1. How do men behave towards women?

Points to develop
Relation to theme
1i. Character identification
iii. In Mende Chiefdom, men see
Women as sex objects
V. Women are seen as not fit to rule
V. Women are viewed as gullible and
vi Women are Viewed as home keepers and child bearers

The play Let Me Die Alone projects the traditional African society faced with an internal struggle for
power and an aggression by the colonial government. Women play significant roles which give rise to what their men do to them. One of the significant characters in the play is Yoko, who succeeds Gbanya, her husband, as ruler of Mende Chiefdom. She is beautiful, confident, and assertive. These are qualities she exploits to her advantage.
Besides, Yoko is childless.

One may also pay attention to Jilo, Ndapi’s wife, who flirts with Lansana. Ndapi is the chief warrior whose
daughter, Jeneba, is adopted by Yoko
and who becomes the focal point of
Yoko’s predicament as a leader and
ruler of Mende Chiefdom. The marginality of the female folks in the play is accentuated by the characters of Lamboi and Musa who thwart Yoko’s reign. The less significant female characters in the play are Musu and Fanneh whose roles contribute in one way or the other to the treatment of the female folks in the play.
In Mende Chiefdom, women are
seen as sex toys. It is evident at the
begining of the play when Gbanya, Chief of Mende Chiefdom is all over
Yoko, his wife for sex. Gbanya asks
of what better use is a woman to a
man? When Yoko protests, he insists, “Go back to bed, Yoko, you are
a woman. Your brain was made for
music, your feet for dancing steps that

will fire the loins of any man, and your body for that bed. Not for the important affairs of the chiefdom.”
The portrayal of women as sex toys is also evidence in Lansana’s description and pursuit of Jilo, Ndapi’s wife. Lansana pursues Jilo mainly to
have sex with her. When Jilo protests
and tells him to go to his wife, he retorts, “Nyande, Nyande, how long can a man go eating Sakitomboi? From time to time, he should taste jolabete”.
This portrays or shows men’s freedom
to choose a variety of women.
Besides, women are seen as not fit
to rule. Gbanya reiterates this view and acts on it. When Yoko insists that he hands over the chiefdom to her upon his death and even reminds him of a promise he had made, he says, “Look woman, if Senehun is to survive, a man must lead her”. Gbanya would rather have Ndapi, Chief warrior, to succeed him, not have Yoko, his wife to do so.
For him, a woman does not qualify to rule. In the same vein, Lamboi and
Musa are dissatisfied with Yoko being the next chief of Senehun. For this,
they work to thwart her becoming the
next chief and when she succeeds in
becoming the next week they pursue
her downfall.
Furthermore, women are seen as
gullible and weak. Gbanya would not
share state secrets with Yoko, his wife.
About the Governor’s impending arrival, he says to her, “Go back to bed, Yoko, you are a woman. Yoko’s answer is, “I am a woman, but I am also human. The message of weaknes of the female folk is embedded in the expression “you are a woman”. Lansana also succeeds to have sex with Jilo by exploiting her gullibility and vulnerability. He flatters her, “Look at your body, Nyande. See how smooth it is as smooth as the back of a bridal calabash.” Consequent upon the revelation that Jilo and Lansana have been having illicit sexual affairs, Jilo confesses that the reason why she falls for Lansana is because her beauty has not been appreciated by her husband, Ndapi. She says, At least he (Lansana) makes me feel wanted.” Even when Musa and Lamboi spread the false news of Yoko killing Jeneba for rituals, it is the women who set up Yoko, their own.
In conclusion women are seen as home keepers and child bearers.
This attitude manifests in Gbanya’s
conversation with Yoko, to the effect
that she is body and no brain. Yoko
as “weaned” herself by joining Poro.
When it is alleged that Yoko killed
Jeneba, Ndapi tells her, You don’t
know the pain of childbirth. In her
lonesomne moments as Queen, Yoko
confesses to Fanneh: “There are even
times when I feel lonesome. I would
have very much liked to have my own
children. Children to hold, to love…”

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2. Discuss Gbanya as a remarkablej

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Character identification
ii. Gbanya’s achievements
iv. Gbanya’s pragmatism
V. He shows care and love
vi. Gbanya’s weak side

The thematic thrust of the play
is that of a traditional African society
faced with an internal struggle for pow er and an external aggression by the coloniąl government. Governor Rowe who represents colonial power wields such power to influence the affairs of the African people being colonized in| the play. Gbanya who is the chief of Mende Land exhibits traits of laudable achievements, pragmatism, good leadership and affection. Gbanya is theChief of Mende Land. He is married to thirty seven wives and Yoko the queen
is the favourite of them all. Being his favourite wife, Gbanya treats Yoko as
a mere sex object of a man’s pleasure.
This is evident in his confession, “Of
what use is a woman to a man?
Gbanya’s achievements resonate
throughout the play, even after his
death. His governance enables Mende land to boast of “the richest wine and the biggest cattle”. His reign wins many wars which are described by Ndapi as “honourable and brave ventures”. Yoko inherits his stable leadership as she confesses that Gbanya is the man who made Senehun into a great chiefdom”He
has the most courageous warriors in
Mende Kingdom.
His pragmatic approach to leadership manifests in several ways. He
Says “a chief must be ruthless and “must never be Seen as weak… He
confesses to Yoko that “if Senehun
is to survive, a man must lead, not a
Woman. This is premised on the fact
that patriarchy is practised in Mende
Kingdom. Gbanya has the courageous
band of fighters or warriors. The fact
that Yoko models Gbanya’s virtues
and qualities of undying love” in both
her governance and life points to his
mark of good leadership. Lavalie also
describes him as “a finer man and a
braver man.
Gbanya’s care and love manifest
in the play. He shows affection for his
Wives through his concern. For exam-
ple, he dispatches Lavalic, one of his
warriors, to tell their best clothes so as to wamly receive the visiting Governor Rowe. He
loves and cares or Yoko because o1
her vision and contrıbution to the al-|
fairs of the kingdom.
Howeve, Gbanya is not without
his weak sides. One is his misjudge-
ment in sending his warriors to fight
on John Caulker’s side as against the
Governor’s brother. Eventually,

Governor Rowe humiliates him in the
presence of his subjects. Gbanya’s
weakness also reflects in his excessive
love for Yoko; he is oblivious of the
treacherous plans by Musa and Lam-
boi. He allows himself to be killed in
the interest of peace in the kingdom.

3. How is the contest between tradi-
tion and modernity presented in the play?

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Character identification
1i. Role of Baroka
iv. Roles of Sidi and Sadiku
V. The resolution

The play The Lion and the Jewel
centres on the theme of conflict be-
tween tradition and modernity which
produces humorous and ridiculous
effects. African tradition is represent-
ed by the characters of Baroka, Sidi|
and Sadiku while Lakunle represents
the Western culture. In there long run, African tradition triumphs over the Western culture as Lakunle loses Sidi to Baroka.
Baroka is the Bale of Ilujjale, aged sixty two. He is wily and polygamous. Sadiku is Baroka’s eldest wife.
She is susceptible to gossip. She also
can be described as Baroka’s match-maker attempting to patronize Sidi to marry Baroka. Sidi is the village Belle.
She is slim; she has plaited hair; she is
vain and gullible. She can be described as a traditional woman. Lakunle is the Village school master, nearly twenty three years. He looks ludicrous in Western attire. He is much opposed to the African tradition as this is evident in his use of bombastic language.
One sees Baroka as the representative of tradition. As Bale, he is the
custodian of the culture and traditions of his people. He believes in and practices polygamy. Baroka is portrayed as an opponent of modernity when he
pays surveyors to re-route a railway
track that was to pass through the vil-
lage. His positive attitude to the establishment of postal service in the village suggests that he is not totally against modernity but wants to proceed more cautiously, and on his own terms.
Lakunle’s ideas of modern marriage do not convince Sidi. He sees
Women as the weaker sex and having
Smaller brains which puts Sidi off. Sidi realizes that she would have less and fewer rights as Lakunle’s wife than she would in a traditional marriage.
The conflict between tradition and modernity also shows in the way Sadiku woos Sidi for Baroka. She wards off Lakunle from attracting Sidi. She is instrumental in winning Sidi Over to tradition and killing Lakunle’s ambition.
Lakunle represents modernity However, his representation of modernity is shallow and not convincing. Rather, he cuts a poor figure. Baroka is a strong, confident traditionalist who has his way with his people, particularly, his women. Sidi, by virtue of her youth and relative inexperience could
have been swayed by Lakunle away
from tradition, but Lakunle’s persuasions are not convincing enough.
The pull of tradition, aided by Sadiku
proves too strong for her, especially
her insistence that Lakunle pay the
bride price. The play suggests that an
outright rejection of tradition for the
sake of joining the modern world is
ill-advised. Baroka’s triumph suggests
that progress must be made when it
truly benefits the village and its peo-

4. Discuss the Significance of the play-
within-the play.

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Instances of the play-within-the
ii. Features of the play-within-the
iv. Purpose of the play-within-the play
V. The significance of the play-with-
in-the play

The play The Lion and the Jewel centres on the conflict between tradition and modernity which produces humorous and ridiculous effects. The play-within-the play is embedded in the theme of the conflict between tradition and modernity as this further helps to project the theme. The play within-the play shows the coming of modernity to llujinle and how this was opposed by Baroka. It also establishes the background of the events in the play.
There is a pantomime of the stranger with one eye box and devil’s own horse-motor car. He I described as “the man from the outside world”. There is another pantomime about the thwarted railway construction that is to pass through llujinle.
The white surveyor is bribed and the
prisoners stop work.

Lakunle plays the role of the
stranger as an imaginary driver while the girls “crouch on the floor as four wheels of a car”. The presence of a snake, a monkey” and “a roar gives the performance a local colour.
The perfomance also features Sidi’s
picturesque image which facilitates the drunken stranger as he sheepishly follows her. Baroka plays the role of the former Bale, Chief Baseje. The chief threatens and paciies the stranger. He orders “a feast in his honour”.
The stranger first rejects the drinks,
then accepts and drinks to stupor. He
admires Sidi and takes “all sorts of
magazine postures and innumerable
photographs of her.
The purpose of the play-with-
in-the play is to entertain the people, particularly, the Bale. He tells the protesting Lakunle, “without these things you call nonsense, a Bale’s life would be pretty dull”. Besides, the performance is used to bring the audience up to speed on current incidents in the entire play. The performance is also used to justify Lakunle’s resentment of the Bale’s lifestyle and to shed light on the
background of Ilujinle people.
The play-within-the play serves as
a flashback to the entire events in the
play. It also enriches the play’s humour.
It depicts the culture of hospitality and the spirit of togetherness that characterise African tradition. The performance establıshes the source of feud (disagrecment) between Lakumle and Baroka as captured in the interrupted railway construction. It serves as a link between the past and the present life of Ilujinle as evident in the coming of the magazine that changes Sidi’s life and that of the village. It attracts or encourages audience participation.
5. Consider Jimmy’s views about the
Victorian society of his time in the play.

Ponits to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Character identification
iii. His view of the structure of Victo-
rian society
iv. He sees that all is not well between
the classes
v. He finds working class life routine
and monotonous
vi. For Jmmy, acrosS-marriages have built-in instability.

The play deals with the conflict
between the social classes in Victorian
or English society which is alighted in
the marriage between Jimmy and Alison. One of the themes in the play is class conflict and this is seen in the demarcation between the upper-middle class and the workng class in the play.
Jimmy belongs to the working class
while Alison and her family belong
to the upper-middle class. Although
the play is set against the backdrop of
the post-Second-World-War England,
it reflects the Victorian or class-based
English society.

Jimmy is a major character in the
play. He is twenty five years old. Jimmy is married to Alison Redfern. The playwright describes him as capable of cruelty and sincerity. Jimmy is tall and slim and has few friends because of his ‘apparent honesty”. He is a university dropout.
The society is divided into working class and middle or upper-middle
class people. It is based on education
and privilege. Jimmy drops out of the
university after one year. He and his
friend, Cliff, are decidedly working
class except that ‘some of his mother’s
relatives are pretty posh’. His wife,
Alison and her parents are of a stable
middle class family. Alison’s brother,

Nigel is well to do, a member of the
English Parliament.
Jimmy sees that all is not well be-
tween the classes. He hates Alison’s
parents, particularly her mother, for
not wanting him to marry Alison. He
does not like Alison’s friend, Helena,
although they temporarily fall in love
and she leaves him to save her conscience. After Jimmy has married Alison in a rush, he and his friend, Hugh Tanner, drag her along to gatecrash her parents middle class friends’ parties and cause a stir.
Jimmy finds the working class life
routine and monotonous. People are
generally jobless. They accept any job
like the sweet-stall to make ends meet.
Jimmy and his friend, Cliff, pour over
the weekend newspapers aimlessly to
kill boredom. Alison and Helena while
away the time ironing.
For Jimmy, across-class marriages
have built-in instability. His marriage
to Alison is not conventional; it is un-
conventionally blessed in a church.
Alison’s parents attend the ceremony uninvited. Subsequently, Alison’s father, Colonel Redfern feels guilty
about how he and his wife have treated Jimmy. The marriage hetween Jimmy and Alison remains stormy, till Jimmy and Alison begin to make a few sacriices for love, e.g. when Alison returns to Jimmy. Alison’s parents marriage is, however, stable because it is founded on class, love and convention.

6. Comment on Alison’s reactions to
Jimmy’s attacks on her family.

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Character identification
iii. Jimmy s attacks on Alison’s family|
iv. Alison’s reaction to Jinmmy’s attacks
v. Significance of Alison’s reactions.

The play deals with the conflict
between the social classes which is
highlighted in the marriage between
Jimmy and Alison. Jimmy and Alison
suffer psychological or enmotional chaos due to domestic conflict informed by class difference. Jimmy belongs to the working class while Alison belongs to the upper or middle class.
Their marriage is full of conflict due
to class difference. This conflict has a
devastating effect on the marriage to
the extent that Alison loses the preg-
nancy of what is supposed to be their|
first baby.
Alison Porter is Jimmy Porter’s
wife. She is the daughter of Colonel
Redfern. She is from the upper class.
Alison is described in the play as ‘elusive personality, tall, slim, dark’. She is about the same age (twenty five
years) as Jimmy and Cliff. She is a
friend of Helena. She is Cliff’s best
friend and confidant. Jimmy Porter is
Alison’s husband. He is well educated and informed; he is a university dropout. Jimmy runs a Sweet-stall together with Cliff. He (Jmmy) is described as a “tall, thin, young man of about twenty five years of age’. He is a disconcerting mixture of sincerity
and cheertul malice, of tenderness and treebooting…cruelty’.
Jimmy derisively asks Alison if
she feels the papers make her so bril-
liant. He often insults Alison for her
inability to react to the problems of
her social class. He calls Alison ‘Lady
Pusillanimous…wanting of firmness
of mind, of small courage, having a
little mind, mean, cowardly, timid
of mind… He disparages Alison’s
brother, Nigel and calls him straight-backed, chinless monster who went to Sandhurst. Jimmy condemns Nigel’s lifestyle. IHe attacks Nigel and Alison, labeling them sycophantic, phlegmatic and pusillanimous. Jimmy also insults Alison calling them “militant, arrogant and full of malice.’ He condemns Alison’s father’s disposition to re-live the romantic past.
Alison takes Jimmy’s attacks or tirades calmly without saying anything but ignoring him.
She shows she is used to these carefully rehearsed attacks and ‘carries on with her ironing’. She deliberately attempts to divert attention to other issues such as asking Cliff if he wants to smoke. She subsequently takes Helena’s advice to leave Jimmy.
Alison’s reactions demonstrate
maturity and love. Besides, her reactions highlight Jimmy’s needless and misdirected anger against socioeconomic problems in the society. Her silence also paves way for her return as this enables Jimmy to take her back and the two to enjoy their true love as bear and squirrel.

7. How does Troy’s upbringing affect his relationship with his children?

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
i. Character identification
ii. Troy’s upbringing
iv. Results of troy’s upbringing.
V. Infuences Lroy passes on his children

The play reflects the racial discrimination of the 1950s which impacts the lives of black Americans,
particularly Troy and his family. The
blacks are discriminated against and
this shows in many facets of their
lives. The blacks are relegated to the
back seats of the society. Troy has to
protest at his workplace before he gets promoted from being a garbage carrier to being a truck driver, he experiences racial discrimination as a baseball player.
Troy Maxson is filty two years
old. He is large and has thick heavy
hands. Troy is the father of Lyons,
Cory and Raynell, all from different mothers. He is the husband of Rose.
A son of an unsuccesstful sharecrop-
per, Troy left home at age fourteen. He has now built a family with his wife and children. Troy is a truck driver in a sanitation department. He is a friend of Bono.

Troy’s father was a very hard-working man, although he was always in debt. His father used confrontation and violence to put fear in him. Troy engaged in a near-death confrontation with his father over sexual abuse of his girlfriend. He subsequently left his father’s home in Alabama, travelling two hundred miles to the city Troy’s earlier upbrnging seems tohave given him a wrong perception of parenting. He sees himself as a commander who cannot accept his children’s views. Troy learns the value of hard work and a sense of responsibility. Besides, Troy experiences racism as a boy when he is denied the opportunity to play baseball. As an adult, his honesty and awareness of wrong enable him to change his status at his work place and become the driver of a garbage truck.

Troy’s refusal to let Cory play
football is an influence from past up
bringing. Troy repeats the mistakes
of his father. He drives his son Cory
away from home because of a fierce
argument that nearly turns physical.
Troy’s sense of hard work and responsibility is picked up by his sons, especially Cory. He wants his children to work hard. This is evident in Lyons’
insistence on paying him back the ten
dollars he borrowed from him and
Cory going away to educate himself
and become a Marine Corporal.
In conclusion, Troy’s upbringing has positive and negative influences
on him and it also manifests in his relationship with his children.

8. To what extent does Gabriel provide comic relief in the play?

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Character identification
iii. Definition or explanation of comic
iv. Gabriel’s delusional actions and
v. Significance of comic relief

The play relates the theme of racial discrimination in America in the
1950s which impacts the lives of African Americans, particularly the Maxons. Gabriel, Troy’s brother, a veteran of World War II, is slightly demented and ignored by the larger white American society.
Gabriel is Troy’s younger brother.
He is the only one of Troy’s siblings
that we encounter in the play. He is a
Second World War veteran who has
returned home with a disabling head
injury that has made him mentally unsound.

9. How effective is the use of contrast in The Sog f the women J y land?

Points to develo
Relation to theme
ii. Definition and explanation of contrast
iii. Contrast between the permanence
of time and brevity of life
iv. The feeling otfthe women
v.. Contrast between the song of old
and the poet’s attempt to rescue
what is left.

The poem is about the ability of
song to express the feelings of anguish and joy as well as keep the memory of the dead alive. The women in the poem are immortalized by the song they sang in servitude.
Contrast is a literary device through which writers highlight the differences between two subjects, places, persons, things or ideas for special effects. In the poem, contrast is shown between the pemmanence of time and brevity of life. In the past, the women in the poem ‘died long ago. Time has stripped the lyrics and scared the tune of the song ‘which beheld their lives.
The lyrics is lost in the vast void of
time’ while the song brings to life their feelings of despair. It ‘sponged of their anguish to behold their collective pain’. It also enables them to plough the terran of their mindscape ‘in the vast void of time. Besides, it enables them to ‘cheat the tyranny of time’.
The feelings of the women are
accentuated. The song connects the
women to their ancestors. The Song
also highlights their feelings of joy or
ecstasy. The song enables them to celebrate their gain. This finds expression in the fact that it ‘sponged off their anguish’.
The contrast between the song of
old and the poet’s attempt to rescue
what is left finds expression in the fact that the song died, leaving a fading tune. The poet “through the stuttering lips of my pen and the screeching voice of my rib’ has rescued the “tune turning the tenor of my verse. Time has not succeeded in obliterating the memory of the women as the stripped lyrics of their song have been captured for the posterity by the poet.

10. Examine The Leader and the Led as a criticism of leadership in Africa.


Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Profile of characters
ii. The claim to the right to lead by the
different animals
iv. The consequence of lack of good
v. The desirable leadership qualities

Leadership is a problem in Africa. The political arena is saturated with different people posing as leaders
while in reality they lack the required
qualities to lead the people. The poem is a satirical piece on the problem of leadership in Africa. The poet uses metaphor and allegory to comment on the problem of leadership in Africa.
This is evident in the animal characters in the poem.
The poem presents animal characters whose attributes or qualities reflect those of the leaders they represent. These animal characters include the lion who ‘stakes his claim to the
leadership of the pack’, the hyena, the
elephant, the giraffe, the zebra, the
warthog and the rhino who posses one quality or the other. However, these animal characters represent certain flaws in African leaders.
The lion, like the hyena, claims
the crown as the rightful one who is supposed to lead his followers in the
animal kingdom but both the antelope and impala are afraid of the ‘ferocious pounce of his paws’ and his ‘lethal appetite. This is in reference to leaders who are brutish and dictatorial. The giraffe craves a place in the front but ‘his eyes are too far from the ground. This implies that he may be out of touch with the realities of the lives of the other animals. If a leader’s attention is not focused on the people he leads, obviously, he cannot be a good leader.
The zebra has black and white
stripes which suggest “duplicity’. This
depicts deception and unpredictability in his character. Here, the reference is
pointed to African leaders who cannot
be trusted by the citizenry because
they do not do what they preach. The
elephant has ‘trampling feet so his
weight could put other animals to
great disadvantage. The warthog is described as ‘too ugly. This shows that
leadership is not about physical beauty or good looks, but honesty. The rhino is characterized in the poemn as “too riotous. This shows that if a leader is the riotous type, there will always be trouble, confusion and the absence of peace.
The poet shows in the poem that
the consequence of lack of good lead-
ership is that ‘the pack’ is unsettled
as it ‘thrashes around’. This refers to
the followers and also points attention
to the fact that without a leader, they
are like “a snake without a head. This
shows lack of direction.
The poet highlights the desirable
leadership qualities using the characters of the Forest Sage in the poem. The Forest Sage, who represents the voice of wisdom and experience, declares to others : Our need calls for a hybrid of habits’, that is, a healthy balance of attributes. A leader should manifest a balance of ‘a little bit of a lion’ and little bit of a lamb’. This means that a leader should be as strong or brave as a lion and at the same time be humble and kind like a lamb. Also, a leader is expected to possess the balance of tough like a tiger and compassionate like a dove’. He or she should be mysterious like a lake and ‘transparent like a river’. This suggests that a balance of character and application of wisdom in peculiar situations is required of a good leader.

11. Consider the mood of the persona in The Good Morrow.

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Explanation of mood
iii. The discovery ot new love
iv. Embracing the new l0ve
v. Stability of the new love

The poem is a metaphysical poem.
Two people in love with cach other can’t create a world of their own in which nothing else that is outside it, matters.
The poet uses extended metaphor to
relate the love between the two lov-
ers. They are described as two better
hemisphcres. The persona and the lover have been rclating with each other for long, on a childish note. However, their relationship develops and leads to love.
Mood is the poet’s attitude to the
subject of the poem; it is about one’s
mental or emotional disposition towards an object or a given situation
in the poem. The mood in this poem
conveys the excitement and certainty
about the lovers’ new found love.
The persona discovers a new love and this shows in the persona’s mood
of excitement:”I wonder by my troth,
what thou, and I/did, till we lov’d?”
The excitement is based on the realisation that they had been acting childishly at first, or they had been merely sleeping for countless years. The rhetorical question confirms the initial mood of excitemernt.
However, the mood changes from
excitement to certainty as the persona
is sure that this new love is not subject to fear or distraction of the external world. This is also evident in the fact that the room they occupy is all the world to them – an attestation to the fact that the poem is a metaphysical poem through the use of extended metaphor.
The new love which the persona
and the lover now find themselves is
now stable. The persona and his loved
one are now in perfectly harmonious
relatiornship: “where can we find
two better hemispheres without sharp north, without declining west?” There is a great feeling of confidence and the relationship is transparent and compatible. The new love is not subject to death which means it is immortal: If out two loves be one, or, thou and I / Love so alike that none do slacken, none can die.
In conclusion, the mood of the
persona is that of excitement, certainty, assurance and confidence.

12. Discuss the theme of regret in The Journey of the Magi.

Points to develop
i. Relation to theme
ii. Identification of the travelers
iii. The experience in the course of the
iv. Instances of regret in the poem
v. The evaluation or the assessment of
the journey

The poem deals with the search
for spiritual fulfillment in the course of life’s journey. Three wise men known as the magi decide to embark on a journey for spiritual fulfillment. The three men face challenges in their search for the birthplace. Their encounter with the birthplace confuses or perplexes the object of their mission.

The journey is a long and tedious
one at the worst time of the year. This
finds explanation in the expression:
“a cold coming we had of it, just the
worst season of the year”. The journey
occurs in a cold, Sharp and deep win-
ter. The travelers camels become
tersore footed along the way. Besides,
they meet with hostile, unfriendly cities where prices of items are exorbitant. They meet gamblers, women and others drinking liquor. In the course of the journey, their “night fires go out. The travelers see a “white horse and the temperate valley”. They continue amidst difficulties until they achieve their goal. The magi now wish for an other life.
The unfriendly weather and time
of the journey are causes of regret.
The experience of the Magi with
gamblers, bad women and alcoholics
makes them regret embarking on the
journey. More importantly, the loud
“voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly” climaxes their
regret. The travelers wish that they
hadn’t embarked on the journey in the first place. However, there are glimpses of hope as can be seen in the white horse and “the temperate valley they encounter.
The travelers fulfill their objective:

“Finding the place, it was, you may say, satisfactory”. This is also captured in the expression There was birth certainly”. They assess the birth by saying “I have seen births and deaths…this birth was hard and bitter
agony for us”. The magi or travelers
return in doubt and regret: we re-
turned to our places, these kingdoms
but no longer at ease here, in the old
dispensation. The determination of
the Magi to arrive at their destination
is worthy of emulation. It can also be
gleaned from the poem that fulfillment of one’s desires far outweighs the challenges. It can be concluded that man will, no matter the regrettable experiences in life, continue to quest for self-fulfillment.

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