Part I : Passage analysis

Directions: Comment on the significance of the following passages taken from the text. Be careful not merely to summarize. Instead, explain why these lines are important to the work as a whole and how their significance becomes apparent to the reader. An effective response will make a strong point about the passage AND support that point by referring directly to the language used in the passage.


In addition, briefly inform your reader of the title of the work, author’s name, country of origin, year of publication, and the context in which the passage appears—who is speaking, to whom, in what situation, etc. Aim for a long paragraph for each response (about 8 to10 sentences).


  1. Passage from “The Headstrong Historian” (2008) by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

(I uploaded the whole text as a pdf file)


The day the white men visited her clan, Nwamgba left the pot she was about to put in her oven, took Anikwenwa and her girl apprentices, and hurried to the square. She was at first disappointed by the ordinariness of the two white men; they were harmless-looking, the color of albinos, with frail and slender limbs. Their companions were normal men, but there was something foreign about them, too: only one spoke Igbo, and with a strange accent. He said that he was from Elele, the other normal men were from Sierra Leone, and the white men from France, far across the sea. They were all of the Holy Ghost Congregation, had arrived in Onicha in 1885, and were building their school and church there. Nwamgba was the first to ask a question: Had they brought their guns, by any chance, the ones used to destroy the people of Agueke, and could she see one? The man said unhappily that it was the soldiers of the British government and the merchants of the Royal Niger Company who destroyed villages; they, instead, brought good news. He spoke about their god, who had come to the world to die, and who had a son but no wife, and who was three but also one. Many of the people around Nwamgba laughed loudly. Some walked away, because they had imagined that the white man was full of wisdom. Others stayed and offered cool bowls of water.


  1. Lines from “I’m Explaining a Few Things” (1937) by Pablo Neruda

Full Poem:




see my dead house,

look at broken Spain:

from every house burning metal flows

instead of flowers,

from every socket of Spain

Spain emerges

and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,

and from every crime bullets are born

which will one day find

the bull’s eye of your hearts.


And you’ll ask: why doesn’t his poetry

speak of dreams and leaves

and the great volcanoes of his native land?


Come and see the blood in the streets.

Come and see

The blood in the streets.

Come and see the blood

In the streets!