Analytical essay on ‘Not my business’

Here is the poem which I’m analysing, the poem has 4 stanzas and represents the problems faced by the people in Nigeria due to a Dictatorship.


Hey guys today, I’ll be doing an analytic essay on the poem “Not my business.” by Niyi Osundare. If you guys like it, please like comment and share. I might also analyse another poem.

Is it my business if someone I know was getting hurt? The poem ‘not my business’ by Niyi Osundare, further elaborates on this point using the problems occurring in Nigeria, which consists of people being taken out of their houses and being beaten up. The poem elucidates how people’s lives are affected and in a way destroyed. The poem uses different poetic devices which build upon these ideas and the idea of “is it my business or not” using Repetition, Personification and Symbolism which also tells about the terrors looming above everyone in Nigeria.

The use of repetition suggests how the same things occur over and over, but no one bats an eye or speaks up. In Stanzas (1-3) the line “What business of mine is it, So long they don’t take the yam, from my savouring mouth” is repeated three times. This line suggests that we’ll keep our mouth shut as long we get some benefit from it. In this case, the narrator talks about how he doesn’t care about what happens as long as no one takes his yam. The line being repeated thrice suggests that the narrator didn’t care about what happened so long that he had his yam. This use of repetition implies that as long as we get benefited, we don’t care about what’s going around us. Similarly, the author also uses Personification and Symbolism to maintain the ideas of the history in Nigeria and ‘is it my business or not’ while also conveying the feelings of confusion with the reader and repetition with the story.

The author uses personification to reflect the feeling of confusion and misunderstanding between the reader and the story. It also shows the actions of the people in the narrative. This appears several times in different stanzas, one of them is in verse 1, lines 3 and 4. “And stuffed him down the belly of a waiting jeep.” The author uses this to symbolise a lengthy absence as he is put in the Jeep’s trunk which is represented by the belly in the poem. The personification is used again in stanza 2, line 9. “Booted the whole house awake.” In this scenario, the author uses it to convey the how big of a fuss people make. The author ties in confusion by leaving everyone line in some suspension to make the readers wonder about the people taken away and what happened to them. It also ties in real life situations in the country which also left the people with the same confusion the poem left us with.

The symbolism in the poem serves a deeper understanding of the real-life conditions going on in Nigeria. The main symbolistic choice in the poem are the names which represent the three main ethnic tribes in Nigeria. Akanni (a Yoruba name) Danladi (a Hausa name) Chinwe (an Igbo name). This portrays how all the different tribes went through the same confusion and cruelty emphasising the fact that we’re equal. Another use of Symbolism which connects the three people is a lengthy absence. All three people face some lengthy absence. In stanza 1, lines 3 and 4. “And stuffed him down the belly of a waiting jeep.” represents how Akanni is taken away more subtly while in stanza 2, line 11 “Then off to a lengthy absence.” Danladi’s fate is shown quite directly. This contradicts the way Chinwe’s absence is mentioned which is represented by their job which is taken away, giving Chinwe a lengthy absence from their position. The same emotion of confusion is tied to the narrative through all 3 of the poetic devices while also continuing the idea of “who’s business is it”, since the question of “Did someone do something?” still looms above.

The author conveys the confusion and actions of the people and the reader through the poem using Repetition, personification and Symbolism. He uses these devices to convey how the chaos and confusion spread among the people in the story but also the readers reading it, which contributed to the idea of “Is it my business or not?”, Which takes us into the poet’s life and how terrible it is. But then what business of mine is it?

In this essay, I used the Peal structure, which stands for Point, Evidence, Analysis and link; I also used the basic structure of a 5 paragraph essay, which includes an introduction, 3 point paragraphs and conclusion. I also added a hook and a mic drop or a so what statement.

I hope you learnt something from this essay, and please don’t copy it, you can use it as a guide but don’t copy it.


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