UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2009

UNEB UCE Literature Past Papers for Year 2009

Uganda National Examinations Board Past Questions


Sub – section (i)

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

Either 1. WOLE SOYINKA: Jero’s Metamorphosis

JERO: Have we united body or not?

ANANAIAS: Christ! Those fat pockets begging to be picked while their owners are laughing at the devil at the stake. It’s a sin to be missing from this Garden of Eden. (Throws JERO a salute.) General! Reporting for duty, sir.

JERO: (saluting in turn). Sergeant – major! Go in the room and find a uniform that fits you.

ISAAC: millionaire businessmen! Expensive sinners coming to enjoy the bar beach show.

JERO: who else is for the army of the lord?

ISAAC: what rank do you have in mind for me?

JERO: major. (Gestures.) In there, you’ll find a uniform that fits you.

As he goes in ANANAIAS returns singing lastly and banging a tambourine. He is uniformed in what looks like a salvation army outfit except for the cap which is the ‘indigenous’ touch, made in the local material and ‘abetiaga’ style. The combination is ludicrous.

MATTHEW: (takes another look at the picture of a curvaceous bathing belle and decides). I used to play the flute a little, brother Jero…….. I mean general jeroboam. In fact I was once in my school band.

JERO: you’ll find uniform in there, captain.

SHADRACH: the uniform will not change you. You will still be same bar beach riff – raff no matter what you wear. Nobody will give you a monopoly.

CALEB: wrong on all counts, brother shad. By the cut of his tailor shall a man be known? Uniform maketh man.


a) What is taking place in the scene?

b) What does the scene show about the nature of the bar beach prophets?

c) How does Jero use this incident to influence the city council authorities in his favor?

d) Why doesn’t Shadrach join in the action taking place in the scene? How is he eventually treated?

Or 2. WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE: Romeo and Juliet.

PRINCE: benvolio, who began this bloody fray?

BENVOLIO: Tybalt here had slain, whom Romeo’s hand did slay.

Romeo, that spoke him bethink

How nice the quarrel was, and urged withal

Your high displeasure. All this – utternd

With gentle breath, calm look, knees humbly


Could not take truce with the unruly spleen

Of Tybalt deaf to peace, but that he tilts

With piercing steel at bold Mercutio’s breast,

Who, all as hot, turns deadly point to point?

And with a martial scorn, with one hand beats

Cold death aside and with the other sends

It back to Tybalt, whose dexterity

Retorts it. Romeo he cries aloud,

‘Hold friends, friends part!’ and swifter than his


His agile arm beats down their fatal points,

And ‘twixt them rushes; underneath whose arm

An envious thrust from Tybalt hit the life

Of stout Mercutio, and then Tybalt fled;

But by and by comes back to Romeo,

Who had but newly entertained revenge?

And to it they go like lightening, for ere I

Could draw to part them, was stout Tybalt slain,

And as he fell, did Romeo turn and fly.

This is the truth, or let Benvolio die.

LADY CAPULET: he is a kinsman to the Montague;

Affection makes him false, he speaks not true.

Some twenty of them fought in this black strife,

And all those twenty could but kill one life.

I beg for justice, which thou, prince, must give.

Romeo slew Tybalt, Romeo must not live.

PRINCE: Romeo slew him, he slew Mercutio. Who now the prince of his dear blood doth owe?

MONTAGUE: not Romeo, prince, he was Mercutio’s friend;

His fault concludes but what the law should end

The life of Tybalt.

PRINCE: and for the offence immediately we do exile him hence.

I have an interest in your hate’s proceeding;

My blood for your rude brawls doth lie a bleeding.

But I’ll amerce you with so strong a fine

That you shall all repent the loss of mine.

I will be deaf to pleading and excuses,

Nor tears nor prayers shall purchase out abuses.

Therefore use none. Let Romeo hence in haste,

Else, when he is found, that hour is his last.

Bear hence this body and attend our will.

Mercy but murders, pardoning those that kill.


a) What has led to the events in this passage?

b) What personal reasons does Romeo have to remain calm at first?

c) Of the two, Romeo and Tybalt, who do you sympathize with and why?

d) How do the events in this passage contribute to what happens to Romeo at the end of the play?


“Kino, this pearl is evil. Let us destroy it before it destroys us. Let us crush it between two stones. Let us throw it back in the sea where it belongs. Kino, it is evil!

And as she spoke the light came back in Kino’s eyes do that they glowed fiercely and his muscles hardened and his will hardened.

“No, “he said. ” I will fight this thing, I will win over it. We will have our chance.” His fist pounded the sleeping mat. “No one shall take our good fortune from us, “he said. His eyes softened then and he raised a gentle hand to Juana’s shoulder. “Believe me, “he said.” I am a man.” And his face grew crafty.

“In the morning we will take our canoe and we will go over the sea and over the mountains to the capital, you and I. we will not be cheated. I am a man.”

“Kino,” she said fiercely. “I am a man. Hush.” And she was silent, for his voice was command. “Let us sleep a little,” he said. In the first light we will start. You are not afraid to go with me?”

“No my husband.”

His eyes were soft and warm on her then, his hand touched her check. “Let us sleep a little,” he said.

a) What happens just before this passage?

b) Describe Kino’s character as shown in this passage.

c) Why does Kino insist on keeping the pearl? Refer to the passage.

d) Juana says, “This pearl is evil. Let us destroy it before it destroyed us”. Show the truth of Juana’s statement by the end of the novel.

Or 4. PETER ABRAHAMS: mine boy

‘Here,’ Leah said, going into a little room,’ this where the teacher lives but she will not come till day after tomorrow so you can sleep here. When she comes we will think of something else.’ She struck a match and lit the candle. She went to door. ‘And listen to me Xuma from the north, don’t think because I do this I am soft or easy and you can cheat me, because if you do, I will cut you up so that your own mother will not want you…….’

Xuma laughed. ‘You are a strange woman. I don’t understand you. The only thing I can understand is your kindness.’

‘You’re all right,’ she said softly. ‘But the city is a strange place. Good night.’

She went out and shut the door.

Slowly Xuma undressed. He felt better now that he had eaten, but he was very tired. Yet he found it hard to sleep when he got into bed.

A strange group of people, these, he thought. Nothing tied down. They seem to believe in nothing. But well, they had given him a bed. She had given it to him. She who was the strangest of them all. And in the other room the old one they call daddy was sleeping against a wall with an open mouth and with nothing to cover him. But life is strange. Yes and these people are life………of course………


a) What leads to this passage?

b) What aspects of Leah’s character are revealed in this passage?

c) What makes Xuma conclude that the people he has just met are strange?

d) Leah says, “this is where the teacher lives……….” What happens between Xuma and ‘the teacher’ later on?

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: Jero’s Metamorphosis

Either 5. What evidence is given in the play to show that Jero and the other beach prophets are false prophets?

Or 6. What problems does Jero face and how does he overcome them?


Either 7. How does Juliet’s character lead to her death?

Or 8. Suggest evidence from the play to show that the marriage between Romeo and Juliet is “too rash, too unadvised, too sudden”


Either 9. In which ways does the discovery of the pearl affect Kino and his family?

Or 10. What lessons do you learn from the novel, the pear?


Either 11. Show how Daddy and Eliza fail to come to terms with reality in mine boy.

Or 12. What do you admire in Xuma?


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

THE BROTHERS APEK: the insect play

Either 13. What important lessons do you learn from the insect play?

Or 14. In which ways is the behavior of the ants destructive to themselves?

JOHN RUGANDA: black mamba

Either 15: show how the writer reveals poverty in the play.

Or 16. In which ways is the play black mamba about immortality?

TIMOTHY WANGUSA: Upon this Mountain

Either 17. Describe the problems that Wabwire experiences in upon this mountain, showing why you would sympathize with him.

Or 18. In what ways does Mwambu fail to show his ‘manliness’?

ELECHI AMADI: the great ponds

Either 19. Describe the character of Olumba.

Or 20. Why are the ‘dibias’ important to the people of Chiolu and Aliakoro in the great ponds?

NGUGI WA THIONG’O: weep not child

Either 21. Explain the major causes of revenge in weep not child.

Or 22. What factors lead to Njoroge’s failure to live up to his dreams in weep not child?

J. KARIARA AND E. KITONGA: an introduction to east Africa poetry read the poem below and answer the questions that follow it.

Either 23. Yatuta chisiza

A remembrance

‘Old soldiers never die’

The saying goes

So too to Yatuta

So too to the cause

He lived for.

For us

The rank and file

Only the agony

And the pity

For a piece of lead.

There is much to remember

And little to forget

When greatness

Dies a simple death

For souls of men.



a) What is the poem about?

b) What is meant by the following phrases as used in the poem?

(i) ‘So too to the cause’.

(ii) ‘Old soldiers never die’.

(iii) ‘………the agony…..’

(iv) ‘………a simple death’.

c) In your opinion, is there hope in the poem? Give reasons for your answer.

Or 24. Select a poem from an introduction to east African poverty, on the theme of ‘love’ and answer the questions below:

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

b) Explain the views about love and marriage expressed in the poem.

c) Why have you chosen this poem?

d) Give your own views about love and marriage.

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