Analysis of "The Wonderful Surgeon." A poem by Charles Mloka

Analysis of "The Wonderful Surgeon." A poem by Charles Mloka

The Wonderful Surgeon is one of the poems in The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems for the 'Advanced Level English language Paper Two'. Read Poetic TerminologiesHow to Read a Poem and How to Analyse a Poem before reading and analysing the poem below:

The Wonderful Surgeon
By Charles Mloka 
They call him in streets,
The hero of butterflies,
or the kingfish.
Those are nicknames,
given to the surgeon,
wonderful the most,
I ever saw.

A cool man by character,
The most hardworking,
always serious and busy looking guy.
But wonderfully! Really wonderful!

In theatres where he works,
The wonderful surgeon,
Knows how to flatter patients
who appear before him,
for operations, even if, they need no operation at all.

One day morning,
He took a young girl to operate,
whom, people around him thought,
she was a house girl and not a patient,
the way she dressed,
and timidly she looked.

But no longer she appeared,
In the way they thought,
to the operation-maniac surgeon,
whom she was referred to.
The surgeon of relays,
Ten operations a day,
was his tradition.

The wonderful surgeon,
Made an oddity of a year,
A day when he brought a woman,
for the same.

That day, I remember,
The patient whom was a barmaid,
somewhere he collected,
and went along with her to the theatre.
situated in the house, the surgeon leased,
with his fellow tenants.

At night, no one was asleep,
When he performed, a marvelous operation.
“Isiiiiii! Isiiiii!” The woman cried.
Cried and cried.
Gasped with tears,
Very lovely,
Reciting stupendous songs,
uttering tempting words,
causing bachelor boys,
watchmen all night.
Some touching their euphemisms.
others thinking of becoming,
Surrogate surgeons.

But the woman continued to scream,
“Asssssss! Assssss! Yeeeeees! Yaaaah!”
These were the songs,
heard from her nose.
“My lovely surgeon!” Said the woman in the nose.
“You are getting me to the touch!”
Assssss! Ooooooh!” She continued.
“…..But! But…..! Take care! You are dead!
I am….! I am….! I aaaam….infected!
I am infected!” She said repeatedly, in a low tune,
echoing through corrugated irons.

The surgeon stopped a while,
Looking up and down,
Thinking of a woman,
Thinking of operation,
Done without gloves.
“Dear me!” He said, looking at her,
again and again.
“What?” He asked.
“I am infected!” She repeated.
“AIDS!” She insisted.
“Ekheeeee! Kheeeee! You picked a bomb!”
Everyone was stunned in the house,
With thousands of tears,
oozing from their faces.
Breaking into laughters.
“Asssssss!” They mimicked the woman.
“To the touch!” They whispered.

The doctor suddenly fainted,
And was rushed to hospital,
Dead now I am told,
The wonderful surgeon!

Charles Mloka was born in Arusha, Tanzania. He attended primary and secondary education between 1965 and 1975. He studied Bachelor of Laws (LLB) and Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Dar es Salaam. He worked as clerk Assistant in the Parliament of Tanzania from 1998-2006. Currently, he is the Assistant Director in the Hansard Department of the Parliament of Tanzania.
The Title, The Wonderful Surgeon, is symbolic and ironic. It is symbolic in the sense that it actually represents a person who performs operations in the theatre as a womanizer (surgeon) who regularly have sex with different women in his room (theatre). It is ironic because it sarcastically reveals his carelessness in the operation.
The poem is about the person who regularly has sex with women. He finally gets infected with HIV/AIDS recklessly.
The persona of this poem is satirical as he satirises the acts of the surgeon. The persona is also feeling pity for the surgeon. 
The addressee of this poem is any society in which the immoral acts of the person like the surgeon are prevalent. 
[6] TONE 
The tone of the poet towards the audience and the subject matter is satirical, ironic and sad.
[7] MOOD 
The mood of the poem towards the audience is sadness, mimicry, and sympathy.
The poem has been grouped into eleven stanzas with each stanza varying in the number of lines.
The kind of the poem is modern narrative poem. It has irregular rhyme scheme and it tells a story.
The poet has applied the following several sound devices:
(1) Repetition. This is the repetition of the word, phrase or sentence for the purpose of emphasizing the point. For instance, ‘Cried’ (7th stanza),‘Surgeon’(in almost every stanza), ‘Operation’, ‘The Wonderful Surgeon’, ‘I’m infected’ and so on has been repeated so as to emphasize the points and concepts.
(2) Onomatopoeia. It is the use of words that suggest or imitate sounds. The poet has used this device to describe the voice a woman makes when the surgeon gives her an operation. For example, in the seventh stanza, the poet has used the word ‘Isiiiiii!’, and in the eighth stanza the word ‘Asssss!’ to mimic the sound of a woman during the operation.
(3) Rhythm. The poem has got the patterns of stressed and unstressed syllables making the poem rhythmic.
(4) Interjections. This device has also been applied in order to express the emotions. For instances, exclamation marks have been used in the following utterances; ‘Oooooh!’, ‘Yeeees!’, and ‘Yaaaaah!’(7th stanza).
The poet has applied the simple and understandable language. He has used the dialogues that have made the poem even clearer for the readers. He has also used symbolic language in which the things and objects are represented. For example, he has used the following symbols; Gloves for condoms, theatre for the room, surgeon for the womanizer, operation for the process of making love, and getting to the touch for sexual satisfaction. The poet has also used imagery to builds the picture in the mind of the reader. For instance, he has employed the vivid words like gloves, onomatopoeic words, and several figures of speech to make the poem appeal to the five senses of the reader.
FIGURES OF SPEECH . The poet has applied the following figures as speech in the poem:
(1) Metaphor. Comparison of two unlike things without using conjunctions; ‘like’, ‘as’ and ‘as……as’. For example, “You picked a bomb!” in ninth stanza. Here a woman compares herself with a bomb.
(2) Euphemism. It refers to the use of less offensive words to avoid offending the listener. In the poem, the poet says, “Some touching their euphemism” (5th stanza), meaning that ‘euphemism’ represents private parts of a person.
(3) Hyperbole. This is the exaggeration of the things making them look bigger than they really are. For example, the poet says, “The surgeon of relays, /Ten operations a day, /was his tradition” (5th stanza). Another example happens in the poem when the woman tells the surgeon that “You are dead!” (9th stanza)
Irony. This is the statement which means the opposite. The whole poem is ironic as it satirizes the womanizers. For example, in the first stanza, the poet introduces the surgeon as “The hero of butterflies, /or the kingfish” while he means the opposite. The poet also says in the second stanza, “The most hardworking, always serious and busy looking guy. /But wonderfully! Really wonderful!”
The has the following themes:
(1) Ignorance. Here there is an ignorance of how HIV is transmitted. The surgeon is ignorant when he has sex with a woman without using condoms. No one can identify the infected person by just looking at him or her.
(2) Immorality. This society seems immoral. People like Surgeon are recklessly having sex with various women. This is moral decay and it is very dangerous to the lives of the people.
(3) Selfishness. People in this society people are selfish. They are not content with their partners. For example, in the poem, the surgeon is not content with one partner and he therefore becomes selfish by having sex with various women!
(4) HIV/AIDS. This is also the theme in the poem. This society is plagued by this disease and people are careless about it. They should know how to avoid getting HIV infections by following the ways instructed by the health officers like using condoms and having one partner.
(5) Death. AIDS kills! This is obvious because the disease has no cure. People who get infected are given ARVS but without taking these pills people die soon. In the poem, the surgeon dies at last.
The message of the poem is that in our societies there is HIV/AIDS disease and it is not easy to identify the infected ones.
The lesson or teachings we can learn from this poem is that we should follow the ways of avoiding HIV/AIDS infections as instructed by the medical officers such as to stop having sex until we are in marriage, to have one partner, to use condoms, to avoid sharing sharp objects like razors, and to avoid to having blood transfusions from the infected ones.
The poem is relevant to our contemporary societies. In our societies there is HIV/AIDS disease and people die. The government is trying to educate people the ways of avoiding it but there some other people who do not care about them. So, people should now realize that AIDS kills anyone, unless we stop it.

Other analysed poems from this selection are:

Mloka, C (2007) The Wonderful Surgeon and Other Poems, Mkuki na Nyota, Dar es Salaam.

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Emmanuel Kachele

Emmanuel Kachele is a founder and Blogger of KACHELE ONLINE Blog, an educational blog where 'O' Level English - 'OLE', 'A' Level English (ALE) and other related teaching and life skills are shared extensively. This is an online center for all Tanzanian Secondary School English Language students and teachers (Forms I-VI) and all interested English Language learners and teachers worldwide.


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