Essay on Piano and Drums Poem Analysis

2085 Words Oct 15th, 2013 9 Pages
Commentary – Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara In Gabriel Okara’s poem, “Piano and Drums”, Okara expresses his feelings and thoughts of a primitive society in contrast to a western society. Being an African himself, and having studied in a western society, the poem reflects the confusion in his emotions as well as the loss of self-identity. The title of the poem itself, “Piano and Drums” displays a sense of dissimilarity and contrast as the instruments are so unalike in terms of sophistication. Throughout the entire poem, Okara incorporates the instruments to further express, through music, how the speaker is feeling. By using well-structured stanzas and poetic devices such as imagery, symbolism, sensory detail, personification, and …show more content…
Despite the primitiveness and rawness, the speaker reminisces on his childhood and the security of being with his mother. This idea of missing his homeland is further sustained in the image of “simple/paths with no innovations” (12/13). The choice of the word “simple” describes the ease the speaker feels in his homeland as there are no complex advancements or difficulties to deal with. Also, the simple paths are concomitant with the Africans’ primary focus on basic survival as staying alive is their only concern in life. The speaker feels “fashioned with the naked/warmth” (14/15) which is another example of the unsophisticated, primordial style of African culture as the image shows a bare person. Yet, even though they are unclothed, they still feel the warmth of their body suggesting their healthiness and livingness which is the most important to them. In complete contrast, the third stanza portrays the piano as a symbol to exemplify Western culture as being sophisticated, complex, and intricate which is also portrayed through additional images. However, despite the usual thinking of sophistication being praised, the speaker, in this case, puts Western culture in a negative light which is presented through the music of the piano. When first introducing the piano, it is described as a “wailing piano” (17) which gives the readers an image of a disturbing, crying baby that is an annoyance to the ears. This is in contrast to the speaker’s views of the
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