Wole Soyinka's "Amber Wall"
Julia Edwards '93 (English 32, Spring, 1990)
In "Amber Wall, Soyinka makes use of first and second person narration and night/day imagery to introduce the reader to the conflicting psychological realities of the human mind in captivity. The "starlit songs" of youth, exotic lands, and comfort are rudely disrupted by "sun's sad song." Night provides the space to grow and recuperate within the "wall of gain"-- human hope. "Raising eyelids" at the arrival of the day's realities dispels with the vision of "Children's voices at the door of the Orient," to reveal the "sluggish earth/ Dispersing sulphur fumes."
Soyinka recalls shuttle imagery as he emphasizes the importance in the face of "outer loss" of "self-identification with this essence of innate repletion." The role of narration within this section remains ambiguous. Is Soyinka speaking to another person or is the "you" simply another part of himself? In either case, the reader is allowed an avenue into the psychological drama that keeps the captive's hopes alive.