Tag: csec short story

A Complete Narrative Writing Course

This post is the last post we have for narrative writing in this CSEME 2018 Exam Countdown. I have also link all the Narrative Writing posts below.

  1. Elements of the Story
  2. How to Write a Short Story
  3. How to include Dialogue in Your Stories
  4. How to Write a Story in 45 Minutes
  5. Short Story Questions
  6. Sample Short Story Questions
  7. Sample Short Story
  8. Sample Short Story
  9. Sample Short Story














Sample Short Story 5

The Hope of Ancestors

The pregnant clouds outside kept out the sunlight. The morning was bleak and the sky overcast. It was not surprising when the clouds gave birth to heavy droplets of water which hit against the rusty zinc. Clink! Clink! The weather outside opposed my mood, yet I was happy. It was the morning my ancestors and my generation had waited for. I was the one. I was to recover lost hope although the weather demanded laziness; I was in the mood to work. I was joyful, hopeful and felt the strength that would enable me to move mountains. Generations had fought before the fight I was to fight to bring back respect and hope to my family. “Honey, will I pass?” I asked my wife, who was still half asleep on the bed beside me. “Yes, of course you must,” she replied. It was one of those precocious flairs. I had developed as a result of my humble beginning: I could weather the weather whatever it was, whether I liked it or not. Could I do it this morning?

I arrived at the examination centre early that morning. I sat and watched my “opponents.” The examination began. Everything was anxious except me – I was confident. I knew that I should pass; I must. Throughout the five hours that the exam lasted everyone looked into the eye of whomever they could. In those eyes was the look of dare. Those examinations decided your destiny, your fate. So in that room friends became enemies. Only one person would get through to study law; one of about seventy persons. I fought the battle with the papers. I demanded that post. Duty demanded it. It was like salvation to the sinner. It was like food to the starving man. Poverty was nothing anyone desired. You could be free yet incarcerated because of poverty. That exam was the verdict. The post was for the person who wanted it the most. Ting-a-ling-a-ling! The bell signaled the end of the battle. I had fought it well.

Two months later, I sat in my living room. The result would be communicated via the telephone. It was the day of reckoning. Who wanted it more? I sat with the phone in my hand. My heart was beating: thump! I thought my wife could hear it. My children sat with my wife and I on the bed. The phone was to ring anytime now. There was a deafening silence. We were all nervous. Instead of rain today however, the sun blazed in the blue skies above. It was element weather. Was it signifying success or was it failure? I did not know, we did not know. All they knew and I know was that our life depended on it. I suddenly remembered the vows I had made on my wedding day. If I failed, would we have to get a divorce?” For better or worse…! I was nervous. Ring! Ring! The phone rang once. It rang again. That was it.          


Sample Short Story 4

A short story titled ‘Journey by Night’

He stood alone, leaning against a post, and shifting his weight from one foot to the other. It was late, and the taxi-stand was empty. The street was silent. He looked up and down, hoping that some vehicle would come in sight, for he wanted to get home. But none came.

The silence began to pall. He started to whistle, but there was no mirth in it, and soon he stopped. Midnight, ten miles away from home! What was he to do? To begin to walk that distance was out of the question. A dark cloud passed across the sky, hiding the few pale stars that had been there. The noise of a falling dust-bin reached his ear. Some dog must have been scattering its contents.

Instinctively, his hand felt for his wallet. Yes, it was still there. If only he had a stick! But he had nothing with which he might protect himself. He began to walk up and down, up and down. What was that in the distance? At last two headlights were drawing near. He stepped into the middle of the street and held up his hand, and the car stopped.

“Taxi?” he asked. “Valencia?”

“Get in,” said the driver, opening the door. He sat beside the driver, glad to be on his way home at last. He had felt so lonely while he had been waiting. If only someone would say something! In the semi-darkness of the car he turned to look at the other passengers, but no one else was there.
The driver said nothing to him as the car sped along.

Suppose …


No, he mustn’t allow himself to think of that. He glanced at the driver, and again his hand went to his wallet. He had heard of passengers being attacked at night and being robbed. But surely …no, that couldn’t happen to him. If only he could see the other man’s face clearly! But he had no idea who the driver was. He kept his eye intently on him during the seemingly interminable journey. Now they were approaching a spot where the road branched off in another direction. There were tall, dark bushes around. The car slowed down, and the driver took something short and black from the side pocket of the car. It looked like an iron tool. Would the driver attack him with that?

“Stop!” he heard himself screaming, and his heart beat so fast with fear that he could hardly breathe.

But the car did not stop. Faster and faster instead, it went. Now they were nearing his destination. Did the driver intend to take him past and then…

“Put me down here,” he cried out.

Still with his eyes on the driver, he quickly stepped from the car as it came to a standstill. He fumbled with his wallet for his fare, but the taxi was no longer there. “No night passengers for me again,” exclaimed the driver, as, with a sigh of relief, he hurriedly moved off. And his hand tenderly caressed the heavy spanner with which he had meant to defend himself had that queer passenger attacked him!

Section C of the English A Paper 2 2018 Exam

(Suggested time:  45 minutes)  
You MUST answer ONE question from this section.  
Your answer should be approximately 400 to 450 words in length.  
You MUST write in Standard English.  However, dialect may be used in conversation. 
Write your answer on the RULED PAGES provided, pages 13 – 16.  You are expected to write within the word limit.  

In your answer, you will be assessed on how well you  

(a) used the stimulus provided 
(b) developed and organized the content of your writing
(c) used language appropriate to your audience, purpose and content 
(d) used appropriate grammar, sentence structure, paragraphs, vocabulary, spelling  and punctuation.  



3. Write a story based on the picture below.   

                                                                                                                                (25 marks)

4. She held her son close by her side as she walked quickly along the narrow road.  This was the moment.    

Write a story which includes these words. 
(25 marks)   


Emma by Carolyn Cole


This short story is told from the first person perspective of a little girl called Dorian York. The focus of her thoughts is her mother; the games that they play together, and the games that she plays with her friend, that revolve around her mother.  The first person perspective of the narrative gives the reader an intimate view of how the little girl sees her mother, as well as how she feels about her. We are also able to garner information about the people around her from her innocent narrative, innocent because the little girl does not understand many of the things that she reports. The reader learns that Emma and Mr. York have a volatile relationship that is seemingly caused by his infidelity. This infidelity is initially implied by Emma’s constant watching of the clock and waiting for her husband to return home, as well as the fight that Dorian reported. Grandfather’s visit, however, brings a happy atmosphere to the family unit because daddy starts to do things with the family, hence they seem more like a conventional happy family. The audience is given the impression that things go back to normal after grandfather leaves, however, due to the spectral presence of the ‘lady at the train station’, as well as Mrs. Robinson’s pointed discussion about Mr. York’s status as a ‘player’. The narrative climaxes with the death of Emma at the train station. She saw her husband with the mysterious lady and runs away, followed closely by Dorian and Jack. Unfortunately, when Jack caught her by the arm, she ran into the path of an oncoming vehicle and was killed. Jack and Mrs. Robinson then get romantically involved, and they send both Maria and Dorian to St. Agnes, a boarding school, in the country.


• The story occurs in three places; the York residence, an unnamed mall and the old train station.
• The mood of the story fluctuates from happiness to sadness.


Jack York (Daddy)

• He is Doran’s father and Emma’s husband.
• He is characterized as a ‘player’ by Mrs. Robinson.
• He is not faithful to his wife.
• He was not ready for the arrival of his daughter, Dorian, and does not seem to have a close relationship with her.

Emma York

• She is Dorian’s mother and Jack’s wife.
• She is a good mother who plays with her child and treats her well.
• She is a good wife who loves her husband (as seen in how she greets him when he gets home) and is considerate of his feelings; as seen in her reasons for not having another baby.
• She is a very smart and polished lady who can handle herself with people who are coy and critical of her; as seen in her argument with Mrs. Robinson in the mall.

Dorian York

• A very innocent little girl who is the first person narrator of the story.
• She is younger than her friend Maria, who is nine (9) years old.
• She adores her mother and her grandfather.
• She is often puzzled by the content of adult discussion.


• Emma’s father.
• Brought joy into the family because daddy stayed home, came home early, and spent quality time with the family, due to grandaddy’s implied interference.
• Loved her grandfather because he seemed to do what her dad didn’t – spent time with her – and her first person perspective of him reflected her love.

Ruby Robinson

• She is Emma’s friend and Maria’s mother.
• She is not a good friend to Emma because she is both critical and jealous of her.
• She gets romantically involved with Jack after Emma dies.
• She’s very impatient with both girls.
• She sends Maria and Dorian to boarding school in order to enact her plan to keep the ‘player’.

Maria Robinson

• She is the nine (9) year old daughter of Ruby Robinson.
• She is Dorian’s playmate.
• She filters and explains a lot of the adult conversations that Dorian does not understand.



This theme is epitomized by Dorian York. The story is told from her perspective, therefore, the reader gets a firsthand view of the innocence behind her misunderstanding of adult conversation and situations. She senses emotions, but misses a lot of the innuendo, as is seen when she tells the audience about the fight that her parents had. Her innocence is also seen in her expectation that her mother would come home after the accident, but instead, she finds Mrs. Robinson in her mot her’s bed. Her growth, or advancement into maturity, is highlighted in the end of the short story when Dorian  reassures Maria that everything will be ok, they will play adult games better.

Love and family relationship 

There are two types of families in this short story, the nuclear family and the single family unit. Dorian’s family is the nuclear family, consisting of mother, father and child. This family is a troubled one because the father is seemingly more absent than present due to an implied ‘other woman’, who is later confirmed as very real. He also seems uncomfortable around his only child, as is confirmed by Emma, who decides to forgoe having another child because ‘Jack wasn’t ready for Dori’ (Cole, p.53). Emma, on the other hand, seems to live to please both her child and husband. She is very affectionate with Dorian, and this love is returned ten fold, as seen in the adoration that imbues the tone of the narrator. She is the same with her husband, but the reception is less enthusiastic. It would be unfair to say that the family is dysfunctional, because one parent is at least invested in the emotional happiness of the child, but the family has issues because the head of the household’s concentration lies elsewhere.

Mrs. Robinson is a single mother, parenting her only child; Maria. She does not appear to be particularly liked by both girls because no-one wants to ‘play’ at being her. She aggravates her child constantly and appears to be unhappy with her life. This family structure can be seen as dysfunctional because the parent does not seem to devote her energies toward making her child feel loved and comfortable, which is one of the primary aims of any family structure.


There are two contrasting friendships in this short story. There is the friendship between Dorian and Maria, which is characterized by play, conversations and support of each other. Then there is the friendship between the adults, Emma and Mrs. Robinson, which is contrastingly characterized by cattiness and jealousy; mostly on Mrs. Robinson’s part.



The motif of play appears to be a strong one in this short story, perhaps due to the fact that the narrator is a young child. The children ‘play’ at being adults, imitating – and fighting over – their favourite adult. They also literally see the life of adults as play. Dorian confirms this at the end of the story when she reassures Maria that ‘I learned a lot about this game. When it’s our turn to play, we’ll play smarter.’ (Cole, p.58). 


Deck of cards

The deck of cards that Emma carries around in her purse is a powerful symbol for life. In any card game that is being played, every-one has a chance at success, or failure, depending on how they play the game. Mrs. Robinson gives Emma an alternate way to play the game of life, with success being the joy of keeping her ‘player’ husband. Emma, however, chooses to play the game in an another way, one in which she attempts to satisfy the needs of both Dorian and Jack. Emma is the loser in the game, however, because she dies with the joker in her hand. This signifies that her future could have gone in any direction because the joker introduces the element of chance to the game; it can be a bonus, a penalty, or both, depending on how it is used in the game. In the game of life, Emma lost because she chose to take a chance with pleasing both members of her family, instead of concentrating solely on her husband, as Mrs. Robinson suggested. The game of life gives every-one chances however, just like a card game, and Mrs. Robinson was given a chance to bag her rich man with Emma’s exit from the game.

Analysis of Berry by Langston Hughes


Berry is about a young black man called Millberry Jones who is employed at Dr. Renfield’s Home for Crippled Children. He was reluctantly employed by Mrs. Osborn, the housekeeper, because the Scandinavian kitchen boy had left without notice, leaving her no choice in hiring Berry. Her reluctance to hire Berry stemmed from his race, which initiated questions such as where he would sleep, as well as how the other employees would react to the presence of a Negro. She had a meeting with Dr. Renfield and they decided to hire Millberry on a reduced salary. He was overworked and underpaid, but took solace in the children whom he loved. An unfortunate incident occurred, however, where a child fell from his wheelchair while in the care of Berry. The result was that Berry was fired and given no salary for the week that he had worked.

Millbury Jones (Berry)

A Black male, approximately 20 years old.
Described as good natured and strong.
Poor and uneducated.
Very observant and intuitive about people and places.
Very good with children due to his gentleness.

Mrs. Osborn

The housekeeper at the children’s home.
Rumoured to be in love with Dr. Renfield.
Very high handed with her staff, but docile with Dr. Renfield.
Displays racist characteristics in subtle forms.

Dr. Renfield

Rumoured to have romantic affairs with his female staff.

Berry observes that the Home is ‘Doc Renfield’s own private gyp game’ (Hughes, p. 162), meaning that he runs his establishment for his own profit, instead of a desire to take genuine care of the children. He is blatantly racist. 



This theme is apparent when Berry was being considered for employment at the Home. Mrs. Osborn was concerned about where Berry would sleep, implying that he could not sleep with the white servants because he was considered to be beneath them. His salary was also cut due to his race, and he was overworked, with no discussions of days off, ‘everybody was imposing on him in that taken-for-granted way white folks do with Negro help.’ (Hughes, 162). Even more importantly, when the unfortunate accident occurred with the child, there was no attempt at discerning what led to the incident, but blame was laid on the obvious person – Berry. As a result, he was relieved of his job in a hail of racist slurs. The students will be placed in their peer groups to analyze various aspects of the story.


 The theme of oppression is expressed repetitively throughout this story. White workers and superiors kept expecting Milberry to do more and more. Milberry’s response to these requests was a quiet acceptance without bitterness because he was happy and thankful enough to have this job and food. In the story Milberry found happiness in helping the crippled children at play during his brief rest period. At first the nurses were hesitant whether they should allow it or not. At the end of the story the nurses had changed their mind frame about Berry and would come looking for and demanding his immediate help.

In his typical nature in responding to and accepting their demand he unknowingly caused his own demise. While Berry was helping a boy in a wheelchair down the stairs, due to know fault of Berry’s own doing, the boy fell out of the chair onto the grass and the wheelchair onto the walk. In the fall the boy was not hurt but the wheelchairs back was snapped off. In this scene Langston Hughes uses the wheelchair as a symbol of Milberry’s undoing. The wheelchair’s falling represents Berry’s falling from the grace of the white people’s acceptance. The snapped back of the wheelchair foreshadows Berry’s immediate termination of employment. Even though it was the white nurses responsibility and job they quickly and gladly placed all the blame for the accident upon Berry. This truly exemplifies the use of oppression of white people over blacks.