I was like you” [Anthology of Commonwealth Poetry, page 130-31, L: 40-43]

This reversal of teaching suggests that the son will be the teacher of his father. This assertion of father reflexes the hope and aspiration of him to his son. Here father is the generation of pre-colonial and colonial state and his son is the generation of postcolonial state. Changes occurred in the meantime of colonialism; Africans are in essence of loss. To overlap this position the new generation is the hope. Here the conflict is, unlike the tradition the ancestor can not be the guiding spirit of young generation. This generation gap and the failure of ancestor’s guiding is the consequence of colonialism. Okara brilliantly portrays this generation conflict through the reversal of teaching. Moreover, this generation conflict gives a suggestion to the ancestors to hope on their young generation. Here the guiding spirit becomes the young generation because of the loss and conflict in colonial period of Africa.                                            

Besides drawing African vernacular poetry, African poets also draw for subject matter, re-telling stories from African histories and legend. Describing African folk-beliefs and customs, and putting into poetry the appearance of African landscapes. They also try to express the political experience that Africa has going through under the colonialism. Some of these revolutionary poetries asserting Africa and African traditions and values against Europe. Many of the poets spent much time in Europe and their poetry tells of the African’s experience in Europe, sometimes as protests sometimes as satires sometimes as lyrically.

Gabriel Okara in his poem “The snow flakes sail gently down” by using the technique of dream portrays the conflict of values between Africa and Europe. In the second stanza of the poem contains the burden meaning of it and poet uses the symbol of palm trees, gold and roots. The word ‘inside’ symbolically refers the inside of human beings and his essence. In contrast of the European concept of ‘inside’ Okara use it as the human essence and insight. Through these symbols the poet preferences his African values rather than the European values:

            I dreamed of birds, black
birds flying in my inside, nesting
and hatching on oil palms bearing suns
for fruits and with roots denting the
uprooter’s spades. [A selection of African poetry, page 45, L: 16-20]

In the poem “You laughed and laughed and laughed” Okara directly criticizes the European cultural values. Mentioning it as artificial and glorifying the African cultural values. This portrays the conflict of values between Africa and Europe rather than humiliate the European values.

In the sense of post colonialism [2] there are inner conflicts among the poets of Africa. African poets not only portray the essence of loss and nature of Africa but also focus on the conflict of every subject matter. The conflict created by colonialism is an uprising issue of every African poet. Such as language is one of the vital conflicts of writing the African poetry. There was a conflict between the Anglophone [3] and Francophone [4] writers. Whether, the matter is language; some poets think that writing African poetry hampers the motive and purity of African poetry and to express the pure African expression the foreign language should not use. Some writer of Francophone like Senghor thought that the mixing of language does not hamper the writings. It is possible to portray a true African nature by foreign language.

On the perspectives of other issues there are some conflicts. These conflicts are trying to solve by optimism, glorifying the past, encouraging the young generation with hope and aspiration. Poet like Gabriel Okara became optimistic in “Once Upon a Time” to the young generation to resolve the generation conflict. Under colonialism Africa is in essence of loss and after the post independence the disillusionment come to the Africans. In the poem “Africa” by David Diop this conflict has presented vaguely by using the statement:

 “The bitter taste of liberty” [A selection of African poetry, page 69, L: 24]

 The African poets have the conflict on the basis of double consciousness. Most of them were educated in Europe so it is difficult write something beyond the concepts. In contrast, they are African by nature so it is hard to up root their roots. This double consciousness benefices African poetry, it can identify the construction of European and sketch the true Africa.   

History of Africa is brilliantly focuses on David Diop’s “Africa”. The first seven lines present the beautiful Africa before being colonized. Thy have the power to resistance which indicates that they are organized community therefore they were not savage. This poem provides us with information. They were very much active people and make the soil to yield grains. Next nine lines focus on the history of colonized Africa. Their bitter experience under colonialism expresses here. The last eight lines portray the unguided, fainted picture of post independent Africa. Whether, the poet hopes for Africa to recover the bitterness of Africa through new aspiration. This inner conflict and doubt has developed through the true history of Africa. Where, the constructed history of Africa was trying to misguide the Africans and this poem faces the direct conflict with the constructed history.

Their grandmothers sing. They had their voice and they had the language. They also have a history. The treatment of the poem is post colonial. The blood is black. This blood has a connected with irrigation. From here it starts the colonial period. Land is a vital object for business and colonialism. In this poem the first two lines are repeated twice. The last line of the first stanza is repeated, it suggests their humiliation. There are not question marks. This repetition is the chief element of African song and the part of African history.

Before/ after the independence “but” suggest it is not a continuous process. It suggests a new era. It is the spirit of independence or the spirit of reconstruction. Here we find an optimism ‘tree’. A tree is growing and the white is fading. The bitter taste of liberty: the coast we had to pay for liberty. The nation which I get is no way better than previous state as the ruler is rude. This new fainted nation is now the nation of independent of Africa. The “grave voice” refers the ‘Nationalism’ [5] of Africans. Their optimism and bitter experience would be able to spread out the nationalism among the Africans. Here poet can not be sure about a strong African nation because of conflict. These conflicts are created by the oppression and construction of Europeans but the hope, enthusiasm, aspiration, optimism and the uprising tone of nationalism will resolve this conflict.

Like some other conflicts there is religious conflict between Africa and Europeans. This religious difference becomes the conflict by Europeans oppression. Their indiscriminate attitudes to African religions make this conflict. This conflict presents in the poem “The Vultures” by David Diop and it is associated with some one who waits for the destruction of others. It is associated with colonialism/colonial power. This is about colonial experience and the psychology of colonizers. European civilization tried to colonize them through violence, religion and education. Converting into Christianity-make one to think according western school of thought- violence. Holy water slapped: in place of forgiveness, love it is slap. They tried to inject Christianity. But the way was no way civilized or religious one. Hypocrisy of colonized mission here we find violence in general. Here we find the violence in a specific form. These people are singing the song without any passion. And this monotonous rhythm/ this history of oppression are dominated buy the religious song. The European malice attitudes to African religions make the conflict. Despite of being calm the Europeans get violence on Africans. Diop lyrically portrays this conflict of religions in “The Vultures” and focused the bitterness of European missionaries. 

A racism [6] concern of the Europeans oppresses the Africans and it became a bitter taste to them. Firstly this conflict broke out through ‘negritude’ [7] movement which tends towards portraying a Utopian projection of ‘African ness’ as ‘good’ and ‘full of life’. While Europe was in contrast, for example Senghor showed Africa through women feathers as ‘beauty’ while colonialist discourses has similarly represented Africa with female characteristics, so that the process of ravishing Africa could have been justified. So, the conflict between Africa and colonial discourses can be said as a result of ‘inherent tendency’ of any African. This racism was trying to resolve by the African poets. Such as Senghor doesn’t believe the line of deviations between Europe and African. Being an African he does not believe that he will not mix with Europe and he also believes that mixing with Europe does not threat his identity. This philosophy is controversial. How African is different from European logical imagination is a western system of thought. He is highly objectified through the binary opposition through asserting racism. African poets try to demolish the discrimination of racism actively rather than ideologically.

In conclusion it can be said that, there are many conflicts in African poetry. Some of these are ideological and some are rational. Inwardly and outwardly the African poets focuses these conflicts and try to resolve these. Here conflict is created by colonialism and it continues by oppression of the colonizer’s power and discourse application. The one-eyed construction and representation of the Europeans are conflicted by the resistance [9] of Africans. The resistance of deconstruction and counter discourse and African poetry is the good example of it. Whether, African poets did their responsible well by creating conflict with the western notion and make mileage to develop their native heritage of identity, culture, tradition, nature and history.

End Note
1.      ‘Counter Discourse’ refers the way to challenge the colonial discourse through representing the issues of canonical texts and their inevitable reinscription in the process of subversion. This term is coined by Richard Terdimann. 2.      ‘Post colonialism’ is a term which signifies which signifies the cultural, social. Linguistics experiences of former European colonies. It deals with the effects of colonization, examines the colonial process and reaction of colonialism. 3.      ‘Anglophone’ means the writer who originates from British and use to write in pure British English. 4.      ‘Francophone’ means the writer who belongs from the French and writes in English by avoiding the French tunes. 5.       ‘Nationalism’ is something forced and made. The basic is imagination and it can be constructed or fabricated. The sense of belonging, rituals, history, language etc. are the elements of nationalism 6.      ‘Racism’ stands for the idea of differentiating races with their aspects and linked with the same characteristics. 7.      ‘Negritude’ is the name of a movement. In short, a theory of distinctiveness of African personality and culture.