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Song of Lawino Poem by Okot p'Bitek

Keywords: songs of lawino research, tune of lawino character types, lawino and ocol

In Song of Lawino, by Okot p'bitek, the main theme revolves around Lawino attacking Ocol, her hubby who had kept her for a "modern" woman, and his ways while praising her own culture. She actually is a proud and traditional Acoli girl who holds a certain disregard for the western culture that her educated husband had fallen into. A whole lot throughout the book, she maintains on cursing Ocol and making a racket and din about all his misdeeds. She also launches an attack on Clementine, Ocol's new "westernized, informed wife". Now, whether or not she had a good case for performing so strongly against Ocol and Tina is what we shall be looking at in this article.

And that "she appears sickly'' and is also a "piteous sight". These unprovoked accusations will be considered as "jealousy" by many especially since Lawino admits "I really do not refuse, I am a little jealous", which I look at a huge understatement since Lawino's hate which is apparent in the next chapter is evidence that she is in simple fact very jealous of Tina's affect over Ocol. However, how much ever Lawino is jealous of Tina, she absolutely does not have a case since this cannot justify any misdoing on Ocol's part because polygamy was a common thing in those days and Ocol experienced every to marry Tina. And Lawino's jealousy had not been acceptable data against Ocol. Some may say that Lawino portrayed more than jealousy and was actually defending her wealthy African culture, but she did, however, do it at the cost of degrading the traditional western culture.

Nevertheless, he does his role well, and would go to many lengths stating that the local congress party was against Catholics (the beliefs Ocol believes in). This, apart from developing a bad will for him among people, also causes issues within his own family. We see that, Ocol's brother was the first choice of the congress party, the arch-enemy of the Democratic Get together that Ocol leads. This causes Ocol to become bitter and change the whole issue personal. He says that his brother wants to get rid of him and he also forbids Lawino to visit her "husband in law's" house and indeed orders her never to even speak to them. It had been once said by way of a great man called Vivekananda that "whenever a man has begun to feel ashamed of his ancestors, the end has come". This is just what Ocol will.

In this case, I feel that Ocol was being too undesirable. Although Ocol is against his sibling politically, I believe making the issue personal was a stupid move to make. He was in simple fact blowing up the problem to something big. Lawino, who in this case had been very thoughtful, realizes these two men were doing senseless. In the end, the main aim of the celebrations was said to be national unity and now "the war leaders are securely locked in bloody feuds, eating each other's livers" and she correctly notices that "ignorance stands there as an elephant".

In the section seven, where it says "there is no fixed time for breast-feeding", Lawino has something more to her favour. Ocols obsession over time is a debatable issue. Yes, in modern times, people would agree with Ocol that 'time should not be wasted" and so it can be used to its full probable. However, I feel that Ocol is taking the issue of time too far by wanting to keep set time for each and every little thing in the home. Lawino says;

For such an instance, I think Lawino does indeed again have a spot. It's perfectly reasonable to breastfeed when there is a need to. So, Ocol's loads of misuse on Lawino's illiteracy for not knowing time is just plain undesirable. He needn't insist everything in their house happen on time when the Acoli's have monitored their priorities for a long time by simply following the suns activity and the rooster's crow.

Until now, Lawino typically did have a good case in a lot of things that she was saying. However, the others of what she says is, in my own viewpoint, a subject of opinion so it will not hold a good case against Ocol. She laments about Ocols decision to check out the american culture instead, but lawfully, there is nothing incorrect with that. Ocol had every to follow the way of life that he needs you should. Being university educated may have improved his thought process and triggered him to want to westernize. Lawino's accusations of him of being a traitor to his customs may have been culturally accurate, but not at all strong enough to sue him. Some may say that Lawino was at reality being irrational as she was endeavoring to impose her culture on Ocol, without permitting him be.

And he also goes in to repent "why was I created Black colored?" Ocol attempts his hardest to deny the African blood in him and he desires to assimilate in to the white people's culture instead. This is not appropriate because if he gets the right to enjoy his ways, then Lawino does indeed too.

So, we can say that in this specific matter, both Lawino and Ocol are at fault. These argument, apart from discussing culture, is also applicable to the differing religious faith that the two follow. Agreed, Lawino does not think much of "the hunchback" or the "clean ghost" and neither does Ocol of Lawino's traditional African religious beliefs where he says "we will smash / the taboos / one at a time / explode the basis / of every superstition / we will uproot / every sacred tree/ and demolish every ancestral / shrine". Hence the two should have learned to co-exist with the other person alternatively than squabble endlessly other their faiths.

So, to conclude, after evaluating the circumstances of both Lawino and Ocol, I deduce that Lawino's circumstance is stronger than Ocols. Seeing that Lawino has been more of a victim under Ocols hands than Ocol under the white mens', as observed in the discussion given above, Lawino does indeed have a proper circumstance against Ocol. Although Lawino acquired a little part to do with it, her marital tribulations have been highly unpredictable mainly because of Ocols foolish frame of mind and his senseless actions.

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