Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Questions based on Ol’ Higue

1.       What image of Ol’ Higue does the poet present in stanza one?
2.       What complaint does Ol’ Higue make in stanza one? Quote the expressions which support your answer.
3a.        Why would Ol’ Higue be “Burning like a cane fire”?
3b.      Why does she have to count a thousand grains?
4.       Why is the blood of babies attractive to Ol’ Higue?
5.       How and when does she perform her “blood-sucking” task?
6.       Give one reason why Ol’ Higue would love women giving birth.
7.       Do you consider Ol’ Higue a mysterious character?
8.       What feeling does Ol’ Higue evoke in you as you read the poem?

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

To Kill A Mockingbird Chapters 20-30 Questions

Chapter 20
1. Scout says that “Mr. Dolphus Raymond was an evil man”. Is she right?

2. In most states of the USA people who drink alcohol in public places are required to hide their bottle in a paper bag. Why does Dolphus Raymond hide Coca-Cola in a bag?

3. What, according to Atticus, is the thing that Mayella has done wrong? Explain, in your own words, Atticus's views on people's being equal. 

Chapter 21
1. What does Jem expect the verdict to be? Does Atticus think the same? 

2. What is unusual about how long it takes the jury to reach a verdict? Is the verdict predictable or not? 

 3. As Scout waits for the verdict, she thinks of earlier events. What are these and how do they remind us of the novel's central themes? 

 Chapter 22
1. Although Atticus did not want his children in court, he defends Jem's right to know what has happened. Explain, in your own words, Atticus's reasons for this. (Look at the speech beginning, “This is their home, sister”.)

2. Miss Maudie tells Jem that “things are never as bad as they seem”. What reasons does she give for this view?

3. Why does Dill say that he will be a clown when he grows up? Do you think he would keep this ambition for long?

4. This story is set in the 1930s but was published in 1960. Have attitudes to racism remained the same (in the USA and the UK) or have there been any changes (for the better or worse) since then, in your view?

5. Why does Bob Ewell feel so angry with Atticus? Do you think his threat is a real one, and how might he try to “get” Atticus? 

Chapter 23
1. What do you think of Atticus's reaction to Bob Ewell's challenge? Should he have ignored Bob, retaliated or done something else?

2. What is “circumstantial evidence”? What has it got to do with Tom's conviction?

3. What does Atticus tell Scout about why the jury took so long to convict Tom?

4. Why does Aunt Alexandra accept that the Cunninghams may be good but are not “our kind of folks”? Do you think that people should mix only with others of the same social class? Are class-divisions good or bad for societies?

5. At the end of this chapter, Jem forms a new theory about why Boo Radley has never left his house in years. What is this? How likely is it to be true, in your opinion?

Chapter 24
1. Do you think the missionary ladies are sincere in worrying about the “Mrunas” (a tribe in Africa)? Give reasons for your answer. 

 2. Compare the reactions of Miss Maudie and the other ladies when Scout says she is wearing her “britches” under her dress.

3. What is your opinion of the Maycomb ladies, as depicted in this chapter?

4. Explain briefly how Tom was killed. What is Atticus's explanation for Tom's attempted escape. Do you think agree with Atticus? How, in this chapter, do we see Aunt Alexandra in a new light? How does Miss Maudie support her?

Chapter 25 
1. How does Maycomb react to the news of Tom's death? 

2. Comment on the idea that Tom's death was “typical”?

3. Explain the contrast Scout draws between the court where Tom was tried and “the secret courts of men's hearts”. In what way are hearts like courts?

Why did Jem not want Scout to tell Atticus about Bob Ewell's ("One down and about two more to go")? Was this a wise thing to ask her to do?

Chapter 26
1. In her lesson on Hitler, Miss Gates says that “we (American people) don't believe in persecuting anyone”. What seems odd to the reader about this claim? 

 2. Why is Scout puzzled by Miss Gates' disapproval of Hitler?

3. Why does Scout's question upset Jem? Is there a simple answer, or any answer, to the question (“How can you hate Hitler an’ then turn around an be ugly about folks right at home?")

Chapter 27
1. What three things does Bob Ewell do that alarm Aunt Alexandra?

2. Why, according to Atticus, does Bob Ewell bear a grudge? Which people does Ewell see as his enemies, and why?

3. What was the purpose of the Halloween pageant? What practical joke had persuaded the grown ups to have an organized event?

Chapter 28 
1. Comment on the way this chapter reminds the reader of earlier events in the novel.

2. Why does Jem say that Boo Radley must not be at home? What is ironic about this? (Is it true? Does he really mean it? Why might it be important for him and Scout that Boo should not be at home?)

3. Scout decides to keep her costume on while walking home. How does this affect her understanding of what happens on the way?

4. Why had Atticus not brought a chair for the man in the corner?

Chapter 29 
1. What causes the “shiny clean line” on the otherwise “dull wire” of Scout's costume?

2. What explanation does Atticus give for Bob Ewell's attack?

3. What does Heck Tate give as the reason for the attack?

4. Do you think the sheriff's explanation or Atticus's is the more likely to be true?

Chapter 30 
1. Who does Atticus think caused Bob Ewell's death?

2. Why does Heck Tate insist that Bob Ewell's death was self-inflicted? In what way is this partly true?

3. Is Heck Tate right to spare Boo the publicity of an inquest? Give reasons for your answer.

4. How does the writer handle the appearance, at the end of the story, of Boo Radley?

Chapter 31 
1. How do the events of the final chapters explain the first sentence in the whole novel?

2. Comment on the way the writer summarizes earlier events to show their significance.

3. How does Scout make sense of an earlier remark of Atticus's as she stands on the Radley porch? 

4. How much of a surprise is it to find what Boo Radley is really like? Has the story before this point prepared the reader for this discovery?

5. At the end of the novel, Atticus reads to Scout. Comment on his choice of story. Does it have any connection with themes earlier in the novel and in its ending?


Thursday, 18 May 2017

Tips for Writing the CSEC English SBA Reflection

Here are a list of tips you can use when writing the English SBA reflection:

1. Divide the reflection into three sections based on the reflection guidelines (HERE).

2. Allow the students to write the reflection one paragraph/entry at a time in class.

3. After students have written each paragraph allow them to peer edit their reflection in their SBA group. You can create a rubric to guide the process.

4. Allow students to write multiple drafts of the reflection in their SBA notebook before they publish their final draft.

5. Do not give students a set structure for the reflection. Instead, highlight the areas that should be covered in the reflection and allow students to formulate how they want to word the reflection for themselves.

6. Write a sample reflection with your class.

7. The reflection MUST be written in class.

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Saturday, 13 May 2017

To Kill A Mockingbird Chapters 22-25 Summary

Chapter 22

Tired and upset by the verdict, everyone goes to bed. When the Finch family wakes up in the morning, food has been brought by many of the families in town. Atticus becomes upset and leaves the house.

The whole town is gossiping about the case. The children talk to Miss Maudie about the case. They are very upset that Tom is going to jail and the town did nothing. But Miss Maudie points out that some people did what they could. She tells the children that Judge Taylor appointed Atticus for a reason; he knew that Atticus was the only lawyer in the town who would do his best to defend Tom.

When the children leave Miss Maudie, they hear the newest bit of gossip. Bob Ewell ran into Atticus in town, spat upon him, and told him he would get revenge one way or another.

Chapters 23

Atticus seems unaffected by Ewell's threats, but the children fear for him. Atticus tries to calm them and explain that Bob Ewell was just letting off steam. Later, Scout and Aunt Alex have a fight about Scout's choice of friends. When Scout mentions that she would like to have Walter Cunningham back to the house, Aunt Alex explains that the Cunnunghams are below them and they shouldn't get too close. Scout goes to her room in a mood. Jem approaches her and tells her not to be bothered by their Aunt. And Jem has good news. He shows Scout his very first chest hair.

Chapter 24

Aunt Alex hosts a meeting of the missionary league at the Finch home one afternoon. Scout tries her best to associate with the women, but would rather stay in the kitchen with Calpurnia.

Atticus comes home with that bad news that Tom Robinson has died. He was shot by guards at the prison who claim he was trying to escape. Everyone is upset by the news, even Aunt Alexandra. Atticus and Calpurnia leave to go break the news to Tom's wife, Helen.

Chapter 25

The fall arrives and Dill goes back home to Meridian and Scout remembers what Dill told her about the day Tom died. Dill and Scout were picked up by Atticus on the way to the Robinson home, but left in the car. Dill watched as Atticus broke the news to Tom's wife, and she fell to the ground and had to be taken into her house.

Scout also remembers an editorial that Mr. Underwood wrote in the paper. Underwood wrote about Tom's death and the sin of killing a crippled man, even if he was trying to escape. The editorial confuses Scout because she cannot understand the motives of those who wanted to punish Tom.

Friday, 12 May 2017

A Breakdown of the English A & B SBA Reflection.

There has been some debate as to whether there should be three separate reflections on each artefact or three entries integrating the analysis of all three artefacts. I hope this breakdown will adequately answer these questions.

Three essays are NOT required for the reflection. But the candidate must produce three reflections  on the three aspects indicated on page 39 of the syllabus.

1.       What should  the English SBA Reflection entail?

Writing the three ‘Reflection’ entries means that the student working individually:

(a)                chooses three pieces of material related to the theme, one of which must be print;

(b)                creates a first entry in which they record how each of the three stimuli affected their understanding of and reaction to the theme;

(c)                 creates a second entry which comments on the language techniques used, for example, figurative language, emotional language, descriptive language, denotative and connotative language, levels of formality, use of dialect, jargon; and,

(d)                creates a third entry which comments on how the process of doing the English SBA on the selected theme has helped you to grow. For example, increased understanding, competence, awareness, changes in behaviour, attitude, and world view.

This last entry of the reflection should be delayed until close to the completion of the SBA.
 2.               What is meant by ‘discuss the use of language’ in the reflection for the English SBA?

When students discuss the use of language found in their selected stimuli (pieces of material) they will comment on the techniques (word choice, figurative language) used by the writer to communicate his/her message.  The discussion should include:

(a)                identification of techniques; and,

(b)                comments on how these techniques helped/hindered the delivery of the message (information).

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Lion and the Jewel Sample Essay Questions

For each question in Sections A, B and C, in addition to 25 marks indicated for content and argument, a maximum of 10 marks are also allocated for structure, development and competence. 
1.      Why does Sidi refuse to agree to get married without a bride-price being paid? (8 marks)
a.       What are the arguments Lakunle uses to explain why he would not accept the custom of paying a bride price?  (8 marks)
b.      Explain Sidi’s reaction to these arguments? (4 marks)
c.       Discuss the irony of the situation at the end of the play?  (5 marks)

2.      Sidi, having been told of Baroka’s ‘impotence’, is quite confident when she goes to his bedroom. She is prepared to tease him and even to sneer at him.

a.       Discuss THREE things that Baroka says or does to shake her confidence and win her respect. (15 marks)
b.      Explain TWO things he does to throw her off balance and eventually seduce her. (10 marks)
                                    TOTAL MARKS= 35
Resource text: Carlong English B for CSEC

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Sample CSEC English B Poetry Exam Questions- 2017

2.      In the poems ‘West Indies, USA’ and ‘South’ life in the Caribbean islands is compared with life in the so called First World.
a.       Explain the situation in which the speaker in EACH poem finds himself  (7 marks)
b.      In EACH poem, show how the speaker suggests to us:
                                                          i.            the negative aspects of life in the North.                               (5 marks)
                                                        ii.            the freedom enjoyed by people in the islands.                       (5 marks)
c.       Giving your reasons, say which of the two poems you find more convincing in its argument that life in the islands is better than life in the more developed parts of the world.  (8 marks)            TOTAL-  35 MARKS

3.      Choose TWO poems from the prescribed list in which the setting or environment is used to portray the message.
a.       For EACH poem describe the setting or environment.  (8 marks)
b.      Compare the use of imagery or diction in EACH poem in portraying the message. (9 marks)
c.       Identify and discuss an effective device used by EACH poet to highlight the setting or environment.                                                                                                 (8 marks)
                            TOTAL- 35 MARKS 

Monday, 8 May 2017

How to Structure your Persuasive Essay

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Sunday, 7 May 2017

Animal Imagery in Things Fall Apart

Igbos use animals in characterization, descriptions  and explanations as a way to understand the world in a more natural ways as well as a representation of their beliefs and wisdom.

The animal presence in their culture and beliefs represents their freedom and connection with nature and helps as a contrast with the modernized culture of Europe.

There are two notorious animal representations in the book.

One of them is the fable about a tortoise that meets his demise which is used to foreshadow Okonkwo's personality  and flaw that will eventuality lead to his death.

The other representation is the incident when Enoch , son of the snake-priest, in his way to demonstrate his devotion to his new religion kills a python and eat it, which is a sacred animal in the Igbo culture, and initiates a conflict between the clan and the Christians. This incident can be a symbolic form to show the death of the Igbo's religion.

This animalic illustration of the world is beautiful and somehow it feels so mystic and make you realize how wise nature can be.  It also highlights the lessons that can be learnt from nature.

Thursday, 4 May 2017

The Role of Women in the Novel: Things Fall Apart

While women in the Igbo society of the 1890s appear to be thoroughly subjugated to their male counterparts, are they depicted by Achebe as utterly powerless?

Kim Piper Hiatt has the following to say about the role of women in “Things Fall Apart”:

Discerning the role of women in Chinua Achebe’s novel Things Fall Apart (TFA) requires an attentive and unbiased reading of the novel. At first glance, the women in TFA may seem to be an oppressed group with little power, and this characterization is true to some extent. However, this characterization of Ibo women reveals itself to be prematurely simplistic as well as limiting, once the reader uncovers the diverse roles of the Ibo women throughout the novel.

An excellent example of powerful women in the Ibo village is found in the role they play in the Ibo religion. The women routinely perform the role of priestess. The narrator recalls that during Okonkwo’s boyhood, “the priestess in those days was a woman called Chika. She was full of the power of her god, and she was greatly feared” (17). The present priestess is Chielo, “the priestess of Agbala, the Oracle of the hill and the Caves” (49). There is an episode during which Chielo has come for Okonkwo and Ekwefi’s daughter Ezinma. We are told, “Okonkwo pleaded with her to come back in the morning because Ezinma was now asleep. But Chielo ignored what he was trying to say and went on shouting that Agbala wanted to see his daughter . . . The priestess screamed. ‘Beware, Okonkwo!’ she warned” (101). There is no other point in the novel in which we see Okonkwo “plead” with anyone, male or female, for any reason. We witness a woman not only ordering Okonkwo to give her his daughter, but threatening him as well. The fact that Okonkwo allows this is evidence of the priestess’s power. The ability of a woman to occupy the role of a priestess, a spiritual leader, reveals a clear degree of reverence for women being present in Ibo society.

Another example of such reverence for women is unveiled in the representation of the earth goddess, Ani. Ani is described a playing “a greater part in the life of the people than any other deity. She was the ultimate judge of morality and conduct.And what more, she was in close communion with the departed fathers of the clan whose bodies had been committed to earth” (36). It seems logical that a society that views its female members as inferior beings would not represent their most powerful deity as being a woman. Ani’s power is further illustrated through her role in the yam harvest. It is important that all the members of the clan observe the Week of Peace prior to the harvest in order, “to honor [their] great goddess of the earth without whose blessing [their] crops will not grow” (30). For a female spirit to possess such an important role in the success of the yam crops is indicative of the actual deep-rooted power of women. When Okonkwo breaks the Peace of Ani, Ezeani proclaims, “The evil you have one can ruin the whole clan. The earth goddess whom you have insulted may refuse to give us her increase, and we shall all perish” (30).

The idea of women’s power being attached to nature is also found in Chapter fourteen, when Okonkwo returns to his mother’s clan after being exiled from the Ibo village. Uchendu, reproaching Okonkwo for his sorrow about having to come to live with his mother’s clan, explains:
It’s true that a child belongs to its father. But when a father beats his child, it seeks sympathy in its mother’s hut. A man belongs to his fatherland when things are good and life is sweet. But when there is sorrow and bitterness he finds refuge in his motherland. Your mother is there to protect you. She is buried there. And that is why we say that mother is supreme (134).
Uchenda’s words reveal that women are viewed as the foundation of the clan and its people. They are the constant that can be relied upon; they are the nurturers andcaretakers of the people. These are not insignificant, powerless roles.    In addition to these notable examples of the power of these women, we observe women performing various roles sprinkled throughout the novel. We are told that it is “the women [who] weeded the farm three times at definite periods in the life of the yams, neither early or late” (33). This is an extremely important duty, considering that if this task is not carried out correctly, the yam crops will fail.

We also see women in their role as educators of their children. The education process is done in part through the ritual of storytelling. The narrator describes, “Low voices, broken now and again by singing, reached Okonkwo from his wives’ huts as each woman and her children told folk stories” (96). It is through storytelling that the children learn important lessons about the human condition, are taught the Ibo creation myths, such as the birds and the tortoise story, and master the art of communicating by retelling the stories themselves. As stated earlier in the novel, “Among Ibo the art of conversation is regarded very highly, and proverbs are the palm-oil with which words are eaten” (7). The Ibo women are playing a significant role in the facilitation of this learning, which is vital to their children’s ability to function within the Ibo culture.    At first glance, the role of women in Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart may appear to unfairly limited in terms of their authority and power. Upon delving beneath this deceiving surface, one can see that the women of the clan hold some very powerful positions: spiritually as the priestess, symbolically as the earth goddess, and literally as the nurturers of the Ibo people, the caretakers of the yam crops and the mothers and educators of the Ibo children.

Tips for Completing the English B Paper 1

Day 5 of our Exam Review

Today we looked at the English B paper 1. Watch the video below for a number of tips to completing the exam paper.

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Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Reviewing The CSEC English B Exam Paper 2

Welcome to Day 4 of our exam countdown. I hope you have been reviewing and studying hard for your upcoming exams.

Today I wanted to walk you through the English B Paper 2 exam.

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Monday, 1 May 2017

Julius Caesar Summary and Study Questions

Today is day three of our CSEC English A and B Exam Countdown 2017. I must apologize for the late post. Here are a couple of study questions that are taken from a resource text.

This play is one that contains political intrigue and drama. It opens with a group of commoners celebrating Julius Caesar's triumphant return to Rome. This is met with scorn by some Tribunes, who tell them to leave the area. This is the premise to scenes that reveal an ambitious Caesar who is beloved by Roman citizens, but is the envy of many of his friends. It is this envy that leads a group of conspirators, one of them being his best friend, to plot and execute his murder. This is followed by scenes of war, all in the name of revenge, for Caesar's murder. The tragedy closes with the deaths of Portia, Cassius, Titanius and Brutus.

Julius Caesar
He is a Roman statesman and general.
He is very powerful and ambitious.
He is respected, so much so that he is offered the thrown three times by Marc Antony.
The common people love him and the tribunes are afraid of his power and ambition.
Many Roman nobles and senators also fear his ambition because they want Rome to remain a republic.
He is wise, because he does not trust Cassius.
He is arrogant because he disregards Calpurnia's warning about his possible death based on pride.
He is easily flattered, as is seen when Decius easily persuades him that Calpurnia's dream reveals his upcoming triumph.
He is very superstitious. Examples of this can be seen when he tells Calpurnia to let Antony touch her while he's running his race because this can relieve her of her fertility issues.
He is husband to Calpurnia.

Marcus Brutus [Brutus]
A trusted friend to Julius Caesar.
Ironically, he is one of the main members of the conspirator's against Julius Caesar.
He loves Caesar, but believes that he is bad for Rome due to his ambitious nature.
He is respected and loved by everyone.
Caesar admires him and he is respected by his enemies; Antony and Octavius.
He is very noble, as can be seen in the fact that he could not take money from the poor, but had to ask Cassius for money to pay his soldiers.
He is brother-in-law to Cassius.
He is husband to Portia.
He loves his wife and respects her wishes, as is seen when he confides in her, and grieves her death.


He is brother-in-law to Marcus Brutus.
He is a very passionate person, quick to anger and very proud.
He has a strong personality, but he always concedes to Brutus' wishes.
He is very perceptive because he did not trust Antony to speak at Caesar's funeral.
He is one of the conspirators.

Marcus Antonius (Antony)
Initially he was seen as a fun loving individual who was very loyal to Caesar. The conspirators, therefore, did not see him as a threat.
He changes to a calculating ruler who can heartlessly kill in the name of justice and revenge.
He is an excellent orator who fires the crowd to a frenzy at Caesar's funeral.

Wife of Caesar.
She has a bad dream regarding Caesar going to the Capitol on the Ides of March and begs him to stay home with her, he does not listen.

Brutus' wife.
There is a lot of love between them.
Brutus listens to her and shares his secrets with her.
She commits suicide near the end of the play.

A friend of Ceasar.
He tries to warn him about the treachery of his friends.

He warns Caesar about the Ides of March.
Caesar disregards the warning.
A poet

Servant of Cassius.
He assists Cassius to commit suicide, then ran away.
Popilius Lena

Conspirators against Julius Caesar
Marcus Brutus [Brutus]
Decius Brutus [Decius]
Metellus Cimber
Friends of Brutus and Cassius
Young Cato
Servants of Brutus

Julius Caesar – William Shakespeare
1. ‘Caesar never really dies in this play. In fact he is stronger at the end than he is at the beginning’.
a) Making close reference to the text:

i. Give TWO examples of Caesar’s political strength at the beginning of the play;  (8 marks)
ii. Relate THREE incidents which show that, after his death, his influence is still powerful. (9 marks)
b) Based on your examples, discuss the statement and show to what extent you agree with it. (8 marks) (2015 Mock Exam Question)

2. Think carefully about Brutus and Cassius say, what they d and what is said about them.
a. Making Close reference to this, identify
i. TWO ways in which their reasons for being a part of the conspiracy against Caesar are similar.  (8 marks)
ii. TWO ways in which they are different. (8 marks)
b. Discuss the significance of these similarities and differences.  (9 marks)

Resource:  and English B for CSEC        
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