• Unit 1: Review the key aspects of prose

    Unit 1 : Review the key aspects of prose

    Activity 1

    a. We have defined prose before. Discuss in your group what it is.

    b. In your groups take turns to read the excerpt below. Discuss and state the characteristics of prose within it.

    Confessions of an AIDS Victim

    by Caroline Adallah

    I completed my university education at about this time and surprised myself with a Second Class Honours, Upper Division. Upon graduation, my parents could not contain their pride. That evening while we were relaxing at a city hotel, Mother revisited the issue of Brian.

    “I did not see your friend at the graduation?” she had started.

    “Which friend?” I asked for the sake of it.

    “Jimmy’s father,” she said.

    “I thought you had said you never wanted to meet him,” I answered accusingly. “We are no longer friends.

    Besides,” I added, “he is already in America.”

         Father looked up from the newspaper. We hardly involved him in our conversations partly because he was always disinterested. He was the kind of male chauvinist who believed nothing good could come out of a woman. Why, then, the sudden flicker of interest? Had the mention of America done the trick?

    “What is he studying?” he asked.

    Father asking about Brian? Good heavens.

    “I am not sure. All I know is that he is doing his second degree, probably in Agriculture.”

    “Does he know about Jimmy?” Mother asked again.

    “I haven’t communicated with him since Jimmy’s birth,” I lied.

    The truth is that I had written to Brian immediately after the baby’s birth.

    He had only sent a card congratulating me on the baby’s birth and that was it. He had failed to correspond again despite the flow of my letters to his Stanford address.

    After a while I had stopped writing too, since I could not keep up with the postal expenses.

       “Are you thinking of getting married to him?” Mother continued the dry run questioning.

      “You said no, and I guess it is just that.”

      End of the dry run. Father picked up his paper again and shuffled through its pages, suddenly looking disinterested again. Mother resumed drinking her cup of tea with an expressionless face.

        I looked across the hotel and at the same time, a young man seated at the far end smiled at me. I smiled back. He wasn’t bad looking, was he? I looked past him to the clock on the wall. It was some minutes to six in the evening. Aunt Alice would be expecting us for the dinner celebration at her place any time from then. I had been staying with her in Buruburu since I had finished my University examinations.

        I finished my drink, excused myself and headed for the ladies. My move secured the anticipated result  – the young man followed seconds later. We met in the corridor.

           “Congrats,” he said looking at my graduation gown.

           “Thanks,” I said with a big smile.

           “My name is Alex, and yours?”

           “Cathy,” I said.

           “Those over there are your parents?”

           I answered with a nod.

           “Here is my card,” he said producing a white gold-printed business card. I could see he worked as a sales representative with IBM.

           “Do I expect your call tomorrow morning, say, at eleven?” 

           “That is fine with me.”

           “Please, don’t forget to phone,” he called to my back as I walked into the ladies.

        That is how Alex entered my life – as a graduation package, three years ago.Was this a suicidal move? I wonder. Through his well-known connections, he got me this job in Eldoret and we have been lovers since then.

           I have seen the better days of my life with Alex. Candle lit dinners, buffet lunches and on some occasions, cocktails. Alex has been gentle and loving, and generous if I may add. He has been paying my house rent, helped furnish my house and occasionally brings me breathtaking gifts. We have been content to have an open relationship, without any mention of marriage. It is impossible to imagine how AIDS got into such tranquillity.

           But I am no angel. I will be damned if I fail to mention that despite this tranquillity, Alex has not been my sole lover. Within these three years, I have had a short-lived affair with a university don, spent one weekend out of town with a prominent businessman, had a sexual experience with a gynaecologist and a secret affair with a manager in a leading textile factory here in Eldoret. The big question still remains – who could have passed on the infection to me? All these people are respectable and in dignified positions. Doesn’t AIDS care about this?

          I had written to Brian again after settling into my new job. This time he was good enough to write back. He indicated he had moved in with a white American girlfriend by the name of Denise who he said, was crazy about him. They were thinking of marriage. That, I guess, partly explained why he had kept me at bay. In a recent letter he mentioned that he had secured a fellowship for his doctorate studies and would not be home for another four years.

    The novel

    The novel is a type of prose. It is a long narrative that describes fictional characters and events in form of a story. A novel contains many characters, conflicts, themes and sub–themes, making the plot much more complicated than other forms of shorter fictional prose. The language of novels is highly figurative and emotive because the writer’s interest must be sustained for a long time. Divisions in a novel are called chapters and the length of these will vary from novel to novel.

    Features of a novel

    1. The novel is a piece of fiction. It depicts imaginary characters and situations. It may, however, contain references to real events and people, but this is, in most cases, disguised. However, it is important to note that though its characters and actions are imaginary. These characters and events bear a close resemblance to real life.

    2. The novel is written in prose form rather than verse. Even though, some novels may contain some poetic elements, it is important to note that much of the novel remains in prose form. This means that as opposed to, say, poetry, the novel is not structured in the form of stanzas. It has sentences that run on, one after the other.

    3. The novel is a narrative. It comprises telling rather than acting the story out. This is the aspect that distinguishes it from drama.

    4. A novel comprises characters whose actions are woven in a plot. In fact, a novel comprises people who do things in a given context created by the author. The characters’ actions are arranged in a logical order of cause and effect. The author ensures the reader understands why or what causes characters behave to the way they do.

    5. The novel is of considerable length. This is because it focuses on an issue that it investigates in order to arrive at a way of interpreting it.  Many critics agree that anything shorter than thirty pages can be classified as a short story. A story that is about thirty to one hundred pages is referred to as a novella, while anything above one hundred pages a novel.

    Activity 2

    Group work

    The excerpt below is from a novel entitled Mine Boy, by Peter Abrahams. Take turns to read it to the members of your group.

    “Look Di, there’s Zuma!”

       Xuma turned. It was his white man. And with him was a woman. And there

    was laughter in his eyes and a smile on his lips.

       It was the first time Xuma had seen Paddy laughing.

          “Hello, Zuma!”

    Paddy held out his hand. Xuma hesitated then shook it. Xuma smiled. The Red One had been drinking. “This is my girl, Zuma. How is my taste?” Paddy laughed. Xuma looked at the woman. She smiled at him and gave him her hand. Passing white people stopped and turned. Xuma felt unhappy and wished the Red One would take his woman away. He took the woman’s hand. It was small and soft. “So this is Zuma,” the woman said. “It begins with an X, dear,” Paddy said. “The Red One talks about you a lot, Zuma,” she said.

          

     “We are blocking traffic,” Paddy said and took Xuma’s arm.

    Paddy led him a little way down the street and turned off into a little alley.

     “I live here,” Paddy told him.

     “Bring him up, Red,” the woman said.

     “Good idea!” Paddy exclaimed. “Come, Zuma, you will eat with us?”

     “No,” Xuma said.

     “Come on!” Paddy insisted and half pushed him into the lift.

    They got out and the woman led the way into the flat.

     “This is my home,” Paddy said.

    Xuma looked around. He had never seen a place like that before. There was no fire, but it was warm.

     “Sit down, Zuma,” the woman said.

    Xuma sat on the edge of the chair. The woman took off her coat, and went into another room.

    Paddy stretched himself on a settee and smiled at Xuma. The woman came in with three glasses.

     “This will warm you,” she said, giving Xuma one.

     Paddy raised his glass.

    “To the best mine boy, Zuma!”

    “To Zuma,” the woman said and smiled at him.

    Paddy and Di emptied their glasses, Xuma sat holding his.He could still feel the woman’s hand in his.

    It was so small and soft.

    And she was very good to look at, but he didn’t want to look at her.

     “Drink yours, Zuma,” she said.

    The wine warmed Xuma. She took the empty glass from him and turned on the radio.

     “Everything is ready,” she said to Paddy. “Put it on the trolley and bring it in.

    ” Paddy went out.

    Xuma thought: “Now I understand what Eliza wants. But these things are only for white people. It is foolish to think we can get them.”

      He looked round the room. Yes, it was fine. Carpets on the floor, books, radio.

    Beautiful things everywhere. Fine, all fine, but all the white man’s things. It is all foolishness to want the white man’s things. To drink wine and keep the bottle on the table without fear of the police, how could a black person do it? And how could Eliza be like this white woman of the Red One.

         Di followed his gaze round the room.

         “Do you like it?”

         “Heh?” He looked startled.

         “I mean the room,” she said.

         “It is fine,” he said and looked at her.

         Her eyes looked kindly at him and dimples appeared on her cheeks when she smiled. Just like Eliza’s dimples. It seemed that her eyes understood what he was thinking. He looked away from her.

        “The Red One wants you to be his friend,” she said.

        Again, Xuma looked at her. And again, it seemed that she understood everything that went on in his mind. And as he watched her, a smile slowly broke over her face.

        “He is white,” Xuma said.

        The smile faded from her face and there was sadness in her eyes. Suddenly,

        Xuma felt sorry for her and was surprised at himself for feeling sorry for a white person. There was no reason for it either.

       “And so you cannot be friends,” she said, and in her eyes was the same look he had seen many times in the eyes of the Red One.

       Paddy came in with the food. Xuma felt ill at ease. But Paddy and Di talked and did not notice him, and soon he forgot his discomfort and ate.

       When they had finished eating, they drank more wine. And Xuma and Paddy talked about the mines and the funny things that happened there and soon they were all laughing. In spots, Xuma forgot that they were white and even spoke to the woman. Then Paddy took the things away.

    Questions

    a. Identify the characteristics of a novel in the excerpt you just read.

    b. Xuma is worried because he is with white people who have invited him in their house. What do you think is the main theme in this novel?

    The novella

    A novella is a short novel.

    Characteristics of a novella

    1. A novella is shorter than a full-length novel. It is about 60 to 120 pages, or 7,500 to 40,000 words in length. It can be read in a sitting.

    2. Usually, a novella has fewer conflicts and subplots. The main narrative does not veer off into complicated back stories, multiple points of view and meandering plot lines.

    3. Novellas are sometimes not divided into chapters.

    4. A novella comprises a single event concentrated on one character or just a few characters.

    Activity 3

    Read the excerpt below during your spare time. It is the first part of In the Ravine, by Anton Chekhov

    The village of Ukleevo lay in a ravine so that only the belfry and the chimneys of the printed cotton factories could be seen from the high road and the railway-station. When visitors asked what village this was, they were told:

    “That’s the village where the deacon ate all the caviar at the funeral.”

         It had happened at the dinner at the funeral of Kostukov that the old deacon saw among the savouries some large-grained caviar and began eating it

    greedily; people nudged him, tugged at his arm, but he seemed petrified with enjoyment: felt nothing, and only went on eating. He ate up all the caviar, and there were four pounds in the jar.

    And years had passed since then, the deacon had long been dead, but the caviar was still remembered. Whether life was so poor here or people had not been clever enough to notice anything but that unimportant incident that had occurred ten years before, anyway the people had nothing else to tell about Ukleevo.

    The village was never free from fever, and there was boggy mud there even in the summer, especially under the fences over which hung old willow-trees that gave deep shade. Here and there was always a smell from the factory refuse and the acetic acid which was used in the finishing of the cotton print.

    The three cotton factories and the tan yard were not in the village itself, but a little way off. They were small factories, and not more than four hundred workmen were employed in all of them. The tan yard often made the water in the little river stink; the refuse contaminated the meadows, the peasants’ cattle suffered from Siberian plague, and orders were given that the factory should be closed. It was considered to be closed, but went on working in secret with the connivance of the local police officers and the District Doctor, who was paid ten roubles a month by the owner.

        In the whole village there were only two decent houses built of brick with iron roofs; one of them was the local court, in the other, a two-storied house just opposite the church, there lived a shopkeeper from Epifan called Grigory Petrovitch Tsybukin.

       Grigory kept a grocer’s shop, but that was only for appearances’ sake: in reality he sold vodka, cattle, hides, grain, and pigs; he traded in anything that came to hand, and when, for instance, magpies were wanted abroad for ladies’ hats, he made some thirty kopecks on every pair of birds; he bought timber for felling, lent money at interest, and altogether was a sharp old man, full of resources. He had two sons. The elder, Anisim, was in the police in the detective department and was rarely at home. The younger, Stepan, had gone in for trade and helped his father: but no great help was expected from him as he was weak in health; his wife Aksinya, a beautiful woman with a good figure, who wore a hat and carried a parasol on holidays, got up early and went to bed late, and ran about all day long, picking up her skirts and jingling her keys, going from the granary to the cellar and from there to the shop. Old Tsybukin looked at her good-humouredly while his eyes glowed, and at such moments he regretted she had not been married to his elder son and not the younger one, who was deaf, and who evidently knew very little about female beauty.

    about female beauty. The old man had always an inclination for family life, and he loved his family more than anything on earth, especially his elder son, the detective, and his daughter-in-law. Aksinya had no sooner married the deaf son than she began to display an extraordinary gift for business, and knew who could be allowed to run up a bill and who could not: she kept the keys and would not trust them even to her husband; she kept the accounts by means of the reckoning beads, looked at the horses’ teeth like a peasant, and was always laughing or shouting; and whatever she did or said the old man was simply delighted and muttered: “Well done, daughter-in-law! You are a smart wench!”

    He was a widower, but a year after his son’s marriage he could not resist getting married himself. A girl was found for him, living twenty miles from Ukleevo, called Varvara Nikolaevna, no longer quite young, but goodlooking, comely, and belonging to a decent family. As soon as she was installed into the upper-storey room everything in the house seemed to brighten up as though new glass had been put into all the windows. The lamps gleamed before the icons, the tables were covered with snow-white cloths, flowers with red buds made their appearance in the windows and in the front garden, and at dinner, instead of eating from a single bowl, each person had a separate plate set for him or her. Varvara Nikolaevna had a pleasant, friendly smile, and it seemed as though the whole house were smiling, too. Beggars and pilgrims, male and female, began to come

    into the yard, a thing which had never happened in the past; the plaintive sing-song voices of the Ukleevo peasant women and the apologetic coughs of weak, seedy-looking men, who had been dismissed from the factory for drunkenness were heard under the windows. Varvara helped them with money, with bread, with old clothes, and afterwards, when she felt more at home, began taking things out of the shop.

         One day the deaf man saw her take four ounces of tea and that disturbed him.

         “Here, mother’s taken four ounces of tea,” he informed his father afterwards; “where is that to be entered?”

         The old man made no reply but stood still and thought a moment, moving his eyebrows, and then went upstairs to his wife.

        “Varvarushka, if you want anything out of the shop,” he said affectionately,

    “take it, my dear. Take it and welcome; don’t hesitate.”

        And the next day the deaf man, running across the yard, called to her,

    “If there is anything you want, mother, take it.”

        There was something new, something gay and light-hearted in her giving of alms, just as there was in the lamps before the icons and in the red flowers. When at Carnival or at the church festival, which lasted for three days, they sold the peasants tainted salt meat, smelling so strong it was hard to stand near the tub. They took scythes, caps, and their wives’ kerchiefs in pledge from the drunken men; when the factory hands stupefied with bad vodka lay rolling in the mud, and sin seemed to hover thick like a fog in the air. Then it was a relief to think that up there in the house there was a gentle, neatly dressed woman who had nothing to do with salt meat or vodka; her charity had in those burdensome, murky days the effect of a safety valve in a machine.

         The days in Tsybukin’s house were spent in business cares. Before the sun had risen in the morning, Aksinya was panting and puffing as she washed in the outer room, and the samovar was boiling in the kitchen with a hum that boded no good. Old Grigory Petrovitch, dressed in a long black coat, cotton breeches and shiny top boots, looking a dapper little figure, walked about the rooms, tapping with his little heels like the father-in-law in a well-known song. The shop was opened. When it was daylight a racing droshky was  brought up to the front door and the old man got jauntily on to it, pulling his big cap down to his ears; and, looking at him, no one would have said he was fifty-six. His wife and daughter-in-law saw him off, and at such times when he had on a good, clean coat, and had in the droshky a huge black horse that had cost three hundred roubles. The old man did not like the peasants to come up to him with their complaints and petitions; he hated the peasants and disdained them, and if he saw some peasants waiting at the gate, he would shout angrily, “Why are you standing there? Go further off.” Or if it were a beggar, he would say, “God will provide!”

       He used to drive off on business; his wife, in a dark dress and a black apron, tidied the rooms or helped in the kitchen. Aksinya attended to the shop, and from the yard could be heard the clink of bottles and of money, her laughter and loud talk, and the anger of customers whom she had offended; and at the same time it could be seen that the secret sale of vodka was already going on in the shop. The deaf man sat in the shop, too, or walked about the street bare-headed, with his hands in his pockets looking absentmindedly now at the huts, now at the sky overhead. Six times a day they had tea; four times a day they sat down to meals; and in the evening they counted over their takings, put them down, went to bed, and slept soundly.

       All the three cotton factories in Ukleevo and the houses of the factory owners − Hrymin Seniors, Hrymin Juniors, and Kostukov — were on a telephone. The telephone was laid on in the local court, too, but it soon ceased to work as bugs and beetles bred there. The elder of the rural district had had little education and wrote every word in the official documents in capitals. But when the telephone was spoiled he said, “Yes, now we shall be badly off without a telephone.”

       The Hrymin Seniors were continually at law with the Juniors, and sometimes the Juniors quarrelled among themselves and began going to law, and their factory did not work for a month or two till they were reconciled again, and this was an entertainment for the people of Ukleevo, as there was a great deal of talk and gossip on the occasion of each quarrel. On holidays Kostukov and the Juniors used to get up races, used to dash about Ukleevo and run over calves. Aksinya, rustling her starched petticoats, used to promenade in a low-necked dress up and down the street near her shop; the Juniors used to snatch her up and carry her off as though by force. Then old Tsybukin would drive out to show his new horse and take Varvara with him.

    In the evening, after the races, when people were going to bed, an expensive concertina was played in the Juniors’ yard and, if it were a moonlight night, those sounds sent a thrill of delight to the heart, and Ukleevo no longer seemed a wretched hole.

    Questions

    a. In your small group, discuss the main theme in this story.

    b. Individually, contrast Aksinya’s character with that of her mother-in-law.

    The short story

    A short story is a form of prose. It is a narrative that is shorter than a novella.

    Characteristics of the short story

    1. The short story is shorter than the novel and the novella.

    2. Because of its short length, the short story usually has only one conflict or problem. This makes its plot less complicated than the plot of the novel.

    3. The short story will mostly have only one setting (that is the place in which the story is set).

    4. The short story covers a shorter period of time. Novels can span many days, months and years.

    5. The short story tends to focus on one main character.

    6. Short stories have fewer characters than novels.

    Activity 4

    Homework

    Read the short story below in your spare time.

    A Dark Brown Dog

    by Stephen Crane

    A child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, all the while kicking carelessly at the gravel.
    Homework Read the short story below in your spare time. A Dark Brown Dog by Stephen Crane A child was standing on a street-corner. He leaned with one shoulder against a high board-fence and swayed the other to and fro, all the while kicking carelessly at the gravel.

    Sunshine beat upon the cobbles, and a lazy summer wind raised yellow dust which trailed in clouds down the avenue. Clattering trucks moved with indistinctness through it. The child stood dreamily gazing.

       After a time, a little dark-brown dog came trotting with an intent air down the sidewalk. A short rope was dragging from his neck. Occasionally he trod upon the end of it and stumbled.

    He stopped opposite the child, and the two regarded each other. The dog hesitated for a moment, but presently he made some little advances with his tail. The child put out his hand and called him. In an apologetic manner the dog came close, and the two had an interchange of friendly patting and waggles.The dog became more enthusiastic with each moment of the interview, until with his gleeful capering, he threatened to overturn the child. At which point the child lifted his hand and struck the dog, a blow upon the head. This thing seemed to overpower and astonish the little dark-brown dog, and wounded him to the heart. He sank down in despair at the child’s feet. When the blow was repeated, together with an admonition in childish sentences, he turned over upon his back, and held his paws in a peculiar manner. At the same time with his ears and his eyes he offered a small prayer to the child. He looked so comical on his back, and holding his paws peculiarly, that the child was greatly amused and gave him little taps repeatedly, to keep him so. But the little dark-brown dog took this chastisement in the most serious way, and no doubt considered that he had committed some grave crime, for he wriggled contritely and showed his repentance in every way that was in his power. He pleaded with the child and petitioned him, and offered more prayers.

     At last the child grew weary of this amusement and turned toward home. The dog was praying at the time. He lay on his back and turned his eyes upon the retreating form.

    At the moment, he struggled to his feet and started after the child. The latter wandered in a perfunctory way toward his home, stopping at times to investigate various matters. During one of these pauses he discovered the little dark-brown dog who was following him with the air of a criminal. The child beat his pursuer with a small stick he had found. The dog lay down and prayed until the child had finished, and resumed his journey. Then he scrambled erect and took up the pursuit again. On the way to his home the child turned many times and beat the dog, proclaiming with childish gestures that he held him in contempt as an unimportant dog, with no value save for a moment. For being this quality of animal the dog apologised and eloquently expressed regret, but he continued stealthily to follow the child. His manner grew so very guilty that he slunk like an assassin. When the child reached his door-step, the dog was industriously ambling a few yards in the rear. He became so agitated with shame when he again confronted the child that he forgot the dragging rope. He tripped upon it and fell forward. The child sat down on the step and the two had another interview, during which the dog greatly exerted himself to please the child. He performed a few gambols with such abandon that the child suddenly saw him to be a valuable thing. He made a swift, avaricious charge and seized the rope. He dragged his captive into a hall and up many long stairways in a dark tenement. The dog made willing efforts, but he could not hobble very skilfully up the stairs because he was very small and soft, and at last the pace of the engrossed child grew so energetic that the dog became panic-stricken. In his mind he was being dragged toward a grim unknown. His eyes grew wild with the terror of it. He began to wiggle his head frantically and to brace his legs. The child redoubled his exertions. They had a battle on the stairs. The child was victorious because he was completely absorbed in his purpose, and because the dog was very small. He dragged his acquirement to the door of his home, and finally with triumph across the threshold. No one was in. The child sat down on the floor and made overtures to the dog. These the dog instantly accepted. He beamed with affection upon his new friend. In a short time they were firm and abiding comrades.

    When the child’s family appeared, they made a great row. The dog was examined and commented upon and called names. Scorn was levelled at him from all eyes, so that he became much embarrassed and drooped like a scorched plant. But the child went sturdily to the centre of the floor, and, at the top of his voice, championed the dog. It happened that he was roaring protestations, with his arms clasped about the dog’s neck, when the father of the family came in from work. The parent demanded to know what the blazes they were making the kid howl for. It was explained in many words that the infernal kid wanted to introduce a disreputable dog into the family. A family council was held. On this depended the dog’s fate, but he in no way heeded, being busily engaged in chewing the end of the child’s dress. The affair was quickly ended. The father of the family, it appears, was in a particularly savage temper that evening, and when he perceived that it would amaze and anger everybody if such a dog were allowed to remain, he decided that it should be so. The child, crying softly, took his friend off to a retired part of the room to hobnob with him, while the father quelled a fierce rebellion of his wife. So it came to pass that the dog was a member of the household.

      He and the child were together at all times save when the child slept. The child became a guardian and a friend. If the large folk kicked the dog and threw things at him, the child made loud and violent objections. Once when the child had run, protesting loudly, with tears raining down his face and his arms outstretched, to protect his friend, he had been struck in the head with a very large saucepan from the hand of his father, enraged at some seeming lack of courtesy in the dog. Ever after, the family were careful how they threw things at the dog.

      Moreover, the latter grew very skilful in avoiding missiles and feet. In a small room containing a stove, a table, a bureau and some chairs, he would display strategic ability of a high order, dodging, feinting and scuttling about among the furniture. He could force three or four people armed with brooms, sticks and handfuls of coal, to use all their ingenuity to get in a blow. And even when they did, it was seldom that they could do him a serious injury or leave any imprint.

       But when the child was present, these scenes did not occur. It came to be recognised that if the dog was molested, the child would burst into sobs, and as the child, when started, was very riotous and practically unquenchable, the dog had in that a protector.

       However, the child could not always be near. At night, when he was asleep, his dark-brown friend would raise from some black corner a wild cry, a song of infinite lowliness and despair, that would go shuddering and sobbing among the buildings of the block and cause people to swear. At these times the singer would often be chased all over the kitchen and hit with a great variety of articles.

       Sometimes, too, the child himself used to beat the dog, although it is not known that he ever had what could be truly called a just cause. The dog always accepted these thrashings with an air of admitted guilt. He was too much of a dog to try to look to be a martyr or to plot revenge. He received the blows with deep humility, and furthermore he forgave his friend the moment the child had finished, and was ready to caress the child’s hand with his little red tongue.

       When misfortune came upon the child, and his troubles overwhelmed him, he would often crawl under the table and lay his small distressed head on the dog’s back. The dog was ever sympathetic. It is not to be supposed that at such times he took occasion to refer to the unjust beatings his friend, when provoked, had administered to him.

       He did not achieve any notable degree of intimacy with the other members of the family. He had no confidence in them, and the fear that he would express at their casual approach often exasperated them exceedingly. They used to gain a certain satisfaction in underfeeding him, but finally his friend, the child, grew to watch the matter with some care, and when he forgot it, the dog was often successful in secret for himself.

      So the dog prospered. He developed a large bark, which came wondrously from such a small rug of a dog. He ceased to howl persistently at night. Sometimes, indeed, in his sleep, he would utter little yells, as from pain, but that occurred, no doubt, when in his dreams he encountered huge flaming dogs who threatened him.

      His devotion to the child grew until it was an inspiring thing. He wagged at his approach; he sank down in despair at his departure. He could detect the sound of the child’s step among all the noises of the neighbourhood. It was like a calling voice to him.

      The scene of their companionship was a kingdom governed by this terrible monarch, the child; but neither criticism nor rebellion ever lived for an instant in the heart of the one subject. Down in the mystic, hidden fields of his little dog-soul bloomed flowers of love and fidelity and perfect faith.

      The child was in the habit of going on many expeditions to observe strange things in the vicinity. On these occasions his friend usually jogged happily along behind. Perhaps, though, he went ahead. This necessitated his turning around every quarter-minute to make sure the child was coming. He was filled with a large idea of the importance of these journeys. He would carry himself with such an air! He was proud to be the retainer of so great a monarch.

      One day, however, the father of the family got quite exceptionally drunk. He came home and held carnival with the cooking utensils, the furniture and his wife. He was in the midst of this recreation when the child, followed by the dark-brown dog, entered the room. They were returning from their voyages.

      The child’s practised eye instantly noted his father’s state. He dived under the table, where experience had taught him was a rather safe place. The dog, lacking skill in such matters, was, of course, unaware of the true condition of affairs. He looked with interested eyes at his friend’s sudden dive. He interpreted it to mean, joyous gambol. He started to patter across the floor to join him. He was the picture of a little dark-brown dog en route to a friend.

      The head of the family saw him at this moment. He gave a huge howl of joy, and knocked the dog down with a heavy coffee-pot. The dog, yelling in supreme astonishment and fear, writhed to his feet and ran for cover. The man kicked out with a ponderous foot. It caused the dog to swerve as if caught in a tide. A second blow of the coffee-pot laid him upon the floor.

       Here the child, uttering loud cries, came valiantly forth like a knight. The father of the family paid no attention to these calls of the child, but advanced with glee upon the dog. Upon being knocked down twice in swift succession, the latter apparently gave up all hope of escape. He rolled over on his back and held his paws in a peculiar manner. At the same time with his eyes and his ears he offered up a small prayer.

       But the father was in a mood for having fun, and it occurred to him that it would be a fine thing to throw the dog out of the window. So he reached down and grabbing the animal by a leg, lifted him, squirming, up. He swung him two or three times hilariously about his head, and then flung him with great accuracy through the window.

       The soaring dog created a surprise in the block. A woman watering plants in an opposite window gave an involuntary shout and dropped a flower-pot. A man in another window leaned perilously out to watch the flight of the dog. A woman, who had been hanging out clothes in a yard, began to caper wildly. Her mouth was filled with clothes pegs, but her arms gave vent to a sort of exclamation. In appearance she was like a gagged prisoner. Children ran whooping.

       The dark-brown body crashed in a heap on the roof of a shed five stories below. From thence it rolled to the pavement of an alleyway.

       The child in the room far above burst into a long, dirge like cry, and toddled hastily out of the room. It took him a long time to reach the alley, because his size compelled him to go downstairs backward, one step at a time, and holding with both hands to the step above.

        When they came for him later, they found him seated by the body of his dark-brown friend.

    Questions

    a. Point out the characteristics of a short story from this story.

    b. Describe what happens from the time the boy finds the dog to the time it dies.

    c. What do you think is the main theme in this story?

    Analyzing prose

    Activity 5

    Below is a short story. Take turns to read and discuss it in your small groups. We shall use it to discuss the analysis of prose. Therefore, read and discuss it when you have a “free lesson” or during break time.

    Homecoming

    by Vivienne Ndlovu

    He turned the key in the lock, hoping the house might be empty, that Flora would not be there to greet him and he would be given that small space he both wanted and feared. He shut the door firmly behind him, listening for the sounds that would tell him that either Flora or one of the children was at home, but the house was silent. Relief flooded through him, only to be swept away again by the knowledge he needed to face. He carried his travel bag upstairs and into the bedroom he and Flora had shared for the last twelve years. He had returned to it often before, but never like this.

      The whole room spoke of Flora, the subtle colours, the simple furnishings – she had never liked fussy things. He would have chosen stronger colours, but this room, though they shared it, was Flora’s, he saw now. All evidence of his occupation of it was confined to the cupboards and a copy of ‘The Heart of

    Change’ which lay on the table on his side of the bed. That one small sign of belonging briefly assuaged the dread that had been with him for the last two days, as he sat in meetings, as he went through the motions of getting on the plane, most of all when he had phoned Flora to let her know what time he would be getting in. it had grown in intensity the closer he got to home and now he was here. He had to reach a decision. Flora might return at any moment and he still had no idea what he was going to do.

    He had travelled frequently during the early years of their marriage and had taken it for granted that he would seek some woman’s company on the trips that took him away the longest. He had given no thought to how Flora would feel about it – men had needs, after all. With equal confidence he assumed that she had always been faithful to him. He had been careful, of course. He generally used protection. But when he had ended up staying in Zambia for almost two years, things got a bit out of hand. Flora had joined him only once, about halfway through his stay, because the children were still young. She had even met Sibongile – the woman had invited them to her home for supper. He hadn’t felt even a flicker of guilt at the time.

       Since then, he’d travelled a lot less and his lapses had gradually decreased, although he could not claim this was the result of any personal resolve. He remembered the night shortly after his return from Zambia when, after a rather unsatisfactory intimacy, Flora had told him she wanted him to change his work schedule to avoid these long trips away, or perhaps he could find a way for her to travel with him. A few months later still, he had overheard her talking with her sister about the marriage of a mutual friend and been surprised to hear Flora’s voice, firm and uncompromising. “Well I know I wouldn’t put up with his carrying on like that. Not now. Not these days.”

       They had established a good, comfortable marriage and that in itself had dampened his need for other women. It was a couple of years now since he had last gone astray and this was what hit him the hardest. That now, when everything was fine, when he had made the effort to be faithful; when, if he was honest, he had understood the value of having an intelligent and supportive wife (Flora had surely contributed to the consolidation of his career, with her judicious entertaining and steady urging of his ambition) now, this unwanted news seemed to threaten the whole edifice that was his life. It could all come crashing down around him.

       The ‘boss’ inside his head kept saying he was being ridiculous, their marriage was solid. Good God, this had happened seven years ago. Surely it was just a minor mishap. Something as solid as their relationship would quickly surmount this hurdle and their life together would continue smooth and unblemished, perhaps, be even the richer for it. And anyway, why did he have to tell her? He could try to bury this mistaken, unsolicited knowledge.

       Why on earth had he telephoned the woman? He had had only one more day in Lusaka – if only he hadn’t made that call. He was at a loose end in the dean’s office, waiting for him to come back from a meeting so that they could go out for lunch together when, paging through the paper, he saw an advert for the company she had worked for. Why didn’t he just give them a call and see if by chance she was still there. Perhaps if he’d known she was there he wouldn’t have done it – perhaps? But the operator answered and put him straight through to Mrs Kamuya and suddenly she was on the other end of the line.

       She was clearly surprised to hear from him and then he was suggesting a drink that evening and she was agreeing to the invitation. Even then,  perhaps he’d assumed she wouldn’t be able to make it at such short notice and that she might now have a family of her own … but she had agreed immediately.

       By the time she was due to arrive at the hotel, he was looking forward to seeing her. At the back of his mind, he was even anticipating the possibility of sleeping with her again. He was mildly apprehensive that she might have run to fat, or lost her style in some other way. So it was wonderful to walk into the lobby and see her there, looking almost exactly the same. If anything, maturity had given her even greater appeal, he thought as he approached her. She greeted him with pleasure but refused his suggestion that they go up to his room and instead gestured towards the bar.

        “Let’s go and have a drink.”

        They sat, they talked. It was good to see her. He had liked her a great deal. If he hadn’t been married, the relationship might have become something more permanent. Of course she had been married then, too. He hadn’t liked to cuckold another man, but Sibongile’s husband was a heavy drinker and there had been hints of a violent temper. He had not wanted to know more of her relationship, lest he be somehow drawn in further. But after the waiter had brought her a second drink he thought to ask about the man. She picked up her glass, sipped her drink and setting it down again,

        “Sam died. Five years ago.”

        It was a shock, but as he looked at her downcast face, he recognized a new diffidence that made her seem younger, more vulnerable.

        “It’s been a long time, now,” she said, refusing his mumbled apologies. How blithe we are in assuming that those we know and love will continue living and loving as long as we ourselves are alive. And then she had looked him in the eye and said, “He died from TB. It was HIV-related.”

         As the full realisation of what she was telling him struck home, he was aware of settling his face into an expression of suitable concern and asking her how long he had been ill; and then they were talking about something else, and the moment when he should have asked her about her own status was gone.

    At the end of the evening, he took down her address and phone number, told her he expected to be back in Lusaka in the coming month and heard himself making the unfounded promise to get in touch then. She had smiled, looking perfectly poised, and said goodbye.

        And now, he was here. In this bedroom, this house where his wife lived – the woman he loved, the mother of his children. But who was she? What was her substance when faced with knowledge like this? Flora was, in the end – in argument, in conversation – herself, unfettered by labels like wife, mother, lawyer. Ultimately, she judged each situation she faced as who she was at that moment. And with this knowledge, who might she be?

       Sam had died so long ago. Was it possible that Sibongile was not infected? His mind refused to deal with the issues. If she was infected, if he was infected, if he had infected Flora … He could die. He could be responsible for Flora’s death. Abruptly he had a mental picture of Flora, ill in bed with a bad flu, just a few months back. It was the first time he had ever seen her succumb to illness and allow herself to be looked after. His heart went cold. Could that have been something more serious? But she was fine now, surely, though maybe she did seem more tired than usual, especially when he had told her about this trip.

       He could not fathom how something so far in his past could now return with such vicious power. Everything he believed in, had worked for, it could all be destroyed today, just because of what he knew now. If only he had not called her. How he longed for the felicity of ignorance. Could he keep silent? Could he quietly go off and have a test? Then, if it was negative, she need never know and their marriage could go on undisturbed. But what if the result was different? He knew he didn’t have the courage to face that challenge alone. He needed Flora’s strength for that. And he could never go backwards from that, to relive today and then, swollen with deceit and fear, go through the charade of going with Flora for the tests – for of course they would have to go for testing together. And she might still be negative … He sat on the bed staring out of the window at the jacaranda tree he and Flora had planted when they had moved into the house. It was just past its full flowering and the tree seemed a foretelling of lost richness, lost abundance. He could not untangle the possibilities the future now thrust upon him and yet he must, for there were Flora’s footsteps coming quickly up the path.

    We can analyse the novel, the novella and the short story. We can do this by reviewing:

    1. Plot: This could be linear. This means the events in the story flow in a chronological or sequential order.

    Plot could also be circular. This is when the story starts with the end and then jumps back in time, to the beginning.

    The plot could have flashbacks. Flashbacks affect the chronological flow of events. The writer interrupts this flow by taking the reader to an event that happened in the past.

    While reviewing plot therefore, we must ask ourselves if the plot is linear or circular or if it has flashbacks.

    The plot of the story, Homecoming by Vivienne Ndlovu, is circular. It starts at the end but the narrator goes back to the beginning to explain how the main character met his fate.

    Activity 6

    In a paragraph, explain how the main character could have possibly contracted HIV/AIDS. Discuss this in groups of four.

    2. Setting: We must know the setting of a story in order to analyse or review it well. You already know that setting has to do with the time and place when the events happen. While reviewing a story, we must keenly study the physical details. We must also study the story’s social, historical, cultural and political contexts. This way, we will understand the story, the message, themes and the author’s intention better.

    The setting for Viviene Ndlovu’s homecoming is a home – actually a bedroom – in an African country. This story takes place between 1984 and the 90s, as there is talk of HIV/AIDS. However, there is no mention of a mobile phone. Actually, the main character goes through the company switchboard in order to talk to Sibongile. This is a historical setting.

    Activity 7

    In your small groups, discuss the cultural setting of Ndlovu’s short story, Homecoming.

    3. Characters develop themes. They, therefore, move the story forward. In any story, as you may be aware, we have the major or main characters. There are the protagonist and the antagonist.

    All action revolves around the protagonist. He or she is the one that resolves the conflict or problem in the story. The antagonist is the one who causes the problems and also opposes the protagonist. The protagonist and some minor character are positive characters. They help resolve the conflict. The antagonist and those who support him or her in most cases have negative character traits.

    We have minor characters too in stories. Minor characters support major characters. The events in a story do not happen around the minor characters much. Further, minor characters do not resolve conflicts in a story.

    A character can be:

       a) simple/flat: A flat character is an unsophisticated or plain character. The play may not reveal much about a flat character. Flat characters are not central to the story.

       b) complex/round: This is a fully developed character. We may relate to this kind of character as a human being since we come to know so much about him or her. The protagonists develop with the story and we are able to account for the changes that occur in their lives.

      c) static: This character does not grow or change or develop.

      d) dynamic: This is a character who grows. He or she changes his personality and attitude.

    In Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming, the main character is a complex/ round chacrater – he develops as the story progresses. At one time he is unfaithful, but changes this habit.

    Activity 8

    How else does the main character in Vivienne Ndlovu’s short story, Homecoming, change? Discuss this with your desk mate.

    4. Theme(s): This is the central idea in a piece of fiction. It refers to the suggestions the story makes about the life that it depicts. A theme is what the author intends to reveal in relation to the subject of the story. In other words, themes are insights of life that the story exposes to the reader. To understand the theme, it is important to look at the main conflicts or events.

    We must ask the question: what is the purpose of the story and what is it all about?

    We can know a theme by how often the author or characters repeat a certain idea. We should also look at the link between events. Events in a story do not just occur; there is always cause and effect. One thing causes another to happen.

    A story can have one theme or one major theme and other supporting or minor themes. For example, a story that has love as the major theme may also have hate as a minor theme.

    The main theme in Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming, is unfaithfulness. The main character is unfaithful to his wife. On the other hand, Sibongile and the main character have negative character traits – they both cheat on their spouses.

    Activity 9

    In your small groups, discuss the minor themes in Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming.

    5. Messages: These are the lessons that the author hopes the reader will get by engaging with the themes. Messages can be implicit/implied – this means they are suggested. They are not communicated directly to the reader. The reader has to think and analyse the story before he or she gets the message. Messages could also be explicit – this means they are stated directly.

    The message in Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming is that being unfaithful can destroy families. The main character might lose his family because of being unfaithful to his wife. He and the wife might die. This message is implied – it is not given to the reader directly.

    Activity 10

    Identify any other message in this story. Discuss this with your desk mate and say whether it is implied or explicit.


    6. Point of view: This is the narrator’s position in relation to the story being told. It could be:

    −    First person narrator: In this instance, the author narrates the story as one of the characters. The author uses the first person pronoun ‘I’. In this case, the author is part of the action that takes place in the story.

    −    Second person narrator: This form of narration brings the reader closer to the text. The author uses the pronoun ‘you’ in addressing the reader.

    −    Third person narrator: This type of narration is sometimes referred to as ‘the eye of God narration’. The author refers to the characters in third person using the pronouns ‘she’ or ‘he’ or by their names. The author appears omniscient – all knowing and ever present, knowing the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

    Activity 11

    Identify the point of view used in Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming. Discuss this with your desk mate.

    7. Audience: To know the audience, we should ask ourselves: who is supposed to read this book; who should get the message from this story? The audience of prose is a reader or intended target.

    Activity 12

    Discuss with your desk mate who you think Vivienne Ndlovu had in mind when she wrote her short story, Homecoming.

    8. Atmosphere/mood: This is the feeling that a story evokes. It is how you feel after reading a story. The atmosphere could be gloomy, happy, or tense.

    Activity 13

    Individually, explain how you feel after reading Viviene Ndlovu’s short story, Homecoming.

    9. Purpose: We should ask ourselves why a story was written in order to understand its purpose. Some stories are written to inform, others entertain or explain.

    Activity 14

    What do you think is the purpose of Vivienne Ndlovu’s story, Homecoming? Discuss this with your desk mate.

    Note: What we have discussed can be applied to the novel, novella and the short story.

    Practice Exercise 1

    Home work

    Read the story below in your spare time and answer the questions that follow. Do this work as an individual.

    Scars of Earth

    by Mildred Kiconco Barya

    The journey found us. Long after it was over, I returned to the place of first love.

        My mother was the first person to hug me when I reached home. She felt my flesh, my bones, my heart.

       “You’ve lost so much weight, dear child!”

       “It’s been a hectic life, Mama.” That’s normal justification when you live in the city.

        Dad appeared from the farm gate just across the compound, carrying a large cabbage that weighed about 10 kilograms. He was wearing his usual calflength black boots, being the farmer he’s always been. A surge of fondness welled up in me. He held me for over five minutes, until his red cotton shirt was warm and wet with my tears.

       “Welcome home,” he said. But I know he did not have to say those words, for they were carried on his hands as he smoothed and flattened my back. They were said in the way he hugged me, his eyes searching for the soul in me, his heart bleeding for me.

       Mama whistled and sung at the same time. She stroked my dreadlocks like I had not stormed out of the house threatening no return, tired of the country life.

       Wind blows in the eucalyptus trees. I stand still in the compound, consciously smelling the honeysuckle that’s grown wildly on our fence. I inhale the sweet nectar and stretch out my arms to gather and hold as much sweetness as I can contain.

       I want to cuddle the earth and holler that this is where I belong. I want to clasp time in the cold palms of my hands and not look back to wonder where my years have gone. Mama disappears into the kitchen and shortly returns with a pot of coffee.

       “I have mixed all the spices you used to love.”

       “Yes, I smell the cinnamon, especially.”

       “We shall sit here, outside.”

        The sun is setting behind the hills. The sky wraps around herself a beautiful purple hue; it makes me want to weep. In our dreams, that’s the colour we had chosen for the wedding clothes.

        I hold the coffee cup and it warms my hands. I want it to reach the ice on the outside but it does not, cannot. Mama is across the table, silent. I could sit here forever in the quiet.

       “Whenever I watch the golden sunset, your face breaks right through,” she says.

       “You used to threaten me that Lakelekele, the green monster, would kidnap me if I did not move into the house.”

       “You didn’t even fear the mosquitoes. You were so loyal to that sunset you had no life indoors.”

        I fight the desperate urge to cry. Just like me, sunsets were his favourite. Sanyu, the girl who lost both her parents and ended up staying home, is laying the table for dinner. Dish after dish, she puts food on the tablemats and invites us to eat. Dad has completed his evening tasks, checking the paddocks and making sure all the farm gates are closed. He hangs his long coat on the nail in the dining room and joins us at the table.

        “Lord God we thank you for your provisions that never run out, and we thank you for Nama who is with us tonight. Sanctify this food that it may nourish us, in Jesus’ name we pray.”

         Dad’s prayers were always brief and to the point. “God has the whole universe crying to him, he doesn’t need an essay to answer us,” he would say, when we told him, that the reverend would call his requests ‘popcorn prayers bursting out so fast’.

        “Nama, here’s your favourite dodo,” he says, giving me the vegetables I’ve long missed.

       “And here, groundnuts in mushroom sauce.”

       “Here, your roast pumpkin, you used to love that, remember!”

       “Oh yeah, thanks.” My voice can hardly manage to audibly pass through the maze of food in my mouth.

    “And this is smoked beef in simsim paste; there’s your chicken breast; the mashed Irish potatoes you liked as a child; here’s the eggplant mixed with bitter tomatoes; sliced carrot in tender bean-pods; rice sprinkled with newlypicked peas and cardamoms, and your favourite millet bread …” Dad keeps passing round more of this and more of that.

         The feast melts my heart. Then jugs of sweet porridge, sour porridge, fermented pineapple juice, sour milk, hot African tea flavoured with ginger, and every type of tropical fruit to be found in Kigezi. Sanyu has taken care to cut the watermelon in triangular shapes, papaya in rectangular blocks, mangoes and avocados in oval shapes, oranges and guavas in crescent shapes, the berries retaining their round shapes … they dance before my eyes, and I pray to the Lord to make me brave so I do not make a mess of myself.

        The conversation is punctuated with lightness, laughter and talking spoons. Even when we discuss sad issues that are the village’s concern we connect like I haven’t been away too long, like I just slept yesterday and woke up today with no estrangement between us. We discuss the sand and bricks business that’s a trademark of our village; the neighbour’s son who drowned; the couple who are going blind with age; heavy rains that flood our gardens from time to time; the villagers who have died of AIDS … we talk long into the night. When I finally retire to my room, I stretch out on the bed and listen to the once familiar songs of frogs croaking in the swamp nearby. The cockroaches stir the night with their melodies; the crickets make known their high stereo pitches.

        Through my curtain-less window, the night is seductive. I summon the verdant green trees to be my shade. I see the moon peep to greet me with her smile. I smile back. The stars shine brilliantly and I marvel how they are held up there, without falling, while we who walk the earth where we are supposed to be from, are always in a fall.

        She walks into my room unannounced. I am watching the sun rise to the sorghum fields in the horizon. She puts her hands flat on my shoulders and works out a soothing massage. Because I cannot laugh or cry, I heave a pregnant sigh of relief. Gently she caresses my neck, my face and my tangled hair.

        “You love my locks?”

        She ignores the question. Her hands magically snake through the locks and squeeze my scalp. Energy flows back into me through her hands. This woman that is mother is a god. With her restorative touch, my walls come down in total release.

        “His name was Selestino,” I say. “We did not set out on a trip, yet a few months later we embraced the future and talked wedding plans.”

        Mama knows how near the surface my buried hurts are. She works her way, from the surface to the deep, slowly moving down my back, circling rings of spine softly but firmly. I close my eyes and relax.

        “He was an economist, he loved reading my dark poetry. All is gone and a wound grows festering inch by inch.”

        The hands touch parts I’d never known to feel the kind of sensation I was getting. The kind of weightlessness that comes with being a leaf floating on a wave. The kind of lightness known only when you’re touched by love.

        “I remember mostly how he made me feel. With Tino, love was not the fiery passion of a bush in flames, but a calm fire kindled from beneath and brought out in soft whispers.”

    Her hands remove the ache from my body, heart and mind.

        “His love was not the loud hammer that shatters rocks, but the gentle falling drop of water that melts the stone.”

        “Are you still clutching the past like gold nuggets that cannot be put away?” Those are Mama’s first words since the confession. I had thought she would chide me for never telling her about the relationship while it was soaring high.

       “I have moved on, but I do not forget. Sometimes I call out to him like deep calls to deep. I see him in rays of the sun breaking through dawn to my day.”

       “You’re throwing away the present.”

       “The past was beautiful.”

       “Learn to face the future.”

       “I can only learn to survive the transition, to accept the interval. Years have gone with the locusts. I still seek his brown eyes to look for the soul that gave me wings.”

       “I feel your pain,” Mama speaks from the depth of her kindness.

       “I think love and pain have a symbiotic kind of relationship. They are intertwined like twigs in a crown of thorns. You cannot have one without the other. This I never knew.”

       “There are many things we do not know,” she calmly responds.

       “You and Dad have always loved each other, how do you do it?”

       “We have many lifetimes in a lifetime. Like seasons, we do not take any for granted.”

        So we talk about winter, summer, fall and spring. Each has a beautiful purpose for which it was created. Each sheds a different life on mother earth. Earth does not complain when spring leaves and there’s winter. Neither does she grumble when summer ends and fall sets in.

        I recall how I groaned within when Tino left me. When he told me he had prayed and God advised him to cancel our relationship. It was God’s doing, not Tino’s decision per se. He always took cover in spiritualising everything.

       “What else did God say in your prayer?” I had the nerve to ask.

       “He showed me another woman.” For a whole week I was a bundle of nerves and only a thin sheet of mercy held me from losing myself. Half the time, I was dizzy and suicidal, the other half of the time I was truly mad.

       “I am glad you’ve come home. I am glad you’re sharing with me what happened to you.” Her hands are now making repeated performances, playing in my locks and running to and from my spine.

        That day I chose to become earth. To embrace each season, each love, each friendship in its lifetime. To release each season when it goes without questioning why or when it would happen again. On nights when I look up, the sky is full of a million stars. Clouds and all, I rejoice to be part of that heavenly orbit.

        On days when it rains, I open up to the softness and touch of rain and drink to my fill. When the sun comes out, I welcome the warmth, the heat. When the wind blows falling leaves over me, I receive them. I have found the joys of being mellow in spite of the scars. I have been earth since talking with Mama.

    Questions

    Individually, answer the questions below.

    a. In your own words, write the events in this story down, chronologically.

    b. What is the setting of this story?

    c. With evidence, state the point of view used in this story.

    d. With evidence from the story, explain the main theme in this story.

    e. What do you think is the message in this story.

    f. Who do you think is the target for this story?

    g. What do you think is the purpose of this story?

    Practice Exercise 2

    With the help of your teacher, select a short story, novella or novel for reading and prepare a summary of the plot and an analysis of setting and characters. Present your analysis in front of your class.















Unit 2: Introduction to African literary traditions