African Prose Lessons for SHS – (Second Class Citizen)

African Prose Lessons for Senior High Schools is a series of simplified learning and teaching notes for WAEC/WASSCE Literature candidates and tutors. These African Prose Lessons are equally useful for secondary school students and teachers preparing for NECO/SSCE and JAMB. The good news is that all these Literature lessons are completely FREE.

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The lessons in this series are part of my Literature Lessons for High Schools. I intend to add other General Arts subjects lesson plans and study notes as time goes on.

SHS African Prose Course on Second Class Citizen

Put together, these African prose lessons constitute one full SHS African Prose Course for students and teachers of Buchi Emecheta’s Second Class Citizen.

Expect your African Drama Course for SHS as well as the African Poetry Course. We will do our best to add similar Literature courses. I’m referring to the Non-African Literature section of the WAEC Literature syllabus for senior secondary schools.

For now, our focus is on WASSCE/SHS African prose lessons for Second Class Citizen. So if you’re here to start studying or teaching Second Class Citizen in an organized manner, come with me as we begin it all with the first in our series of African Prose lessons.

Introduction to African Prose – Second Class Citizen

In this lesson, you are going to learn about the important things you need to take seriously for you to perform well in the African Prose section of the WASSCE Literature-in-English paper.

Don’t worry if you’re taking a different but similar exam like NECO/SSCE or JAMB. All the points in these African Prose lessons on Second Class Citizen apply to yours too.

You will also have a good idea about the best way to prepare adequately for the Literature paper.

Then finally, I’ll give you a general summary of the topics we shall cover in the entire WAEC African Prose course.

Are you ready? Then come with me as we take our first step into this comprehensive African Prose Course.

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What you need to know

The set book for this WASSCE African Prose course is Second Class Citizen by Buchi Emecheta

Second Class Citizen is the prescribed text for the 2021 – 2025 WAEC/SHS Elective Literature-in-English test paper.

Second Class Citizen has 13 chapters under the following headings:

  • Chapter 1: Childhood
  • Chapter 2: Escape into Elitism
  • Chapter 3: A Cold Welcome
  • Chapter 4: The Daily Minders
  • Chapter 5: An Expensive Lesson
  • Chapter 6: “Sorry, No Coloureds”
  • Chapter 7: The Ghetto
  • Chapter 8: Role Acceptance
  • Chapter 9: Learning the Rules
  • Chapter 10: Applying the Rules
  • Chapter 11: Population Control
  • Chapter 12: The Collapse
  • Chapter 13: The Ditch Pull

Each of the chapter titles is an apt summary of the incidents in that chapter.

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types of narrative techniques in literature

The Setting of Second Class Citizen

The setting of Second Class Citizen comprises the places and the specific time period the events in the novel occur.

Much of the action of the novel is set in two places: Lagos in Nigeria and London in England or the United Kingdom

The time setting of Second Class Citizen is the 1960s. These are the years immediately after the West African country called Nigeria gained political independence from British colonial rule.

Point of View in Second Class Citizen

The Narrative Voice in Second Class Citizen is that of a third-person narrator.

Protagonist in Second Class Citizen

The protagonist or main character in Second Class Citizen is Adah. Adah is a dreamer – an ambitious young Igbo girl whose character gradually develops into a married woman, a mother and a career woman.

Conflict in the Plot

Much of the conflict in the plot of Second Class Citizen revolves around three main issues.

First is the young Adah’s determination to travel to the United Kingdom and the obstacles placed in her way by the dictates of her cultural environment. These are the impediments that make it almost impossible for Adah to realize this childhood dream.

Secondly, there are the verbal exchanges, quarrels and full-blown fights between Adah and Francis, her husband, especially upon Adah’s arrival in the United Kingdom.

Last but not least are the cultural and racial tensions that simmer under the surface as Africans like Adah arrive in England to pursue their dreams.

Note that, an interesting aspect of these cultural tensions is that they exist not only between English or European ways on the one hand, and African ways on the other but also between Africans from different ethnic backgrounds.

The historical irreconcilable differences between the Igbo and Yoruba immigrants in London are a good example of the ethnic tensions among Africans themselves.

Second Class Citizen as an Autobiographical Narrative

Please note that an autobiographical novel is not necessarily the same as an all-out autobiography.

The story of Adah is autobiographical in nature. It is believed to be mirroring the novelist’s own experiences and transformations right from childhood in a Lagos-based Igbo family to a wife, a mother and, of course, an African immigrant with a second-class citizen status in the United Kingdom.

General Overview – SHS African Prose Course

Here is the general course outline for the entire WASSCE/SHS African Prose course. It provides you with the salient areas we shall be paying much attention to in the various African prose lessons as we study for success in the WASSCE/NECO/SSCE/JAMB Literature paper.

Course Outline – African Prose Lessons

Find below the topics for the various African Prose lessons on Second Class Citizen. We shall endeavour to cover each of these topics separately.

  • LESSON ONE: Introduction to African Prose – Second Class Citizen

Chosen Prescribed Text: Second Class Citizen

Brief Background Information: Author and Setting

Protagonist and General course outline.

As you may observe, this is the lesson we are covering in this particular post.

  • LESSON TWO: Plot Summary of the Novel Second Class Citizen
  • LESSON THREE: Complete Chapter by Chapter Summary of Second Class Citizen
  • LESSON FOUR: Analyses of all 13 Chapters of Second Class Citizen
  • LESSON FIVE: Identifying Major Significant Incidents
  • LESSON SIX: Key Quotes/Extracts from the Novel
  • LESSON SEVEN: Themes in Second Class Citizen
  • LESSON EIGHT: Characters in Second Class Citizen
  • LESSON NINE: Literary Techniques or Narrative Techniques in Second Class Citizen
  • Practical Guide and Tips on Literature Essay Writing (With specific reference to Second Class Citizen)
  • Likely Exam Essay Questions
  • Assignments
  • Tests and Quizzes for Practice (Objective) with Recommended Answers
  • Mock Examination (Optional) With a Certificate of Participation and Showing Results

Final thoughts

We have come to the end of the first in the series of African Prose Lessons for senior high schools. Like I said before, these African prose lessons are for students and teachers of Second Class Citizen.

You will find the other lessons in this African Prose Course in subsequent posts. Let me know your views as you go through these Literature lessons.

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