2023 NECO GCE Literature Drama & Poetry Answers [2nd December]
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Friday 24th November, 2023
Literature in English Paper II (Drama & Poetry)
3:00pm – 4:40pm



SECTION I (1,2,3,4)
SECTION II (5,6,7,8)

The theme of hypocrisy plays a significant role throughout the text. Hypocrisy refers to the act of pretending to have qualities, beliefs, or virtues that one does not possess. It involves presenting oneself as morally superior or upright while engaging in contradictory actions. This theme is masterfully explored in the play, exposing the flawed and contradictory nature of several characters.

One of the primary ways the theme of hypocrisy is showcased in the text is through the character of John Kargbo himself. As the protagonist of the play, John Kargbo is initially painted as a respectable and upstanding citizen. He presents himself as a devout Christian and a pillar of the community. However, it is revealed that John has been secretly involved in corrupt activities, including embezzlement and bribery.

This contradiction between John’s outward appearance and his true actions highlights the pervasive nature of hypocrisy. By presenting himself as a morally righteous individual while engaging in unethical deeds, John exposes the hypocrisy that can exist within even the most respected members of society. This portrayal serves as a critique of those who use religion or societal expectations to mask their true intentions and actions.

The theme of hypocrisy is also evident in the behavior of secondary characters in the play. For instance, Elizabeth, John’s wife, is portrayed as deeply religious and committed to her faith. She is judgmental towards those who do not uphold the same religious principles. However, her true hypocrisy is revealed when she turns a blind eye to John’s immoral activities and continues to support him. Her actions question the sincerity of her faith and highlight the facade she presents to the community.

The theme of hypocrisy is further explored in the wider context of the play. The play depicts a society where corruption and moral decay are rampant, yet individuals continue to present themselves as upright and moral beings. The hypocrisy is not limited to individual characters but extends to the collective conscience of the community. This portrayal suggests that hypocrisy is a systemic issue deeply ingrained in society. 


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.

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.

The play centers on class struggle and the status of education class 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.
Osborne also incorporates the character of Cliff, Jimmy's flatmate, to further explore the theme of class conflict. Cliff is also from a working-class background, but he maintains a more accepting and neutral position in the socio-economic spectrum. His presence sheds light on the disparities between Jimmy's passionate anger and his more moderate outlook. Cliff's acceptance of his position in society is seen as a contrast to Jimmy's constant frustration and desire for change.
The class conflict in "Look Back in Anger" is not limited to individual relationships but is also shown in broader settings. Osborne presents various symbols and motifs to depict this conflict. For instance, the characters' social circles, the settings of their conversations, and the objects they interact with all serve as representations of their social class and the barriers between them.
Osborne's portrayal of class conflict in "Look Back in Anger" highlights the destructive effects it can have on individuals and relationships. The play raises important questions about social inequality, societal structures, and the profound impact of class divisions on personal and collective lives.

Jimmy porter is the central character in the play; a twenty five year-old man who lives in Britain’s industrial midlands. He is an educated; well-read individual who works in a factory that is tends a sweet stall he is trying to buy, and issues diatribes about British society, which he feels has denied him opportunity simply because of his working class background.
Jimmy is self-conceited, self-centered and individualistic. He prides himself on his honestly, but can be cruel, as seen in his verbal attacks on his wife, Alison and his father, and on, Cliff Lewis, who lives with them.
Jimmy is a misogynist, that is, one who hates women. He hates womenfolk with passion and never takes them seriously. He sees them as people who cannot contribute anything meaningful to his life. He tends to transfer the anger in the past to them. He maltreats Alison, makes her feel subhuman to the point of resistance and her father, until Colonel Redfern comes to her rescue, and the Colonel takes her home. His only reason for maltreating Alison is the fact that she is too possessive and that she cannot understand him because she has never suffered, because he suffered at the age of ten; for he had to watch his father die. Because he insists on total loyalty, Jimmy feels betrayed when his wife, Alison, does not accompany him to the dead bed of a friend’s mother, yet he does not see anything wrong with his having an affair with Helena, his wife’s friend.
Jimmy is egocentric and egoistic; for he cares only about his own feeling and cares less about other people around him. He seems incapable of empathizing with his wife, even when she grieves over losing their baby. He takes her back only after he has realized her importance and completely abased herself to him. Jimmy is the “angry young man” of the play. Born working class but highly educated like his friend and roommate, Cliff but Jimmy have an ambivalent relationship with his educated status and yet frustrated that his education can do nothing to effect his class status. Jimmy is a frustrated character who wallows in his feelings of alienation and uselessness in post-war England. Jimmy is a bundle of contradictions. He is passionate about progressive politics but he treats his wife like slave, which might seem contrary to being progressive, Jimmy is filled with rage but the reason for this misery is not known to anyone.

Cliff is Jimmy’s friend, also from the working class. He is a gentle man to the core, a direct opposite of Jimmy porter. He does not have Jimmy’s fire, wit or bossy and bully attitude like him; he also lacks cruelty and verbal abuse on others. He is genuinely fond of Alison and shows his appreciation for her housekeeping efforts, and he tries also to defend her from Jimmy’s verbal and physical abuse. Cliff personally bandages Alison’s arm after she gets burnt.
Cliff is the most empathetic and sensitive character in the play, because he does not only share in others’ problem but also seems to understand what other people are feeling. He is like a go between Jimmy and Alison because he seems to sacrifice time to make things right for them, even when Helena thinks that she hates Jimmy, Cliff guesses that he really desires him, and he is the only person who senses Alison’s attempt to break up the marriage. Cliff’s hatred for Helena makes him to move out of Jimmy’s house when he learnt about her attempt to move in.
Cliff is a relaxed and easy-going fellow, with natural intelligence of the self taught. His affectionate relationship with Alison bothers on a sexual one, but both of them are content with comfortable fondness rather than burning passion. Cliff eventually decides to leave to pursue his own life…

Cory is Troy and Rose’s teenage son. He is an ambitious young man who has the talent and determination to realize his dreams. He is a very respectful and compassionate nephew to his disabled uncle Gabriel. He is quite passionate and optimistic about great future to become a footballer and he needs to actualize it through his father’s support and love, but contrarily unmet by the pessimism of his father. His father, Troy believes that he can’t excel as a result of racism. He prefers him to read more books to get promoted in his A & P Job, or learn how to fix cars or build houses or learn a trade. Troy views Cory’s career aspirations as idealistic and detached from the realities of a racist society where the white dominate world of sports will not support his son’s dream of becoming a footballer.
He is a dynamic and persistent person, for he is undaunted by Troy’s bully and this makes Cory hate him vehemently. He refuses to attend Troy’s funeral because of his father’s hard handedness. Cory bursts out with rage. He does not want to be Troy Maxson, he wants to be himself. He says this to stand up to his father who is not willing to support his dreams.
August Wilson uses Cory as an opposing force to Troy’s views and values for which Troy stands for and the clash before both is the central conflict in the play. Cory undergoes transformation when she leaves home to join the marines in the end.

Use of Symbolism:
There is a number of incidence and actions that are symbolic and metaphoric in the play.
One key symbol in "Fences" is the fence itself, which is symbolic of racial discrimination that ruled the 1950 society which involves the segregation between the black and white. The whites build wall or fence of hatred and keep the blacks out of it. For instance, it is this wall of discrimination that prevents Troy, a black man from finding success as a baseball player; his dream of becoming a professional baseball player and that of his son. Cory who wants to become a footballer could not materialize because of the literary fence built against the blacks.
The second fence mentioned in the play is the physical fence built by Troy and his son, Cory around Troy’s yard. It represents both the metaphorical fences that Troy builds around himself to keep people from getting too close to him, and he end up building a fence that keeps his entire family out. The meaning of the fences to keep people out and other people built fences to keep people in. Troy persistently criticizes and neglects his two sons, Cory and Lyons, which thus draws them away from him. Troy pushes Lyons away by refusing to hear him play his Chinese music” Troy is also said to neglect to build the fence that Rose ordered him. His negligence to build the fence stands for his negligence or irresponsibility towards his family. For Bono, the fence is symbolic of betrayal of Troy to his wife.
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.
Raynell’s garden towards the ending of the play is symbolic of hope growth, renewal, positive change and transformation of Maxson’s family. The family that is destroyed by Troy is hoping to experience another re surging future that will be spearheaded by the new born baby, Raynell. It is also a promise of new life in the face of death. Raynell herself is the flower that has sprung from Troy’s seeds.

In the poem, the poet attributes rage or uncontrolled anger to be the chief destroyer of human virtue and a thief that steals away our good morals such as happiness, joy and good life. Anger does not yield any good fruit, but rather it will “breach your sails with arrows unseen” – meaning, it exposes you to danger, “Which would blot out that brief”: reduces your lifespan. “No! Rob you of your life, rage is chief”. Here the persona sees anger as the most important vice that can ruin your life totally. “Rage drags rags after you” – anger breeds shame and spoils all other good virtues such as kindness, laughter, sweetness and light.
The poet therefore calls rage thief because it spoils so many good things in you. It is the enemy of equanimity, because it steals away your gentleness, kindness, calmness and loveliness. Anger also makes one unstable in character and does not allow one compose oneself especially under stress. “Rage spells calamity” – meaning, it engineers other evils like hard luck, violence, murder, insecurity and regret. The poet persona therefore sees anger as the raider of treasure trove.
The theme of rage also serves to showcase the cycle of violence. As the protagonist seeks revenge, their actions ignite a chain reaction of violence that perpetuates further anger and destruction. The poem explores how unchecked rage leads to a continuous cycle of retaliatory actions, with each act of vengeance fueling the next one. In this way, Wosornu emphasizes the futility and self-perpetuating nature of rage, suggesting that it ultimately traps individuals in a never-ending cycle of violence and suffering.
Wosornu subtly implies that anger and frustration can arise from societal and historical injustices. The poem alludes to the history of colonization and the loss of cultural heritage, which underlies the protagonist's rage. By addressing these broader societal issues, Wosornu raises questions about the legitimacy of anger and the potential for collective instead of individual transformation.

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