In "Western Civilization" by Agostinho Neto, what impression of the house is created in the lines "Sheets of tin nailed to posts / driven in the ground / make up the house"?

In "Western Civilization" by Agostinho Neto, the impression of the house created by these lines is of a rundown shack unfit for human habitation. Yet this is the place that the worker in the poem calls home. He has nowhere else to go.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

“Western Civilization” by Agostinho Neto is a powerful indictment of the appalling treatment meted out to indigenous Africans by Western colonial powers. In the poem, we're introduced to a working man returning home from a long hard day of toil. Treated little better than a slave, the man has become...

See
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

“Western Civilization” by Agostinho Neto is a powerful indictment of the appalling treatment meted out to indigenous Africans by Western colonial powers. In the poem, we're introduced to a working man returning home from a long hard day of toil. Treated little better than a slave, the man has become old before his time:

Old age comes early.

To some extent, the house in which he lives is a metaphor for his condition and that of all the other indigenous workers who slave away each day at the behest of their colonial overlords. The man lives in a wretched little shack, nothing more than “sheets of tin nailed to posts / driven in the ground,” topped off by rags.

The cracks in the wall ensure that the man is not protected from the elements, be it sun or rain. Evidently, this ramshackle dwelling place is unfit for human habitation. But then, the man isn't treated as a human by those who exploit him, so the place he calls home reflects the desperate situation.

Worse still, he cannot escape from his predicament except through death, when he will gratefully die of hunger. It says a lot about the grinding misery of the man's life that death by starvation would be a blessed release.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team