In Once upon a time by Gabriel Okara, he contrasts societyâ€™s affects in adulthood in comparison to his personal struggles in relation to everyday life. The poem is directed to the speakers son. Its about how people can change and form into being like everyone else, but in a deceiving way.
I quote: â€œThere was a time indeed they used to shake hands with their hearts; but now thatâ€™s gone son. Now they shake hands without hearts while their left hands search my empty pockets.â€ My interpretation of that line is people have forgotten true happiness and can only find it through money. They also cannot find it within themselves to be true to others in their hearts.
Why does society say â€œfeel at home,â€ and â€œcome againâ€ if they sincerely do not mean it? Well, we learn to tell white lies when it comes down to being courteous hosts. The doors shut on us to warn us to not expect to be welcomed the second time around. Being asked to â€œcome againâ€ means please donâ€™t expect in the future to be invited back. As we grow into adulthood, we take on and learn the ways of how to be what youâ€™re not, because the majority of society cannot handle the raw honesty.
â€œI have learned to wear many faces like dresses-homeface, officeface, streetface, hostface, cocktailface, with all their conforming smiles like a fixed portrait smile.â€ This quote leads me to ponder a comparison with humans and chameleons. For example how a chameleon changes colors to blend in. Many people wear â€œmasksâ€ to blend in with the rest of society. The speaker sees that no one is their true self when interacting with others. These â€œpeopleâ€ say what you want to hear, but actually what their saying and doing have a totally different meaning behind it.
â€œBut believe me, son. I want to be what I used to be when I was like you. I want to unlearn all these muting things.