Thursday, 4 May 2017

Speaking generally about Literature-in-English examinations, not excluding WAEC, NECO, GCE, etc. 

 Two simple facts are necessary for excellence in the examination to be guaranteed, they are (i) Studying according to the recommended texts (ii) Understanding the  monotonous style of the questions. 

  (#1) To Study According To Recommended Texts:-
Taking West African Literature-in-English examination as a case study, it is necessary for any candidate willing to sit for WAEC, NECO or GCE to lay hold of the recommended texts and study them carefully. 

Having the appropriate syllabus will be a wise step towards success; the word "appropriate" must be of note since WAEC for example, does change her Literature-In-English syllable at a specific interval (precisely every four years) which means that some texts that are found helpful for success may later become not helpful. 

 Based on the West African Examination Council (WAEC) Literature-In-English syllabus 2016-2020, the following are recommended:-

(1) Faceless by Amma Dark

(2) Lonely Days by Bayo Adebowale

(1) Native Son by Richard Wright

(2) The Last Good Man by Patience Swift


(1) Harvest of Corruption by Frank O. Ogbeche

(2) Blood of a Stranger by Dele Charley

(1) She Stoops to Conquer by Oliver Goldsmith

(2) A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry

(3) Othello by William Shakespeare


(1) Piano and Drums by Gabriel Okara

(2) Vanity by Birago Diop

(3) The Anvil and The Hammer by Kofi Awoonor

(4) Ambush by Gbemisola Adeoti

(5) The Dining Table by Gbanabom Hallowell

(6) The Panic of Growing Older by Lenrie Peters

(1) Birches by Robert Frost

(2) The Proud King by William Morris

(3) Shall I Compare Thee to a Summer's Day by William Shakespeare

(4) The Pulley by George Herbert

(5) Crossing the Bar by Alfred Lord Tennyson

(6) The Schoolboy by William Blake

(#2) Common Style of Setting Question:-
Keen observation has shown that the body responsible for setting Literature-in-English examination does repeat the questions year in year out and that is why the compiled past questions have been of an immense help but the absolute understanding of the tactics to which the questions are shaped will give an examination candidate the best frame of mind to tackle the questions. 

As a Literature-in-English teacher, I revealed to my students the following clues about Literature-in-English questions_ thanks to 

I took the WAEC poetry questions for the past 20 years as a case study; in order assure them that all the questions can be grouped into three (namely denotation, theme, and poetic devices). The major reason candidates are not able to clearly understand the poetry questions is due to indirectness; the poetry questions are twisted. 

i. Denotation which is also the surface meaning of the poem, preoccupation, etc. Here are few past WAEC poetry questions which are indirectly referring to the surface meaning of a poem:- (A) Poet's attitude to affliction in On His Blindness [WAEC 2008] (B) Suffering of masses in Myopia [WAEC 2012] (C) Poet's message to the court, church and potentates in The Soul's Errand [WAEC 2011] (D) The significance of The Executioner's Dream (E) Character of Ulysses in the poem (F) Link between fortune of rich and poor in Homeless Not Hopeless [WAEC 2013] (G) Regret of the slain soldier in Strange Meeting [WAEC 2014] 

 ii. Theme which is also the main message, subject of a talk, etc. Here are few past WAEC poetry questions which are referring to the subject of the talk:- (A) Thematic preoccupation of Mtshali in Nightfall in Soweto [WAEC 1998] (B) Theme of love in I Will Pronounce Your Name [WAEC 2007] (C) Theme of conflict of culture in In the Navel of the Soul (D) Theme of regretted love in To His Coy Mistress [WAEC 2010] (E) Theme of permanence in Ode to a Grecian Urn (F) Theme of poverty in Myopia 

 iii. Poetic devices which also mean figure of speech, use of device, etc. Here are few past WAEC poetry questions which are indirectly referring to the figures of speech:- (A) Use of language in An African Thunderstorm (B) The use of imagery in We Have Come Home [WAEC 2002] (C) Mood of the poet in An Irish Airman Foresees His Death (D) Contrast as poetic device in In the Navel of the Soul [WAEC 2008] (E) Use of symbolism in The Road not Taken (F) Effectiveness of literary device in Salute to the Elephant (G) Poet's diction in The Fence [WAEC 2011] (H) Figures of speech in I Will Pronounce Your Name [WAEC 2009] I hope anyone who has carefully read this post must have got the grasp of the message passed here; and if kept at heart, might become a treasure to the attainment of success. 

 Samuel C. Enunwa aka samueldpoetry (the Leo with wings flying)


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