Imagery in Hope is the Thing with Feathers

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According to Desmond Tutu, “Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.” It whispers “You’ll get over this hardship”. It also reassures us while smoothing our minds by reminding us “life will improve.” Every day many lives are infused with pain and suffering. Yet, we can overcome these fears with hope. Hope provides us with the strength to conquer our misery, motivates us to preserve to journey onward despite the obstacles blocking off the life. Though hope can be a topic of little interest, in books such as Waiting for an Angel, there are many messages throughout the book mentioning the high qualities of hope. Waiting for an Angel, Helon Habila’s fiction novel provides a substantial amount of political scenarios and circumstances that depicts the reality of hope powerful enough to overcome tough situations as post-traumatic stress and being able to see there is light despite all the darkness lying around.

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Hope is the essence of life and without it, we could not live a peaceful life without it deep in the heart. It gives strength to overcome pain, and makes the johe future easier. The beginning of the novel, displays a scene of one particular prisoner suffering, hoping to make it to live to see the next day. His name is Lomba. During his imprisonment, he wrote and thought about the reasoning of hope. He describes the harsh feelings and conditions by explaining how the deep part of him felt. “This was soul calling to the soul. A tired, trapped lock at last meeting the key that unlocks it.” (Habila 36) The quote from the novel represents a person’s inside feelings when hope is not inside. Without it, the body feels like it is locked up trying to find a key to finally open it up. Lives are infused with pain and suffering. Yet we can overcome the hardship with hope which provides us strength to conquer misery and despair. Inside the mind, hope allows it to release positivity while protecting the negative trying to come in.

Hope also helps us keep our fight on by allowing us to improve the life that is currently taking place. Constantly, Lomba had heard people discriminating him on how he would never have an opportunity to get out. “Prison. That was all he saw ahead of me. Go in, try your luck, ask for good fortune, don’t ask too closely.” (Habila 55) Many types of events can lead to the doubt of hopes and beliefs. For example in the book while Lomba sits in solitary confinement, everyday timing when his life will change and there will be a path of light coming his way. His hope allows him to contemplate the mysteries of life along with encouraging him to think about what he can do to make his life. In a poem named Hope by Langston Hughes, he reveals hope as a person who is facing loneliness or depression. To get over this, the person imagines a world without loneliness, while the feeling starts to fade away. This poem relates to the life Lomba faced during his imprisonment. He had the thought of not being there for him. To get over this feeling, he started to write poems about him and others in hopes of the feeling to drift away. Performing these actions help with staying with the fight and not letting the negativity come in.

In the most critical of times, hope brings a reminder of optimism making it possible to win many battles. “Here in this country our dreams are never realized., says Lomba. “Someone always contrives to turn them into a nightmare.” (Habila 325) In a critical time when life is on the line, hope brings the reminder to stay optimistic about the current event and doing this makes winning battles much easier. Lomba notices in the country many people have hopes of a better country, but there is always the one person who comes and turns them into nightmares instead. Without the help of hope, the people of the country would not be able to cope with the situation they are currently facing along with motivation that it can get better. A poet by the name of Jericho Brown sets his poem Psalm 150 about a person nearing the last moments of their lives trying to rely on hope to survive. The ending of the poem is “…. like a man who’s lost and lived. Something keeps trying, but I’m not killed yet.” Just as Lomba states the problems occurring amongst the country, the community begins to lack optimism allowing the mindset of failure to roll in. In the poem, as the person is attempting to live their life to the fullest and has had many struggles through life, something inside wants to pull through keeping them alive. The idea of optimism allows one to persevere and push through the rugged occasions.

Helon Habila used events such as Lomba’s imprisonment and the many protests to illustrate the main theme of hope. Through all the events, it shows how hope is always there as a shining light guiding the path. During Lomba’s time in prison, he had made sure to say a little reminder reminding him there will be a chance for him soon to be freed. The protest represented the hopes of the whole community and the different perspectives of hope that played on each on the individuals. In both events, it showed the effects hope has on a community and an individual. Either situation demonstrates the three main importance of hope including the idea of staying optimistic, giving strength, allowing to move forward to the journey of life. Whether an individual or a whole community, hope is the match in a dark tunnel, a moment of light, just enough to reveal the road ahead and eventually the way out.

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