UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1992

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1992

Uganda National Examinations Board Past Questions


Sub – section (i)

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

Either 1. THE BROTHERS OF CAPEK: The Insect Play

TRAMP: [bending over him softly] empire of the world!

You miserable Ant, you, you call this bit of clay and

Grass the world? This dirty little patch of soil? If I was

To trample down all this ‘ere Ant heap of yours and you

With it, d’yer thinks these ‘ere trees above yer would

Notice it? Not they!

CHIEF ENGINEER: Who are you?

TRAMP: Only a voice. Though yesterday perhaps I was a

Soldier on another ant heap. What yer think of yourself,

Conqueror of the world? Feel big enough? Don’t that heap

Of corpses seem too small for your glory, yer

Miserable image?

CHIEF ENGINEER: [rising] I disregard you entirely – I

Proclaim my self emperor!

a) Explain briefly what is happening in this episode.

b) What happened earlier in that makes the tramp annoyed with the chief engineer and the ant realm?

c) What is the final fate of the chief engineer and his soldiers?

d) (i) How does the Tramp deal with the yellow ants leader later? Why does he deal with him the way he does?

(ii) What are your feelings towards the ants in the play generally?

Or 2. WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

JERO: [coughs.] sister…my dear sister in Christ….

AMOPE: I hope you slept well, brother Jero….

JERO: Yes, thanks be to God. [Hems and coughs.] I…Err…I hope

You have not come to stand in the way of Christ and his


AMOPE: If Christ doesn’t stand in the way of me and my work

JERO: Beware of pride, sister. That was a sinful way to talk.

AMOPE: Listen, you bearded debtor. You owe me one pound,

Eight and nine. You promised you would pay me three

Months ago but of course you have been too busy doing

The work of God. Well, let me tell you that you are not going anywhere until you do a bit of my own work.

JERO: But the money is not in the house. I must get it from the post office before I can pay you.

AMOPE: [fanning the brazier.] you’ll have to think of something else before you call me a fol.

a) When and where does this occasion take place?

b) Brother Jero does not exactly know who Amope is at this point in the play. How does he come to know who she is later on?

c) (i) How does brother Jero become a debtor to Amope?

(ii) Why is he unable to pay this debt?

d) (i) What do we learn about brother Jero in this scene?

(ii) Which of the two do you support in this episode? Jero or Amope? Why?

Or 3. CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer At Ease

If the Umuofia progressive union had granted him four months grace things might have turned out differently. But all that was now past history. He had made up his quarrel with the union. It was quite clear they had meant no harm. And even if they had, was it not true, as the president had said at the reconciliation meeting, that anger against a kinsman was left in the flesh, not in the marrow? The union had pleaded with him to accept the four months’ grace from that moment. But he had refused with the lie that his circumstances were now happier.

And if one thought objectively of the matter as though it related to Mr. B and not to one’s self …could one blame those poor men for being critical of a senior service man who appeared reluctant to pay twenty pounds a month? They had taxed themselves mercilessly to raise eight hundred pounds to send him to England. Some of them earned no more than five pounds a month. He earned nearly fifty. They had wives and school going children; he had none.

a) Explain briefly why obi had a quarrel with the Umuofia progressive union.

b) Mention two other meetings of the Umuofia progressive union. What do these two meetings reveal about the people of Umuofia living in Lagos?

c) What do you understand by “anger against a kinsman was felt in the flesh, not in the marrow”?

d) (i) Briefly describe obi’s feelings in this passage.

(ii) What is your attitude towards him?

Or 4. CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

……..with a few swift strides I covered the few yards that separated me from the gate and suddenly I saw my mother. She was standing in the dusty road a few steps away from the fence; she too, was forbidden to come ant closer,

‘Mother!’ I cried. ‘Mother!’

And all at once I felt a lump in my throat, was it because I could go no closer because I could not hug my mother? Was it because we had already been separated so long, because we were still to be separated a long time? I do not know. All I know I that I could only say ‘mother!’ and that after my joy in seeing her I suddenly felt a strange depression. Ought I to attribute this emotional instability to the transformation that had been worked in me? When I had left my mother, I was still a child. Now…… but was I really a man now? Was I really a grown man?… I was a man! Yes, I was a grown man. And now this manhood had already begun to stand between my mother and myself. It kept us infinitely further apart than the few yards that separated us now.

‘Mother!’ I said again.

But this time I spoke it very low, like a lament, sadly, as if it were a lament for myself.

a) Where is Laye at this moment?

b) Mention one other similar meeting between

i) Laye and his mother

ii) Laye and his father.

What do these other meetings reveal about each parent’s feelings towards the growing child?

c) In what ways is Laye “a man now”?

d) (i) Briefly describe Laye’s emotions in this extract.

(ii) Are you convinced that Laye is really a man now? Why or why not?

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 sub – section (i) was on a novel, you must select a play.


Either 5. What human weaknesses are exposed in The Insect Play?

Or 6. What is the role played by the tramp in The Insect Play? Support your answer with evidence from the play.

WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

Either 7. What shortcomings in the Lagos community does the play, The Trials of Brother Jero reveal to us?

Or 8. Compare the characters of brother Jero and Chume in the play, The Trials of Brother Jero.

CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer At Ease

Either 9. How does the relationship between obi okonkwo and any two of the following characters influence the events that lead to his unhappy end?

(i) His (obi’s) mother

(ii) Joseph

(iii) Clara

Or 10.No Longer at Ease is a story of contradictions,’ describe three situations in the novel that illustrate this statement.

CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

Either 11. Consider Laye’s relationship with his mother and his relationship with Marie. How does each of these two relationships help to shape Laye’s character?

Or 12. Laye finds certain experiences quite frightening. Describe three such experiences and say how far you share his sense of fright.


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

W. GOLDING: Lord of the Flies

Either 13. What does the author mean by “the darkness of man’s heart”? Describe three incidents that show this aspect of man in the novel.

Or 14. How does the absence of adults affect the lives of the boys on the island?

V.S. NAIPAUL: Miguel Street

Either 15. ‘Man – man is believed to be mad by everybody in Miguel Street except the narrator.’ Would you agree with the narrator or the other people in Miguel Street? Give reasons for your choice.

Or 16. Referring to specific incidents explain whether you think the people in Miguel street were kind or unkind to each other.

W. SHAKESPEARE: Julius Caesar

Either 17. Give an account of the conspirators’ meeting at Brutus’ house, and show how this episode reveals the strength and weakness of Brutus.

Or 18. Describe the scene at the capital from the point when Caesar encounters the soothsayer to his murder. What is the significance of this scene to the whole play?

F. IMBUGA: Betrayal in the City

Either 19. Compare the characters of Regina and Jusper Wendo. Whose view of the situation in kafira would you support? Why?

Or 20. Describe four cases of betrayal in the play and explain why you consider them to be examples of betrayal.

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

Either 21. Describe three different examples of conflict between Ocol and Lawino. Which of the two characters does the author appear to support? Why do you think so?

Or 22. What kind of politics does Ocol involve himself in after independence? Do you admire him in this role? Why or why not?

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

Either 23. Select one poem that you find very interesting from an introduction to east African poetry (extract from a letter to Leopold Sedar Senghor”) and

(i) Explain the subject matter or problem it deals with;

(ii) Show how the poet makes it interesting or appealing to you.

Or 24. Extract from a letter to Leopold Sedar Senghor

Do not remind me of things that are gone

Nor of the splendor that was in yesteryears;

Do not sing of my mothers’ laughters

Nor of the sensual songs resounding through their tears;

Do not dream of the ancestral hearth

Nor of the piety of communing ancients;

Do not wake the dead from their wakeful slumber in the earth,

Nor delve into the basement of glories gone:

But look to the unmended rafters of our bondaged being.

Let Shaka alone,

And let Sundiata be,

And Samori

And Sumanguru;

Do not utter their immoral names,

For their greatness my enslavement shames;

Do not proclaim your blackness,

For who shall hear your near white accents?

Sing not of the beauty of the sons of ham,

For this much I know, none can my pride harm.

But tell me how to do,

Tell me how to be,

Tell me how to become,

Dance to us with your actions,

And sing to us with your actions

That, seeing, we may blend

The noumenal

With the phenomenal.


a) (i) Who are the “us” in the poem?

(ii)Why doesn’t the poet want to be reminded of his past?

b) What does the poet mean by the following?

(i) “But look to the unmended rafters of our bondage being.” (line 9)

(ii) “For who shall hear your near white accents?” (line 17)

c) What does the poet suggest we should do to our past and present? Refer to the lines that put this clearly.

d) Describe the poet’s feelings towards Shaka, Sundiata, Samori, Sumanguru and ham.

e) Comment on any other features used in the poem that interest you.

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