The Leader and the Led Analyzed: Subject Matter, Themes and Poetic Devices

This post will give you a detailed analysis of The Leader and the Led in a way that you’ve never seen before.

Additionally, I promise you a summary of the subject matter of Niyi Osundare’s poem, “The Leader and the Led”.

It is all about the meaning of The Leader and the Led.

“The Leader and the Led” is just one of the many poems written by the renowned Nigerian poet, Niyi Osundare.

Without further ado, let’s have the gist of the subject matter of The Leader and the Led.

“The Leader and the Led” – A Narrative Poem

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The Leader and the Led is a short narrative poem that tells what transpired in an imaginary animal community.

Since all the characters in this narrative are animals, it is appropriate to call the poem a fable.

It is clear that this animal community portrayed in The Leader and the Led has been without a leader. And now, the animals have come together to appoint one.

Each one of those animals who consider themselves as being leadership material will have to announce their interest in the top leadership position. They are the ones who believe they stand eligible to be chosen to lead the rest.

Finally, here comes the opportunity for them to come forward. They must make their individual cases in the form of a political manifesto.

So the subject matter of The Leader and the Led is all about this august event somewhere in animal land.

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Before we continue with the summary of the subject matter of The Leader and the Led, I want us to know the lines or the full text of the poem.

So, here we go.

Full text of “The Leader and the Led”

The Lion stakes his claim

To the leadership of the pack

But the antelopes remember

The ferocious power of his paws

The Hyena says the crown is meant for him

But the Impalas shudder at his lethal appetite

The Giraffe claims a place in the front

But the eyes are too far from the ground

When the Zebra says it’s his right to lead

The pack points to the duplicity of his stripes

The Elephant trudges into the power tussle

But its colleagues dread his trampling feet

The Warthog is too ugly

The rhino too riotous

And the pack trashes around

Like a snake without a head

“Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”

Proclaims the forest sage

“A little bit of a Lion

A little bit of a Lamb

Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe,

Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake

A leader who knows how to follow

Followers mindful of their right to lead”.

Subject Matter

The first line of the poem, the Leader and the Led points to the advanced stage in this important political leadership conference of animals.

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The preparations for the event to appoint a fitting leader for the pack would have already taken place. So also are any introductory remarks and other initial activities at the event.

Therefore, what matters to the poet in the event is what we see. It is all about the political leadership contest and the debate among the contestants.

The contestants

Here is the full list of the contestants.

Lion

Hyena

Giraffe

Zebra

Elephant

Warthog

Rhino

The animals vying for the leadership position are seven in number.

Another significant point in this narrative poem is that these are some of the most powerful animals in the forest.

They derive their power from either their “lethal appetite” for the flesh of those who would potentially become their followers or their sheer size or both.

To each one of these animals, its ferociousness and/or huge size qualifies him to become a leader.

But the weaker and smaller animals they hope to lead are not convinced.

They fear the repercussions of choosing candidates with a huge appetite for the flesh of their fellow animals to lead them.

This particularly applies to the Lion and the Hyena – the first two to make their claim to the leadership position.

Again, they are not willing to choose a leader who openly displays qualities of lack of trustworthiness. This is why they scoff at the Zebra’s attempt to lead them.

As for the Giraffe, his abnormal height and shape appear to have made him ineligible. The animals will have none of a leader whose “eyes are too far from the ground”.

The Elephant’s massive size is what disqualifies him too. The way he easily destroys anything he steps his feet on instils mortal fear in everybody around.

So the animals don’t think it will be wise for them to entrust their security into his hands.

The last two contestants, the Rhino and the Warthog are not any luckier.

What eliminates the Rhino is simply that he is too noisy and disorderly in his behaviour.

Interestingly, because of his repulsive or “ugly” looks, the Warthog does not stand a chance to become the leader of the animal world.

The Forest Sage’s intervention

Apparently, this is a state without a leader. It is at the brink of descending into a state of anarchy or lawlessness.

There is, therefore, the need for an intervention of some sort.

Thus, when all the seven contestants have finished making their case (without success), it is now the turn of the “forest sage” (the wisest among them) to make an important intervention.

He advises strongly that the only solution to their problem is to find someone whose character is a blend of many of the qualities found in the individual claimants to the throne.

In other words, he does not think that animals that can only boast of a single dominant character trait are good enough to lead the pack.

Not only that.

The sage goes further to make it clear that such a leader must not only know how to lead. He must also be humble enough to be a follower.

And, ultimately, he must never lose sight of the fact that his mandate to lead comes from his followers to whom he must forever remain accountable.

“A little bit of a Lion

A little bit of a Lamb

Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe,

Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake

A leader who knows how to follow

Followers mindful of their right to lead”.

This is your summary of the subject matter of Niyi Osundare’s poem, “The Leader and the Led”.

It’s now time to turn our attention to the complete analysis of The Leader and the Led.

Are you ready? Then keep reading. And don’t look back till you arrive at the end.

Analysis of “The Leader and the Led”

In this analysis of The Leader and the Led by the Nigerian poet, Niyi Osundare, I will take you through the below key study points.

  • The themes of the Leader and the Led
  • Poetic devices or techniques the poet relies on to develop his themes
  • The significance of the title, The Leader and the Led
  • Attitude and tone of the poet
  • Elements of narrative poetry
  • Likely examination questions (WAEC/WASSCE, NECO/SSCE, GCE, JAMB) on the poem, The Leader and the Led

The themes in “The Leader and the Led”

Though, a relatively short poem, The Leader and the Led is loaded with multiple motifs that point to a sizeable number of themes.

But, it is important to note that most of these themes come under one overarching theme – leadership.

The Theme of Leadership

Leadership is the central theme in The Leader and the Led. The poet speaks to us about the various aspects of the theme of leadership. Below are some of the key aspects of this theme.

Leadership crisis in Africa

(OR THE DEARTH OF THE RIGHT LEADERS IN AFRICA OR AFRICAN LEADERSHIP CRISIS OR FAILED LEADERSHIP IN AFRICA)

There is a direct reference to the failed leadership situation in Africa. Here is a group of animals without a leader. It is clear that everyone in this gathering is acutely aware of the urgency to find the best leadership material to steer the affairs of the community.

However, it is not easy finding the right calibre of leader that the animals desperately need. Just like the animals in The Leader and the led, African people have always been unable to get the right people to lead them.

The unacceptable attributes of the animals vying for this leadership position portray a troubling reality in the continent’s search for competent leaders. It is these same kinds of people who often emerge as leaders on the continent. On parade are the following

  • Brutal autocrats just like the Lion with the “ferocious pounce of his paws”
  • Greedy and corrupt nation-wreckers. They are no different than the hyena with “his lethal appetite”.
  • Short-sighted leaders, far removed from reality. Bereft of the right visionary qualities, they resemble the giraffe with eyes that are “too far from the ground”
  • Dishonest leaders. The zebra with its duplicitous stripes symbolize this crop of leaders.
  • Leaders who trample on the basic rights of their own people the way the elephant, with its powerful feet, tramples on everything in its path.

Theme of power struggle/The struggle for power

Another important dimension of the theme of leadership in The Leader and the Led is the unending, often violent, struggle for power on the continent.

Just like the contestants in this animal gathering, people who put themselves forward for leadership on the continent are often one-dimensional caricatures with no real leadership qualities.

It is either they want power for its own sake or that, looking at their might, wealth, position in society, military background, and so on, they have convinced themselves that they too have the right to become leaders.

The Elephant trudges into the power tussle
But its colleagues dread his trampling feet

The perennial problem of lack of effective leadership in Africa

We must, however, not lose sight of an important fact. As the narrative draws to a close, we realize that there is no real conclusion to the animals’ search for a leader.

In other words, a leader, and a good one for that matter, is yet to be chosen. Africa’s need for effective political leadership, therefore, remains unmet.

This creates an atmosphere of uncertainty over the continent’s future. Niyi Osundare is throwing a challenge to the continent. The people must act in a way that can bring an end to the leadership crisis facing the continent.

Theme of followership

(OR THE DILEMMA ORDINARY AFRICANS FACE IN CHOOSING A LEADER)

As we’ve just seen in our summary of the poem, The Leader and the Led, the poet persona’s main preoccupation is about the difficulty of choosing a leader.

The Leader and the Led vividly describes to us the dilemma facing “the led” (the pack of animals) as they try to choose a leader.

Clearly, these animals seem to have too many options placed before them. The challenge, however, is that none of the numerous options seems to be good enough.

This is exactly the challenge facing the African people. The political exercise of electing a leader is not an easy task for “the led”.

In effect, therefore, being a follower is almost as tough as being a leader whose required qualifications we have seen in the words of the Forest Sage. Neither of these is something to be taken lightly.

There is no shortage of aspiring leaders on the continent. It is just that none of them appear to know how to fix the many challenges facing their followers. The simple reason is that they’re not really leadership material, to begin with.

It is also interesting to note that the poet is gravely concerned about the unfortunate situation where, just like the animals, Africans have fallen into the habit of sidestepping the people who have the potential to offer competent leadership.

And, too often, the reason for this is simply this. Trivial considerations such as the physical attractiveness of the individual are made to take precedence over common sense and the public good.

The Warthog is too ugly
The rhino too riotous

To Niyi Osundare, therefore, the trouble is not only with the quality of leadership. It is equally about the failings of the followers. They appear confused and indecisive. Like a directionless mob (“pack”), they have no effective leadership partly due to their own failure to settle on the right person to lead them.

And the pack trashes around
Like a snake without a head

The Theme of Participatory Democracy

Here comes yet another interesting part of our analysis of The Leader and the Led.

Curiously, the poem reminds us of the practice of direct democracy in places historically remote as Classical Greece.

In this poem, all the animals that are qualified to make their voices heard in the affairs of the community have assembled and given the opportunity to speak.

It all begins with what you might call a well-organized town hall meeting. The agenda is a political leadership debate to be followed by a vote to choose the winner as a leader.

We see, on display, the presentation of each leadership claimant’s manifesto. Each one of them attempts to

“stake his claim
To the leadership of the pack”

The political conference begins, and ends, in an orderly (though, inconclusive) manner.

It is the Lion that begins it all and it ends with the “riotous” rhino.

The message here is very clear. Africa has the capacity to manage its own affairs in an orderly manner if the people choose to do so. Democratic practice is rooted in the culture and political traditions of the people long before the introduction of the western form of democracy.

Apparently, the poet is advocating the practice of participatory democracy on a continent that has, for so long, been plagued by autocratic leadership.

It is high time the people were allowed to have a say in the choice of their leaders. Africa will only have legitimate and accountable governments when the mandate to lead comes from the led.

The situation where a single individual forces himself on the people, as is the case with military takeovers should become a thing of the past.

The theme of fear, distrust and suspicion

“The led” in this poem have shown that they do not trust any one of the animals vying for the leadership position.

They “dread” and “shudder” at the prospect of giving their mandate to potentially wicked and greedy leaders like the Lion, the Elephant, and the Hyena.

The repetitive use of the conjunction “but” reinforces the theme of distrust or suspicion among the led regarding the protestations of any potential leader.

And, at the same time, “the led” are unprepared to live under the inept, dishonest, and corrupt leadership of such claimants as the zebra and the giraffe.

While the zebra is not trusted enough, the giraffe appears to have ideas that are far removed from reality.

Their suspicion of any candidate that does not look like them is overwhelming. So also is their distrust in the whole political process.

This deep-seated suspicion must explain why they have flimsy excuses to offer for not considering the candidacy of the Warthog and the Rhino. This pair does not qualify because one is “too ugly” and the other “too riotous”.

Africans have had enough of leaders who come with sweet promises only to disappoint soon afterwards. Hence the mistrust.

Another way to look at the source of this suspicion and fear is to consider it as a symptom of the ethnic differences in the various countries on the continent of Africa.

This brings us to the next theme of the poem – the theme of ethnicity.

The theme of ethnic identity or ethnicity

The diversity of the gathering reminds us of the diversity of the various ethnic groups that populate the various countries in Africa.

People find it extremely difficult to align, politically, with people of a different ethnic background other than theirs.

Beyond that, it also exposes the fears and suspicions that each ethnic group tends to harbour against the other.

Indeed, quite too often, it is this diversity, rather than being a source of strength, that brings about irreconcilable differences, conflicts, and civil strife.

A poem of criticism against external interference?

In the poem, the fact that it must take someone who stands out of the crowd (the Forest Sage) to decide for the animals who they must choose to lead them is quite disturbing.

To all intents and purposes, the poet might be criticizing the situation where, for lack of unity of purpose, political wisdom, and decisiveness, Africans have continually allowed outside forces to dictate to them what they must do with their lives and resources.

Thus, the Forest Sage may well symbolize powerful forces in the world (forest, in the case of the animals) who have arrogated to themselves the right to decide for others what is good for them.

These forces capitalize on every opportunity to interfere in the internal affairs of African nations that appear to have completely lost their own sense of direction.

The conclusive tone in the unsolicited advice from the Forest Sage again speaks volumes about the enormity of this problem in Africa. The poet persona could be gravely concerned about this situation on the continent.

In crisis after crisis, what the foreign power comes to say is taken with a sense of finality. It is regarded as God’s own words from above. It is taken with great reverence and implemented without any regard for the peculiar needs and aspirations of the people.

And the pack trashes around
Like a snake without a head
“Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”
Proclaims the forest sage
“A little bit of a Lion
A little bit of a Lamb
Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe,
Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake
A leader who knows how to follow
Followers mindful of their right to lead”.

We must, however, not lose sight of an important fact. There is no real conclusion to the animals’ search for a leader. In other words, a leader, and a good one for that matter, is yet to be chosen. Africa’s need for effective political leadership, therefore, remains unmet.

This creates an atmosphere of uncertainty over the continent’s future. Niyi Osundare is throwing a challenge to the continent to act in a way that can bring an end to the leadership crisis facing the continent.

The theme of politics

(OR QUALITIES OF POLITICAL LEADERSHIP)

The poet persona makes both direct and indirect references to what he considers to be the necessary qualities of good political leadership on the continent of Africa.

The objections “the led” raise against the various claimants to the title and the recommendations in the speech delivered by the forest sage point to these required leadership qualities.

“Our need calls for a hybrid of habits”

Proclaims the forest sage

“A little bit of a Lion

A little bit of a Lamb

Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe,

Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake

A leader who knows how to follow

Followers mindful of their right to lead”.

Here are the major recommended qualities of a leader.

  • Strength
  • Humility
  • Compassion
  • Truth and transparency
  • Fairness and Firmness
  • Listening ear
  • Legitimacy and accountability

The theme of gender inequality

(OR DISCRIMINATION AGAINST WOMEN IN POLITICS)

There is a subtle reference in the poem to the fact that women are largely sidelined when it comes to political decision-making in post-independence Africa.

This observation is based on the fact that all the animals that are personified in the poem have been given a male gender attribute. The masculine pronouns “he” “him” and “his” feature prominently in the lines.

Nowhere in the poem can we find “she” or “her”.

The forest sage is clearly portrayed as an agender. Could this be the traditional wise old woman who is always allowed the last say in the traditional political setting in many pre-colonial African societies?

And, shall we say, by excluding female characters, the poet is out to criticize gender inequality in African politics? I leave these to you to consider.

Who is the Forest Sage in the poem?

Put differently, what is the role of the Forest Sage in The Leader and the Led?

Let’s now move on with our analysis of The Leader and the Led by making an attempt to establish the identity of the Forest Sage in the poem.

We shall also describe the role that the Forest Sage plays in the poem.

Possible identities of the Forest Sage

  • The poet himself
  • A foreign power eager to interfere in other people’s affairs
  • The time-honoured revered wise old woman in African societies

Role of the Forest Sage

  • A voice of wisdom hence the title, “sage”
  • Able to stay above the fray and have a calming effect on an apparently tense and agitated political atmosphere
  • An example of the literary device of Personification – personified and given a proper noun title – Forest Sage

It appears that the “Forest Sage” is there to espouse the views of the poet himself. If so, then the poet has effectively appointed himself as the moral conscience of his people.

In his opinion, Africa continues to suffer from the dearth of quality leadership for a simple reason. The people have been unable to identify the right calibre of individuals they need in leadership positions.

He, therefore, calls for dynamic leadership rather than one-sided demagogues like the rhino, or the likes of the awe-inspiring lion and the elephant.

Poetic Devices in The Leader and the Led

We are inching closer and closer to the end of this detailed analysis of The Leader and the Led. This is the stage where we identify Niyi Osundare’s poetic devices or techniques and their significance in the poem.

Diction and Imagery

Let’s begin with the poet’s effective use of diction and imagery.

Political Imagery

Political imagery is very much visible in The Leader and the Led. By a careful selection of both nouns and adjectives, Niyi Osundare has, on the whole, succeeded in developing the theme of leadership in the poem.

NOUNS

  • Right
  • Power
  • Crown
  • Leadership
  • Front
  • Leader
  • followers
  • Head

ADJECTIVES

The numerous adjectives or descriptive words in the poem depict both negative and positive leadership qualities where appropriate.

Also, the poet’s extensive use of adjectives adds to the descriptive nature of the narrative making it quite interesting. Below are examples to consider.

  • Ferocious
  • Lethal
  • Trampling
  • Ugly
  • Riotous
  • Tough
  • Compassionate
  • Transparent
  • Mysterious

Nature Imagery

The words below effectively evoke images of the natural environment which is the setting of this narrative poem. The place is a forest inhabited by a community of all forms of wildlife, flora, and fauna.

This gathering is diverse enough to suggest to the audience both the multiplicity and the diversity of the ethnic groups in Africa.

  • Lion
  • Hyena
  • Antelopes
  • Impalas
  • Giraffe
  • Zebra
  • Elephant
  • Warthog
  • Rhino
  • Snake
  • Forest
  • Tiger
  • Lamb
  • Dove
  • River
  • Lake

COMMONLY-USED, SIMPLE VERBS

The poet’s choice of verbs makes the poem quite easy to understand. Examples are:

  • Stakes
  • Claim
  • Remember
  • Says
  • Craves
  • Dread
  • lead
  • Calls
  • Knows
  • follow

OTHER POETIC DEVICES AND FIGURES OF SPEECH WORTHY OF NOTE

These other literary devices equally evoke images that go to support the themes in the poem.

Repetition

  • Lead
  • But
  • Right
  • pack

Parallelism

  • The Warthog is too ugly

The rhino too riotous

  • “A little bit of a Lion

A little bit of a Lamb

  • Tough like a tiger, compassionate like a doe, or DOVE???

Transparent like a river, mysterious like a lake

  • A leader who knows how to follow

Followers mindful of their right to lead”.

Simile

  • Tough like a tiger,
  • compassionate like a doe,
  • Transparent like a river,
  • mysterious like a lake
  • Like a snake without a head

Alliteration

  • Pack points
  • Hybrid of habits

Personification

Most of the animal characters in the poem are personified as males. This is achieved through the use of the masculine pronouns he/him/his.

As I’ve pointed out elsewhere in this analysis of The Leader and the Led, this could as well be the poet’s way of criticizing the dominance of the male gender on the African political scene.

Satire

The Leader and the Led can be viewed as a satirical poem. It is a poem that imitates and ridicules the constant confusion in African electoral systems.

Its purpose is to expose and make a mockery of the failings in the system of governance and leadership on the continent.

Rather than being the usual literary parody, this poem is a political parody. To put it differently, the poet satirizes the failure of Africans to choose leaders that will lead them to the promised land following the attainment of political independence.

Features of Narrative Poetry

We cannot do a complete analysis of The Leader and the Led without considering the poem as a piece of narrative poetry.

Below are some of the characteristics that make this poem a true narrative poem – a fable, in fact.

PLOT

A striking narrative style of The Leader and the Led is that the plot starts right in the middle of the story. The poet cleverly omits the preparations for the meeting as well as other events that might have led to it.

But, somehow, he is able to convey to us, without using too many words, the purpose for this gathering.

From then on, one event leads to the other culminating in an inconclusive and rather disappointing end.

The leadership matter has not been resolved. A certain Forest Sage’s call for the choice of dynamic but humble leadership is left hanging in the air.

CHARACTERS

Following the tradition of narrative poetry, The Leader and the Led features many characters.

Talk of the Lion, the Antelope, the Impalas, the Hyena, Zebra, Giraffe, Elephant, Warthog, the Rhino, and, of course, the Forest Sage.

POINT OF VIEW

Another key narrative element in the poem is a narrator with a point of view.

In The Leader and the Led, there is a third-person narrator.

It is this omniscient narrator that, from a position of knowing it all, describes in detail, the events in the narrative. As it is with the third-person narrator, there is copious use of the second person singular pronouns, “he” and “him”.

SETTING

The activities during the political gathering as chronicled in The Leader and the Led take place in animal kingdom – the forest.

The atmosphere is tense because the issue at stake is both crucial and urgent. It has to be dealt with for the survival and growth of the community.

But, like most fables, there is no specific mention of the time of the events in The Leader and the Led.

CONFLICT

Though there is no single protagonist in the poem, we can safely say this. The entire animal community with a common desire to have a leader, on the one hand, and the challenges that they face in their attempt to achieve this goal, on the other, constitute the conflict between these two forces.

Clearly, it is this conflict that creates suspense in the audience.

Right from the opening lines, we are eager to know how this issue will be finally resolved. But it is a disappointing resolution – an anti-climax.

No concrete decision has been taken about who to appoint as the best leader. This is the problem African nations have continued to grapple with even up to today.

OPEN-ENDED CONCLUSION

As stated above, this poem, like most narratives ends in an open-ended manner. This just goes to intensify the element of suspense and intrigue– important aspects of many compelling narratives in Literature.

Allegory

The leader and the Led is clearly an allegorical poem. Niyi Osundare has used animal characters to discuss a rather serious problem facing his people.

The problem is the disastrous leadership situation, not only in his home country, Nigeria but more significantly, in the whole of the African continent.

The animals in the gathering such as the antelopes and impalas represent the ordinary people of Africa who seem not to know exactly the kind of leaders they need.

The Poet’s Attitude

The next important thing I want us to look at in our analysis of The Leader and the Led is the poet’s attitude.

So what is the poet’s attitude to such major issues as the leadership crisis, political misunderstanding, or lack of political consensus in The Leader and the Led?

Clearly, the poet regards these challenges with grave concern. But at the same time, he appears to believe that these issues can be solved.

To him, when wisdom and compromise are allowed to take centre stage, the scourge of failed leadership on the African continent can be eradicated once and for all.

A Comment on the Title of the Poem

“The Leader and the Led” is an appropriate enough title for what is clearly a poem about the choice of political leadership.

As in every leadership situation, there are two sides of the equation – those who lead and those who follow. These are what the “leader” and the “led” pointedly refer to.

The poet has thus succeeded in leaving no doubt in the minds of his audience concerning his themes and the message he is trying to convey.

Likely Examination Questions on The Leader and the Led

In this concluding section of my analysis of The Leader and the Led, I give you (as I’ve always done) what, in my own estimation, are the likely test questions on the poem, The Leader and the Led.

Whether you are a student or a tutor of Literature, I trust that you will find these likely questions on The Leader and the Led very useful as you make the necessary preparations for the examination, be it the WAEC WASSCE, NECO/SSCE, GCE, or JAMB.

Just take a look.

  • Discuss the theme of leadership failure or failed leadership in the poem, The Leader and the Led
  • What are the criticisms against the led in Niyi Osundare’s The Leader and the Led?
  • Why is it difficult for the led to appoint a leader?
  • Describe the role of the Forest Sage in Niyi Osundare’s The Leader and the Led.
  • Consider The Leader and the Led as an attack on foreign interference in domestic politics in Africa.
  • Why would you consider The Leader and the Led as an allegory?
  • The Leader and the Led is nothing more than a fable. Do you agree?
  • Examine the poet’s call for dynamic leadership in The Leader and the Led.
  • What aspects of Narrative poetry are present in Niyi Osundare’s poem, The Leader and the Led?
  • Comment on the theme of politics in The Leader and the Led.
  • Consider The Leader and the Led as a critique against discrimination against women in politics.
  • Examine the theme of gender inequality in Niyi Osundare’s The Leader and the Led.
  • Comment on the poet’s attitude to political misunderstanding in The Leader and the Led.
  • African people must bear part of the blame for failed leadership on the continent. Is this a fair assessment of the poet’s message in The Leader and the Led?
  • Discuss the theme of ethnicity or group interest in The Leader and the Led.
  • Comment on the speech (address) delivered by the Forest Sage in The Leader and the Led
  • Discuss the theme of compromise in The Leader and the Led.
  • What desirable leadership qualities have you identified in your study of Niyi Osundare’s poem, The Leader and the Led?
  • Comment on the use of diction and imagery in The Leader and the Led.
  • Examine the wisdom in the Forest Sage’s recommendations in The Leader and the Led.
  • Who or what is the Forest Sage in The Leader and the Led?
  • Discuss the theme of dynamic leadership in The Leader and the Led
  • What concerns the poet most in The Leader and the Led?
  • Comment on the theme of the dearth of good leaders in Niyi Osundare’s The Leader and the Led.
  • Consider The Leader and the Led as a Poem of social criticism.
  • Is The Leader and the Led a satire? Explain with examples from the poem.

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Photo by Magda Ehlers from Pexels

10 thoughts on “The Leader and the Led Analyzed: Subject Matter, Themes and Poetic Devices”

  1. As a tutor of Literature-in-English, i am a keen follower of your site. I always find your analysis very useful. Thanks Sir Nyadzi.

  2. Thanks very much for this insight. You definitely have no idea how indispensable this analysis has been to me.

    Would be very grateful if you analyze the rest of the recommended poems for WASSCE. Thanks

    1. I’m glad you liked it, Collins. You can find the analyses of the other WAEC/WASSCE poems on this website. You can start from the ‘related/recommended posts’ further down on this same page. Another way is to simply use the ‘Search’ box also on this page or elsewhere on the site.

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