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The Projection of National (Di)vision through Animal Symbolism in Remi Raji’s Lovesong for My Wasteland and A Harvest of Laughters

Valentine Chimenem Owhorodu

Abstract


Modern African poets have shown a consistent commitment to the socio-political and economic trends of their various nations, becoming both the mouthpieces of the people and the watchdogs of leaders in all spheres of the society. This article examines animal symbolism as markers of Nigeria’s socio-political history. To do this, it relies on the animals’ behavioural traits as an interpretative paradigm. The article adopts semiotics, particularly symbolism, a meaning-expanding literary device, in interpreting Remi Raji’s Lovesong for My Wasteland (2005) and A Harvest of Laughters (1997). The semiotic ideas of Ferdinand de Saussure and Charles Sanders Peirce undergird the basic framework for the explications. Moreover, the selected symbols are analysed within the context of socio-cultural beliefs and historical events in Nigeria. Hence, the study reveals that the poet’s usage of cultural semiotic markers such as “the Elephant,” “the Wolf,” “the Dog,” and “the Hyena” to indicate Nigeria’s socio-political trajectory underscores his poetic elegance and social vision. Furthermore, the study demonstrates that the poetry collections are symbionts and in dialogue with each another. Ultimately, the article captures dialogue as the poet’s panacea for progressive coexistence in a heterogeneous nation like Nigeria.


Keywords


animal symbolism; Remi Raji; modern African poets; progressive coexistence; semiotic analysis; cultural semiotics

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.25159/2078-9785/4260