‘Vultures’ by Achebe is a very vivid and memorable poem. It has evocative images because the author shows how life can be alluring and disgusting at the same time, and he makes everything very lifelike. The poem has memorable images as it makes you think that we can’t see life just as light or darkness because sometimes they fuse together paradoxically. It is also memorable because the author is comparing humans with vultures in an extended Metaphor. This poem begins with the scene of two vultures (which are a couple) on a tree.
The day before they had eaten human guts, this makes it very unusual to locate dead corpse in that setting. This poem reflects the idea of being strenuous that love can exist in such a dull scene. The poem describes how a tremendously evil and cruel commandant entered a sweet shop and bought some chocolate for his children. This manifests that the poem is an extended paradox and it also exposes how Achebe compares this brute and simultaneously lovable man, to the vultures.
Additionally, it commences in a negative manner, with the phrase “In the greyness”, this occurs because the word ‘greyness’ makes the reader expect a dull atmosphere throughout the poem. The author uses alliteration to make the images more remarkable, for example; ‘drizzle of one despondent down’ it uses the letter’d’ to create a heavy sound. The poet also uses paradox to distract the reader and make him confused and avoids him from experimenting if the poem is talking in a favourable or negative way.
‘Harbingers of a sunbreak’ is an oxymoron, harbingers are messengers who frequently arrive to the villages with unpleasant news, this word is fused with the word “sunbreak” which is a word which reflects optimism and means the outcome of the sun in the morning. This is a display of the poem’s ideas as a whole as it contains dark sentiments with sparks of light in them to represent human kind. In the poem you can notice how the personification takes place. It gives human qualities to an object; “bone of a dead tree” shows pain and death, which is directly related to human experience.
This phrase says that a branch of a tree is like a broken bone, which is impossible because only humans and animals have bones. This is personification, making the tree more emotive and frightening which makes the reader have in mind their death. This phrase also creates a ashen atmosphere because trees are usually seen and described as alluring and usually represent life, however by saying “broken bone of a tree” the author creates negative and dead surroundings After creating such a dull scene the author places in, a positive personification, “nestled close”, the word “nestled” creates a favourable concept because of its meaning.
The writer wants to emulate that in this horrible environment there is some love; friendship love. He wants to emphasise some words more than others, to make this possible he uses enjambment, for example; “Of a swollen// corpse”. By doing this he forces the reader to pause at each word, and create itself two different images which makes him focus on the word “swollen”. The author utilises the word “things” in the phrase “he ate the “things” to make it hugely revolting. This word makes it especially outrageous because the reader doesn’t know what things he has eaten.