What are examples of metaphors used in "The Weaver Bird" by Kofi Awoonor?

Expert Answers

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

The Weaver Bird is a poem written by Kofi Awoonor, a poet from Ghana. It is dealing with the theme of occupation and colonization from the perspective of the native people. Whilst the poem never uses the word “I,” it is still clear that it is written from a first person perspective, as the poet uses the word “we.” This refers to the speaker and his fellow African people.

The main metaphor used in this poem is the metaphor of the weaver bird. In his poem, the poet uses the metaphor of the weaver bird to explain the behaviour of the white colonialists. In fact, this metaphor is so important to the author that he even chose it as the title for his poem. Like a weaver bird, the white colonialists arrived in the speaker’s native country and started to settle there: “The weaver bird built in our house and laid its eggs on our only tree.” However, the native people did not mind this initially, so they did nothing to stop this from happening, instead they just looked on to see what was happening: “We watched the building of the nest.”

However, the metaphorical bird then suddenly started to behave as if he were the owner of the house. The house is another metaphor used in this poem. It represents the country, which is the house and home of the native people. Like a house, the country used to provide its people with a feeling of security and belonging. However, this begins to change with the arrival of the colonialists.

In the poem, the bird tries to change the way the local people live: it is "preaching salvation." This is clearly a metaphor for the way the colonialists behaved as rulers, dictating life to the locals and trying to implement the Christian faith in the colonies. As a result, the speaker feels that this has ruined his metaphorical house and made it uninhabitable: "We look for new homes every day . . . defiled by the weaver‘s excrement."

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team