Ogun

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"Ogun" by E.K. Brathwaite contrasts multiple tones through the carpenter's mentality shift from optimism to pessimism. The mass produced "junk" is gradually killing his livelihood, leading to his loss of hope. The man takes out his frustration through the creation of a carving of Ogun. The first section primarily reflects the perseverance and optimism of the carpenter. He is a hard worker "the knuckles of his hands were silvered knobs of nails hit, hurt, and flattened..." and truly cares for the quality of his products. The diction in the first section of the poem portray care and precision in his work through words such as “smoothed”, “shaping”, and “whittled”. He spends nearly all of his time meticulously constructing each creation and feels proud of what he makes. The second and third sections display a change in his mentality towards his work. The transition in his mentality is due to the mass production of similar but lesser products that his customers have chosen to purchase, “Imported cabinets... high tensioned cables”. The result of this is the lack of a stable income and personal welfare “But he was poor and most days went hungry”. The lack of appreciation for his hard work leads him to create the face of Ogun. The carpenter uses his time creating the face to vent his anger and frustration with the world “emerging woodwork image of his anger”. The diction in the second and third sections portray a frantic and misshapen creation through such words as “whorls”, “knotted”, “roots”, “dry”, and “cracked”. With the loss of self control and emotional control he creates something completely new to him, as a symbol of the anger towards what his world has become.
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