October 30, 2020

Unseen Prose Past Questions and Answers – WASSCE Literature

Reading Time: 14 minutes

Unseen prose is an essential part of the WAEC/WASSCE Literature-in-English question paper.

This is why I have taken the trouble just to do you this singular favour.

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We are going far back into the past to dig out some of the most outstanding WASSCE Literature unseen prose questions the people at WAEC have ever set.

How to approach the unseen prose questions

Study them carefully and try your hands on the answers.

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I will promptly respond and show you what to do.

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Unseen Prose #1

Read the passage below carefully and answer the questions which follow.

He swept out the office hurriedly and straightened it. Then he lighted a cigarette and began to make his plans. He got out the roll of new cartridge paper, as white and firm as coconut meat. He smelt the chemist’s smell of shiny greenish tracing paper. He got out the inks, red and black and Prussian blue, and fitted together one of the metal drawing instruments. He unscrewed the box of crayons, and looked for a moment in a kind of dream at the pattern made by their colored points. He sharpened himself two pencils, one hard and one soft, sniffing their clean cedar shavings. The drawing board, on loan from the District Surveyor, and the section’s pride, was already mounted. Everything was ready. He went out and washed his hands carefully. Then he lighted another cigarette. He found that his hands were trembling slightly. He was overwhelmed equally by the thought of a whole day on his won huge responsibility. The one was as rare as the other.

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First of all, he worked out the measurements, laboriously, checking the two or three times. Then he began ruling the lines on his clean cartridge paper, lightly, in pencil, continually brushing his hand over the surface, or blowing off a fine spray of rubber.

From the passage, what was the feeling of the man?  a) Pleasure and fear b) Pleasure and excitement c)Excitement and fear d) Pain and loneliness

“…………… new cartridge paper, as white and firm as coconut meat”. What figure of speech is used in this statement?

 Metaphor   b) Allusion c) simile d) Assonance

“The one was as rare as the other.” The above statement means he

Always had much time and responsibility on his hands

Was overwhelmed by the thought of having a whole say to himself

Was overwhelmed by the thought of having so huge a responsibility

Seldom had so much time and responsibility on his hands

From the passage, the man is possibly

  An engineer b) A chemist c) An artist d) A manager

The word laboriously as used in the passage above shows his

 Time wasting b)   Care in preparation     c)  Measurement  d)  Ruling of lines

What was the first thing the man did in the office?

    He straightened things up b)  He worked laboriously

  c)     He lighted a cigarette d) He cleared the office

        7.   The word overwhelmed as used in the passage means

a) Beaten up b) Trampled upon   c)   Overtaken d)   Weighed down

        8.   “He smelt the chemist’s smell of the shiny greenish tracing paper. The quotation is an

           example of ,

         a) Repetition b) Assonance c)   Onomatopoeia d)  Alliteration

      9.   “He found that his hands were trembling very slightly.” Why?

a) He was happy b) He was depressed c) He was excited d) He was sad

    10.   Which of the following is a feature of style in the passage?

  a)   Listing   b) counting c)   Measuring d) Numbering

Unseen Prose #2

Read the passage below carefully and answer question 11 to 20.

The night before I was to become a pupil at secondary school I cried because I was frightened and friendless. I was on the verge if entering a big, new strange world, which I knew nothing about. What made things worse, though, was the fact that I had no one to talk to about the problem that was facing me. My parents would just have,’ There, there, you have nothing to worry about’. I had no friends to talk to because I had left them all behind me in the cozy world of primary school, or they had gone their separate ways.

I wondered if they had the same fears as I had. I doubted it though, because I was always the shy, awkward fatty that was always left out the things because I was fat. Nobody wanted to know me just because I looked different. And that’s just want it was like for the whole of my first year and most of the second year.

People picked on me, called me ‘Fatso’. In sports I was always the last to be chosen when teams were picked. I made no friends. I was confused with so much home work, the vast modern building, the students, the teachers. I cried every night when I was in the safety of my bed. It was just like being a new-born baby, coming into the big, wide world.

11.  The extract is an example of

                 a)  A biography   b)   An anecdote c)   An autobiography  d)   A folktale

       12. The word that best represents the narrator’s experience of secondary school is

  1. Strange b)   Hostile c)   Friendless d)  Frightening

13. In the last sentence, the expression,’ the big, wide world’ is a further extension of               the image of  

a)   Primary school   b)   Narrator’s parents c)   Awkward fatty      d) Secondary school

14. The extension is effected by means of the device called

a) Transfer b)   Analogy c)   Allegory d) Simile

15. The comparison between the narrator’s experience of primary school and that of secondary school is based on

a) Parallelism    b)   Analogy     c)   Similitude d)   Contrast

16. The words that are used as opposites to represent two experiences of the narrator are

a)   Cosy and strange b) Frightened and friendless   c) Big and whole d) Shy and awkward

17. Frightened and friendless illustrates the use of

a) Paradox b) pun c) Alliteration d) Conceit

18. The real problem that faced the narrator was

a) Obesity b) Adjustment c) Lack of friends d)   Shyness

19. What do the narrator and a new-born baby share in common?

a) They do not know their worlds b) They are shy and awkward

c) They have nothing to worry about d) Nobody wants to know them

20. The word that best describes the narrator’s state of mind during his first two years of secondary school is

a) Awkward b) Friendless c) Wondered d) Confused

Unseen Prose #3

Read the extract below carefully and answer Question 21 to 24.

Tears were imminent as, with a heavy heart, she turned her back on rightful

 place and began to move. But where was she going? She did not know and she did not very

much care. All she wanted was to escape and go! go! go anywhere – in Masailand or Ukambani.

 She wanted to get away from the hearth, the courtyard, the huts and the people – all its

inhabitants.

 She would go and never return to him, her hus -. No! Not her husband but the man who wanted

to kill her, who would have crashed her soul. He could no longer be her husband she thought he

was, the very same man she adored so much. How she loathed him – but did she?

21. What is the attitude of the lady towards the man?

a) Admiration b) Anger c) Indifference d) Concern

22. The lady is

a) Frustrated b) Happy c) A fugitive d) lively

23. The lady is fleeing from

a) Aggressive neighbours b) War zone c) Her Husband d) Her family

24. The last question mark in the passage suggests that the writer

a) Confirms the lady’s hatred for her husband b) Confirms the lady’s love for her husband c) Doubts the lady d) Doubts the intention of the lady’s husband

Unseen Prose #4

Read the extract below carefully and answer Questions 25 to 30

‘Will it begin to sing if you bring this down?’ Obiakizu asked.

                         ‘Bring what down?’ asked Joe in reply.

      There was a gramophone on the table in front of them.

      Obiakizu pointed at the open lid and said: ‘This’ ‘No’ He

inserted the winding rod.

      ‘He-i!’ ‘What is it now:’

                  ‘Look at that dog there,’ said he and touched the badge, the                                                                                       

t rade-mark, which was pasted on the interior side of the lid.

‘Is it the one that sings?’

With them in the house was a small group of six, among whom were Obieke and Uzondu. These broke into laughter.

‘Dogs bark; they don’t sing,’ Uzondu said, and drawing the boy towards him, he began to whisper into his right ear.

‘It’s a lie!’ Obiakizu suddenly cried

‘It’s true! Uzondu insisted.

‘It’s a lie! ‘It’s a lie!

‘It’s true! ‘It’s true!

‘I’ll ask him.’

‘Go on.’

‘Is it true that there are four hundred small children inside the thing? Obiakizu.

The word ‘It’ as used in the first line of the passage refers to

Obiakizu    b)   The gramophone c) The dog d) The winding rod

What do the words that dog refers to in the passage?

The gramophone b)  The trade-mark c)   The barking dog d) The open lid

The style of the passage is

Satiric b) Tragic c) Humorous d) Sarcastic

The feeling of Obiakizu is that

Joy b) Indifference c) Sadness d) Surprise

Obieke and Uzondu broke into laughter probably because

a) Dogs were backing at Obiakizu b) Of Obiakizu’s ignorance

c)   They enjoyed the music d) Of Obiakizu’s questions about four hundred dogs

30. What puzzles Obiakizu most is?

      a) The function of the winding rod b) The way a gramophone function c) The barking of the dogs d) The laughter of Obieke and Uzondu

Unseen Prose #5

Read the extract below and answer Questions 31 to 34.

The prosecutor paused again, to wipe the sweat off his face. He then explained that his duty was a painful one, but he would do it without flinching. ‘This man has, I repeated, no place in a community whose basic principles he flouts without compunction. Nor, heartless as he is, has he any claim to mercy. I ask you to impose the extreme penalty of the law; and I ask it without a qualm. In the course of a long career, in which it has often been my duty to ask for a capital sentence, never have I felt that painful duty weigh so little on my mind as in the present case.

In demanding a verdict of murder without extenuating circumstances, I am following not only the dictates if my conscience and a sacred obligation, but also those of the natural and righteous indignation I feel at the sight of a criminal devoid of the least spark of human feeling.’

What is the prosecutor’s attitude towards the accused?

Indifference and hatred b) Anger and indifference c) Anger and sympathy d) Contempt and disgust

The prosecutor’s call for the death penalty is dictated by

The rules of natural justice b) The fact of the case before the court

c).    His sense of morality and anger towards the accused

d) The accused disregard for the law

33. According to the prosecutor, the accused deserves no mercy because

      a) He is wicked b) He is not fit to live in a society   c) The law

  prohibited the show of mercy d) He does not regret his action

  • What aspect of the prosecutor’s character is prominently revealed in the passage?
  • His self righteousness b) His pride in his long service c) His love for justice d) His devotion to duty.

Unseen Prose #6

Read the passage below and answer Questions 35 to 38

Ikechi could hear the noise of battle as he walked back. A few diehards were making a last stand. Chief among them was Wago the leopard – killer. Olumba did not underestimate him and so fought with all the calmness and cunning he could empty. Wago was an able fighter; there could be no doubt about it. He was as tough and resilient as akikara, a wild climbing plat. After foiling a particularly vicious attack from his opponent he would bare his teeth in a horrible huin, gibing a quick counter – blow as his face resumed it sinister expression. Olumber’s face was a rigid as that of a carved wooden god. He fought with the regularity and efficiency of a machine. The only sign of excitement he showed was the heaving of his massive chest. Neither of the two men was willing to retreat.

The expression ‘the leopard-killer’ is an example of

Allusion b) Appellation c) Nickname d) Tittle.

Wago is portrayed as a fighter who is

Brave and enduring b) Tough and horrible c) Wicked and brave d) Enduring and wicked

The writer suggests that Olumba

Despises Wago b) Does not consider Wago  a good fighter c) Recognizes the strength of Wago d) Is afraid of Wago.

From the description of the fight one can conclude that

Olumba is more cunning than Wago.

Wago is faster than Olumba

The fighters are equally matched

The fighters are vicious

Unseen Prose #7

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 39 to 48.

             But there were times, some in the very midst of satisfaction, when the though of his son would come to him. And then in one fraction of time the hills with the deep melodious names stood out waste and desolate beneath the pitiless sun, the stream ceased to run the cattle moved thin and listless over the red and rootless earth. It was a place of old women and mothers and children, from each house something was gone. His voice would falter and die away and he would fall silent and muse. Perhaps it was that, or perhaps he clutched suddenly at the small listening boy, for the little one would break from the spell and wiggle in his arms to be put down to play again with his blocks on the floor. As though he was searching for something that will put an end to this sudden un– asked for pain, the though of his wife would come to him and many a friend he had and the small children coming down from the hills, dropping sometimes out of the very mist on their way to school. These things were so dear to him that the pain passed and he contemplated them in quiet and some measures of peace.

The prevailing atmosphere of the passage is

Satisfaction b) Doom c) Listlessness d) Desolation

Which of the following words best describes the setting?

Deserted b) Unfamiliar c) Dry d) Sandy

Pitiless son illustrates the use of

Synecdoche b)  Objective fallacy  c)  Metonymy   d)  Pathetic fallacy

Muse as used in the passage means

Wonder b) Wander c) Consider d) Reflect

What is that the person holds dearly?

Cattle moving b) Seeing the old women and mothers                                          c) The memory of his wife d) The loss of friends

The mood of the person is one of

Nostalgia b)  Excitement c)   Pity d) Anger

The streams ceased to run is an example of

Understatement b) Contrast c) Hyperbole d) Climax

The population of the area consisted mainly of

Old men and women

Children, mothers and men

Old women, mothers and children

Mothers, babies and old men.

The expression red and rootless earth suggests a

Fertile land b) Battlefield c) Wasteland d) Sacred ground

The passage is presented in the form of

First person narrator b) Dialogue c) The omniscient narrator d) Soliloquy

Unseen Prose #8

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 49 to 58

              Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to            break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

                    It was her sister Josephine who gave her veiled hints about the accident. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed”. He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.  

                   She did hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

Who is the main character in the story?

Richards b) Brently c) Josephine d) Mrs. Mallard

What is the attitude of the writer towards the main character?

Sympathetic b) Indifferent c) Sarcastic d) Ironic

The technique of the writer is mainly

Descriptive b) Expository c) Narrative d) Argumentative

From the story, we learn that

only one person died c) Many people perished

None of the victim survived d) A woman had a heart attack

The atmosphere of the passage is one of

Anger b) Nostalgia c) Gloom d) Uncertainty

The writer’s diction is predominantly

Simple b) Archaic c) Pedantic d) Figurative

The use of the word intelligence suggests

Rumour mongering b)   Allegation c)   Hint d)   Factual knowledge

Which of the following figures of speech can be found in the underlined words

Assonance b) Alliteration c) Apostrophe d) Metaphor

From whose point of view is the story told?

First person b) The writer’s c) Third person d) The protagonist

What is the setting of the passage?

The railway station b) Mallard’s premises

Richard’s room d) The news paper office

Unseen Prose #9

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 59 to 68

The outlaw was in the crowd. He had waited until the mass closed up so that he could ooze in quietly.

Even among the poor, there were pockets to pick, handbags to pilfer. He moved with the silent and unassuming slowness of oil among the various segments of the crowd. Children jostled his legs but he took no notice of them. He smiled at strangers, winked at nubile girls, and edged past youthful heads. He brushed past the child who had come out of curiosity, disobeying the parents’ orders to remain at home while they attended the demonstration. The child pushed past legs and crept about, hoping to get to the front where there should be a lot to see.

The atmosphere of the passage is one of

Fear b) Ambiguity c) Confidence d) Suspense

The narrative technique of the passage is

The first person    b)  Dramatic     c)  Argumentative d) The third person

Ooze in the second sentence is used

Ironically b) Symbolically c) Metaphorically d) Allegorically

Which of the following devices is used in the third sentence

Onomatopoeia b) Parallelism c) Repetition d) Paradox

The expression, “He moved with the silent and unassuming slowness of oil” is an example of

Symbolism b) Irony c) Imagery d) Paradox

“He took no notice of them”  suggests that the outlaw is

Insensitive b) Disrespectful c) Proud d) Focused

In the expression, “ He smiled at strangers”, the device used is

Alliteration b) Onomatopoeia c) Rhythm d) Assonance

The expression, “Youthful heads” is an example of a/an

Epithet b) Eulogy c) Oxymoron d) Synecdoche

Which of the following best describes the child?

Determined and anxious b) Disobedient and inquisitive c) Impatient and fearful d) Impulsive and uncontrollable

Which of the following best describes the passage?

Descriptive b) Narrative c) Argumentative d) Expositry

Unseen Prose #10

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 69 to 79.

        Meka squinted down at his chest. The medal was certainly there, pinned onto his khaki jacket. He smiled and lifted up his head. Then he noticed that he was singing under his breath and that the whole of his face was beating time. His body was swaying in spite of himself and his knees bending and stretching like a spring. He no longer felt any pain. The heat, the need, the pain in his feet, as if by magic they had all disappeared. He looked down again at the medal. He could feel his neck growing. Yes, his head was climbing up to heaven like the Tower of Babel. His forehead reached the clouds. His long arms gradually rose like the wings of a bird poised for a flight.

Meka’s mood is one of

Anxiety b) Excitement c) Impatience d) Sorrow

The dominant device used to convey this mood is

Personification b) Paradox c) Metaphor d) Hyperbole

The writers attitude to Meka is one of

Mistrust b) Indifference c) Ridicule d) Anger

This attitude suggested by the

Tone b) Atmosphere c) Scene d) Symbols

The expression, Meka squinted sown at his chest suggests

Curiosity b) Uneasiness c) Reverence d) Surprise

The heat, the need, the pain in his feet build up to a/an

Antithesis b) Suspense c) Climax d) Bathos

The sound device used in the above expression is

Rhyme b) Onomatopoeia c) Rhythm d) Assonance

The point of view is

First person    b)   Third person c)   Dramatic monologue d)  Interior monologue

The writer’s language is, on the whole,

Obscure b) Figurative c) Plain d) Complex

The device used in the Tower of Babel is

Epithet b) Paradox c) Euphemism d) Allusion

Unseen Prose #11

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 79 to 88.

There he lay for the remainder of the weary night, nursing his wrath and wounded pride. He could not understand what it all meant. What did they want with him, these strange him? Why were they keeping him pent up in this narrow crate? He did not know why, but he felt oppressed by the vague sense of impending calamity. Several times during the night he sprang to his feet when the shed door rattled open, expecting to see the Judge or the boys at least. But each time it was the bulging face of the saloon-keeper that peered in at him by the sickly light of a tallow candle. And each time the joyful bark that trembled in Buck’s throat was twisted into a savage growl.

The expression weary night is an example of

A conceit b) A hyperbole c) A transferred epithet d) An epic simile

The word nursing as used in the passage suggests

Caring for the sick b)   Making something better c) Promoting something d) Bearing a grudge

The questions in the passage are used

Rhetorically b) Literally c) Ironically d) Metaphorically

Pent up in the passage are used

Hung b) Tied c) Confined d) Troubled

Which of the following words best describes the mood of Buck in the passage?

Anger b) Sorrow c) Fear d) Anxiety

The man  in the passage is probably a

Customer b) Guest c) Criminal d) Prisoner

Sickly as used in the passage means

Ailing b) Weak c) Unwholesome d) Wretched

The expression the joyful bark that trembled is

An oxymoron b)   A personification      c) A metaphor d) A hyperbole

The word growl in the last sentence is

Lion b) Cat c) Dog d) Snake

The dominant literary device in the last sentence is

Repetition b) Alliteration c) Epic simile d) Mock heroic

Unseen Prose #12

Read the passage below carefully and answer Questions 89 to 98.

They filed to the other end of the court like a herd of cattle maddened by the gadfly on the early Summer when  the days are at their longest. As eagle-beaked, crooked-taloned vultures from the mountains swoop down on the smaller birds that in flocks upon the ground, and kill them, for they cannot …

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Ralph Nyadzi

Ralph has a passion for the teaching and learning of Language and Literature mainly because these two help him to understand and appreciate why people act the way they do. Over the past two decades, he has coached over 5000 students and adult learners to achieve their educational goals. Ralph is the founder and CEO of Cegast Academy.

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