Once Upon a Time

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“Once upon a time” is a poem written by Gabriel Okara, a Nigerian poet. The Title is an interesting choice because, before a line of the poem is read, it links the poem to childish stories, fairy tales, that finish in a “happily ever after”, but there is always an obstacle, or you may call it a “bad guy”. Okara starts of the poem with “Once upon a time” which shows how far it is into the past but it has not been forgotten. The poem starts off as being portrayed as a negative tirade. Okara uses the metaphor “laugh with their hearts” to represent the honesty that they had in the past because the heart would represent love and this showed that they clearly enjoyed laughing and it was an important factor in their past. The quotation “laugh with their eyes;” has the same effect of showing that they were soft and felt emotion. The fact that it is an end-stopped line emphasises the change in the paragraph from the past to the present. The next line, “laugh with their teeth” resembles the contrast of the past with the present by Okara using soft and fragile organs to represent happiness in the past by the fact that people were not afraid to let others make them feel happy so let themselves appear vulnerable and no one would take advantage but strong bones to represent the present and how no one can trust anyone and people would jump at the opportunity to use someone how is vulnerable. The Repetition of “laugh” emphasises how important it was in the past and how much it was need in the present. There was sibilance present in the metaphor “Search behind my Shadow” to indicate the suspicion and the fact that people would search everywhere shows the importance of the “laugh”. These points made strongly give the poem an appearance of a tirade, whereas the use of an epithet “son” shows he is talking to someone and give some hope at the start that it may change to a plea. In the second stanza Okara continues missing the past and complaining about the present which gives off an...
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