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The image of the woman in Okot p'Bitek's Song of Lawino and song of Ocol

( Télécharger le fichier original )
par Guershom Kambasu Muliro
Unviersité de Kisangani (RDC) - Licence 2007

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II. 3. Point of view

In any literary field, this technique is very important. Let us draw some definitions of point of view.

CAMBRIDGE INTERNATIONAL DICTONARY OF ENGLISSH defines point of view as «Someone's particular way of looking at or considering some thing, or his opinion about something.»

OXFORD ADVANCED LEARNER'S DICTIONARY defines it as «an attitude, an opinion.»

INTERMEDIATE DICTIONARY defines it as «a position from which one looks at something; an attitude of mind».

These different definitions help us analyse the poem with complete confidence according to the way the poem is written.

But in a technical sense, and in any literary work point of view refers to the identity of the person who records the events of any story in a novel, a poem, that is the person who speaks, tells the story says professor Louis GBAIBA LONU in his course of Explanation of texts of English authors 2nd licence.

The points of view used in Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol are «Lawino and Ocol».The poem is told from the point of view of Lawino herself in first person. In Song of Lawino, Lawino the narrator is into action. In Song of Ocol, Ocol also is into action. To mean that Lawino is the spokesman and Ocol is the spokesman in the poems too.

Lawino records her laments, she describes her native civilization, and she condemns her husbund's disdain for Afeican ways.

In Song of Lawino, the point of view gives us its objective look; attitude towords her comptemporary whitemen's civilization. In the 1st person of view «I», «me», Lawino presents her laments:

«Husband, now you despise me

Now you treat me with spite

And say I have inherited the

Stupidity of my aunt;

Son of the chief,

Now you compare me

With the rubbish in the rubbish pit» (SOL, P.34).

Lawino condemns her husband's disdain for African ways, describing her native civilization as beautiful, meaningful, and deeply satisflying:

«Listen Ocol my old friend,

The ways of your ancestors

Are good,

Their customs are solid

And not hollow...» (SOL, P. 41).

The narrator laments her husband's disrespect for his own culture and questions the logic of many western customs:

«At the height of season

The progressive and civilized ones

Put on blanket suits

And woolen socks from Europe...» (SOL, P. 45).

Lawino continues to lament that Ocol has rejected her and his own Acholi heritage in favor of a more modern lifestyle perceiving progress; Ocol devotes his attention to Clementine (Tina), his westernized mistress:

«Ocol rejects the old type

He is in love with a modern woman

Ocol is no longer in love with

The old type;

He is in love with a modern girl

The name of the beautiful one

Is Clementine» (SOL, PP.36-37).

Ocol is no longer in love with the old type:

He is in love with a modern girl. The name of the beautiful one is Clementine (PP.36-37).

Lowino claims that Ocol, her husband, hotes her and loves her rival, his darling wife. Ocol has turned against the old and follen for the new, he is in hot pursuit of some girl who has been at school, the said beauty goes by the name of Clementine:

Brother, when you see


The beautiful one aspires

To look like a white woman; (SOL, P.37).

Lawino continues to claim that Clementine douches powder all over her face, looking deadly pale like a night dancer on the verge of the nightly tyrips to dance naked, obscene, and bewitching. She becomes sickly lach time; she smells Joyce soap provider which does not agree with her. Powder is a thing that suits Europeans; they are already dirty white. But when a black girl heaps dust on her face, she looks sickly pale. Powder chemicals have corroded Clementine's face; her fore head is bleached, there are brown patches here and the as if affected by rainbow, or struck by lightning flash. The skin of her face looks like a baby's. To her, that's the thing her face is freckled, she looks like Hyena. Her neck and arms still look nice like ours. Clementine looks like a person burnt by fire, like the bushbuck burnt in a ranging grass fire. Her mouth swollen red likes yaws; and her overgrown hair, with hair standing out like owl's, her eyes pale and wan:

«He lips are red-hot

Like glowing charcoal

She resembles the wildcat

Her mouth is like raw yours...» (SOL, P.37).

Finally the point of view apologies by asking forgiveness to the reader:

I beg you don't think I am a busing my rival, no, or that my tongue waxes grand because of anger, no: I mourn with pity my lost friend Clementine. I won't deny I am prey to being jealous I won't deceive you: we all get jealous once in a while jealous strikes you all of a sudden like a fit; but, jealous aside Tina is a pity to be hold.

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"Il faudrait pour le bonheur des états que les philosophes fussent roi ou que les rois fussent philosophes"   Platon