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Discuss The Poet's Diction In The Fence By Lenrie Peters

The poet raises the serious issues of his dilemma and confusion

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.

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