The Thematic Analysis of The Poem "Do-Gooders" By Olu Obafemi

The poem titled DO-GOODERS was written by Olu Obafemi to portray the weaknesses and atrocities of the religionists who instead of being the last hope of a common man are threats to people’s life. He tries to condemn the attitudes of the religionists who are using their position as a man or messenger of God to blindfold the people and exploit them. They use their position to tell people lies and demand exorbitantly from them; they deny them their belongings and turn those wretched (lines 14-17).

The central theme of the poem is CONDEMNATION. Olu Obafemi tries to expose what is happening in our present environment where people dabbled into church, mosque or palm grooves only to save themselves from the escalating unemployment problem. When the people eventually discover these anomalies of the people of God, they tend to be aggressive. This has led to desertion of many churches, many mosques have been damned and some grooves are no more in existence (lines 10-13)

The poet shows his anger or agony when he said that Horror begets horror, to nullify horror, meaning that whenever these type of people are caught, they must be dealt with without an iota of mercy, just as thieves, tied to the stakes, and set on fire (lines 18 and 19). He emphasized that pity should not be allowed to come in because they have destroyed many lives already; many have been turned to wretched beings, with bloated stomach, smelling like the stinking gutters and sucked thin (lines 1-5).

The poet ended it by lamenting saying, Woe be on them, who cheat in the name of God, even an unending woe.


Let’s examine jus two (2): Poetic License and the figures of speech used in the poem.

Language used (Poetic License)

Poetic license is the permission given to a poet to use unconventional language i.e. free to use language in whatever way it pleases him in order to achieve his desires. He can violate the grammaticality of language.

They include in this poem the following:

1. Bloated – swollen in an unpleasant way (line 1)

2. Hoot – funny situation of a person/short loud laugh of a person (line 5)

3. Flatulent – sound important in the way that exaggerate truth (line 9)

4. Damnable – bad or annoying (line 12)

5. Stakes – host on which somebody to be burnt is first tie (line 18)

6. Wretched – extremely bad or unpleasant (line 13)

7. Flakes – small pieces of something larger

8. Blazed – mount brightly and strongly

9. Do-gooders: those who do good/believed to be doing good

Figures of Speech

Expressions used to polish any piece of writing and to embellish it in a poetic ornament so as to make it elaborate, vivid, picturesque and interesting (Roy Omoni)

1. Assonance:

Line 1: bloated stomachs

Line 7: horror begets horror

Line 19: blazed in flames and flakes

2. Consonance:

Line 7: horror begets horror

Line 19: blazed in flames and flakes

3. Alliteration:

Line 4: of sprawling skeletons

Line 7: horror begets horror

Line 19: blazed in flames and flakes

4. Repetition:

Line 7 & 8: horror begets horror to nullify horror

5. Rhyme:

Line 18 & 19: must be tied to stakes

blazed in flames and flakes

6. Enjambment:

Line 7 & 8: horror begets horror to nullify horror

Line 3 & 4: the naked ribs of sprawling skeletons