English Study Notes Form 6 English Language Notes Msomi Maktaba All Notes


             HOW TO COMPOSE A POEM

      For a person to compose a good poem one must know all the features of poetry.

     –  Select a suitable title of your poem in a  condensed way but gives summary of your poem.
– Know the type of the poem you are composing.
– Pack your massages in verses. Note that a verse/ line in a poem is not necessarily to be a sentence.

      – Use words economically so words that are metaphorical or symbolic are inevitable. AS the poet you need to use words that you think earn best present the message you intended to

-Use imagery to appeal at least one of the five senses of organ such as touch. hears, smell, see, and test. These words are as important as they act as spices in your work.

-Reread the poem see to how it produces the rhythm.

     Compose a lyric poem.


These are the key concepts to consider when analyzing literary work. Any literary work must have form and content. There is no way one can separate the two concepts understanding form and content will help you to produce your own literary works and easily decipher. The works produced by other artists.

  1. FORM:


This part contains all techniques used by the artist for artistic effect. In this part the artist choose the best techniques that will enable him/her to decipher the message to the readers/ audience. It is impossible for the work of art to exist without form.

     Form contains the following elements style, plot, flashback, foreshadowing, Characters, suspend, language, setting, point of view etc. Through these elements and artist communicate to
his/her reader’s listeners or viewers.

        i) STYLE

This is the way the author decide to present his/her work, in this; every author has his/her unique way of writing. For instance Ngugi wa Thing’o in his novel “Grain of wheat” uses biblical quotation. So if you observe. Many works of Ngugi you will conclude that Ngugi prefer biblical question in his work that been the case we say this is Ngugi style.

      Not only that but also Chinua Achebe has the tendency of using Igbo proverbs, vocabularies and mixing of languages so again this is Achebe’s Style.

      Generally, style can be achieved by choice of vocabularies, use of certain figure of speech, incorporating feature of Oral literature like songs, proverbs and other Oral literature genres.

       NB: One can be in a good position to say, this is a style of a certain author only if one has gone a number of readings of that  particular author.


    This is the technique by the hint of the action which will follow later in the story is given. For example you may be reading a play and find some where a Knife is show. As we continue reading it
we find that one of the characters has used it to kill him/herself. The we conduce that it is a fore shadowing.


This can be described in-terms, of place and time Basing on the occurrence of events presented in the work, so setting depends on time and place for example the novel “The Beautiful. Ones are  not yet. Born” is set in Ghana offer independence. There are clues that can help a student/ reader to identify the setting of a particular work. As follow:-

–  Actual names of place and people.

– Physical features

– The actual history of the place

-Social context in which events take place e.g. church, school, Wedding ceremony.

-The authors name and history. E.g.:- Atufigwegwe, Mwaifuge, Twikasige etc.

-The culture of people at that particular place described. E.g.:- Type of food eaten, type of clothes worn, economic activities carried out, ways of worshiping, type of dances, the way people
marry and bury dead bodies etc

– So there are some of the clues that can assist learns to identify the setting of a given literary work.

   iv) PLOT

This is the arrangement of e vents in a literary work. Plot out to have unit, means incidents are supposed to be arranged in a good mariner to shed how those incidents are related.
Plot may be chronological or mixed up chronological in the sense that incident are arranges in series basing on the way they occurred ie from he beginning to the end (1, 2, 3, 4…)

Mixed plot means that incidents are not arranged chronologically not in series. In this you may find the incident that supposes to be presented at the beginning is found at the end or middle. For ex ample you may be introduced the death of a certain main character then about his/her birth and at the end about his/her diseases.

Plot has five stages/ parts these are expository, rising action/ confrontations, climax/ point of not he turn, falling action and resolution.

Thus, Dramatic plot has the following structure. Point of no return/climax.

NB: If the work of art follow this sequence e then it is chronological plot the viscera is also true.


Is a person or thing that given a role to play in a literary work. In a novel or play there are people who carry the message of the artists so through these people we understand what the artist wants to tell us.

Is the process of giving attributes to a character or an artist gives attribute to a character keenly so as to enreach the intended massage to the reader/ listeners/ viewers or the society at large.


– Prot agonist and antagonist

-Dynamic and static

-Main and minor.

       vi) SUSPENSE

           This is a technique where by an artist create anxiety to the reader. The reader may have the desire to see what will be the result unexpected he/she introduces a new incident that means the
previous incidence has been suspended. By doing so the artist has caused anxiety  to the reader as he/she will be eagerly to follow the story so as to know the result of the suspended incidence.

This refers to the angle at which we view the story or vantage point from which a story is told in other words it is a camera to the reader. This helps the narrator to narrate the story.

    The story can be told in the first person where the narrator uses the pronoun I/ We. Sometime it can be told in the third person where the narrator uses he/she or they. Third person can be
omniscient or limited. When the narrator knows all about the character is called third person omniscient that means the narrator has the ability to describe the thoughts of characters.
The narrator is said to be Limited of he/she can only tell the action done by the character i.e. the narrator does not know more about them.


          “No Iterative in the obscene of language “This is due to the fact that iterative uses language to convey message to the society. It is said that Language is the vehicle of information transfer in

–  Language is the source of pleasure in literature because most of the enjoyment that we find in literary work largely depends on artistic use of language.

      – Literature helps people to improve other language skills eg reading skill, listening skills etc.


This refers to the way the artist: use language so creatively to convey rarities of message. Under form we came to prove that literature uses language artistically as it uses figure of speech. The divergence of language from normal use for the purpose of achieving a certain effect in what we call figure of speech.

      The following are the figures of speech that are commonly used literature.


Is the use of particular vocabulary in piece of writing to present through, emotions and sensory experience and produce a mental picture? Imager appeals to at least one of the five senses i.e. touch, smell, tested, hear and see.


Saying the opposite of what is met three types of it are:-

i) Dramatic Irony

      ii) Verbal Irony

      iii) Situation Irony

Example of Verbal irony

“What a beautiful day “Maxine Said, opening her umbrella.

Situation Irony; this is when the result or ending come in opposite way than people or audience expected to be.

Dramatic Iron. This is the situation where by the reader/audience knows the truth about the characters while characters themselves are not aware or are ignorance of what is going on. Character can considered good while he/she is bad and vice versa.


Is the situation where by inanimate or abstract things are given qualities or attributes of a human being.

For example:    – The house pleaded for a new coat of point
– We could hear the singing of water streams as we walked in the forest
– The trees were whispering as the wind blew.


Is a form of verbal Irony that insults a person with insincere praise.

For example: If a student comes late in class and the teacher says; I congratulate you for coming to class on time.


This is another form of Irony it uses humor and wit to criticize a person or a community in order to improve that person or the situation. For example most of the political cartoon and frequently original comedy use satire.


Is the direct comparison of two dissimilar things by using conjunctions such as like, as ….. as an than

For example: – She is as beautiful as an angel
– his hand was small and cold, if felt like wax
– In the morning the dust hung like fog.

g)      METAPHOR

Is a comparison in which two dissimilar things are compared by one being given the attribute of the other.This is indirect comparison with out using words like , ‘as as…. as’…  “than’,or ‘like’.

 E g:- She is an angel
– In battle the soldier is a tiger
– Michael’s face is a map of Ireland

h)     PARADOX

Is a statement that seems absurd / contradictory that may actually be true. For example:-

     -For slaves, life was death and death was life.

    – They call him a lion, but in the boxing the lion was a lamb.

    i)   OXYMORON

   This is the combination of contradiction words to reveal a truth. Oxymoron is a form of paradox; however ulike paradox, Oxymoron places opposing words side by. For example;

    – Parting is such sweet sorrow

     – The hurricane turned the lush Island strict into a hellish paradise.


    Is the deliberately use of exaggeration or elevate an in order to give emphasis.

   For example:-

            -There are thousands of students in my class

             -Hyperbole is a way of speaking or writing that makes something sound better, more exciting dangerous, etc than it really is


 Is deliberately avoidance of stressing points this treats serious matters as if they are minor or normal things. It also sounds as a form of Irony because it intends to mean the opposite of what it


Is the figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole.

   E.g.:- Many hands make light work.
(Hands stand for workers)
– Jack bought a new set of wheels
(wheels stand for a car)

      m)  SYMBOLISM

Is the use of symbols to represent ideas?
Is a way of representing an important idea/ issue using abject or thing.

A symbol is something that exists and stands for/represents something etc

        -For example in some context cross stands for Christianity

       -In other context a lion may be a symbol for bravery.

Is form so important I literacy work? Why?



This is what is being said or conveyed in literary work. Content is what is said or written about

in the book, an article, a programmed, a speech etc.
Content literary work includes:-

  • Themes
  • Messages
  • Conflicts
  • Prologue and
  • Crisis


    Is the subject or main idea in a talk, piece of writing or work of art It is an abstract concept that is made concrete through its representation in person, action, image in the work of art. It is the basic or general idea expressed in the book.

    The following are the main themes in African literature (common themes in African Literature)

  • African traditions
  • Betrayal
  • Position of women
  • Corruption
  • Love
  • Protest
  • Self-awareness (Consciousness)
  • Unemployment
  • Classes

    Others are:

  • Racism
  • Violence
  • Oppression
  • Unity
  • Torture
  • Colonialism

    is a main ides that the author wants the readers to understand from what they read? It is actually something that the artist wants the readers to do after reading the work. So we conclude that message is a kind of an appeal that tells readers what action to take after reading the work
    E.g.:- We should struggle for our development
    – We should fight against corruption for the betterment of our society.
    – People should struggle and stand for their rights


    A lesson is something especially moral that we learn from a literary work. Lessons are deduces from what befall characters in the work. So a literary work is hardly read without a lesson being learnt

     Eg:- In “A man of the people” we may leer that living corrupt life like that of chief Nanga has a bad ending


    Is the misunderstand between two parts or two people or an individual. There may be conflict between characters and their environment or circumstances or a character may be at war with himself, feeling an internal struggle between conflicting ideas, thoughts or feelings.

    Types of conflicts

  • Social conflict     e.g – Family conflict
  • Political conflict e.g – ruling party Vs opposing party
  • Economic conflict e.g – the reach against the poor.
  • Personal conflict e.g – internal feelings, ideas, thoughts etc
  • Philosophical conflict e.g idea Vs idea, feelings Vs feelings.


    Time of great danger difficultly or confusion when problems must be solved or important decisions must be made. E.g:- A political / financial/ economic crisis


    A speech, etc. at the beginning of a play, book or film/ movie that introduce it.

    Functions of literature

    1        Entertain

    2        Educate

    3        Bring sense of awareness to people about issues.

    4        Bring up skill of language (writing, reading, and speaking)

    5        Maintain goods traditional values

    6        Instil revolutionary attitudes in peoples’ minds.

    7        To criticize society wrong doings

    8        To promote skills like participation (acting)

    9        To promotes cultural identity

    10      Promotes the growth of a language

    11      Promotes critical thinking & problem solving skills

    12      To console people about problems affecting their society

    13       It makes people share various aspects of life.



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