Sunday, 30 October 2016

How to Analyse Poems You have Never Seen Before

Saturday, 29 October 2016

My Parents by Stephen Spender

Stanza 1
The poet’s parents sought to protect him from the street children. They were rude in speech and were dressed in rags. They were uninhibited and stripped off their clothes and swam in the country rivers.

Stanza 2
The speaker feared the brute strength of the boys. They were muscular and did not hesitate to use their arms and legs. The poet was also scared of their mocking ways. They laughed behind his back, imitating his lisp.

Stanza 3
The boys were like vandals; they threw mud at people and pounced on them. But despite all this, the speaker was forgiving. He wanted to be friendly and smiled at them. But they did not reciprocate the friendly overtures.


This poem could be a personal or biographical depiction of Spender's early life suffering the disability of a club foot and a speech impediment.

The use of the first person, stark contrasts, and ambiguity give us a vivid picture of a child troubled by a superiority/inferiority complex.

While his parents are condescending towards the rough coarse children, the child appears envious of their carefree liberty, their unbridled animal prowess and uninhibited playfulness, yet resentful of their bullying behaviour to him.

We can visualise the persona through contrast.  He is everything that they are not; softly spoken (words like stones), well dressed (torn clothes, rags), passive (they ran and climbed), inhibited - modesty (they stripped by country streams), weak (muscles of iron), well mannered (salt coarse pointing) lisp (parodied by copying), clumsy (lithe), and friendly ( hostile- they never smiled).

His attempts at conciliation and acceptance are rebuffed but he appears to blame his parents for psychologically damaging him by over protection or shielding him from a natural childhood.  While their superior attitude (snobbery?) has excluded him from mainstream society he ambivalently identifies with his parents by having the boys spring “like dogs to bark at our world”.

Saturday, 22 October 2016

How to identify the Writer's Tone, Purpose and Intention

The Author's Tone:

If the author was speaking to you, what would it sound like?  Is the author passionate about the topic?  Sarcastic?  Neutral?  Is the author arousing emotions?  Does it evoke feelings of sympathy, anger, happiness or sadness?
Looking at the author's tone can lead the reader to the overall purpose.

The Author's Purpose

An author’s purpose is the reason an author decides to write about a specific topic. Then, once a topic is selected, the author must decide whether his purpose for writing is to inform, persuade, entertain, or explain his ideas to the reader.

To determine the author's purpose it is important to analyze the...

Language used - look at the words the author chooses to use.  Do they convey certain emotions?  Is it formal or informal?

Development - How has the author chosen to develop his or her thoughts?

The audience - Who is the author speaking to?  Is the vocabulary technical and specific? Is it targeted to a specific audience?  Is the language easy to read and understand?

The author's point of view - What is the author's attitude toward the subject?

Writer's Intention

The writer’s intention is the meaning or interpretation of the passage that the author had in mind when he or she was creating it. It also includes the meaning the writer is trying to convey.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

Things Fall Apart -Analysis of Chapter 7

Chapter 7

With the killing of Ikemefuna, Achebe creates a devastating scene that evokes compassion for the young man and foreshadows the fall of Okonkwo, again in the tradition of the tragic hero. Along the way, the author sets up several scenes that juxtapose with the death scene:

The opening scene of the chapter shows the increasing affection and admiration Okonkwo feels for Ikemefuna, as well as for Nwoye.
On the journey with Ikemefuna and the other men of Umuofia, they hear the "peaceful dance from a distant clan."

In Chapter 2, the author comments that the fate of Ikemefuna is a "sad story" that is "still told in Umuofia unto this day." This observation suggests that the decision to kill Ikemefuna was not a customary one. Before dying, Ikemefuna thinks of Okonkwo as his "real father" and of what he wants to tell his mother, especially about Okonkwo. These elements combined suggest that the murder of Ikemefuna is senseless, even if the killing is in accordance with the Oracle and village decisions.

The murder scene is a turning point in the novel. Okonkwo participates in the ceremony for sacrificing the boy after being strongly discouraged, and he delivers the death blow because he is "afraid of being thought weak." At a deep, emotional level, Okonkwo kills a boy who "could hardly imagine that Okonkwo was not his real father" — someone whom Okonkwo truly loves as a son. Okonkwo has not only outwardly disregarded his people and their traditions, but he has also disregarded his inner feelings of love and protectiveness. This deep abyss between Okonkwo's divided selves accounts for the beginning of his decline.

For the first time in the novel, Okonkwo's son, Nwoye, emerges as a major character who, in contrast to his father, questions the long-standing customs of the clan. Achebe begins to show the boy's conflicting emotions; he is torn between being a fiercely masculine and physically strong person to please his father and allowing himself to cherish values and feelings that Okonkwo considers feminine and weak.

Resource Site:

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

The Tempest Analysis of Act 1, scene 2

Act 1, scene 2 Analysis

Prospero tells Miranda their history as a way to inform the audience of this important information. In addition, the audience needs to know what events motivate Prospero's decision to stir up the storm and why the men onboard the ship are his enemies — several share responsibility for Prospero's isolation. By sharing this information, Miranda — and the audience — can conclude that Prospero is justified in seeking retribution. At the very least, Prospero must make Miranda sympathetic to this choice. It is also important that Prospero gain the audience's sympathy because his early treatment of both Ariel and Caliban depict him in a less than sympathetic light.

Ariel and Caliban are both little more than slaves to Prospero's wishes, and, in the initial interactions between Prospero and Ariel and Prospero and Caliban, the audience may think Prospero to be callous and cruel. He has clearly promised Ariel freedom and then denied it, and he treats Caliban as little more than an animal. The audience needs to understand that cruel circumstance and the machinations of men have turned Prospero into a different man than he might otherwise have been. But Prospero's character is more complex than this scene reveals, and the relationship between these characters more intricate also.

During the course of the story, Prospero repeatedly asks Miranda if she is listening. This questioning may reveal her distraction as she worries about the well-being of the ship's passengers. Miranda is loving toward her father, but at the same time, she does not lose sight of the human lives he is placing at risk. However, his questioning is equally directed toward the audience. Prospero also wants to make sure that the audience is listening to his story, since he will return to the audience in the Epilogue and seek their judgment.

It is clear from Prospero's story that he had been a poor ruler, more interested in his books than in his responsibilities. Prospero, therefore, is not entirely blameless in the events that occurred in Milan. Antonio could not so easily seize power from an involved and attentive ruler. This information mitigates Antonio's actions in seizing his brother's place and is important because this play is not a tragedy. In order for the comedic or romantic ending to succeed, none of the villains can be beyond redemption or reconciliation. It is equally important that Prospero not be beyond redemption. Prospero must be heroic, and this he cannot be if he is perceived as vengeful. Ariel reassures the audience (as well as Prospero) that the ship and its crew have been saved and the passengers are safely on the island. No one has been hurt or lost at sea.

In addition to relating the past, this act also helps define the main characters and anticipate the future. Prospero has been injured, and he intends to serve justice on his captives. He delves in magic and has developed powers beyond those of his enemies. He is also intelligent enough and strong enough to control the spirits on the island; for example, he can control Caliban, who is not without power of his own. Prospero uses the magic of nature, a white, beneficent magic that does no harm. He does not use the black magic of evil. Prospero has learned of this magic, not through the use of witches or evil spells (as did the witches in Macbeth), but through his studies. Prospero's white magic has supplanted the black, evil magic of Caliban's mother, Sycorax, because Prospero, himself, is good.

Any initial concern that the audience might have because of Caliban's enslavement evaporates at the news that he attempted to rape Miranda. His subsequent behavior will further prove his character, but he can be redeemed, and his redemption is necessary if the play is to succeed. Furthermore, Caliban, who is initially bad and represents the black magic of his mother, serves as a contrast to the goodness of Ferdinand and Miranda. The young lovers are instantly attracted to one another, each one a mirror image of the other's goodness. It is their goodness that facilitates the reconciliation between Prospero and his enemies. In this reconciliation lies Ariel's freedom and Caliban's redemption.

Resource Site:

Summary of Chapter 6- Things Fall Apart

On the second day of the festival, everyone gathers at the village playing field to watch the wrestling contest between men of the village and men of a neighboring village. The first matches, between two teams of boys fifteen or sixteen years old, provide entertainment and excitement before the main events. One of the victorious boys is Maduka, the son of Okonkwo's good friend Obierika. Neighbors greet each other and tension builds until matches between the real wrestlers begin.

The current priestess of the Oracle, Chielo, talks casually with Ekwefi about Okonkwo's attack on her and about Ekwefi's daughter Ezinma, of whom Chielo seems particularly fond.

As the drums thunder, two teams of twelve men challenge each other. Many expect the final match between the two greatest fighters in the villages to be uneventful because of the similar styles of the two wrestlers. However, the spectators are thrilled when the local fighter, Okafo, takes advantage of one of his opponent's moves and suddenly defeats him. The crowd carries the victorious Okafo on their shoulders with pride.

Resource Site:

Sunday, 16 October 2016

A Breakdown of the CSEC English A SBA

A number of persons have reviewed the SBA outline that I have posted to this blog and they have also asked a number of questions based on the new CSEC English A SBA.

This post is my attempt to further breakdown/explain the CSEC English A SBA.

This information was gathered from a CSEC Webinar that was conducted in September. Click HERE to see the syllabus outline of the SBA.


Students will be in groups of 4 or 5.


  1. Students will assist each other by proof reading each others work
  2. Have group discussions and brainstorm ideas
  3. Assist each other in research
  4. Write the written report together

NB: Group work is not optional. It is a part of the process of the SBA.

Students and/ or teachers can create a number of themes (drug abuse, violence against women, natural disasters, etc ). Themes can also be created by students based on their interests.

Each group will select a theme. Each student in the group will select a sub-theme based on the group theme.

Teachers can guide students to identify sub-themes through brainstorming the theme.

 For example:

The Main Theme: Drug Abuse

The Sub-Themes can be:

* drug abuse treatments
* the effects of drug abuse
* how drug abuse contributes to crime
* how drug abuse affects teenagers


After sub-themes have been selected, students will now find their three (3) pieces of data/artefacts that further explains the theme. These pieces of data (artefacts) can come in the following formats: a document (articles, tables, pictures, audio (a recording), video, an interview etc). Student will select materials that is they can write a reflection on.

One of the three pieces must be print. Your audio can be placed on a CD or Flash Drive

Students should not do any interviews or questionnaires for this research. 


Students will then write their reflection of how the document/ artefact shaped their thinking about the sub-topic they are exploring.

Students will then examine how the language  helped them to further understand the sub-theme/topic.

Students will write THREE entries in which the student reflects on the issue/topic/ theme/ event selected should be completed in their portfolio.

The final piece of reflection should state how doing this SBA or Sub-theme helped the student to become a better person or improved his/her attitude. (This can be done at the end of the year.)

The entire group will have 12 pieces of data/artefacts in total. Students must use their own pieces of material. Students should not have the same reflections. Each reflection must be individual.

These reflections should be written in class.



State how the data/artefact has inspired you, affected you, impacted on you, and what does it remind you of.


Students will comment on the use of language. They will state if the language formal, informal, jargons, slangs, technical or distant tone. State how the language aid in your understanding of the sub-theme/topic.


State how the sub-theme/topic helps you to become a better person , shape your attitude, etc. (This should be done at the end of the term.)

WRITTEN REPORT (300 words)

This is a report on the research process. This also states the outcome of the research.

You can answer these questions in your written report.

*What steps have you taken to get your work done?
*How did you collect the data?
*Are you happy with the pieces you have done?
*Are you happy working as a group?
*Did you learnt individually or as a group?
*Did you meet as a group?
*Do you think the group was effective working together?

This report should be written as a group.


What you have decided to do as your contribution to your theme/sub- theme. Students can write a poem, drama piece, or prose piece. Students creative response after a brief overview of the research process.

A brief plan of the oral presentation must be submitted in the portfolio. This must be a part of the presentation.

This should be done in Standard English. Teachers will mark the presentation. The presentation must be recorded and place it on a CD or Flash Drive.


An introduction to the issue/topic/theme/event (A satisfactory response should be no more than 100 words).

(a) Why did you choose this issue/topic/theme/event?

(b) What are the expected benefits to you as a student of English?

(c) How do you intend to collect relevant information on your issue/topic/theme/event and use this in your presentation?


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Saturday, 15 October 2016


Lessons Learnt is my online lesson plan shop. There you can find free plans as well as plans based on the English A&B syllabus.

Lesson Plan prices start at US$1.50.

Lesson Plans include:

*Detailed objectives,
*Lesson Content,
*Introduction Activity,
*Development Activities based on discovery learning and other learning theories
*Culminating Activities
*Homework Activities
*Differentiated learning activities

NB: All lesson plans are reviewed by a senior teacher.

Please stop by and leave a comment. Click the image below to see the plans that are on sale,

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Things Fall Apart- Analyzing Okonkwo’s Personality

• Deep down Okonkwo really cares for the persons around him; however, caring was an attribute  of his father and he wants to be the complete opposite of him( he sees caring and showing feelings as womanly things)  thus  shows a lot of anger towards his family.

• Okonkwo is a good father, although he beats his children and does not treat them with affection. He beats his children so that they will become successful and hardworking and not lazy as Unoka, his father.

• Okonkwo is a good role-model and motivation to the clan because he is the epitome of a hard-working and successful man. This is due to the fact that, he started with nothing and became one of the most successful persons in the village.

• Okonkwo is a “No-non sense” person. He is all work and no play as he sees festivities, gatherings and time away from work as idleness and irrelevant events. This makes him angry and listless.

• Okonkwo cares too much about others opinions. He does not want people of the clan to look at him and say or even think he is weak or compare him to his father. This is shown when he decides to go with the men to kill Ikemefuna, although an elder told him not to.

•Okonkwo uses his father to judge others. An example of this is he sees similarities between his father and any man who he considers weak or feminine.  For instance whenever Okonkwo thinks that Nwoye is portraying a lazy character. he despised it and would curse and hit him. He does this because he is judging his son based on his father's behaviour.

                                                                                             written by: Students of Dinthill Technical

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Things Fall Apart: The Role of Women in Society

Much of the traditional Igbo life presented in this novel revolves around structured gender roles.

Essentially all of Igbo life is gendered, from the crops that men and women grow, to characterization of crimes. In Igbo culture, women are the weaker sex, but are also endowed with qualities that make them worthy of worship, like the ability to bear children.

The dominant role for women is: first, to make a pure bride for an honourable man, second, to be a submissive wife, and third, to bear many children.

The ideal man provides for his family materially and has prowess on the battlefield. The protagonist in the novel is extremely concerned with being hyper-masculine and devalues everything feminine, leaving him rather unbalanced.

Much of the gender theme in the book centres around the idea of balance between masculine and feminine forces – body and mind/soul, emotionality and rationality, mother and father. If one is in imbalance, it makes the whole system haywire.

Things Fall Apart: Summary of Chapter 5

Just before the harvest, the village holds the Feast of the New Yam to give thanks to the earth goddess, Ani. Okonkwo doesn’t really care for feasts because he considers them times of idleness. The women thoroughly scrub and decorate their huts, throw away all of their unused yams from the previous year, and use cam wood to paint their skin and that of their children with decorative designs. With nothing to do, Okonkwo becomes angry, and he finally comes up with an excuse to beat his second wife, Ekwefi. He then decides to go hunting with his gun. Okonkwo is not a good hunter, however, and Ekwefi mutters a snide remark under her breath about “guns that never shot.” In a fit of fury, he shoots the gun at her but misses.

The annual wrestling contest comes the day after the feast. Ekwefi, in particular, enjoys the contest because Okonkwo won her heart when he defeated the Cat. He was too poor to pay her bride-price then, but she later ran away from her husband to be with him. Ezinma, Ekwefi’s only child, takes a bowl of food to Okonkwo’s hut. Okonkwo is very fond of Ezinma but rarely demonstrates his affection. Obiageli, the daughter of Okonkwo’s first wife, is already there, waiting for him to finish the meal that she has brought him. Nkechi, the daughter of Okonkwo’s third wife, Ojiugo, then brings a meal to Okonkwo.

Monday, 10 October 2016

Things Fall Apart Background

Political Context

Approval of the entire clan is necessary before any major decision is made.
Egwugwu, the representative of the ancestral spirits, are integral in administering tribal justice.
Ndichie, the elders of the village, have a place of honour in the clan and their advice is respected.
The priests get their power from the Oracle, and their decisions are never questioned.

Religious Context

Ordinary people gain access to the gods through the Oracle.
The gods do not show themselves physically, but speak through the priests or priestesses.
The ancestors, embodied physically in the egwugwu, are revered.
There is the belief that the ogbanje, or spirit child, returns to plague its mother, ensuring that all her children die.
Twins are taboo and placed in the 'evil forest'.
The concept of the chi, or a person's identity in the spirit land, is important in Igbo religious beliefs.
A good chi can mean success, while a bad chi can mean misfortune.

Economic Context

Sharecropping provides a financial base for young men who do not inherit a barn from their fathers, or are simply in a financial crises.
Cowrie shells are the medium of exchange.
The family unit provides the basis for economic success.
Each individual, even the children, has a specialized role that contributes to the family's

Monday, 3 October 2016

To Da-duh, In Memoriam Comprehension Passage

Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions set on it.

In the following extract, the narrator and her sister have come from New York to visit their grandmother, Da-duh, in the Caribbean.

One morning toward the end of our stay, Da-duh led me into a part of the gully that we had never visited before, an area darker and more thickly overgrown than the rest, almost impenetrable. There in a small clearing amid the dense bush, she stopped 10 before a royal palm which rose cleanly out of the ground, and drawing the eye up with it, soared above the trees  around it into the sky. It appeared to be touching the blue dome of sky, to be flaunting its dark crown of fronds right in the blinding white face of the late morning sun.
Da-duh watched me a long time before she spoke, and then she said very quietly, "All right, now, tell me if you've got anything this tall in that place you're from."
I almost wished, seeing her face, that I could have said no. "Yes," I said. "We've got buildings30 hundreds of times this tall in New York. There's one called the Empire State Building that's the tallest in the world. I can't describe how tall it is. Wait a minute. What's the name of that hill I went to visit the other day, where they have the police station?"
"You mean Bissex?"
"Yes, Bissex. Well, the Empire State Building is way taller than that."
"You're lying now! She shouted, trembling with rage. Her hand lifted to strike me.
"No, I'm not," I said. "It really is, if you don't believe me I'll send you a picture 50 postcard of it soon as I get back home so you can see for yourself. But it's way taller than Bissex."
All the fight went out of her at that. The hand poised to strike me fell limp to her side, and as she stared at me, seeing not me but the building that was taller than the highest hill she knew, the small stubborn light in her eyes began to fail. Finally, with a vague gesture that even in the midst of her defeat still tried to dismiss me and my world, she turned and started back through the gully, walking slowly, her steps groping and 70 uncertain, as if she were suddenly no longer sure of the way, while I followed triumphant yet strangely saddened behind.
(From To Da-duh, In Memoriam in Reena and Other Stories, Paule Marshall, The feminist Press, 1983.)

(a) What characteristic of the royal palm is suggested by EACH of the following?
(i) "... rose cleanly out of the ground" (line 11)
(ii) "... drawing the eye up with it" (line 12)
(iii) "... flaunting its dark crown of fronds" (lines 16 -17) (3 marks)
(b) Why did Da-duh watch the girl for a long time before she spoke? (2marks)
(c) What does the writer suggest by the phrase "All the fight went out of her ..." (line 54)? (2 marks)
(d) In lines 68-71, the writer states that Da-duh was "... walking slowly, her steps groping and uncertain, as if she were suddenly no longer sure of the ..."                                                            Give the real reason why she was walking in that way. (2 marks)
(e) Explain why the author is "strangely saddened" (line 74) (2 marks)

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