Yet as he glances at his plate, he decides that there is nothing on it that he has not tasted before or that he will not taste again. He thus concludes "A fierce protest commences in the pit of my stomach and I let it rage". Interestingly though, he ponders whether he would ingest vitamins were they available to him. Clearly he questions whether the vitamins would be the betrayal of the fasting purpose. However that brings him back to his original question "Why Do I Fast"
His writing style is satirical and combined with a deep tragic sense of the obstacles to human progress. He also infuses politics, patriotism, justice, courage, and wisdom. He crafted a multitude of Poems from Prison while a political prisoner in 1967-69. The Man Died (1972) is his prose account of his arrest and imprisonment.
Soyinka allows the reader to experience the fasting process with him and in a peacefully way, the reader experiences this "epiphany" that he is experiencing. Indeed, he admittedly feeds off of the waning of his own body. Certainly this conjures graphic images. However they are morbid indeed. Interestingly, although the vision is morbid it is eclipsed by the spiritual aura of Soyinka's fast an encouraging one, as a protest to their own strife,to fast. This piece allows us to see how Soyinka feels that the delicate scale between lack and plenty can tip, how unswerving asceticism can turn back on itself and become a kind of substance. Strangely, the asceticism can turn into a satisfaction. Taking the notion into this poem, it is hauntingly clear that Soyinka's fast morphed into a strange kind of feast. The style of this piece is one that is written to command the readers attention and to take the reader through the conflict with Soyinka. Simply stated the journey of resolving the conflict is taken together.
The Basic tenet of "Why Do I Fast" is the concept of feeling the sacrifice you have made for your beliefs or for someone whom you love. Soyinka writes about fasting while in prison, the thin line between the pain and pleasure. His fasting becomes euphoric after a while; through denial, he seems to expose his more essential inner core, an exquisite energy sustained by nothing: "The body achieves, of course, true weightlessness. I am blown about by the lightest breeze, by the lightest lyrical thought or metaphor. The body is like an onion and I watch the flesh peel off, layer by layer, layer by layer. And this is the risk, it is this condition that begins the danger of self-indulgence. For by the fourth day the will is no longer involved. I become hungry for the show-down, the moment when I must choose between death or surrender. I resent even the glass of water and begin to cheat."
He started to love his deprivation so much he would have died for it. But that kind of morbid indulgence defeats the ascetic intention. To avoid this risk, I've told myself, one should chase but not always catch, not proclaim oneself perfectly something, not give up entirely, or follow rules too closely-not become attached to absence. Learning to detach from the senses and the world is a main tenant of Buddhism. Attachment breeds unhappiness. I read that the Buddhist monks, when they become beggars-part of their training in humility-must accept everything they are given, even meat, with gratitude, even though they are vegetarians. This lenience appeals to me, the fact