UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2008

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2008

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: Jero’s Metamorphosis

CALEB: (raising his mug). Sister Rebecca, my spirits are low.

REBECCA: (rushing to fill it). Forgive me, my spirits are low.

CALEB: uplifting is in order, God bless you.

ISAAC: so where is this jeroboam fellow? When is he coming to tell us why he has made us forsake our stations to wait on his Lordship?

REBECCA: In a moment, Brother Mathew. (Going to fill his mug.)

ISAAC: I am not brother Matthew……….

REBECCA: I beg your pardon, brother.

CALEB: a clear case of mistaken identity, Sister Rebecca.

ISAAC: I am not brother Mathew, sister and I beg you to note that fact.

MATTHEW: (nettled). May one ask just what you have against being Brother Mathew?

ISAAC: I know all about brother Matthew, and that should be enough answer for anyone with a sense of shame.

REBECCA: Forgive my unfortunate error. Don’t start a quarrel on that account.

ISAAC: and to think he has the nerve to show his face here. Some people are utterly without shame.

CALEB: hear hear.

MATTHEW: and others are poor imitation Pharisees.

CALEB: hear hear.

ISAAC: better an imitation than a sex maniac.

MATTHEW: I take exception to that!

ISAAC: very good. Take exception.

MATTHEW: dare repeat that and see if it doesn’t land you in court for slander. Go on, we are all listening. I have witnesses. Come on I dare you.

ISAAC: I don’t have to. We all know the truth. You may have been acquitted but we know the truth.

MATTHEW: coward!

ISAAC: fornicator.

MATTHEW: drunkard, con – man. Forger.

CALEB: three to one. Foul play.

REBECCA: (getting between them as they heard for a clash). Brothers, in the name of our common calling I beg of you……..


a) Briefly explain what is taking place in this scene.

b) What do you find amusing in the passage and why?

c) Which weaknesses are shown in the passage as far as the ‘brother’ is concerned? Illustrate your answer.

d) What immediately follows this episode?

Or 2. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: Romeo and Juliet

JULIET: Yon light is not day light; I know it, I.

It is some meteor that the sun exhales

To be to thee this night a torch bearer,

And light thee on thy way to Mantua.

Therefore stay yet, thou need’st not to be gone.

ROMEO: Let me be taken, let me be put to death;

I am content, so thou wilt has it so.

I’ll say yon gray is not the morning’s eye,

‘Tis but the pale reflex of Cynthia’s brow.

Nor that is not the lark, whose notes do beat

The vaults heaven so high above our heads.

I have more care to s ay than will to go.

Come death, and welcome! Juliet wills it so.

How is it, my soul? Let’s talk, it is not day.

JULIET: It is, it is, hie hence, be gone, away.

It is the lark that sings so out of tune,

Straining harsh discords and unpleasing sharps.

Some say the lark makes sweet division;

This doth not so, for she divideth us.

Some say the lark and loathed toad changed eyes,

O now I would they had changed voices too,

Since arm from arm that voice doth us affray,

Hunting thee hence with hunt’s up to the day.

O now be gone; more light and light it grows.

ROMEO: more light and light, more dark and dark our woes

Enter NURSE hastily

NURSE: madam.

JULIET: nurse.

NURSE: your lady mother is coming to your chamber. That day is broke, be wary, look about,


JULIET: then widow let day in, and let life out

ROMEO: farewell, farewell. One kiss and I’ll descend.

He goes down

JULIET: Art thou gone so, love, lord, ay husband, friend?

I must hear from thee every day in the hour,

For in a minute there are many days.

O by this count I shall be much in years,

Ere I again behold my Romeo.

ROMEO: farewell.

I will omit no opportunity

That may convey my greetings, love, to thee

JULIET: O think’st thou we shall ever meet again?

ROMEO: I doubt it not, and all these woes shall serve

For sweet discourses in our times to come.

JULIET: O God, I have an ill – diving soul.

Methinks I see thee now thou art so low,

As one dead in the bottom of a tomb.

Either my eyesight fails, or thou look’st pale.

ROMEO: And trust me love, in my eyes so do you.

Dry sorrow drinks our blood. Adieu, adieu.


a) (i) Where does this scene take place?

(ii) Why is Romeo in a hurry to leave?

b) Describe the relationship between Romeo and Juliet in this occasion.

c) Which promises does Romeo make to Juliet in this passage?

d) What happens just after this passage?


Yes?” the doctor asked.

“It is a little Indian with a baby. He says a scorpion stung it.”

The doctor put his cup down gently before he let his anger rise.

“Have I nothing better to do than cure insect bites for ‘little Indians’? I am a doctor, not a veterinary.”

“Yes, patron,” said the servant.

“Has he any money?” the doctor demanded. “No, they never have any money. I, I alone in the world am supposed to work for nothing and I am tired of it. See if he has any money!”

At the gate the servant opened the door a trifle and looked out at the waiting people. And this time he spoke in the old language.

“Have you money to pay for the treatment?”

Now Kino reached into a secret place somewhere under his blanket. He brought out a paper folded many times. Crease by crease he unfolded it, until at last there came to view eight small misshapen seed pearls, as ugly and gray as little ulcers, flattened and almost valueless. The servant took the paper and closed the gate again but this time he was not gone long. He opened the gate just wide enough to pass the paper back.

“The doctor has gone out,” he said. “He was called to a serious case.” And he shut the gate quickly out of shame.

And now a ware of shame went over the whole procession. They melted away. The beggars went back to the church steps, the stragglers moved off, and the neighbors departed so that the public shaming of Kino would not be in their eyes.

For a long time Kino stood in front of the gate with Juana beside him. Slowly he put his suppliant hat on his head. Then, without warning, he struck the gate a crushing blow with his fist. He looked down in wonder at his split knuckles and at the blood that flowed down between his fingers.


a) What has led to this scene?

b) Describe the character of the doctor as revealed in the passage.

c) What are the feelings of Kino in this passage?

d) Describe the behavior of the doctor when he meets Kino later.


This was what I argued with Di about, Paddy thought. This is the test of all my verbal beliefs. Zuma has taken the leadership, I must follow. Di was wrong about him. He’s a man.

In the distance they could hear the siren of the police cars. Soon now the police would be there.

Paddy walked over to Xuma and took his hand.

‘I am a man first, zuma, ‘he said. Then he turned to the other mine boys and shouted: ‘zuma is right! They don’t care if you risk your lives! Why is it so? Is not the blood of a black man red like that of a while man? Does not a black man feel too? Does not a black man love life too? I am with you! Let them fix up the place first!’

Xuma smiled. Now he understood. He understood many things. One’ can be a person first. A man first and then a black man or a white man…….

Two pick – up vans swept into the mine yard and policemen swarmed out of them.

‘There they are! Those two are the ring leader!’ the manager shouted.

The Indunas joined the policemen as they on the crowd striking left and right with their batons.

Xuma saw a policeman strike paddy across the back of the neck while another grabbed his arms and twisted them behind him. Then suddenly a policeman was close to him and he could not watch paddy any more. Something stung his left shoulder and made his left arm limp with pain. He dodged a blow to his head and grabbed the policeman’s arm. With a twist of his wrist he wrenched the baton from the policeman. The policeman went down. He felt a blow at the back of his head and trickle of warm blood running down his shirt.

His brain cleared suddenly. He should get away from here. He struck at a helmeted figure in front of him and moved on. Now he was on the outskirts of the fighting crowd. He could make a dash for it and be away. Then paddy’s voice drifted to him:

‘Do not run away, zuma!’

But feet were pounding behind him and the desire to be free was strong, so he ran. The pounding drew near so he ran faster. After a time no one followed him. Still he ran. His lungs felt as though they were bursting and his brain throbbed painfully. And he could still hear paddy shouting:

‘Do not run away, Zuma!’


a) What happens just this passage?

b) Describe the character of the following according to the passage:

(i) Paddy,

(ii) Xuma.

c) Explain what is meant by ‘A man first and then a black or white man…

d) What does Xuma do after this passage and why.

Sub – section (ii)

Answer one question on one book only.

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

WOLE SOYINKA: Jero’s Metamorphosis

Either 5. What makes Jero’s Metamorphosis amusing?

Or 6. What tricks does brother Jero use to succeed in his plans?


Either 7. If the drama club of your school is staging the play, Romeo and Juliet, which of the following characters would you like to act and why?

(i) Romeo

(ii) Juliet

(iii) Nurse

(iv) Friar Lawrence,

Or 8. Referring closely to the play, explain the main lessons about the theme of love.


Either 9. Giving illustration from the pearl, describe the character of Juana.

Or 10. Describe the problems faced by Kino and his family.


Either 11. What makes paddy an important character in mine boy?

Or 12. Explain the ways in which Xuma is a man undergoing change.


In this section you must answer three questions covering three books

THE BROTHERS – CAPEK: the insect play

Either 13. How do the occurrences in the play prove that the insects ‘ have no feller feling’?

Or 14. Referring closely to play, show why you find the behavior of the insects amusing.

JOHN RUGANDA: black mamba

Either 15. Describe professor coarx’s relationship with namuddu.

Or 16. In which ways does the status of Namuddu force her to give in to Berewa’s plan?

TIMOTHY WANGUSA: upon this mountain.

Either 17. a) Describe the conflict between Wopata and Masaba.

b) How does this conflict affect Mwambu?

Or 18. How does formal and informal education affect the people in the novel?

ELECHI AMADI: the great ponds

Either 19. Describe the character of wago, the leopard killer.

Or 20. Describe the causes of the conflict between chiolu and aliakoro.

NGUGI WA THIONG’O: weep not child

Either 21. Explain how the strike is the beginning of Ngotho’s downfall in weep not child.

Or 22. Describe the love relationship between Mwihaki and Njoroge in the novel, weep not child.

J. KARIARA AND E. KITONGA: an introduction to east Africa poetry

Read the poem below and answer the questions following it.

Either 23: unto thy hands

I thought I should recognize her

Even in sleep,

This mixture of brush

And electric stars


And skyscrapers

Could be no other

Than our mother city.

I feel confident

She’s ready to receive me,

Wet with goodness

For me to suck,

Though at every sound and shadow

My step falters

For on that same breast

Has suckled

Brother Kondo and brother saint.

I have faith

Some night watcher will

Be host me

Or guide me on the way to safety,

Unless the ones

Who grab the bags

And rip the clothes

Of lone travelers

Get me first.

It’s good you warned me

That she’s been purged

Of nepotism and corruption

Or I would have blundered

At the entry of these domains.

Now tell me, I saw the uncle

Of your brother in law’s wife

At the gate,

What has happened to the old guard?



a) Describe what the speaker thinks about the mother – city.

b) Why does the speaker say, “at every step and shadow my step falters”?

c) Explain the meaning of the following expressions as used in the poem.

i) Wet with goodness

For me to suck………..

(iii) That she’s been purged of………..

d) Suggest another title to this poem.

Or 24. Select a poem from an introduction to east African poetry, on the theme of ‘loss and answer the questions that follow:

a) State the title of the poem and the name of the poet.

b) What kind of loss is the poet talking about in the poem?

c) What are the speaker’s feelings towards his/her loss?

d) What are your own views about loss/

e) Why have you chosen this particular?

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