Symbolism in the Poetry of S.M. Burns-Ncamashe

By Mtumane, Z. | Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies, August 2005 | Go to article overview

Symbolism in the Poetry of S.M. Burns-Ncamashe


Mtumane, Z., Literator: Journal of Literary Criticism, comparative linguistics and literary studies


Abstract

Symbolism in the poetry of S.M. Burns-Ncamashe

In the introductory part of this article it is attempted to define the concept "symbolism". This article examines the use of symbols and the symbolism embedded in the poetry of S.M. Burns-Ncamase. The symbols to be investigated include those alluding to authority, grief, witchcraft, good motherhood and strength. The aim of the discussion is to reveal the nature of the specific symbols the poet uses and the domains of reality that he explores and represents by means of certain symbols.

The poetry of Burns-Ncamashe to be considered in the ensuing discussion includes poems in the following volumes: Masiballselane (1961), Izibongo zakwaSesile (1979) and those found in Tonjeni (1959). Poems on tapes (see T(XH/93)28, T(XH/90)317, T(XH/90)322 and T(XH/96)5) will also be considered for this discussion, as well as the unpublished poem "Aa! Dalubuhle". In the concluding section a brief summary of the discussion and some findings are highlighted.

Opsomming

Simboliek in die poesie van S.M. Burns-Ncamashe

In die inleidende gedeelte van hierdie artikel word gepoog om die konsep "simboliek" te defineer. Hierdie artikel ondersoek die gebruik van simbole en die simboliek wat opgesluit le in gedigte van S.M. Burns-Ncamashe. Die simbole wat ondersoek word, sluit onder andere die in wat verwys na gesag, smart, toorkuns, goeie moederskap en krag. Die bespreking is daarop gemik om die aard van die simbole wat die digter gebruik asook die domeine van die werklikheid wat hy met sy simbole ondersoek aan die lig te bring.

Die gedigte van Burns-Ncamashe wat vir die daarop volgende bespreking oorweeg is, sluit gedigte in die volgende bundels in: Masibaliselane (1961), Izibongo zakwaSesile (1979), asook gedigte wat opgeneem is in Tonjeni (1959). Gedigte wat op band opgeneem is (T(XH/93)28, T(XH/90)317, T(XH/90)322 en T(XH/96)5) sowel as the ongepubliseerde gedig "Aa! Dalubuhle" word ook betrek. Die artikel word afgesluit met 'n samevatting van die bespreking en enkele bevindings.

1. Introduction

Very little attention has been given to Burns-Ncamashe's use of symbolism in his poetry although his poetry is rich in this aspect. The only scholar who has probably studied this aspect of the poet's work till date is Mtumane (2000). The aim of this article then is to reveal the usage of symbolism in the poetry of S.M. Burns-Ncamashe. The specific domains of reality (different "worlds") from which the poet takes his symbols will also be investigated. These "worlds" may represent the animal, plant, human and cosmic world as well as the domain of biblical references. The discovery of these worlds will in turn point to the nature of symbols employed by the poet, as they may be symbols related to plants, humans, animals and others. This article will attempt to indicate what is accomplished by the use of symbolism in the poems under discussion. Generally, as an element of imagery, the use of symbolism tends to decorate poetry. It also serves as an instrument by which the reader's intellectual abilities are challenged, as it stimulates his mental capacity to understand what the poet is actually communicating in a poem In addition the meaning of a poem is clarified when the reader has discovered what the symbols refer to. In this article the symbols' contribution towards communication in Burns-Ncamashe's poetry will be highlighted. It will also be indicated whether Burns-Ncamashe's use of symbols does accomplish the said issues.

As the discussion in this article focuses on the use of symbolism by which meaning is produced, the discussion takes place within the framework of semiotics, which emphasises the use of images, signs and symbols by which meaning is created and produced. In the discussion it will be attempted to indicate what the symbols used in Burns-Ncamashe's poetry signify (Abrams, 1993:237-239; Baldick, 1990:232-233). …

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