Discuss the theme of "African Land as a Woman"

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In this poem the land of Africa is personified as a woman. This helps the poet to convey the main theme of the poem, which is the beauty and pride and power of the African continent and, by implication, African people.

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The opening line of the poem, "Naked woman, black woman," is repeated throughout the poem, although sometimes the word "black" is replaced with the word "dark." The repetition of this line emphasizes that the personified form of Africa is proud of her blackness, or darkness. In the second stanza, the poet proclaims that this blackness, or color, "is life." In the fourth stanza of the poem the speaker says that the beauty of Africa "strikes (him) to the heart," implying that Africa's beauty is so impressive and so striking as to have an emotional impact. In the first part of the poem, Africa is also presented as a mother figure. The speaker says that "In (her) shadow" he has "grown up, and he describes the "gentleness" of her hands "laid over (his) eyes."

In the second half of the poem, the speaker's celebration of Africa's beauty, through its personification as a beautiful woman, becomes more intense. In the sixth stanza, for example, he describes this personified form in implicitly sexual terms. He describes Africa's "Firm-fleshed ripe fruit," and her "mouth making lyrical (his) mouth." Descriptions like these suggest that the speaker is describing a lover, a shift in tone from the first half of the poem where Africa is presented more as a mother.

The personification of Africa as a beautiful woman continues at the end of the poem, where the speaker describes Africa's "suns of. . .eyes" and the pearls around her neck, which are "stars on the night of (her) skin." These descriptions suggest that Africa is a goddess. She is divine and heavenly. Thus, in the course of the poem, Africa is personified as a mother, as a lover, and finally as a goddess. In each form, the speaker celebrates her beauty, her pride, and her power.

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