Song of Lawino

1437 Words Jan 27th, 2013 6 Pages
Song of Lawino: Cultural Duality and Universality Song of Lawino by Okot p’Bitek centers on the main narrator Lawino’s plea towards her husband, Ocol, who shuns his old Acholi background for Westernization. Lawino implores Ocol not to abandon his heritage but rather accept both Acholi and Western cultures; as noted, cultural duality serves as the prime theme in Song of Lawino. Through the character of Lawino, p’Bitek conveys his message that Acholi and Western cultures could be fused in the era of Westernization. In making his point, p’Bitek employs techniques, namely the language, diction, syntax structures, imagery, and figures of speech, to ensure that Song of Lawino supports both Acholi and Western characteristics. Furthermore, the …show more content…
For example, p’Bitek applies positive imagery when he portrays an Acholi woman in the arena, ready to dance: “The tattoos on her chest / Are like palm fruits, / The tattoos on her back / Are like stars on a black night; / Her eyes sparkle like the fireflies / Her breasts are ripe / Like the full moon.” (442 – 448). Immediately, the reader notices words and phrases, such as “palm fruits,” “stars on a black night,” “fireflies,” and “full moon,” which all relate to the natural world. In contrast, p’Bitek presents indecent imagery to delineate the environment “dances of the white people” take place in: “Some dungs are red like ochre / Others are yellow / Like the ripe mango, / Like inside a ripe pawpaw. / Others are black like soil, / Like the soil we use / For smearing the floor. / Some dungs are of mixed colours! / Vomit and urine flow by” (600 – 608). From this section, phrases like “ripe mango,” and “ripe pawpaw” also pertain to the nature. However, the depiction of the Acholi dancer emits an aura of fruitfulness and serenity, whereas the Western dances are rather filthy. This brings up an interesting aspect, as p’Bitek works with metaphors and similes associated with the nature in both cases, yet the two instances yield dramatically different effects. The enticing figures of speech indeed bring the two scenes in the spotlight; however, as opposed to supporting both
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