2022 NECO GCE Literature Drama & Poetry Answers [2nd December]
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Friday 2nd December
Literature in English Paper II (Drama & Poetry)
3:00pm – 4:40pm


They are to answer ONE from each section:

Section I: 1,2,3,4
Section II: 5,6,7,8
Section III: 9,10
Section IV: 11,12

Musa is a man with questionable character, full of falsehood and deceit. 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.  

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.
However, Musa continues in his wicked ways with his partner in crime, Lamboi.  This time, Yoko next plan is not only to make Moyamba ungovernable for Yoko but also to implicate her and turn the people against her.  To achieve this, Lamboi connives with Musa to kidnap and kill Ndapi and Jilo’s daughter.  And when it is done, both will stir the women and others to rebel against the Queen.  The people would be reliably informed that Yoko used her as a sacrifice to acquire more powers so that the Governor will be at her beck and calls and her, reign will be rendered useless and destabilized.  This singular act of betrayal contributes to what leads Yoko to commit suicide because she feels betrayed by her own blood brother when she finds out through the divination of Gbeni.

The tragic theme of a colonial oppression is introduced at the beginning of the play when Gbanya narrates the dreams he had last night to Yoko on how the Governor humiliated him in the eyes of his people. Gbanya vows to receive and treat the Governor well in order not to incur his wrath. This shows that the setting of the play is connected to a pre-colonial era where Governors were appointed to oversee the activities of African communities. And some of these Governors, representatives of Imperial Majesty tend to overzealously exploit the people but also treat them as sub-humans or humiliate them when the people in the community err against them and that is exactly what Dr. Samuel Rowe, the Governor does to Gbanya when he finds out that the people have not stopped engaging in the war despite his stern warning to desist from such barbaric act. As a punitive measure or punishment, Gbanya the chief of Senehun is humiliated before his people. Rowe orders the soldiers to stretch Gbanya out on the ground. He also fires a shot from his pistol in the air to threaten Lavalie and Ndapi not to retaliate, Rowe takes the rice and cattle Gbanya entertained him with and zoom off.
Moreover, colonial domination also makes the chief and the people, not to have confidence in themselves because they feel and believe that the Governor, the white man is awash with superior and supreme power. That is why even when Rowe sends his Messengers to Moyamba, the people especially the chief treat him well like the Imperial Majesty herself.

Lastly, the people receive a dirty slaps on their faces when the Governor turns against them to gives out a portion of land that belongs to them to the chiefdom of Bo. He sends a message through his messenger stating that the message came from his Highness, the Governor South of Bandajama, the six villages to the north of the Tabe River now belong to the people of the chiefdom of Bo.

Sidi is the major character in the play as the major conflict centers around her. She is the belle or jewel of the title, while Baroka in the Bale and the “lion”. She is simple and strengthened in her decision-making to some extent, but she is somewhat unstable in character: for she initially tells Lakunle she will marry him willingly as long as he is prepared to fulfill the demands of custom between them and she maintains her stand throughout the play.
Sidi is easily moved and influenced by things around her. One can conclude that she is excessively gullible. For instance, the return of the Lago visitor with some copies of the magazine which contains her photograph fuels her pride and arrogance beyond measure and she begins to feel that she is far too good for either Lakunle and Baroka or for anybody else in the llunjunle because of her love for the new fame. She organizes the dance of the lost traveler which serves as a mime to describe the stranger’s experience during his first visit and returns the magazine bearing her alluring pictures which swell her pride.

And the art of gullibility is also exhibited in Sidi when Sadiku comes around to woo her on behalf of Baroka, she rejects such offer of marriage because she feels that Baroka is too old for her, and she also turns down the invitation to a feast in her honor in the palace and she is not aware that it is a mere trick to lure her into Baroka’s set trap.

She is somewhat a pessimist because when she finds Sadiku rejoicing over Baroka’s claimed impotence she becomes very excited and inquisitive.

To further mock his impotence, Sidi changes her mind and decides to pay Baroka a visit. She consequently walks into his trick, thereby losing her maidenhood in the process. Her experience in the Bale’s palace is not in any way palatable, especially now that she is no more a maid. She ends up marrying Baroka and Lakunle’s dreams of transformation are still in pipeline or unrealizable.

(i) Class Struggle and Education:

The play centers on class struggle and the status of education in our society. Jimmy comes from a working class background, but has been highly educated. He went to a university but not gainfully employed. He is still stuck running to sweet stall, and he does not feel fully comfortable and hasn’t been accepted into the upper classes. He speaks and uses Jaw breaking words, read newspapers, but he sometimes has to look these words up in a dictionary.

Alison and Jimmy’s relationship is the main meeting point where class struggle unfolds. Alison is from an upper class background very different from Jimmy’s. Both portray the struggle between the two classes in military terms as the two just can’t blend. Jimmy is full of pride because of his education and this makes him alienate, separate and look down on others who are not so educated like himself, Cliff is such a character in the text.

(ii) Theme of Love and Instability:

The nature of love in the play is quite controversial; Jimmy and Alison’s marriage is consummated in the ground of revenge. Their relationship is seen as master and servant relationship and they barely enjoy peace and harmony at home as Jimmy is always at the control of everything, while Alison’s business is to remain silent. Jimmy believes that love is pain and suffering. He therefore scorns Cliff and Alison’s love for each other, which is gentle fondness that does not correspond to his own brand of passionate, angry feeling. Jimmy’s definition of love has to do with the class tensions between Jimmy and Alison, and she tells her father, colonel Redfern that Jimmy married her out of sense of revenge against the upper classes. It was born out of sense of competition between classes.

It is clear that Jimmy and Alison’s love for each other is not characterized by much tenderness though they do manage to exhibit one when they play their animal game. Jimmy and Alison as the beer and squirrel are able to express more simple affection for each other, but only in a dehumanized manner. In the first scene, Jimmy describes the game as a retreat from organized society. Their relationship is marred by class struggle anger and suffering.

Jimmy and Alison’s relationship lack feeling and stability, because Jimmy especially, does not nurse any aorta of feeling for Alison, as he feels undaunted or not worry at all when she lost her first baby, Alison who is ever ready to be with Jimmy walks away and returns quickly to him and they both renew their vows and opts for peace.

(iii) Theme of Feminism and Gender Inequality:

Jimmy is seen as a misogynist in the play, that is, one who hates women. He treats the two women in the play with disdain and utter rejection. Alison seems to be doing the household work and otherwise be ignorant of any social development. On the contrary, Jimmy treats her badly and has no regard for her as a wife by also verbally abusing her because in his eyes she is lazy and does not know how to lead a real life. Real life to Jimmy means that you have to suffer and have experienced real emotions.

While Cliff and Alison’s father are very caring towards Alison, Jimmy disrespects and humiliates her because is a mere woman. Cliff helps bandages her wound and her father rescues her from the cruelty of her domestic life with Jimmy. Jimmy also accuses Alison’s mother when he called her “old bitch and also wishes she was dead”. He resents her because she represents an upper class, educated ones who object to his marriage with Alison. Jimmy also despises Helena’s being too churchy. He feels nothing when Helena intends to leave his house before Alison resurfaces for the second time towards the end of the play.

Also, Alison and her father, colonel Redfern want too fight against gender inequality, silently without any bridge of peace by leaving Jimmy’s house. The colonel plans to take Alison away in order to restore peace and balance to her existence. Everything is resolved and Jimmy comes back to his senses and sues for peace in his household.

There is a serious case of one who is building an enduring family reputation and unity and there is another who is destroying it and bringing it to disrepute.

Rose who is positive minded does everything possible to reposition the Maxson’s family by giving moral and financial support to the members in her household, while Troy whose income cannot even settle his family’s need is busying dragging the family name on the mire.

So, Troy struggles to fulfill his role as a father to his son and husband to his wife. He does not do much before his demise. The family he ruled with Iron hand or hard-handedness is torn apart, as his son; Cory turns against him and also becomes a rebel. After leveling serious criticism on how Troy tormented his life and dreams for a better future, he vows not to attend his funeral.

1. Personification: There are also instances of personification in the poem. the poetic persona mentions, “Rage drags rags after you” Rage is said to possess the human ability to pull something with force. rage also assumes the quality of human, equipped with the ability to cause calamity. We also have this in when rage assumes the ability to sail or travel on the sea.

2. Euphemism: Euphemism is the use of soft word or expression for a harsh condition. For instance, the expression “Raider of the treasure trove” takes our minds to a particular criminal who raids a place where hidden treasures are kept whereas the poem is not about robbery or physical attack.

(a) “Raider” is a term for rage or anger

(b) “Treasure trove” refers to the useful human virtues such as love kindness charity, Compassion, etc:

(c) “Sail up streams – an invitation to do impossibility

3. Metaphor: Metaphors are amply observable in the poem, beginning with the title.

(a) “Raider” is the metaphor for anger which attacks or ruins other vital human attributes.

(b) “The treasure trove” is a metaphor for man’s hidden virtues which anger can render useless. It implies that anger spreads like virus and it contaminates other qualities such as joy, love or sound mind and shouldn’t be welcome.

(c) “To fly flags of joy” refers to the need to preach peace in other to put smile on people’s faces.

(d) “Sail up streams” means to do that which is impossible.

(e) Fling roses wherever you pause” is a metaphor for motivation to be generous.

(f) “Rage is chief” – metaphor for anger as the number one enemy of destruction.

(g) “Rage is thief” is a metaphor for deceit and denial.

(h) “Rage drags rags after you” is a metaphor for shame; for anger brings shame and anxiety.

(i) “Heaven-on-earth your destination” is a metaphor for a glorious and peaceful life that is free from anger.

“Caged Bird” is a protest and metaphorical poem that illustrates the African-American’s experience during the era of racial segregation. During this period, blacks were in a state of depression due to stolen opportunities and the hatred they regularly encountered owing to the color of their skin. The African-American race knew it was necessary to have a voice and identity in a white dominated world. “The Caged Bird” symbolizes the entire African-American race, while the “Cage” is a metaphor for American (white) society which has crippled the potential and rights of the black race. Throughout the history (20th century), there has been high level of segregation between various races. Barriers between black and white have existed for hundreds of years.

During this era of white supremacy, the lives of African-Americans were characterized by limited opportunities. Blacks were forced to be servile and submissive due to these customs that were ingrained in a prejudiced society. The only way for African- Americans to earn respect is for them to stand up for their rights. Maya Angelou encourages those of her ethnicity to do this in her poem “Caged Bird”. Though the poet doesn’t mention any race, it is clear that she is showing how the freedom allotted to the whites is diametrically opposed to those given to the blacks.


2022 NECO GCE Literature Drama & Poetry Answers [2nd December]

2022 NECO GCE Literature Drama & Poetry Answers [2nd December]

2022 NECO GCE Literature Drama & Poetry Answers [2nd December]

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