Read the following comprehension passage and carefully study the author’s comments and useful model answers on how to write correct and acceptable answers.
Year after he had left home for the capital, first as a student and later as a struggling businessman, Oliha returned to his village, having been informed of his father’s falling health. He was amazed that not much had changed since he left as a youth. Every experience shocked him: the coloured water with a strong taste, the eye-sore of a dung hill on which everyone excreted; the absence of electricity, and so on. As he went to bed late in the evening, after a meeting with his younger brothers on how he would pay his own share of their father’s medical expenses, he prayed for the early arrival of the meeting. He decided to leave early and put the trying experience behind him.
But morning brought him the greatest shock of his life. Informed by his niece that there was a bucket of water for him in the bath, he hurried down there, half-dressed, holding a towel. The bathroom located by the side of the building, was an improved rectangular enclosure made of palm fronds. Hissing to himself, he went in and used his clothes and a large towel to cover some openings in the closure. He started bathing. Then, it happened with every inch of his body thoroughly covered with soup lather, hardly able to open his eyes, he heard someone removing his clothes and towel. With the corner of his half-open eyes, he saw a man making away with his clothes and towel. Hardly giving the matter a thought, naked except for the covering of soup lather, he ran out and gave the thief a hot chase.
After he ran the chief, he heard everyone shouting. ‘The lunatic has broken loose again!’ But as soon as the people saw him, everyone shouted: ‘Ah, another mad man has broken loose’ Men, women, and children all ran away, seeking refuge in their homes, slamming their doors. By the time he realized what was happening, darling men were after him. Just as Oliha was about to beat a retreat, he was held by strong, muscular men who overpowered him and carried him to the quarters of the village’s foremost occult healer who alone knew to cure lunatics.
- Why did Oliha return to the village?
- Mention two basic facilities lacking in the village.
- What was the subject of the meeting that Oliha held with his younger brother?
- Why was it possible for the chief to remove the clothes without Oliha stopping him?
- Why was Oliha taken to the occult healer rather than to his father’s home?
- What is the irony of the entire event in the passage?
- ‘…who alone knew to cure lunatics?’
- What is the grammatical name given to the above expression?
- What is its function in the passage?
- ‘…the early arrival of morning.’
- What figure of speech is the above expression?
- Why do you consider it so?
- For each of the following words, find another word or phrase that means the same and can replace it as used in the passage.
(WAEC June 1995)
Examiner’s Comments and Answers to the Questions above.
- The answer to question (a) is traced to the first paragraph which says: ‘Years after he had left home for the capital, first as a student and later as a struggling businessman. Oliha returned to his village, having been informed of his father’s falling health’. The underlined sentence is actually a point relevant to the question (a) but this is a model answer. Remember the question is in the past form, so also the answer should be in the past form thus:
(a). Oliha wanted to see his father who was sick.
- The answers to question (b) are traced to the third sentence of the first paragraph saying:‘every experience shocked him: the coloured water with a strong taste; the eye-sore of a dung hill on which everyone excreted; absence of electricity and so on. Although the phrases above are points relevant to the question (b), the following sentences are model answers:
(b) i. Tap water was lacking.
ii. A good/modern toilet was lacking.
iii. Electricity was lacking.
(Choose any two of them that are correct.)
- The answer to question (c) is traced to the fourth sentence of the first paragraph which says: As he went to bed late in the evening, after a meeting with his younger brother on how he would pay his own share of their father’s medical expenses… The clause above is a relevant point to question (c) but write your answer thus:
- The subject was a discussion of Oliha’s part of the medical expenses incurred by his father.
- The answer to question (d) is traced to sentence six of the second paragraph which says: with every inch of his body thoroughly covered with soup lather, hardly able to open his eyes, he heard someone removing his clothes and towel. Truly, the underlined phrase above is a relevant point but write your answer thus:
- Oliha’s eyes were closed at that moment. Or it was because Oliha did not see him.
- The answers to question (e) are identified in the last paragraph. The model answers are as follows:
- They thought Oliha was a madman.
- The irony was that a sane person was mistakenly taken for an insane person.
If you identify and analyze the expression: ‘… who alone knew how to cure lunatics’ in the sentence it occurs, you will have these answers for the grammatical name and its function.
- Adjectival/Relative clause
- Qualifying the noun phrase ‘occult healer’
- Qualifying the noun ‘healer’
- ‘The early arrival of the morning is personification.
- ‘Morning’ which is an inanimate attribute was said to have arrived early.
- The answers to question (h) expect you to replace them with other words or phrases. Make sure that each answer is not more than one word or phrase. You should also consider the class to which each word or phrase belongs. The model answers are as follows:
- shocked – surprised/astonished/amazed
- trying – bitter/unpleasant/nasty/painful
- thoroughly – totally/completely/entirely
- refuge – shelter/safety/protection
- foremost – best/prominent/most/leading
Any of the words above is correct to replace each of the words or phrases written in print in the passage.
Read the following passage and answer the questions on it.
The rain had just partially ceased. There was still an imminent downpour since the clouds were getting darker and little drops of rain were falling. A cold wind blew roughly across the face of a motorcyclist who was hastily returning home to avoid the next downpour. He was coming from the Mayne Avenue Howell down the street and going up towards St. Mary’s school. A casual visitor would find that the whole length of Howell, stretching from Mayne Avenue up to and above Atuambom Street was covered with puddles of considerable depth. One had to manage one’s way, through the little strip of land that was left around the standing pools. Road users had to meander to avoid being soaked. This only applied to cyclists and pedestrians, but a car had the alternative of either having both tyres immersed or having one tire on the strip of land and the other inside the pond. The latter was only possible if there was no oncoming vehicle or pedestrians.
The motorcyclist was meandering his way through when a pick-up van came speedily, splashing the water about. I was sitting inside our palour at number twenty-four Howell Street when suddenly; I heard a terrific clash and then a scream like one in utter despair. I panicked and rushed out. A mammoth crowd had already gathered around a Peugeot pickup van which was now resting on its back with its tyre facing upwards. A Benley motorcyclist had buried its front wheel, sticking out of the mud its victim a middle-aged man., stout and black with neatly trimmed hair, in his once-white French suit by the side of the road panting. Blood was gushing out of his nostrils and mouth and his right arm was limp as a result of the crush by the van. The driver, the boy of 18 years, was grief-stricken and was groaning desperately. He was not spread. He had hit his chest against the steering.
- Why was the motorcyclist hastily returning home?
- What were the signs that another downpour was imminent
- ‘The latter was only possible if …’ What is referred to as the latter here?
- What condition could compel a car to have both tyres immersed inside the pond?
- ‘…if there was no oncoming vehicle or pedestrians,’
- What grammatical name is given to the expression above?
- What is its function?
- What three factors caused the clash?
- ‘…like one in utter despair’, what figure of speech is employed in the expression above?
- Find one word or phrase which means the same and which can replace each of the following words as used in the passage.
(NECO Nov 2011)