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“Once Upon A Time” by Gabriel Okara. Once Upon A Time by Gabriel Okara. Gabriel Okara is a Nigerian writer. He was born in Nigeria, in April 1921. Okara may be described as highly original and uninfluenced by other poets.

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“Once Upon A Time” by Gabriel Okara


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    1. “Once Upon A Time” by Gabriel Okara

    2. Once Upon A Time by Gabriel Okara Gabriel Okara is a Nigerian writer. He was born in Nigeria, in April 1921. Okara may be described as highly original and uninfluenced by other poets. He has been extremely successful in capturing the moods, sights and sounds of Africa. His poems show great sensitivity, perceptive judgements and a tremendous energy. Okara also shows a concern regarding what happens when the ancient culture of Africa is faced with modern western culture, for example in his poem, 'Once Upon a Time'.

    3. Questions Read through then try to answer these questions: • What is the theme of the poem? • Who is the poet talking to? • Why is the title/opening line effective? • If this poem is about growing old and the ways in which we adapt to adulthood, which other poems in the anthology might you compare it to? Keywords: muting, conforming

    4. Themes • About how people change over the years and become false and untrustworthy • About the influence of the white western world on African nations – how countries like Nigeria were more honest before being developed by the west.

    5. Mood & Tone • This is a sombre, emotional poem with a strong moral message. • Does it end on a positive or depressing note? • Does it inspire you or does it leave you cold?

    6. Techniques Repetition – ‘them’/’they’ – who are these people? What effect does this repetition have on the reader? Direct Speech – underline examples of this. Why is this an effective technique?

    7. Quotes What do the following quotes mean to you? “but now they only laugh with their teeth” “Now they shake hands without hearts while their left hands search my empty pockets.” “I find doors shut on me” “I have learned to wear many faces like dresses”

    8. Quotes What do the following quotes mean? “I have also learned to say, "Goodbye", when I mean "Good-riddance“” “unlearn all these muting things” “my laugh in the mirror shows only my teeth like a snake's bare fangs!”

    9. How does Gabriel Okara create a sense of regret in the poem ‘Once Upon A Time’? Introduction • Who wrote poem • Basic info on what poem is about • Summarise what the essay is about

    10. How does Gabriel Okara create a sense of regret in the poem ‘Once Upon A Time’? First Paragraph • Look at the content of the poem • Say what it is about and use quotes • Comment on the mood or tone of the poem, again, using quotes

    11. How does Gabriel Okara create a sense of regret in the poem ‘Once Upon A Time’? Second paragraph • Basic info on what poem is about • Summarise what the essay is about