WASSCE LITERATURE-IN ENGLISH 2 PROSE.
FINAL MARKING SCEHEME 2018.
QUESTION1: Explain Kabria’s presence in the hairdressing salon at Agbogboshie.
Agbogbloshie market is where Kabria shops for her vegetables. On the Monday following the discovery of Baby T’s body behind a hairdressing salon, she and Fofo get acquainted under curious circumstances; disguised as a boy, the girl has attempted to steal Kabria’s purse. She is moved to rescue the ‘boy’ as a matter of conscience when ‘he’ is about to be lynched by the crowd that apprehend ‘him’, and ‘he’ restores Kabria’s purse. Earlier at the office of MUTE, the foursome officials-Dina,Vickie,Aggie and Kabria have discussed Fofo and Baby T and reached a consensus that Kabria ought to honour her appointment with Fofo at Agbogbloshie market to get to the bottom of the death of Baby T and Fofo’s predicament.
All the above scenarios trigger Kabria’s visit to the hairdressing salon. Kabria therefore goes to the salon at Agbogbloshie not to have her hair done, but to primarily conduct investigation to unravel the mystery surrounding the death of Baby T. Therefore, Kabria’s presence in the hairdresser’s salon is purely in her private capacity as an ‘investigative reporter’. Unfortunately for Kabria, her visit to the salon is initially a disappointment. She is unable to obtain information of any substance from the hairdresser. She is terse: ‘To tell you the truth, my sister, what at all am I supposed to know?’, and she shrugs. ‘Actually I didn’t come to meet the body’’. Instead of information about the dead girl behind her salon, the hairdresser pours out her frustration about her broken marriage, which has saddled her with the responsibility to cater for the children of a runaway husband. Kabria wins her sympathy after telling her of a worse situation in her own marriage. She then directs her [Kabria] to see her senior apprentice for some details about the dead girl.
Kabria approaches the hairdresser’s senior apprentice who makes interesting revelations: It appears Baby T is killed somewhere else and the body is dumped near the kiosk. The head of the kayayoos says Baby T is not one of them. Three days after the corpse is dumped near the kiosk, pacification rites are performed at the spot by unknown persons. These, among others, have more questions unanswered on Kabria’s mind. This however, gingers kabria and her colleagues into more action. Eventually, Kabria’s presence at the hairdresser’s salon leads to a host of investigative activities that trace the murder of Baby T to the door step of Poison and Onko.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Background of Kabria’s visit.
Kabria’s experience with the hairdresser.
Kabria’s experience with the apprentice.
Main outcome of Kabria’s visit.
QUESTION 2: Comment on the significance of Sodom and Gomorrah in the novel.
Sodom and Gomorrah is the seat of the various forms of evil in the world of Faceless. It is that part of the city where people can be said to be faceless and without identity. It is home for hardened thieves, prostitutes and children driven from home or ones without a home. It is an area that is covered in filth and squalor. As the name implies, the place breeds all sorts of evil in the children who live there. Fofo, Odarley and the others do not leave home already depraved. It is the life at Sodom and Gomorrah that makes them so.
The goings-on in Sodom and Gomorrah are debasing. The best word to describe the morality of Sodom and Gomorrah is ‘’depraved’’. The habits of juvenile inhabitants who engage in acts of debauchery by ‘’drinking bottles of akpeteshie and watching adult films’’ are deplorable. Youngsters steal and engage in prostitution for a living in the evil environment. Bullies like Poison and Macho terrorise the children, deprived them of their money and even attempt to, and do rape the young helpless girls. There is no way of protecting these vulnerable young people. The early mention of Sodom and Gomorrah in the novel establishes its significance. It is a phenomenon that has ‘’catapulted from the pages of the old the Old Testament to superimpose itself at Agbogbloshie’’. Sodom and Gomorrah is significant in a number of ways. When Kabria goes ‘’to visit Agbogbloshie Market for some garden eggs and tomatoes’’, she meets a pretty thief from Sodom and Gomorrah, who picks her purse. She saves the life of the pick-pocket who would have been subjected to instant mob justice [lynching].
Another aspect of Sodom and Gomorrah which is significant is its sustenance by those who profit from it. The coming of children into the streets and their living in Sodom and Gomorrah appear unstoppable. This is because of the activities of the likes of Maami Broni, and Poison. Sodom and Gomorrah depicts the hopelessness of the situation of children who are driven into the streets and have no prospects for the future. As the children are driven into the streets, there are ready receivers who ensure that they stay, and they supervise their abuse. Sodom and Gomorrah is also significant in as far as no steps seem to be taken by the powers that be to intervene. Sodom and Gomorrah cries for cleansing but the state machinery does not hear or seem to care. The police are silent about, and invisible in, the affairs of the street children. No action is taken when crimes are reported to the police.
But for Kabria’s encounter with Fofo, the NGO MUTE would not have come to the rescue of the girl. The support of Harvest FM gives impetus to the MUTE effort. The questions as to whether this single intervention of the non-governmental organisation is all there can be and whether it suffices, require critical answers. The enquiries about the murdered girl found in the gutter receive lukewarm attention from the police.
POINTS TO NOTE:
What Sodom and Gomorrah is like-allusion, environment.
Life in Sodom and Gomorrah.
Exploitation of children in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The fate of children in Sodom and Gomorrah.
The indifferent attitude of police to crime.
Government /official neglect.
ADEBOWALE BAYO ADEGBOYEGA——LONELY DAYS.
QUESTIONS 3: “No woman’s life is ever complete without a man”.How is this applicable to Yaremi in the novel?
Yaremi, a beautiful widow in her early fifties in Kufi, has recently lost her husband, Ajumobi. Their children, all grown up including Alani, the only son, have left home. Women in Kufi, by tradition, are only considered complete when they are part of a couple, even if they are the second or the third wife. In the unfortunate event of the death of a husband, a woman is expected to re-marry. Yaremi, being the strong-willed woman she is, decides against re-marriage to any of the available suitors. Nine months after the death of her husband, Yaremi is still without another husband, to the chagrin of the men of Kufi, who she tells she is ‘’neither a napkin nor a rag to clean up mess with’’. Hence she rejects all the caps of the three suitors who want to marry her.
With that firmly established, she then directs her energy towards filling the void left by Ajumobi’s death. She decides to work hard, doing manual jobs to fill in the long hours of her lonely days under the hot sun. She does the farm work, cleans the family compound, dries maize grains, uproots cassava tubers for the goats, cooks, fetches water and firewood and does other household chores alongside her main job of buying and selling taffeta cloth in the market. Even so, there are certain jobs for which she requests assistance from the village men like Uncle Deyo. She still needs her husband to eat the food she prepares. She also needs, she realizes, a husband to eliminate the termites, red ants and rat around the house.
Yaremi also longs for her husband’s touch and his deep manly voice. In her loneliness, she dreams about him often and imagines he has come to visit her. She misses their quarrels and prays for him to return as it is impossible for her to forget certain events. She tells Segi: ‘’Your father was to me like the mighty Baobab, the king of the Savannah, towering above ten thousand lesser trees around, protecting me under its cool shade…But death was cruel. It came like the harmattan blaze, to strip me of my only dress, my Baobab, leaving me to stand alone in mournful nakedness’’. Thus, despite Yaremi’s determination to stand against tradition in her refusal to remarry, she realizes the desirability of being part of a couple, as long as her husband is Ajumobi.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Identity of Yaremi.
The expectation of Kufi society.
Yaremi’s determination to remain unmarried.
Yaremi’s efforts to fill her lonely days.
The emptiness and loneliness despite all she does.
Her realization that she needs a man.
QUESTION 4: Examine the author’s narrative technique in the novel.
The author tells his story from the third person point of view. With this omniscient perspective, he demonstrates his skill in observing people and events very closely and passing appropriate comments on them. One remarkable feature of the author’s technique is his drawing very deeply from the African oral tradition in his narrative. This is evident in Yaremi’s folk tales about such animals as the tortoise that often overreaches itself in its own wiles and cunning, the antelope that often falls on its own pride and the gluttonous baboon that dies from its rapacious greed. There is also the use of incantation as shown by both Ajumobi and Yaremi to neutralise the evil machinations of their perceived enemies. The author employs flashback as Yaremi, on a good number of occasions, recalls the halcyon days with her late husband and eulogises his sterling qualities as a husband and his prowess as a hunter.
Another feature employed in the narration is dialogue. Instances are the exchanges between Yaremi and Woye, Yaremi and Ajumobi, Yaremi and her suitors, the widows on their way from the river, etc. indeed, the use of figurative language permeates the entire work. References can be made to the cap-picking ceremony where the suitors’ personalities, etc., are delineated. Also significant is the use of words or expressions drawn from the local language. Often, these put emphasis on tradition and folklore, thereby adding colour to the setting. There is also the use of traditional songs.
POINTS TO NOTE:
The author adopts the omniscient perspective.
He draws largely from the oral tradition.
The author uses the flashback technique.
The use of dialogue and figurative language, e.g. similes, metaphors.
The use of local terms to add colour to the setting.
The use of traditional songs.
NON- AFRICAN PROSE
RICHARD WRIGHT——NATIVE SON
QUESTION 5: Discuss the role of the black clergy in the novel.
Rev. Hammond is a black clergy of Bigger’s mother’s church. Hence, he represents the black clergy and religion in the novel. He visits Bigger in his cell. As soon as Bigger recognizes him he is on guard against him. Bigger fears the pastor will make him remorseful and wants to tell him to go but cannot speak. Reverend Hammond kneels on the concrete floor to pray for salvation of Bigger’s soul. He repeatedlyrefers to Bigger as ‘’poor boy’’, seeing Bigger as a sinner who needs salvation. As the words of pastors’ prayer register themselves in Bigger’s consciousness, they make him remember his mother’s voice telling of suffering, hope and love beyond the world. This makes Bigger feel condemned and guilty.
Bigger hates the clergyman’s creed and wishes he will stop praying. He cannot repeat any of the preacher’s words, but they make him [Bigger] feel like leaping up to strike him. Before he leaves, Reverend Hammond gives Bigger a wooden cross, trying to make him believe that life is all suffering. This, Bigger rejects in his heart. The visit and the prayer of the black clergyman expose the hypocritical attitude of the black church and its attitude of capitulating to the situation of its members. It is ironical that the church cannot even engage the services of a lawyer for Bigger, which is what he needs at this time. This, Reverend Hammond knows as he tells Jan that if anybody needs help, then Bigger does. The clergy contrasts Jan, not only in race and occupation, but in his belief in what man needs in life. Jan forgives Bigger and engages a lawyer to defend him now, but Reverend Hammond thinks of the hereafter. Bigger’s case needs prompt and immediate attention, but the clergyman offers freedom of the soul, whilst Jan offers immediate and prompt attention.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Identification of the black clergyman Rev. Hammond.
His visit to Bigger in his cell.
The impact of the visit on Bigger.
The irony in the visit.
The contrast between Rev. Hammond and Jan.
QUESTION 6: What have you learnt about black life from the conversation between Bigger and Gus at the entrance to the pool room?
Bigger leaves home that fateful morning to avoid his mother’s incessant nagging about the family’s poor living condition and his not able to be of any help. She warns him against his continued involvement with the gang and prophesies doom for him if he disregards her warning. He heads for the pool room where he feels more at ease. He meets Gus, a member of the gang at the entrance and they drift into conversation. Their conversation reveals much about the living conditions of black people. It exposes their forced segregated lives, their exclusion from participation in the political, military and commercial life of white America, as well as their bottled up frustration which stir up anger in some of them. We learn, for instance, that black live under very poor conditions. As Bigger and Gus observe and appreciate nature, i.e., the warm day, both reflect on the poor heating system in their homes. Though their landlords ‘don’t give much heat, yet they always demand rent.
They reflect also on their segregated lives, which bother them a lot. Bigger observes that whites live ‘’over across the line, over there on Cottage Grove Avenue’’. Explaining the source of their bitterness, he intones: ‘’we live here, and they live there, we black and they white. They get things and we ain’t. They do things and we can’t’’. Accounting for his feelings he says, ‘’I feel like I’m on the outside of the world peeping in through a knot-hole in the fence’’. Bigger and Gus refer also to the power structure in American society, from the presidency to the military, business and commerce. Their simulation of a telephone conversation between the president of the United States and his secretary of state on the one hand, and J.P. Morgan, a business mogul and someone else is also revealing. It is revealed that the president’s secretary of state is more ready to attend a cabinet meeting about ‘’the nigger raising sand all over the country’’ than one involving Germans. And J.P. Morgan is prepared to ‘’sell twenty thousand shares of US steel, a mind-boggling figure. That kind of business transaction is way beyond blacks to do. These show the extent to which whites suppress to put blacks in their place.
Blacks are also prevented from aspiring to do anything worthwhile, ‘’they get the chance to do everything’’, but ‘’they don’t let us do anything’’. Whereas the whites, like the pigeon, can go wherever they want, the blacks are restricted in their movements. The conversation reveals two contrasting attitudes of the blacks towards their situation in the novel. Some black like Gus, are resigned to their fate. Others like Bigger, breed anger in themselves against the system. Thus, the conversation gives a microscopic view of black life in the novel.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Background to the conversation.
The segregated lives of the black people.
The white power structure which excludes blacks.
The stifling of black aspiration.
The restricted movement of the blacks.
Bigger’s solution/Gus’s resignation to fate.
QUESTION 7: Comment on the significance of Comrade’s death in the novel.
Conrad’s death is significant both in its contribution to plot development and also to character delineation. Conrad, son and heir of Manfred, dies when he is mysteriously crushed by a gigantic stone helmet. He does not really appear as a character in the novel but is very important and his death has a direct influence on the major actions in the novel. Conrad is supposed to marry Isabella, daughter of Fredric. Fredric is, in actual fact, the real heir to the Castle of Otranto. Manfred arranges the marriage between Conrad and Isabella in order to unite the two factions claiming rights to Otranto. Conrad’s death puts paid to Manfred’s attempt to consolidate his position through his son. Thus, he turns his attention to other means to attain his goals. This sets into motion a chain of events which culminate in his downfall and the restoration of the Castle of Otranto to Theodore who is declared as the true heir of the castle. The prophecy that the castle will be restored to its rightful heir ‘’whenever the real owner should be grown too large to inhabit’’ is thus fulfilled.
Isabella’s repugnance at the idea of her marrying Manfred, after his proposed divorce of his wife, Hippolita, leads her to run away from the castle to the church of St. Nicholas, to seek the protection of Friar Jerome. This is in itself significant since it brings the Holy Father into direct conflict with Manfred. This advances the plot as it creates the occasion for Manfred to sin further by challenging the spiritual powers.
Conrad’s death also introduces Theodore into the action of the novel. Theodore’s explanation on discovery of the dead Conrad generates a conflict between him and Manfred. Theodore’s alliance with Isabella complicates the novel’s plot further. Manfred mistakenly believes that the two are in love much to his annoyance as he regards it as an affront to his authority. The stage is therefore set for the final confrontation in the novel which results in Manfred’s downfall and the return of the Castle of Otranto to its rightful heir.
Conrad’s death also contribute to the delineation of Manfred’s character. It exposes Manfred’s depravity and his capacity for evil machinations. Conrad’s death leaves him with only one option as he sees it to consolidate his hold on the castle. When his attempt to obtain Isabella’s consent to marry him by manipulation and subterfuge fails, he resort to violence. His lechery and unscrupulousness are accentuated by Conrad’s removal from the scene, and he is exposed for what he really is. With the introduction of Theodore immediately after Conrad’s death, a formidable opponent to Manfred’s evil plans emerges.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Identification and death of Conrad.
Manfred’s marriage arrangement.
The effect of Conrad’s death on the arrangement.
Introduction of Theodore into the plot and the effect.
Exposition of negative aspects of Manfred’s character.
QUESTION 8: Examine the relationship between Manfred and Hippolita.
Manfred, the Prince of Otranto, is married to Hippolita, a lady he later points out to be a distant relation of his. They have two children, Maltida, their eighteen-year-old daughter and Conrad, their fifteen-year-old son. Hippolita is described as ‘’an amiable lady’’ and is presented in the novel as a subservient wife who treats her husband with utmost respect. Her love for and dedication to her husband is not reciprocated. This is so because Manfred’s attitude towards her is one of utter disdain, though he himself says of her, ‘’true, I honour Hippolita’s virtue, I think her a saint…’’. In the first place, he does not take her suggestions into consideration. When Manfred hatches the plot for the marriage between Conrad and Isabella, Hippolita calls his attention to the fact that Conrad, their ailing son, is too young to marry. Manfred responds by blaming her inability to give him more than one heir. The marriage plan ends disastrously with the mysterious death of Conrad on the wedding day. Manfred’s inhumane treatment of his wife only intensifies after Conrad’s death. Hippolita, on recovering from the initial shock at the news, demands regular updates on her ‘lord’-the way she refers to Manfred. Manfred on the other hand, does not even mention his wife or daughter, as the first words he utters to the ladies in the chapel after the incident are: ‘’Take care of the Lady Isabella’’. Hippolita sends Maltida, their daughter to see how Manfred is coping with his loss. When Maltida attempts to do so, she cannot find words to explain to her mother the ‘’bitter’’ reception she has received from her father, on her return to Hippolita.
Hippolita, on her part, registers her disappointment that Manfred has not requested to see her when she says mournfully: ‘’But will he not let me see him? Will he not permit me to blend my tears with his, and shed a mother’s sorrow in the bosom of her lord? She is also worried that Conrad’s tragic death must have affected Manfred very badly and demands that she be taken to see him, when she says to her maids: ‘’Raise me, my maidens; I will see my lord. Bear me to him instantly: He is dearer to me than my children’’. It is heart-rending that Manfred does not care or ask to see his wife but sends to summon Isabella instead. Hippolita, in her innocence, thinks that Manfred is apprehensive of meeting herself and Maltida that is why he chooses to send for Isabella instead. She tells Isabella, ‘’Console him, dear Isabella and tell him I will smother my own anguish rather than add to his’’. This is contrary to an ideal marriage relationship situation where, at least, both the husband and wife show concerned for each other. Little does Hippolita know that Manfred is desirous to propose to Isabella? She trusts her husband very much.
When Isabella, on hearing the proposal flees the castle, Manfred is hot pursuit of her. Recognizing Manfred’s footsteps on the stairs, Hippolita hastily goes out anxiously to meet him for the first time after their son’s death. He pushes her ‘’rudely off’’ demanding to know Isabella’s whereabouts and even mentions Hippolita is jealous of Isabella. Hippolita, though surprised at this utterance, being the obedient wife she is, carries out Manfred’s orders to send her chaplain to him. Hippolita later tells Manfred that the ‘’gigantic leg’’ is just a figment of the imagination. Manfred is relieved but his attitude towards his wife does not improve; in fact it gets worse. Relying on Hippolita’s submissiveness, Manfred plots to divorce her and marry Isabella. When Friar Jerome comes with information on Isabella, Manfred sees the opportunity to get him to dissolve his marriage to Hippolita so he could marry Isabella, his once proposed daughter-in-law. When he insists that Hippolita should not be part of the discussion, she quickly obeys. Manfred, as villainous as he is, pleads with the Friar to dissolve their marriage on the grounds that it was ill-contracted as Hippolita is his relative, but the Friar refuses to do so. Hippolita comes up with a proposal to end the deadlock that fails to materialize. When Isabella protests about such a proposal, she says to her, ‘’Hold, you must not in my presence, young lady, mention Manfred with disrespect: he is my lord and my husband’’.
Hippolita is there till the very end to support Manfred when he is expelled from Otranto. It is evident that the relationship between Manfred and his wife is strange and appears to be an unhappy one for Hippolita.
POINTS TO NOTE:
Background to the relationship between Manfred and Hippolita.
The death of Conrad and its effect on the relationship.
Hippolita’s attitude towards her husband.
Manfred’s indifference to his wife.
The role of Maltida or Isabella and father Jerome in the relationship.