Memories We Lost and Other Stories - Essays with Answers Set 2 of 2

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Memories We Lost and Other Stories Essays with answers and marking schemes - Set 2

1. Drawing examples from Mqombothi’s story, Memories We Lost, write a composition to show that when we live with the sick we need to show them love and compassion.

Those who are sick in our midst require compassion for them to recover. This is the case in the story Memories We Lost.
(Accept any other relevant introduction) 2marks


  • The narrator’s sister is attacked while playing near hot porridge. She hurls the pot which misses the narrator’s face but lands on the chest. She is pain and strips off her clothes. When the sister comes to she sympathizes with what happened to her sister. The narrator lies to her that she had poured hot water on herself. This is to save her the agony she would have felt if she learned she had caused the sister that much pain.
  • The narrator’s sister is attacked in the classroom. She throws desks and breaks windows and everybody runs away scared of her. But the narrator stands in front of her and looks at her straight in the face. She scans the environment, recognizes her sister and “returns’. Whereas everybody flees from her, the narrator remains.
  • After the classroom incident, the narrator drops out of school so as to be with her sick sister. The sister begs her to return to school but she declines. She argues that she wants to be in the same class with her sister. When they remain at home they spend time together talking their own language. She discovers that her sick sister is good at drawing sketches.
  • When the narrator returns to school, she listens to the teacher talking about Schizophrenia as a disease without cure. But she feels her sister deserves to feel something. At home they throw away the drugs and when they did so the sister began to recognize herself. The two girls begin to communicate without words.
  • After the bizarre ritual that was conducted to appease the ancestors and with it cure the girl, the two girls sleep together lying in the same position. Her sister sunk her teeth deep into the pillow so as not to cry.
  • On the night when the narrator’s sister was attacked by this ‘thing’, the villagers are all up. They form themselves into two groups each with a self-appointed leader and head into the darkness in search of one of them who had disappeared. They dared the terrain and darkness. Even though they return without the sick one, they are relived when the mother comes with her the following day.
  • The narrator overhears Mother and Smelly Foot talking conspiratorially to take the sick sister to a Nkunzi, the man who baked people with cow dung and those he baked never survived. The narrator feels that her sick sister should not go through that. In the night they leave with sister. She lies that they are going to visit an aunt. She holds her sister’s hands tightly as they walk in the dark.
  • On their way to hospital the narrator keeps the Nkunzi story away from her sister. She hopes that she would get to tell her that she has a mental disorder of sorts that make her not differentiate fiction from reality. She heaves a sigh of relief when she sees a hospital in the morning. They tighten their grip on each other’s hands.
  • the narrator’s sister is seized by the attack making her hit her head on the wall severally leaving bloodstains on the wall that lasts for a long time. The sister holds her tightly to try and restrain her.

Whenever we show love and care to the sick around us they feel relieved and recover quickly.
(Accept any other valid conclusion) 2marks

2. 'A great man has the power to inspire others to greatness.' Using illustrations from The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World by G.G. Marquez, discuss this statement.

Sometimes the greatness that a person inspires can be felt after they are dead. In G.G. Marquez story The Handsomest Man in the World, Esteban inspires the villagers to be positive and to better themselves after he is dead. They do not even know him but they claim him as one of them.


  • The children in the village stumble on a body of a drowned man and they play with him, burying him and digging him up. A villager sees them and informs the village about the dead man. The men go out to other villages to find out if any of the villages has lost a man. The women are left to care for the dead man. They admire him even in his death. They think that he had borne his death with pride, as he did not have the look of drowned men who came out haggard and needy. The women decide to sew him a pant from a piece of sail and a shirt from bridal Brabant linen. They want the man to continue his death with dignity.
  • They imagine that the sea is restless and the wind steady because of the dead man. They imagine the authority of the man to have been so great that he would have called the fishes out of the sea by their names. The women imagine that if the man had lived in their village, his wife would have been the happiest, his house the one with the widest roof and highest ceiling.
  • They compare the dead man to their husbands and they dismiss them in their hearts. They name him Esteban. When the men return to say that no village has lost a man, the village claims the dead man. They hold the most splendid funeral they could conceive for the abandoned drowned man. the women go to the neighboring village to get flowers for his burial. A family is chosen for him from the best people in the village so that the inhabitants of the village can become kinsmen. From then on, the people know things will be different since the dead man has inspired them. a-heir houses will have wider doors, higher ceilings and stronger doors, and Esteban's memory will live on. They will paint their houses gay colors and plant flowers on cliffs. They want their village to be Esteban's village.

Esteban inspires the people to be different. They begin to aspire to live in a better environment because they imagine the life Esteban had lived. He thus has the power to inspire them to greatness even though he had drowned.

3. Write a composition in support of the statement: “One who holds onto hope in the face of affliction will pull through.” Use Siddhartha Gogoo’s “The Umbrella man”

Many people are faced with serious challenges that tend to dampen their spirits and dim their hope. However, those who believe that things will get better always overcome. Such a case is seen in the character of Umbrella man.

  • Limited liberty
    The umbrella man’s obedience and calm disposition makes the doctors to grant him limited liberty unlike the other confined inmates. This particular inmate is the only one permitted to go out of the gate and spend some time in the streets nearby. Before he was granted this, it had taken him many months. We are told that the compound is fortified and therefore no inmate could get out of the large brick and stone perimeter wall. The umbrella gives him hope which is later realized when he is released pg 46. (Without calm disposition, it is a thin)
  • Umbrella
    The umbrella man is optimistic that it will rain he has a long and lacerating wait for the clouds and the rain. Every evening with clouds forming, number 7 unfurls his umbrella and leave his wave hope in his heart, thinking of the rain, expecting it to come down. The umbrella becomes inseparable companion of the number 7. This help lessen the loneliness of the inmate in such a desolate confinement. It is noted that the umbrella was the most beautiful thing in the entire asylum – more than bed of wild flowers along the wall of the compound. The narrator says the very sight of it in the mornings brought a smile on his lips. Pg 46, 48 (Hope for the rain, unfurling umbrella, beauty of the umbrella in the entire asylum is the basis)
  • Imaginary child
    During the most lonesome nights, the umbrella man, summons an imaginary child to keep him company in his sell. In nervy sleep, he would wake up to watch and comfort the imaginary child who is disturbed by a dream. This helps him overcome the oppressive loneliness of the cell. He would even pray in silence with conviction that some powers would heed to his prayers. He grows old but the child never grows. He had greyed with little strength in his bones but always keeping hope. It is hope that sustains him through his lonely life in the cells of the asylum. (the presence of imaginary child, vulnerability – must come out – and how the umbrella man helps it must come out to score a fair)
  • Company
    The umbrella man engages the barber once every month during his sharing. This chat helps him lessen the mental agony and it helps him in his recovery journey. The barber uses humorous ancedots about the rain. This brightens up the umbrella man, raising his hopes. He would also sit in his favorite bench near the asylum gates and the wall where the lane ended. This is where the puny little fellow gave him company. He tells the puny men to stop being a pessimist, to look around at the bountiful nature. Bees, the flowers, the beehive, the leaves. He asks the puny fellow to belief in Hope and Nature’s miracles. He has hopes that it will rain and the earth will turn moist and smell of wild flowers. These conversations give hope to the umbrella man making the asylum conditions bearable. (Barber’s humorous comment about the umbrella and possibility of rain must be brought out to score a fair)
  • The release
    Number 7 is soon released. A team of two doctors come to his cell, smiled at him and breaks the good news to the inmate. He is told his papers are ready and that the committee is convinced he has recovered. He goes to his sleep, and wakes up in the morning to a strange fragrance. It had rained! When the orderly brings him extra-clothes, a small tin case and some money his gait remains confident. Even as he leaves, umbrella in his hand, he avoids the mud and pool of stagnant water. He is accompanied to the gate, to his freedom. There he sees an opening in the bush that lead to a road he had never seen. He holds his umbrella and walks towards the road on the other side…… He has recovered. (The two doctors, the orderly and the rain must come out clearly. The road he had never seen should come out to score above - thin) Pg 50-51

There is no permanent condition. It is the hope that sees one through the seemingly insurmountable challenge to the final conquest.

4. Though now independent, African countries still face many challenges. Using illustrations from Benjamin Branoff’s Window seat, write a composition in support of this statement.

Most African countries still face many challenges even after attaining self rule as depicted in window seat by Benjamin Brannoff.

  • Corruption and inefficiency is quite rampant in the country the sentry who guards the gate at chuo is inefficient. We see him inspecting the van but he never seems to be trying hard and even if something were amiss he could not even notice it. He is however given a bribe and the van moves on.
  • The traffic police are seen to be corrupt. The only language they understand is money. This is seem as they extort money from the buses. The police officers do not come about the condition of the bus or passengers.
  • There is so much pollution as described by the narrator. Mwenge town points a picture of noise pollution. In the town there is incessant shouting by the conductors for passengers board their buses and vans. There is also so much smell that they have to contend with along the way, “ a rancid smell fills my nostrils. It smells of the garbage and human forth and decomposition.
  • The public transport is a menace and has a myriad of challenges. There’s overloading in the daladalas.
    The van that the narrator uses is meant for 10 individuals, however it is carrying about twenty-five people. The public transport has a lot of discomfort. The passenger’s are so squeezed in the van that the narrator says he had to sit in a foetal position with his knees wedged between his abdomen and the seat in front of him.
  • There is also lack of courteousness among the public. The conductors shout tor much, when the noise is unnecessary. The conductors also hurl insults and obscenities with impunity. There is also theft in the public transport system. The narrator’s wallet is stolen by a lady she was fantasizing on. He only gets to notice at the end of the journey when payment is demanded from him and he can’t find his money.
    Mark 3:3:3:3.

In conclusion it’s true that an African countries still face challenges as illustrated above. (2mks) Accept any other valid conclusion.

5. Write an essay to show the validity of the statement that those who live under containment experience many challenges. Use Gigoo’s story The Umbrella Man for illustrations.

Living under restrictions, be it in a cell, ward or due to a pandemic can pose a lot of challenges to an individual.
(Accept any other relevant introduction) 2marks


  • Those in containment have to content with restricted movement. For example the inmates are contained in their wards or cells and are only allowed out of the wards in the evenings. Number 7 is the only person allowed out the gates to a nearby street but this was a privilege not a liberty. Even so Number 7’s movement also ends in a limited ninety yard. For the other inmates their world ended at the wall they were enclosed in. No wonder Number 7 admires the freedom that the ant (puny fellow) has yet he is restricted.
  • Contained people experience loneliness. The inmates were allowed no visitor. Because of lack of company Number 7 decides to cling on the umbrella as his ‘inseparable companion’. The other inmates who are lonely envy him for having a company. As a result they admire the umbrella making it be the most admirable thing in the entire cell and they would long to hold it.
  • Those who are confined live a life of delusion. Number 7 imagines that he is not alone in his cell. He sees the image of a child and mumbles words to the child in an alien language. He comforts the imaginary child from an unpleasant dream. This happens night after night. He even prays for grace upon the child. He feels that he has become both father and mother to the child.
  • Confinement makes people develop a fascination with some things. Number 7 is obsessed with the thought of rain. He walks around with his umbrella unfurled in the hope it would rain and this would give his umbrella its purpose. When he visits the barber he enjoys him about his obsession.
  • Containment can make one develop a bizarre behaviour. Number 7 meets an ant- the puny fellow and starts a conversation with it. He regular visits the bench so as to have a chat with the ant. The ant too teases him about his obsession with the rain. The ant reminds him that his yearning for the rains portends danger for him because a deluge would destroy his habitat.
  • Those in confinement are deprived of possessions. No one was allowed to possess anything. It surprises them how Number7 came to own an umbrella. All they are allowed to have are two sets of clothes; one made of cotton and the other of wool. They are said to be ‘bereft of worldly possessions.”
  • If you stay in confinement for long you may find it challenging to adjust to the world outside upon release. When Number 7 is released, he finds it hard to make a decision as to which path to take. To him the path on right is blocked and the left one was just bush. He tries waiting for the puny fellow to appear in vain. After some waiting goes on his own.
    (Accept any 4 well illustrated points. Mark 4;4;4;4. Total 12marks)
    Grammar and Presentation 4marks


Containment disorients and can make one suffer.
(Accept any valid conclusion) 2marks.

6. “In the face of adversity one requires strong-will power to succeed.” Justify this statement referring to the story: “No need to lie”. by Rolf Schmid

In the face of adversity, the most important thing is to fact it bravely, remain positive with unwavering determination. This was the case of Rolf Schmid that led to his healing. (Accept any other relevant introduction).

  • Acceptance:
    Mr. Schmid was so scared when he was told they would take the biopsy. He was scared at the thought of having cancer or Aids. But later he pulled himself from self-pity because he realized that his children needed him and he needed to see them grow up. He had children, a wife, a business and a future. He repeated this over and over again in his mind as though he had to send this message to every cell in his body. His will power was strong and determined.
  • Feeding:
    He was determined to eat in order to survive. After a wave of pain was over, he rushed to the kitchen, took some minced meat, vegetables, carrots, leeks and celery and 3 litres of water and cooked. It was so painful to let the fluid pass through the mouth, and yet he had to eat. He used a rubber pipe to pass the food through his throat to the stomach. It was necessary to eat, and he did it as a weapon to fight cancer. An after finishing his meal, he would congratulate himself.
  • Meditation:
    After eating, Rolf knelt in the bed put his head down and closed his eyes. In his imagination, he summoned his Japanese Judo senses in front of him. His mind was concentrated on defeating the enemy. This time he knew it was not about winning cups, medals, glory or fame. It was about winning the victory of his life, fighting cancer. This is a show of determination to fight cancer.
  • Chemotherapy:
    Rolf was informed by the doctor that he needed 4 sessions of chemotherapy to kill the cancer cells. He dreaded the word chemotherapy and all it stood for, including the loss of hair and becoming sick. He sought encouragement from his friend Alberto, who informed him he had to be very brave. This is when he decided that he was going to confirm to the nay-Sayers that cancer is just a process that requires a strong will power, food and optimism. The first day after chemotherapy, he went to play a game with is friends at the polo club and really surprised his mates. The nurse was delighted with his progress.
  • Operation
    Rolf had to take a trip to Stuttgart, Germany where professor Terrahe and his team waited for him for surgery. He worried about whether he would survive the operation. But he confirmed to himself again that he was not ready to die. At this point, he had lost about 40Kgs, his face was hollow and he had lost half the amount of his hair to chemotherapy. When anaesthesia was administered, he felt no fear and no anxiety; just a wonderful carefree feeling of surrender to he deep anaesthetic – induced unconsciousness. After the operation, the doctors said they achieved the best possible results. He quickly lifted his left arm to confirm that he was not paralyzed on the left side and the right to make sure he was able to play polo. He thanked God he was alive.
    (Accept any other relevant point)

From the above discussion, it is quite clear that Rolf went against all odds in pursuit for his health. He defeated cancer through his strong will to live.

7. “Pahom's downfall is as a result of his insatiable fixation.” Write an essay to support this proposition drawing close reference to Leo Tolstoy’s ‘How Much Land Does Man Need?’


Pahom's mind is completely filled with an abnormal desire to acquire land. This excessive preoccupation with acquiring a larger piece of land leads to his downfall when he loses everything and ends up dead. (Accept any other relevant introduction).

  • Pahom has a large piece of land, but he keeps thinking of how he can have more land.
    He owns 123 acres of land and pasture. He also owns a big house where he lives with his family members. He is, however, not contented with this possession. He desires wider and more fertile land to farm and keeps his livestock. He keeps on asking himself how he can get more land. Par. 1. He is strongly attracted when a passing dealer tells him about how he acquired 13 000 acres of land from the Bashkirs. In his pursuit for more land, he dies of exhaustion and loses all his property.Pahom is so obsessed with the land that he hopes to get the largest and best land above all the people.
  • He started to walk towards the meadows as soon as the sun appeared above the rim. He does not even take breakfast. He even has to take off his outer coat and shoes. He walks for as long that the hillock is scarcely visible, and the people look like black ants. He feels he is in sweat and is thirsty. He only turns when it's noon. The heat from the sun does not make him stop. He takes his lunch, bread, and water while standing to save time. After walking for a long time, it was terribly hot and he feels sleepy. The heat makes the air hazy that the people on the hillock can barely be seen. He says it is better to suffer for an hour and live for a lifetime. He equates the acquisition of land to eternal life. Pahom feels serious pain, but he pressures on. He walks with difficulty. His bare feet are cut and bruised. His legs begin to fail but due to his obsession, he does not rest. He is so exhausted that he throws away his outer coat, shoes, flask and cap. He only keeps his spade to use as a support. His mouth is parched. His breast works like a blacksmith’s bellows and his heart beats like a hammer. Even after he feels like he could die of strain, he does not stop. Eventually, he dies of exhaustion and loses everything. Six feet under is all he needed.
  • Pahom is preoccupied with the land issue so much that he is forced to entice the dealers and the Bashkirs with gifts so as to pave way for his acquisition of more land.
    This fixation with acquiring more land makes him buy many presents for the Bashkirs and take a seven-day journey to the land of the Bashkirs, with a view of acquiring a bigger piece of land. The gifts work wonders because the Bashkirs are so amused and encourages him to cover as large a piece of land as he could manage. He instead loses everything when he walks for the whole day, hoping to get the land for 1000 roubles a day.
    Lastly, Pahom is so obsessed with acquiring land that he can barely sleep. He lies on his bed  but cannot sleep. He thinks about walking the whole day to mark off a large tract. He lays awake all night and dozes off only before dawn. The next morning his eyes glisten when the chief shows him the land. He could see that it is all virgin soil at a glance. He is told that all he has to do is circumnavigate before the sunsets. Due to his fixation, Pahom walks the whole day, thus becoming totally exhausted and eventually dying due to exhaustion. He loses all the land he had gained and is buried in a six feet piece of land.


  • In conclusion, preoccupation of any kind is dangerous. Pahom’s downfall is surely due to his lack of contentment and preoccupation with acquiring a lot of land.

8. Determination and resilience are key ingredients in overcoming any challenges in life. Drawing illustration from Rolf Schmid’s ‘No Need to Lie’, justify the truth of the above statement.

In No Need to Lie, Rolf Schmid demonstrates the ability to cope emotionally and mentally as he fights cancer.


  • Rolf Struggles with weight loss. He loses three hundred grams in one day. Where bulging muscles once covered his strong, wide frame, his skin now sagged making him look like an old malnourished man. He is devastated and the thought of death kept creeping up. However, his ardent personality kept reminding him not to give up. When he was at his lowest, he summoned the faces of his children as a visual reminder of the reasons he had for living.
  • Rolf biggest problem was eating. His mouth is full of ulcers and the skin covering his gums peel off. To reduce the intensity of pain, he used a pipe. Dr. Rupani had warned him of contentment P 126, 127. He encourages himself and distracts himself.
  • After a chemo session Rolf goes to a polo match. He had endured four chemo sessions and during this Saturday he fell sick. When it happened he waved at the ampure who briefly stopped the match so he could vomit. He then realizes that it becomes his turning point. If he could do that, death could not be waiting round the corner.
  • Rolf is trapped in worries, he worries about whether he was going to survive the operation. Dr. Meltsa had been diagnosed with the same tumour, on the same side of the neck. He died a weak after his operation he summons a positive outlook.
    (Any other relevant point)

Indeed, Rolf’s refusal to be defeated by cancer and mind over matter attitude makes him a good example to many people grappling with terminal illnesses.

9. Using Leila Aboulela’s story ‘missing out’ write an essay on how Majoly’s stay in London alienates him from his people.

Majoly is at first unhappy when he gets to London.
He pleads to come home, but his mother pleads with him to stay on and read.
Eventually, Majoly becomes distant from his people. He drops their practices and sets his mind on staying in London.


  • Majoly abandous his people prayer habit while in London.
  • When Samra asks him for a prayer mat, he confesses he does not have one. He does not even know the direction of the Ka’ba or where the Qibla is. He does not even observe the mandatory Friday prayers.
  • Majoly considers London civilized, and Khartoum backward. He does not want to come back home. He even enrolls for a PHD. He is unable to appreciate the more relaxed, simple and rich family life back home.
  • Majdy is so indifferent to his people that he is not able to sympathize with his mother. Samra informs Majoly of her struggle when she went to call him at central post office. She could not get transport due to petrol shortage. Samra accuses him of disloyalty of indifference.
  • Majoly is eventually so distant, from his people that he does not desire to go back home. When he is almost done with his PHD, he is invited to a conference in Bath.

Majoly feels a childish sense of exclusion, of being left out of life at home, however he has no desire to go back home.
NB; Any four point x 3 =(12marks)
Language = 4 (marks)

10. “War and violence has a dehumanizing effect on people.” Using Mariatu Kamara’s story ‘The president’ for illustration, write an essay justifying the above statement.


  • During wars people go through untold suffering especially women and children. In Mariatu Kamara’s story “The President’ the Narrator, and her people suffer from devastating effects of war.


  • To begin with the Narrator and her people are displaced from their home. They have to move to Marmar village because they have been informed that the village would be Safe from rebel’s attack.
  • Unfortunately’ The village is attacked by Libels who capture her. She waits for the libels to kill her but instead they chop off her hands, as a warning to the president and those who vote for him.
  • During the attack on the village, her cousin Ibrahim and Mohamed are captured by the libels. Her last daughter Marie is dragged away by her hair many people are killed and others ampulated.
  • The Narrator also realizes that she is pregnant out of a rape ordeal. The rapist Salieu orders her not to tell anybody about it. The narrator is too young to know what happened to her.
  • The narrator and her child had to live in a camp which is full of faith. She at one tie has to go begging in the streets.
  • Her baby dies from malnutrition. This is because proper meals would not be provided in the camp for amputees


  • Basing on the life of the narrator and her people it is true to say that war and violence affect peoples life negatively and dehumanizes them.

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