UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1993

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 1993

Uganda National Examinations Board Past Questions


Sub – section (i)

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

Either 1. CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

“Do you know what’s been going on in this school?”

“Everything is going as it should,” said the headmaster.

“It is, is it?” said my father. “Are you not aware of the fact that the big boys beat the little ones, that they steal their money and take their food?

Are you blind, or do you not wish to see what’s going on?”

“I’ll thank you to mind your own business!” said the headmaster.

“And this is not my own business?” said my father. “Is it none of my business when my own son is being treated like a slave in your school?”

“Certainly not”

“You should not have said that,” said my father. And he went right up to the headmaster.

“Do you think you’ll beat me up as your apprentices beat up one of my pupils this morning?” cried the headmaster.

And he hit out his fists, but although he was stronger, he was fat and his fat impeded rather than helped him; and my father, who was thin, but active and supple, had no difficulty in dodging his blows and setting about him in no uncertain fashion. I don’t know what might have happened if the teachers had not dragged him off. The headmaster was feeling his jaw and didn’t say a word. My father dusted himself down, and then took me by hand. He went out of the school yard without a word to anyone, and I marched proudly back to occur compound with him. But towards evening when I went for a walk in the town, I could hear folks saying as I passed by: “look! That’s the schoolboy whose father went and beat up the headmaster in his own school yard!”

a) Outline the circumstances that have led to this scene.

b) How does Laye feel about this happening and why does he feel that way?

c) Compare the character of Laye’s father as it is revealed here and his character as is revealed elsewhere in the novel.

d) Compare Laye’s experience with the bullies to his experience during the circumcision ceremony.

Or 2. THE BROTHERS CAPEK: The Insect Play

TRAMP: it’s like this there….what’s wrong about

Them insects, if yer think it out,

Is, they’ve no feller feeling, each

Jest for it self is what they preach

CHRYSALIS: listen to me, listen to me

The whole world will soon be free!

TRAMP: thinks ‘e’s the world, ‘e does…..my ‘at!

These Inc’s all behaves like that

Ridiculous creatures! Jest can’t see

‘Ow small they look to you and me…

They make me tired….I’d give my clay

(Gospel, I would) to get away.

Man! These ‘ere insects never dream

Of working to some general scheme,

CHRYSALIS: The crowning hour approaches. Lo

The universe begins to glow!

TRAMP: (jumping up)

Gorblimey: If I haven’t struck

The truth! Now there’s a bit of luck

Insects won’t work together. Man

Will. ‘E can form a general plan

There’s something great in him what fights

And perishes for the nation’s rights.

a) Mention two earlier happenings that have led the tramp to say that insects have “no feller feeling’. Each/ jest for itself is what they preach.”

b) Referring to what happens later on in the play, comment on the tramp’s view that insects never dream of working to some general scheme.

c) What happens to the chrysalis later on in the play?

d) What is your reaction here to:

(i) The chrysalis,

(ii) The tramp?

Give reasons for reactions.

Or 3. WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

CHUME: Brother Jero, you must let me beat her!

JERO: What!

CHUME: (desperately) just one, prophet, just once.

JERO: Brother Chume!

CHUME: Just one. Just one sound beating and I swear not to ask again.

JERO: Apostate, have I not told you the will of god in this matter?

CHUME: But I’ve got to beat her, prophet. You must save me from madness.

JERO: I will. But only if you obey me.

CHUME: In anything else, prophet. But for this one, make you let me just beat ‘am once.

JERO: Apostate!

CHUME: I n’ go beat ‘am too hard. Jus’ once small small.

JERO: Traitor!

CHUME: Jus’ this one time. I no go ask again. Jus’ do me this one favor. Make a beat’ am today.

JERO: Brother Chume, what were you before you came to me?

CHUME: Prophet……..

JERO: (sternly) what were you before the grace of God?

CHUME: A laborer, prophet. A common laborer.

JERO: And did I not prophesy you would become an office boy?

CHUME: You do ‘am; brother. Na so.

a) Where does this episode take place?

b) What happens just before Chume enters?

c) (i) Whom does Chume want to beat and why?

(ii)Why does brother Jero not grant Chume his request?

d) Chume makes a similar request to Jero later on in the scene. How does Jero react on that occasion, and why does he react that way?

e) How do you feel about Chume’s behavior in this scene, in particular and the whole play in general?

Or 4. CHUNUA ACHEBE: no longer at ease.

The man came in and introduced himself. He wore a very expensive agbada.

“Please have a seat.”

“Thank you.” He brought out a little towel from somewhere in the folds of his flowing gown and mopped his face.

“I don’t want to waste your time,” he said, mopping one forearm and then the other under the wide sleeves of his agbada.

“My son is going to England in September. I want him to get a scholarship. If you can do it for me here is fifty pounds.” He brought out a wad of notes from the front pocket of his agbada.

Obi told him it was not possible. “In the first place I don’t give scholarships. All I do is go through the applications and recommend those who satisfy the requirements to the scholarship board.”

“That’s all I want,” said the men. “Just recommend him.”

“But the board may not select him.”

“Don’t worry about that. Just do your own…..” obi was silent. He remembered the boy’s name. He was already on the short list, “why don’t you ever go to the club? I have never seen you before.”

“I’m not a member.”

“You must join,” he said “bye bye.”

The wad of notes lay where he had placed it for the rest of the day and all night obi placed a newspaper over it and secured the door. “This is terrible, “he muttered. “Terrible!” he said aloud. He woke up with a start in the middle of the night and he did not go to sleep again for a long time afterwards.

a) When and where does this scene take place?

b) Mention one earlier instance in the novel where obi was involved in a similar situation. How did he react on that occasion?

c) Mention two differences in the attitudes of the man in agbada and obi okonkwo towards bribery.

d) How important is the happening in this passage in obi’s life?

Sub – section (ii)

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.

CAMARA LAYE: The African Child

Either 5. Describe the characters of Laye’s (a) father (b) mother. What kind of relationship does he have with each of them? Give examples from The African Child to illustrate your answer.

Or 6. What do camera Laye’s childhood experiences in The African Child reveal about the kind of child he was?


Either 7. Which of the following groups of insects do you find interesting and why?

a) The butterflies

b) The beetles

c) The crickets

d) The ants

Or 8. Describe one of the five parts of the insect play which you would especially like to see acted on stage. With examples from the play, give reasons to support your choice.

WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

Either 9. Briefly describe the religious practice that goes on at bar beach in Lagos comment on how this practice compares with Christian principles.

Or 10. “Women characters are the main cause of problems in The Trials of Brother Jero.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Referring to the play, give reasons to support your point of view.

CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer At Ease

Either 11. What are the forces against Obi’s and Clara’s love affair and why do they fail to overcome them?

Or 12. Show with clear examples from the novel how the death of Obi’s mother was a turning point in his life.


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

WILLIAM GOLDING: Lord of the Flies

Either 13. Imagine you are one of the boys living on the island in Lord of the Flies. ‘Which of the two leaders, Ralph or jack, would you prefer? Give reasons to support your choice.

Or 14. What happens on the island to show you that there is a breakdown of order amongst the boys in Lord of the Flies?

V.S. NAIPAUL: Miguel Street

Either 15. What contribution do dogs make to life in Miguel Street?

Or 16. Why do the police arrest each of the following?

(i) Bogart

(ii) Popo

(iii) Man – man

Do you think the police was right in each case? Support your answer with evidence from the novel.


Either 17. Referring closely to the play Julius Caesar, describe the roles that Calpurnia and Portia play in the lives of their husbands.

Or 18. Describe one scene in the play Julius Caesar which moves you most. Explain clearly how the play Wright arouses your feelings in the scene.

FRANCIS IMBUGA: Betrayal in the City.

Either 19: “the people of kafira killed their past and they are busy killing their future.” Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Give examples from the play, Betrayal in the City, to support your point of view.

Or 20. You have been asked to take part in the school production of Betrayal in the City. Which of these two: (a) Jusper, (b) Mulili would you prefer to act? Give reasons to support your choice.

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

Either 21. Which of the two characters, Lawino and Ocol, do you prefer and why? Support your answer with close reference to the text.

Or 22. What do Lawino and Ocol say about (a) the horn, (b) the bull, (c) the spear, 9d0 the tree in Song of Lawino and Song of Ocol? What does this teach you about the Acoli way of life?

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

Either 23. Select poem from an introduction to east African poetry (excluding building the nation by Henry Barlow) and:

(i) State what the poet is saying in it.

(ii) Write a letter to a friend who has not read this poem before in which you:

a) Tell him what lessons you have learnt by reading it.

b) Encourage him to read it by describing to him the feelings it arouse in you.

Or 24. Building the Nation


Today I did my share

In building the nation

I drove a permanent secretary

To an important urgent function

In fact to a luncheon at the vic.

The menu reflected its importance

Cold bell beer with small talk

Then fried chicken with niceties

Wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs

Ice – cream to cover the stereotype jokes

Coffee to keep PS awake on return journey.

I drove the permanent secretary back

He yawned many times in the back of the car

Then to keep awake, he suddenly asked

Did you have lunch, friend?

I replied, looking straight ahead

And secretly smiling at his belated concern

That I had not, but was slimming!

Upon which he said with seriousness

That amused more than annoyed me

Mwananchi, I too had none!

I attended to matters of state.

Highly delicate diplomatic duties, you know

And friend, it goes against my grain

Causes me stomach ulcers and wind.

Ah, he continued, yawning again

The pains we suffer in building the nation!

So the PS had ulcers too!

My ulcers I think are equally painful

Only they are caused by hunger

Not sumptuous lunches!

So two nation builders

Arrived home this evening

With terrible stomach pains

The result of building the nation

Different ways.

a) What does the poet mean by the following?

(i) “the menu reflected its importance” (line 6)

(ii) “wine to fill the hollowness of the laughs” (line 9)

(iii) “a seriousness/ that amused rather than annoyed me” (lines 19 – 20)

(iv) “So the PS had ulcers too!” (line 28)

(v) “the result of building the nation-/- different ways” (line 36 – 37)

b) (i) Why does the PS ask the driver whether he had had lunch?

(ii)What does this reveal to you about the way the PS treats his driver?

c) With examples from the poem, discuss the role the PS played in building the nation ‘today.’

d) (i) Do you think that the PS and driver have contributed to nation building ‘today’ or not?

(ii)Referring closely to the poem, illustrate how each one of these ‘nation builders’ has contributed or failed to contribute to building the nation ‘today’.

e) Write a letter to the pet, Henry Barlow:

(i) Expressing the feelings he has aroused in you through his poem.

(ii) Informing him of the lessons he has taught you about nation building through:

– The PS

– The driver.

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