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Humour In Nissim Ezekiel's Poetry

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Nissim Ezekiel was an Indian-born poet of Jewish descent and has been described as the “father of post-independence Indian verse in English” and is also a pioneer in Indo- Anglian poetry. Most of Nissim Ezekiel’s sentences are simple. His poetic Style is modern, restrained and conversational. Some of the notable poetic gems by him are Night of the Scorpion, Latter Day Psalms, The Third, The Exact Name etc.., through which Ezekiel has enriched Indo- Anglian poetry. His contribution to philosophical poetry is remarkable. Ezekiel’s diction is ironical and by using irony , he ridicules the absurdities of society. He proves his poetic genius while his readers witness a rich and fertile sense of humors. In fact, versatility is the most remarkable features of Nissim Ezekiel’s poetry. There is simplicity present in his poems and his language has a conversational flow . Epigrammatic and proverbial force is inseparable part of his poetry. Wit and irony are those weapons which gave a lovely sharpness to the poems of Ezekiel but the irony is always gentle. Especially wit and irony give various shades of humor to his poems.

He produces humor by seeing from exterior topics which in genuine life are at times seen detached. In his poem ‘An Atheist Speaks’, Gods existence is not denied but the poet is bitter at the thought of injustice and inequality in God’s creation. In ‘Entertainment’ one takes note on the implied juxtaposition of parody and humor. Monkey shows are very common on the streets were all the people are entertained by the performances ,when the show is over and it is the time for payment crowd disappears without paying and some paying but a pittance for the entertainment they have been given .Ezekiel’s observation is accurate and striking. In ‘Songs of Nandu Bhende’ Nissim Ezekiel attempts a deliberate dig at urban based families and more particularly at husband-wife relationship. These poems are short, precise with strong narrative evoking humor. Juxtaposition of the dialogues between the imposing wife and meek husband creates a humorous effect. He tries to show the subtlety of his ironic mode . Another work by him ‘ Good Bye Party for Miss Pushpa T.S’ is an excellent example of alienation attitude of Ezekiel .The occasion is Miss Pushpa is departing for foreign. The poem reveals a good mood of humor parody and how semi educated people in India speaks English language. The poem gives the reader a chance to look at the Indian culture and people living within it.

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‘The Railway Clerk’ is another work written by him which has a combination of both humor and pathos. The chief source of humor in the poem is Ezekiel’s use of English which is used exactly in the same manner in which an Indian Railway Clerk would use it .Wit and humor save him from being a faded artist. His sense of humor and caricature is again used in the poem ‘The Professor’. The Professor is in a conversational style and it is about a conversation between two people a professor and his former student .In this poem human follies are attacked by using humor, irony and exaggeration. Another example in his poem ‘Jewish Wedding in Bombay’ he arouses humor in which the wife quarrels the husband. Irony has been utilized to chuckle at people and social practices as well. Satire is another device used by Ezekiel to arouse humor .He has a keen observation for the ludicrous and usually he exposes hypocrisy.

Ezekiel’s poems provide an example as they are symmetric in construction .He used irony, parallelism, wit and humor and treats themes in Ezekelian manner. Ezekiel has given brilliance to the Indian poetry. He has also refreshed poetry’s soul. He is a prolific poet. His language is polished. His poetic life includes the whole circle of life. His journey as a poet not only establishes him as an Indian English Poet but it has also given new heights to Indian English poetry.

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Humour In Nissim Ezekiel’s Poetry. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 29, 2022, from
“Humour In Nissim Ezekiel’s Poetry.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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