Marxist Tendencies In The Poetry Of Abubakar Gimba: Inner Rumblings

This paper focuses on and examines Inner Rumblings from a Marxist perspective through an analysis of themes, form, and all other poetic devices.  

  Marxist Tendencies in the Poetry of Abubakar Gimba: Inner Rumblings

Jonathan Ogbu
Department of English and literature
Federal University, Gusau


Abdullahi D. Umar
Department of English and literature
Federal University, Gusau

Marxist Tendencies In The Poetry Of Abubakar Gimba: Inner Rumblings


This work takes a look at the Marxist theory as a tool, with a view to understanding the works of Abubakar Gimba. This paper focuses on and examines Inner Rumblings from a Marxist perspective through an analysis of themes, form, and all other poetic devices. This work looks at Inner Rumblings by identifying the Marxist ideas of the writer under study. This is done through the contents of the writer’s published poems. The poetry collections of Abubakar Gimba, are examined, thereby, exploring the Marxist ideas observed in the lines of the poems. This study measures the poems of Abubakar Gimba and establish how Marxist inclined, the poems are. The Luckacsian reflection Model of Marxism serves as the most suitable model for this paper. The research finds out those Marxist ideas in the diction and contents of the poems. After the findings, it was established that Abubakar Gimba has Marxist inclinations and these inclinations were spelled out in this paper.

Keywords: Marxism, Tendencies, Lukacsian Reflection Model, Literature, Poetry


Writers, world over, have ideas or phenomenon that influences their works in one way or the other. The phenomenon might not be mentioned or directly stated. At some point in time, these writers might even be unconscious or rather, oblivious of the influence(s) inherent in their works. In the subsequent views, several literary figures wrote under the influences of Marxism. Through the findings of this paper, it will be established if Abubakar Gimba’s poetry conforms to the tenets of Marxism or if Marxism as a theory influenced his writing of poetry. In writing this paper, books, postulations, interviews, and reviews of scholars on the works of Gimba, especially his poetry were consulted to understand the ideology of the writer in our context. The poems were critically looked at and measured with the tenets of Marxism to establish the facts for this paper.

This paper aims the political, social, economic, and literary interpretation of the theory of Marxism and explores that Marxism is a political and an economic ideology that emphasizes in essence the means of production, mode of wealth distribution, and the socio-economic facts of the society which in Marxism is a scientific truth. This ideology also propagates the class difference and the struggle for power between the oppressors and oppressed, between the exploiting and the exploited. And seek to establish a classless society.

This paper looks at Inner Rumblings by identifying the Marxist ideas of the writer understudy, through the contents of his published poetry collection. This requires that we look at Marxism as it relates to literature in general, and poetry, in particular, by tracing the emergence of, and development of Marxist critical theory and how it relates to literature and poetry in particular and how that is reflected in Gimba’s poetry.

This paper adopts the Lukacs Reflection model. The concept of Literature and the reality of the author or writers’ society, matters a lot to this model. The basic thing to Lukacs is that the works of art (literature) ought to express society in a reality so vivid and clear. The model is seen, corresponding greatly to the idea that Gimba’s works depict.

The Concept of “Marxism                         

Marxist theory has a long and complicated history. Although it is often thought of as a twentieth-century phenomenon, partly because it was the basis of the Soviet Union’s socialist system. It actually goes back to the thinking of Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883), a nineteenth-century German philosopher and economist. The first announcement of his traditional way of seeing things appeared in the German Ideology in 1845. According to Dobie,

 Marx arguethat the means of production governs a society’s institution and beliefs, and contended that history is progressing towards the eventual triumph of communism. He introduced the concept of Dialectical Materialism, the theory that history develops as a struggle between contradictions that are eventually synthesized (2009: 86).  

Marxism is a materialist philosophy, one which insists on the primacy of material living conditions rather than ideas or beliefs in the lives of human beings. It sees History as, (in Marx’s words), “history of class struggle” (Goring et al 2010: 186) - the history of struggle for control of the material conditions upon which life rests.                                                                                                 When Marx met the political economist, Friedrich Engels (1820-1895) in Paris in 1844 and they discovered that they had arrived at similar views independent of one another, they decided to collaborate to explain the principles of communism (latterly called Marxism) and to organize an international movement. These ideas were expounded in the Communist manifesto (1848), in which they identified class struggle as the driving force behind the history and anticipated it would lead to a revolution, in which the workers would overturn the capitalist, take control of means of economic production, and abolish private property by turning it over to the government to distribute fairly. With these events, class distinctions would disappear. In the three-volume work; Das Capital (1867), Marx argued that history is determined by economic conditions and he urged an end to private ownership of public utilities, transportation, and means of production. Despite the variations and additions that occurred in the century that followed, on the whole, Marx’s writings still provide the theory of economics, sociology, history, and politics called Marxism.     Although Marxism was not designed as a method of literary analysis, its principles were applied to literature early on. Even in Russia where literature was sometimes accepted as a means of productive critical dialogue and at other times viewed as a threat, if it did not promote party ideology, literature was linked to the philosophical principles set down by Marx and Engels. According to Dobie (2009: 87) “It was apparent that Marxism provided a new way of reading and understanding Literature”.

Marxism and Literature

Marx, himself was extremely well-read in classical and contemporary literature, and literary allusions as references abound in his writings. Several early Marxists sought to apply Marx's ideas to Literature: both in terms of interpretation and evaluations of existing literary works, and also in terms of advice to writers and those with (or seeking) political power about what sort of Literature should be encouraged. The active and interventionist nature of Marxism has recurrently led to attempts to use literature for social-political ends; some of these have gained a bad press in the reviews of history, as in the case of socialist realism: others have received a more positive response as in the case of Bertolt Brecht’s attempt to use the political theatre in the interest of social revolution (Gorin et al 2010: 186).     

The first major Marxist critic appeared outside Russia. George Lukacs (1885-1971), a Hungarian critic, who is responsible for what has become known as ‘Reflections.’ Named for the assumption that a text will reflect the society that has produced it, the theory is based on the kind of close reading advocated by Formalists. But it is practiced by the Reflections to discover how characters and their relationship typify and reveal class conflict, the socio-economic system, or the politics of the time and place. The system is also known as ‘Vulgar Marxism.’

Many other Marxist versions were established and developed but the version most suitable for the argument of this paper is the Lukacian Reflections model which this paper will rely on.            

Currently, two of the best-known Marxist critics are Fredric Jameson and Terry Eagleton. In some ways, Jameson and Eagleton are typical of mixtures of schools in literary criticism today as asserted by Dobie (2009). This does not mean that these two (the duo of Jameson and Eagleton) are the only or major writers or critics of Marxism known today. There are many more others that have not been mentioned in the course of this paper as this paper is also an attempt at lending a voice to the established principles (of Marxism).

Theoretical Framework

According to Isma’il (2008: 6), “Gimba’s writings indubitably reside in the domain of critical discourse, and are thus open to various interpretations and understanding.” In the course of reading through the poetry collections of Abubakar Gimba, the idea of Marxism is inherently observed. The question becomes how Marxist inclined or related are the poems, and in extension, how Marxist is the author? This becomes the central idea that this paper seeks to investigate and explore.

This paper tries to measure the poems of Abubakar Gimba in the Marxist tradition. Marxism as a theory of literature has been selected because Marxist ideas run through the rendition of most of the poems in Gimba’s collections. This paper is geared towards finding out those Marxist ideas inherent in the words and ideas of Gimba’s poems. Through the poems, one suspects that though Gimba has never openly declared himself a Marxist thinker, that there are tendencies of Marxism in his poems which in turn informs us of his Marxist orientation. In the case of the poetry of Abubakar Gimba, the Lukacsian reflection model of Marxism is the most suitable form for the analysis of the poems under consideration.

Lukacsian Reflection Model and Literature

Marx and Engel’s postulation of the concept of Marxism generally viewed literature not as works created in accordance with timeless artistic criteria but as ‘products’ of economic ideology determinants of specific to the era (Abrams 2005). Literature reflects the idealism of Marxism, portraying the ideology of class stratification, culture, and socio-economic tendencies which pervade human society. Therefore, Literature seeks to integrate and explicate these class fractions, to show equality between human beings or how members of the society have been able to cope. This goes on to mean that, Marxism and literature are very well interpolated concepts.

The critical temper is either directly or indirectly expressed in several of Lukacs’ contributions to literature and Marxism. For Lukacs, literary form is that which reflects reality in ‘the most objective ways’. Consequently, literary ‘well-formedness,’ is perceived within this model as the most accurate portrayal of the external reality that Marx himself is reflected in the mind of man and translated into forms of thought’ (1976: 102). Forgas tells us that Lukacs’ idea of reflection transcends that simplistic mirror-object relationship popularized by the mimetic model. This idea shows us that Lukacsbelieves that ‘Literature, is a knowledge of reality and knowledge is not a matter of making one-to-one correspondence between things in the world and outside or ideas in the head’ (Forgas 1985: 139). Through this perspective, we understand that literature subjects reality to a creative and form-giving process that converts it to realism as postulated by Forgas (1985: 139). Lukacs who was an international figure in the communist movement until he died in 1971, patterned his critical thoughts after Marx’s presumptions towards creativity.

The model appears appropriate for our scheme of analysis in this paper, as most African writings have the outlook of realist literature. We shall therefore consider the poems of Abubakar Gimba as the reflection of the author’s perceived society emanating from their experiential words.

In Gimba’s actual words from an interview conducted at a point in time, it seemed to be as if he had everything spelled out from the standpoint of the thesis of this paper. His response to the question posed to him, about his literary works elicited the following answer which precipitated the quest for this paper. Gimba spoke like one who has been influenced directly by Marxism of the Lukacs’ model (type). This section shall be concluded on the assumption made by Gimba and after this; we delve into the actual contents of the poem in the study to unearth the Marxist tendencies inherent in them. The response is, as presented below from Gimba’s actual words as captured by Onookome Okome (1992) in the publication of Ezekiel Fajenyo (2008: 15).

One was interested in reading diverse writings, books from different parts of the world… First and foremost, I was interested in the milieu in which I lived at some points in my life. Invariably, this has influenced me greatly and has found its way into my writings – especially the novelsEssentially, I belong to this class- I feel them and so I am bound to reflect on this milieu in which this class of people play out their lives. In terms of style, I do not write difficult kinds of Literature-certainly, not the Soyinka type, principally, because I have this class of people that I have lived with in mind as my readership when I write. […] That is my general position on literature; make people have ideas about things…to provide some form of mirror in which these people see themselves as they have not done before. This is the way I see literature.

Most of what to come out in the analysis of the poetry of Gimba tends to have a very close relationship with the Marxist idea of Lukacs’ Reflections model as observed in the above words of the writer.

Marxist Tendencies in Inner Rumblings

 A really captivating but very directional statement to the work is seen in the blurb of the collection (Inner Rumblings) itself as;

To have opened the door to the deceptive snares of international politics, the manifold faces of racial intolerance, the domestic woes of marriage and divorce, the subtleties of love and hate, good and evil, justice and injustice, war and peace, life and death (Book blurb)

All of these aspects look into the concept at hand so closely that one could easily draw her conclusions forthwith. The major ideas of Marxism are but put here so categorically. The major focus of this section as earlier put is to analyze the poetry collection to extract the Marxist ideas rooted or buried in the poems.

The text is divided into two broad parts, with titles for each of the parts. The whole content in the collection amounts to forty-two distinct poems. Each section has its focus and idea, just as the title suggests. The first part of the text is titled ‘Freedom and Reality’ while the second part which is indicated as part two, is titled, ‘I am, therefore, I am. All of these titles are idea-specific in a sense of what the author wishes to express. The title of part one is very much suggestive of a Marxist idea. Freedom in a sense is seen to be the endpoint or achievement of Marxism at the end of the day. The whole purpose and aim of Marxism are for a classless society where the proletariat is salvaged from their plight and live in a better society. It means that Marxism is hinged on the idea of freedom for all in a better society. This idea of ‘freedom’ which Marxism denotes is seen from Karl Marx’s idea contained in The Communist Manifesto as quoted by Dobie (2009: 90) thus; “let the ruling classes tremble at a communist revolution. The proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains.” This statement indicates that the proletariat has never been free except a change takes place. That the proletariat has nothing to lose but their chains, suggests that they, (proletariat) have been under bondage. Chains in the real literary sense denote straight ahead, bondage, or some sort of slavery. The argument here is that part one title of Inner Rumblings has a Marxist implication. There is a tendency that this idea could have been influenced by the Marxist idea in the author. Even though the poems, lots and more Marxist tendencies are discovered through analysis.

On the other hand, the word Reality has a Marxist connotation that is hinged on what Lukacs defines as art. The reality of life and people in the society, cohabiting is a depiction arts signifies. Bringing it back home from the postulation of Chinua Achebe, we see it clarified as he supports reality thus;

No writer of imaginative literature from the very best to the moderately significant can avoid the big issues of the day, for literature, to the extent that it is a mirror unto man’s nature, must reflect social reality or certain aspects of social reality (Olaniyan and Quayson (eds) 2011: 478).

This, in essence, means that literature as an art is concerned basically with the reflection of social reality or the realities of man’s society.

In the second part of the text, titled, ‘I am, therefore I am, another connotation is met with. The idea is different from the first part which according to Ezekiel (2008: 90), “is some biblical allusion”. It is not a new thing anymore that Gimba has a serious affiliation to the spiritual; Godly or religious institution. Religion too is a very serious aspect of the Marxist discourse, but the question is on how and what religion means to both sides. To Gimba, he has a very strong root in religion, especially the Islamic religion. Religion forms a great part of Gimba’s ideology.

Coming to the other person of Karl Marx’s belief system, a vague difference is noticed as summarily summed up by Dobie (2009: 91-92) thus:

Marx maintained that reality is material, not spiritual. Our culture, he said is not based on some divine essence or the Platonic forms or on contemplation of timeless abstractions. It is not our philosophical or religious beliefs that make us who we are, for we are not spiritual beings but socially constructed ones. We are not products of divine design but creations of our own cultural and social circumstances.

It becomes very clear as to how Marx views religion which Gimba takes to be the most defining obligation of man on earth as earlier pointed out. From Dobie’s assertion of Karl Marx's idea of religion, it becomes very clear that Marx sees religion (the belief in God) as a mere thing that is not too significant.

For the fact that this study is not primarily concerned with just religion, the explanations above will suffice the stance of religious beliefs of the respective individuals and their postulations. This paper will not dwell on the concept of religion or religious believes even though comments and clarifications are necessary. References on the religious belief and stand of Abubakar Gimba are observed in some of these poems contained in the collection.

The first part of the poetry collection titled FREEDOM AND REALITY have numerous poems with different themes, tones, mood, image, and symbols. There are themes of domination or oppression which is one very serious derivative of Marxism. Looking at the collection from the Marxist point of view, the collection transcends limitations and peculiarities of the age it was compiled or written in. The collection speaks of human nature, human experiences, societal matters, and issues that border much on the society in which man exists. Particularly, Gimba tries to capture vividly, the African experiences and her relationship with the outside world. Most of the issues present in the collection tell much of what Marxists believe in. For instance, in the first poem, titled, “The World Policeman,” Gimba looks at a more powerful or superior power, which does all to subjugate the other lower class. In essence, the higher entity that Gimba describes here is America. He personifies the country, America as a self-imposed monitor, regulator who imposes to the third world it has claimed leadership of. This is a poem that exemplifies and presents the class differentia and subjugation of the rest of the world, by the more powerful nation(s), which in this case, is America.

The next poem on consideration of this paper, which comes next immediately after ‘The World’s Policeman’ is “Freedom Amok”. This poem could even be said to be a sequel to the first one discussed in this paper. This time though, the subject is focused on a central idea from the other poem. The central idea of this poem is on Press freedom or freedom of speech and sovereignty of nations.

A class divide is also presented, which in Marxist terms, is the Bourgeois and the Proletariat. The Marxist idea in this poem again is early stated by the poet. The poem is very expository as it attempts to open the eyes of the readers or the people (who in most cases happen to be the common man in the society), thereby forming the Marxist term and claim of conscientization as this is one of the major aims of Marxism. The Advanced Learners Dictionary (AED) defines this Marxist term thus;

(Sociology, education) A social concept, grounded in Marxist critical theory that focuses on achieving an in-depth understanding of the world, allowing for the perception and exposure of perceived social and political contradictions.

This is what the poem stands to achieve in the reality of today’s situation of our present predicament. Gimba’s Marxist tendencies are but glaringly seen and observed as a Marxist thinker or one who has the Marxist idea in him.

This assertion by the poet persona is in tandem with the tenets of Marxism on her reports of the media. Right from time even, Marxist critics of the likes of Omafume N. Onoge writes thus as he quotes aspects of Terry Eagleton’s statuses.

I refer here to what Terry Eagleton, in a negative context, has referred to as the ‘means of literary production, distribution and exchange in a particular society – how books are published, the social composition of their authors and audiences, level of literacy, the social determinants of “taste” ‘ (Olaniyan and Quayson, 2011 :473)

It could even be argued that Gimba meant the same use as he did use the word; “Taste” in the ninth line of this poem being considered. Taste, to the Marxist, symbolizes the value or worth of a thing. And we see the same usage here. To an extent, it wouldn’t be out of context to argue that Gimba might have been influenced by this very quotation above. Gimba’s argument though is not only on literature and her production and dissemination of information through the pen on paper but talks about the Mass media generally. This very stance of Gimba puts him into a particular class of Marxist poets as described by Amuta in his prominent book on African literature, titled, The theory of African literature (1989: 177);

…the poet as a man of culture devotes his life and art to the pursuit of justice and freedom has become part of the very legitimacy of the poetic undertaking. To be a significant poet in Africa at a time like this is to stand up and be counted in the struggle against foreign domination and class and racial injustice. […] Over the ages, two “tribes” of poets have emerged: those who use their art to legitimize, uphold and advance the cause of the status quo and those who use their talents to challenge the ruling class and thus champion the cause of those who bear the burden of oppression.

Gimba as an African poet is seen clearly to belong or fall in the second tribe, as described by Chidi Amuta above, through the stand of the poem being considered among other poems of Gimba.

Simply put, it is observable, the high Marxist view of this poem, especially in the place of class, hierarchy, and ideology. The poem, just like many others in the collection, takes the form of end rhymes as the last words in the lines typify.

“A race besieged”. This poem appears as the fourth poem in the collection being considered. From the major word of this poem, a class divide has been created with the word; RACE. The race is a very strong term that still causesdissensions even today just as seen in many other poems in the collection. The poem is noted to have opened, characteristically, directly on its theme of racism according to Ezekiel (2008).

This is a very serious Marxist point of view by Gimba here. His advocacy to the people, to a large extent, involves a call to arms against a perceived enemy. Failure to act thus becomes a shame and disgrace to the so-called subjugated Africans. He calls forliberation from this strange strangling order, charted by the colonial masters, or the west, specifically. Being so courageous, the persona goes on, reeling out his call and message as he spurs the people on to fight. A must fight as that is the solution to the slaving order set by the western world over Africans. This is a type easily obtained in vulgar Marxism. According to Fajenyo;

It is obvious that one of the key features of Gimba’s poetry is a call to arms; an appeal to Africans to wake up from their complacency and change their destiny for good. Here, Gimba assumes “the full responsibility of a poet of destiny who would not stand aside from the cataclysmal waves threatening the survival of his people. He recognizes the revolutionary nature of the event sweeping through the land, as well as the risks that formed part and parcel of such events…” (2008: 19)

The advocacy goes on as the poet preaches thus, to the end of the poem. With the end, the rhyme scheme of a, a, a, b, b, b almost through the whole lines of the poem, a musical effect is achieved to a large extent.

A call toselflessness is made, as the poet goes on. A necessary battle to fight, to exterminate, forever, racism and all forms of oppression from the face of the earth, buried in the coffin we must be the ones as Africans ‘to nail.’

The blatant nature of the poem gives it a repute as one of the most Marxist inclined poems written by Abubakar Gimba. The message of the poem is best summarized by Ezekiel Fajenyo (2008: 87).

Africans do have a common enemy: the west. Through history, the situation has been so bad. Slave trade had affected Africans in many ways. Colonialism promoted the evil effects of slavery. […] Gimba performs the work of a cultural evangelist…

As has been established from the start of this paper. Gimba is not just a poet but as he says, he is a poet with a ‘cause’. This statement to a very large extent has qualified Gimba as a Marxist thinker. Marxist writers are always empathizing with the downtrodden and oppressed class in society. It is a common goal of the Marxist to always speak for the people in the lower class or the masses in a society who are always the working class in the society.

This trend is seen in the poem, with the title; Children of Soweto. The poet sees this Godforsaken area of the society as a ghetto, where people that live in this space are neglected and uncared for. One very Marxist nature is seen in Gimba, through this poem. Courage, to dare the powers that be, or the oppressors of the masses in their society.

The poet persona has in a great way, extolled the virtue, strength, might, and guts of the generation of people being addressed in this poem.

The second part of the collection, titled, “I am therefore I am”, according to Fajenyo (2008: 90), ‘is some biblical allusion’. Fajenyo still sees this as a suggestion that the poems to be analyzed will show some levels of intimacy and this is seen closely in the first poem of this part. The first line in the first poem is marked with the first same word as the title of this part. This first poem of the second part is titled, “Mama.”

The poem is very heroic praise of the love, care, dedication, and concerns of the mother. The poem, by extension, is referring to womanhood as a whole. Womanhood is celebrated and made to look great. Marxists believe that it is the story of the common man that needs to be told and not that of the ruling class and the mighty in society. Gimba has done this yet again, through the writing of this poem. The mother is always relegatedbackstage but the poet has succeeded in bringing her and presenting her to the whole world in a most glamorous way.

Another poem in this part of the collection that is a real great enthronement, to the woman race is, “A prologue to Passion”. Just like the mother and motherhood was enthroned and eulogized by the poet persona, so is the woman in her entirety being enthroned in this poem, (A Prologue to Passion)

Another poem that celebrates and extols the woman race in this section is, “For a Jewel”. A poem in which the poet persona symbolizes the woman as ‘gem stones’, such as ‘diamonds’ and other precious stones. From all these, we see the poet’s stance on the woman as a whole. We see him recognizing and speaking for the women's race. He stands against all forms of oppression, subjugation, andill-treatment of women in society. It goes to the extent as seen in the poems, where he fights in all ways, for their rights and quest. By this, the obligation of Marxist thinkers regarding the feminine gender is satisfied. Satisfaction, in the sense of recognizing and treating the feminine gender fairly. This is one major advocacy of Marxism. Marxism has this very close tie or affinity to feminism and this stand is easily demonstrated by these poems on the feminine world.

“Burning Out”, is another poem in consideration of this study. The poetic or creative process of the poet is presented in this poem.

We see the burning desire of the poet to put to use, the avenue of his writing in addressing issues in his society. So many happenings in the society that needs to be addressed add up every day and in their multiplicity, the poet has to let them emerge and address targets they ought to aim at. From the expressions in this poem, we see that desire, that altruistic nature of the poet to take on, matters that affect his society. Targets, who in many senses is the oppressors in the society; possibly the ruling class. Through the lines of this poem, the poet sees this whole process of writing as warfare, probably against the oppressors in his nation.

Another poem in the second part of the collection, which shows one of the greatest tenets of Marxism, is the poem titled, “Poverty”. In this poem, the major point in focus is the inequality of habitats in society. This is more pronounced from lines eight downwards.

This is a real introduction to the general view of the Marxist. Inequality amongst people in society is one thing in particular that Marxism stands on. Marxism hinges on the postulation of the class divide, as has been discussed in this study, earlier on. The bourgeois is always the ruling class while the proletariats are the working class in the society. Inequality is noticed in the way society is stratified. This anomaly is what Marxists hope to fix. It becomes the sole aim of the Marxist, to seek a way of bridging the gap between these two classes in the society and make all equal, to the best level they can. All the ideas presented in this poem so far, all point to this basic tenet of Marxism.

The poet persona allegorizes the novel of the famous George Orwell, titled, Animal Farm. It is clear in the poem, that the poet persona, shares an idea from a co-Marxist. Orwell is one of the world-renowned Marxists as most ideas in almost all his work are Marxist inclined. It can be deduced from this study, that Gimba, associates himself with Marxism or Marxist thinkers. It is even clear that Gimba, is a Marxist, as this poem spells out clearly. Gimba could be said to share or have the same ideology as George Orwell and many other Marxist thinkers. The lamenting tone of this poem gives it that revolutionary and protest nature.

The rich, the poor, the haves, the have-nots

All subtle admission of heartless callousness.

Man’s manifest epitome of failure

These words used here, are very serious Marxist words, contained in her registers of study as seen oftentimes in textbooks on Marxism. Words like, ‘the haves, and the have nots’, are examples. Here, the poet makes a statement of the complaint of all classes of people in society. All parties and classes of people in the society are seen as complainants of their various plight. It all owns to one fact though; the manipulative exploitations of the ruling class. The failure or success of the society is tied to the acts of the bourgeois ruling class of the society.

Before this second part of this poetry collection is wrapped up, it is necessary that a look, into the title poem of this collection, is done. The poem, with the title; “Inner Rumblings,” is taken, by the poet, to be the title of this collection as a whole.

The poet started this poem by presenting imagery of calmness on a very good day. The imagery created is so unique. The scenery of the peaceful nature of the universe is created. A peace and calmness that is almost perfect is envisaged. Everything appears to be good and normal. But then, as the poem goes on, we see a rumble underneath. A rumble never noticed from the good and happy appearance of what is physically visible. The poet used very grave words to describe the kind of turbulence that goes on, on the inside.

The next two lines before the end of the first stanza is a suggestive statement very peculiar of the Marxist standpoint in describing the world of man:

The stronger fishes swallowing the weak

The vanquished, nourishing the conquerors,

These lines start the Marxist presentation of the world. The Marxist thinkers are always concerned with the strong, mighty, and ruling classes who are always oppressing the weak, poor, and ordinary masses. This idea is seen more in the statement of Fajenyo (2008: 97)

In the world we live, there’s a lot of tempest, troubles, uncertainty, conflicts and class divisions. It is a battlefield of people, ideas, and beliefs. The rich want to suppress the poor; a lot of abnormality and inhumanity against man take place

This is the standpoint of the Marxist thinkers and this is what they aim to fight. The poet persona goes on in present imageries of a world full of injustices and oppressions through the second stanza of the poem.

Success in today’s world is being measured by the oppression of the poor, weak, and ordinary people in society. The persona, tells of the doom of the oppressive beings and shows how destructive their path in life is, at present.  In the third and last stanza of the poem, the poet prescribes the way the world is supposed to be. A world at peace with itself and all.

A just and egalitarian society as Marxists, postulate, is envisioned in this poem. The state of the world after the revolution of the masses or proletariat takes place. The poet, through this poem, teaches and preaches the message of Marxism. The poem is very much Marxist inclined in all of its facets. The rumblings in this poem is likened to the revolutionary thoughts in the mind of the masses who are suppressed in society. Marxist ideas are very much present in the developments of the poems discussed in this paper.

Discussion of the Major Findings

The idea, reached, at the end of this section is best described in the idea popularized by Chinua Achebe. Achebe is known for his yam and oil talk in Things Fall Apart. And from Achebe’s comment, which says that proverbs are the palm oil with which words are eaten, a coinage is made, in relation to literature and theory. In our regard, in this paper, it is the relationship between Literature and Marxism (theory) that becomes like the yam and palm oil . In this study, Marxism becomes like the oil with which yam is eaten. That is to say, that, literature and theory go hand in hand and by extension, Marxism and literature are interdependent, in the context of this paper. The idea is that both concepts are interrelated and dependent on each other, as this study is concerned. In essence, Theory (Marxism) and literature need each other; especially as it relates to this work.

The collections containing the poems of Abubakar Gimba, titled; Inner Rumblings are analyzed as the Marxist ideas and tendencies in them are established and discussed, as it relates to this paper title. The poems contained in the collection are presented, and analysis is made on them. The analysis takes the form of representing bits and parts of the poems in the body of this paper. The presented poems are then discussed in detail. Through the discussions, the Marxist ideas and postulates in the lines are unraveled and subsequently, discussed. In the end, the Marxist ideas in the poems are discussed as those Marxist tendencies inherent in the poems. It became established that there are serious Marxist ideas, tenets, postulations, and ideologies inherent in the poetry of Abubakar Gimba as seen in the collection of Inner Rumblings.

The poems amongst these further treats and explore the themes of greed, selfishness, impatience, intolerance, arrogance, pride, corruption, oppression, class divides, and other injustices of the ruling class of the society. This address, to the predicament of the current situation of the writer’s society, is very much seen in all the poems of this collection. In most instances, the poet is a voice, or rather a mouthpiece of the people. At some other times, he is an advocate as well as an agitator. The Marxist bent is but very much pronounced in almost all the poems of the collection. We easily see, a lot of Marxist ideas and manner of doing things manifested in the poems. The mood, approach, and engagements in the poems easily pass for them to be associated with Marxism. At some points in the collection, Gimba goes close as to call the people to arms. He spurs and urge the masses on, as well as address and present the ills and decadence in the society. By this expression, the poet involves himself in the predicament of the people. He sees himself as part and parcel of the society he writes about and addresses. The investigation, through the poems in this collection, makes for the argument of this paper to be valid.


 Marxism as a literary theory is one of the tools in analyzing literary works. As has been established in the course of this paper, a theory is a guide which through its pattern, sets a work of literature in order. It is established, that Abubakar Gimba, as a writer and poet, has Marxist inclinations in some way as the key texts established. This inclination to Marxism is what the title of this paper meant by the use of the word, “Tendency.” The tendency as has been used in this paper tells of the disposition, affinity, relationship, and (or) familiarity with a concept. Ideas in the poems point closer to the tenets of Marxism. Through a thorough analysis of the poems in the collections, side by side with Marxism, as a tool, it became possible to ascertain the Marxist level of the concerned poems in relation to the author. Gimba is not pronounced as a Marxist or a Marxist writer but these collections, through the poems, have in some way, presented Marxism as an element present in the poetry of Gimba. The ideas in the poems, through the explication of analysis on them, expose those Marxist tendencies present in the poetry of Abubakar Gimba.


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