Analysis of ''The Anvil and the Hammer

Caught between the anvil and the hammer
In the forging house of a new life
Transforming the pangs that delivered me
Into the joy of new songs
The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous
 Woven with fibre of sisal and
Washed in the blood of the goat in the fetish hut
Are laced with the flimsy glories of paved streets
The jargon of a new dialectic comes with the
Charisma of the perpetual search on the outlaw’s hill.

Sew the old days for us, our fathers,
That we can wear them under our new garment,
After we have washed ourselves in
The whirlpool of the many rivers’ estuary
We hear their songs and rumours everyday
Determined to ignore these we use snatches
From their tunes
Make ourselves new flags and anthems
 While we lift high the banner of the land
And listen to the reverberation of our songs
In the splash and moan of the sea


Biography of the Author
Kofi Awoonor (13 March 1935 - 21 September 2013) was a Ghanaian poet and author whose work combined the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization.
Awoonor was born in Ghana when it was still called the Gold Coast. He went to university there and went on to teach African literature at the University of Ghana. While at the University of Ghana he wrote his first poetry book, Rediscovery, published in 1964.




Analysis of ''The anvil and the hammer''

The poem, ''The anvil and the hammer'' is about the cultural assimilation of two different cultures,the traditional and European culture..  
  ''Caught between the anvil and the hammer/In the forging house of a new life''.
 As the anvil and the hammer work to shape a new piece of metal, the poet believes that rather than discard the African culture, Western ideas could be used to shape and refine African traditions to create a new Africa. The anvil and the hammer contributes to forging and re-branding  him.He endures the painful 'pangs'' of the transformation that is et to deliver him ''into' the joy of new songs''. The re-branding of the poet gave him a new  life[ education]. Still ''the trappings of the past haunts him.'' He reminiscence of his ancestry which clashes with this western culture. Indeed the poet is caught between two contrasting cultures. In the second stanza,he appeals to his ancestors to help restore the old African ways.  
        ''Sew the old days for us, our fathers,
        That we can wear them under our new garment,''




He admits the western culture has come to stay so he pleads for unity between the two cultures   ''


         ''  Determined to ignore these we use snatches
           From their tunes
          Make ourselves new flags and anthems
         While we lift high the banner of the land
        And listen to the reverberation of our songs''














Figures of speech
Metaphor and symbolism are the most dominant devices in the poem. The poet uses ''the anvil''to symbolise the African culture and ''The hammer'' to symbolise the western culture
line 2 -''forging house'' metaphor for where the transformation from traditional to foreign lifestyle takes place
line 15 ''new garment'' is a metaphor for western culture or civilization
line 11'' jargon of a new dialect'' metaphorically refers to the western policies and philosophies


Structure
The poem has 21 lines and two contrasting stanzas. While the first stanza describes the conflict between African traditions and western civilisation, the second stanza offers solution to the conflict. The solution lies in creating a balance of both cultures. It is a free verse poem and  has no consistent meter pattern or rhythm. ''The anvil and the hammer is a free verse.

.









Caught between the anvil and the hammer
In the forging house of a new life
Transforming the pangs that delivered me
Into the joy of new songs
The trapping of the past, tender and tenuous
 Woven with fibre of sisal and
Washed in the blood of the goat in the fetish hut
Are laced with the flimsy glories of paved streets
The jargon of a new dialectic comes with the
Charisma of the perpetual search on the outlaw’s hill.

Sew the old days for us, our fathers,
That we can wear them under our new garment,
After we have washed ourselves in
The whirlpool of the many rivers’ estuary
We hear their songs and rumours everyday
Determined to ignore these we use snatches
From their tunes
Make ourselves new flags and anthems
 While we lift high the banner of the land
And listen to the reverberation of our songs
In the splash and moan of the sea


Biography of the Author
Kofi Awoonor (13 March 1935 - 21 September 2013) was a Ghanaian poet and author whose work combined the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization.
Awoonor was born in Ghana when it was still called the Gold Coast. He went to university there and went on to teach African literature at the University of Ghana. While at the University of Ghana he wrote his first poetry book, Rediscovery, published in 1964.




Analysis of ''The anvil and the hammer''

The poem, ''The anvil and the hammer'' is about the cultural assimilation of two different cultures,the traditional and European culture..  
  ''Caught between the anvil and the hammer/In the forging house of a new life''.
 As the anvil and the hammer work to shape a new piece of metal, the poet believes that rather than discard the African culture, Western ideas could be used to shape and refine African traditions to create a new Africa. The anvil and the hammer contributes to forging and re-branding  him.He endures the painful 'pangs'' of the transformation that is et to deliver him ''into' the joy of new songs''. The re-branding of the poet gave him a new  life[ education]. Still ''the trappings of the past haunts him.'' He reminiscence of his ancestry which clashes with this western culture. Indeed the poet is caught between two contrasting cultures. In the second stanza,he appeals to his ancestors to help restore the old African ways.  
        ''Sew the old days for us, our fathers,
        That we can wear them under our new garment,''




He admits the western culture has come to stay so he pleads for unity between the two cultures   ''


         ''  Determined to ignore these we use snatches
           From their tunes
          Make ourselves new flags and anthems
         While we lift high the banner of the land
        And listen to the reverberation of our songs''














Figures of speech
Metaphor and symbolism are the most dominant devices in the poem. The poet uses ''the anvil''to symbolise the African culture and ''The hammer'' to symbolise the western culture
line 2 -''forging house'' metaphor for where the transformation from traditional to foreign lifestyle takes place
line 15 ''new garment'' is a metaphor for western culture or civilization
line 11'' jargon of a new dialect'' metaphorically refers to the western policies and philosophies


Structure
The poem has 21 lines and two contrasting stanzas. While the first stanza describes the conflict between African traditions and western civilisation, the second stanza offers solution to the conflict. The solution lies in creating a balance of both cultures. It is a free verse poem and  has no consistent meter pattern or rhythm. ''The anvil and the hammer is a free verse.

.









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