English Paper 2 Questions and Answers - KCSE 2021 Past Papers

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  1. Read the passage below, and then answer the questions that follow.
    Soon after I started work on Robben Island, I was told I'd be filling in for someone on night shift in the censor's office. I had to start at 4 p.m. and wouldn't finish until 7 the next morning. We were on alert all night in case of emergencies, such as an attempted break-out or a medical crisis. In addition, the dog-handlers patrolled through every section of the prison on a three-hourly basis.
    At night, there were also killer dogs running on chains all the time. The dogs were mostly Rottweilers, really vicious. They would be systematically provoked to make them even madder. They could not be handled; they had to be controlled at the end of long metal poles.
    The censor's office was considered the heart of the prison, set right in the centre of the main building, on the second floor, with a view over the whole of B section. But there was no heart in that place. Instead, it was this department that meted out some of the worst cruelty to prisoners, namely the holding back or destruction of their letters, their all-important link to loved ones, and the ruthless censoring of daily news to make them believe their stand against apartheid, was nothing, the sacrifice of their freedom pointless. Instead of the real news, all the prisoners would get to hear about was the boring, uncontroversial stuff such as the deaths of prominent people, government appointments or road traffic accidents, or examples of the government's military successfully taking out ANC strongholds. Any show of solidarity from the outside world would be hidden from them, or destroyed.
    There were more personal cruelties, too. Mandela had had his 60th birthday the year before I came to the island. When I started work in the censor's office, I asked what was in the boxes and boxes piled up there, with still more arriving every week. I was told that tens of thousands of birthday cards had arrived for him, mostly from abroad. Each card was removed from its envelope, read carefully and then neatly clipped back on to the outside of the envelope. They were sorted according to the country they came from.
    Any letters or cards not given to prisoners for any reason were supposed to be put with their property and stored until their release. But it was too much trouble to keep Mandela's birthday cards. They were taken out and burned on the fire in our boiler-room. Years later, I wanted to tell him about them, as I felt bad for him. But he told me: "Mr. Brand, I already know about that”. Some prisoners who had been at the dumping site on the island had found charred scraps and given them to him.
    (Adapted from Mandela: My Prisoner, My Friend by Christo Brand with Barbara Jones. Cape Town: 2013).
    1. How did the authorities ensure that security was tight at the prison on Robben Island? (3 marks)
    2. Why do you think the security at this prison was tight?(2 marks)
    3. What does the author have against the way the prisoners were treated at this facility? (6 marks)
    4. In about 65 words, summarise how the way Mandela is treated stands out from how other prisoners are treated. (6 marks)
      Rough draft............
      Fair copy................
    5. Explain the meaning of each of the following as used in the passage: (3 marks)
      1. meted out.
      2. solidarity
      3. charred.
  2. Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House
    Read the excerpt below and then answer the questions that follow.
    Servant : (at the hall door) Excuse me, ma'am - there is a gentleman to see the master, and as the doctor is with him -
    Nora : Who is it?
    Krogstad : (at the door) It is I, Mrs. Helmer. (Mrs. LINDE starts, trembles, and turns to the window.) 
    Nora : (takes a step towards him, and speaks in a strained, low voice) You?
    What is it? What do you want to see my husband about?
    Krogstad : Bank business - in a way. I have a small post in the Bank, and I hear your husband is to be our chief now -
    Nora : Then it is -
    Krogstad : Nothing but dry business matters, Mrs. Helmer; absolutely nothing else.
    Nora :Be so good as to go into the study then. (She bows indifferently to him and shuts the door into the hall; then comes back and makes up the fire in the stove.)
    Mrs. Linde : Nora - who was that man?
    Nora : A lawyer, of the name of Krogstad. Mrs. Linde : Then it really was he. Nora : Do you know the man?
    Mrs. Linde : I used to - many years ago. At one time he was a solicitor's clerk in our town.
    Nora : Yes, he was.
    Mrs. Linde: He is greatly altered. 
    Nora : He made a very unhappy marriage.
    Mrs. Linde : He is a widower now, isn't he?
    Nora : With several children. There now, it is burning up. (Shuts the door of the stove and moves the rocking-chair aside)
    Mrs. Linde : They say he carries on various kinds of business.
    Nora : Really! Perhaps he does; I don't know anything about it. But don't let us think of business; it is so tiresome.
    Doctor Rank: (comes out of HELMER's study. Before he shuts the door he calls to him.) No, my dear fellow, I won't disturb you; I would rather go in to your wife for a little while. (Shuts the door and sees Mrs. Linde.) I beg your pardon; I am afraid I am
    disturbing you too.
    Nora : No, not at all. (Introducing him.) Doctor Rank, Mrs. Linde.
    Rank : I have often heard Mrs. Linde's name mentioned here. I think I passed you on the stairs when I arrived, Mrs. Linde?
    Mrs. Linde : Yes, I go up very slowly; I can't manage stairs well.
    Rank : Ah! some slight internal weakness?
    Mrs. Linde : No, the fact is I have been overworking myself.
    Rank : Nothing more than that? Then I suppose you have come to town to amuse yourself with our entertainments?
    Mrs. Linde : I have come to look for work.
    Rank : Is that a good cure for overwork? EEEEEEEE
    Mrs. Linde : One must live, Doctor Rank.
    Rank : Yes, the general opinion seems to be that it is necessary.
    Nora : Look here, Doctor Rank - you know you want to live.
    Rank : Certainly. However wretched I may feel, I want to prolong the agony as long as possible. All my patients are like that. And so are those who are morally diseased; one of them, and a bad case too, is at this very moment with Helmer -
    1. Briefly explain what has just happened before this excerpt. (3 marks)
    2. Nora says, "What do you want to see my husband about?” From your knowledge of the play, why is Nora afraid of Krogstad seeing Helmer? (4 marks)
    3. Identify and explain any two instances of irony in this excerpt. (4 marks)
    4. With examples, identify any two character traits of Dr. Rank brought out in this excerpt. (4 marks)
    5. Describe the mood in this excerpt. (3 marks)
    6. Identify two characters in this excerpt who can be described as morally diseased and say why. (4 marks)
    7. Explain the meaning of each of the following expressions as used in the excerpt: (3 marks)
      1. small post
      2. greatly altered
      3. dry business matters
  3. Read the oral narrative below and then answer the questions that follow.
    Once upon a time there lived a very beautiful girl known as Karia in Kirumi village. One day, Karia and her mother went to dig in their garden which was in a distant village. In that village, there were many ogres which could talk and even sing. In the evening, the mother called her daughter who was bathing in the stream, “Karia, let us go home now. It is late and there are many ogres along the way". Karia came hurriedly and took her luggage already packed and they went home.
    On reaching home, Karia noticed that she had left her beautiful necklace in the garden. She had removed it when she was bathing in the stream. She had been given this necklace by her grandmother, and she was supposed to take care of it and pass it on to her first daughter. She was very depressed when she realised that she had left it beside the stream. She asked her mother whether she could go back for it. Her mother, who was very fond of her only daughter, refused on grounds that it was already dark and unsafe for a young girl to walk through the forest in which there were ogres. The mother told her, "My daughter, it is very late now. Don't you fear the ogres?"
    The girl started crying, saying that if she waited until daylight, she would find the necklace missing. Her mother went into the kitchen to check whether the food was ready and, on coming out, she found that Karia was not sitting outside. Her mother called out, “Karia! Karia! Karia! Where are you? Come!” She wondered where she could have gone after such a short time. The mother suspected that Karia had decided to go for the necklace so she took immediate action. She ran to her brother-in-law's home, where her husband was, shouting; "father of Karia, come with other men of the village. Karia has run away and you should go and look for her.” On the way to her brother-in-law's, the mother could be heard murmuring: "If my only daughter is eaten by an Ogre, where will I get another one from? Oh, my daughter!"
    The father, on hearing the news lamented, "What is wrong with my daughter? Couldn't she ask me to buy her another necklace?”' About one hour had elapsed by the time the father set out with some village elders to look for Karia. They were afraid that the ogres might eat her up.
    Meanwhile, Karia who had been running, was about to reach the garden. She walked slowly for the remaining part of the journey for she was now tired. She reached the garden towards the early hours of the morning. All along the way she was wondering, "If I fail to get the necklace, what will I tell my granny?” She quickly went to the place where she had undressed and found that her necklace was still there. She was very happy and even knelt and bowed facing mount Kirinyaga as a sign of thanks to the gods. She quickly picked up the necklace and then started on her way home, her face beaming. She was very happy that she had not met a single ogre on the way and was thinking of how she would laugh at her mother who had thought that the ogres would eat her up.
    After walking a short distance, she met an ogre which stood in the middle of the road. In order to be allowed to pass, she sang:
    Irimu riri, - (You ogre
    Tiga kumburia - Do not bother me
    Ndi mwana wa Njanwa - I am Njanwa's daughter 
    Na ke kiuma giki - Take this bead
    ureke mbituke - And let me pass.)
    The ogre took the bead and let her pass. The same ogre ran through the bush past her and stopped in the middle of the road again. When she reached the point where it stood, it blocked her way. She repeated her song. By the time she was halfway back home, she did not have a single bead left, so she said to the ogre, “eat my arm and let me pass". The girl started crying now that she did not even have the necklace which she had gone for and still she had to give the Ogre something in order to be allowed to pass.
    The ogre kept demanding for more parts of the girl's body. After a while, she had only one leg left and so the ogre decided to eat her up. At this point, her father and the village elders appeared but it was too late. The angry parents decided to kill the ogre. Despite this, they couldn't recover their daughter. In the end, the daughter had lost the bead-necklace and her life to the ogre. The father and the village elders went back home miserable without talking to one another. The father was seriously thinking of how his wife would receive the news.
    Thus ends the story.
    From: Narratives from Africa and India for Secondary Schools and Colleges by Elegwa Mukulu and Muriuki Wakarangau. Nairobi: Jomo Kenyatta Foundation.
    1. What kind of narrative is this? Explain your answer. (2 marks)
    2. Why was Karia worried about losing the necklace? (1 mark)
    3. Identify and illustrate three character traits of Karia's mother. (6 marks)
    4. What is the role of Karia's grandmother in the narrative? (2 marks)
    5. Identify two instances of irony in the oral narrative? (4 marks)
    6. Identify and illustrate three things we learn about the culture of the community from which this narrative is drawn. (3 marks)
    7. Explain the message of this story. (2 marks)
    1. Rewrite the following sentences according to the instructions given after each. Do not change the meaning (3 marks)
      1. My problem is your wrong attitude. (Begin: What ...)
      2. It is not necessary to argue about it. (Begin: You need ...)
      3. Jane has been repairing your car. (Begin: Your car...) 
    2. Fill in the blank spaces with the correct form of the words in brackets. (3 marks)
      1. His.... (pronounce) did not make sense to the audience.
      2. The ........ (collide) of the two lorries could have been avoided if the drivers had been more careful.
      3. God's power is ...... ...... (compare).
    3. Choose the correct alternative from the brackets to complete the sentences. (3 marks)
      1. Everyone was there except ...... (you and I, you and me)
      2. Jane, as well as ... (you and I, you and me) has beenshortlisted.
      3. Between fail..... (you and I, you and me) that project is bound to fail
    4. Complete the second sentence in each case without changing the meaning of the first опе. (3 marks)
      1. There is something suspicious about that deal. I smell .... (ii)
      2. My neighbour plays very loud music late at night. He really gets on ........
      3. You should have more confidence in yourself. Do not sell ...................
    5. Fill in the blanks with the correct preposition. (3 marks)
      1. The teacher congratulated him ... his good performance in English.
      2. They disagreed........... who should be chosen the leader.
      3. Mwenda dipped the bucket ...... ......... the well.


 1.   (a)
  • The warders were on duty/ on alert all night.
  • Dog-handlers patrolled the area.
  • Killer-dogs running on chains/The dogs were systematically provoked to make them madder.
  • The censor's office was centrally located to serve as a watch tower.
    Any 3 points 1 mark each= 3 marks
  • It held anti-apartheid activists/ freedom fighters.
  • There were political prisoners intent on overthrowing the apartheid regime.
  • Mandela, the most important political prisoner, was held here.
    Any 1 point = 2 marks 2 marks
  • They withheld / destroyed the letters addressed to the prisoners; and some of the letters were from their loved ones.
  • They censored the daily news to show them that their struggle for freedom was pointless. They were allowed only to read the uncontroversial news.
  • They were made to read only about the victories of the government against the ANC.
  • The international support they got was concealed from them/ any show of solidarity from the outside world was hidden from them.  Any 3 x 2
 (d) Sample summary:
Letters for the other prisoners were kept and given to them on the day of their release but because Mandela was their leader and the most famous, he received many more letters. On his 60th birthday, he got tens of thousands of birthday cards mainly from abroad. These cards were carefully read by the authorities, kept in boxes and later burnt. (61 words)
  1. Dispensed/gave/administered
  2. Unity because of common aims/ beliefs/ interest.
  3. Seared/burnt/burned  3 x 1
 2   (a)
  •  Nora has been telling Mrs. Linde how difficult it has been repaying the loan of 250 pounds she had borrowed when her husband was unwell.
  • She shares that she had been at her wit's end and had even fantasized being left for, a huge fortune by an old rich lover.
  • But now things have changed and she looks forward to a life free from care.
  • The bell rings.
  • Christine rises to leave.
 (b) Nora secretly borrowed money from Krogstad (1) to settle Torvalds's medical bills in Italy. (1) She forged her father's signature to get the money from Krog- stad. This is a criminal offence (1). She is afraid that Krogstad might reveal the secret to her husband.(1)  4x1 4marks
 (c) Mrs. Linde complains that she has been overworking herself, yet she is looking for work. Dr. Rank wonders if getting a job is the cure for overwork.
Dr. Rank, a medical doctor, wants to prolong agony instead of relieving it.
                                                                                expect 2 points, 2 x 2

He is;

  • Cynical - He sees the work of a doctor as prolonging the agony of a patient.
  • Insensitive/callous. He tells Mrs. Linde that she has some slight internal weakness. He does not sympathize with her condition.
  • Courteous/polite/respectful- "I won't disturb you"/ 'I am afraid"


  • Nora is afraid Krogstad may reveal the long-kept secret to Helmer. Mrs.
  • Linde sees Krogstad and trembles.
  • The audience do not know what will happen when Krogstad goes into see Helmer; or when Mrs. Linde encounters Krogstad.
    Mrs. Linde trembles/ Nora speaks in a strained low voice
    1 mark for identification 2 marks for illustration
 (f) Candidates can pick Nora, Mrs. Linde and even Dr. Rank and give reasons.
  • She abandons her husband and children
  • She flirts with Dr. Rank in her husband's home
  • She forges her father's signature to borrow money secretly/she lies
  • He is involved in forgery.
  • He is blackmailing Nora and the husband.
    Dr. Rank
  • He flirts with his friend's wife.
    Mrs. Linde
  • She marries for her own convenience.
  1.  Junior position, low paying job
  2. Changed a lot
  3. Purley official matters
3   (a)
  • Monster/ogre story.
  • Karia's mother warns her about ogres which live in the forest/ An ogre eats up Karia/ An ogre is killed.
    1 mark for identification, 1 mark for explanation
 (b)  Because it was a special gift to her by her grandmother, which she was   supposed to later give to her first daughter.  1mark
  • Caring/loving- gets concerned when she realizes that her daughter is missing.
  • Cautious - warns her against going back to the garden, since there are ogres in the forest where she was going through.
  • Swift/Decisive/Quick - she quickly alerts Karia's father that Karia is
  • Hardworking - goes to the garden which is far but still prepares food when she returns.
    Expect 3 traits, 1 mark for identification, 1 mark for illustration 3x2 
6 marks
  • Develops the plot of the story
  • It is as a result of the fear of losing the necklace she give to Karia that makes Karia go back to the garden.
  • Reveals the character of Karia as determined/dutiful/ courageous.
    Expect 2 points, 2x1
  •  The ogre goes ahead to eat up Karia even after she gives him all her beads.
  • Karia gives away points of her body but remains alive until the ogre eats her
  • Karia is happy that Page as6 ot/en 18 untered angre tid thinks of how she would laugh at her mother. However, she immediately comes face to face
                     Expect two instances, 2 x 2
  • They are farmers/engage in farming.
  • Religious-Karia thanked the gods facing Mount Kirinyaga. \Kept items that could be passed from one generation to another.
  • Communal concern/action - Karia's father was accompanied by other parents to look for Karia.
  • They were bead makers - Karia's necklace. (3 x1 = 3 marks)
  • Children need to obey their parents.
  • Children should take warnings from their parents seriously.
  • We should not make deals with people who cannot be trusted, because they are keen only on their own interests.
    Choices have consequences.
  • Look before you leap.  (2 x1 = 2 marks)
4   (a)
  1. What my problem is, is your wrong attitude/ What I have a problem with is your wrong attitude.
  2. You need not argue about it.
  3. Your car has been being repaired by Jane
  1. His pronunciation did not make sense to the audience.
  2. The collision of the two lorries could have been avoided if the drivers had been more careful.
  3. God's power is incomparable.
  1. You and me
  2. You and I
  3. You and me
  1. I smell a rat
  2. He really gets on my nerves
  3. do not sell yourself short.
  1.  on
  2. over/about/on
  3. into
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