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Background on the poet
· Chinua Achebe was born in 1931 in Nigeria. His writings
deal with the prejudice & social injustice faced by Africans
in the 20th century. He addresses the evil in humans that
creates a lack of respect & consideration for one another.
· In 1967 the eastern area of Nigeria declared independence
as the republic of Biafra. A long bloody civil war ensued as
the Federal Government refused to recognise Biafra.
There was enormous suffering as the rebels were starved
into submission and the suffering of the Biafran children
shocked the world. In the end Biafra was destroyed by
government forces & ceased to exist by 1970.
· This civil war affected Achebe. Many of his poems deal with
war & destruction, Vultures deals with the aftermath of the
2nd World War.…read more

Slide 3

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Alliteration highlights Vultures
how bleak and desolate
the morning is. In the greyness
Messengers.
and drizzle of one despondent
Alliteration over dawn unstirred by harbingers
two lines. Of sunbreak a vulture
perching high on broken
Enjambment used to
bone of a dead tree
A striking highlight certain words
nestled close to his
Metaphor, and to create a sense of
mate his smooth
making the disjointedness.
bashed-in head, a pebble
animal sound
on a stem rooted in
unattractive.
a dump of gross Contrast
feathers, inclined affectionately between the
Grotesque image. to hers. Yesterday they picked present
the eyes of a swollen `romantic' image
Lots of corpse in a water-logged and their earlier
negative trench and ate the savagery. Does
adjectives things in its bowel. Full this contrast
creates gorged they chose their roost suggest that
images keeping the hollowed remnant love and evil live
devoid of life in easy range of cold side-by-side in
and warmth. telescopic eyes... harmony?…read more

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Extended metaphor
throughout stanza Strange
suggests love as fickle indeed how love in other
and able to perpetuate ways so particular
evil.
will pick a corner
in that charnel-house
tidy it and coil up there, perhaps
Where dead even fall asleep ­ her face
bodies and bones
turned to the wall!
are placed.
Praises that these
horrid beings can
actually show love.
Personification
of love as a
This poem is primarily about how woman and
Love can foster evil. Because no conjures up
one can truly be evil if they are images of a
loved, then love keeps them alive. snake.…read more

Slide 5

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...Thus the Commandment at Belsen Almost Biblical
Camp going home for language
the day with fumes of WWII Nazi
human roast clinging concentration camp
rebelliously to his hairy Similar description to
nostrils will stop vultures feathers
at the wayside sweet-shop
and pick up a chocolate This evil man
for his tender offspring The goodness of God
is loved by and
waiting at home for Daddy's feels love for
return... his son. His Monster
Praise bounteous evil actions
providence if you will elsewhere are Powerful images
that grants even an ogre justified to him. for poetic impact.
a tiny glow-worm
tenderness encapsulated
in icy caverns of a cruel Alliteration for poetic impact
heart or else despair
for in the very germ
Does the poem leave you hopeful that every
of that kindred love is
person has some good in them, or depressed
lodged the perpetuity
that love can `allow' such evil to continue?
of evil.
This poem questions a culture which can produce a truly evil man who sill feels love
and affection for his family, and ultimately asks does love perpetuate evil?…read more

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Key words to help describe
this poem.
· Irony ­ vultures savage & representing evil
of creation, but affectionate; Commandment
is cruel & brutal, yet kind to his children.
· Enjambment ­ run-on lines that reflect the
disjointedness of the situation.
· Contrast - between the vultures and the
Commandment and their actions.
· Paradox ­ apparent contradiction of love
perpetuating and fostering evil.…read more

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