Student Number: 58017259
Course Code: ENG1501
Assignment Number 02: 881206
TABLE OF CONTENTS:
1.0 The Loneliness Beyond by Sipho Sepamla pg. 3
1.1 Explanation of what the poet describes in this poem.pg. 3
1.2 Use of Imagery in Poemspg. 3
1.3 What does the image of ‘a single maskless face’ convey?pg. 3
1.4.1 Identification and explanation of irony used in lines 17 to 19pg. 4
1.4.2 What comment does the poet make about modern society? pg. 4
1.5 How does the contrast between the image used underline
the main theme of the poem?pg. 4
2.0 The Road to Meccapg. 5
3.0 Bibliographypg. 6
4.0 Plagiarism Declarationpg. 7
‘The Loneliness Beyond’ by Sipho Sepamla
1.1 Your anthology notes that Sepamla was ‘one of the giants of the black poetry movement of the 1970s, sometimes called “Soweto poetry”‘. Also refer to the applicable e-reserve that discusses Sepamla’s life. With this information in mind, write a paragraph in which you explain what Sepamla describes in this poem. Refer to specific words in the poem to support your answer (Hint: words like ‘platforms’ in line 4).
Sipho Sepamla uses figurative language throughout the poem, such as personification (Spirits maimed in line 9), metaphors (Line 14), similes (Lines 1 – Like raindrops, Line 3 – as a Torrent and Line 14 – Like sheep) and imagery to discuss how the working class but especially non-white people are starting to lose their individuality and identities. Through the use of imagery, you can almost see a plethora of non-white people rushing to the train platforms after a long day in the city, wanting to get home, wanting to disappear into the ‘beyond’ because the beyond is where they feel at home, they feel safe. You are also able to see and feel the peoples despair and how being oppressed for so long is starting to take a toll mentally, physically and emotionally.
Line 14 shows the speaker making the connection between non-white people and animals using the words, sheep and kraal as tribes lived together in kraals as well as cattle. In line 21 when the speaker says ‘Disappear into little holes of resting’, an image of darkness and hopelessness is conveyed. The hole is the tunnel that they travel through on a daily basis, and once they’ve gone through this little hole they disappear back into their own world of loneliness and isolation. At the end of the last two stanzas’ in the poem (lines 19 and 23), the title is repeated, making the theme of Loneliness more resonant.
1.2 Identify the image the poet uses in lines 1 to 3 of the first stanza. Comment on the effect of this image, and discuss in particular the use of ‘pattering’ (line 1) and ‘torrent’ (line 3).
Sepamla uses visual imagery from the beginning of the poem. In line one there is a use of simile, such as ‘Like raindrops pattering’, you get a clear image of raindrops falling lightly and slowly at first as well as an image of crowds of people who just finished work walking into the train station looking for their platform. In line 3 the use of ‘torrent’ gives you an image of things starting to get louder and intense, you start to feel a sense of rapidity of motion as the crowd’s start rushing and pushing past one another to get to their platforms.
1.3 What is the effect of referring to the crowd in line 7 as ‘a single maskless face’? In other words, what does this image convey about the speaker’s attitude towards these people, and about their own state of mind or condition?
Sepamla is referring to the loss of identity of the non-white community under the extremely tiring commands of the apartheid system and reinforces the discorded between white and non-white living conditions. The image that is conveyed is a mass of people who lack character and disposition, a “single maskless face”. The non-white community is used and seen as second class citizens who are only good for labour. The speaker indicates that the non-white community is more than just the help, they are human too, they have palpitating hearts (line 6), tongues that click and make sounds (line 10), they can also enjoy a good laugh (line 11), and they have mouths that can also covey sadness (line 11).
1.4.1 Identify and explain the irony in lines 17 to 19.
The irony is that while the speaker is observing crowds of people and pondering how alone each individual is amongst many others and ‘the loneliness beyond’, Sepamla himself stands alone in this crowd but does not seem to comprehend that he himself is just as lonely and isolated. Even though there are crowds of people at the train station everyone is living in a segregated society. The train acts as leveller, where everyone gets on together but not everyone goes to the same destination.
1.4.2 Based on your answer in 1.4.1, what comment does Sepamla make about modern society?
Sepamla makes 3 comments about modern society. Firstly, non-white people are feeling worn down and starting to accept the way they are being treated, accepting being oppressed by the Apartheid system (line 5). Secondly, he wonders about “the loneliness beyond”. What happens to the people once they disappear into their little hole? In the old days, most people would live close to their work so the commute was not long but as society developed and grew the trains became important for commuting to and from work for both white and non-white people who did not live in an urban area. Thirdly, trains in the 1970’s had separate compartments for white and non-white people so even though society had evolved and everybody (white and non-white people) boarded the train together, they were still separated and once on board people did not communicate with the person next to them or in front them as they would have in previous years. This can be seen in line 17 that ‘the multitudes rub shoulders’ but they keep to themselves.
1.5 Read the final stanza of the poem carefully. How does the contrast between ‘throngs of people’ (line 20) and the image ‘little holes of resting’ (line 21) underline the main theme of the poem? (In order to identify the main theme, consider the title of the poem.)
This poem’s title states the theme of the poem, Loneliness. In line 20 ‘throngs of people’ gives you an image of a crowd of people standing together getting ready to board the train while the speaker stands there observing this moment in time and thinks about the lives these people live beyond this train station, beyond the platform. In line 21 the speaker uses a metaphor to compare the train tunnels to the oppressed non-white people going to their very small living courters. The contrast is from the speaker being surrounded by a group of people in line 20 to being alone surrounded by his own loneliness in line 21. At the end of the last two stanzas’ in the poem (lines 19 and 23), the title is repeated, making the theme more resonant.
D Byrne, 2018. The ‘Write’ approach. A beginners guide to writing an essay. University of South Africa
D Byrne, F Kalua and R Scheepers, 2018. Foundations in English Literary Studies. University of South Africa
DECLARATION REGARDING PLAGIARISM
Name (in full): Michaela Carmen Saber
Student Number: 58017259
Assignment number: 01 Unique number: 881206
I declare that this assignment is my own original work. Where secondary material has been used (either from a printed source or from the internet), this has been carefully acknowledged and referenced in accordance with departmental requirements. I understand what plagiarism is and am aware of the department’s policy in this regard. I have not allowed anyone else to borrow or copy my work.
Signature: Michaela C Saber
Date: 14th of August, 2018