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Exile As Motif In Lenrie Peters English Literature Essay

Christopher Babatunde Ogunyemi is a PhD research fellow at the Department of English, Obafemi Awolowo College or university, Ile Ife. He was informed at the College or university of Uyo, Akwa Ibom Talk about in Nigeria. He holds a Master degree in Comparative Books from Dalarna College or university and he lectures British and Books at Joseph Ayo Babalola College or university Ikeji Arakeji, Osun State in Nigeria. He is the writer of Male Autobiographical Narratives and Gender Imperatives, Topical Issues in Books and Globalization and Narratology and Modern day Fiction that have been all published by VDM-Publisher and Lap-Lambert Academic Publishing in Germany. He has leading documents in international publications of high repute.

Dr. Niyi Akingbe shows Comparative Literature, African Literature and Protest studies at the Joseph Ayo Babalola University or college, Ikeji-Arakeji, Osun State, Nigeria.

He has written two critical works: Sociable Protest and the Literary Imagination in

Nigerian Books and Misconception, Orality and Tradition in Ben Okri's Literary Landscape.

His articles have came out in leading publications on African Literature.

Abosede Adebola Otemuyiwa is a lecturer in the Division of British, Joseph Ayo Babalola College or university, Ikeji- Arakeji, Osun Point out, Nigeria. She's published some articles in a few scholarly journals.

Living Anonymity: Exile as Motif in Lenrie Peters' He Strolls Alone

Christopher Babatunde Ogunyemi

Department of English

Joseph Ayo Babalola College or university, Nigeria.



Niyi Akingbe

Department of English

Joseph Ayo Babalola University or college, Nigeria

Abosede Adebola Otemuyiwa

Department of English

Joseph Ayo Babalola College or university, Nigeria


Exile is strangely persuasive to take into account but terrible to see.

It is the unhealable rift obligated between a human being and a local place,

between the self applied and its true home: its essential sadness can never be

surmounted. And while it is true that books and background contain

heroic charming, glorious, even triumphant episodes in an exile's

life, they are only efforts meant to get over the achievements

of exile entirely undermined by the loss of something left

behind for ever. (Edward Said, 2001:137)

Edward Said's submission above best clarifies the fundamentals about writings on Exile which portends either self-identity or collective identification of an organization of people who reside in a continuum. This sort of writing either informs, educates or entertains however the major motif here is to criticize also to sarcastically inform the people within the literary ethos about the exigency of exile, its emotional effects, sociological effects and even its politics effects on African people. Exile writing visualizes issues that take the time on alienation and the search for freedom. Writers throughout the age range have been using their literary works of arts to show various reactions that bother with exile. Some x-ray physical exile others internal exile which grossly affects the psyche of the copy writer or the type in question.

Migration and compelled migration are panacea to alienation and exile. Writings emanating from such thoughts are nostalgic and thought provoking. Many authors have used their works to buttress the thoughts of exile with time and space. The experience of exile literature in Lithuania is predicated on the apocalyptic second arriving of the soviet armies in Lithuania. This threw away many intellectual and professional away into exile. Poets arose to behave critically to these plights. Types of such poets are Kazys Bradunas (b. 1917), Jonas Mekas (b. 1922), Algirdas Landsbergs (b. 1924) amongst others from all elements of the world. Our concern in this newspaper is to look at exile as motif in Lenrie Peters' poetry that is entitled "He Strolls By itself" The poem clarifies various reasons Africans go on exile and their impressions when they feel nostalgic. Emotions for their origins, their families and their cultures bring about some hypersensitive impressions in their works of arts. However, the task uses textual examination to describe how Lenrie Peters uses irony and metaphor to portray the image of exile politically, psychologically, financially and bodily as continuing motifs in his poetry. His riches of imagery is situated within the axis of literary application in order to describe what informs migration books in Africa. This newspaper is visualized in six motions: the first being the benefits throws a searchlight into the idea of migration and its attendant example in Lithuania and Africa. The second probes into what constitutes the textual examination approach; the third views exile as motif in African poetry; the fourth delves into Lenrie Peters' preoccupation of exile; the fifth activity conceptualises the application of the textual examination to the poem in question and the 6th, being the last movement concludes the work. The paper conceptualises the textual evaluation approach to demonstrate the intrinsic value of migration and exile in the torso of the written text. Daniel Chandler has done some excellent program of the textual method of the mass media. This process allows concrete perception into the understanding of poetry as it steps with time and space.

The Textual Examination Approach

There are two main kinds of the textual analysis of popular culture artefacts: interpretive and content evaluation. This newspaper shall employ these two versions in its corpus.

Interpretive Textual Analyses

This include: semiotics, rhetorical analysis, ideological examination, and psychoanalytic approaches, among numerous others. These types of analysis seek to get beneath the surface (denotative) meanings and examine more implicit (connotative) public meanings. These textual evaluation strategies often view culture as a narrative or story-telling process where particular "texts" or "cultural artefacts" (i. e. , a pop melody or a Tv set program) consciously or unconsciously link themselves to larger tales at play in the world. A key here's how texts create subject positions (identities) for many who utilize them.

Content analysis

is a more quantitative strategy that broadly surveys things such as how many cases of violence arise on a typical evening of perfect time TV viewing, or just how many Asian American women appear in a day's well worth of TV advertisements. This information, particularly when linked to more qualitative sorts of analysis, can be very valuable in moving beyond the analyst's always slightly subjective observations (http://culturalpolitics. net/popular_culture/textual_analysis).

According to Jan Ifversen in Text, Discourse, Strategy: Methods to Textual Research, he points out the textual theory using the Foucauldian discourse evaluation and "Begriffsgechichte" which can be fruitfully combined to build up a textual analysis in any literary work, he will take into cognizance and shows that bill both pragmatic and semantic dimensions of language is the duty of source criticism to establish this lay claim. However:

Textual evaluation, on the other hands can be involved with the linguistic

forms of earlier representations. It must reach grips with the representational

chain that links memory to testimony and testimony to writing. Some

approaches are applied to textual research of historical documents.

they touch aspects within textual analysis that specifically concern

historical materials and literary horizon (KONTUR nr. 7 - 2003: 60)

Meaning-oriented content research and interpretive and critical words analysis approaches discuss a subjective ontological position of individual action and behaviour and a methodological dedication to recording the actual interpretation and interpretations of organisational celebrities involved in corporate and business narrative reporting. Corporate and business narrative documents are seen as a medium for indicating engineering for organisational celebrities. However, text evaluation approaches from the interpretive and the critical perspectives acknowledge the researcher's subjectivity. Literary works provide summary of the study perspectives and matching text analysis approaches that happen to be further in literature. It shows the choice of text examination method of be determined by the study paradigm where the researcher locates him/herself, which, subsequently, consists of a particular combo of the researcher's epistemological position and the idea regarding the ontological position of real human action and behaviour. (Merkl-Davies, 2009: 5).

We shall apply the textual method of the poetry of Lenrie Peters to be able to understand its evaluative interpretation in migration literature.

Exile as Motif in African Poetry

Poetry usually utilizes "the use of epigrammatic claims, lyrics, concrete images which graphically delineate incontrovertible truths in life and sociable justice" (Maduka and Eyoh, 2000:14). Based on this, poets such as Williams Wordsworth, John Keats, Shakespeare, Yeats etc use their poetry to explicate various motifs from innocence to experience, dynamics and love, unbridled quest for social justice and so on. Exile is an example of such subject matter that poetry axiomatically lends its credence on because it deployed terse words and encoded metaphor in the lighting of thematic preoccupation. Poets could efficiently communicate their feelings without been harmed or without been intimidated by the societal construction or device of power that lacks literary thoughts. Similarly, poets easily call the interest of audience to the plight of exile to be able to bring about new lease of life and new activities. It boils right down to what is exile.

According to Jacqueline Corness in a paper entitled Alienation and Freedom- A study of Dostoevsky's Notes From Underground as it relates to the Theme of Exile, she defines exile from the perspective of Said when she opines that:

Exile is not, in the end, a matter of choice: you are given birth to into it,

or it happens to you. For this reason, exile is often thought to be the

most emotional difficult status of removal from, for example,

one's country. While some individuals are separated from

their homeland because they have got easily chosen to live

elsewhere, exiles are believed to be at mercy of external

forces (2).

Exile is a significant human condition which makes many poets showing their concern and also show the way they feel. Wole Soyinka's "Telephone Talk" is a capsule presentation of mental exile experienced in Great britain when he was refused an accommodation due to the fact he's a dark man. Arthur Nortje`s "Autopsy" is a poem that visualises the evil ramifications of exile on children who were naturally born involved with it, they feel isolated and perverted. Buhadur Tejani`s "Leaving the united states" is a poem in Africa that showcases the evils behind politics exile and alienation. The heart of nothingness, hollow anticipations and functional dislocations will be the thoughts that emanate from people. African poets indicate exile situation as motif in their poetic canon.

Lenrie Peters and Exile Preoccupations in Poetry

Although, Lenrie Peters is not a victim of political exile, his exile motif in poetry is based on the psychological exile and alienation he encounters in Britain. Precisely the same feelings Soyinka experience making him to write the "Telephone Talk" Before 1965, Peters studies and lives in Cambridge, after the self-reliance of Gambia his country, he arrived home to help restructure the political and monetary situation. His poem "He Strolls Exclusively" is an example of exile and alienation people undergo in international land. His biography demonstrates:

Lenrie Peters was born in Bathurst (at that time a English colony), now Banjul, Gambia on Sept 1, 1932. Poet, narrator, publisher, medical plastic surgeon and opera singer. Author of the poetry literature: Katchikali; Satellites; and Collected Poems and the novel The Second Circular, 1965. All his works were shared by Heinemann, in London, in the collection African freelance writers' series. After making his first studies in Bathurst and in Sierra Leone, he travelled to Cambridge to review Natural Sciences at Trinity College or university. In England, he was the chief executive of the Union of African Students. He also did the trick as a publisher for one of the earliest Gambian newspapers, The Gambia Echo. As well as Wole Soyinka, Chinua Achebe and other freelance writers, he is one of the first technology of the Anglophone West African Freelance writers in being recognized as such and being released abroad. He's an enthusiast defender of the panafricanism. A cosmopolitan poet, his densely stuffed, minimalist stanza constructions easily fit into the broad general spectrum of human being experience: aging and death, the potential risks of love, the loneliness of exile. In his book Satellites (1967), the poet-doctor's detachment is a metaphor for the uprooted individual's painful existential isolation; his scalpel penetrating "at the chopping chaotic advantage of things" a graphic for the imaginative piercing and religious penetration which are the real goals of the poet's mission. Although he gets furious with the disappointment of the African underdevelopment, he shows about blind and sickening models of "progress" that do not show a continuity with the past and damage more than what they protect. In his only novel The Second Round, a physicist trained in THE UK and sufferer of the so called "massacre of the soul" helped bring by westernization, returns to the capital of his homeland filled up with "noble ideas about the improvement of Africa", but ends accepting employment in a distant jungle hospital and therefore taking origins in the original experience (xvii International Poetry Happening of Modelling)

"He Walks Together" is a poem that presents amount of alienation African students suffer from in Europe. Because of this alienation in their system, they feel exiled and Peters asks these to go back home. The poem is a rich experience from the poet who having examined abroad is crucial of the hypocritical behaviours which may also be found in European countries. An African learner is given quality education but refused occupation by the system that educates him. The poem is sarcastic since it will try to ridicule the severe weather and the tough behaviours Africans face in diaspora. Due to alienation, some Africans have lost their root base. They want to respond like the Europeans but it is not possible because their physiological attributes were not designed towards the European individualism. Africans are collective in dynamics, so when they show Eurocentric thoughts, the Europeans cannot allow them, the Africans quickly run back home in order to eat in unison, speak in a single accord, love themselves and have difficulties alongside one another in African communalism.

Textual Research of Exile in 'He Walks Alone'

The poem is written in seven stanzas of unequal five lines. The poet addresses exile as motif because man can be an integral factor in culture- Exile has triggered many untold pain, isolation and rejection. The first stanza reports:

He walks alone

head bowed with memories

Exiled in the park

some playful thing of long ago

glues him to a shop window

The poet creates an image of any African man in European countries who's looking for an individuality. He's not accepted in to the system though he's a legal resident. He cannot vote and be voted for; he cannot seek work in choice places. He walks alone considering home, considering his family. Usually he encircles with his brain bowed to the colour and psychological variations which exist between him and his coordinator community. With the park, he's always given some distance as if he's a mini-human. The problem on the teach is the most detrimental, nobody rests beside him. He feels exiled and alienated. The choice of words here shows that Lenrie Peter utilizes some coded meanings with words like "head bowed in memories". The exile is faced with a denial by the host community's culture. But also there is a feeling of belonging to a different but alien culture that does not have any acceptance, and which does not accord him any relevance in the colonial metropolis of London. Hence, his ''brain is bowed with memory'' and longing for African warmth usually underscored by: communal gathering, scores of festivals, the heat of comradeship and distributed labour, enjoyment of harvest and a recollection of the dazzling African blue weather of the dried out season. An underlining feature of the exile's flirtation with storage is his matter for warmness and tenderness sufficiently present in Africa, a memory which unobtrusively can not be obliterated by a stretch out of distance from Africa.

In the next stanza, the problem of exile seems more manifest

Faded suit razor-sharp lined

loosely held by his pleased heart

shoes scaled with polish

cannot comprehend; too much

to describe harsh experiences

The African will try to emulate the European but he may not fit into the system. The exile's consciousness is sharpened against the setting of the drudgery of each day life in London, reverberated by ''faded suit'', ''shoes scaled with polish'' which betrays an instalmental living on the fringes of British society. This is a description located at the disposal of a fantastic sincerity and a powerful purpose of coping with the debilitating English weather. The choice to be cladded in faded suit and a set of shoes scaled with polish is bewildering to the exile. But how is the exile in English society expected to deal with isolation, tough weather and ethnic shock? How is he to spell it out and place his experiences within an historical condition which can only just be comprehended by himself? The exile realises that only memory can be employed as a weapon of liberation to break through the walls of isolation and racial discrimination ineluctably grounded in British social milieu. Memory space takes its bastion of recollection of negative activities for the exile in the poem. The applications of concrete images such as "proud heart and soul" "shoes scaled with polish" are contrasting. As an immigrant he is proud to acquire journeyed to other area of the world, however in the finish cannot fit into the new environment. Irony is another tool the poet uses to make his poem satiric in nature. Maduka sheds more light on this concept:

The word "irony" means so many things to many people

that its no longer very useful as a crucial idiom.

The protean personality of its use has resulted in an

array of terms associated with it. Thus, one frequently

hears of such expressions as Verbal Irony.

Irony of Situation, Sophoclean Irony, Irony of Life,

Euripi dean Irony, Tragic Irony, Cosmic Irony,

Dramatic Irony, Irony of Things, Irony of Circumstances,

Irony of Character ( 139, The Intellectual and Ability Structure)

Peters complicates dominant racial renditions of African exile's life in European countries by challenging oversimplified historical facts. The poem problematizes a troubling emotional turmoil to produce a poetic effect where racial narratives are accepted as the stereotypical occurrences, but have been complicated to the point where it can't be definitive. Migration breeds alienation, wherein contentious ideological perspectives of the racism are organised into a substance and recuperative narrative, which urges the audience to apprehend the ways that ambiguous representations of the exile which yield a far more nuanced and intricate literary eye-sight of the African racial condition than that rendered by historical documentations.

In this poem, several ironies are applicable. The most important are: irony of situation, irony of life, remarkable irony, irony of circumstances and irony of character. It is because exile explores each one of these feelings in the life of the African whose persona is very critical in the poem. Stanzas three and four clarify more:

No coward he

respository of declined talents

an ounce of earth

silted weightily in his heart and soul.

the breaking point is looking back

In this stanza, Peters commences a poetic analysis of the importance of european education to modern-day African students. Despite the difficulties generated by the racially stratified Britain, the persona does not disintegrate with the risks of racism. But must maintain a stoical fidelity to his quest for western education, whose enormous reward will translate to the transformation of his African population. And more so, he can not afford to pack his hand bags and return to Africa, because ''the breaking point is looking again''. But must handle the social, mental health and economic stress of Great britain as to acquire traditional western education at all cost. This necessitates that he deplores courage as an instrument of postmodernist sensibility, towards surmounting these travails. The treating a delicate socio-political problem of racism in this poem underscores James Reeves's observation that, ''what poetry does to the mass of common experience is to make everlasting and memorable whatever in it is essential and significant''(88). Peters in this poem ostensibly criticises racial discrimination, and amplifies the plight of African students in their dedication to confront this interpersonal malaise.

Crossed the Rubicon

Race, nationality, ideology, religion

arrowed from globe to moon

founder of a new brotherhood

an hero he not of our nation born

Here, the type in the poem is starting some rejections. He is grossly isolated, "crossing the Rubicon" is a metaphor for Atlantic Ocean. The poet is dialling an attention that this identity who flew over the Atlantic is currently been exiled in physical form and psychologically. He battles racism, nationality stratification ensuing into modern slavery, religious dissimilarities, ideological divergences, post-nationalism and globalization. Language to the poem is very essential to the knowledge of exile and its attendant evils. Peter concurs that African students must accept alienation as it is transitory yet essential for the pursuit of western education. This reverberates Jacques Derrida's justification that actuality, and historical representation of happenings that makes an attempt to document reality must be inscribed in contradiction and ambivalence. Derrida insists:

If we have been insisting a whole lot since the starting on the logic of the

ghost, it is because it issues toward a thinking of the function that

necessarily surpasses a binary or dialectical reasoning, the reasoning that distinguishes

or opposes effectivity or actuality (either present, empirical, living-or-not)

and ideality (regulating or definite non-presence). (italics original 78)

Suffice to state that Derrida's ''reasoning of the ghost'' explicates the ways that He Strolls Alone

Articulates a similar contradiction that bifurcates binaries of racism to determine a more difficult historical representation of exile.

The poet chooses both the connotative and denotative dialect to portray the colourful images and metaphors which he explores in the handling of exile as motif in the poem" He Walks Together" Stanzas five, six and seven substantiate this assertion. Lenrie Peters' mastery of the English language allows for an unbiased evaluation of communities thought through dialect, which neither obscures specificity nor highlight notions of set identity. Such analysis succinctly foregrounds the questioning and critical evaluation of the disadvantaged position of the exile.

Known no tenderness

skin a mosaic of scars

heart in set deposit

safe from ridicule, decomposing

Marionette-strings linked with stars

Exile go home

under your foundation a bowl of tears

leave back streets

nightmares evenings kneeling in pews

brassy sounds of homely fires

Dream and wait

coarse cauctus of desert wastes

perhaps tomorrow

sunflowers fading in the heat

will lay insensate at your feet

In this poem, the decision of both connotative language and denotative dialect is to present the motif of exile in its natural condition. The poet wants to prevent ambiguity by using "everyday's language" as connotative and "implied terms" as denotative. The image of poverty is too conspicuous in the poem. The type lives in isolated area, some areas are solely reserved for immigrants and some jobs are also only reserved for immigrants. Such careers include cleaning, flushing of toilets, etc. Lenrie Peters is incredibly critical about the utilization of language in the poem. Although he noises very harsh, maverick and mechanised when he says "exile go back home". The poet seems to be worried about frustrations, mental intimidation people in exile go through. Although this is self exile, he admonishes the Africans that they have to seriously start considering home for the sake of development and posterity.

Similarly, the arrays of metaphors which can be situational make the motif of exile interesting to study. Though exile is a cultural factor, the poet is phoning attention that rather than constant stamina and travails, damaged persons makes it good at home. Although man is powerless in the face of uncontrollable trend, the poet achieves success in his imaginative craft and the handling of the theme of exile as motif in "He Strolls Alone"

The subject of the poem is symbolic because it expresses the exile experience and it emphasises individualism which is not part of African culture and custom. Above all, it is a contribution to African books because "African books, indeed the literature of dark-colored civilization, today, has shifted from the literature of protest to the books of assertion and emancipation, which also shows self-examination" (Black color Appearance, ix). Of paramount significance is the musical theatricality which the poem employs in its structure, gives the poem an aesthetic bravura and imaginative splendour. The significance of the regular patterning is showing that exile is a continuing phenomenon in the life span of individuals. As African people move from one location to the other, other folks too may consider relocation in one locale to the other. They might start to consider managing with the socio-geographical factor of the surroundings they find themselves in. Throughout this, nostalgia, pain and approval problem sails in. The end rhyme employed by Lenrie Peters could be looked at original because it neither conforms to Elizabethan nor the English type.

The build of the poem is melancholic. That is the situation exile stimulates. The poet is exhibiting a useful manifestation of what it is usually to be in exile. The anticipations are usually high but the system is not accommodating to satisfy all the yearnings revolving in the mind. The audience would perceive "He Walks By themselves" as a didactic poem. A didactic poem is a poem that teaches and clarifies the rudiments about individual contemporary society and predicament. The motif of exile is an over- riding element in this poem. The poem exegetically breaks down and overturns the Western european jaundiced understanding of African social milieu, by resisting a widely accepted, and otiose depiction of the African students' sojourn in European countries as blissful, celebratory and quintessential. But Peters by way of a complex exteriorization of his experience in London, depicts the thorny convolutions of exile.


The motif of exile is the main preoccupation that Lenrie Peters examines in exhaustive chunk. He uses wealthy imagery to demonstrate this, considering that Africans are folks of "historical advancement" in the word of Boyin Svetlana. This poem is very delicate to the plight of exile and identification. The usage of ordinary dialect is to denote clear image of understanding so that the issue of ambiguity would not arise. Last but not least, Lenrie Peters' "He Walks Alone" can be an exemplification of exile experience in conjunction with the question of id and how these factors have dire results on people. The rich imaginative creation is a contribution to African literature.

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