-Any literary work is made of two elements named form and content. To begin with form it is discussed bellow:-


-This is the principle that determines how a work is ordered and organized. Also one can say that it is the superstructure of a literary work. Form consists of five sub parts which are:-

a): Plot or sequence

This refers to the way events and actions in a literary work has been rendered and ordered toward achieving particular artistic and emotional effects.

-A literary work can be ordered from beginning coming to the middle and the end.

-The beginning initiates the main action in a way which makes us look forward to something more; the middle presumes what has gone before and requires something to follow; and the end follows from what has gone before but requires nothing more.

-Usually audience feel satisfied when the plot is complete.

b): Style or technique

This refers to the way of doing something. In literary works style refers to the manner of linguistic expression from which literary artists want to say whatever they want to portray before their audience.

– In most cases literary works are presented in either dialogue or monologue techniques however there are other techniques which can be used by literary artists in order to effect their messages to audience.

-That is to say “form” is not simply a fixed container like a bottle into which the “content” or “subject matter” of a work is poured but beyond this.

Qn.6: Explain on the seven techniques that authors use when composing their literary works.

c): Setting

This refers to the general locale, historical time, and social circumstances in which events and action of a literary work occurs, happens or takes place.

The setting involved in a literary work can be actual or hypothetical depending on the intention of the artist of a work at hand.

-Usually the setting employed in a literary work has something to communicate. It can be the status of characters, time as well as the state of the event portrayed as has sad or happy ending.

d): Characters

Aare the persons represented in a literary work, who are interpreted by the reader as being endowed with particular moral, intellectual, and emotional qualities by inferences from what the persons say or do and their distinctive ways of saying and doing things.

-These are human beings, animals or other objects that are used by literary artists in their works to represent human traits, behaviors and actions.

-The process of assigning different roles to be played by characters involved in a literary work is called characterization.

-In literary works characters can be identified from

  • What they think.
  • What they say.
  • What they do.
  • The way they behave.
  • What others say about them.
  • What the author says about them.

-Characters involved in a literary work can be grouped as major and minor characters however there are types of characters basing on the role they play in a literary work.

Qn.7: Explain on the types of characters used by authors in literary works basing the roles they play.

 e): Language use or diction

This refers to the choice and arrangement of words in a literary work in order to achieve special effects to audience.

-Language used in literary work can easily the understanding of a work at hand or limits people’s understanding of the work especially when an elevated language is employed in it.

-Also, the language used in literary work beautifies the work and attracts the audience in accessing the messages portrayed in it.

-Apart from that, the language used in literary work differ from that we use in our ordinary conversation. This comes because of the use of idioms, proverbs, riddles as well as employing it figuratively leading to departure from the standard order or what users of a language apprehend as the standard meaning of words.

-Thus, from the figurative language employed in literary works audience are exposed to different styles of using language depending on the content and setting at hand.


Figures of speech- These are words which are used when referring to one thing in term of another artistically.

-They are expression which uses words to mean something different from their ordinary meaning.

Some examples of the figures of speech are:-

i): Simile

This is a direct comparison between two different things being indicated by words “like” or “as”. For example:-Janeritha is beautiful like a red rose.


-Haji is as greedy as hyena.

-Her gown is shining like gold.

ii): Metaphor

This is the direct comparison of two unlike things without using the word “like” or “as”

-This is an expression which transfers the semantic meaning by describing a person or object in a literary way.

-It is an expression which describes a person or object by referring to something which is considered to possess similar characteristics without asserting a comparison.

For example:-Judy is snake.

-Halidi is chameleon.

-They are donkey.

iii): Personification

This is a figure of speech which provides animals, objects and other inanimate things with attributes of doing and behaving as human being.

-It is a figure of speech in which either an inanimate object or an abstract concept is spoken of as though it were endowed with life or with human attributes or feelings.

For example:-An elephant called a meeting for the horn animals.

-Antelopes were singing and dancing joyful.

-The forest was threatening all the passer-by.

iv): Euphemism

This is a figure of speech which uses words and phrases that avoids saying some abusive and offensive words.

For example:- The have left for a short call.

-Our judge has passed away or kicked the bucket (Our judge has died)

-Hanna is in a family way (Halima is pregnant)

v): Hyperbole

This is a figure of speech which exaggerates the reality of things.

-It is a figure of speech which makes someone or something sound bigger, better and greater than its reality.

For example:-The forest of diseases has weakened my health.

-The million of hands has elected him a Village Chairman.

-Hyperbole is sometimes called overstatement where by things and concepts are described as important or serious than they real are.

vi): understatement

The reality of things are diminished or reduced and made small or less important than they real are.

For instance:-She is resting in the ward for a month now.

-They closed their eyes off cholera.

-He has been hurt by a cobra

vii): Litotes

This is a special form of understatement a figure of speech which is the assertion of an affirmative by negating its contrary.

For instance:

-He’s not the brightest man in the world (He is stupid)

-They will not fail this match (They will win)

-The plot is not expensive (It is cheap)

viii): Imagery

This is a figure of speech which uses words in creating mental picture. In most cases images with word can be created in appeal to senses of sound, touch, taste, seeing, smell as well as kinesthetic.

For example:

-Her hands are tender to touch.

-Her eyes can destroy any body.

– Her teeth are white as milk.

ix): Symbolism

This is a figure of speech in which objects are used in representing different ideas.  For example:-An owl- Evil spirits       -A black cloth- Sadness

-A red cloth- Danger       -Dog- Safety

xi): Irony

This is a figure of speech which uses words that suggests its opposite in meaning.

-It is a figure of speech which uses words that hides its meaning in order to achieve a certain effect.

For example:

-You are good at yourself.

-He is good physician; he scored 05 in a test.

-Irony can be identified being in form of satire and sarcasm whereby some expressions are used when one intends at criticizing people or ides in a humorous way.

xii): Tautology

This is a figure of speech whereby some words are repeated in order to achieve some special effects.

For instance:

-Why? Why? Why are you beating him?

-No! No! No! This book is mine.

-Hey! Hey! Hey! Hurry up!

xiii): Rhetorical question

This is a figure of speech in which a direct question is asked without requesting information or inviting a reply, but to achieve a greater expressive force than a direct assertion.

-It is a question which is asked without demanding an answer.

For example:

-Wow! Halima, are you still her?

-Abdala, It’s you!

-Hey! She has stolen, isn’t it?

xiv): Archaism

This refers to the use of words which are not in use any more.

-It refers to the use of abusive words in literary works.

For example:

-Son of a bitch why are you following me.

-Stupid! Away from me

xv): Barbarism

This refers to the use of other language different from the one employed in a literary work. For example:-You are lost dada,


-Since uhuru we have poor social services.

xvi): Pun

This refers to the playful use of words which are either identical or similar in sounds in order to convey different meaning.

For example:


-Building the nation

-Eat more

xvii): Metonymy

This refers to the way something is referred by words especially that describes the quality or feature of that thing.

-This refers to the way one thing is applied to another with which it has become closely associated because of a recurrent relationship in common experience.

For example:

-Ikulu (President)

-Palace (King)

xviii): Synecdoche

This is a figure of speech whereby a part of something is used to signify the whole.

For example:

-Kilimanjaro/Nile (Africa)

-White house (America)

-Nkuruma (Ghana)

xix): Paradox

This is a figure which is made of a statement consisting of two opposing or contradictory ideas or facts.

xx): Oxymoron

This is a figure of speech which is made of two words that have or seem to have opposite meanings.

For example:

-Pleasing pains

-Jealous friend

-Hateful love

xxi): Enjambment

This is a figure of speech which is common in poems whereby some words of the previous line are carried to the next line.

For example:

-To learn is to grow,

-Growing to success,

-Success of our dreams,

-Dreams of our future,

-Wow! Learning makes dreams true.

xxii): Analogy

This is a figure of speech which is used when making comparison between things which have similar features. It is mostly used to help in explaining a principle or idea.

For instance:

-We will speak, now my pumpkin is aching (head)

-She will not attend because of her pump felt (heart)

xxiii): Allusion

This is a figure of speech which makes a direct reference to a person, book, place or event that is very well known.

– This is a figure of speech which passes reference without explicit identification to a literary or historical person, place and event to another literary work or passage.

For example:

– I have a dream today -This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh

-Leo mmepanda basi la makabila.

xxiv): Onomatopoeia

This is a figure of speech which is made by words that suggests the sounds made by objects. For example: -Hiss -Buzz -Rattle -Bang

Qn.8: How far is the language used in literary works differ from that we use in our ordinary conversation?

Study guide.

-Assign students with a sample of story to read and comment on the language used.



-This refers to what is said in a literary work.

-Content in literature deals with the ideas that are contained in a particular work. This element consists of five parts namely theme, message, conflict, philosophy and stand.

a): Theme(s)

This is the main, central idea or subject that is portrayed in a certain literary work.

-In most of the African literary texts the reader can meet with African traditions, colonialism, liberation, dictatorship, modernism as well as cultural conflicts as themes.

-Thus, any literary work has a single theme but it is built by other subjects in order to effect the intended message to the audience.

b): Message(s)

This is the lesson that an individual obtain after reading a certain literary work.

-It is the most important idea that we get from the literary texts we read. For instance after reading a certain text one can learn that:-

-As far as the time changes some African traditions like early marriage, polygamy, forced marriage, women circumcision and inheritance of wives are to be left as they endanger our health.

-Sacrifice, unity and solidarity are very important tools towards people’s total liberation struggle.

Study guide.

-Provide students with sample of stories to be read.

-Guide students in groups of five each to identify themes portrayed in the story read.

-Lead student pairs to identify the lessons that can be obtained from the story read.

Qn.9: Read the story below then answer the questions that come after it;

That evening all the young people sat together in the old hut of Ngusulu.  Ngusulu arrived and welcomed them kindly. Then he began to tell a story. The story was on the first Man and woman of the land that God had given to them.

“God gave the Man and the Woman the Land”. God said, “This Land I hand over to you, O man and women. It is your duty to keep and look after it forever”.  There was a strange light in Ngusulu’s eyes as he spoke. When he told this story, he forgot that his friends were waiting him so that they can go to the second village for paying pride price for his wife to be.


Winfrinda; his favorite sister listened carefully at the story of the beginning of the word. She wished to be stood next God and see all the Land.  At last Ngusulu cried out, “But where does our land goes?”


i). Name any three (3) settings involved in the story.

ii). Identify any five (5) characters involved in the story.

iii). By giving one (1) example; mention any six (6) themes portrayed in the story.

iv). Outline any five lessons you have learned from the story.

C: Conflict

This is the active disagreement between people or groups of people who have some opposing ideas, beliefs, opinions, interests, principles or feelings.

-The conflicts arising in literary work helps much in the development of their plot.

-This comes from the way one conflict calls for the coming of another event.

-Thus, making the events portrayed in literary work have a cause-effect relationship.

-Also, with conflicts portrayed in a literary work the reader is hooked at following the events until the end of the story.

-This comes because of the reason that the disagreement shown builds suspense making the reader create desire of knowing on what and how the next event will happen.

The conflicts which are portrayed in literary works can be categorized into different groups as discussed below:-

i): Economic conflict

This is the type of conflict from which characters are portrayed differing in interests, opinions, beliefs and ideas because of having some ambitions over a certain economic wealth. For instance some people or societies can be shown fighting over land or property ownership.

ii): Political conflict

This is the type of conflict from which characters are shown in disagreement which is resulted from ambition of power, misuse of power or dictatorship. For instance the ruling party can be shown in disagreement with the opposing parties or Citizens can be shown opposing their government.

iii): Social conflict

This is the type of conflict in which characters from a certain class can be shown opposing the other class. For instance one can identify that the poor are opposing the rich, Peasants are against pastoralists, elites are against illiterates and traditionalists are against modernists.

iv): Family conflict

This is the type of conflict in which characters who are family members are shown differing in ideas, interests, opinions as well as thoughts. For instance one can reveal that parents are against children, One family is against another family, Brothers are against sisters as well as Wives being against their husbands.

v): Personal conflict

This is the type of conflict in which a character is portrayed regretting upon his or her act, choice or decision. Personal conflict can easily be identified as the character is in dilemma over some matters.

d): Philosophy

This term is used in literature to mean the author’s belief on the work he or she has wrote to the audience.

-In most cases authors believes that as people reads their works, they can come up with new ways of approaching their daily lives.

-That is to say, authors write their works with an open eye of imparting good morals and best ways of attaining good living among and between people.

-Thus, reading literary works it has not to be underestimated because it exposes readers to some new and different living experiences.

e): Stand

This term is used in literature when referring to the author’s opinion upon his or her work. For instance in most of the tasks written by women they portray on the possibility of attaining sexual equality while in male authored tasks women are shown as weak, dependent, obedient and submissive to their husbands.


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