2023 NECO GCE Literature (Drama & Poetry) Answers – Nov/Dec

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Question

NECO GCE LITERATURE

(2)
Musa is a seer and medicine man in Mende kingdom who is supposed to be the eye of the gods and the custodian of the culture and morality in the land, but his activities in the kingdom are carried out contrarily. He allows himself to be used as a dog of war and puppet by devil incarnate, Lamboi who lacks human feelings. He allows Lamboi to use his past ugly misdeeds to achieve his devilish desire. Musa is a man with questionable character, full of falsehood and deceit.

Musa is co-opted by Lamboi into the murder of Gbanya. He uses alligator gall to poison chief Gbanya’s water, all in a bid for Lamboi to succeed him. Musa is also portrayed as a wicked seer, because according to Lamboi, Musa killed Yattah’s son and Mama Kadi’s daughter. “Those you slaughtered and whose fat you used for your bofima. Do you want me to name what charms you made with their private parts? Or do you want me to lead Gbanya, whom you want to protect to their shallow graves out there in the bush? The fact that Lamboi always threatens to expose his past deeds often gets Musa to do whatever he asks him. Lamboi continues to use this cheap blackmail as a weapon of enlistment and enticement. Musa and Lamboi’s plot to kidnap and kill Jeneba, and have Yoko implicated fail woefully and both of them are still on the run

SECTION A

(3)
In Wole Soyinka’s play “The Lion and the Jewel,” both Sidi and Lakunle display mannerless traits, albeit in different ways.

Sidi, the village belle, exhibits a certain arrogance and pride due to her beauty and the attention she receives. She can be dismissive and disrespectful toward Lakunle, often belittling him and his modern ideas. Her vanity and self-centeredness occasionally lead her to behave in a manner that disregards societal norms or the feelings of others.

Lakunle, on the other hand, demonstrates mannerlessness through his staunch adherence to Western ideologies, which he often imposes on others without considering their traditions or customs. His refusal to pay the bride price, his contempt for traditional practices, and his lack of respect for the village’s cultural values can be seen as mannerless behavior.

Their manners, or lack thereof, highlight the clash between tradition and modernity, showcasing how both characters, in their own ways, are unable to find a balance between respecting tradition and embracing progress.

(4)
In the play, the dance of the lost stranger is used as a form of flashback to enact the experience of the Lagos visitor. Through the play, the audience gains an insight into the ordeal of the Lagos visitor during his first visit who has problems with his car and has to abandon it to continue his exploration on foot.

Song, dance, and mimes are the major components in the play. Soyinka has made use of these elements to forward the action of the play. In the first part of the play, “morning”, “Sidi” and her village girls and Lakunle perform a dance and mime of “The Dance of the Lost Traveler”, which highlights the theme and conflict between traditionalism and modernism in the play. Through the use of miming device, Soyinka tries to merge modernism and traditionalism-two opposing forces represented by Baroka and Lakunle.

In the dance, the villagers enact the experiences of the western photographer on his first visit to llunjunle.

Number 5
(I) The theme of class conflict is a recurring motif in literature in English, and it often highlights the tension and conflict that exist between different social classes. This theme explores the various ways that social divides affect the lives of individuals, families, and communities.

(ii) Many literary works illustrate the theme of class conflict. For example, Charles Dickens’ novel “Great Expectations” portrays the division between the working class and the wealthy class in 19th century England. The protagonist, Pip, comes from a working-class background but becomes obsessed with achieving wealth and social status. This desire throws him into conflict with his family and former friends.

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(iii) Similarly, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Great Gatsby” depicts the conflict between the working-class narrator and the wealthy, upper-class characters he encounters. The novel explores the tension between social classes, as well as the moral decay and corruption of the wealthy.

(iv) In more contemporary literature, a novel like Zadie Smith’s “White Teeth” tackles the theme of class conflict in a multicultural setting. The novel explores the experiences of working-class immigrants in London and the generational differences between them and their children, who are part of the middle and upper classes.

(v) In all these works, the theme of class conflict highlights the divisions between different social classes and the impact these divisions have on individuals and communities. Class conflict can manifest as a struggle for material wealth, a struggle for social status, or a struggle for basic human rights.

SECTION II

NUMBER 7

*CHARACTERS:*

(i) Ambition: Cory is a talented football player with dreams of playing professionally. His ambition and passion for the sport represent the younger generation’s desire for opportunities beyond what their parents experienced.

(ii) Defiance: Cory’s character is marked by defiance, particularly in relation to his father, Troy. He challenges his father’s authority and questions the limitations placed on him, reflecting the generational tension between traditional values and the aspirations of the youth.

(iii) Resilience: Despite facing adversity within his family, especially with Troy, Cory remains resilient. He strives to pursue his dreams despite the obstacles in his path, symbolizing the strength to overcome challenges.

*ROLES*

(I) Generational Conflict: Cory’s character serves as a focal point for the generational conflict between the older and younger generations. His desire for a different future and resistance to his father’s authority highlight the changing aspirations and values within African American families during the 1950s.

(ii) Symbol of Hope: Cory represents hope for a better future. His determination to break free from the limitations imposed by his father embodies the broader theme of progress and the pursuit of the American Dream, especially for African Americans during a time of social change.

(iii) Impact on Troy’s Character: Cory’s relationship with his father, Troy, is central to the play. The conflicts between them shed light on Troy’s own struggles and the complexities of father-son relationships. Cory’s journey contributes to the audience’s understanding of Troy’s character and the challenges he faces as a father.

(iv) Social Commentary: Cory’s aspirations in the context of racial segregation and discrimination also serve as a form of social commentary. His dreams reflect the broader societal changes and challenges faced by African Americans in the mid-20th century.

(8)

Symbolism is a prevalent literary technique used in August Wilson’s play “Fences” to enhance the overall meaning and depth of the story. Throughout the play, Wilson employs various symbols that represent different aspects of the African American experience in the 1950s.

One key symbol in “Fences” is the fence itself, which serves as a metaphor for the barriers and limitations that African Americans faced during that time period. The fence symbolizes the physical and emotional barriers that keep people out or, in this case, keep the characters trapped within their circumstances. Troy Maxson, the main character, spends the play working on building a fence around his property, which becomes a symbol of his desire to protect his family, but also his inability to fully express his love and emotions. The fence also represents the legacy of slavery and the lasting effects it had on the African American community.

Another important symbol in the play is Troy’s baseball bat. Troy’s baseball career was cut short due to racism, and his bat becomes a symbol of the opportunities he missed and the dreams that were unfulfilled. Troy carries the bat with him throughout the play, using it as a physical manifestation of his lingering resentment and bitterness towards the injustices he faced.

The character of Gabriel, Troy’s brother, serves as a symbol of sacrifice and the impact of war on African American veterans. Gabriel suffered a head injury during World War II and now has a metal plate in his head. He believes he is the angel Gabriel and frequently talks about going to heaven with his trumpet. Gabriel’s presence in the play symbolizes the sacrifices made by African Americans in service to their country and the mental and physical wounds they carry as a result.

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The symbol of the devil is also utilized in the play, particularly in Troy’s affair with Alberta. Troy’s infidelity represents the temptation and moral decay that can exist within a person, reflecting on the hardships and struggles faced by African Americans during this time.

The use of symbolism in “Fences” adds depth and layers to the exploration of the African American experience. These symbols serve to highlight the struggles, hopes, and dreams of the characters, while also shedding light on larger societal issues and addressing the complexity of the human condition.

(9)
“A Government driver on his Retirement” by Chibuike Onu is a thought-provoking poem that embodies the irony of life. The poem narrates the story of a government driver who, after faithfully serving the government for several years, facesthe harsh reality of retirement. Throughout the poem, Onu skillfully portrays the contrast between the driver’s dedicated service and the bleak circumstances he finds himself in during his retirement.

The irony lies in the fact that the driver, who had spent his entire career serving the government, is now left to fend for himself without any support or recognition from the same government. The poem highlights this irony by describing the driver’s struggle to make ends meet and the lack of appreciation for his years of service.

In the opening lines, Onu writes, “No handshake, no words of praise,/No honor, no thanks, no raise” (lines 2-3). These lines depict the driver’s disappointment as he realizes the lack of acknowledgement he receives upon retiring. Despite his years of loyal service, he is left feeling undervalued and unappreciated.

Furthermore, the poem emphasizes the driver’s financial difficulties after retirement. Onu writes, “All the luxuries and sights are no more/I can no longer afford a field’s tour” (lines 6-7). This juxtaposition of the driver’s past experiences as a government employee and his current inability to afford even simple pleasures demonstrates the irony of his situation. Despite working for the government, the driver finds himself struggling to make ends meet in his retirement.

The poem also highlights the driver’s nostalgia for the past, adding another layer of irony. Onu writes, “I have gone through the thin, the good and the tough/The ups and downs, the fumes and the rust” (lines 9-10). These lines show that while the driver has experienced various challenges throughout his career, retirement proves to be the most difficult phase of his life. The irony lies in the fact that the driver longs for the past, which was not always smooth sailing, while the present is even more challenging.

“A Government driver on his Retirement” effectively portrays the irony of life through the contrast between the driver’s dedicated service and the difficult circumstances he faces after retirement. The poem prompts the reader to reflect on the unfairness of a system that often leaves individuals who have given their best years to serving others in a vulnerable and precarious position. By capturing the driver’s disappointment, financial struggles, and yearning for the past, Chibuike Onu sheds light on the unjust irony of life.

(10)

In “Raider of the Treasure Trove” by Lade Wosornu, the theme of rage is explored through the unraveling of a character’s emotions and the destructive consequences that result from uncontrolled anger.

The poem presents a speaker whois filled with intense rage and frustration. The speaker’s anger is portrayed as a force that consumes them, engulfing their thoughts and actions. As the poem progresses, we see the speaker’s anger escalate, leading to a series of violent and destructive acts.

The poem uses vivid and powerful language to convey the depth of the speaker’s rage. Phrases such as “I’ll burst this city wide with wrath” and “My tongue will pour fire” depict a character who is on the verge of unleashing their fury upon the world. The intensity of the speaker’s anger is further reinforced through the use of strong verbs and aggressive imagery.

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The destructive consequences of uncontrolled anger are also explored in the poem. The speaker’s rage leads them to commit acts of violence, such as “slashing the tires of your new red car” and “burning your precious heirlooms.” These actions not only harm others but also reflect the speaker’s loss of control and inability to channel their emotions in a constructive way.

The poem suggests that the speaker’s rage stems from feelings of powerlessness and frustration. Lines such as “I will no longer be helpless” and “I’ll shout to make you stop” indicate a desire for control and a refusal to remain silent in the face of injustice. However, the poem also highlights the destructive nature of this anger, as the speaker’s quest for power and control only leads to more chaos and destruction.

In conclusion, “Raider of the Treasure Trove” by Lade Wosornu explores the theme of rage through the unraveling of a character’s emotions and the consequences that result from uncontrolled anger. The poem portrays anger as a consuming force that can lead to violence and destruction. It also highlights the complex emotions underlying rage, including feelings of powerlessness and frustration. Through vivid imagery and powerful language, the poem captures the destructive consequences of unchecked anger.

(11)
(a) The Magi: The Magi or the Three Wise Men are the central figures in the poem. They represent the journey of seeking spiritual enlightenment, as they travel from their comfortable, civilized lives to witness the birth of Jesus. However, their comfort and familiarity with their old ways make it difficult for them to fully embrace the new spiritual path they encounter.

(b) The Star: The star is another important figure in the poem as it guides the Magi on their journey. It represents a divine intervention, leading them towards the birth of Jesus. The star is described as being both distant and cold, symbolizing the distance between the Magi’s old way of life and the spiritual awakening they are about to experience.

(c) The Infant Jesus: Though not directly mentioned in the poem, the Infant Jesus is a significant figure as the ultimate goal of the Magi’s journey. His birth represents hope, renewal, and salvation. The Magi’s encounter with the Infant Jesus is a transformative experience that challenges them to embrace a new way of life and leave their old ways behind.

(12)
(a) Freedom: One of the central themes in “Caged Bird” is the idea of freedom. Throughout the poem, the speaker contrasts the experiences of a free bird and a caged bird. The free bird represents liberty, the ability to soar high in the sky and explore the world, while the caged bird symbolizes confinement and limitation. The poem explores the yearning for freedom and the desire to break free from any form of captivity, whether physical or metaphorical. This theme highlights the universal human desire for self-expression, autonomy, and liberation.

(b) Oppression: Another significant theme in “Caged Bird” is oppression. The caged bird’s experience reflects the struggles of marginalized and oppressed individuals who are denied their basic rights and are confined within societal constructs. The poem suggests that systems of oppression limit personal growth and stifle creativity. By depicting the caged bird’s constrained existence, Angelou raises awareness about the injustices faced by marginalized communities and emphasizes the need for social change.

(c) Resilience: The theme of resilience is prominent in “Caged Bird.” Despite its confinement, the caged bird refuses to be defeated and continues to sing. This resilience represents the indomitable spirit of individuals who face adversity. The poem celebrates the strength and determination to overcome obstacles, and it demonstrates that even in the face of limitations, one can still find ways to express themselves and find solace. This theme resonates with Angelou’s own life story, as she triumphed over a challenging childhood and became a renowned writer and civil rights activist.

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