UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1990

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1990

Uganda National Examinations Board Past Questions


Sub – section (i)

Choose one the passage 1 to 4, read it carefully and then answer the question following it as concisely as possible.

Either 1. CAOEK BROTHERS: The Insect Play

2ND ENGINEER: three cheers for the dictator shout boys, or ……………….

SOLDIERS: Hip, hip, hooray!

CHIEF ENGINEER: (saluting) thank you! You have responded to the gravity of the moment. Soldiers, we are fighting for life and liberty.

2ND ENGINEER: And for the greatness of our state.

CHIEF ENGINEER: And for the greatness of our state. We shall wage war for the interest of civilization and our military honor. Soldiers, I am with you to the last drop of my blood.

2ND ENGINEER: Long live our beloved commander – in – Christ!

SOLDIERS: Long live our commander – in – Christ!

CHIEF ENGINEER: I know my soldiers. They will fight until the final victory. Long live our gallant men. Hurrah!

SOLDIERS: hurrah! Hurrah!

CHIEF ENGINEER: (to 2nd engineer) the first and second divisions will attack frontally. The fourth will envelop the pine wood, and break into the ant heap of the yellows. Women and children to be slaughtered – third division in reserve – no quarter!


May God assist us in this, Soldiers, ‘shun! Right turn – quick march!


One, two! War forced upon us – one, two, one, two! In the name of justice! No quarter! For your hearths and homes! One, two, one, two! We are only defending ourselves. War on the world. For a greater Home country. One, two – a ruthless enemy. Will of the national to battle – strike hard. Historical claims, brilliant spirit of the army. One, two, one, two!

(Fresh TROOPS march past)

Good luck, soldiers, I shall be behind you – well done the fifth! The conquerors of the pine trees. A mighty epoch, to victory – conquer the world, magnificent daring – one, two! Well done, seventh! Beat them, soldiers, the yellows are cowards. Hack your way through, burn, destroy, heroes!

a) (i) What has led to this state of war?

(ii) With whom do you sympathize, the ant realm or the yellow ants? Briefly give reasons for your answer.

b) How does the chief engineer become leader of the ants in this scene? What happens to him afterwards?

c) Why do you think the ants of the ant realm obey and praise their leader?

d) What does this extract reveal about the characters of

(i) The chief engineer and

(ii) The second engineer?

What is your reaction to each of the two characters?

Or 2 WOLE SOYINKA: The Trails of Brother Jero

CHUME: Forgive us all.


CHUME: Forgive us all.

(And then, punctuated regularly with amen’s…. Yes, father, make you forgive us all. Make you save us from palaver. Save us from trouble at home. Tell our wives not to give us trouble….)

(The penitent has become placid. She is stretched out flat on the ground.)

…… tell our wives not to give us trouble. And give us money to have happy home. Give us money to satisfy our daily necessities. Make you no forget those of us who dey struggle daily. Those who be clerk today, make them chief clerk tomorrow. Those who are messenger today, make them senior service tomorrow. Yes father, those who are messenger today, make them senior service tomorrow.

(The amen’s grow more and more ecstatic.)

Those who are pretty trader today, make them big contractor tomorrow. Those who dey sweep street today, give them their own big office tomorrow. If we dey walker today, give us our bicycle tomorrow. I say those who dey walker today, give them their own bicycle tomorrow. Those who have bicycle today; they will ride their own car tomorrow.

(The enthusiasm of the response becomes, at this point, quite overpowering.)

I say those who dey push bicycle, give them big car tomorrow. Give them big car tomorrow. Give them big car tomorrow. Give them big car tomorrow.

a) State three important incidents that happen before this scene.

b) What is brother Jero doing at this moment in the play?

c) Would the prophet (brother Jero) lead the prayer the way Chume has done? Give reasons for your answer.

d) What does the passage reveal about (i) Chume and (ii) the congregation?

What is your reaction to Chume and the congregation here?

Or 3. CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer At Ease

‘He is a son of Iguedo,’ said old Odogwu. ‘There are nine villages in Umuofia, but Iguedo is Iguedo. We have our faults, but we are not empty men who become white when they see white and black when they see black.’

Obi’s heart glowed with pride within him.

‘He is the grandson of Ogbuefi okonkwo who faced the white man single handed and died in the fight, stand up!’

Obi stood up obediently.

‘Remark him,’ said Odogwu. ‘He is Ogbuefi okonkwo come back. He is okonkwo Kpom – Kwem, exact, perfect.’

Obi’s father cleared his throat in embarrassment. ‘Dead men do not come back,’ he said.

‘I tell you this is okonkwo. As it was in the beginning so it will be in the end. That is what your religion tells us.’

‘It does not tell you that dead men return.’

a) Where does this meeting take place and what is the purpose of it?

b) Why does obi’s heart glow with pride?

c) What is Ogbuefi Odogwu’s attitude to the Christian religion in this passage?

d) What does the passage reveal about (i) the Iguedo community and (ii) the okonkwo family?

Or 4. CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

‘I have told you all these things, little one… because I have nothing to hide from you. There is a certain form of behavior to observe, and certain ways of acting in order that the guiding spirit of our race may approach you also. I ….. Was observing that form of behavior which persuades our guiding spirit to visit us. Oh, perhaps not consciously. But nevertheless it is true that if you desire the guiding spirit of our race to visit you one day, if you desire to inherit it in your turn, you will have to conduct yourself in the selfsame manner:

a) What important incidents occur immediately before this speech?

b) Who is speaking, and what is ‘the guiding spirit’ referred to here?

c) What are the ‘certain form of behavior to observe and certain ways acting’ before ‘guiding spirit’ can approach?

d) Briefly explain how this episode creates a closer relationship between the speaker and the little one.

Sub – section (ii)

Answer one question on one book.

N.B. If your answer in sub – section (i) was on a play, now select a novel, but if your answer in su – section (i) was on a novel, you must select a play.


Either 5. Outline what things appeal most to each group of insects in The Insect Play, and say what reaction is to their way of life.

Or 6. How do the prologue and epilogue contribute to our understanding of The Insect Play?

WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

Either 7. What do you admire and dislike in the character of brother Jero? Illustrate your answer.

Or 8. What kind of relationship is portrayed between Chume and his wife, Amope?

CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer At Ease

Either 9. To what extent is obi responsible for his own failure?

Or 10. How far is the title, No Longer at Ease, suited to this novel? Illustrate your answer by referring to the text.

CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

Either 11. Do you find The African Child an interesting novel to read? Give reasons for your answer.

Or 12. Comment on the theme of love in The African Child.


In this section you must answer three questions covering three books.

W. GOLDING: Lord of the Flies

Either 13. Describe the character of Simon. What role does he play in the novel?

Or 14. Show how evil triumphs over good in Lord of the Flies.

V.S. NAIPAUL: Miguel Street

Either 15. Give an account of the difficulties of getting education in Miguel Street.

Or 16. ‘A stranger could drive through Miguel Street and just say “slum” because he could see no more. But we who lived there saw our street as a world …. ‘

Outline what ‘world’ could be seen in Miguel Street apart from the slum.

W. SHAKEPSPEARE: Julius Caesar

Either 17. With reference to the play, show how Antony plans the downfall of Brutus and Cassius.

Or 18. Examine Caesar’s character. What is your reaction to it?

F. IMBUGA: Betrayal in the City

Either 19. Consider Regina’s actions in Betrayal in the City, and explain why she behaves the way she does.

Or 20. Kabilo and Mulili, but not boss, are killed in Betrayal in the City. What is your reaction to this situation? Refer to the play.

OKOT P’BETEK: Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol

Either 21. Consider Ocol’s determination to build a new society and Lawino’s opposition to his efforts. Whose vie appeal to you better? Give reasons for your answer.

Or 22. How does Okot p’Bitek succeed in keeping your interest in reading his two long poems, song of Lawino and song of Ocol? Refer to the text in support of your answer.

J. KATIARA AND E. KITONGA: An Introduction to East African Poetry.

Either 23. By referring in detail to two poems in An Introduction to East African Poetry, point out in what ways the two poems are similar, and in what ways they are different. (Do not include ‘naturally’ in your answer.)

Or 24. Naturally

I fear the workers: they write in bristling grass

And wormy mud: out with dawn, back with dusk;

Depart with seed, and return with fat – bursting fruit

And I eat the fruit.

And still they toil: at boiling point,

In head – splitting noise and threatening saws:

They suck their energy from slimy cassava

And age rusty water taps: till they make a Benz.

And I ride in the Benz: festooned with

Striped rags and python cooper coiling monsters

While the workers clap their blisters hands,

And I over run their kids.

They build their hives: often out

Of the broken bones of fallen mates:

And I drone in them …. ‘State house

And desiring a quick quick high high life life

To break the bond.

And I tell the workers to unite:

Knowing well they can’t see hear or understand:

What with sweat and grime sealing their ears

And eyes already blasted with welding sparks,

And me speaking a colourless tongue.

But one day a rainstorm shall flood

The litter rotten hovels and

Wash the workers’ ears and eyes clean,

Refresh the tattered muscles for a long delayed



a) How does the poet bring out the kind of relationship existing between the workers and the speaker in this poem?

b) What are your feelings towards (i) the workers and (ii) the speaker?

c) What do you understand by the following?

(i) …… I drone in them ‘state house’

Them ‘collegize’ them, officialize them (lines 15 – 16)

(ii) …… desiring a quick quick high high life life (line 19)

(iii) ……me speaking a colourless tongue (line 25)

d) Comment briefly on the poet’s use of just one word (blow) in line 30.

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