JANE AUSTEN: Persuasion
1. Discuss the contribution of Sir Walter Eliot and Captain Fredrick Wentworth to the development of the novel, Persuasion.
2. Would you say that Anne Elliot is an admirable character? Why?
THOMAS HARDY: Under the Greenwood Tree
3. Discuss the role of Dick Dewey as presented in Under the Greenwood Tree.
4. What lessons do you learn from the relationship between Fancy Day and Dick Dewey’s in the novel, Under the Greenwood Tree?
CHARLES DICKENS: Oliver Twist
5. Discuss the characters of Mrs. Mann and Mrs. Sowerberry and show how they are used to depict the theme of oppression in the novel.
6. Discuss the role played by Noah Claypole in the novel, Oliver Twist.
GRAHAM GREENE: The Heart of the Matter
7. How does the author use letters in the novel, The Heart of the Matter?
8. Discuss the author’s use of irony in portraying themes in the novel, The Heart of the Matter.
NIKOS KAZANTZAKIS: Zorba the Greek
9. Discuss the significance of Boss and Zorba in the portrayal of the theme on religion?
10. What techniques does the author use to potray the central theme in, Zorba the Greek?
E.M FORSTER: A Room with a View
11. Discuss the use of symbolism in A Room with a View..
12. What significance of the title, A Room with a View, to the novel?
TAYEB SALIH: Season of Migration to the North
13. While I was drinking my morning coffee Wad Rayyes came to me. I had intended to go to his house but he forestalled me. He said that he had come to remind me of the invitation of the day before, but I knew that, unable to hold himself in wait, he had come to learn of the result of my intervention.
‘It’s no good,’ I told him as he seated himself. ‘She doesn’t want to marry at all. If I were you I’d certainly let the whole matter drop.’
I had not imagined that the news would have such an effect on him. However Wad Rayyes, who changed women as he changed donkeys, now sat in front of me with a morose expression on his face, eyelids trembling, savagely biting his lower lip. He began fidgeting in his seat and tapping the ground nervously with his stick. he took off the slipper from his right foot and put it on again several times as though preparing to get up and go, then reseated himself and opened his mouth as though wishing to speak but without doing so. How extraordinary! Was it reasonable to suppose that Wad Rayyes was in love? ‘It’s not as if there’re not plenty of other women to marry,’ I said to him.
His intelligent eyes were no longer intelligent but had become two small glass globes fixed in a rigid stare. ‘I shall marry no one but her,’ he said. ‘She’ll accept me whether she likes it or not. Does she imagine she’s some queen or princess? Widows in this village are more common than empty bellies. She should thank God she’s found a husband like me.’
‘If she’s just like every other woman, then why this insistence?’ I said to him. ‘You know she’s refused many men besides you, some of them younger. If she wants to devote herself to bringing up her children, why not let her do as she pleases?’
Suddenly Wad Rayyes burst out into a crazy fit of rage which I regarded as quite out of character. In a violent state of excitement, he said something that truly astonished me: ‘Ask yourself why Mahmoud’s daughter refused marriage. You’re the reason – there’s certainly something between you and her. Why do you interfere? You’re not her father or her brother or the person responsible for her. He’ll marry me whatever you or she says or does. Her father’s agreed and so have her brothers. This nonsense you learn at school won’t wash with us here. In this village the men are guardians of the women.’
‘I don’t know what would have happened if my father had not come in at that moment. Immediately I got up and left.’
a) Place the passage in context.
b) Describe the character of Wad Rayyes in the passage.
c) Identify the themes in this passage.
d) Discuss the significance of this significance of this passage to the rest of the novel.
ARTHUR KOESTLER: Darkness at Noon
14. ‘And what follows?’ asked Rubashov.
Ivanov had again his former amiable smile.
‘What I don’t understand,’ he said, ‘is this. You now openly admit that for years you have had the conviction that we were running the Revolution; and in the same breath you deny that you belonged to the opposition and that you plotted against us. Do you really expect me to believe that you sat watching us with your hands in your lap – while, according to your conviction, we led country and Party to destruction?’
Rubashov shrugged his shoulders. ‘Perhaps I was too old and used up…But believe what you like,’ he said.
Ivanov lit another cigarette. His voice became quiet and penetrating:
‘Do you really want me to believe that you sacrificed Arlova and denied those’ – he jerked his chin towards the light patch on the wall – ‘only in order to save your own head?’
Rubashov was silent. Quite a long time passed. Ivanov’s head bent even closer over the writing desk.
I don’t understand you,’ he said. ‘Half an hour ago you made me a speech full of the most impassioned attacks against our policy, any fraction of which would have been enough to finish you off. And now you deny such a simple logical deduction as that you belonged to an oppositional group, for which, in any case, we hold all our proofs.’
‘Really?’ said Rubashov. ‘If you have all the proofs, why do you need my confession? Proofs of what, by the way?’
‘Amongst others,’ said Ivavov slowly, ‘proofs of a projected attempt on No.1’s life.’
Again there was a silence. Rubashov put on his pince-nez.
‘Allow me to ask you a question in my turn,’ he said. ‘Do you really believe this idiocy or do’ you only pretend to?
In the corneres of Ivanov’s eyes appeared the same nearly tender smile as before:
‘I told you. We have proofs. To be more exact: confessions. To be still more exact: the confession of the man who was actually to commit the attempt on your instigation.’
‘Congratulations,’ said Rubashov. ‘What is his name?’
Ivanov went on smiling.
‘An indiscreet question.’
‘May I read that confession? Or be confronted with the man?’
Ivanovsmiled. He blew the smoke of his cigarette with friendly mockery into Rubashov’s face. It was unpleasant to Rubashov, but he did not move his head.
‘Do you remember the veronal?’ said Ivanov slowly. I think I have already asked you that. Now the roles are inter-changed: today it is you who are about to throw yourself head first down the precipice. But not with my help. You then convinced me that suicide was pretty bourgeois romanticism. I shall see that you do not succeed in committing it. Then we shall be quits.’
Rubashov was silent. He was thinking over whether Ivanov was lying or sincere – and at the same time he had the strange wish,almost a physical impulse, to touch the light patch on the wall with his fingers. Nerve, he thought. Obsessions. Stepping only on the black tiles, murming senseless phrases, rubbing my pince-nez on my sleeve – there, I am doing it again…
‘I am curious to know,’ he said aloud, ‘what scheme you have for my salvation. The way in which you have examined me up till now seems to have exactly the opposite aim.’
Ivanov’s smile became broad and beaming. ‘You old fool,’ he said, and reaching over the table, he grasped Rubashov’s coat button. ‘I was obliged to let you explode once, else you would have exploded the wrong time. Haven’t you even noticed that I have no stenographer present?’
He took a cigarette out of the case and forced it into Rubashov’s mouth without letting go his coat button. ‘You’re behaving like an infant,’ he added. ‘Now we are going to concoct a nice little confession and that will be all for today.’
Rubashov at last managed to free himself from Ivanov’s grip. he looked at him sharply through his pince-nez. ‘And what would be ein this confession?’ he asked.
Ivanov beamed at him unabatedly. ‘In the confession will be written,’ he said, ‘that you admit, since such and such a year, to have belonged to such and such a group of the opposition; but that you emphatically deny having organized or planed an assignation; that, on the contrary, you withdrew from the group when you learned of the opposition’s criminal and terrorist plans.’
For the first time during their discussion Rubashov smiled, too. ‘If that is the object of this talk,’ he said, ‘we can break it off immediately.’
a) Place the passage in context.
b) Describe the characters of Rubashov and Ivanov as potrayed in the passage.
c) What feelings does this passage evoke in you?
d) What is the significance of this passage to the development of the plot?
FERDINAND OYONO: Houseboy
15. ‘You Toundi, are the cause of this whole business. Your greediness will be the ruin of us. Anyone would think you don’t have enough to eat at home. So on the day before your initiation you have to cross a stream to go begging lumps of sugar from some white man-woman who is a complete stranger to you.’
My father however was not a stranger and I was well acquainted with what he could do with a stick. Whenever he went for either my mother or me, it always took us a week to recover. I was a good way from his stick. He swished it in the air and came towards me. I edged backwards.
‘Are you going to stop? I’ve not got legs to go chasing you. Youknow if I don’t get you now I will wait for you a hundred years to give you your punishment. Now come here and get it over with.’
‘I haven’t done anything to be beaten for, father,’ I protested.
‘Aaaaaaaaaaaakiaaaaaaay!’ he roared. ‘You dare say you haven’t done anything? If you weren’t such a glutton, if you hadn’t the blood of the gluttons that flows through your mother’s veins you wouldn’t have been in Fia to fight like the little rat you are over the bits of sugar that cursed the white man gives you. You wouldn’t have got your arm twisted, your mother wouldn’t have had fight and I woudn’t have had a fight and I wouldn’t have wanted to split open Tinati’s old father’s head… I warn you, you hadbetter stop. If you go one more step backwards, that will be an insult to me. I will take it as a sign that you are capable of taking your mother to bed.’
I stopped. He flung himself on me and the cane swished down on my bare shoulders. I twisted like a worm in the sun.
‘Turn round and put up your arms. I don’t want to knock your eye out.’
‘Let me off, father,’ I begged, ‘I won’t do it again.’
‘You always say that when I start to give you a thrashing. But today I’m going to go on thrashing and thrashing until I’m not angry anymore.’
I couldn’t cry out because that might have attracted the neighbors. My friends would have thought me a girl. I would have lost my place in the group of ‘boys-who-are-soon-to-be-men’. My father gave me another blow that I dodged neatly.
‘If you dodge again it means you are capable of taking my mother, your grandmother, to bed.’
‘I have not insulted you and I am not capable of taking my mother to bed or yours and I won’t be beaten anymore, so there.’
‘How dare you speak to me like that! A drop of my own liquid speaking to me like that! Unless you stand still at once, I shall curse you.’
‘My father was choking. I had never seem him so furious. I went on backing away from him. He came on after me, down behind the huts, for a good hundred yards.’
‘Very well then,’ he said. ‘We’ll see where you spend the night. I will tell your mother you have insulted us both. Your way back into the house will pass through my anus.’
a) Relate the events that lead to this passage.
b) Describe the character of Toundi’s father as portrayed in the passage.
c) Comment on the style used in the passage.
d) Show the significance of this passage to the development of the plot.
OSI OGEDU: The Moon also Sets
16. Discuss three of the major themes in the novel, The Moon also Sets.
17. What important lessons do you learn from what happens in the novel. The Moon also Sets?
OLE KULET: Blossoms of the Savannah
18. Discuss the theme of corruption as depicted in Blossoms of the Savannah.
19. Discuss how Resian is used to potray any three major themes in the novel, Blossoms of the Savannah.
GODFREY MWENE KALIMUGOG:A Murky River
20. How appropriate is the title, A Murky River, to the novel?
21. Show hoe the author uses Boss to develop themes in A Murky River.