2 Chinua AchebeChinua Achebe was born in Nigeria, West Africa in His father was a missionary and he was brought up as a Christian.In the late 1960s, during the war between Nigeria and Biafra, he and his wife and children were almost killed when their home was bombed. The war ended in 1970 when the Biafran population had been starved into defeat. Achebe wrote about his experiences of war in the 1971 collection Beware, Soul Brother where Vultures first appeared.
4 Faces of War in the 2oth Century Although Achebe was born in Nigeria he worked for the government of Biafra and witnessed the terrible things that happened to the Biafran population by the Nigerians during the war. Published only a year after Biafra had lost the conflict, Vultures reflects on the cruel and murderous deeds ‘ordinary’ people commit during war.Children starved in the Nigeria - BiafranWarBelsen concentration camp
6 Brainstorm what you know about Vultures Brainstorm what you know about Vultures. Use a spider diagram to help you organise your ideas.Where they liveappearanceVulturesHow they liveWhere you have read about or seen themThings you associate with them
7 Vultures The poem is divided into four sections. Lines Meaning so far 1-21Describes two vultures sitting high up in a dead tree22-29Love is described as a person who chooses to ignore evil30-40A Nazi concentration camp commandant walks home with the fumes of burnt flesh in his nose and stops to buy sweets for his child41-51The poet reflects that goodness exists within evil but that evil also exists within goodness
8 Images of VulturesConsider the description of the vultures in the first section. Find quotes to show that the birds appear disgusting and horrible but can still be loving.
9 Section Two Evil / Cruel / Ugly Good / Kind / Loving Read the description of the Nazi Commandant in section two. Note down the contrasting imagery used.Evil / Cruel / UglyGood / Kind / LovingFumes of human roastPick up a chocolate
10 Remember what we said about Chinua Achebe’s experiences of war Remember what we said about Chinua Achebe’s experiences of war? Re-read lines 1 – 21. How do the actions of the vultures compare to the way people can behave in a war?
12 ContrastMany images in the poem contrast, emphasising the contrast between good and evil. Find examples of each and add them to the columns below.Evil Picked the eyes Swollen corpseGood Tender offspring Bounteous providence
13 Imagery The greyness and drizzle of one despondent dawn Think about the words the poet uses. Copy down the chart below. Make notes on what the poet’s words suggest to you.The ImagesNotes on the imagesThe greyness and drizzle of one despondent dawnConveys a dull, wet morning – little light or hope suggestedBroken bone of a dead treeSmooth bashed-in head, a pebble on a stemA dump of gross feathersA swollen corpse in a water-logged trenchCold telescopic eyesAte the things in its bowel
14 Imagery The Images Notes on the images Going home for the day Fumes of human roastHairy nostrilsWayside sweet-shopTender offspringDaddy’s returnIcy caverns of a cruel heartThe very germ of that kindred lovethe perpetuity of evil
15 Poetic Techniques Match the technique with the correct definition. Technique Definition Metaphor The use of the same sound at the start of words Alliteration A figure of speech not meant literally Onomatopoeia The attribution of human qualities to an object Personification A word which imitates the sound it represents
16 Poetic Techniques Technique Evidence Effect alliteration Think about the poetic techniques discussed on the last slide. Copy down the chart below. Find examples in the poem and write down the effect created.TechniqueEvidenceEffectalliteration‘drizzle of one despondent dawn’Along with the imagery, alliterating the dull ‘d’ sound sets the dark, miserable tone of the opening section.
17 Check Understanding Using the notes you have made so far answer this question:Explain how Chinua Achebe uses language to comment on the inhumanity of war in ‘Vultures’.
18 Useful Stuff Vultures short films: BBC Bitesize Poems From Other Cultures:
19 More Useful Stuff Annotated PPT version of Vultures A copy of Vultures with notes & questions