Sunday, 29 July 2012


  • A World of Poetry                      edited by:  Mark McWatt & Hazel Simmons-McDonald                                                                
  • A World of Prose                       edited by:  David Williams & Hazel Simmons-McDonald                                           
  • A Mid-Summer Nights Dream     edited by:  William Shakespeare
  • Old Story Time                           edited by:  Trevor Rhone
  • Wine Of Astonishment               edited by:  Earl Lovelace
  • Songs Of Silence                       edited by: Curdella Forbes


PAPER 2- Written


Poems are a creative form of writing, meant to be read aloud and enjoyed rather than approached as a difficult puzzle to be solved.  When analyzing a poem pay attention to the following Elements:-

  •  Title
  •   Content
  •   Structure
  •  Literary Devices
  •   Rhythm
  •   Rhyme
  •   Mood
  •   Tone
  •   Diction/Language
  •   Imagery
  •   Theme
  •  Meaning

In addition, the Essay Structure and Technique for answering questions will be taught. For convenience, questions are broken down into sections (a, b, c). This is to be used ONLY AS A GUIDE in organizing your essay; DO NOT WRITE a, b or c before each section of your answer. Your answer should flow like an essay.  CSEC Poetry Questions usually require students to answer in essay format. Students should be able to:-

Show Knowledge of the poem or poems
Identify Literary Devices used by the poet and state their effectiveness to the theme or issue brought out, or to the overall presentation of the poem.
Use personal knowledge or experiences to comment on or analyze the poem/s and its effectiveness.


Subject Matter
·         Who is speaking? (speaker)
·         In what situation? (occasion)
·         To whom? (addressee)
·         Privately or publicly
·         About what? (subject or theme)
·         What is said? (thesis)
·         Directly or indirectly?
·         What common human concerns do this touch on? (universality)

·         What does the sound pattern tell you?
·         Is the rhythm quick or slow?
·         Does the rhythm suit/reinforce the subject matter?
·         Is there a rhyme?
·         Does the rhyme contribute to your understanding/enjoyment of the poem?
·         Is there any interesting or appropriate use of alliteration or assonance?

Are the words simple? Or complex?
Sophisticated? Or naive?
Formal? Or conversational?
Smooth? Or rough?
Many-syllabled? Or monosyllabic?
How does the diction contribute to the meaning/ mood of the poem?

Is the imagery striking? Or ordinary?
Easily understood? Or obscure?
Is the principal appeal to the sense of sight? Hearing? Touch? Taste? Emotion?
Is the imagery functional? Or ornamental?
Is the imagery symbolic?
Is the symbolism natural? Conventional? Original?

Mood and Tone
How would you describe the mood of the poem?
Is the poem more thoughtful than emotional?
More emotional than thoughtful?
Are thought and emotion balanced in the poem?
Is the tone of the poem serious? Or light?
Is it ironic? Satirical? Sentimental?
Sincere? Flippant? 

Are there any elements which appear unsuited to the rest of the poem?

Prescribed Poems for the 2012-2014 Examinations

  •  A Contemplation Upon Flowers – Henry King
  •   Once Upon a Time – Gabriel Okara
  •  Forgive My Guilt – Robert Coffin
  •  West Indies, U.S.A. – Stewart Brown
  •  Sonnet Composed Upon Westminster Bridge – William Wordsworth
  •  Orchids – Hazel Simmons-McDonald
  • The Woman Speaks to the Man who has Employed her Son – Lorna Goodison
  •   It is the Constant Image of your Face – Dennis Brutus
  •   God’s Grandeur – Gerard Manley Hopkins
  •   A Stone’s Throw – Elma Mitchell
  •  Test Match Sabina Park – Stewart Brown
  •   Theme for English B – Langston Hughes
  •  Dreaming Black Boy – James Berry
  •   Epitaph – Dennis Scott
  •   Dulce et Decorum Est – Wilfred Owen
  • This is the Dark Time, My Love – Martin Carter
  •   Ol’Higue – Mark McWatt
  •  ‘Le Loupgarou’ – Derek Walcott
  •   South – Kamau Braithwaite
  •   To an Athlete Dying Young – A.E. Housman

*McWatt, M., Simmons-McDonald, H (Ed) (2005). A World of Poetry for CXC Oxford Heinemann Educational Publishers (pp. 177-78)


Students will study 10 short prose narratives or short prose fiction. It is different from an anecdote which usually narrates a single incident in a simple, unelaborated way. It is also different from a novel in that it is much shorter and more concentrated. Short story writers usually have different literary aims from those of novelists or poets.

The short story is not as long as a novel or novella, it selects a small aspect of life or of a personality and builds on it. The setting is usually restricted to a small are, not spread over many places as with a novel. Short story writers attempt to achieve a close and direct link between their subjects and their readers. They try to do this in a swift and complete way. Words are therefore, used with care so that maximum power is gained from as few as possible.

For the exam, you will be required to be familiar with:
·         Plot
·         Character
·         Setting
·         Point of View
·         Theme
·         Style

 Main Points

There are two types of questions associated with this section on the Examination paper. First:-
·         Ask you to consider two (2) specific stories from the collection and to discuss aspects such as content, theme, author’s techniques
·         Compare any two (2) stories from the collection and to discuss aspects such as content, theme, author’s techniques.

Students should be able to:-

Show knowledge of the important parts of the story/ies, specific details, cause and effect.
Think of each story as a whole and asks for your judgment on concepts, techniques, devices and their effectiveness. 
Identify Literary Devices used by the author and state their effectiveness to the theme or issue brought out, or to the overall presentation of the story.


How are the events presented in the story?
How is the plot developed? Does the author use a linear (chronological) pattern?
Is flashback one of the techniques used?
Do any of the early events or incidents prepare the reader for later ones?
Do any events or incidents lead you to anticipate the outcome?
What is the nature of the conflict?
At what point does the story climax?
Does the climax bring about a change in character or situation?

What are the types of character/s present in the story? (flat, round, stereotype, stock)
 Are the characters believable?
How are the characters presented by the author?
What is the main character like?
Does the author present fully developed characters?
What are the conflicts that the main character faces?
Does this character change as a result of the events that he or she experiences in the story?
What is the nature of the change?
If there is no change, why not?

·         How important is the setting of the story?
·         Does the setting help to develop the plot? How does it do so?
·         What does the setting contribute to our understanding of the meaning of the story?
·         Does the setting have any influence on the characters?

Point of View
Does the point of view that is used help the author to expose the theme? If so, how?
To what extent is the narrator a reliable witness to events?
Would the choice of a different point of view change the story significantly?

What is the theme of the story?
Does the title provide a clue to what it is?
Is there only one theme or are there several themes?
Does the author suggest the theme through imagery?

·         Does the author use figurative language in telling this story, or is the language literal?
·         If figurative language is used, what is the effect?
·         Does the author use dialogue to advance the action of the story? If dialect is used 

what is the effect?
·         What examples of figurative language are most striking in the story?
·         Why are they striking?
·         How does figurative language contribute to the meaning and theme of the story?

Short Stories Prescribed for the 2012-2014 Examinations

  Blackout – Roger Mais
  Shabine – Hazel Simmons-McDonald
 Emma – Carolyn Cole
  The Man of the House – Frank O’Connor
  Septimus – John Wickham
  The Day the World Almost Came to an End – Pearl Crayton
  The Boy Who Loved Ice Cream – Olive Senior
  Berry – Langston Hughes
  Mom Luby and the Social Worker – Kristin Hunter
  To Da-duh, in Memoriam – Paule Marshall

* Williams, D., Simmons-McDonald, H (Ed) (2005). A World of Prose for CSEC Oxford Heinemann Educational Publishers (pp. 188-193)

3. NOVELS (Prose)

According to the current CSEC syllabus, for the English B examination, the re will be four questions, two on each of the two books prescribed. You will be required to write an essay based on thorough knowledge of one of the prescribed novels. You will not be required to compare the two texts, but you may be asked to make a comparison within a text.

Students are required to read at least ONE novel (The Wine of Astonishment). The following elements will be explored in relation to the novel under study:-

 Background Knowledge
Narrative Technique
 Language and Style
  Narrative Point of view

Students should be able to:-

Show knowledge of the Novel
Identify Literary Devices used by the author and state their effectiveness to the theme or issue brought out, or to the overall presentation of the novel.
Use personal knowledge or experiences to comment on or analyze the novel and its effectiveness.
The novel is possibly the most popular of all literary forms. This is probably so because, generally, novels are exciting, interesting and informative. The novel is longer than the short story, long enough to engage a plot or storyline that can be complex. Suspense can be built and held. A number of climaxes can keep the reader engrossed and anxious to know ‘where it will all end’.

Prescribed Novels

  Songs of Silence – Curdella Forbes
  The Wine of Astonishment – Earl Lovelace

Students are required to read at least ONE play. The following elements will be explored in relation to the plays under study:-

  Background Knowledge
  Performance (Plot and Structure)
  Stage Directions
  Asides and Soliloquies
  Issues and Theme
  Visual elements
  Types of plays

Students should be able to:-

Show Knowledge of the Play
Identify Literary Devices used by the poet and state their effectiveness to the theme or issue brought out, or to the overall presentation of the play.
Use personal knowledge or experiences to comment on or analyze the play and its effectiveness.

Prescribed Plays/ Drama texts

  A Midsummer Night’s Dream – William Shakespeare
  Old Story Time – Trevor Rhone

PAPER 1- (Unseen) Comprehension type Questions

There is NO MULTPLE CHOICE in English B. Paper 1 is known as the Unseen Paper. This paper tests comprehension and the ability to say how a writer/poet achieves a given effect. The paper consists of 3 sections. On this paper you will be given extracts of a POEM, PROSE FICTION and DRAMA with questions that follow. You will be required to draw upon you comprehension skills to answer ALL the questions on this paper.

Skills required:
  Analysis, that is, examining the writer’s use of language(eg. Imagery, rhythm, tone, mood, sound of words) and the ability to say how these function effectively in a piece of creative writing.
 Attention to dramatic devices, such as stage direction and the use of sound and lighting effects.
Awareness of the relationship between action and motive.
Awareness of the interaction among characters.

It is important that you develop the vocabulary to express ideas about literature.
Your writing should:
  Be convincing, clear and focused
 Show that you are thinking about what you write, and
  Be relevant to the questions being asked.

Why Study Literature

Why  Study Literature?

  • To open our minds to ambiguities of meaning. While people will "say what they mean and mean what they say" in an ideal world, language in our world is, in reality, maddeningly and delightfully ambiguous. If you go through life expecting people to play by your rules, you'll only be miserable, angry and disappointed. You won't change them. Ambiguity, double entendres and nuance give our language depth and endless possibility. Learn it. Appreciate it. Revel in it.
  • To benefit from the insight of others. The body of world literature contains most available knowledge about humanity--our beliefs, our self-perception, our philosophies, our assumptions and our interactions with the world at large. Some of life's most important lessons are subtly expressed in our art. We learn these lessons only if we pause to think about what we read. Why would anyone bury important ideas? Because some ideas cannot be expressed adequately in simple language, and because the lessons we have to work for are the ones that stick with us.
  • To explore other cultures and beliefs. History, anthropology and religious studies provide a method of learning about the cultures and beliefs of others from the outside looking in. Literature, on the other hand, allows you to experience the cultures and beliefs of others first-hand, from the inside looking out. The only other way to have such a personal understanding of others' beliefs are to adopt them yourself--which most of us aren't willing to do. If you understand where other people are coming from, you are better equipped to communicate meaningfully with them--and they with you. 
  • Please feel free to share your reasons