Discuss The Poet's Diction In The Fence By Lenrie Peters
especially on the threshold of decision-making. Accordingly, he
deploys appropriate diction to make his point. To this end he uses
epithets that connote the uncertainty of things and network of
opposites that underscore his indecision.
For instance, he finds himself helpless where "the past and the
future" are both "dim" and "the hopes and inspirations" they raise are
equally "nebulous". He is also confounded at the point where time
ceaselessly moves "forwards and backwards". There he lies unable to
choose between casting away the old and embracing the new.
With a skillful use of an effective network of contrasting words, he
shows how he finds himself unable to take sides as he watches "truth
and untruth" locked in an "endless and bloody combat".
By means of the same language technique he portrays his dilemma,
confusion and indecision at the crossroads of the "need for good" and
the need for "doing good". There again he lies unable to take any
It is also with the use of the right diction that the poet reveals how
his dilemma, confusion and indecision seemingly peak, hallucinating as
he feels the buoyant waves tending to "stagger" even though he had
"not been drinking" and lying "in open-souled amazement", helplessly
watching the forces of evil descending and causing their havoc.
Throughout the poem, the choice of diction which begins with the
title_ "The Fence"_ is consistent with the poet's passive disposition
as he continues to sit on the fence in matters of utmost importance.
ARTICLE SOURCE: Literature-In-English Textbook for JAMB and WASSCE.