The Weaver Bird Summary Notes

The Weaver Bird Author

Kofi Awoonor (1935-2013) was a Ghanaian poet and author whose work combined the poetic traditions of his native Ewe people and contemporary and religious symbolism to depict Africa during decolonization. He started writing under the name George Awoonor Williams and was also published as Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor. He taught African literature at the University of Ghana. Professor Awoonor was among those who were killed in the September 2013 attack at Westgate shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, where he was a participant at the Storymoja Hay Festival.

The Weaver Bird Summary

The poem ‘The Weaver Bird’ is by the Ghanaian poet George Awoonor Williams also known as Kofi Nyidevu Awoonor ‘The Weaver Bird’ is his most famous poem which was included in his first collection ‘Rediscovery and other poems (1964)’ It describes the western imperialism in Africa through the symbolism of the wearer bird- a colonizer that defiles and destroys its host tree. The poem also shows how the colonized- the native Africans, indulged in this behavior.
“The weaver bird built in our house.
And laid its eggs on our only tree.
We did not want to send it away,
We watched the building of the nest
And supervised the egg-laying
And the weaver returned in the guise of the owner.
Preaching Salvation to us that owned the house.
They say it came from the west
Where the storms at sea had felled the gulls
And the fishers dried their nets by lantern light.
Its sermon is the divination of ourselves And our new horizon limits at its nest.
But we cannot join the prayers and Answers of the communicants.
We look for new homes every day,
For new altars, we strive to rebuild
The old shrines defiled by the weaver’s excrement.”
Here the poet writes that the European colonialists represented by the ‘Weaver Bird’ came to his house-Africa to explore it. Stealthily the Weaver Bird (colonizers) occupied the house (Land of Africa) and ‘laid its eggs (colonies) on our only tree (culture). The tree represents the strong tradition and culture of Africa. The ‘eggs’ refer to the extension of the white colonies, the Whiteman’s administration, his law and order, power, and religion. The ‘nest’ refers to the first Whiteman colony.

The poet and his people watched the building of the nest (colony) and also supervised the egg-laying. It is ironic that none of the native Africans had tried to shoo away the ‘Weaver Bird’ (the white man) away. Instead, they welcomed and supervised over the egg-laying. The poet may imply that the African natives were unassuming and unsuspecting to have not foreseen the repercussion of the white man and his building colonies and spreading his administration and religion and crushing of their native tradition and culture.

This ‘Wearer bird’- the colonialist “returned in the guise of the owner preaching salvation to us that owned the house” The ‘Weaver bird’ who had sought refuge in the ‘tree’ (African land) returned in the guise of the owner. They brought in their religion (Christianity) and started to preach to the native Africans about salvation. They preached Christianity and denounced the native religion. The white man didn’t stop himself there but went on calling the native rituals empty and meaningless.

They made the native Africans believe that salvation and redemption alone can save him from his sin. Though the poet and his people had indulged the colonialists at first, they realized, ‘Its sermon is the divination of ourselves’ i.e. the poet and his comrades ‘divined’- rediscovered their own native religion and culture. The African natives found the Christian religion strange and alien to their own religion and culture. They realized that the white man was hoping to indoctrinate the native Africans with a religion alien to those of their fathers. ‘And our hew horizon limits at its nest, the natives who were dominated in every sphere of their lives had nowhere to turn and their horizon ended at the white man’s “culture”.

They are unable to join the prayers and understand the answers of the communicants. Instead, they vehemently and stubbornly tried to hold on to their own religion and culture. So they looked for new homes every day and to rebuild ‘new alters’ as the ‘old shrines’ are defiled by the weaver bird’s (white man) excrement. The weaver’s excrement, therefore, desecrated the sanctity of the traditional religion. The poet and his comrades found the Whiteman’s’ culture despicable and compare it to ‘excrement’- waste.

As a poetic symbol, the ‘Weaver bird’ connotes plunder and dirtiness and every other thing that is evil. In the extreme, the poet thus expresses his profound disdain and dislike of the western colonists and the western culture and religion which the white Europeans bequeathed to the indigenous population.

Awoonor’s ‘The Weaver Bird’ demonstrates the poet’s scathing indictment of western civilization.

The Weaver Bird Glossary

Guise            : an external form appearance or manner of presentation
Preaching     : delivery of a sermon or religious address to an assembled group of people.
Salvation      : preservation or deliverance from harm ruin or loss.
Lantern        : a lamp with a transparent case.
Sermon       : a talk on a religion.
Horizon       : the line at which the earth’s surface and the sk appear to meet.
Divination   : the practice of seeking knowledge of the future
Shrines        : holy place
Defiled        : spoiled, degraded
Excrement   : waste matter discharged from the bowels.

The Weaver Bird Questions & Answers

Question 1.
Where does the weaver bird build the nest?
Answer:
The weaver bird built its nest in the poet – speakers house. (Africa).

Question 2.
The bird came from ____________.
Answer:
The bird came from West.

Question 3.
What did the bird lay in the nest?
Answer:
The bird laid eggs – i.e., a new wave of thought in the minds of the native Africans.

Question 4.
What did the bird preach to the poet?
Answer:
The weaver bird preached salvation to the poet, a native of Ghana, Africa.

Question 5.
How did the fishermen dry the net?
Answer:
The fisherman dried his net with lantern light.

Question 6.
Comment on the symbolism used in the poem.
Answer:
In the poem ‘The Weaver Bird’, the poet interestingly employs the symbol of the weaver bird to clearly depict the subtle entry of the ‘white men’ onto the African land and how stealthily, they had made the African land his own. He compares the colonization of Africa by the west to how the weaver bird builds its nest. The Weaverbird subtly stoops down and builds its nest in the most intricate manner, almost impregnable. In the same manner, the Whiteman too sailed across the seas to the land of Africa to explore it. They slowly enticed the African’s to their religion and subtly colonized entire Africa. By nature, the weaver bird is a colonizer and destroys its host tree.

Question 7.
What are the reasons for the bird’s migration?
Answer:
The ‘White Colonists’ as represented by the weaver bird, migrated to Africa to explore it and study its, religions and culture. They did not send them away, but they welcomed and supervised the ‘egg’ laying. None of them had foreseen the repercussions of the entry of the white man and his building of colonies and spreading his administration and religion and crushing of their indigenous tradition of culture.

Question 8.
What are the poetic devices used in the poem?
Answer:
Imagery and Symbolism, Personification.

Kofi Awoonor employs scatological imagery like the ‘excrement to denounce and repudiate Western Colonialism and culture.

The religious images in the poem “Preaching Salvation”, “Prayers”, “Divination ” and “Communicants” are employed by Christian priests and their followers. He employs the images of the ‘tree’ and the “old shrines” to characterize the indigenous African religious culture, he uses of images of the ‘weaver bird’, ‘Preaching salvation’ the “Prayers”, the “divination” the “Sermon”, the ‘alters’ and the “Communicants” as symbols for the colonialists and Christianity which they brought along with them. As a symbol, the ‘weaver bird’, connotes plunder and dirtiness and every other thing that is extremely evil.

Question 9.
The poet did not want to send the bird away. Why?
Answer:
The poet did not want to send the bird away because the weaver bird built its nest in the poet’s house (country or mind) and laid its eggs on their only tree. The colonialists as represented by the weaverbird had impressed and charmed the native African people and were able to change their views about their own religion and culture. The Africans began to be swayed by the new ideas and ideals of the colonialists Moreover in African tradition and culture it wasn’t virtuous to send away a guest. Interestingly they even supervised the laying of the eggs, (not one but many eggs) i.e. they let the Europeans colonize many areas in Africa.

Question 10.
The weaver bird is an allegory. Discuss.
Answer:
An allegory is a story, poem, or picture which contains a hidden symbolic meaning ‘The Weaver Bird’ by Kofi Awoonor is an allegorical poem. It is perhaps the most satirical and scurrilous among the African poets and employs the theme of religion to denounce and repudiate Western colonialism and culture.

The European Colonialists came to Africa as explorers and visitors. They gradually began to display their true nature, a parasitical nature, denouncing and disparaging the native African religion and culture. They established schools and preached Christianity. Later, they started to exploit the natural resources of the continent.

The poet interestingly employs the symbol of the Weaver bird to clearly depict the subtle entry of the ‘White Men’ onto the African land and how stealthily, they had made the African Land their own. He compares the colonization of Africa by the Europeans to how the Weaver Bird builds its nest. The Weaverbird subtly stoops down and builds its nest in the most intricate manner, almost impregnable. In the same manner, the Whiteman too sailed across the seas to the continent of Africa to explore it. They enticed the Africans to then- religion and subtly colonized entire Africa. By nature, the weaver bird is a colonizer and destroys the host tree on which it builds its nest.

The ‘nest’ represents the European Colony. The ‘house’ represents the Land of Africa. The ‘eggs’ represent the Colonies. The ‘tree’ represents the strong tradition and culture of Africa.

The religious symbols employed by Awoonor such as ‘New alters’ and ‘old shrines’ depict how his old and ancient culture had been tainted by the Weaver birds ‘excrement’. This reflects the poet’s repugnance towards the Whiteman as the destruction caused by him is irreparable. The once mighty and lush green tree ‘African Culture’ now is shorn of its green leaves – native consciousness.

Question 11.
Briefly describe the title ‘The Weaver Bird’.
Answer:
The Poet Kofi Awoonor has deliberately chosen the title ‘The Weaver bird’ for the poem. The poem describes the western imperialism in Africa through the symbolism of the ‘Weaver Bird’ a colonizer that defiles and destroys its host tree.

The poet narrates how the European Colonialists represented by the ‘Weaver Bird’ came to his house in Africa, to explore it. Stealthily they occupied the house – the Land of Africa – and ‘Laid its eggs’ – colonized it – on the only tree they had. The tree represents the strong tradition and culture of Africa. The ‘eggs’ refer to the extension of the white Colonies, the White man’s administration, his law and order, power, and religion. The ‘nest’ refers to the first white man’s colony.

As a poetic symbol, ‘The Weaver Bird’ connotes plunder and dirtiness and every other thing that is evil in the extreme. The ‘Weaver bird’ had defiled the ‘alters’ and ‘old times of the native African people with its ‘excrement’. The poet considers the white man’s religion and culture to be as repugnant as ‘excrement’

This ‘The Weaver Bird’ – European Colonialist had shown the natural trait of a natural Weaver Bird i.e., to Colonize, lay eggs, and defiling and destroying the host tree, here the land of Africa.

Question 12.
The Bird’s migration is a symbol of colonization/ survival. Elaborate.
Answer:
In the poem ‘The Weaver Bird’, Kofi Awoonor shows how the European Whiteman migrated to Africa and eventually colonized it through the symbolism of the Weaver Bird, a colonizer that defiles and destroys its host tree. The poem shows how the colonized, the Africans were displaced and traumatized.

The European Colonialists came to Africa as explorers and visitors. However, they began to show their true intentions when they brought their religion into Africa and looked down upon the native religion and culture. They started preaching salvation to the natives and made them believe that salvation and redemption alone can save him from his sin. The natives who were dominated in every sphere of their lives had nowhere to turn and their horizon ended at the white mans culture. The Colonialists preach their own religion and denounced the native African religion and culture as meaningless.

Thus old temples, altars and shrines of the natives have been defiled plundered and destroyed by the Whiteman. So invariably the native Africans look for new homes, for ‘new alters’ and strive to rebuild the old shrines (religion and cultures of Africa). Africans were forced to migrate to the new western religion forced upon them to survive. Colonialism also resulted in cultural displacement. Africans were forced to adopt western traditions and it affected their belief system. They became strangers in their own land. The European Colonialists displaced millions of African natives in the name of ‘Slave trade’ which is sort of ‘Forced Migration’.

Hence Colonialism represented by the ‘Weaver Bird’ and its Migration is a symbol of colonization/survival.

Language Component

NEWS REPORTS

Exercise

Question 1.
Write the news reports in about 250 words using the following hints on the following events/accidents.

a. Environment day celebration in your college – presided by the principal – Welcome Speech by the student leader – delivered a speech on (the importance of environment) the symbiotic bond between man and nature – concluded with distribution of saplings and vote of thanks.
NEWS REPORT ON ENVIRONMENT DAY
CELEBRATION IN COLLEGE
Cambridge Institute of Learning, a premier Post – Graduation Studies Institue in Bengaluru North, celebrated World Environment Day on 5 June at their college campus in the sylvan environment of rural Devanahalli. The celebration was presided by the Principal Mr.A.R. Swamy. The welcome speech was given by the College Environment Club – Student Secretary, Mr. Praveen. In his speech, Mr. A.R. Swamy urged every student and faculty member to join hands in fighting the global menace of Environmental degradation and why it has become important to conserve the environment. He called for the exploration of other sustainable alternatives that could play a pivotal role in reducing the dependence and exploitation of natural resources. Mr. Swamy stated that the problem is an issue of a very great magnitude that needs to be taken care of by each and every individual as a priority in their life.

“Each one must take the responsibility of protecting and conserving their immediate Environment and actively participate in the protection of the Environment and the earth” he declared.

He called everyone to take an oath to safeguard the environment. The program concluded with the distribution of saplings and the vote of thanks.

b. Killed 10 people – injured more than 20 – in a collision between a KSRTC bus and a lorry – hospitalized – cause of the accident by a witness – alarming the road accidents – investigation is on.
NEWS REPORT ON BUS – LORRY ACCIDENT
Tragedy struck 43 passengers of an ill-fated Karnataka state road transport bus at Chitradurga going towards Hospet on Thursday, when the vehicle collided with a lorry head-on, leaving at least 10 people dead and 20 seriously injured and was reduced to a heap of metal in the impact.

All ten people were killed on the spot and 6 of the victims were women, Police said, the crash happened at Holelkere town in Chitradurga about 180 km from Bengaluru.

The mangled remains of the KSRTC bus gave a picture of the severe hit it took after the container lorry entered the wrong lane and rammed it. According to a few eye-witnesses, the lorry was driven in a rash and negligent manner and such accidents were preventable if drivers were more cautious.

The injured have been admitted to hospitals in Chitradurga, while some have been referred to Bengaluru and Tumkur. The survivors were in a state of shock.

‘There is an alarming rise in road accidents especially on highways’, Police said. They added that they are introducing more highway patrol to curb over-speeding and thereby accidents.

c. The celebration of Youth Day in your college. Inter – College debate competition organized – the role of youths in nation building – inaugurated by the Secretary – welcome by the principal – distribution of prizes by the president – vote of thanks by the student leader.
NEWS REPORT ON CELEBRATION OF YOUTH
DAY IN COLLEGE
On the Occasion of Swami Vivekananda’s 157th birth anniversary, students of Cambridge Institute of Arts, Science, and Commerce, celebrated “National Youth Day”.

The ‘Youth Festival’ was helmed by the Student Cultural Secretary Mr. Manjunath and presided over by Mr. A.R. Swamy, Secretary of the College.

The Cultural Club of the College had organised Inter – College debate competition on ‘Role of Youths in National Building’. There was active and enthusiastic participation of neighboring college students in the debate. It is not a surprise that the organizing college won the debate competition.
The prizes were distributed by the Principal and vote of thanks was rendered by student a club secretary.

d. The death of children in Muzaffarpur in Bihar – died of an acute encephalitis syndrome (AFS) disease – data shows the alarming state of PHCs in Bihar – the negligence of the administration – lack of skilled doctors – failure of health ministry.
NEWS PAPER REPORT ON DEATH OF CHILDREN
IN MUZAFFARPUR IN BIHAR
At least 103 Children have died in the last one month in Muzaffarpur district of north Bihar, allegedly due to Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES), which is locally known as Chamki Bukhar (Brain Fever).

At least 500 Patients, many of whom are below the age of 10, have been admitted for treatment at two hospitals in the district since the beginning of June.

The disease usually occurs during the monsoon season and symptoms include high fever, vomiting, and convulsions, and sometimes patients go into a coma.

In 2016, the Bihar government released an advisory to curb the illness in the state. It involved health workers going door-to-door in villages and educating the villagers about keeping their children indoors during peak heat summer hours and the watch for children having very high fevers. But none of the guidelines have been followed.

One resident of a village told the correspondent “The health worker in our village came to my house. The morning after my son deed. No – one came earlier.”

The lack of functioning Public Health Centers is a recurring complaint in village after village.

The recurrent out breaks is an indictment of the public health system in Bihar, one of India’s poorest states. The Government and the health ministry has failed miserably to ensure the occurrence of the disease nor raise public awareness about this disease. The ongoing tragedy is a result of this administrative negligence.

PROJECT STATUS REPORTS

Exercise

Question 1.
You are the chief engineer of the BMRCL. You have been entrusted with the completion of metro work from Yelachenahalli to Nice road. Write a status report in the prescribed format with details

  • Work completed so far
  • Work to be completed
  • Reasons for the slowdown of the work, if it has slowed down.

STATUS REPORT BY CHIEF ENGINEER OF THE BMRCL.
To,
The Chief Executive Engineer,
BMRCL
Bangalore
Title                              : Status Report on the Completion of Metro Work From Yelachenahalli To Nice Road.

Terms of Refrence      :
The South-end of the Greenline Metro Rail is being extended by 6.29 kmYelachenahalli to Nice Road under Namma Metro Phase-2. The Project has to be completed by 30th March 2020.

Work to be Completed :
Besides works in progress, Laying the tiles to the floors plumbing, bathroom fittings, fixing window frames and doors, drainge and electrical works, Parking, elevators, ticketing booths, security check and X Ray Checking Machines are in the process of installation and will completed at the earliest.

Anticipated Problems :
During construction, many unprecedented problems have aroused and deterred the work.

  1. Due to delay in land aquirement.
  2. Due to delay in shifting of utilities
  3. Increase in cost of construction.
  4. Delays in inspection and certification.

Despite the anticipated problems, the construction work will be completed at the stipulated period as mentioned in the MOU.

Question 2.
You are The Deputy Director of the Health Department, Bihar. You are asked to submit the report on the condition of children who are suffering from encephalitis. Write a survey report on the prevailing situation in a prescribed format to the Central Ministry of the Health Department with details of

  • Causes for the alarming disease
  • Measures taken by the state department
  • Recommendations, if any

REPORT ON THE CONDITION OF CHILDREN SUFFERING FROM ENCEPHALITIS IN BIHAR
To,
The Deputy Director of Health Department.
Bihar
Reference : Letter No: 960083, dted 20 Dec 2019.
Title          : Survey Report on the condition of Children Suffering From Encephalitis in Bihar.
METHODOLOGY :
The survey was entrusted to a high-level team of government doctors and allied staff. A state of art multi-disciplinary research centre was set up in Muzaffarpur, the epicenter of encephalitis. To establish the cause of the disease the research team worked with the children suffering from AES/JE looking at various aspects including periodicity, cycle of disease, environmental factors and Metrological data, besides other factors.

The inter-disciplinary team consisted of experts from ICMR, Delhi, Nimhans, Bengaluru, National Institute of epidemiology (NIE) Chennai and AIIMs, Delhi.
HISTORY:
The disease usually occurs during the monsoon season. Symptoms include highfever, vomiting and convulsions and sometimes patients go into a coma, children between ages of six months and 15 years are the worst affected. Survivors have to live with neurological peak heat summers hours, making sure that they do not go to sleep on empty stomach and advising them to not eat unripe Lychess.

Deputy Director of Health
Department of Health
Bihar.

Question 3.
You are The PWD engineer asked to supervise the construction of drainage and footpath in the town. Submit a status report in a prescribed format to

  • The Chief Executive Engineer, Public Works Department, Bangalore-1
  • Work completed to date
  • Work to be completed
  • Encountered problems

STATUS REPORT BY PWD ENGINEER ON THE CONSTRUCTION OF DRAINAGE AND FOOTPATH THE TOWN
Name of Work            : Construction of RCC drain and foothpath of Dr. Rajkumar Road.
Agency                        : M/s Cambridge Construction Co. Pvt. Ltd
ASGNNo.                     : 26/EB/PWD/M-442/2019-20
Date of Completion   : 30 March 2020
Present Progress        : 67%
This subjected work was inspected along with EE/AE/JE and contractor and the following decisions were taken :

  1. In central verge existing grill is to be fixed starting from BRT corridor and onwards.
  2. The alignment of the grill in one patch should be done
  3. Top of the central verge should be furnished with cement concrete M-25 laid over 75 mm thick M – 10.
  4. The width of the footpath on Prakashnagar side should not be extended beyond the well of the drain.
  5. It was observed that the newly constructed drain is lull of building debris which needs to be cleaned immediate and make it functional befor the onset of monsoon.
  6. The progress of work is not satisfactory and the same may be expedited.

Sd/-
XXX .

Question 4.
You are The BEO entrusted to look after the distribution of free books and uniforms to primary and secondary school children in the town. Submit a status report in a prescribed format to

  • The Additional Secretary, The Department of Primary and ~ Secondary Education, Government of Karnataka
  • Work completed
  • Work to be completed
  • Work in progress

STATUS REPORTBYTHE BEO ON THE DISTRIBUTION OF FREE BOOKS AND UNIFORMS TO PRIMARY AND SECONDARY SCHOOL CHILDREN IN THE TOWN
To,
The Additional Secretary,
Department of Primary and Secondary Education,
Government of Karnataka.
Reference: Letter 2578 dated 17-05-2019
Assignment: Distribution of free books and uniforms to Primary and Secondary school children.
Date of Completion: 30 June 2019.
Present Progress: 69%
A team of School inspectors was assigned to inspect the distribution of books and uniforms.
Work Completed :

  1. Two sets of school uniforms have bee provided to 49,42,041 students during 2018-19 out of 54,82,063 students.
  2. 49,42,041 students of primary and secondary education are provided with free textbooks during 2018-19 out of 54,82,063 students.

Work in Progress :
School uniform material procured from KHDC and stitching in progress. Textbooks have been in the process of printing at the KTBS printing press.
BEO
Bangalore
Karnataka.

Question 5.
You are The Chief Civil Engineer assigned the work of supervision of the construction of the check dams in the Cauvery belt. Submit a status report in a prescribed format to

  • The Deputy Secretary, Dept, of Small Irrigation, Bangalore-1
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Work in progress
  • Anticipated problems

STATUS REPORT OF THE CONSTRUCTION OF THE CHECK DAMS IN THE CAUVERY BELT
To,
Deputy Secretary
Dept of Small Irrigation
Bangalore – 1
Reference : Letter No. 60193, dta 27-06-2019
Terms and Condition :
The Construction of Check Dams has been taken up in the Cauvery belt since groundwater is fast depleting owing to scanty rainfall. The department has planned to construct 164 check dams along the river Cauvery in Coorg district, Hassan district, Mysore district and Ramanagara district at a cost of Rs. 100 Crore.

The construction of check dams has been entrusted to Cambridge Civil Constructions Pvt Ltd, Bangalore. Officials of the department have already prepared a plan for the construction of these check dams in the said districts by spending Rs. 20 crore for each.

Work on the same will start as soon as the model code of conduct for state elections of the Legislative Council from local bodies constituency is over. The Construction of check dams is proposed to be started in Ramanagara district. A total No of sixty check dams would be constructed in the district in a 3 year period. The firm has forecast the completion date of check dams by year 2025.
Anticipated Problems:
Work on Construction of check dams may be delayed in case of extended monsoon season.
The Chief Civil Engineer
Dept of small Irrigation
Bangalore – 1

English Summary

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