How Not to Pass Literature-in-English Papers in SSCE

This time around, I am writing something different. Yes, it’s about how a student failed woefully in the 2024 Literature-in-English SSCE.

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Crumpled pages from a book
Crumpled pages from a book. Image Credit: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash.
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I have previously written two blog posts about why students fail Literature-in-English papers in the Senior School Certificate Examination and the corrective-cum-proactive measures students must take to seamlessly excel in Literature-in-English in the same examination. I wrote one in 2021 and the other in 2022. This time around, I am writing something different. Yes, it’s about how a student, whom I have chosen to address using the second person singular pronoun, failed woefully in the 2024 Literature-in-English WASSCE. Follow me as I narrate how my character failed their examination.

Well, your failure did not begin on the days of the Literature-in-English papers. It didn’t. I know that for sure. Like an Olympic athlete, you started your preparation for failure a long time before the examination, sometimes in SSS 1 when you joined the Art and Humanities class as a student, fresh from the junior secondary school. Your teacher had taught you the rudimentary parts of literature: genres of literature, elements of prose, figures of speech, dramatic techniques, poetic devices, narrative techniques, and a whole lot of concepts important for your further comprehension of the subject at a later stage. I knew you were destined for failure when you refused to pay heed in class and you refused to write the notes given to you by your teacher. Is it not a common knowledge that you cannot give what you do not have? So, when you did not listen in class and did not write the notes given to you in class, how else did you expect to pass any examination? Oh, I have forgotten you still can cheat your way around. That by the way.

Then, your teacher told you and your classmates to get the recommended literature texts for class readings and analyses. It was supposed to be a literary text at a time, but when others were getting theirs, you blatantly refused to get any of the texts. I doubt if you informed your parents at home. Besides, this is not a question of whether you could afford the texts or not. That expensive mobile phone you used could buy all the literary texts in five places. What am I even saying? Your monthly data subscription could foot the bills of buying some of the texts. But I get it, those books were the least of your worries when there was a lot of drama on Tiktok, Twitter, and Instagram to engage in.

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You didn’t buy the books and did not bother to read them. You were too engrossed in other things apart from your academics that you couldn’t even borrow the books from the ones who bought them so you could at least read them. That you managed to get to the final class in secondary school is not in anyway surprising. In what school, public or private, do students repeat classes in this country?

Then came 17th and 24th May, 2024, the days you wrote the both phases of your Literature-in-English examination. Your teacher, oh that dedicated individual, was compelled to answer some of the questions for you spoiled brats, for fear of losing their job which at least provides for their sustenance. But you, in particular, were too smart enough to rely on the answers provided for you by the teacher. You couldn’t place your fate in the hands of an individual who had emphasized enough the need for you to take Literature-in-English seriously. Besides, who needs a teacher who collaborates in examination malpractice when there is Artificial Intelligence to the rescue?

So you smuggled your phone into the examination hall. It’s not like anything would be done to you if you were caught with it anyway. Every constituted authority in that examination hall was in on the examination malpractice going on. You were given the answers to the objective section on a platter of gold. But going forward, your theory section was a mishmash of AI-generated answers and others sourced from search engines.

I knew you were most likely going to fail when you admitted to have written the two answers which had since been shared across the web space in Facebook timelines, blog posts, and even WhatsApp groups.

Crumpled pages from a book
Crumpled pages from a book. Image Credit: Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash.

The  first one was in response to the question: examine Nii’s rejection of Linda’s advances in Unexpected Joy at Dawn. You wrote:

Nii Tackie rejected Linda’s advances in a gentle and respectful manner. When Linda expressed her feelings and desires, Nii Tackie listened attentively and acknowledged her emotions. He explained his reasons for not reciprocating her feelings, citing his commitment to his family and community, as well as his cultural and personal values.

He expressed his appreciation for Linda’s kindness and friendship, but made it clear that he could not engage in a romantic relationship with her. Nii Tackie’s rejection was firm but compassionate, and he took care to avoid hurting Linda’s feelings or leading her on.

Linda, though initially disappointed, eventually understood and respected Nii Tackie’s decision. She valued their friendship and appreciated his honesty and integrity. The rejection was handled in a way that maintained their friendship and showed Nii Tackie’s empathetic and principled nature.

Source: Your answer booklet.

The second one answered the question: account for the death of Gbanya and Yoko in Let Me Die Alone. It went like this:

In the play “Let me Die Alone” by John K. Kargbo, the deaths of Gbanya and Yoko are significant events that contribute to the overall plot and themes of the play. In other words, here are the key points of an account of their deaths:

Gbanya’s death can be accounted for as a result of his involvement in a tragic accident, It is revealed that Gbanya, while attempting to escape from a dangerous situation, falls from a high platform and suffers a fatal injury. Gbanya, the protagonist, dies at the end of the play due to a combination of physical and emotional exhaustion.

His death is a result of his inner turmoil, guilt, and the consequences of his actions. Gbanya’s refusal to accept responsibility for his mistakes and his stubbornness ultimately lead to his downfall. His death serves as a symbol of the destruction of the old order and the need for change and renewal.

Yoko’s death, on the other hand, can be attributed to her deteriorating health condition. Throughout the play, Yoko’s character is depicted as someone who is battling a terminal illness. Her death, therefore, can be seen as a natural progression of her illness and serves as a poignant reminder of the fragility of life and the inevitability of death.

Yoko, Gbanya’s wife, dies earlier in the play due to a broken heart and despair. Her death is a direct result of Gbanya’s betrayal and abandonment of her and their people. Yoko’s death serves as a catalyst for Gbanya’s downfall, as he is haunted by her ghost and the guilt of his actions. Her death represents the destruction of innocence and the consequences of Gbanya’s selfish desires.

The deaths of Gbanya and Yoko are tragic and poignant moments in the play, highlighting the consequences of human actions and the need for accountability and redemption.

Source: Your answer booklet.

Now, I do not know how you approached the other questions, but does a fruit fall far away from its tree? I see you asking me, rather defensively, what authority I have to pass a judgement on the examination booklets even the examiner hasn’t seen yet. You are right. It is not my business. But when you eventually fail, you can always come back here to retrace your steps.

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