The Death of Popular Fiction Writer Cyprian Ekwensi is a Big Loss to African Literature

Cyprian Ekwensi (September 26, 1921 – November 4, 2007), one of the grand old men of African fiction-and one of the few who made the transition from Onitsha-market-pamphlet-fiction to an author with at least something of an international reputation passed away as The Literary Saloon announced on Sunday 4th of November in Enugu at the age of 86. DARKNESS fell again in the Nigerian literary firmament .. when veteran novelist, pharmacist and public commentator, Cyprian Ekwensi passed on. So another Lagos-based paper The Guardian announced this sad event.

The author of the popular Jagua Nana series of novels died at the Niger Foundation in Enugu where he he had undergone an operation for an undisclosed ailment.

He is the author of the earliest published fiction depicting social life in the Lagos Metropolis with his down-to-earth style of writing and his prolific output, with over 20 novels to his credit. Ekwensi thus became celebrated as the ancestor of the city novel, which stressed ample description of the locale with a largely episodic style drawn from his earlier pamphleteering.

Mrs. Ekwensi, who is in her late 60’s said that she cut short her visit overseas after spending two weeks to fly him from Lagos back to Enugu, adding that in the last one month, they had regularly visited the hospital. “Since we left Lagos, we have not rested. It is from one thing to another …”, she said.

Mrs. Ekwensi, who reeled in waist pain as she told her story, disclosed that the pains increased during their long days at the hospital, while attending to her husband. “The hospital bench became my bed,” she complained adding that her husband’s condition remained critical until his death. The deceased’s eldest son, George who flew in from the U.S. when he learnt about his father’s ailment, began consultations with relations and notable indigenes of Anambra State on burial plans.

Speaking with the Daily Sun, the novelist’s son, Ike, noted that his father’s burial would not be determined by family members only, considering his outstanding contributions to national development.

Ekwensi was due for an award in Lagos, on November 16. He had left Lagos in good spirit a month before with the hope of picking the award later not knowing that he would not make it.

Following the death of this renowned novelist , the Anambra State Governor, Mr. Peter Obi, apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, past and present governors, ministers of government, writers and All Progressive Grand Alliance have expressed shock over his demise.

They described Ekwensi’s death as a great loss to Nigeria and the entire literary world. Factional President-General of Ohanaeze, Dozie Ikedife, said a great Igbo son had departed, stressing that he left enviable legacies that would last for generations to come. “It is a pity. He is one of the greatest authors of our time. . . . He has been around for sometime….Nigerians and the entire literary world will definitely miss him. . . .,” he said. Ikedife urged the family to bear the loss with fortitude, trusting in God and believing that he had contributed his best to writing and social engineering.

The governor said Ekwensi’s death has created a gap in the state and in the literary world and made assurances that the state government would fully participate in the burial arrangements. Being a traditional chief and titleholder, Ekwensi’s family will first meet before officially communicating the news of his passing to the government.

In his tribute, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance Chief Victor Umeh said Ekwensi’s death has robbed Nigeria, of one of the greatest literary minds to have passed through the land. He observed that his works had contributed immensely to the development of literature in Nigeria, adding that he would be greatly missed by all Nigerians.

Former Health Minister, Professor A.B.C Nwosu recalling that the late literary icon who had started life as a pharmacist, played a crucial role in the eradication of the then dreaded guinea worm disease in old Anambra state as chairman of the state Health Management Board at the time when he (Nwosu) was Commissioner for Health said he would find it difficult to refer to Ekwensi in the past tense, having become used to his resourcefulness as both a writer and administrator.

“It is a terrible blow. . . . He gave me the slogan ‘Get rid of guinea worm’ when he was chairman Anambra State Health Management Board and I was Commissioner for Health under the late Emeka Omeruah. We traversed the whole of Abakaliki area in the quest to kick out guinea worm. He helped me get funds from Japan to finance the project. We both received former American President Jimmy Carter. A fine man with a fine mind. . . .” Nwosu added.

Former Governor of Old Anambra State, Chief Christian Onoh also described Ekwensi’s demise as a big blow to the literary world. Onoh, among the first set of people that paid a sympathy visit to the Hill view Crescent, Independence layout, Enugu residence of the late prolific writer, said that, the news came to him with rude shock, expressing dismay that Ekwensi could die at a time when according to him, ” we need him around to reform our education”.

Clad in white lace, the elder statesman, said he was however consoled by the fact that the late Ekwensi never wasted his time on earth, adding that his contributions to the literary world would live forever. He said that, Ekwensi who authored many literary books, lived and died for writing and extended his sympathies to the Nigerian literary world as well as the entire south East.

The Minister of Information, Mr John Odey described the late “Ekwensi as a great contributor to the unity of Nigeria and the development of literary education in the country”.

The message reads: “the Federal Government received the news of the sudden death of a prominent citizen of your state and a reputable literary icon of this country, Chief Cyprian Ekwensi, with sadness. “I am particularly touched by his death because of his having served as a staff of my ministry where he rose to become a Director”.

Reacting to the death of the novelist, National President, Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Dr. Wale Okediran, said, “his death, though at a ripe age, marked the end of a tradition of story telling. As a writer of popular fiction, COD was a natural storyteller whose works were both accessible and entertaining.”

Okediran, who described the late Ekwensi as his teacher in the popular literature genre, said a structure in the proposed ANA village in Abuja would be named after him as part of ANA’s plan to immortalise him, adding that ANA would collaborate with the Nigerian arm of PEN, a global association of writers, to make available, a documentary made on Ekwensi to all Nigerians.

A former ANA President Professor Obafemi, on his part, said “Ekwensi’s loss is the loss of a key architect of modern Nigerian literature and the first to carve a national character for Nigerian fiction. He was one of those who erected the canon and pillars of popular fiction in Nigeria. His death has taken away an ancestral voice in the Nigerian creative cosmos.”

Professor Olu Obafemi described the late writer as a key figure in the establishment of what is now known as Nigerian literature. According to Obafemi, Ekwensi would forever be remembered as one of the oldest writers of the English expression who kept and gave national character to Nigerian literature. “Ekwensi’s death” he said ” is a major deprivation to Nigerian literature. He was one of the major architects of modern Nigerian literature, who, as early as in the 1950s and 1960s, began to write about issues and events beyond his ethnic background.

The assistant General Secretary of ANA, Mr Hyacinth Obunseh, described Ekwensi’s death as unfortunate. Obunseh said that the literary community and indeed the world would miss him especially for, his peculiar style of writing. “Ekwensi’s imaginative and descriptive power will be greatly missed,” Obunseh said.. He, however, regretted that the late literary giant did not live long enough to complete his autobiography.

Another writer, Fred Uzo, expressed the hope that Nigeria would “give him the honour that is due to a scholar, a writer and a humanist of his stature.”.

Earlier in 2007, Ekwensi released Cash on Delivery, a collection of short stories, which turned out to be his last book. When he turned 86 the previous year, the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Lagos State chapter and the Committee for Relevant Arts (CORA), feted him.

Told of the passing on of Ekwensi, poet and past president of ANA, Odia Ofeimu, was “shocked beyond words” to comment immediately.To the newly elected Lagos State ANA chairman, Mr. Chike Ofili, it was an unnerving piece of information. He too withheld his comments till later. When news of the death broke out Nigerian authors were rounding off their yearly convention held in Owerri, Imo State.

Cyprian Odiatu Duaka Ekwensi was born at Minna in Northern Nigeria on September 26, 1921 to Ogbuefi David Duaka and Uso Agnes Ekwensi. He later lived in Onitsha in the Eastern area.. He was educated at Government School, Jos, Government College, Ibadan; Higher College, Yaba in Lagos, Achimota College, Ghana, in lbadan University where he earned his B.A

He studied forestry and worked for two years as a forestry officer. He also taught science and worked for Radio Nigeria before entering the Lagos School of Pharmacy which led him on to the University of London where he continued his studies at the Chelsea School of Pharmacy It was during this period that he wrote his earliest fiction Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Tales and When Love Whispers both of which were published in 1947. He also participated in an international writing program in. University of Iowa, USA.

He lectured in pharmacy at Lagos and was employed as a pharmacist by the Nigerian Medical Corporation. After favorable reception of his early writing, Ekwensi joined the Nigerian Ministry for Information and rose to becoming the director of information by the time of the first military coup in 1966. The continuing disturbances in the Western and Northern regions in the summer of 1966, may have led Ekwensi to give up his position and relocate his family at Enugu. There he became chairman of the Bureau for External Publicity in Biafra and an adviser to the head of state, Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu.

Ekwensi began his writing career as a pamphleteer a fact which is clearly reflected in the episodic nature of his novels. This tendency is well illustrated by People of the City (1954)the first major novel to be published by a Nigerian, in which Ekwensi gave a vibrant portrait of life in a West African city. Two novellas for children followed in 1960; both The Drummer Boy and The Passport of Mallam Ilia which were exercises in blending traditional themes with undisguised romanticism.

Ekwensi’s most widely read novel, Jagua Nana,which appeared in 1961.returned to the locale of People of the City but boasted a much more cohesive plot centered on the character of Jagua, a courtesan who had a love for the expensive. Even her name was a corruption of the expensive English automobile. Her life personalized the conflict between the old traditional and modern urban Africa. Ekwensi published a sequel in 1987 titled Jagua Nana’s Daughter. Ekwensi stressed description of the locale and his episodic style was particularly well suited to the short story.

Burning Grass (1961) is basically a collection of vignettes about a Fulani family through which Ekwensi gives insight into the life of this pastoral people. Ekwensi based the novel and the characters on a real family with whom he had previously live. Between 1961 and 1966 Ekwensi published at least one major work every year. The most important were, Beautiful Feathers (1963) and Iska (1966), and two collections of short stories, Rainmaker (1965) and Lokotown (1966). Ekwensi continued to publish beyond the 1960s, with the novel Divided We Stand (1980) in which he lampooned the Nigerian civil war, the novella Motherless Baby (1980), and The Restless City and Christmas Gold (1975), Behind the Convent Wall (1987), and Gone to Mecca (1991). His work, Divided We Stand (1980), , is slated for discussion by literary experts in a conference on 40 years after the civil war.

Ekwensi also published a number works for children. Under the name C. O. D. Ekwensi, he released Ikolo the Wrestler and Other Ibo Tales (1947) and The Leopard’s Claw (1950). In the 1960s, he wrote An African Night’s Entertainment (1962), The Great Elephant-Bird (1965), and Trouble in Form Six (1966). Ekwensi’s later works for children include Coal Camp Boy (1971), Samankwe in the Strange Forest (1973), Samankwe and the Highway Robbers (1975), Masquerade Time! (1992), and King Forever! (1992). In recognition of his skills as a writer, Ekwensi was awarded the Dag Hammarskjold International Prize for Literary Merit in 1969.

Brief Persian History or Persian Literature

General Description

Persian history is one of the most ancient histories of the world. It produced a number of the classical and modern poet, who worked day and night for its survival. Persian formally has spoken in Iran, Afghanistan (Dari) and Tajikistan. Therefore, more than 110 million Persian speaking persons in the world.

The Origin Persian Language

The Persian language is one of the sweetest language in the world. It was an Indo-European tongue with close similarity with the oldest language Sanskrit and Avestan ( the language used in holy books of Zoroastrian’s). The language developed in Pars after the fall of Achaemenian’s government. This language regularly used there from Pahlavi era to Sassanian era. The books and other literature of this era are very rare, however, Ferdowsi (a renowned Persian poet) explained it in a better way in his book (Shah Namaeh-e-Ferdowsi).

Influence of Arabic Language

Arab conquests have conquered Pars and surroundings. They started rehabilitation in the area for the welfare of the public. Therefore, the Arabic language declared as the official language. They started their religious and academic education in the Arabic language. However, Pahlavi language was spoken in private life. The Arab conquests ruled over Pars for a century and a half. In this way, a large number of Arabic words emerged in Pahlavi and a new language came into being which is called Persian.

After fall of Arab rulers, Arabic continued in Iran at small scale because the other main learning language Latin was used in Europe. In this way, the Arabic gradually decreased. Despite the facts that famous religious scholars and Muslim scientists Abu Ali Sina (Avicenna), Al-Beroni, Rhazes, Al Ghazali and many other were also using Arabic. Persian language developed rapidly and become the vehicle of literature. Moreover, it spread towards the neighboring countries. Persian poets worked a lot for its promotion and the ruling class of sub-continent takes keen interest in Persian poetry. Mughal emperor Akbar adopt Persian as an official language.

Interest of Poets in Promotion of Persian Language

Persian scholars took the keen interest in promoting of Persian language and make it easy for readers. Moreover, Persian poets have also played a vital role in its promotion. Abu Abdullah Jaffar ibn-e-Muhammad Roudaki (born in 858 CE in Panjakent, Tajikistan and died in 941 CE) and Abu Mansoor Muhammad ibn-e -Ahmed Daqiqi Tusi (born in Tus, Iran) are the most prominent Persian poets. Roudaki is generally known as the first Persian poet.

The Ghaznavid and early Seljuq Periods

Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi was a brave Muslim king, who loves with scholars and eminent personalities. At about four hundred poets and eminent persons were attached with his office (DURBAR). The most notable poet of his presidency was Ansari (born in 961 at Balkh) Ferdowsi (born in 940 in a village Paj, near the city of Tus, Khurasan and died in 1020). Ferdowsi wrote Shahnamah in 25 years which contain complete Persian history. However, Farrukhi, Manouchehri and Asadi were also famous poets of Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi. Sultan Mahmood Ghaznavi served his nation in the field of education. He established a lot of libraries in each and every corner of his kingdom. Al Biruni was the most popular prose writer of Ghaznavid era, who wrote “Chronology of Ancient Nations” in Arabic.

Saljuqi Era

Saljuq era is the second classical period of Persian literature. It was the golden age of Persian prose and poetry in Persian history. Kemiya-e-Saadat (The Alchemy of Happiness) written by Imam Ghazali is one the most popular prose of this era. Some of the renowned books are as under:-

Siasat Nama. The book has been written by Nizam ul Mulk, who was a minister of Alp Arsalan and Malik Shah. It contain complete art of government and solution of political problems.

Qabus Nama. Baheeqi has explained the history of Ghaznavid era in this book.

Chahar Maqala. Nizami wrote Chahar Maqala means four discourses.

Kalila wa Dimna. Nasar Ullah has written this book. It contain the animal fables of Indian origin.

• Nasir-e-Khosrow.

Classical Persian Poets

Abu Moeen Hamid Uddin ibn Khosrow al-Qubadiani or Nasir-e-Khosrow (born in 1004 in village Qubadiyon, Bactria, Khorasan and died in 1088 at Yamgan, Afghanistan) was another brilliant writer of classical Persian history, who wrote more than fifteen books. However, less than half of these books have survived and available now. One of his famous book is Safar Nama, which contains the history of journey towards Egypt. He was an Ismaili Shia sect scholar, traveler and philosopher. His poetry and prose are famous for purity of language and dazzling of technical skill. The poems of Nasir are lengthy odes. Nasir wrote poems on religious and ethical topics.

Famous scholar Mirza Muhammad Qazvini says that name of Nasir Khosrow may also added in the list of top Persian poets i.e. Ferdowsi, Omar Khayyam, Anwari, Romi, Sheikh Saadi and Hafiz Sheerazi. Some of the other most prominent Persian poets are Ansari, Abu Said, Khawaqani, Nizami, Attar and Baba Tahir Uryian.

Poet of Force Theory

Omar Khayyam (Ghayas Uddin Abul Fateh Omer Ibrahim Khayyam Nishapuri) was born in 18 May 1048 at Nishapur, Khorasan and died in 4 December 1131. He was a great scholar, mathematician, astronomer and poet. Khayyam has openly criticized religious matters and personalities in his poetry. He has always referred and hailed himself as a great Sufi. The main theme of his poetry is hedonism tinged with a gentle sadness, the power of destiny and ultimate ignorance / unawareness of human beings. Therefore, his poetry was largely neglected in Iran till the end of nineteenth century on this account. However, Iranian realized the importance of Khayyam’s poetry when Fitzgerald translated it in the west.

Attached Classical Poets

Sanai is another great poet of classical Persian history who adopted the style of Nasir-e-Khosrow. Muaizi, Anwari and Khaqani are the other star poets of classical Persian history. They have written numerous books in Persian language. Most of their poetry contain on panegyric. The style of Anwari is comparatively difficult from all other the poets of same era. However, Khaqani is more mannered, who respected by all. He used technical language with great skill in his poetry. All these poets were popular in Iran but less appreciated in the west due to their technical language.

Nizami (Jamal Uddin Abu Muhammad Ilyas ibn Yousaf ibn Zaki) is another bright star and Sunni poet in classical Persian history. He was born in 1140 at Ganja, Caucasus and died in 1209. He was a creative poet and known as specialist of Khamsah or Quintet (series of five romantic poetry). Nizami wrote a mystical epic “Makhzan ul Asrar” or Treasure House of Secrets, romantic poetry “Khosro-o-Shireen” and Laila-o-Majnoon, story of great Alexander “Sikandar Namah” and Haft Paikar which contain the history of Bahram Gur. These books are very popular in Iran because of its romantic, colourful and original writing style.

Abu Hamid bin Abu Bakar Ibrahim alias Farid Uddin Attar (born in 1145 in Nishapur and died in 1220 Khorasan). He was a great Sufi, religious and didactic poet in classical Persian history. Historians are on the opinion that he was born probably in 1136 (not conform). Manteq-ut-Tair is one of his most popular book. Fitzgerald translated this book as “The Bird Parliament”. Attar has explained the story of birds symbolically for union of human beings with God in a great fun. He gave an example of Semorgh (bird) in his book, who wish to make their king.

Persian History in Thirteenth Century

Ashraf Uddin Mosleh Uddin Saadi known as Sheikh Saadi and Maulana Jalal Uddin Romi were the most popular Sunni Sufi poets of thirteen century in Persian history. Sheikh Saadi was born in Shiraz town of Iran. His exact date of birth is not known, however, the modern history writers of Iran says that Saadi was born in 1184 AD and died in between 691 to 694 AH. The historian says that Sheikh Saadi has spent his life in four parts. Sheikh Saadi studied for 30 years, then he travelled the world for 30 years, then he spent 30 years in writing of books and poetry and the remaining life was spent in recluse and theosophy.

Jalal uddin Rumi

Jalal Uddin Muhammad Rumi known as Maulan Rumi was born on 30 September 1207 in Balkh (presently a northern province of Afghanistan) and died on 17 December 1273. He belongs to an Arab clan, who were popular for their religious services. “MASNAVI MAANAVI” was his famous book which was completed in ten years. He known Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Greek languages.

Hameed Ullah Mostofi was also a renowned author of Persian history. He wrote history and geography. “Zafar Namah” or Book of Victory is his renowned book which comprises of 75,000 couplets. Nasir Uddin Tusi is also a well-known Persian poet who wrote on philosophy and logic. The other three popular poets of thirteenth century are Iraqi who wrote a mystical and spiritual book “LAMAAT” or Flashes.

Abdul Hassan Yamin Uddin Khosrow alias Ameer Khosrow was born in 1253 at Patiyali Sultanate Dehli, presently Uterpardesh India and died October 1325 in Delhi India. Khosrow wrote in Persian, Arabic and Hindi languages. He was famous for his sweet language and also called as “The parrot of India”. At last a satirist poet Zakani is also the most favourite poet of thirteenth century.

The Fifteenth Century onwards

Fifteenth century of Persian history is rich in provision of notable historians and poets. Nizam Uddin Shami the author of Zafar Namah (a history of Taimur), Yazdi, Hafiz Abru, Khafi, Dawlat Shah and Mir Khand (author of Rauzat-us-Safa or Garden of Purity) Dawani (author of Akhlaq-e-Jalali), Kashafi (author of Kalila wa Dimna also known as Anwar-e-Subaili or the Lights of Canopus). The prominent poets of fifteenth century are Sufi Maghribi, Qasim-e-Anwar, Katibi, Nemat Ullah Wali and Jami.

Noor Uddin Abdul Rahman Jami is regarded as last eminent figure of classical Persian literature in Persian history. He was born in 1414 at Nishapur, Khorasan and died on 19 November 1492 in Herat, Afghanistan. Jami wrote more than forty five precious books. Some of his famous books are “Baharistan”, “Yousaf-wa-Zulaikha”, “Suleman-wa-Absal”, “Lawaih”, the precious pearl, and “Laila-wa-Majnoon”. Persian poetry fallen into decline after the sudden death of Jami. Jame was a great loss for Persian poetry.

Hatif was another promising romantic and historical poet in Persian history. He was the promising nephew of Maulana Rumi, who deeply inspired from him. Other followers of Rumi were Asifi, Fighani (known as “the little Hafiz”, Ahli and the Sufi poet Hilali. Khairati, Qasmimi, Kashi, Shani, Fasihi and Shafai are the famous Persian poets of sixteenth century.

Prominent Poets

Mirza Muhammad Ali Saeb Tabraizi, the next prominent and educated poet of seventeenth century who considered as best Persian poet after Maulana Jami in Persian history. A bright minded and original Persian poet in Persian history. He was born at Isfahan, Iran in 1602 and died in 1677. Saeb also remain attached with court (DARBAR) of Mughal emperor Shah Jehan in India but soon returned to Iran and joined the court of Shah Abbas II. He worked hard on relate of modern poetry with old forms and created a new school.

Azhar is one of his follower in eighteenth century, who was famous for tremendous prose writing. He wrote Atesh Kadah (the place of fire-worship), which contain biographies of more than eight hundred poets. Azhar also wrote a Divan and a romantic epic. He wrote a lot on history and autobiographies of poets and monarchs / rulers.

Saba was the laureate poet of second Qajar Irani emperor Fateh Ali Shah, who ruled Iran from June 1779 to October 1834. Saba was the eminent poet of nineteenth century in Persian history. He wrote a divan and Shahan Shah Namah. Mirza Habib Ullah Shirazi alias Qaani is another intelligent, outstanding and well-known poet of Qajar era in Persian history. He was born in 1223 AH in Shiraz and died in Tehran in 1270 AH, who wrote renowned book titled PARESHAN. Qaani also knows Arabic, English, French languages along with Persian language.

Modern Persian Poets or Revival of Persian Literature

Revival of Persian literature stated from early twentieth century. Prince Iraj Mirza has participated a lot in its revival. Iraj was a great and talented Persian poet in Persian history. He was born in October 1874 in Tabraiz, the capital Azarbaijan (presently east Azarbaijan) and died in March 1926. Iraj Mirza worked for freedom of women. The other prominent Persian poets of twentieth are Adib, Bahar, Lahuti, Shahryar, Aref and the poetess Parvin E’tesami.

The Persian poets of most modern era Nima Yoshij, Raadi, Khanlari, Islami, Gulchin, Ahmed Shamlou, Mehdi Akhavan Sales, Masood Farzad, Sohrab Sepehri, Fereedon, Moshiri, Sadiq Hadayat, Samad Behrangi and Sadiq Choubak. The modern prominent lady poets of modern era are Forough Farrukhzad.

Preparatory Crash Course in Literature for High School Students in the Philippines

In the Philippines today the length of Primary and Secondary schools is being debated whether to add another two more years in the usual six years primary and four years secondary, making secondary also six years for a total of twelve years in preparation to college education. School principals and teachers alike are divided. Paying parents in the privates schools are resistant while even non-paying parents in the public schools raise their brows on the plan of the government. Many sectors question the program for that would mean paying more and staying longer in school. Parents want their kids to finish school right away so that their children can help them alleviate their poverty. So what’s the use of adding years in the 100-year long educational system when Filipino graduates all over the world are competitive. Below is a proposal based from a study the writer conducted on the Language and Literature program of Famy National High School Laguna, Philippines on the possible solution to help the lack of students preparation and exposure to Literature before they go to tertiary or higher education sans the issue of adding number of years in the secondary school.


After scanning the environment of the students, teachers and the materials available in Famy National High School in Laguna Philippines they both used when they had the English 4, the proponent saw the needs to prepare the fresh graduates from the Famy National High School by giving a preparatory crash course program in Literature to prepare them for the demands and rigors of college Literature courses.

The fourth-year high school students did not have enough exposure in learning Literature because the book they used entitled Moving Ahead in English published in 1999 which was framed on integrative approach hence, mastery of the four macro skills was emphasized throughout the year. The lessons they had in Literature was a mixed of World Literature, Asian Literature and Philippine Literature given after each lesson. Their exposure on Literature was not based on a solid foundation because the focus was more on language and not on Literature. Out of seven lessons, one was only given to Literature with questions focusing on the moral or didactic lessons. The students themselves looked at Literature as springboard lessons to language lessons without value for it as an art form.

The two teachers themselves assigned in teaching the fourth year were passionate teachers teaching the language lessons but they become less energetic when they reach the Literature lessons because students did not read. One teacher was BSE major in English graduate from Union College of Sta. Cruz, Laguna and the other was unit earner in Education with a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy. Both seldom attend seminars on the recent trends and issues in teaching Literature because of the scarcity of financial support from the school. Hence, their knowledge and strategies were based from their old undergraduate schema.

With these problems, the proponent indeed saw the needs of preparing the students through a crash course program in Literature with the following reasons:

1. inform students about the basics of Literature they never had in high school; 2. discuss literature, not as a springboard of language lessons, but as it is as an art; 3. prepare students to the demands of Literature courses in College and 4. immerse students on the recent trends, strategies and issues in learning Literature.

B. DESCRIPTION OF THE PROGRAM: The crash course program in Literature primarily aims to prepare the incoming freshmen to College Literature courses that they never learned or encountered much in high school, not because they were not taught, but because the approach then was integrative of the four macro skills and Literature was used as springboard to language lessons. The crash course discusses the basics of Literature from concepts, theories, use of strategies, trends and issues in learning literature applied altogether in teaching the students. The program is only a crash course to be delivered in 45 hours with 3 hours per lesson. The fifteen-day sessions either in MWF (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) or TThS (Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday) schedules are devoted to classroom discussion and other recent activities that culminate in a variety show of poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation, activities which are also performed in college. It is in MWF or TThS schedule to give students time to read and accomplish their assignments on the lessons before coming to class.

C. PROPONENT OF THE PROGRAM The proponent of the program is Wilfredo M. Valois who is a current student in Doctor of Philosophy major in Literature at the Philippine Normal University, Manila. He has been teaching Literature subjects at the Royal and Pontifical University of Sto. Tomas (UST), Manila for twelve (12) years. He has taught subjects like Philippine Literature in English, Introduction to Literature and Classical World Literature.

D. FRAMEWORK OF THE PROGRAM With the advent of technology specifically the television, radio and internet, people have become less receptive to what is going on around them, rather, they become more dependent on what they watch, they see and what they hear rather than what they read. People’s vision is blurred by the comfort what technology gives them hence forgetting the value of reading, the value of Literature. In the academe, with the focus on the communicative competence and other ever-changing approaches and theories, the teaching and learning of Literature is often dwarfed, minimized or even abandoned by many schools.

Carolina Garcia and Ophelia Diamante reminded readers that Literature must inform and entertain. A good literature must be able to awaken people from ignorance to enlightenment. Furthermore, they said that literature must have intellectual value, emotional value, spiritual value, universality, permanence, style and most of all artistry.

Similarly, Edilberto Tiempo says that literature or good literature is intended to move, it must seduce but a work’s emotive quality must not assault the sensibility, it must be ungirded by reasonableness, by logic, it must complement and satisfy the intellect, it must have the inevitability.

The criteria on how the literary selections in this crash course program on Literature were based from Jose Garcia Villa’s criteria as cited by Edilberto K. Tiempo’s suggestions on what should be included in any anthology of Literature. They are substance and form. Jose Garcia villa said that he followed double standard of form and substance. Substance requires vitality of subject and significant selection of facts. Genuine substance is achieved only when a pulse beats through the correlated facts, for significant substance alone, if without beat of life, remain dead substance. To achieve validity, therefore, substance in fiction should be living as well as significant. The second test is form. It requires vigor of structure although form and substance in literature are a creative one and they are indivisible, still they are distinct. Thus making feasible this test of form. Form, in literature, is the adequate and beautiful externalization of substance. It is not restrictive, mold, but is free, yet artistically disciplined presentation of substance.

Literature liberates the mind and spirit as one reads through the pages. The experience one has in looking at a painting, listening to a classical music or a moving performance in a theatre is similar to the reading of a literary text. It moves the mind to think critically. It touches the heart with that emotive power when one reads poetry or reads a play. All these effects and more are experienced by readers or learners including the enthusiasts when they are arrested by powerful literary texts with beautiful form and substance.

Literature is an instrument to fight illiteracy. People have become dependent on moving pictures and flashed items that they tend to read less. People have become lazy readers if not none readers at all, hence elevating our status of illiteracy. Thanks to the government’s effort in putting Alternative Learning System or ALS in various municipalities and barangays where teachers educate the illiterates. But the efforts are geared towards economic and not artistic. Hence, the debate on the conflict between “art for art’s sake” (autonomy of the art) and “art for social awareness” (proletariat literature) is once again high. The crash course provides an answer to this debate as it hinges on bridging the gap and conflict between the autonomy of art and social awakening by giving students the artistic literary texts that will give them at the same time an awakening along the way in the study of literatures.

The program is designed to meet the needs set by the Commission on Higher Education (CHED) to give at least six units of Literature courses across discipline in the general education. Namely, the two courses are Introduction to World Literatures and Regional Philippines Literatures. That when they proceed to college education, incoming freshmen will be more than ready to face the demands of the Literature courses without insecurity and ignorance due to lack of exposure and education in literatures.

E. OBJECTIVES: At the end of the crash course, incoming freshmen are expected to: 1. Define the meaning of literature; 2. Differentiate fiction and non-fiction; 3. Enumerate the five genres of literature; 4. Compare and contrast the features of narrative and poetry; 5. Draw or diagram the structure of a narrative plot; 6. Read a poem with emotions according to its type; 7. Explain the figures of speech used in the texts; 8. Identify characters in the short story, novel or drama; 9. Describe the setting in the short story, novel or drama; 10. Arrange logical sequence of plot in the short story, novel or drama; 11. Synthesize themes from the texts; 12. Trace the causes and effects of actions of characters in the texts; 13. Appreciate the text the culture of a country; 14. Identify an author and his/her work; 15. Analyze a text using different approaches in understanding literature; 16. Write a critique on the assigned literary text; 17. Recite effectively and individually a poem; 18. Dramatize effectively scenes from the text; 19. Mount a variety show highlighting poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation.

F. COURSE CONTENT: The crash course includes excerpts from Literature courses that Commission on Higher Education CHED has mandated what each college student should take across discipline. Namely they are:

LITERATURE 1: Regional Philippine Literatures

This course presents a survey of world literatures representing a gamut of human experiences as exemplified in different literary types and forms.

LITERATURE 2: Introduction to World Literatures

This course introduces students to representative literatures from the regions tackling the wide array of Filipino encounters and experiences as these are expressed through themes such as gender, racial identity, class and history


Competencies/Objectives Lessons

1. Define the meaning of literature; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 2. Differentiate fiction and non-fiction; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 3. Enumerate the five genres of literature; Lesson on introduction to Literature 4. Compare and contrast the features of narrative and poetry; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 5. Draw or diagram the structure of a narrative plot; Lesson on Introduction to Literature 6. Read a poem with emotions according to its type; Lesson on Poetry 7. Explain the figures of speech used in the texts; Lesson on Poetry 8. Identify characters in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 9. Describe the setting in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 10. Arrange logical sequence of plot in the short story, novel or drama; Lesson in Fiction 11. Synthesize themes from the texts; All lessons 12. Trace the causes and effects of actions of characters in the texts; All lessons 13. Appreciate the text the culture of a country; All lessons 14. Identify an author and his/her work; All lessons 15. Analyze a text using different approaches in understanding literature;

All lessons 16. Write a critique on the assigned literary text lessons in poetry, short story, novel, drama and essay 17. Recite affectively and individually a poem; Lesson on Poetry 18. Dramatize effectively scenes from the text; Lesson on Fiction 19. Mount a variety show highlighting poetry recitation, dramatization and choral recitation. All lessons


Content/ Topics Teaching/Learning Activities Time Allotment 1. An Overview on Literature a. Definition b. Reasons why we study literature

Group work brainstorming Discussion Timeline

3 hours

2. Kinds of Literature a. Fiction and non-fiction b. According to countries c. According to classification Library research Buzz group discussion Jigsaw puzzle Diagramming

3 hours

3. Seven (7) standards of good Literature a. Samples for each exemplifying each standard

Pair work Collage Poster-making 3 hours

4. Genres of Literatures a. Poetry b. Short story c. Novel d. Drama e. essay Popcorn discussion Diagramming Thought bubbles 3 hours

5. Poetry a. Nature and types b. Elements c. Figures of speech Lecture Chanting Diagramming 3 hours

6. Reading and analyzing of samples of poetry a. “God Said I made a Man” by Jose Garcia Villa b. “The Man of Earth” by Amador T. Daguio c. “Si Lola Isyang at ang Matandang Puno ng Kaimito” d. “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost e. “I am Nobody” by Emily Dickenson f. A sonnet by William Shakespeare g. “Psalm 23” by King David Discussion Reading of the text Chanting of the text Unlocking vocabulary Role playing Pair work Synthesizing through slogan Write a critique paper 3 hours

7. Short Story a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Diagramming Library research 2 hours

8. Reading and discussing/ analyzing of samples: a. “How My Brother Leon Brought Home a Wife” by Manuel Arguilla b. “Harvest” by Loreto Paras Sulit c. “Footnote to Youth” by Jose Garcia Villa d. “The Lady and the Tiger” Anonymous e. “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry f. “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant Literary map Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Tableaux Discussion Write a critique paper

4 hours

9. Novel a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion diagramming 2 hours

10. Reading and discussing/analyzing of samples: a. An excerpt from America is in the Heart by Carlos Bulosan b. The Pearl by John Steinbeck Literary map Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Tableaux Discussion Write a critique paper

4 hours

11. Drama a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Pair work Jigsaw puzzle 2 hours

12. Reading and discussing/analyzing of samples: a. “The World is an Apple” by Alberto Florentino b. “New Yorker in Tondo” by Marcelino Angana Thought bubbles Comics strip Movie poster Radio drama Skit Role playing Write a critique paper Tableaux Discussion

4 hours 13. Essay a. Nature and types b. Elements Discussion Diagramming 2 hours

14. Reading and discussing and analyzing of samples: a. “Heritage of Smallness” (an excerpt) by Nick Joaquin b. “On Having a Stomach” by Lin Yutang c. “Of Studies” by Francis Bacon Mock debate Pair work Buzz group discussion Slogan writing Discussion Write a critique paper 4 hours

15. Culminating Activity through a Variety Show of: a. Poetry recitation of “Stopping By the Woods on a Snowy Evening” b. Skit or Dramatization of “New Yorker in Tondo” c. Choral Recitation of “God Said I Made a Man” Variety show Poetry recitation Dramatization Choral recitation 3 hours