1. “Though Resian goes through the valley of death, her determination leads her to a victorious life.” Write a composition to show the validity of this assertion.
Resian in the Blossoms of the Savannah seems to experience several challenging situations in her life. In the scenarios she seems resolute in her actions as shown in the following ways
Oloisudori declares his intention of marrying her at an early age. This follows after he changes his initial plan: extorting Kaelo. He demands that she should first be circumcised so as to get rid of her state as nemengalana intoiye. He intends to use anesthesia to make her unconscious and grab her. Resian resolves not to be married. She tells Oloisudori point blank that she cannot be his wife. She returns the gifts that he had earlier brought and escapes to her father’s shop. Her father beats her so as to submit to the marriage, but Resian remains steady is her decision.
A number of callous youth in Nasila wish to assault Resian and Taiyo. In the first days, Resian and Taiyo take a walk around uncle Simiren compound. All of a sudden a young man emerges from the blues and grabs Taiyo. Resian order the callous young man to release Taiyo immediately. The Young man has no option but to give in though he promises to revisit his grave decision.
Though in a dream, enkamuratani and other two women surround Resian to circumcise her holding an olmurunya. Although Resian is in a strange land and is defenseless she does her best to combat the situation. Determined, Resian twists enkamuratani’s hand with an intention of ensuring that she does not initiate other girls in the future. She knocks the old witch using a mallet as well as fights the third woman until she disappears.
Olarinkoi disappears with Resian to a far hut in the forest. He locks her up and returns very late in the night while drank. Once he returns, he is in his mission of raping her. He unzips and this gesture sets her trembling. She bites Olarinkoi’s thumb so that the pain reduces his action of rape. Owing to the fact that Resian had earlier witnessed Olarinkoi’s fiery attacks when he dealt with two callous men, it calls for a lot of determination on the part of Resian to tackle him.
In summary, from the above illustrations it is evident that Resian suffers rough challenging times in her life but she deals with all these situations with determination.
2. “The strong bond between Resian and Taiyo contributes significantly to their triumph.” Write an essay in support of the statement.
No man is an island. Human beings were created to relate mutually. The close friendship between Resian and Taiyo is the key to overcoming stormy times that present themselves in their lives as follows
In their new environment at Nasila, the girls meet unique challenges. They are not used to the communal life for all along they have stayed in an urban set up where life is individualistic. At Nasila, they have to get used to impromptu visitors and superior male counterparts. It is the love between the two girls that helps in these scenarios. The duo stay together most of the times. By so doing, they share a lot Taiyo counsels Resian on using kind language on Yeiyo Botorr her aunt. The two girls discuss about danger that lurks from the hostile youth especially because of their uncircumcised condition.
In overcoming the challenge of female genital mutilation (FGM), their friendship bond comes in handy. When Resian goes on a hunger strike she says it is only Taiyo who can change her stand. When Taiyo is informed of Resian’s condition, she does not hesitate to offer herself for Resian’s redemption even when there are risks all over. While at Nasila, they have a lot of time sharing their views towards FGM. The discussions must have strengthened their hard stands towards FGM. It is from these discussions that they vow never to give in to FGM.
In the incident when Taiyo and Resian are accosted by two callous young men their coordination and friendship save them. The incident finds them while they are walking together where they had visited Maiso for lunch. If the struggle had between two men versus one girl probably she would have been surmounted. Although most of the salvation is largely brought by Olarinkoi the fact that the two girls where together makes it easier for them to go about the ordeal. Their joint screaming and their escape unhurt is partly contributed by their togetherness.
The two birds of a feather hatch a scheme to outwit Oloisudori. They wrap the gifts he had brought them into a box and title it as a gift. They then plan how to execute the plan. They arrange on how Resian is to thank Oloisudori and give him the gift. They discuss the aim of the gesture; to clarify to Oloisudori the fact they cannot be cheated with gifts. From this co-operation, Resian manages to trick Oloisudori and tells off her father and later with Olarinkoi, they manage to leave Nasila.
It is clear from the above illustration that strong friendship bonds can help friend go about hard experiences and overcome them in their lives.
3. Bad decisions can adversely affect our lives. Write an essay in support of the statement with illustrations from the novel.
The Choices we make can affect us positively or negatively. Bad choices definitely have adverse effects on our future. A character like Ole Kaelo makes several bad choices which not only affect his life but also his daughters.
Ole Kaelo is advised by his friend what kind of man Oloisudori is. He is told that he is not a man of integrity and warns him about doing business with him. He even warns him to keep his daughters from him. Oloisudori is unheeding to this warning. He goes on to sign business contracts and receiving a loan from him. Later, this man causes him great worry when he threatens to bring his business down if he does not give him his daughter in marriage.
Ole Kaelo makes the bad choice of agreeing to give his daughter Resian in marriage to Oloisudori. He does this to save his business empire and to acquire more wealth as dowry from him. This unleashes a myriad of problems in his family. He keeps assuring himself that his choice of Oloisudori is good and that the man is not all bad but inwardly, he has reservations about such a marriage. His decision worsens the already poor relationship between him and his daughter, who ran away and gets into more trouble with Olarinkoi. Taiyo also has her life ruined by being forcefully circumcised before being forced to marry Oloisudori. Finally, he loses his daughters trust and his fate is unknown because Oloisudori might come for him in person.
Olarinkoi is not known by the Kaelos yet nobody asks questions about him. He seems a mystery and with time becomes like a member of the family. This earns him trust among the Kaelos to the point that Resian trusts him to take her to Minik’s ranch. This man who the family trusted so much turns into a beast by raping Resian and even planning to circumcise her by force before marrying her. If the Kaelo’s had not trusted the stranger, Resian suffering in his hands would have been avoided.
Mama Milanoi makes a bad choice of giving over her daughter Taiyo to three strange women cheating her that she was being taken to her sister. Her plans is to have Taiyo circumcised before being married by Oloisudori. This action makes her lose the trust her daughters had for her. The wound she has caused them will definitely take time to heal. They too are angry with her that they vow that they would not want to be like her in marriage.
Bad decisions made knowingly or unknowingly will definitely have negative impact in our lives or on those that are dear to us.
4. Gender inequality is tantamount to violation of human rights. Write an essay in support of the assertion drawing your illustrations from Blossoms of the Savannah.
Today’s position on the male and female gender is that men and women are equal and none of the gender should dominate over the other. In Blossoms of the Savannah, women are culturally forced to be subservient to men, a practice that denies them some fundamental rights as human beings.
A wife has the right to state his position on any matter even if it is contrary to the husband’s position. This is not the case with Mama Milanoi, wife to Ole Kaelo. She admits that she did not know which man her husband was doing business with and even if she did, she would not do anything about it for he was the one who carried the family’s vision. She thus leaves every aspect of decision making to him whether those decisions are good or bad.
A woman is a being to be loved and not to love back. Although Ole Kaelo genuinely loved Mama Milanoi when he saw her first, her feelings on him are immaterial. Women were not expected to resist a man’s advances according to Nasilian culture. This is a great violation of her right to love or hate. In her case there is no room for that. It is also expected that Resian should give in to Oloisudori’s plans to marry her. Refusal is regarded as stubbornness. In fact, Oloisudori claims that none of his wives put any resistance in his interest in them. This means that their feelings for him did not matter a great violation of their freedom to choose their marriage partner.
Resian and Taiyo are forced to undergo cultural coaching by Joseph Parmuat. Resian rebels this citing inequality in the plan. She opines that if they were boys, such a thing would not be done on them. Instead, they would be freely roaming Nasila with nobody bothering them. In their case, there is no such option simply because they are girls. Their right to choose what to and not to learn is violated. Girls are taught how to cook for their men but there are no lessons for boys on how to please women. Resian opposes such arrangements saying she would not be taught to solely please men. She claims that even boys should be taught how to please women.
Gender inequality in this society elevates man over the woman to the extent that Resian says that it made men assume that they had right over the body of any woman. This has reduced women to be objects of sex to be exploited by men at will. This practice started with the Ilarinkon warriors who sexually exploited women after arousing their desires. Taiyo and Resian undergo several rape attempts with Resian ending up being raped by Olarinkoi who assumes he has every right over her body. These inequalities have greatly undermined women’s right to privacy and to choose whom to have sexual relation with.
Gender inequality does not just stop at that. Instead, it is a major cause of violation of basic human rights that all should be accorded a chance to enjoy. Women in the novel have most of their rights curtailed as a result of gender imbalance between men and women.
5. Help can come when least expected. Discuss.
Most people reach the end of the tether in difficult situations and are just about to give up when help comes. Most instances of help appear coincidental but nonetheless; they change the course of life of the character as well as shaping the rest of the novel.
Olarinkoi seems to be at the right place at the right time. He happens to be the savior of Resian and Taiyo when they need help most. He comes to the rescue of the two girls when they are coming from their father’s shop and are about to be raped by two men. Olarinkoi single-handedly saves the girls by fighting the men. Resian and Taiyo are much grateful and would not want to imagine what would have happened if he had not come at that time, even fearing that they would have been infected with HIV.
Olarinkoi again comes to the rescue of Resian when she discovers her father’s betrayal by planning to marry her off to Oloisudori. He comes to her rescue when she is even contemplating committing suicide by drowning herself into the river. At the same time, Oloisudori and his men are looking for her to abduct her. Olarinkoi promises to take her to Minik whom she had been yearning to meet someday. Although the help turns disastrous with Olarinkoi turning against her, she is able to escape the current wrath of Oloisudori.
Taiyo is rescued from the hands of her circumcisers by Minik’s men. Minik’s rescue team use tricks to rescue her from the well-guarded home which she would not have escaped in her sickly state. Were it not for Minik’s intervention, Taiyo would surely have been forcefully married off to Oloisudori after healing. The rescue gives Taiyo a new lease of life, reunion with her sister and of course quicker physical and emotional recovery.
Minik’s help to Resian and Taiyo perhaps is the most important event that completely changes their lives. She gives refugee to the girls in her ranch hence protecting them from marauding men like Oloisudori and Olarinkoi. She gives Resian a job in the ranch hence giving her something to live on and promises her a scholarship from the ranch. Most importantly, she is able to have the two girls enrolled at Egerton University, their dream university. These kind gestures create a happy ending in a novel that has been dominated by sad events.
When people are about to despair, that is usually the point when help comes. No matter how belated characters like Resian and Taiyo get help, their lives are greatly impacted and changed by those interventions.
6. In the novel, Blossoms of the Savannah, Ole Kulet goes out of his way to castigate some Maa way of life. Write an essay to show the validity of this statement with close reference to the novel. (20marks)
- Must display that they understand the question
- Can either be general or contextualized?
- Accept any plausible introduction
F.G.M was valued by Maa people. No girl would get married before going through the rite.
It was a tool to fight against sexual harassment by Olarinkoi warriors Resian and Laiyo fail to see its purpose and try to run away from it Minik has a ranch where over five hundred girls have been resolved from circumcision.
Resian manages to escape from circumcision through Nabaru who sneaks her away.
Though Mama Milanoi has undergone the rite, she is apprehensive against her daughters Undergoing it.
Heinous acts in the society
Ole kulet castigates heinous acts in the society. When Taiyo and Resian are almost raped by two vagabonds, Tara Muyo and Lante, the society is mad at them and they are almost killed.
Ole Kaelo almost kills them, but later is relieved that he has not caused the death of the man for this could have brought a curse which could not be cleansed.
When Olarinkoi attempts to rape Resian, she almost bites off his finger, He is banished from the village for some time and he misses the opportunity of making her his wife. Kulet portrays that this behavior is unacceptable in the society.
Old men marrying young daughters
Ole Kulet castigates this vice of old men marrying girls young enough to be their daughters.
Mama Mitanoi in her anguish about Oloisudori's wish to marry Resian remembers that in the past, such a thing would not have happened. She could have appealed to the elders' court which would have ruled in her favour.
Oloisudori's effort to marry either Resian or Taiyo does not succeed. He ends up losing his vehicle and fleeing for his life.
Kulet Castigates forced early marriages. Emakererei has rescued over five hundred girls whose dowry their father had taken. She has kept them in her ranch and taken them back to school.
Prejudice against Women
Women in the book have no place in decision making. Mama Milanoi has to accept everything that her husband does.
Taiyo and Resian are also not given their space. Their father refuses to give Taiyo permission for the extravaganza. He is also not bothered about their education.
Resian and Emakererei break the tyrannical regime by making their own decision. Emakererei campaigns against F.G.M and early marriages. Resian defies the dominance of her father by refusing to marry Oloisudori.
Kulet develops these characters to water down male dominance in the society.
Mark 4 well illustrated point 3:3:3:3:3 = 12 marks
-Accept any relevant conclusion
-It must be linked to the marks of the body i.e.
0-4 = 1 mark
5-6= 2 marks
7-9 = 3 marks
10 - 12 = 4 marks
7. Some cultural practices are archaic and outdated, With evidence from the Blossoms of the Savanna, Write a composition in support of this statement.
Introduction: Give a general introduction of the retrogressive cultural practices imposed on the people on diverse cultural practices.
Context based: Highlight the main points of discussion.
Points of interpretation
i) Female genital mutilation which is depicted as a compulsory rite of passage
which a girl must undergo in order to be married to a man.
(ii) Under age marriages where young girls are denied their rights to pursue their ambitions e.g. Resian and Taiyo are sold off by their father at their young age to the Monstrons Oloisudoni.
(iii) Barring people to get married even if they belong to the same tribe but have no blood relations e.g. Taiyo and Joseph Parmuat.
(iv) Male Chauvinism where men feel that they are superior than women e.g. Ole Kaelo being very hard on Mama Milanoi.
(v) Seeing girl child education as waste of money and opportunities. Where we find Ole Kaelo not regarding their daughters not to join Egerton University.
Give a general opinion whether to shed off the said archaic traditions.
Recap of the points discussed as topic sentences.
8. Alienation is a theme that runs through the novel, Blossoms of the Savannah. Discuss.
To be alienated implies a state of separation of a person from a former position, state or object of attachment. There is an aura of enstrangement that runs through the novel in relation to the family of Kaelo and their cultural establishment.
At the start of the novel, Parsimei Kaelo who has been in Nakuru for a number of years is alienated from his ancestral family and roots. His younger brother, Simiren who remains in Nasila, had been more appreciated and was considered the cultural head of the community by the Kaelo's. Simiren, Parsimei's younger brother happens to be the one who represents the family in the Ilmolelian clan to which they belong. He performs sacred rituals like initiation of girls, circumcision of boys or bethrothal ceremonies on behalf of Parsime. We are also told that Simiren, unlike Parsimei is a strict adherent to his people's customs amd traditions.
The Kaelo daughters, Taiyo and Resian, are also alienated from their roots. Mama Milanoi's women friends refer to the girls as Intoiye Nemengalana (girls who are not circumcised) contemptuously. In their culture, it was expected that females be circumcised, something that has not happened to Taiyo and Resian. In fact it is a taboo to remain an uncut woman/girl. The young man that Taiyo and Resian meet at Nasila also refers to them as Intoiye Nemengalana (girls who are not circumcised). This societal expectation is so critical so much that Joseph Parmuat is given the responsibility of talking to Taiyo and Resian about their tradions. (Pg 71). However, the girls are so alienated that they don't see the gravity of being uncircumcised and that Resian thinks of is her enrolment to Egerton University.
Parsimei Kaelo is also alien. They are alienated to the clan dictates on marriage. Elders term Parsimei's decision to remain married to only one wife who had borne him two daughters as a reckless one. This is alien in a society where polygamy is practiced and boy children are cherished. For instance, Simiren has 4 wives and 16 children or so; Ole Supeyo has 6 wives and about 30 children. It is this alienation that makes Parsimei enlist the help of Simiren and several senior elders of the community to re-establish links and also blessings for his family. (pg 37). He decides to do this by throwing a party. It is in this party that Ole Musanka blesses the Ole Kaelos and advises them to re-assimilate themselves to their peoples' culture. (pg 52)
Minik ene Nkoitoi 'wasp' is alienated to her community. She is regarded as the devil incarnate. She is hated and reviled for campaigning vigorously against traditions that she says abuse the right of the girl child - namely - girls' circumcision and early marriages. (pg 62). This puts her in direct collision with the people of Nasila.
Finally, Mama Milanoi is also alienated from the cultural expectations of her community. She lets her daughters remain uncircumcised in a society where this is considered a taboo. She is also accussed of being aloof and selective on the aspects of Nasila culture that they choose to interact with. (pg 145) ((Plus any plausible argument)
9. Man is the defacto leader of the family and when he faulters many things are bound to go wrong. Using Ole Kaelo for your illustrations show how the faults by the head of family affect
In the Africa set up men is assured to be the family head. He makes major decisions concerning the family and doesn't have to consult. Ole Kaelo in Blossoms of the Savannah is a perfect example of such a man.
Unfortunately for him he faulters and the effects are clear.
Points of interpretation
Ole Kaelo solely opts to move his family to Nasila from Nakuru. He assumes
that they will be comfortable and that by taking them to his newly build house will make them happy. Unfortunately, the family does not know joy there. Pressure from the community to have the girls circumcised is overwhelming and denies them joy. Sex also abounds.
Ole kaelo gets financial and from Oloisudori, an evil man against all expectations.
The result demands to have over his daughter Resian to him. Something that eventually collapses his family.
Ole Kaelo opts not to educate his daughters further and instead hoping that they will get good Nasila man to marry them. This is against the expectation of the girls. Resian tells him in his fate that she will join University. This decision that he makes affects the family unity and his image before them. In the end the family breaks up as the girls opt out.
Ole kaelo resolves to have his daughters circumcised and later handover Resian to Oloisudori to be married by him. This is against her wish as the man is old and she does not love him. Her wish is to join Egerton University to further her studies. It is because of this that Resian leaves and is later followed by Taiyo.
Ole Kaelo blindly makes decision that affects his family as seen above
10. ‘Our greatest enemies are those close to us.’ Support this statement with illustrations from the novel.
general or contextual 2mks
Oloisudori betrays Ole Kaelo. Though they were close business friends. Oloisudori blackmails Ole Kaelo so that Ole Kaelo has no option but to marry off his daughter to Oloisudori.
Mama Milanoi who is the mother to Taiyo betrays her by allowing her to accompany three women to take her to Resian only for her to end up being forcefully subjected to F.G.M.
Ole Kaelo, father to Taiyo refuses to allow his daughter Taiyo to travel to Mombasa with the other youth selected by an FM radio station for a music extravaganza. To him participating would be like engaging in prostitution.
Ole Kaelo also betrays his daughter's ambitions to join Egerton University preferring instead to marry them off to Oloisudori. This shows he is not ready to help them realize their dreams as a father should do.
Ole Kaelo betrays Resian. He openly shows his resentment to Resian. Constantly rebuking her for even the slightest of mistake she makes. He hates because he expected a boy child not a girl child. This leaves Resian with a low self-esteem and fearful.
Olarinkoi, who is occasionally accommodated by the Ole Kaelo's and is even though he is not part of their family, later betrays the Ole Kaelo's when he abducts Resian with the intention of eloping with her. This is betrayal to a family that had hosted him.