KCSE 2019 English Paper 2 Questions With Marking Scheme

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  1. Read the passage below and then answer the questions that follow.

    A significant step on the way to the top was the domestication of fire. Some human species may have made occasional use of fire as early as 800,000 years ago. By about 300,000 years ago, Homo erectus, Neanderthals and the ancestors of Homo Sapiens were using fire on a daily basis, Humans now had a dependable source of light and warmth, and a deadly weapon against prowling lions. Not long afterwards, humans may even have started deliberately to torch their neighbourhoods. A carefully managed fire could turn impassable barren thickets into prime grasslands teeming with game. In addition, once the fire died down, Stone Age entrepreneurs could walk through the smoking remains and harvest charcoaled animals, nuts, and tubers.

    But the best thing fire did was cook. Foods that humans cannot digest in their natural forms - such as wheat, rice, and potatoes - became staples of our diet, thanks to cooking, Fire not only changed food's chemistry, it changed its biology as well. Cooking killed germs and parasites that infested food. Humans also had a far easier time chewing and digesting old favourites such as fruits, nuts, insects, and carrion if they were cooked. Whereas chimpanzees spend five hours a day chewing raw food, a single hour suffices for people eating cooked food.

    The advent of cooking enabled humans to eat more kinds of food, to devote less time to eating and to make do with smaller teeth and shorter intestines. Some scholars believe there is a direct link between the advent of cooking, the shortening of the human intestinal track, and the growth of the human brain. Since long intestines and large brains are both massive energy consumers, it's hard to have both. By shortening the intestines and decreasing their energy consumption, cooking inadvertently opened the way to the jumbo brains of Neanderthals and Sapiens. The domestication of fire was, therefore, a sign of things to come.

    (Adapted from Sapiens: A brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari: London: Vintage Books, 2011.)
    1. According to the author, when did humans invent fire?(b)
    2. In about 55 words, summarise what early humans used fire for before they cooked with it. (5 marks)
      Rough copy__________

      Fair copy____________
    3. Identify four advantages of cooked food. (4 marks)
    4. Explain the link that the author sees between eating cooked food and the development of the human brain. (3 marks)
    5. What is the main point of this passage? (2 marks)
    6. Explain the meaning of each of the following words as used in the passage: (4 marks)
      1. dependable
      2. entrepreneurs.
      3. advent
      4. inadvertently
  2. Henrik Ibsen, A Doll's House

    Read the excerpt below and then answer the questions that follow. (25 marks)

    Children: (in the doorway on the left) Mother, the stranger man has gone out through the gate.

    Nora: Yes, dears, I know. But, don't tell anyone about the stranger man. Do you hear? Not even papa.

    Children: No, mother, but will you come and play again?

    Nora: No, no, - not now.

    Children: But, mother, you promised us.

    Nora: Yes, but I can't now. Run away in; I have such a lot to do. Run away in, my sweet little darlings (She gets them into the room by degrees and shuts the door on them; then sits down on the sofa, takes up a piece of needlework and sews a few stitches, but soon stops.) No! (throws down the work, gets up, goes to the hall door and calls out) Helen! bring the Tree in. (goes to the table on the left, opens a drawer, and stops again) No, no! it is quite impossible!

    Maid: (coming in with the Tree) Where shall I put it, ma'am?

    Nora: Here, in the middle of the floor.

    Maid: Shall I get you anything else?

    Nora: No, thank you. I have all I want. [Exit MAID.]

    Nora(begins dressing the tree) A candle here - and flowers here - The horrible man! It's all nonsense - there's nothing wrong. The tree shall be splendid! I will do everything I can think of to please you, Torvald! - I will sing for you, dance for you-(HELMER comes in with some papers under his arm.) Oh! are you back already?

    Helmer: Yes. Has anyone been here?

    Nora: Here? No.

    Helmer: That is strange. I saw Krogstad going out of the gate.

    Nora: Did you? Oh yes, I forgot, Krogstad was here for a moment.

    Helmer: Nora, I can see from your manner that he has been here begging you to say a good word for him.

    Nora: Yes.

    Helmer: And you were to appear to do it of your own accord you were to conceal from me the fact of his having been here; didn't he beg that of you too?

    Nora: Yes, Torvald, but - 

    Helmer: Nora, Nora, and you would be a party to that sort of thing? To have any talk with a man like that, and give him any sort of promise? And to tell me a lie into the bargain?

    Nora: A lie?

    Helmer: Didn't you tell me no one had been here? (shakes his finger at her) My little song bird must never do that again. A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with no false notes! (puts his arm round her waist) That is so, isn't it? Yes, I am sure it is. (Lets her go.) We will say no more about it. (sits down by the stove) How warm and snug it is here! (turns over his papers)
    1. Place the excerpt in its immediate context. (4 marks)
    2. The Christmas tree is mentioned many times in the play. What does it stand for? (3 marks)
    3. Describe the character of Helmer as brought out in the excerpt. (4 marks)
    4. What is the role of the children in the play? (2 marks)
    5. Identify and illustrate two stylistic devices used in the excerpt. (4 marks)
    6. Identify and illustrate two themes brought out in the play. (4 marks)
    7. Don't tell anyone about the stranger man. (Rewrite beginning: Under...) (1 mark)
    8. Describe the tone of this passage. (3 marks)
  3. Read the story below and then answer the questions that follow:

    Once upon a time a father sent for his three sons and gave to the eldest a cock, to the second a scythe, and the third a cat. "I am now old," said he, "my end is approaching, and I would fain provide for you before I die. Money I have none, and what I now give you seems of little worth: yet it rests with yourselves alone to turn my gifts to good account. Only seek out for a land where what you have is as yet unknown, and your fortune is made.

    After the death of the father, the eldest set out with his cock: but wherever he went, in every town, he saw from a far off a cock sitting upon the church steeple, and turning round with the wind. In the villages he always heard plenty of them crowing, and his bird was therefore nothing new; so there did not seem much chance of his making his fortune. At length it happened that he came to an island where the people who lived there had never heard of a cock and knew not even how to reckon the time. They knew indeed if it were morning or evening; but at night if they lay awake, they had no means of knowing how time went.

    "Behold," said he to them, "what a noble animal this is! He carries a bright red crest upon his head, and spurs upon his heels; he crows three times every night at stated hours, and at the third time the sun is about to rise. But this is not all; sometimes he screams in broad daylight, and then you must take warning, for the weather is surely about to change." This pleased the natives mightily; they kept awake one whole night, and heard, to their great joy, how gloriously the cock called the hour, at two, four and six o'clock. Then they asked him whether the bird was to be sold, much he would sell it for. "About as much as an ass can carry," said he.

    "A very fair price for such an animal," cried they with one voice; and agreed to give him what he asked.

    When he returned home with his wealth, his brothers wondered greatly; and the second said, "I will now set forth likewise, and see if I can turn my scythe to as good an account." There did not seem, however, much likelihood of this; for go where he would, he was met by peasants who had as good a scythe on their shoulders as he had. But at last, as good luck would have it, he came to an island where the people had never heard of a scythe; there, as soon as the com was ripe, they went into the fields and pulled it up; but this was very hard work and a great deal of it was lost. The man then set to work with his scythe; and mowed down their whole crop so quickly, that the people stood staring open-mouthed with wonder. They were willing to give him what he asked for such a marvelous thing; but he only took a horse laden with as much gold as it could carry.

    Now the third brother had a great longing, to go and see what he could make of his cat. So he set out and at first it happened to him as it had to the others, so long as he kept upon the main land, he met with no success; there were plenty of cats everywhere, indeed too many, so that the young ones were for the most part, as soon as they came into the world, drowned in the water At last he passed over to an island where, as it chanced most luckily for him. nobody had ever seen a cat and they were overrun with mice to such a degree, that the little wretches danced upon the tables and chairs, whether the master of the house were at home or not. The people complained loudly of this grievance; the King himself knew not how to rid him self of them in his palace; in every corner mice were squeaking, and they gnawed everything that their teeth could lay hold of. Here was a fine field for Puss-she soon began her chase and had cleared two rooms in the twinkling of an eye; when the people besought their King to buy the wonderful animal, for the good of the public, at any price. The King willingly gave what was asked -a mule laden with gold and jewels, and thus the third brother returned home with a richer prize than either of the others.

    Meanwhile the cat feasted away upon the mice in the royal palace, and devoured so many that they were no longer in any great numbers. At length, quite spent and tired with her work she became extremely thirsty: so she stood still, drew up her head, and cried, "Miau, Miau!" When the people heard this cry, they ran shrieking in great fright. The King and his council decided to send a herald to the cat to warn her to leave the castle forthwith, or that force would be used to remove her. "We would far more willingly put up with the mice (since we are used to that evil), than get rid of them at the risk of our lives."

    A page accordingly went and asked the cat whether she was willing to quit the castle. But Puss, whose thirst became every moment more and more pressing answered 'Miau! Miau! which the page interpreted to mean, "No! No!" and therefore carried this answer to the King.

    "Then we must try what force will do," the King said. So the guns were planted, and the palace was fired upon from all sides. When the fire reached the room where the cat was, she sprang out of the window and ran away, but the besiegers did not see her, and went on firing until the whole palace was burnt to the ground.

    (Adapted from Grimm's Fairy Tales by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm)
    1. How does the father prepare his sons for a life without him?(2 marks)
    2. Why was the first son at first almost despairing? (2 marks)
    3. How would you describe the first son from what he says? (2 marks)
    4. What is implied about the islanders who bought the cock? Illustrate your answer. (3 marks)
    5. How do we know that the islanders were convinced that the cock was very precious? (3 marks)
    6. What was the effect of the first son's success on his siblings? (2 marks)
    7. Explain the meaning of the following metaphor: "Here was a fine field for Puss." (2 marks)
    8. What two lessons do we learn from this story? (4 marks)

    1. Rewrite the following to remove ambiguity (3 marks)
      1. Juma told Ali that he lacked self-confidence.
      2. I saw a monkey with a telescope.
      3. Look at that cow with one eye.
    2. Choose the correct option from those given in brackets. (3 marks)
      1. My sister has five children and now she wants to ........a sixth one. (adapt/adopt]
      2. The....... of the neighbouring secondary school will be the guest of honour. [Principle/Principal]
      3. My father was sitting in the ........... ...... room when the guest arrived. [leaving, living]
    3. Complete the following using an appropriate preposition. (3 marks)
      1. There is no exception ................. this rule.
      2. My friends congratulated me ............. my recent achievement.
      3. Kola has a special liking .......... Mathematics.
    4. Choose the best connector from those given in brackets. (3 marks)
      1. She is a new employee; ................, she has done very well. (although/even as/ nevertheless]
      2. My brother is very committed to his work; ......................, he has earned frequent promotions. (nonetheless/notwithstanding/consequently)
      3. Jason seems to be quite intelligent; ..................., he often gets poor grades. (similarly/however/otherwise)
    5. Complete the following sentences by supplying the correct form of the verb given in brackets (3 marks)
      1. If they had not ....................... him money, he would not have gone for the trip. sent/send]
      2. We are going to ........................ a house for our mother. [build/built)
      3. Let's .................. Our clothes here. [hang/hung]


    1. Probably 800,000 years ago/ some human species may have made occasional use of fire as early as 800,000 years ago.
      2 x 1 mark
    2. Sample response: Humans used fire for light and warmth. They also used it as a weapon against dangerous animals. They burnt the impossible thickets and turned them into grasslands, thereby creating a habitat for animals. And after burning their neighbourhoods, enterprising humans were able to harvest roasted animals, nuts, and tubers for food. (50 words)

      Marking instructions
      — Allow up to 60 words

      —  If in note form penalize by 50% at each point and affix capital N on the penalized point
      —  Penalize by a glimmer for faulty expression once in a sentence
      Any 5 points = 5 marks
    3. —  Humans could now digest foods which they couldn't in their natural form.
      —  Cooking killed germs and parasites.
      —  Cooked food was easier to chew. Cooked food took a shorter time to digest.
      —  Cooked food enabled humans to develop jumbo brains.
      (Expect 4 points 1 mark cach 4 marks)
    4. —  Because cooked food was easier to digest, humans evolved shorter intestines.
      —  The energy the long intestines would have required was diverted to the brains.
      —  So, humans developed large brains which consumed the surplus energy.
      (Cause effect should come out clearly= 3 marks)
    5. The main point of this passage is to show the revolutionary importance of fire, (1 mark) and how, by facilitating the cooking of food, it led to the growth of a bigger and more inventive brain. (1 mark). 
      1. dependable - reliable/ steady stable
      2. entrepreneurs - business people/business-minded people 
      3. advent -coming / appearance arrival / introduction / onset
      4. inadvertently accidentally / unintentionally / by chance
        (1 mark each 4 marks)
    1. — Krogstad has just been pleading with Nora to put in a kind word for him to her husband.
      —  Nora refuses to help him.
      —  Krogstad threatens to expose her if she does not help him retain the position at the bank.
      —  He reveals she forged her father's signature in the promissory note which is a criminal offence.
      —  Krogstad has just left and Nora is recovering from the encounter.
      —  She busies herself with decorating the Christmas tree.
      —  Helmer is curious to see the surprise Nora has for him.
      Any four points=4 marks
    2. The Christmas tree symbolizes Nora's efforts in taking care of her family. It also symbolizes the Christmas season. Christmas symbolizes rebirth and happiness and a time for family reunions and giving of gifts. (3 marks)
    3. Character of Helmer:
      —  Patronizing-treats Nora with condescension "My Little Songbird"
      —  Perceptive he correctly guesses why Krogstad was in the house.
      —  Loving/romantic/ affectionate puts his arm round Nora's waist.
      —  Forgiving - forgives Nora for lying to him.
      (Any two well-illustrated points, 2 x 2 = 4 marks)
    4. —  The children are used to reinforce the idea of family.
      —  They are also used to bring comic relief /relieve tension in the play. They bring out Nora as loving/ motherly.
      (Expect the 2 points)
    5. — Monologue Nora speaks to herself; 'a candle here flowers here...'
      — Imagery 'A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with -no false notes.'
      — Symbolism - The Christmas tree is symbolic of the season in which the play is set.
      — Irony- Nora lies to Helmer that no one had been to the house, yet Helmer had seen Krogstad Icave.
      — Dramatic pauses- a candle here --? No, No--
      (Any two illustrated points, 2 x 2 = 4 marks)
    6. —  Morality - A songbird must have a clean beak to chirp with. A parent has an obligation to uphold morality for the sake of bringing up their children with expected standards of morality.
      — Family love-Nora loves her husband and her children. She refers to her children fondly. She says, "I will do anything I can to please Torvald."
      — Helmer loves Nora. He holds her waist.
      — Deceit/falsehood/Hypocrisy/Secrecy-Nora keeps concealing information from Helmer.
      — Marriage
      (Any two illustrated points, 2 x 2 = 4 marks)
    7. Under no circumstances should you tell anyone about the stranger man. (1 mark)
    8. — Critical - the playwright presents Nora in an ironic light. Critical of Nora's puny attempt to conceal information about Krogstad.
      — Satirical - We laugh at Nora's attempt to conceal what Helmer has seen.
      (Any 1 one well illustrated point-1 mark for identification, 2 marks for illustration)
    1. The father prepares his sons by giving them sound advice and giving them gifts. The gifts are modest but he told them that if they used them creatively, they would prosper/ (2 marks)
    2.  The first son was almost despairing because for quite a long time, his efforts proved futile. (1 mark) No one seemed to need the services of a cock. (1 mark).
    3. — The first son is very persuasive. He describes the cock in glowing terms, even exaggerating its worth.
      — Also, he is relentless as he manages to convince the islanders that the wisest decision they could make is to buy the cock and they concur.
      — He is enterprising-makes good business with the cock.
      (Any 1 well explained point = 2 marks)
    4. — The islanders were so fascinated by the new creature that they stayed awake all night to confirm the first son's claims.
      — The islanders also put a high premium on the ability to tell what time it was and when the weather was going to change.
      — They were wealthy, they could pay as much gold as an ass could carry.
      — They believed in justice- they accepted the price as fair.
      Any one well explained point = 3 marks
    5. —  The islanders were willing to give the first son as much gold as an ass could carry. In fact, they thought the price was very fair.
      —  They stayed awake the whole night.
      (3 marks)
    6. — The first son's success inspired his brothers.
      — They ventured out and exhibited the same determination as their brother.
      — They refused to give up even when the situation seemed hopeless. Eventually, they achieved even more success than their elder brother.
      (Any 2 points=2 marks)
    7. The metaphor means that the cat had at last discovered a place where he would feast on mice. There would be no shortage of what he liked best mice. (2 marks)
    8. — From this story, we learn that what matters is not how much inheritance you get, but what you do with it.
      — If we are creative and persistent, we can succeed against great odds. Indeed, it is naïve to despise humble beginnings.
      — The most ordinary things could be the key to opportunities and fortunes we never dreamt of
      — Patience pays.
      — We should obey our parents.
      (2 marks each for any two well brought out lessons,)
      1. Juma told Ali, "I lack self-confidence."
        Juma told Ali, "You lack self-confidence."
      2. Using a telescope, I saw a monkey.
        I saw a monkey which had a telescope.
      3. Use one eye to look at that cow.
        Look at that cow which has one eye.
        (1 mark each=3 marks)
      1. adopt
      2. Principal
      3. living
        (1 mark each=3 marks)
      1. to
      2. on/for
      3. for
        (1 mark each=3 marks)
      1. nevertheless
      2. consequently
      3. however
        (1 mark each=3 marks)
      1. sent
      2. build
      3. hang
        (1 mark each=3 marks)
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