Thursday, July 15, 2010

Essay: Why Do I Fast?" Wole Soyinka,

Review: Nigerian playwright is imprisoned and fasts during the Nigerian Civil War (1967 -1969). In this essay he describes the experience and the various psychological impressions he undergoes. His jailers want him to stop fasting but he will not. At one point the “Grand Seer’s” concern “…adds to the growing sense of superhumanithy. I need neither drink nor food. Soon I shall need no air.”

Quote: “What do I do all day? I watch light motes in the air. When eyes are shut a whole universe of colors fills the dome of darkness behind the eyeballs. In extreme fasts the open eye is treated to the same display on a lighter, vaster scale. The air is broken up in swirls of colored dots. Each speck of dust in a sunbeam is a fiery planet in the galaxy, its motion sedately plotted, imbued with immense significance.”

Comment: Reminds of the experience of being on drugs as described by other essayists. RayS.

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. 1995.

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