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1 Reading and Content Analysis of Non-African Poetry –

“The Sun Rising” by John Donne.

2 Reading and Textual Analysis of African Prose –

Purple Hibiscus by Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie.

3 Reading and Content Analysis of African Poetry –

“Expelled” by Jared Angira.

4. Reading and Textual Analysis of Non-African Prose –

Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

5 Reading and Content Analysis of African Poetry-

“The Fence” by Lenrie Peters.

6 Reading and Textual Analysis of Non-African Play-

The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

7 Reading and Content Analysis of Non-African Poetry-

“The Soul’s Errand” by Walter Raleigh.

8 Reading and Textual Analysis of African Prose-

The Blinkards by Kobina Sekyi.




1.  The Mastery of Literature for 2011 to 2015 by Iwuchukwu Chinweikpe Esq.

2.  Essential Literature-in-English for SSS (second edition) 2011-2015 by Ibitola, A. O.

3.  Exam Reflection Vol. IV, Literature- in-English by Sunday Olateju Faniyi.

4.  Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Drama & Prose) by Sunday Olateju Faniyi.

5.  Purple Hibiscus by Ngozi Chimamanda Adichie

6.  Lord of the Flies by William Golding.

7.  The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde.

8.  The Blinkards by Kobina Sekyi.


















– by John Donne.







This poem is one of many metaphysical poems written by John Donne. The poem centres on the metaphysical image of the sun. In the poem the poet sees the sun as: “Busy old fool, unruly sun”. The sun has been there from time immemorial to do the work it has been assigned by nature and is always continually busy with its mild touch especially in the morning hours and its scorching effects on sunny hours of the day. It is “unruly” because its activities are not controlled by any person including the lovers. The speaker poses a question by way of apostrophe thus: “why dost thou thus/ Through windows and through curtains, call on us”. Indeed the consequence of the sun rising is that its rays pierce through the windows and curtain blinds and touch us by way of the heat that is emitted.


The speaker wonders why the sun should stop the lovers from making love in the day time but in the night, its powers are inhibited and non-existent because lovers then can make love till day break but cannot do the same in the afternoon under the scorching sunshine, and so the speaker queries thus: “Must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?”


Again, the sun is branded a useless and a shameless fellow who pays much attention to details because it believes in doing its routine work stringently and according to rules and nothing less and as a result, it scolds and beats school children and apprentices alike, whenever they are either on their way back to school or working outside for their masters in the case of apprentices. The apprentices are temperamental for constantly working for their masters. Because of its control over all these people, the speaker sarcastically calls on the sun to do what it knows best to do by unleashing its adversity on the servants who attend to the king whenever “the king will ride”. And of course, the sun usually keeps the ants busy.


The speaker maintains that love is such a permanent thing in life and constant so that no “season” nor country nor even sun itself can pose a successful wedge or hindrance to any love affair. Not even time which is measured by “hours”, “days” and “months” which according to the poet are “the rags of time”, would constitute a stumbling block to such a priceless gift of love to mankind. The speaker further wonders why the sun should “think” “thy beams so reverend and strong”, that is, the strength of the sun to send out light should not be overplayed or over-acted. After all, the speaker argues that he could shut out the sun rays by eclipsing (blotting out) his eyes, hence: “I could eclipse and cloud them with a wink /But that I would not lose her sight so long”.


Even at that, the speaker continues, he will not miss his lover for long, if at all; her glittering eyes will not even over-power that of the sun rays or vice-versa. The speaker prefers a wait-and-see attitude, and compares such situation of action-stay, to the East Indies noted for production of spice and that of the West Indies famous for gold, because these people are constantly improving and manufacturing their products and so, should the sun. The sun is also to note that her sun rays could not even do any harm to the kings who congregate on “one bed’, how much less, the unity of the lovers. The speaker is of the view that the sun can visit and beam her light on anybody and anywhere but for them (the lovers), nothing is as important as the love, since they are everything to each other. That is what is represented by – “She is all states, and all princes, I nothing else is”.


Not even princes are as tough as the sun because they, like actors on the stage, do play and copy good manners and feelings that are “honour’s mimic”, though the poet added that all wealth is as useless as the usual practice of the alchemist’s copying of gold and silver, and so is the sun. The poet further says that, “Thou sun art half as happy as we, / In that the world’s contracted thus”. The poet in effect is saying that the sun is not shining on them all the twenty four hours of the day but rather twelve hours in a day and as such cannot be said to be as consummated or as happy as the lovers; more so, when its activities are confined to certain part of the room (window).


It is high time therefore the sun relaxed. After all, it is as old as the world itself and also meant to add warmth to the earth but not to terrify people. It should just shine mildly here and there and regard the “bed” as its focal point and indeed regard the walls as it own ‘sphere’.


1 Give a detailed content analysis of the poem, ‘The Sun Rising’.

2  Discuss the ambivalent effect of the ‘Sun’ in the poem.



DICTION: There is no doubt that the language of the poem is difficult as an average reader could read between the lines to decode the message contained therein. The grammatical structure is essentially figurative and complex. The three stanza poem is arranged in ten lines each; and throughout the poem, extensive use is made of apostrophe as the sun is addressed, as if it were present and the sun is equally personified.


TONE/MOOD: The poem recaptures a minatory (threatening) tone on one hand and that of helplessness and cannot-help on the other. And it is essentially through the tone that we are able to know how intimidating the sun was and how it overshadows the universe and everything in it, including the lovers.


IMAGERY: There are sensuous pictures of the sun, school boys and apprentices, kings and servants alike , ants, bed, that are created in the poem. The result is that the whole poetic description appears picturesque and we are able to feel the pinch of the sun’s scorching heat and empathize with others affected by same-when the poet says that the sun “through windows” and “through curtains, call on us?” We visualize standing before the caller, the sun, and listening to his voice sounding from the windows and curtains. The scenario is sensuous indeed.


SYMBOLISM: In the poem, “the king” refers to a disaster waiting to happen. In other words, “… those kings whom thou saw’st yesterday… All here in one bed lay.” It shows that they have finally met their waterloo and are at their wit’s end. It also signifies death. In the poem, “the sun” could stand for various obstacles that stand on our way to progress; it could be the usual vicissitudes of life and when we are being weighed down heavily by these problems, our position could be akin to the scorching effects of the ‘unruly sun’. The ‘bed’ which is the centre of the sun is the world itself, which is the ‘sphere’ of the sun. ‘The king’ that ‘will ride’ may stand for the almighty sun itself.


ALLUSION: A classical reference identifiable in the poem is that of the East Indies who are famous for spice, and the West Indies who are well known for gold.


APOSTROPHE: The entire poem is apostrophized. Thus, the sun is addressed as if it was present and the literary device pays off for immediacy which is achieved in the poem.


ALLITERATION: To achieve some measure of concord and rhythm, the poet uses the following words: (1) “must… motions” (‘m’ alliterates), (2) “call country” (‘c’ alliterates), (3) “I could …3 cloud” (‘c’ alliterates), (4) “To warm the word … warning us” (‘w’ alliterates).


IRONY: It is ironical that the sun is described as “old fool” and “unruly” and “saucy pedantic wretch”, and at the same time is said “to warm the world” and being invited to “shine here” and in fact, “everywhere”. Thus with these lines, the poem ends on a note of irony.


METAPHOR: It is metaphorical that ‘hour’, ‘days’ and ‘mouths’ are described as ‘the rags of time’ and that all wealth is said to be alchemy, that is, unreal, like the alchemist’s imitations of gold and silver.


INVERSION/ RHETORICAL QUESTION: “Thy beams so reverend and strong/why shouldst thou think”, instead of ‘why shouldst you think? / Thy beams so reverend and strong”. It is also a question that doesn’t require any answer, and so is “must to thy motions lovers’ seasons run?”


PERSONIFICATION: Throughout the poem, the sun is described as a living being (e.g.) “Through windows and though curtains, call on us?” How can the sun develop a mouth to call the lovers? The sun is to “ask for those kings…”, as if it were a person who can ask after somebody. The poet in line 12 asks the question, “why shouldst thou think?” and line 20 says that “thou shalt hear”. The effect of these usages is that the description is made lively.


HYPERBOLE: It is an exaggeration which has the effect of keeping us in suspense as the encounter between the sun and the lover is capable of producing a stupendous result. Hence, the lover consoles himself, that he is not likely to miss his female counterpart for a long time, so as long as “her eyes have not blinded thine”, that is, if the ray of the sun has not blinded the female lover.


SARCASM: It is a jibe to ask the sun to remind the “court huntsmen that the king will ride”. It is a form of caricature.


OXYMORON: Here, two opposing words that are placed together for a sharp contrast is “reverend” which means that the sun is admired but is at the same time “strong” on the body.



* The biting effects of the rising sun.

*  The adverse effects of the sun as a hindrance to true love.

*  The socio-cultural roles that the sun play on human life.



1 Discuss the use of imagery symbolism in the poem, ‘The Sun Rising’.

2 Discuss the major theme of the poem.








1.  A pause within a line of a poem is a …………

 (a) zeugma  (b) foot  (c) caesura  (d) stress (e) pause

2.  The recurrence of rhythmic pattern of stress in a poem is a ……

 (a) couplet  (b) metre  (c) consonance  (d) scansion (e) assonance

3.  A literary work in which action and characters represent ideas is ……….

 (a) an allusion   (b) an epigram (c) an allegory  (d) an innuendo (e) an alliteration

4.  “Peter’s pretty partner paid the bills” is an example of ………

 (a) alliteration   (b) rhyme  (c) satire (d) digression (e) personification

5.  “O happy torment” is an example of ……

 (a) oxymoron   (b) simile  (c) synecdoche  (d) innuendo   (e) metaphor





1 Discuss the style of the poem, ‘The Sun Rising’.

2  John Donne is a metaphysical poet. Discuss, using his poem.



1  Exam Reflection Vol. IV, Literature- in-English by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 43-51.

2  Essential Literature-in-English for SSS by Ibitola A. O., pgs 203-206.

3  The Mastery of Literature by Chinweikpe Iwuchukwu Esq, pgs 98-104.  


















Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie was born in Nigeria in 1977 to the family of Professor James Nwoye

Adichie and (Mrs.) Grace Ifeoma Adichie. Her short fiction has been published in literary

magazines in Nigeria, the U. K. and the U. S. Purple Hibiscus is her first novel published in 2006.



The background of the book is all about the period when the military were in charge of Nigeria. It

is a time that the civil rights of the people and the constitution are suspended for the decrees of

the military. And under this dispensation, it was a taboo for civilians, in whatever form, say, the

press, newspapers, political parties, pressure group etc., to confront the government. This was the

period in which the characters, particularly Papa (Uncle Eugene), the father of Jaja and Kambili




The story begins in the home of Eugene (Papa as fondly called by his children), who on realizing

that his son, Jaja broke God’s Palm Sunday by not attending Mass for the day, got ablaze with

anger over his son. This anger nursed and nurtured right from the church becomes fully expressed

as “Papa flung his heavy missal across the room and broke the figurines on the étagère” (p. 11).

This is when “Things started to fall apart at home…” as Jaja stands to reply his father to his face.

The continued effrontery from Jaja to Papa, even at the dinner table, makes Kambili sickly as “My

body shook from the coughing” (p. 22), and she’s forced to stay “… in bed and did not have

dinner with the family”. In her bed, she thought to know what possessed Jaja, and so “… let my

mind rake through the past, through the years when Jaja and Mama and I spoke more with our

spirits than with our lips. Until Nsukka, Nsukka started it all; Aunty Ifeoma’s little garden…”

(pp. 23-24), and we are lunched into the history for Jaja’s revolt to his father’s standards on

God’s palm Sunday. After Kambili’s effort to intimate us with all the past, we are linked to the

corollary of breaking God’s palm Sunday.

The plot account of the book depicts the experiences of a Christian family of four who lived in Enugu under a military regime. Papa who is the head of the family, a devout catholic, saw it a

misnomer to disobey any doctrine of the Roman Catholic. He is a man of great personality, who

owns several factories and a newspaper house called ‘Standard‘. He is a great pillar for many to stand, such as: Saint Agnes Cathedral, Destitute and his village community. He stands against every form of corruption through the effort of his paper and his editor, Ade Coker and is well cherished and respected by the people of Saint Agnes church, his workers and the people of his community; that was why he got the chieftaincy title ‘Omelora‘ (one who does for all). He is an extremist, who believes in impeccability, as he deals decisively with those he tags ‘heathen’.

The story continues that the nature of Papa in upholding “righteous living” drove Ade coker

to his death. And his nature also makes Amaka to consider Jaja and Kambili, abnormal. This

(Papa nature) also forces Kambili and Jaja to request for and want more of the visits to Nsukka. It

follows that after the death of Ade Coker and Papa Nnukwu, and while Kambili and Jaja were

away from home, Papa displayed one of his traits as a “christian” by hitting his wife, Beatrice, who

was pregnant unknown to him, with one of the centre tables in their house. Mama, Beatrice, has

no other choice but to poison Papa’s tea. And Jaja who is in the nature of protecting his mother

and sister, decides to give himself up in place of his mother to be responsible for his father’s death

after it was discovered by the autopsy that Papa died of poison.

Jaja is reprimanded in the prison for close to three years before chances of freedom became known to the surviving family.



The contextual setting noted in the book, Purple Hibiscus, is Nigeria. But the textual or immediate

settings in the story are Papa’s house in Enugu, Saint Agnes Church and Father Benedict’s house

in Enugu, Kambili’s School, Papa’s house at Abba, Catholic Church at Abba, Papa Nnukwu’s

house, Aunty Ifeoma’s house at Nsukka, the market places both at Nsukka and in Enugu, and the


The above settings mentioned served as a stage for the actions or events captured in the book, and they further help to give the text the local identity it possesses.



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, as a writer, sorts to enlighten her readers with some vital lessons

through her novel on how to manage one’s faith and relationship in the family. These lessons



Theme of Modesty and Perfection

This is seen between the relations of the family of Uncle Eugene and the outside world. It

happened that Papa (Uncle Eugene) who is a wealthy man having several factories and a

newspaper house, and living in an edifice, opted for a standard that is in no wise less to perfection.

This is evident in his relationship with his children when they are at the dinning table. It begins

that there is a systematic but stereotyped method with which the family have their meal.

It is also seen at the moment Father Benedict was raining praises on Eugene in the church that

Kambili decided on putting on a straight face not to betray the advice or instruction given by her

father that one does not respond to praises in public by chuckling or smiling in order to be modest.

The display of continuous confession even at meal time and the concomitant punishments on his

children any time he considers them to have sinned, is a trace to and trait of perfection and

modesty according to Eugene.


Theme of Love and Hatred

In the book, there are a countless displays of love across the characters. First, the love displayed

by Kambili to her father, especially the moments she takes a love sip from Papa’s tea. Love as

idealized by Kambili is well captured and expressed in her believing that her father was right when

he pours hot water from a kettle on their legs, and hits their mother with a table in the sitting room,

which all stand as correction based on love. On the other hand, Kambili’s cousins displayed their

unquenchable love towards their grandfather, irrespective of being a ‘heathen’ against the beliefs

of Eugene. Love also is seen in the sudden but gradual acquaintance made between Kambili and

Father Amadi, that at the end of their last meeting, she confessed to him her love.

Love as a theme in the novel is also intercepted and interjected by hatred at different phases which made Jaja to give himself up as the murderer of his father, in place of his mother (the real

murderer). Hatred also in the book, though clumsily based on religious grounds, made Uncle

Eugene to refuse his father entrance into his compound in the village. It is further displayed in his

‘decisive treatment’ of his children when they spent 25mins instead of 15mins at Papa Nnukwu’s

house, and when Jaja and Kambili hid Papa Nnukwu’s visit to Nsukka from him, even when it was

Christmas and a holiday respectively.


Theme of Religious Supremacy

This is a theme that is of greater preeminence. It is the coy that holds the different parts of the book

together. In the book, Papa (Eugene) in an effort to assert the supremacy of his religion over Papa

Nnukwu’s, decided to neglect his responsibilities of providing the up-keep of Papa Nnukwu and

asking him not to come to his house. This is further displayed in his refusal to assist Aunty Ifeoma

when she was bankrupt, because of her interference with Papa Nnukwu. The scene surrounding the

chieftaincy title he got is not to be relegated. Papa had to seek Father Benedict’s consent on

whether he should accept a title as pressed by the people of his community, on the grounds that it

is normally attached with things of a lesser god from a lesser religion. The opening of the book

where Papa threw the Missal at Jaja for refusing to attend Mass on a Palm Sunday, is also a strong

point for this theme.


Theme of Maltreatment and Threat

Threat in the book is seen to come from the military government to ‘truth-Sayers’. This threat is

given to stop the activities of Ade Coker as the editor of the Standard newspapers and it was

actually carried out. Threat and Maltreatment does not just stop there, it is also displayed in Aunty

Ifeoma’s house in relation to her job as a lecturer in the University of Nsukka at Nsukka. It is also

identified in the manner in which Uncle Eugene corrects his children and attends to his wife.



1.  Give a detailed plot account of the novel, Purple Hibiscus.

2.  Discuss two major themes of the book, Purple Hibiscus.




Papa (Eugene)

He is the husband of Mama (Beatrice) and the father of Jaja and Kambili. He is a wealthy Nigerian

that owns several factories and a newspaper house; a devout Catholic who uncontrollably became a

fanatic from a brand of Catholicism which objects to every form of acts that he considers

‘heathen’. He is under the spell of the western culture, style of worship, and behavioural pattern.

He is constantly attacked by inferiority complex as he consciously and unconsciously detach

himself from his cultural and traditional existence in his actions and inactions on the bases of being

an ardent catholic. He is a philanthropist to the church, his workers, beggars and his community,

but a saddist to his father and all who he considers heathen or who toe the heathen line. He is not a

modest man, as he claims, at home. He flogs and beats the wife even at pregnancy which is

against the culture of the western world he imitates. He remains a flat character throughout the

text, and this provoked his death by his wife. There was no genuine father-children love in their

home. He is an idealist.


Mama (Beatrice)

She is the mother of Jaja and Kambili, and the wife of Papa (Eugene). She is a member of ‘Our

Lady of the Miraculous Medal prayer group’. She is humane and understanding. This is seen in

the manner she treats members of the ‘Umunna’ during Christmas, the way she pities Aunty Ifeoma

on her present state, and how she condones her husband and manages her home. She is a full time

house-wife who is not very educated like her husband. She had experienced several miscarriages

before the one she told Kambili of. She is manhandled by her so-called modest husband for every

little offence. She, until almost the end of the story, remained a flat character, but developed by

changing from a selfless and harmless house-wife into a secret murderer as a punitive measure for

the safety of her life and that of the children. She is innocent that she confessed the truth to her

children behind their father’s death.



He is the son of Papa and Mama, and a brother to Kabili. He is a brilliant boy and always loves to

protect Kambili and his mother. He is a round character as we saw him transform from a gentle

and fearful kid into a fearless and bold boy as he talks back at his father to his face. He expresses

great love for Kambili and Mama, but great hatred for Papa, which made him to give himself up as

the killer of Papa in place of his mother who actually poisoned Papa (her husband). He is a

shadow of his father, as he dislikes every tailored lifestyle proposed by his father on him even in

and out of the house. The story started with his breaking of God’s Palm Sunday which expedites

the tragedy in the family. He never fantasized any of his father’s treatment to be love as did by

Kambili in the text: he is realistic.




She is the daughter of Papa and Mama, and a sister to Jaja. Kambili always comes first in her

class, but on an occasion she came second due to the accident surrounding her mother’s pregnancy,

was not spared by her father who followed her to her class in school. She has a dual role or

personality in the book as she stands as the narrator and a character. Kambili is considered to be a

snob by Jideze and her classmates because of the discipline instill in her by her father. This further

made Amaka to consider her and Jaja as adnormal when they visited Nsukka. She fantasizes every

action of Papa to be love even at the expense of her happiness, and always seeks for love sip from

her father’s tea. She lived a tailored life as guided by the schedules made by her father. She seems

to be over-conscious of her actions, so that, she does not betray her anti-social behaviour before

others. Kambili is over-emotional which is identified in her confession to father Amadi. She

hated her mother for poisoning her father.


Aunty Ifeoma

She is Eugene’s sister and Aunty to Jaja and Kambili. She is the mother of Amaka, Obiora and

Chima. She is the wife of Ifediora. She is a lecturer and lives at Nsukka with her children. At the

neglect of Eugene, she solely attended to Papa Nnukwu (their father) until his death. Unlike

Eugene and his family, Aunty Ifeoma troops in with her children to see part during Christmas. She

is a lively fellow who believes in freedom of association. She does not hate her father (Papa

Nnukwu), because of his faith or belief. She is seen to be an activist and an agent of positive

change. She was intimidated and harassed by members of the school security on invalid grounds.

Her house becomes an orientation camp for both Jaja and Kambili in order to liberate them from

the impression instill in them by their father from out of a brand of extreme Catholicism. She

stands as a support to Beatrice anytime situations call for that. She is friendly, even to the young

priest, father Amadi. She becomes a widow in the story and went through hard times of providing

for her children and standing up to the insults from her in-laws’ ‘Umunna’. She, at the end,

secures a teaching appointment abroad, which rescued her from the embarrassment of the striking

situation of the school authority. She is a catholic, but not an extremist like Eugene. She is

contemporary in her dress code as she laces her lips and eye-brows with sharp paintings.



She is the daughter of Aunty Ifeoma, and sister to Obiora and Chima. Her father is late. She is a

cousin to Jaja and Kambili. She is seen to be precocious and exhibits a high sense of rationale

throughout the text. She is vocal and blunt that she can be mistaken for her mother (Aunty

Ifeoma). She looks like Aunty Ifeoma and shares same perception to fashion and mannerism. She

is well-bred to prepare all kinds of dishes, especially local ones. Amaka felt disappointed with the

attitude or quiet nature of her cousins that she considered them abnormal. She is a true Nigerian as

her love for everything home-made as seen in her choice of music is second to none. She is a very

talkative like her mother, as they both can not do without it. She possesses outstanding qualities

even as an artist. She expresses great love for Papa Nnukwu and goes ahead to draw him as one

of her art works. She constantly teases Father Amadi over her cousin, Kambili, and also, a tease to

Kambili and over situation that require her teasing.





He is a brother to Amaka and Chima, and a son to Aunty Ifeoma. He is also a cousin to Jaja and

Kambili. He is younger than Amaka. He uses a pair of glasses and acts like an intellectual even in

his arguments throughout the text. He is pragmatic as he saw no use for staying back in Nigeria

while America stood as an alternative. He is lively and enjoys the company of others (Jaja and

Father Amadi). He does almost all the masculine chores at home and takes over the position of his

late-father at home. He is objective and less of a tease compared to Amaka.



He is the last son of Aunty Ifeoma and the baby of the house. He is lively and enjoys every

spirited talks from his elderly siblings, and his mother. He loves sumptuous meals that come

with the visit of Jaja and Kambili, and also wished for more of their visit. He is also inquisitive

like his elderly ones. He is child-like but loving.


Papa Nnukwu

He is the father of Eugene and Aunty Ifeoma, the grand-father of Jaja, Kambili, Amaka, Obiora

and Chima. He lived in a mud house which is different from the big compound of his son in Abba.

He is loved by his daughter (Aunty Ifeoma) but despised by his son (Uncle Eugene) for being a

heathen. He is forbidden by his son (Eugene) to enter or visit his (Eugene) compound because of

his traditional belief. He is a critical analyst in the story even as he compares the similarities and

dissimilarities the traditional religion and the Christian religion possess. He is a jovial and loving

person to especially his grand-children. He is a victim of circumstances as he could not enjoy the

dividend of having a wealthy son, who has several factories and a newspaper. He lived a wretched

life but for Aunty Ifeoma who occasionally intervened. He later died at Nsukka in Aunty Ifeoma’s




Ade Coker

He is Papa’s (Eugene) editor of Standard newspapers, and the husband of Yewande. He has two

children. He is a fearless man as he confronts and accosts the military government with his writing

and provokes tension for the military. He was arrested for a while and later released by the

military, but refuse to stop his line of criticism on the military, and was later killed by the military.

He is lively and funny. He is principled and abhors all forms of corruption even in the face of

death. He is reliable, positive and friendly.


Father Benedict

He is the priest (reverend father) of St. Agnes Catholic Church who is still called ‘our new father’

because of his colour. He is a white (foreign) father who completely dislikes everything

(Nigerian) home-made or traditional for the benefit of his western culture and tradition. He

enforces the members of the cathedral to see the use of their mother tongue during worship or in

church to be archaic and sinful, but makes them to put up every western attribute in their style or

mode of worship to God. He loves praising Papa while in church for the contributions he made to

church and Papa’s effort to confront the military government.


Father Amadi

He is a young priest who once visited St. Agnes Catholic Church and broke the sacred rules by using

his mother tongue while conducting a mass. By fate, Kambili and Jaja meet him in one of his

visits to Aunty Ifeoma’s house at Nsukka, and are told that Father Amadi is the new priest for the

campus. He is affable and good looking. He is a good friend of Aunty Ifeoma’s family and loves

sport. He is a direct opposite of Father Benedict in taste and in manner.



Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s style is her manner of writing. That is all the ploys she exhausted in

her work. One outstanding feature in her book is that of participant/personalized narration. In this

kind of technique, the narrator of the story is also a character, and that is Kambili. Through

Kambili the story is told and the actions of other characters are revealed, yet she was a character in

the book who has a father that becomes a fanatic by a brand of Catholicism. She is a major

character, and also, the protagonist in the book as all actions seem to attack her feelings.

Also, as Adichie’s style is her use of code-mixing with words from her vernacular. This is

beautifully used by her in the text that most readers would confuse her for Achebe. In other words,

her style is Achebean.

The style employed by her in plot structure is also distinct by her use of flashback. In the book, Adichie uses this technique to arouse the interest of her readers to go through the text or story with her without wishing to stop until the story is complete.

In order to domesticate the story, besides using her vernacular, Adichie deems it feat to mention real societies in Nigeria. And they are: Enugu, Nsukka and Aba, in the Eastern part of Nigeria.



1  Discuss the role of Jaja in the book, Purple Hibiscus.

2.  Discuss the narrative techniques of the book, Purple Hibiscus.





1.  “The star blinked and the wind wailed” is an example of _____

 (a) antithesis (b) euphemism (c) metaphor (d) parody (e) personification

2.  Pick out the odd item from the following_______

 (a) comedy (b) octave (c) Quatrain (d) sonnet (e) sestet

3.  “United we stand, divided we fall”, illustrates the use of __________

 (a) anti-climax (b) antithesis (c) climax (b) irony (e) sarcasm

4.  The writer’s freedom to use words to suit his own purpose is called_____

 (a) author’s freedom (b) author’s license (c) poetic freedom (d) poetic license

 (e) writer’s license

5.  The expression, “Before Idi Amin breathed his last he admonished his children to shun violence” is a/an ________

 (a) anecdote (b) metaphor (c) euphemism  (d) onomatopoeia (e) paradox


1  Discuss the sociological import of the book, Purple Hibiscus, and its significance.

2.  Write short notes on the following: Papa, Aunty Ifeoma, Kambili, Amaka and

 Papa Nnukwu.



1  Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Drama & Prose) by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 129-155.







by Jared Angira.










Jared Angira was born in 1947. He studied at the University of Nairobi where he bagged a bachelor of commerce (B. Com) in 1971. While in the University, he edited Busara, a literary and creative writing magazine. His collection of poems includes Juices, 1970, Silent Voices, Soft Corals, 1974 and The Year Go By, 1980.


This poem shows how the coming of a foreign culture and ideology had come to shatter the traditional standards and ways of life, economically, socially, religiously and politically. The colonialists might be responsible for this sudden and devastating change. Before the coming of the white men, the Africans had been involved in commerce and econometrics, and had planned and managed their political economy. But the foreign incursion had left a bitter experience in all facets of the old ways. As the poet puts it succinctly:

We had traded in this market competitively perfect

till you come, in the boat, and polished goodwill

Approval from high order.

All pepper differentials, denied flag – bearers.


In economics, a perfect competition market is a free competition market for the sale of a commodity. This was a lot of the business environment in days preceding colonialism, but now approval would have to be obtained, even from the western world, for a country to gain free access to goods and services. Even the politicians would have some western cleavages before any meaningful impact would be made by them, at the highest level.

 The imperialists ‘cut our ribs’, ‘burst the cowshed’ and worst still, ‘ planted on the market place’ their own business strategies to ruin our economy. ‘The creditor tapped my rusty door’ shows how they came and put out the old things which howsoever ‘rusty’ they still served the purpose befitting the old order.

 The ‘last penny’ probably referring to the very old currency in use then like ‘the farden’, ‘ the cowries ‘ etc , were discarded and disposed with the coming of the white dominion. As is usual with the downtrodden, every person, every nation, avoid him or her hence ‘the broken line runs across my face’

 The efforts to destroy any known economic policy of the old system result into one thing thus:

 The auctioneer will gong his hammer

for the goods left behind.



1  Give a detailed content analysis of the poem, ‘Expelled’.

2  How does the poem, ‘Expelled’ display the Europeans.



  1. The evils of colonialism
  2. The exploitation of Africa
  3. Hardship and regret.




  1. Diction: The lines of the poem flow like an ocean waves or a river bed. The use of run – on lines makes it rhythmical and the smooth run of the poem is realized and captured. The language of the poem makes for easy understanding. Though certain words are difficult to comprehend except a recourse is made to the dictionary, such words as ‘differential’ (degree of difference), ‘tapped’ (Signaled to put lights out or to knock gently) ‘gale’ ( a strong breeze between a still breeze and a hurricane, or an outburst) ‘ rivulets’ (small rivers) ‘blared’ ( harsh loud sound).
  2. Onomatopoeia: Exemplified in ‘ gong’, ‘floating’, ‘rusty’ , ‘dark’, ‘burst’ .’ drought,’ pepper, ‘hammer’, ‘broken’, ‘tapped’, ‘fishing’ etc. The effect of the above words is that the musical nature of the poem is enhanced and the meaning of the poem is further enhanced because their meaning is as the words sound.
  3. Irony/paradox: (1) ‘everyone avoids my path…’
    (2) ‘I have nothing to reject’, (3) ‘plant rejects sea water’, ‘the sea water rejects me’; In no 3 above, the rejection of the intruder results into the victim being hated as well.
  4. Allusion: There is a special reference to the Christian bible on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah which was gutted by fire which signifies how unsafe and threatening the coming of the intruders was.
  5. Symbolism / Imagery: The ‘rusty door’ symbolizes the hopelessness and helplessness and the impecuniosities, misfortune, foibles and limitations of life of the speaker. The image of an auctioneer in the poem conveys a picture of a thing that is at its last diminishing point.
  6. Metaphor: It is metaphoric when the poet remembers ‘The tree of memory’ ‘planted on the market’, showing the heritage of our arts and artifacts. ‘ Human lake’ also refers to human emotions and the lachrymal organ in human body which induces tears to flow from the eyes
  7. Alliteration / Repetition: The uses of these two literary devices are that the emphasis of some words as a result of repetition had made the lines musical and rhythmical e.g. ‘ flowed to flooded’ (‘f’ alliterates) ‘garden…. gale’ (‘g’ alliterates). The words repeated are ‘my’, ‘you’ ‘our’ (‘my’ is used ten times in the poem). ‘Avoid’, ‘reject’, are also repeated.


  1. Discuss the diction deployed by Jared Angira in the poem, ‘Expelled’.

2. Discuss two themes in the poem.



  1. “She waited for him for a thousand years ” illustrates (a) euphemism (b) hyperbole (c) assonance (d) ellipses
  2. A literary device which express meaning in its direct opposite is (a) metaphor (b) paradox (c) parody (d) irony
  3. Pick the odd item out of the options listed below (a) verse (b) stanza (c) rhythm (d) dialogue
  4. In drama, ‘ denouement’ is the same as (a) climax (b) conflict (c) resolution (d) anti – climax
  5. Which of the following is not true of a balled: (A) They were originally sung (b) They are mostly part of oral tradition (c) They tell a popular story (d) They are written in iambic metre


1. Is it true that the poem is about a disaster or a crisis? Expatiate.

  1. What image does the word ‘auctioneer’ carries in the poem.



1  Exam Reflection Vol. IV, Literature- in-English by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 93-102.

2  Essential Literature-in-English for SSS by Ibitola A. O., pgs 222-225.

3  The Mastery of Literature by Chinweikpe Iwuchukwu Esq, pgs 51-56.  















The plot structure of the novel, Lord of the Flies (1954), by William Golding can be seen to be not so difficult, but not so straight forward. It has some digressive links from the assembly ground to the paradisal landscape, to the mountain tops, to the ‘hunting’ creeper-forest, and to the castle rock, which all bring the book to a complete whole. In an effort to avoid over-embedding the book in complex plot structures that may further scare his readers, Golding artistically unveils the plot of his book within the same and connectively unified setting.

For convenience, as readers, we find the plot structure of the novel divided into three sections. The first deals with the arrival of the boys on the island: Ralph emerging first, followed by Piggy, Sam and Eric, the Choir led by Jack Merridew and others; the assembly gathered by sounds produced from the Conch discovered by Ralph and Piggy; the early decisions about what to do; the emphasis falls on the paradisal landscape, the hope of rescue, and the pleasures of day-to-day events. Everything which includes the actions and lifestyle of all within this part of the book is contained within law and rule: the sense of the awful and the forbidden is strong, as the Conch becomes the seat of authority for one to speak and act. Also, within this part of the book, Jack cannot at first bring himself to kill a pig because of “the enormity of the knife descending and cutting into living flesh; because of the unbearable blood”. Roger throws stones at Henry, but he throws to miss because “round the squatting child was the protection of parents and school and policemen and the law”.

 The world in this part of the book is the world of children’s games. The difference comes when there is no parental summons to bring these games to an end. These games have to continue throughout the day, and through the days that follow. And it is worth noting that Golding creates his first sense of unease through something which is familiar to every child in however protected a society is-the waning of the light. It is the dreams that usher in the beast, the snake, the unidentifiable threat to their security.

 The second part of the book could be said to begin when that threat takes on physical reality, with the arrival of the dead airman. Immediately the fear is crystallized, all the boys are now affected; discussion has increasingly given way to action. As the narrative increases in tempo, so its implications enlarge. Ralph has appealed to the adult world for help, “If only they could send us something grown-up… a sign or something,” and the dead airman is shot down in flames over the island. As a result, the atmosphere is laced with fear and destruction; the boy’s world is only a miniature version of the adults. By now, the nature of the destroyer is becoming clearer; it is not a beastie or snake but man’s own nature.

 The third part of the book, and the most terrible, explores the meaning and consequence of this creation of evil. Complete moral anarchy is unleashed by Simon’s murder. The world of the game, which embodied in however an elementary way, rule and order, is systematically destroyed, because hardly anyone can now remember when things were otherwise. When the destruction is complete, Golding suddenly restores “the external scene” to us, not the paradisal world of the marooned boys, but our world. The naval officer speaks, we realize with horror, our wards, “the kid needed a bath, a hair-cut, a nose wipe and a good deal of ointment”. He carries the emblems of power, the white drill, the epaulettes, the gilt-buttons, the revolver, the trim cruiser.

 Apart from the above, it can be said that Golding’s plot structure in the book, Lord of the Flies, also runs in sequence through the different sub-tittles in the novel (The sound of the shell, Fires on the Mountain, Huts on the Beach, Painted Faces and Long Hair, Beast from Water, Beast from Air, Shadows and Tall Trees, Gift for the Darkness, A view to a Death, The shell and the Glasses, Castle Rock and Cry of the Hunters). Its plot account begins with the resurgence of the children on the island from the countless spots they were scattered to from the plane crash. This resurgence is made possible by the sound of the shell. An assembly was formed, and rules came up on who is Chief and when one should talk. It continues from there to the exploring of their new found environment. The fruity bushes, the mountain tops and castle rock are discovered. In this flow, the experiences and interest of the individual child is depicted. Ralph, the elected Chief, wants a burning fire on the mountain as signals to the adult world for their rescue from the island, Jack and Roger want hunted meat and fun respectively, Piggy wants proper-thinking or orderliness in every actions on the island, and others either go with Ralph or with Jack. The plot continues with the entrance of the thought of a beastie or snake on the island, which eventually leads to the birth of evil or murder on the island, as discussion or dialogue becomes insufficient to direct the actions of the children, and prompt actions become the best alternative: as seen in Jack and Roger who left the fire on the mountain and the building of the hut for hunting, and they went wild.

 And this found modus operandi of ‘actions’ instead of dialogue or discussion by Jack brings about the deaths that occurred in the island. Due to his self-centred interest to be ‘Chief’ and own a territory with savages under his command, Jack played down the death of Simon, prompted the death of Piggy and stirred the pursuit of Ralph on the island, before the naval officer appears.

In conclusion, the plot account reveals the struggle for office as Chief on the island between Jack and Ralph. And how Jack stopped at nothing to become Chief which started unconsciously unorganized, but transformed into a conscious plan through stream of events that took place between Jack and Ralph, Jack and Piggy, Jack and the Littluns, Jack and the Pig hunt and Party, and Jack and Roger.



The first theme identified in the novel is the betrayal of trust. Piggy told Ralph that he is called “Piggy” by school mates on trust, but Ralph betrayed this trust when he told Jack and other that his name is not “Fatty” but “Piggy”. It was on trust that Ralph allows Jack to continue in the control of the choir when made “Chief”, so that, there will be peace and unity. But this purposive reason is betrayed by Jack, as he hijacks the control of not just the choir group, but also, the entire children on the island. The assembly also betrays Ralph as Chief, and Piggy as one of them. When Ralph counted on their support to build huts and put fire on the mountain, they decided to go with Jack who was able to provide them with pig meat and party. In other words, they rendered the dreams of Ralph for rescue unattainable, just for them to have fun and eat meat. The last but not the least on betrayal is the attitude Sam and Eric towards Ralph, by exposing his hide-out to Jack, so that, he will be killed

 Other themes in the novel include: brutish anarchy; opposition and altercation; carelessness, care freeness and neglect of responsibility; pain and sorrow; witch hunting and hatred, among others.



1.  Give a detailed plot account of the novel

2.  The theme of betrayal of trust runs through the novel. Discuss.




In his book, William Golding has been able to create a class for his characters: some he calls the littluns, and others, the biguns. Golding undisputedly exhibits his creative prowess by sufficiently having children as his characters to satirically display a miniature and caricature of the real adult world. The amount of personality ascribed to his individual character reveals Golding’s dexterity to mould characters of his work.

 His use of characterization betrays the distribution of kids of not more than 13 years of age with tasks of an adult, who acted, in their individual respects, precociously for the writer’s purpose to be attained. Amongst his kid – characters, there is a vivid classification into major and minor characterization of characters.

 The major characters in his book include: Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Roger, Sam n Eric, and Simon, while the minor characters are Henry, Percival, Johnny, Robert and Maurice, among others.




Ralph is a protagonist in the novel. He suffers from the antagonist effort of Jack. He is also a round character in the book, whose father is a naval officer. He is 12 years old and has a fair hair. He is seen to be uncouth to Piggy at the beginning of the story. He is susceptible and carefree which cost him his position as chief, and almost, his life to Jack. He is not a tactful leader. He is also seen as a tragic – hero in the novel.


Piggy is a protagonist and a flat character in the novel. From the opening of the book, we see Piggy to be friendly, intelligent and decorous. And this he maintains in the book, until his end. He has bad sight. He is a boy of diplomacy who believes in doing things right. He is tactful, and objects every acts of indiscipline that emanates from the assembly, especially Jack, towards Ralph as chief. He is an Orphan and stays with his aunt. He has a lower background. He becomes one of the victims of Ralph’s carefreeness to Jack (he died).


Jack is the chief antagonist in the book. He is over – ambitious. He is seen to be rude and assertive from the beginning of the book. He uncontrollable takes to hunting and goes wild, into becoming a savage. He stirs the murder of Simon and Piggy. He is the leader of the choir, that later transform into hunters. He is an archrival of Ralph and abhors Piggy. He is an opportunist and a strategist. He is also a round character.


Roger is an antagonist, a betrayal and enjoys merry – making. He is a black boy who at the early stage of the book, suggest an election for the office of the chief. He is also mischievous, as he enjoys making Johnny cry, and throws stones at Henry. He is at the fore – front of rebelling against the government of Ralph. He is close to Jack.


These are round characters. They are twins and have been with Ralph and Piggy, but later join Jack, forcefully. They are indifferent to the strive between Jack and Ralph. They are talkative. They are younger than Ralph, Piggy, Jack and Roger. They are hardworking in the book but easily amused.


Simon is a flat character, who remains batting and kept to himself by disappearing and appearing on the island. He is a victim of circumstance. He also is indifferent to the struggle between Ralph and Jack. He is stepped upon during the uncontrollable excitement of the party by the Children. He is younger than Ralph and Jack. He is adventurous.




Henry is one of the littluns playing while Roger and Maurice destroyed their excitement. When he left the scene on a lone work, Roger still followed him and threw stones, to miss, at him. He is innocent and felt the protection of his parents, even on the island.


He is also a littlun, who is playing, building a sandy house with Johnny, before it is destroyed by Roger. He laughs at Johnny, as he cried.


Johnny is one of the littluns whose sandy built house is destroyed by Roger, and he continues to cry before Percival. He is so emotional.


Robert is one of the biguns, though not so big as Ralph and Jack. He is fully involved in the party and dance of the pig. He is active in the camp of Jack as a savage, enemy of Ralph and Piggy.


Maurice also mimics the pig during the celebration. He is with Roger when they both disturbed the littluns from playing. He also takes to parents’ advice, as he remembers not to be mischievous according to his parents’ advice, and left Johnny and others alone.



William Golding in his book did so well to create a distinction for himself and his novel, with the language and style adopted effectively by him. The first peculiarity we are faced with is his style of characterization. In every chapter of the book, Golding gave a succinct sub – title that announces to the reader the presence of suspense which engulfs the reader from the opening of the chapter to the end of it. Also, his use of characterization that has all (apart from the dead airman and the Naval officer who showed up at the end of the book) his characters to be kids. His ability to creatively present these kids with the role played by the individual child, betrays Golding’s style as a writer. Still on his characterization, Golding artistically gave to his kid – characters (each one) diction or a variety of the English Language that portrays and exposes the socio – economic personality of such characters.

 In other words, his readers became more conversant with the background (both social and economical) of his characters as they make exchanges among themselves. This is evident in Piggy as he talks throughout the text, and also Ralph, who through his curt manner towards Piggy at the open of the story, made us to note that his father is a Naval Office and that he is of a better background than Piggy.

 The language adopted by Golding in the novel is chatty, and laced with slang, nicknames and neologism. That is, Golding was able to create new words for his characters to effectively and efficiently drive home his purpose for writing. His ability to describe the setting without the help of a map, and also, his characters, that they become identifiable in our real world. His choice for omniscient as his point – of – view also betrays Golding’s uniqueness as a writer.



  1. Discuss critically the role of Piggy in the book.
  2. Highlight and critically discuss the significance of Golding’s language and style to the success of the text.



  1. A short and witty poem is known as (a) a balled (b) an epigram (c) an Epic (d) a lyric
  2. A literary work that extols one’s virtues and accomplishment is (a) a eulogy (b) a pastoral (c) an elegy (d) an allegory
  3. The main character in a literary work is the (a) antagonist (b) protagonist (c) narrator (d) villain
  4. A sonnet may be divided into an octave and (a) tercet (b) quatrain (c) sestet (d) couplet
  5. “All hands on deck” is an example of (a) metaphor (b) personification (c) metonymy (d) synecdoche


1 With reference to the text, Jack and Roger could be said to be coup plotters. Justify this statement.

2  William Golding’s Lord of the Flies is a satire. Discuss.



1  Essential Literature-in-English for SSS by Ibitola A. O., pgs 144-162.

2 Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Drama & Prose) by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 183-208.
















Lenrie Peters was born in 1932. He is a Medical Doctor from Gambia.



The ‘fence’ symbolizes moral indecision of the poet. The poem therefore is a moral one which deals with the poet’s dilemma. The poet has some set- objectives which he aspires to attain but each direction he follows thwarts his plan. He recounts the “dim” past and juxtaposes it with the future, with the negative result that all his hopes and aspiration are mixed up. In other words, the future is misty and foggy, and from this reason, he cannot conjure any guess to what the future looks like, neither can the past proffer any solution because ‘The dim past and future mingle”.

Furthermore, it is obvious that the poet’s ambition of attaining a moral victory is being dashed because he sees himself in circumstances “where truth and untruth struggle/in endless and bloody combat”. Under such inextricable condition, if he tells truth, he is in trouble yet telling lies is another difficulty. Meanwhile, as the poet continues to be in horns of dilemma, he realizes the time is indifferent to his upset. In (lines 10 – 12), the poet recall another striking phenomenon which is a militating factor to problem he is facing, this time, it is no longer time, but “age”

The end – result of all these negative element, is according to the poet in (lines 13 – 14) that his “inner sense” meaning his health is being affected but he tried to wage this novus actus intervenes ( new act intervening )on his health, hence “contrive/to stop the constant motion”. Indeed, he was so weighed down, with his brain bunkered, that he was forced to confess that “I have not been drinking” yet he “fell the buoyant waves”. Invariably, these reactions in his body made him to stagger.

In line 20, the poet opines and acknowledges that the world on the other side seems to have changed her course of action and her approach to his moral issues, but for the poet himself on the other side, he is still at his wit’s end. He still finds it extremely difficult to decide which way to follow, whether to “be involve in “doing good” or otherwise.

It is gratifying to note that the poet admitted the existence of the “need for good” but lack the courage to do good, neither can he be said to be among those in the larger society doing evil. He is neither for, nor against. He is only but a “fence sitter”, signifying his dilemma.



* Moral indecision: The poet is beset with problem of choosing between good and evil with a result that he fails to make a decisive choice.

* The decays of corrupt leadership.

* Open confrontation of bad governance.


1 Give a detailed content of the poem, ‘The Fence’.

2  Discuss the major theme of the poem




DICTION: The language of the poem is rather simple as the poet chooses words which are self explanatory. “Dim past and future” “round and round” etc., these are words that their meaning are there with them. The poetic lines or words are imbued with rhythms that are musical to the ears.

PERSONIFICATION: (a) “truth and untruth struggle” (b) “time moves forward and backward”, in all these words, the poet assigned human qualities to abstract ideas and inanimate object. While (b) envisages the uncertainty in life and the fate that no condition is permanent, (c) depicts a lady constantly opening wardrobe to change her garment which turn refers to change in the world, economically or politically etc.

METAPHOR: The poem depicts as metaphorical fence where the befuddled mind of the poet capture his state of indecision.

MOOD: The poet depicts himself as an enraptured spectator who recognizes his predicament however, but does not have what it takes to break loose from his miry predicament. He therefore presents his cagey situation in a tone of conflict, imagination and outrage. The poet is in wonder and wander mood and the entire poem capture a mood of helplessness and hopelessness.

IMAGERAY: The image of the ‘buoyant waves…’ which the poet feels focuses in our minds’ eyes, the mental state or condition of the poet. It mirrors the mind of the poet who faces two or more ideas of opinion but could not stand for once. The fence symbolizes the moral indecision or crisis of the poet.

REPETITION: The frequent repetition of “there I lie” produces some effect in a such way that the poet becomes rhythmical, and thus the poet gives us a picture of litany of unresolved moral question.


1  Discuss the diction of the poem.

2  Discuss the tone and mood of the poem.



Choose from the right option that best answer the following questions.

1.  When a poem has no regular rhyme scheme, it is called: (a) a blank verse (b) a dramatic verse  (c) a prose verse  (d) a lyrical verse

2.  A literary work whose mode of narration is the letter is a (n) (a) a letter prose  (b) romantic work  (c) letter narration  (d) epistolary work

3.  When a work of art attempts to imitate the style of another work in a mocking manner, we

 describe the newer work as a (n) (a) pun (b) farce  (c) innuendo (d) parody

4.  ‘How can he compare our church outing with theirs? After all million of people attended ours

while very few people were seen at theirs.’ The speaker is likely to accused of the use of  (a) oxymoron (b) paradox (c) comparison (d) hyperbole

5.  A novel is a (a) a long story involving human character (b) a long prose

narrative fiction (c) prose writing about various people  (d) a prose writing about great people



1  How truly is it to say that the poem “the fence” is a poem of moral indecision?

2  Discuss the style of the poem.



1 Exam Reflection Vol. IV, Literature- in-English by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs102-108.

2  The Mastery of Literature by Chinweikpe Iwuchukwu Esq, pgs 39-42.












by Oscar Wilde.








The plot account of the story begins with the scene of preparations made over the table in

Algernon’s flat for his aunt, Lady Bracknell, by Lane (Algernon’s manservant). Algernon is expecting his aunt for a lunch in his house. As Algy emerges from the adjoining room, from where the sound from where the sound of piano is heard, he is informed by Lane that his friend (Jack Worthing) but by the name Mr. Ernest Worthing has arrived to visit him. Jack who has come up to London from his country home, which he says is in Shropshine, for the sake of amusing himself, is so delighted to learn that Lady Bracknell and her daughter, Gwendolen Fairfax, are coming to visit Algy. When Algy tells him that his aunt will not be pleased to see him around because he flirts outrageously with Gwendolen, ‘Ernest’ tells Algy that he is in London to expressly propose marriage to Gwendolen. Algy, however, tells Jack that he will not approve of the marriage until the mystery surrounding the name, “Cecily” is unveiled. Jack, seeing how unbending Algy is on this, decides to say the truth: that his foster-father, Mr. Thomas Cardew, had appointed him in his will guardian to his grand-daughter, Miss Cecily Cardew. He further explains when one is placed in the position of guardian; one has to adopt a very high moral tone on all subjects. It’s one’s duty to do so. And as a high moral tone can hardly be said to be conducive very much to either one’s health or one’s happiness, in order to get to town I have always pretended to have a younger brother of the name of Ernest, who lives in the Albany, and gets into the most dreadful scrapes. Algy calls Jack one of the most advanced ‘Bunburyists’ he knows, then explains that he-Algy – has invented an invaluable permanent invalid, Bunbury and that this enables him to go on pleasure trips in the country wherever he wishes. Jack, however, insists that he is not a ‘Bunburyist’ and that if Gwendolen accepts him; he is going to kill his fictitious brother, Ernest. And that he may kill him off, as Cecily is becoming somewhat too interested in him, and advises Algy to do the same with Bunbury, which Algy completely refuse. Algy coolly informs Jack that he plans to dine with him that night at Willis’s, as his guest. Jack at first refuses to invite Algy, but succumbs when Algy promises to keep his Aunt Augusta out of the way for ten minutes, so that he can propose to Gwendolen while left alone with her.

The sound of an electric bell is heard, and then Lane enters and announces Lady Bracknell and Miss. Fairfax. They come in and Algy greets his aunt while Jack pays extravagant compliments to Gwendolen then sits down with her in a corner. Lady Bracknell moves to the tea-table for a cup of tea and some cucumber sandwiches, but is disappointed as there are no cucumber sandwiches left by Algy who ate them all up. Algy’s aunt quickly invites him for a treat which Algy turns down on the account of a telegram received that his friend, Bunbury is very ill again and must have him (Algy) at his side. As Algy distract his aunt into the next room to discuss music programme, Jack was left alone with Gwendolen to do his wish. As Jack timidly declares his love for Gwendolen, she confesses to him that she has always dreamt of loving a man with the name, ‘Ernest’. On Lady Bracknell’s return to the room, Gwendolen announces to her that she and jack are engaged. This, Lady Bracknell firmly objects to, as according to her list, Jack is not qualified to marry her only daughter.

 Jack’s rejection by Lady Bracknell infuriates him that he has to curse Algy’s aunt. Before Lady Bracknell and her daughter finally leave, Gwendolen comes in hurriedly and asks Algy to turn his back, as she has something to say to Jack. After professing her undying love for Jack, she asks for his country address and he gives it to her: ‘The Manor House, Woolton, Hertforshire’.

 Algy is happy to over-hear this, and immediately, he sets for Jack’s country home the next day. On arrival at the manor house, Algy meets Cecily and pretends to be ‘Ernest’ who she has been nursing a secret love for. Algy enters the house with Cecily and tells her how he loves her so much. On Jack’s return from the city, he meets Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble, and tells them of his brother’s (Ernest) death, and how he has been buried, unknown to them that Algy, under the guise of ‘Ernest’ is in the house with Cecily. On going into the house, Jack sees Algy, and there was confusion over who has been deceiving the others. Cecily now knows that her uncle has been deceiving her over an ‘Ernest’. Immediately, Jack asks Algy to leave his home, and he runs to Dr. Chasuble to be christened as ‘Ernest’. Algy refuses to leave without having a word with Cecily. While still there, Merriman announces the presence of Gwendolen. This makes the issue worse, as both Gwendolen and Cecily realize how much they have been deceived by both men. So, they decide to punish Jack and Algy.

 Lady Bracknell who has been looking for her missing daughter, trails her to Jack’s country home. She is surprised to not only see her daughter, but also, her nephew, Algy. While she was arguing over the proposed marriages between Jack and her daughter, and Algy and Cecily, Lady Bracknell is amazed to see Miss Prism, who is confounded when she realizes who is before her.

 From Lady Bracknell’s explanation of how she knows Miss Prism and the bag Jack brought out, Jack knows he is an elder brother to Algy and a nephew to aunt Augusta, and that his name is actually Ernest which he discovers from His late father’s biography. So, Jack confesses the importance of being earnest which has finally saved his marriage with Gwendolen.





 The playwright, Oscar Wilde, has some philosophical messages that he feels had been missing in the society, especially of his time, contained in his play for his readers. The prominent one from his messages is the theme of pretence and deceit.


The Theme of Pretence and Deceit

This theme is a prominent one as it is seen to run through the play. Almost all the characters in the play are seen to live a false life. That is, pretence is found in the name, character or position they bear. Deceit is also not left out as it is glaring in the various attitudes identified in the book. In the book, pretence and deceit is seen to start out with the major character, Jack. He displays deceit by lying to those at his country house, which include Cecily, Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble, among others that he has an imaginary brother in the town whose manner is volatile and he goes by the name, ‘Ernest’. He takes advantage of this his imaginary brother, who needs his attention because of his degenerating condition, to go to town on pleasure trips. Jack also exhibits pretence as he goes by the name, ‘Ernest’ in town, especially while with Miss Gwendolen. Pretence and deceit is also carried out by Algernon who deceives Jack by eavesdropping when Jack was letting out the address of his country home to Gwendolen, and immediately, traveling to Woolton in Hertforshire in order to woo Cecily as her fairytale lover. He deceitfully rejects his aunt’s visitation to dine with her family, on the account that his imaginary friend, ‘Bunbury’, is sick and would need him at his bed. Algy pretends before Cecily at the Manor house to be her uncle’s (Jack) brother called ‘Ernest’ and that he is in love with her. Miss Prism is not left out in this as she is seen to pretend before Lady Bracknell over the mystery that surrounds the birth and life of Jack. Dr. Chasuble also pretends not to have feelings for Miss Prism until the end of the play where he no longer can hide it.


The theme of love

This is seen to be broad as it touches different aspects of love. Oscar Wilde

through his work, presents before us several shades of love, but at the end encourages true love.

Irrespective of the fact that both Gwendolen and Jack have true feelings for each other, Gwendolen’s

love can be said to be shallow as her reason for loving Jack is because of his name, ‘Ernest’, which is

fake. Cecily also shares in this blame. She falls in love with someone she has not set her eyes on

because he bears the name, ‘Ernest’. And this single ideology brings the conflict in the play. Algy in his

stead, displays lust in place of love. He gets to Woolton in Hertforshire because of his flirtatious

escapade for Cecily whom he is pre-informed has feelings for Jack’s imaginary brother, ‘Ernest’.  The

playwright cautions ‘distance-love’, that is, falling in love with someone you have not seen or know

little or nothing about. Cecily has not seen ‘Ernest’ but falls in love with him and Gwendolen knows

little or nothing about the origin of Jack nor his family but falls in love with him.


The theme of importance of keeping Record

This is also a salient lesson of the book. It hammers on the advantages of keeping records in form of a

diary or list. Its usefulness is seen in the play as both Cecily and Gwendolen have their daily

experiences noted in their separate diaries. Furthermore, it is seen to be the instrument used between the

ladies to settle the rift that would have erupted over who owns ‘Ernest’ before the arrival of both

Algernon and Jack. With the help of records kept, Jack is able to clear this doubt surrounding his being

named or christened as ‘Ernest’. And by laying hold of the records that have his late father’s profile, he

sees the truth beyond all circumstance or conviction that his is called ‘Ernest’. Lady Bracknell’s list like

that of Duchess plays a vital role of preventing her from giving out her daughter in marriage to a man

whose identify is difficult to come by. Even the least of all but most provocative is the handbag that had

Jack while as a boy in it, but served as a pointer to the true identity of Jack because it was well kept by



The Theme of Marriage

This lesson can be seen as the final or end-product of other themes in the play. Going through the story of the book critically, one will agree that it aims at not just any kind of marriage but good and qualitative one. The marriage between Jack and Gwendolen is clear evidence. The process that brought about a happy end for both of them in the play is artistically employed by the playwright to deter so many of his readers (Young Ladies) from getting married to any man without proper investigation over his real identity. The marriage between Cecily and Algy is a lesson that preaches true love in place of infatuation or lust, which was hitherto nursed by Algy. Finally, the marriage between Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble helps to clear every dot of pretence that has suffered Dr. Chasuble and Miss Prism, concerning their feelings for each other. The play at the end preaches marriages without regrets.


1  Give a detailed plot account of the book, The Importance of Being Earnest.

2  Discuss two major themes of the play.



In the generality of his characterization, Oscar Wilde, though using adults as his characters, has them

acting as infants imitating playfully the behaviours of the adults they see around them everyday. Almost

all his characters in their different ways exhibited this childlike or childish attitude, particularly in their

utterances toward one another which are greatly affected by absurdity. Oscar Wilde’s characterization

can be classed into major and minor character.




He is a major character and the hero of the play. The whole story surrounds his life. He is also the

protagonist in the play as he is seen to get antagonized by Lady Bracknell, who stopped him at the

earlier part of the book from getting married to Gwendolen. Jack also gets attacks from Algy, who

stabbed him in his back. Algy did this by traveling ahead of his friend, Jack, so that, he can have Cecily

for his selfish gratification. At the age of twenty-nine, Jack is still a child who plays the game of being

adult. He is seen to be deceitful and pretentious according to his attribute in the play where he possesses

double identify in order for him to have pleasure trips to London. Apart from being deceitful and

pretentious, Jack is also seen to be repentant as he felt remorseful over his action of double identity

when confronted by Gwendolen and others. He is seen to be innocent as he answers every question

posed to him by Lady Bracknell with great innocence. This is not to reduce his responses to Algy and

Gwendolen. He is also intelligent and meticulous with issues of facts, that is why he is left with the

responsibility of being a guardian to Cecily Cardew, and being able to keep the hand-bag that

comfirmed his identity, respectively.



He is a major character and a pointed antagonist to Jack, his friend. Until the end of the play no one

knows he is a brother to Jack. He is seriously influenced by his aunt, Lady Bracknell, but tells lies of

going to be with a friend (Mr. Bunbury) in order to escape his aunt’s influence over him. The story in

the play begins in his flat where he expects his aunt for a treat. Algy is always hungry in the play which

led him to eat up all the cucumber sandwiches he specially ordered for his aunt, and struggles to eat the

muffin left for Jack with Jack. He is very inquisitive as his questions over Jack’s cigarette case brought

about the conflict in the play. He is also deceitful and pretentious, and more so, seen to be a flirt.

Throughout the play, we see him to be mischievous and cunning. He is seen to be very desperate, that

he travelled ahead of Jack to Woolton in search of Cecily, not considering the risk of being caught by his

friend, Jack. Algy is considered to be childlike and childish as his responses to serious issues show.

This makes him seem like a child trying to act as adult. He shares a lot with Jack in the play.



She is also known as Fair-fax. She is another grown-up baby, and also, gives the impression of living in

a world of childlike innocence despite the fact that she is a highly attractive young lady whose chief

concern in the play is to marry Jack. She is the daughter of Lady Bracknell, and a cousin to Algy and at

the end of the play, a cousin to Jack. She is gullible and innocent to a fault that she confesses to have

fallen in love with Jack because he bears the name, ‘Ernest’. Gwendolen is seen to be truly in love with

Jack, and had to take the risk of going to him at his country home without the consent of her mother.

She feels disappointed when she discovers that her lover, Jack does not truly go by the name ‘Ernest’,

but easily forgives when Jack promises to be christened Ernest by Dr. Chasuble.



At the age of eighteen, Cecily, like Gwendolen is an innocent. Lady Bracknell and the others call her a

child, and she is indeed a child in her playful, irresponsible attitude towards life as is evident from her

first appearance as a pupil of Miss Prism. She is a grand daughter to Mr. Cardew and is left in the care

of Jacks by her grandfather’s will, as her guardian. Cecily is also gullible and expresses excess emotion

even to an ‘Ernest’ she has never seen physically before. From the argument that erupted between Lady

Bracknell and Jack over Algy marrying Cecily, it was revealed that Cecily worth ₤100,000 in

investment and has to get to 35 years of age for her to come of age in order to decide for herself. Cecily

is seen as a blind lover who gets herself engaged to a man on behalf of the man without his consent and

records it in her dairy. She is seen to be the reason for double identity by both Jack and Algy. Jack does

it to be free from her un-interesting influence while Algy does it to be able to clinch to her. Cecily’s

disposition and experiences in the play teach the need for keeping records. The character display from

Cecily in the play betrays the lives of girls of the Victorian age, especially as it relates love and

marriage. She has a forgiving heart as she easily forgives Algy for having double identity.





Lady Bracknell also known as Aunt Augusta, is the perfect embodiment of the attitudes and rule of

conduct of the British aristocracy. Snobbish and superior in her behaviour, she is mainly interested in

finding a suitable husband for Gwendolen, her only daughter, although she also seeks to dominate her

nephew, Algernon. She is seen to be obsessing to both her daughter and her nephew, Algy. She is a

lover of cucumber sandwiches and enjoys the company of family or relatives around her especially at

the dinner table. She is so stereotyped that Jack finds it difficult to sway her into accepting him as a son-

in-law. This nature, and her being inquisitive makes it possible for Jack to know his true identity and

family. She is considered to be materialistic but prudent as she prefers investment to land. She is a

pedant who takes her time to get all information she needs about a person and situation. This is seen in

the way she quizzes Jack over his family and Dr. Chasuble concerning Miss Prism.



Miss Prism is the embodiment of the Victorian middle-class code of morality and duty. A stiff and

intellectual person, she expects Cecily to behave seriously and study hard, and she strongly disapproves

of the immoral character of Jack’s fictitious brother, ‘Ernest’. In the realm of Literature, Miss Prism

insists that fiction should preach morality-an attitude that especially irritated Wilde. Miss Prism

declares that she once wrote a threevolume novel, and that in it the good ended happily, and the bad

unhappily. That is what fiction means. She is the one responsible for the fate of Jack not knowing his

family as she forgot him in a handbag at the train-station. She is also pretentious as she tries to hide her

true affection or feelings towards Dr. Chasuble. She is also gullible that she believed Jack to have a

brother called ‘Ernest’. She is a tempter who tempts Dr. Chasuble into the marriage institution.



He is the Rector of the parish, and also represents John the Baptist in the book, whose most constant

duties in the parish is to christen people. He is seen to be metaphorical in his speech and lives as a

celibate all his life time. He was also easily deceived by Jack who claimed to have a brother in the

town, named ‘Ernest’. He also could be said to be pretentious as he nurses secret feelings and

admiration for Miss Prism. At the end of the play, he is seen to be in love with Miss Prism where he

hugs her. He can be considered a round character that changed in his nature of being a celibate without

emotional feelings into a man with strong emotional feelings that it was impossible for him to hide it any





He is a manservant of Algernon, and a humble one for that matter, who is ready to tell lies just to

vindicate his boss. He is seen to have introduced Jack, Lady Bracknell and Gwendolen into Algy’s flat.

He is very respectful and doesn’t poke nose other people’s affairs. He is seen to appear only in the first Act of the book.



He is a manservant in the Manor house of Jack and Cecily, in the country. He is first seen in the book when he announces the presence of Algernon in Woolton as Mr. Ernest to Cecily. He takes his luggage into the house. He is the second to announce the presence of Algy as Ernest, to Jack, revealing all he came with. Jack orders him to prepare Algy’s cart for him to leave immediately. He lacks wit compared with Lane who shows a lot of it.




The language and style of Oscar Wilde is a plus to him as it attains a lot of credits for his work, The

Importance of Being Earnest. In the above work, Oscar Wilde employs some styles that make his

dramatic techniques a unique one. One of the dramatic techniques employed is dramatic irony.



It is ironic that Algernon becomes the true brother of Jack (Ernest) that Jack pretends to visit in the town

Any time he wants pleasure trip. It is also ironic that the ‘Ernest’ which Jack vows to kill immediately

Gwendolen accepts his proposal turns out to be himself at the end of the day when he finally realizes

that he is truly ‘Ernest’.



The playwright tries to ridicule the sensibility of the upper and middle class of the Victorian age. The

list presented by Lady Bracknell which contains criteria for who ever would pass as a qualified husband

for her only daughter, Gwendolen, ridicules the attitudes of mothers in the Victorian age, who would

embarrassingly assess a man before accepting him as a son-in-law. The uncritical minds of the girls or

ladies of the Victorian age is also betrayed by the characters of both Gwendolen and Cecily, who both

fell in love because of the name, ‘Ernest’. This technique is also applied in the book by the playwright

to expose the high negative consciousness of the upper class of the Victorian age on financial and

material wealth. This is supported by the questions asked by Lady Bracknell concerning the status of

Jack and Cecily.



The technique runs through in the text. Each character in the play, in his/her bid, tries to be funny.

The playwright did this by involving each and everyone of his character in nonsensical speeches or

dialogue. Each character is known for one trail of absurdity in speeches or actions. Algernon, having

an invalid friend and Jack, having an imaginary brother is also humorous. The case of Gwendolen and

Cecily is also humorous. They both fall in love because of the name, ‘Ernest’, and also, have their

dairies where funny information are kept. Also, the way Algernon quizzed Jack over the mystery called

‘Cecily’ is humorous.



Suspense is first seen in the play where Algy asked Jack to tell who bears the name ‘Cecily’. One

would think that Cecily is his love, also as Algy has called Jack a flirt. Also, the moment Algy over heard

the address of Jack’s country home, and the mischievous smile that came on his face starts a beat in the

minds of the readers. It continues with his arrival at the Manor house as ‘Ernest’ and heightens when

Jack also returns to his country home. Suspense is also seen when clarification over the true identity of

Miss Prism between Lady Bracknell and Dr. Chasuble who were involved in it.



This as a technique has been dexterously employed by the playwright to bring about uniqueness in

creativity. In the book, we see some characters having identical attributes that make it impossible to

detach one from the other. This style helps to show the affinity that exist among the characters in

attitude and sensibility, and concentration is made on Algy and Jack, and Gwendolen and Cecily as they

are seen as pairs of shared characters. Algy pairs with Jack while Gwendolen pairs with Cecily. The

same quality of deceit and pretence is found in both Jack and Algy in the same degree as they both

deceive the hearts of two young lady to be named Ernest. They both developed imaginary brother and

invalid friend, respectively, in order to have pleasure trips to their place of choice. The irony of it all is

that at the end of the play, they found themselves to be brother. For Gwendolen and Cecily, there is a

great display of innocence and gullibility that they both fall in love with their individual man because of

the name ‘Ernest’, and having to write all their thoughts and impressions in their separate diaries.

Because of the similarities they share, they both called themselves ‘sisters’ at a point in the book. The

playwright uses this style to tell the general sensibility of young men and young ladies of the Victorian




This technique is particularly used on Algernon and Jack. They both assume double identity in order to

have pleasure trips. Jack’s other identity is ‘Ernest’ in order to be in London while Algy’s other identity

is ‘Mr. Bunbury’ in order to escape his aunt’s influence and ‘Ernest’ in order to be accepted in the

Manor house and be loved by Cecily.



1  Discuss the narrative techniques of the book, The Importance of Being Earnest.

2  Discuss the significance of ‘Ernest’ in the play.



1.  A narrative in the oral tradition that may include legends and fables is a (A) Ballad (B) Folktale (C) Pastoral (D) Romance

2.  A short poem written on a tomb is a/an (A) Dirge (B) Panegyric (C) Epigram (D) Epitaph

3.  Pick the odd item (A) Lord of the Flies (B) A Woman in Her Prime (C) Joys of Motherhood (D) Women of Owu

4.  A short speech at the beginning of a literary work which serves as commentary is a/an (A) Monologue (B) Prologue (C) Dialogue (D) Epilogue

5.  One of the following is not an African Poet (A) Lenrie Peters (B) Thomas Gray (C) J.P Clark (D) Syl Cheney-Coker.



1  Discuss the role of Lady Bracknell and Miss Prism in the play.

2  Using the play, The Importance of Being Earnest, discuss the issues of the Victorian age.



1 Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Drama & Prose) by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 84-101.





ERRAND’ by Waiter Raleigh










Sir, Walter Raleigh, an English navigator, was born in Hayes, Devonshire, England in 1552 and died in Westminster, England on October 29, 1618. He most likely attended the University of France in 1569 but left the same year to join a troop rose in aid of the French Huguenots. He was a determined foe to Roman Catholicism. On his return to England, he found that his half brother, sir Humphrey Elbert, had just obtained a patent for establishing a plantation in America, and he entered into the scheme. He was later charged with a plot to place Lady Arabella Stuart on the throne, and was sentence to be beheaded but was reprieved. He was an accomplished poet.



The poem is all about the soul on a mission. The assignment from the creator of the soul is to go and tell the world that their actions do not represent the intention of the creator, as a result, they must change their ways of doing things. Their plans, machinations and conduct must tally with what God has in mind when the soul was first designed and infused into human body and man thereafter became a living being.

In the Christian religion, particularly, the Catholic Church’s teaching (catechism), the main and central idea or reason why God created man is for man to know God, love him and worship him in this world, so as to live with him in the next world to come. Therefore to accomplish this aim, man must live in accordance with God’s standard in order to meet him face to face, after earthly exile.

So in this poem, Sir Waiter Raleigh recaptures the mission of the soul and the various groups the message should go to. Note that to give the lie to something idiomatically means to show something is not true. The word ‘the lie’ almost appears in every stanza of the poem. The first stanza opens up with the command to the soul, thus:

Go, soul, the body’s guest,

Upon a thankless arrant

The mission is thankless because not everybody would appreciate the message of hope. It is charge not to fear to ‘touch the best’. The ‘best’ the world can boast of still need the truth, because it is only the truth that can set man free indeed, as the biblical Jesus would say. The soul should not drift, rather should be focused and wear ‘truth’ as dress at all times. And because every soul that sin must die, therefore, he should give the world ‘the lie’ it should be able to tell the inhabitant of the earth that the way they do their things is not the truth way.

The soul should also remember to ‘say to the court’, that it ‘glows’ and ‘shines like rotten wood’. The court and the church begin the very harbinger and custodian of truth and also being two institutes so vital in this process of purification, they should do right at all times. Unfortunately, these bodies are not helping matters according to the poet, because, they know what is good but fail to do same.

The soul should also tell potentate (princesses) that ‘they live/acting by others’ action’; meaning that they sit in such a position as to take decisions affecting several people, so should not be biased or seen, favouring a ‘fraction’ of the populace. The soul should give the potentates the lie. The searchlight beams on estate managers that their interest is not on the welfare of their client but on their own selfish gains. They are busy maximizing profit, while their subjects are dying. Well accordingly, they should be told eyeball-to-eyeball that they should turn a new leaf. The insatiable groups are the next who asked to be contented with what they have, instead of their usual spending and wasting.

The eighth stanza begs to tell ‘zeal’, ‘love’, ‘time’ and ‘flesh’ what they represent and lack in the material plane, that is, in the world. For instance, ‘love’ is abused to mean ‘lust’, ‘time’ is in motion and wait for no one, while ‘flesh’ is nothing but ‘dust’. ‘Age’ in stanza nine, has to do with time which also signifies nothing, as it ‘wasteth’. On the other hand, ‘honour’ itself ‘alters’ while ‘beauty’ ‘blasteth’, ‘favour’ also ‘falters’, if these qualities which represent individual are to reply, than truth should be revealed to them.

Moreover, ‘wit’ should be told also that ‘it wrangles/in tickle points of ‘niceness’. For ‘wisdom’, her own palaver is that ‘she entangles/herself in over-wiseness’, and so should be told straight away that their conduct falls short of minimum requirement. Therefore they should be advised appropriately. The poetic message of vanity upon vanity all is vanity, enters the ninth stanza with the poet proving the falsity and vanity inherent in the field of physics, arts, science and medicine by posturing science is king’s ‘boldness’ and sees the so called expert knowledge (skill) as nothing but one full of ‘pretension’. In the same vain, there are persons who are suppose to show love to their follow human being but fail to do so, rather exhibit lukewarmness and coldness. For ‘law’ which ordinarily should be a vehicle for settlement of dispute, it is now being used to fan the embers of contention. They should therefore declare their innocence.

For those who consider themselves as being fortunate, they should be told of how blind they are; after all, you cannot be taller than me and at the same time shorter than me. The temporariness of things on ‘nature’, just as unkindness is often exhibited by those in friendship, including delays occasioned by those dispensing justice, are all pointer to the fact that the world is full of thorns and therefore no person should cling to it as representing permanence.

In the eleventh stanza, the poet shows the folly found in the discipline of ‘arts’ and the hollowness of schools set-up. And the 12th stanza has it that people ‘preferreth’ vices to virtues and even ‘faith’ has ‘fled the city’. The assignment of the blabber is not a simple one as exemplified by the enabling statement thus:

Stab at thee he that will

No stab the soul can kill

In summary, one big lesson to learn from the whole poetic piece is that the world and everything in it is nothing but vanity.


1  Give a detailed content analysis of the poem, ‘The Soul’s Errand’.

2  Using the poem, ‘The Soul’s Errand’, discuss the statement ‘vanity upon vanity is vanity’.



1  Message of hope.

2  A word of advice for the soul bearer.



DICTION: the language is a bit philosophical and therefore, an average reader would still need a guide to understand the words in the various contexts. The following words ‘arrant’ (word used to emphasize how bad something is ), warrant, ( an acceptable reason for doing something), ‘potentates’ ( a prince or rule who has a lot of power), ‘give them all the lie’ ( to show that something is not true), ‘entangles’ (got caught or twisted), ‘wrangles’ ( an argument that is complicated and continues for a period of time) etc. should be read between the lines.

TONE/ MOOD: the poem carries a tone of criticism and blasting tone, while it captures a mood of hope and preparation.

RHYME: the poem is rhythmical, having been arranged in alternative rhymes, with each stanza ending with the phrase ‘give them the lie’. The poem is one form of music expressed in poetic form. Even the assonances and consonances are musical in themselves (e.g.) in ‘go, soul, the body’s …’ (‘o’ assonates), ‘…good, and doth no good’ (‘o’ assonates), ‘in tickle point of niceness’ (‘i’ assonates).

EUPHEMISM: the following expression sound euphemistic in the poem (e.g. ‘… Give them both the lie’ and ‘the truth shall be thy warrant’ and also, ‘tell wisdom she entangles’). In all these examples, serious issue are presented in a mild form, and therefore makes the serious assignment of the soul look or sound unserious.

IRONY: life is one big durable asset. It alters and falters at a point. It is therefore ironic that ‘Age’ ‘wasteth’, ‘favour’ ‘falters’ and ‘wisdom’ ‘entangles’.


1  Discuss the major theme of the poem, ‘The Soul’s Errand’.

2  Discuss the diction of the poem.



Provide the right answers for each of these questions.

  1. The epilogue in a play refers to the _____________
  2. A short story of everyday life used to teach a moral by comparison is called a__________
  3. The character that create humour in a play is ______________

    4 The literary term that describe the year of a novel is written is______________

    5 FIFA’s visit is geared towards “packaging Nigeria overseas for international acceptance”. The above quotation contain a figure of speech known as _______________



    1  Explain any five literary device used in the poem, ‘The Soul’s Errand’.

    2  What is the dominant mood of ‘The Soul’s Errand’ and how is mood conveyed?



    1 Exam Reflection Vol. IV, Literature- in-English by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs31-42.

    2  The Mastery of Literature by Chinweikpe Iwuchukwu Esq, pgs 90-97.

    3  Essential Literature-in-English for SSS by Ibitola A. O., pgs 175-180.






    by Kobina Sekyi.












    Kobina Sekyi, as William Essuman – Gwira Sekyi, was a Ghanaian nationalist. He was born in

    Cape Coast in 1892 and died in 1956, the year before Ghana’s independence. His writing was

    voluminous. The
    Blinkards demonstrates one of his major concerns. He always warned Danquah

    and JYkrumah and the new political class of the dangers of copying foreign political institution

    and ideas. The
    Blinkards was written in 1915 and helped establish its author as the Bernard Shaw

    of West Africa. Its wit and amusement are as effective now as they were then. The comedy

    satires the nouveaux riches of the western-oriented Fantis of Cape Coast who accepted European

    standards uncritically.



    The background of the book is the colonial era when the blacks in Ghana were under the British

    (white) rule. And the system adopted was indirect rule which saw to the introduction of warrant

    chief at the expense of the traditional royalty that existed in the ancient cosmic surroundings of

    Cape coast (Ghana). In these times, there were conscious efforts to transmogrify the blacks into

    artificial whites as every policies, teachings and instructions given were to debase and relegate

    everything black-oriented on the grounds of civilization. This was the period the author existed,

    and it provoked this work, The



    The story begins with Nyam sweeping the house of his master (Mr. Borofo) and he’s seen

    complaining over how many times he would need to sweep to avoid any dirt. On the process, he

    discovers dried leaves in a book owned by his master. Immediately, he is accosted by Mrs. Borofo

    who just entered the room, and was insulted by her for taking the leaves away from the book. She

    goes further to tell Nyam that cigar ashes are good for carpets as she has learnt in England.

    Mrs. Borofo is left alone with her husband that just came in, by Nyam, but are interrupted by Nyam when he came to deliver a message from their cook and met (them) Mrs. Borofo and Mr.Borofo kissing. Later Mr. Tsiba with his daughter (Miss.Tsiba) was at the Borofo’s. Mr. Tsiba brought his daughter to Mrs. Borofo to be taught the English way of life in order for her to be refined. Mr. Tsiba has been captivated by the displays from Mrs. Borofo even in public places since she returned from England, and believes that her display is a product of civilization.

    On the other hand, we find Mr. Ony (a young barrister) who has also been to England, displaying the riches of his native home (Fanti) in the kind of attire he is putting on. He is being attended to by his servant, Half Crown, before Mr. Ok. bashed into his house. Mr. Ok came to pick up a job as a clerk in Mr. Ony’s chamber even with no pay, so that, he could also be taught English in order to enable him woo Miss. Tsiba to himself as his wife, who has been send to Mrs. Borofo to learn English. This is because Mr. Tsiba could only be convinced to accept him as an in-law if he also has obtained the English education.

    It continued that his plan worked for him, and he made acquaintance with Miss. Tsiba who gullibly accepted him for a husband on a garden-party at Victoria Park where there is a display of European clothes. Mr. Ok and Miss. Tsiba became engaged. The news of their engagement and further marriage is announced to Mr. Tsiba by Mrs. Borofo proudly. And Mr.Tsiba, though shocked, went helpless when he was told by Mrs. Borofo that that is how it is done in England (i.e), the christian way. When Mr. Tsiba went on to list what will be required according to custom and tradition for the marriage to take place after grudgingly accepting Mr. Ok as a son-in-law, he was told by Mrs. Borofo that in England it was the father-in-law that provides all he has listed for the son-in-law. Mr. Tsiba sheepishly welcomes the idea.

    After Mrs. Borofo and Mr. Ok had taken their leave, Mr. Tsiba announces the news to his wife, Na Som, who bluntly kicked against it and went wild and whirl. Na Som on several times goes to Mr. Ony’s house to look for Mr. Ok to no avail. But on her last visit to Mr. Ony’s, she saw Mr. Ok who was about leaving the premises. On seeing her, Mr. Ok ran back into the house to hide himself from the rage of Na Som. Na Som forces her way into the house and asks Mr. Ony for Mr. Ok she just saw, but is told that Mr. Ok is not in his house. In the process, as she was shouting, she slumped and died before Dr. Onw was invited.

    In his hospital, Dr. Onw gets a letter from Mr. Wompem through a man, accusing him of having an affair with his wife. Few minutes after, Mr. Seehon sends a girl he had an affair with to Dr. Onw to seduce him. And lastly, Tsiba (Mr) came with his daughter who he thinks is just having malaria, unknown to him that she is pregnant as the test later discovered. He pleads with Dr. Onw to abort the pregnancy because she is going to the altar, but Dr. Onw refuses him even in the face of the tempting amount he promises to offer. All these are melted out to Dr. Onw because he is a black doctor and the people do not have respect and faith for his judgment and competence. But he promised to be professional in the practice of his profession, not to let any other ears know that Miss. Tsiba took in before her marriage ceremony.

    The cosmopolitan club in a meeting planned on how to make the marriage ceremony of their

    member, Mr. Ok, a high profile. On the D-day at Hamilton house where the wedding reception

    takes place, all hands were busy and it was going in a grand style, until Nana Kat, Mr. Tsiba’s

    mother-in-law, arrived the scene and brought the excitement to an end as she took away Miss.

    Tsiba, her grand–daughter.

    Nana Kat took Miss. Tsiba and she got married to another man following the steps as tradition

    demands, but Mr. Ok was aggrieved and decided to invite the police and the law to regain his wife.

    But in the law court Mr. Ok lost out in the case as Mr. Ony helped Miss. Tsiba and her family to

    win the case. This provoked the Parson (Priest) who wedded them, and this incident became an

    eye-opening for both Mr. and Mrs. Borofo that not everything Christendom or European that is

    absolutely correct. And immediately, their style of dressing and mannerism changed to the

    amazement of other citizens of Fantis who knew the Borofos.



    The general or contextual setting of the book is Fanti, Cape Coast (Ghana). But the immediate or

    textual setting in the book are Mr. Borofo’s house, Mr. Ony’s office and house, Mr. Tsiba’s house,

    Dr. Onw’s hospital, Victoria Park, Cosmopolitan club, Hamilton house and a street outside Nana

    Kat’s house. These places identified are the venues where the action of the story took place or

    unfolded. The setting portrays the looks of what Ghanaian society was at that point in time.



    1  Give a detailed plot analysis of the play, The Blinkards.

    2  What is the significance of the background and setting to the plot of the play?





    This as a theme in the book exposes the concept or practice that you are allowed to mingle

    depending on how much of the English education you possess. Even among blacks from the

    same community, there is a discrimination by some eurocentric individuals over the afrocentric

    individuals who have decided to uphold their tradition and custom by flaunting their home-made

    traditional attire, and observing all cultural norms for each event. And these individuals who

    callously segregate and degrade their fellow blacks because of their affinity with England are

    typically represented by Mrs. Borofo and her admirers. Mrs. Borofo’s display of disgust whenever

    one speaks Fanti or dresses in a native attire support this theme. This is seen in her visit to Mr.

    Ony and the manner she corrects her husband, and also, the conscious effort by Mr. Tsiba in his

    house to replace his native cloth with pyjamas on the arrival of Mrs. Borofo to his house, was done

    in order not to offend or disgust Mrs. Borofo. Also, the belief of Mr.Tsiba, irrespective of his

    status as a wealthy businessman, to be incomplete without the English education was a great sign that

    segregation and degradation based on this was prevalent. The character displayed by Mr. Ok to

    learn at all cost just to get Miss. Tsiba is another sad indication of social segregation and

    degradation in the society.



    As a necessity, the playwright through his work deemed it fit to philosophically inculcate into the

    minds of his readers the inevitability of one’s culture and tradition in ones existence. And this

    point is evidently brought to bare by the victory won by Mr. Ony in court over Miss. Tsiba’s case

    against the standard of the western practice (Christian way of marriage) and to the surprise of the

    eurocentrics, who relegated the importance or significance of culture and tradition in the modern



    *  Defects of ‘copy-cat’ syndrome.

    *  The vices of imperialism.

    *  The dangers of uncritical perception.

    *  The need for absolute independence.






    She is the wife of Mr. Borofosem who has been to England and has adopted the lifestyle there.

    She is extremely Eurocentric in all she does. She is domineering and obsessing even to her

    husband at home. She disregards everything African especially if there are alternative ways they

    are being done in England. She is a major character and antagonistic to Nyamekye, Mr. Onyimdze

    and others who don’t share in her perception and conception of western mannerism as the ultimate.

    Mrs. Borofosem stands as an agent of imperialism and neo-colonialism in the book when her

    flaunting and intimidating display provoked Mr. Tsiba to bring his daughter, Miss. Tsiba, to Mrs.

    Borofo, which finally result into the death of Na Sompa (Miss. Tsiba’s mother). She is seen to be

    proud as she takes pleasure in recording her experiences in England to the Ladies at the party,

    irrespective of how many times she has said that. She is a ‘copy-cat’ who tries to imitate, though

    artificially, everything English. She is seen to be a round character when she reneges from her

    eurocentric ground to the afrocentric ground.



    He is a young Barrister who has also been to England to study but has not allowed himself to be

    consumed by western life. He understands the importance of his custom and tradition in his

    existence, and he’s able to understand the dichotomy between his person as an educated man and

    as an African. He sees it abysmal: the orientation induced into his people for the craze for western

    sensibility at the expense of their Fanti cosmic and traditional belief, by Mrs. Borofosem. His

    dress-code stands to speak his position about the influence of western mannerism on him. His

    grievance over how his customs and traditions have been degraded by some western stooges or

    faithful made him to defend Miss. Tsiba in court against Mr. Okadu and other forces behind him.

    His victory in court becomes an eye-opening to both Mr. and Mrs. Borofosem that not all things

    European or English should be seen as absolute correctness. He stands to be the hero and

    protagonist in the play. He is seen as a flat character as he stood his grounds throughout the play.



    He is the husband of Na Sompa and father of Miss. Tsiba. He is a wealthy man who deals on

    Cocoa, but is also an illiterate in the western education. He lacks confidence in his judgment and

    feels inferior because of his inability to act English. So, he sends his daughter to Mrs. Borofosem

    to be pruned in the English way. And this singular act by Mr. Tsiba brought calamity to his house.

    His wife died and his daughter got pregnant before engaging herself in a lawless and illegitimate

    marriage that was rescued by his mother-in-law, and finally defended in court by Mr. Onyimdze.

    He is not stable as he runs to replace his native cloth with western cloth in order not to displease

    Mrs. Borofosem, who has just visited. He is also not principled and disciplined. This is evident in

    the play in Dr. Onwieyie’s consultation room, where he tries to lobby the doctor with a tempting

    amount of money for him to carry-out abortion on his (Mr. Tsiba) daughter who is discovered to

    have been pregnant for three months. He is not man enough as he does not know how to handle

    situations which led to the death of his wife.



    He is a young man who worked in Chutney’s store owned by a white man. He later went to Mr.

    Onyimdze to pick up a clerk job even without pay because he wanted to learn and understand

    English. His reason for English as he confessed to Mr. Onyimdze, is to enable him woo Miss.

    Tsiba over to himself as his wife. He further said that Mr. Tsiba would only listen to him if he

    discovers that he (Mr. Okadu) has been trained with the English education. He is an opportunist

    who wants to take advantage of the stupidity of Mr. Tsiba to cheaply get his daughter. But

    unfortunately, he becomes the victim of the ‘copy-cat’ syndrome that is prevalent in their society.

    His action or decision to engage Miss. Tsiba without properly adhering to traditions brought about

    the death of Na Sompa and calamitous disgrace that befell Miss. Tsiba. He is a member of the

    Cosmopolitan club.



    Dr. Onwieyie is a black medical practitioner and owns a hospital. He is first introduced in the play

    when Na Sompa, wife to Mr. Tsiba and mother to Miss. Tsiba, slumped and died in Mr.

    Onyimdze’s house before his arrived. He is a professional who adheres strictly to the ethics of his

    profession as a medical doctor. That is why he refuses to oblige Mr. Tsiba with his request for an

    abortion to be carried out on his daughter in the face of seductive sum of money. He is accused by

    Mr. Wompem, of having an affair with his wife, and later is faced with a girl from Mr. Seehon to

    seduce him. He is a doctor that knows his worth and stood his grounds in a society where

    anything or product black is adjudged sub-standard. He is very principled and disciplined.



    She is the daughter of Mr. Tsiba and Na Sompa. She is a typical Fanti in her character display, so

    she’s sent by her father to Mrs. Borofosem (a model of a civilized person) to be pruned of her

    archaic traits and be transformed into a polished Fanti breed with English education. She is a

    gullible young lady who is easily deceived by Mr. Okadu, and gets engaged without going through

    the proper traditional process of telling her father first. She is also a victim of the ‘copy-cat’

    syndrome as her mother died, she became pregnant before marriage, her marriage becomes

    distorted by her grandmother, and finally re-married to another man. She does not have a mind of

    her own as she conforms uncritically to the lines of the English novel she reads and accepts Mr.

    Okadu at first sight.



    She is the mother of Miss. Tsiba and wife of Mr. Tsiba. She is a minor character as her presence

    in the play is brief. She is seen to be sidelined by her husband, who takes decisions without

    seeking her consent, which resulted in her death by slumping in Mr. Onyimdze’s house over Mr.

    Okadu, who engaged her daughter in the British way. She is seen to be rash in her character and

    decisions as this led to her early death. She upholds completely traditional values which invariably

    becomes the reason for her death. She accuses Mr. Onyimdze of encouraging Mr. Okadu for his

    action towards her family before her death.



    She is the mother of Na Sompa, grandmother of Miss. Tsiba, but the mother-in-law of Mr. Tsiba.

    She is first seen in the play at the marriage reception ceremony of her grand-daughter at Hamilton

    house which she abruptly stopped to the amazement of all present: including Mr. Tsiba, Mrs.

    Borofosem and members of Cosmopolitan club. She left with Miss. Tsiba to her house forcefully

    from her ‘would have been’ husband (Mr. Okadu). She got Miss. Tsiba married to another man,

    and went with her to the court where Mr. Onyimdze helped her to defeat Mr. Okadu over who

    takes possession of Miss. Tsiba.



    He is a merchant who sent his wife, Mrs. Borofosem, to England and became helpless to her western civilization. He is forced by his wife to copy everything England as she teaches him what to wear, what to call her and how to kiss her. The imperfection of western civilization as exposed by Mr. Onyimdze in court brought about great change in his conception and perception of African traditional belief and values, and it becomes evident in his dress-code, foods or appetite and behavioural patterns.



    One outstanding style of Kobina Sekyi in The Blinkards is his language variation. There is a lot of code-switching as Kobina Sekyi subtly switches from his vernacular to the English Language among his characters in the course of events. His use of language variations, such as: pidgin, vernacular and English, among his characters help to define the various social strata or classes identifiable in the play. These are evident in the pidgin spoken by Half crown and Mr. Tsiba, the vernacular spoken by Nana, Miss. Tsiba and the English spoken by Mrs. Borofo and members of the Cosmopolitan club, among others.

    This language management peculiarity by Sekyi gives the play a taste of originality, and the identity it deserves.


    1.  Discuss the dramatic techniques of the play, The Blinkards.

    2.  Write short notes on the following: Mr. Onyimdze, Mr. Tsiba, Mr. Okadu, Mrs. Borofosem, Half Crown and Dr. Onwieyie.


    1.  “My dear gentleman of the highway, have mercy on me” illustrates the use of _____

     (a) euphemism (b) simile (c) hyperbole (d) oxymoron (e) paradox

    2.  When an author narrates a story in form of a letter, it is known as a/an _______ work.

     (a) epistolary (b) modern (c) tradition (d) paradoxical (e) Shakespearean

    3.  The absence of punctuation mark at the end of each line of a poem exemplifies the use of __________

     (a) caesura (b) end-stopped line (c) enjambment (d) rhyme (e) rhythm

    4.  One of the main aims of a didactic piece of literary work is to __________

     (a) arouse the interest of the audience (b) entertain the audience (c) force the spectators into believing (d) ridicule the society (e) teach a moral lesson

    5.  The technique used to arouse anxiety in a work of art is called _______

     (a) innuendo (b) setting (c) story (d) suspense (e) theme


    1  Discuss two major themes of the book, The

    2.  Discuss the role of Mrs. Borofosem in the play, The Blinkards.


    1 Exam Reflection Literature-in-English (Drama & Prose) by Sunday Olateju Faniyi, pgs 32-62.

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