The Awakening Age by Ben Okri

The Awakening age, poem by Ban Okri, portraits the hardship of African people. This highlights the summary, exercise & idea of the awakening age.
The Awakening Age Summary & Exercise [Question Answer]

The Awakening Age Poem Summary & Exercise [Question Answer]


The Awakening Age written by Ben Okri portrays the hardships of the African people. In addition, the speaker makes a call for unity, peace and solidarity among human beings from different parts of the world who have been fragmented due to the devastating civil war. The poem is a hopeful vision of understanding and cooperation among the people around the world.
It is a poem of harmony. In this poem, the poet wishes for the well-being of African people after the outbreak of the civil war. The writer also advocates about the time to enter a new awakening world. The African inhabitants may have the vision of a new world. Nigerian people have faced miserable conditions with a long path of hunger, poverty, unemployment and other aspects. He also hopes that they may experience the bright and glorious awakening age.
The awakening age refers to the time when African people have a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of their condition, and the beginning of their new world. 

Main Summary of Awakening age

The Awakening Age portrays the hardships of the African people. In addition, the poem makes a call for unity, peace and solidarity among human beings from different parts of the world. 


The awakening age represents the age with the new picture, style and education of African people. The poet has made a call for all the people of Nigeria to move forward for its progress. He also says that his people have been driven by an unseen force to fragmentation and poverty. 
The writer in this poem makes a hope that hooks them together like a garland of flowers. Denied and desperate African people move further to new heights themselves. They are eager to change their perception with truthfulness in a new world to get better reform.
The speaker in the poem also seems hopeful that they will have a chance to get good jobs, freedom, knowledge, creativity etc. They are also hopeful to discover their talents and use their efficiency not only to suit themselves but also others. In this way, their life will be happy and prosperous beyond their poverty. 

About the Author 

The author is a winner of the Man Booker prize for his novel The Famished Road, a Nigerian poet, fiction writer, and essayist. Ben Okri born in 1949 spent his early childhood in London. Informed by folk tales and dream logic, Okri’s writing also treats his family’s experience of the Nigerian civil war. In an interview for The National, Okri stated, “I grew up in a tradition where there are simply more dimensions to reality: legends and myths and ancestors and spirits and death.  

Word Meanings

Meridian line (n.): any imaginary circle round the earth that passes through both the North and South Poles 

Rage (n.): violent anger 

Harvest (n.): the act of cutting and gathering grain and another food crop 

Short Analysis of the Awakening Age

The poem has seven stanzas and each stanza contains two lines that rhyme with each other. The poet is hopeful that although the world is in grip of prejudice, discrimination, poverty, inequality and innumerable sufferings this grip will soon loosen as the people of the world will get awakened and usher in a new era of peace, harmony and brotherhood. He hopes to see a peaceful world where equality and love reign.

The Awakening Age - Main Idea

The awakening age is a hopeful vision of understanding and cooperation among the people around the world. It is a poem of harmony & the poet Ben Okri wishes for the well-being of African people after the outbreak of the civil war. He also advocates about the time to enter the awakening world. He hopes that all the Nigerian people may experience the bright and glorious awakened age and get rid of miserable conditions with a long path of hunger, poverty, unemployment and other aspects. The awakening age refers to the time when African people have a recognition, realization, or coming into awareness of their condition, and the beginning of their new world.
The awakening age means the age with a new vision, style and education of African people in this poem. Ban is hopeful that they will have the chance to get good jobs, freedom, knowledge, creativity so he makes a call for unity among people to discover talents, efficiency and the possibility for mutual prosperity. This is how the life of the people will be happy and prosperous despite their poverty.

Exercises of the Awakening Age

Answer the following questions. 

a. Who are the people who travel the meridian line? 

Answer: The people who travel the meridian line are African (Nigerian) inhabitants. 

b. What does the poet mean by a new world? 

Answer: By a new world the poet means the place where there is peace, unity, harmony and prosperity with good knowledge, wisdom and prosperity. 

c. How are people connected to each other? 

Answer: People are connected to each other with hope where there is harmony, wisdom and prosperity. 

d. What can gain after our perceptions are changed? 

Answer: We can gain various things like unity, prosperity, wisdom, creativity etc. after our perceptions are changed. We can also gain truthfulness away from pains and sufferings.

e. How are we benefited by new people?

Answer: We are benefitted from their supportive works with wisdom and creativity. It helps to reach the height of success and prosperity. 

f. Describe the rhyme scheme of this sonnet. 

Answer: The poem has seven couplets having two lines. The rhyme pattern of the poem is very simple and sonorous. It follows the rhyme scheme AA BB CC DD EE FF GG. 

Reference to the Context 

a. What does the poet mean by 'the awakening age? 

Answer: The awakening age refers to the time when African people have a recognition, realization and awareness of their condition. This is the age of enlightenment where there is peace, wisdom, prosperity, freedom, unity etc. among the people and birth of their new world. 

b. Why, in your view, have these people lived with poverty's rage? 

Answer: During the colonial period, the Africans was exploited by the European people in the name of utilizing natural resources. On the other hand, African countries were involved in a long civil war. There was an imbalance in national wealth as a few powerful people have taken control of power. The ordinary people did was more than their poverty. These are the reasons why African people have lived with poverty's rage. 

c. Why does the poet appeal for solidarity among the people? 

Answer: The poet appeals for solidarity among the people because they are divided and fragmented due to civil war. It is possible and true that they can get success when they are united. 

d. Does the poet present migration in a positive light? Why? Why not? 

Answer: The poet presents migration in a positive light. Migration boosts the working-age population. Migrants arrive with skills and contribute to do something better and skilful way so that development is possible. They also support progress with new technologies 

e. Nepal is also known for its economic as well as educational migrants. Have you noticed any change in the perceptions and behaviours of these migrants when they return home from abroad? 

Answer: Many Nepalese youths go abroad for further studies and employment. They go for economic as well as educational progress. We have noticed changes in their perceptions and behaviours when they return home. After returning back home, they bring new hope and skill as potential benefits. The people. working abroad can increase their income, acquire new skills, and collect savings and assets. When they return, they bring both the financial and human capital accumulated abroad to their homeland. Benefits appear when returned migrants are successful in using skills, knowledge and savings for the sake of family, society and country. 

f. Relate the rhyme scheme of this sonnet to the kind of life idealized by the poet. 

Answer: The poem has the rhyme scheme AA BB CC DD EE FF GG. This pair rhyme scheme indicates harmony among the people. It also gives complete thought through this rhyme scheme. The poet visualizes the feeling of unity and togetherness among the African people. According to the poem the people are chased because of an unseen force. They can be connected together with hope. 

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