Comprehensive Literature Syllabus for JAMB 2017

There is now a sign of relief among students who will be sitting for the 2017 Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME), following the recent announcement of the date for the examination by the board. Students who had backed out or lost interest in the examination due to the delay in the announcement of the date of examination should fasten their seat belts and get themselves well equipped in order to come out in flying colours. In other words, it is time study in order to show thyself approved, come May, 2017.

For those who will be writing Literature, here is a comprehensive syllabus of the subject.

a. Types:
i. Tragedy
ii. Comedy
iv. Melodrama
v. Farce
vi. Opera etc.
b. Dramatic Techniques
  • Characterisation
  • Dialogue. 
  • Flashback
  • Mime
  • Costume
  • Music/Dance
  • Decor/scenery
  • Acts/Scenes
  • Soliloquy/aside
  • Lighting etc.
 c. Interpretation of the Prescribed Texts
  • Theme
  • Plot
  • Socio-political context
  • Setting
Objectives of the Drama Genre
Candidates should be able to:
  • Identify the various types of drama;
  • Analyse the contents of the various types of drama;
  • Compare and contrast the features of different dramatic types;
  • Demonstrate adequate knowledge of dramatic techniques used in each prescribed text;
  • Differentiate between styles of selected playwrights;
  • Determine the theme of any prescribed text;
  • Identify the plot of the play;
  • Apply the lessons of the play to everyday living
  • Identify the spatial and temporal setting of the play.
a. Types:
i. Fiction
  • *Novel
  • *Novella/Novelette
  • *Short story
ii. Non-fiction
  • *Biography
  • *Autobiography
  • *Memoir
iii. Faction: combination of fact and fiction.
b. Narrative Techniques/Devices:
i. Point of view
  • *Omniscient/Third Person
  • *First Person
ii. Characterisation
  • Round
  • Flat
  • Foil
  • Hero
  • Antihero etc
iii. Language
c. Textual Analysis
  • Theme
  • Plot 
  • Setting (Temporal/Spatial)
  • Socio-political context
Objectives of the Prose Genre
Candidates should be able to:
  • Differentiate between types of prose;
  • Identify the category that each prescribed text belongs to;
  • Analyse the components of each type of prose;
  • Identify the narrative techniques used in each of the prescribed texts;
  • Determine an author’s narrative style;
  • Distinguish between one type of character from another;
  • Determine the thematic pre-occupation of the author of the prescribed text;
  • Indicate the plot of the novel; identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel.
  • Identify the temporal and spatial setting of the novel
  • Relate the prescribed text to real life situations.
a. Types:
  • Sonnet
  • Ode
  • Lyrics
  • Elegy
  • Ballad
  • Panegyric
  • Epic
  • Blank Verse, etc.
b. Poetic devices
  • Structure
  • Imagery
  • Sound(Rhyme/Rhythm, repetition, pun, onomatopoeia, etc.)
  • Diction 
  • Persona
c. Appreciation
  • Thematic preoccupation
  • Socio-political relevance
  • Style
Objectives Of The Poetry Genre
Candidates should be able to:
  • Identify different types of poetry;
  • Compare and contrast the features of different poetic types:
  • Determine the devices used by various poets;
  • Show how poetic devices are used for aesthetic effect in each poem;
  • Deduce the poet’s preoccupation from the poem;
  • Appraise poetry as an art with moral values;
  • Apply the lessons from the poem to real life situations.
a. Literary terms:
Foreshadowing, suspense, theatre, monologue, dialogue, soliloquy, symbolism, protagonist, antagonist, figures of speech, satire, stream of consciousness, synecdoche, metonymy, etc,
in addition to those listed above under the different genres.
b. Literary principles
  • Direct imitation in play;
  • Versification in drama and poetry;
  • Narration of people’s experiences;
  • Achievement of aesthetic value, etc.
c. Relationship between literary terms and principles.

Objectives of General Literary Principle
Candidates should be able to:
  • Identify literary terms in drama, prose and poetry;
  • Identify the general principles of Literature;
  • Differentiate between literary terms and principles;
  • Use literary terms appropriately.
Unseen passages/extracts from Drama, Prose and Poetry.
Candidates should be able to:
  • Determine literary devices used in a given passage/extract;
  • Provide a meaningful interpretation of the given passage/extract;
  • Relate the extract to true life experiences.
  • Frank Ogodo Ogbeche : Harvest of Corruption
Non African:
  • William Shakespeare : Othello
  • Amma Darko : Faceless
  • Bayo Adebowale : Lonely Days
  • Richard Wright : Native Son
  • Birago Diop : Vanity
  • Gbemisola Adeoti : Ambush
  • Gabriel Okara : Piano and Drums
  • Gbanabam Hallowell : The Dining Table
  • Lenrie Peter : The Panic of Growing Older
  • Kofi Awoonor : The Anvil and the Hammer
Non African:
  • Alfred Tennyson : Crossing the Bar
  • George Herbert : The Pulley
  • William Blake : The School Boy
  • William Morris : The Proud King
1. Anthologies
  • Gbemisola, A. (2005)Naked Soles. Ibadan: Kraft
  • Hayward, J. (ed.) (1968) The Penguin Book of English Verse. London: Penguin
  • Johnson, R. et al (eds.) (1996) New Poetry from Africa. Ibadan: UP Plc
  • Kermode, F. et al (1964) Oxford Anthology of English Literature. Vol. II, London: OUP
  • Nwoga D. (ed.) (1967) West African Verse. London: Longman
  • Senanu, K. E. and Vincent, T. (eds.) (1993) A Selection of African Poetry. Lagos: Longman
  • Soyinka, W. (ed.) (1987) Poems of Black Africa. Ibadan: Heinemann
2. Critical Texts
  • Abrams, M. H. (1981) A Glossary of Literary Terms. (4th Edition) New York, Holt.
  • Emeaba, O. E. (1982) A Dictionary of Literature. Aba: Inteks Press.
  • Murphy, M. J. (1972) Understanding Unseen: An Introduction to English Poetry and English Novel for Overseas Students. George Allen and Unwin Ltd.

Tamuno Reuben

Those who seek knowledge seek power because the pen is mightier than the sword.

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