UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2004

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2004

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. WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

JERO: I don’t know how she found out my house. When I bought the goods off her, she did not even ask any questions. My calling was enough to guarantee payment. It is not as if this was a well paid job. And it is not what I would call a luxury, this velvet cape which I bought from her. It would not have been necessary if one were not forced to distinguish himself more and more from this scum who degrade the calling of the prophet. It becomes important to stand out, to be distinctive. I have set my heart after a particular name. They will look at my velvet cape and they will think of my goodness. Inevitably they must begin to call me….the Velvet – hearted Jeroboam. [Straightens himself.] Immaculate Jero, articulate Hero of Christ’s Crusade… Well, it is out. I have not breathed it to a single soul, but that has been my ambition. You’ve got to have a name that appeals to the imagination – because the imagination is a thing of the spirit – it must catch the imagination of the crowd. Yes, one must move with modern times. Lack of color gets one nowhere even in the prophet’s business.

[Looks all round him.]

Charlatans! If only I had this beach to myself. [With sudden violence.] But how does one maintain his dignity when the daughter of Eve forces him to leave his own house through a window? God curse that woman! I never thought she would dare affront the presence of a man of God. One pound eight for this little cape. It is sheer robbery.


a) What happened just before this scene?

b) What does this scene reveal about the speaker’s character?

c) What feelings does this scene arouse in you?

d) What follows immediately after this scene?

Or 2. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: The Merchant of Venice

PORTIA: he is well paid that is well satisfied,

And I delivering you am satisfied,

And therein do account myself well paid,

My mind was never yet more mercenary.

I pray you know me when we meet again,

I wish you well and so I take my leave.

BASSANIO: dear sir, of force I must attempt you further,

Take some remembrance of us as a tribute,

Not as a fee: grant me two things, I pray you

Not to deny me, and to pardon me.

PORTIA: you press me far, and therefore I will yield,

Give me your gloves, I’ll wear them for your sake,

And for your love I’ll take this ring from you,

Do not draw back your hand; I’ll take no more,

And you in love shall not deny me this.

BASSANIO: this ring good sir, alas it is a trifle,

I will not shame myself to give you this.

PORTIA: I will have nothing else but only this,

And now methinks I have a mind to it.

BASSANIO: there’s more depends on this than on the value.

The dearest ring in Venice will I give you,

And find it out by proclamation,

Only for this I pray you pardon me.

PORTIA: I see sir you are liberal in offers,

You taught me first to beg and now methinks

You teach me how a beggar should be answered


a) What has led to this scene?

b) What does Portia mean by “I pray you, know me when we meet again.” How does what she says happen later in the play?

c) What do we learn about Portia’s character in this passage?

d) Why do you think Bassanio is reluctant to give his ring to Portia?

Either 3. ERNEST HEMINGWAY: The Old Man and the Sea

‘Be calm and strong, old man,’ he said.

On the next circle the fish’s back was out but he was a little too far from the boat. On the next circle he was still too far away but he was higher out of the water and the old man was sure that by gaining some more line he could have him alongside.

He had rigged his harpoon long before and its coil of light rope was in a round basket and the end was made fast to the bit in the bow.

The fish was coming in his circle now calm and beautiful looking and only his great tail moving. The old man pulled on him all that he could to bring him closer. For just a moment the fish turned a little in his side. Then he straightened himself and began another circle.

‘I moved him,’ the old man said. ‘I moved him then.’

He felt faint again now but he held on the great fish all the strain that he could. I moved him, he thought. Maybe this time I can get him over. Pull, hands, he thought. Hold up, legs. Last for me, head. Last for me. You never went. This time I’ll pull him over.


a) What is happening at this point in the story?

b) What themes does the writer bring out in this passage?

c) What are your feelings towards the old man?

d) What happens immediately after this?


He had wanted it to Eliza he wanted. If only Eliza laughed as maisy did, dance as Maisy did, went out with him as maisy did, he would have been happy. He could work hard and get things that would have been happy. He could work hard and get things that would make a place where they live look like the white man’s. But she was not like maisy. She did not laugh. She did not dance. And he wished did not love her so. He looked at Maisy and wished he loved her. But it was Eliza he love and longed for.



‘Why is that when you love a person it is so?’

‘Maybe you love the wrong person,’ Maisy said, looking away.

‘But maybe you cannot help it.’

‘I know, I couldn’t help it…. And she?’

‘I don’t know.’

‘Why don’t you talk to her?’

‘It is hard. With you I can talk. With her it is not so.’

‘She came to you that night…… I mean, did you ask her to come?’

‘I did not ask her, she came.’

‘She loves you, Xuma.’

‘How can it be?’ he asked looking sharply at her.

‘People are so, Xuma.’

‘You are not so.’

‘I am not Eliza. And you do not love me.’

‘And you?’

Maisy raised her eyes to his face. Her mouth twisted into a bitter smile but laughter shone from her eyes. She shook her head slowly.

‘You do love me?’ Xuma persisted.

‘What is it to you?’


a) Where were Maisy and Xuma coming from?

b) According to Xuma, what would Eliza need to do so as to make him happy?

c) From what goes on in the passage, what sort of woman is Maisy?

d) What effect does xuma’s relationship with the two women have on him at the end of the novel?

Sub – section (ii)

Answer one question on one book only.

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 now select a play.

WOLE SOYINKA: The Trials of Brother Jero

Either 5. Compare and contrast the religious practices in your community with the religious practices in The Trials of Brother Jero.

Or 6. Why does Amope regard Chume a failure? Do you agree with her? Give reasons to support your answer.

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: The Merchant of Venice

Either 7. Why is Antonio famous in Venice and how does this fame affect him?

Or 8. Mention the evils of society that Shakespeare seeks to bring to the reader’s attention in his play, The Merchant of Venice.

ERNEST HEMINGWAY: The Old Man and the Sea

Either 9. Describe the Old Man’s character and show how it helps him endure the hardships he meets throughout the novel.

Or 10. What does the boy play in The Old Man and the Sea?


Either 11. What leads you to admire:

i) Maisy and

ii) Ma Plank?

Or 12. How does Leah lessen human suffering in Mine Boy?


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

OBI B. EGBUNA: The Anthill

Either 13. Describe a scene from The Anthill which you think an audience would enjoy most and give reasons for your choice.

Or 14. How suitable is the title, The Anthill?

EFUA T. SUTHERLAND: The Marriage of Anansewa?

Either 15. How do songs help us enjoy the play, The Marriage of Anansewa?

Or 16. Describe the character of Ananse as shown in the play, The Marriage of Anansewa.

V.S NAIPAUL: Miguel Street

Either 17. If you lived on Miguel street for about one week, what striking things would you live to remember and why?

Or 18. What human weaknesses is Naipaul criticizing in Miguel Street?

CHINUA ACHEBE: No Longer at Ease

Either 19. Clara was the cause of Obi’s downfall. How far true is this statement in relation to what happens in the novel, No Longer at Ease?

Or 20. Discuss the problems Obi faced as a result of his disobedient of the elders in No Longer at Ease.


Either 21. Describe the character of Mr. Howlands. Say what you find likeable or not likeable about him.

Or 22. If you were asked to form a truth and reconciliation committee to help address the problems in Kipanga, what solutions would you give the people towards the problems?

DAVID RUBANDIRI: Growing up with poetry. (Ed)

Read the poem below and answer the questions following it.

Either 23. THE POOR MAN

The poor man knows not how to eat with the rich man

When they eat fish, he eats the head.

Invite a poor man and he rushes in

Licking his lips and upsetting the plates.

The poor man has no manners, he comes along

With the blood of lice under his nails

The face of a poor man is lined

From hunger and thirst in his belly.

Poverty is no state for any mortal man.

It makes him a beast to be fed on grass.

Poverty is unjust. If it befalls a man

Though he is nobly born, he has no power with God.

Swahili [Kenya/Tanzania]

a) Briefly say what the poet says about the poor man.

b) What does the poet mean by poverty is no state for any mortal man?

c) What are the effects of poverty as presented in the poem?

d) In your opinion can a poor man improve his situation? Why?

Or 24. Select a poem from Growing up with poetry on the theme of separation and answer the following questions on it.

a) State the little of the poem

b) What is the message in the poem?

c) Apart from the message, why have you chosen the poem?

d) Write down any five words or expressions that you find interesting in the poem and explain their meanings as used in the poem.

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