Lesson Notes By Weeks and Term - Junior Secondary School 3


SUBJECT: ENGLISH LANGUAGE                                     





Reading of the Recommended Text: “Village Boy”

Summary of the Text

The story narrates the experience of Joseph Ibe, a typical village boy who has just completed his primary school education and offered  admission into a secondary school situated in the city of  Enugu.


Joseph  is the first of the four children of Ibe and Akueke. Unfortunately for the family, Ibe died when Joseph was only seven years old. Ibe’s death makes life very difficult for Akueke and her children. However, Akueke wants Joseph to go to secondary school. So, she embarks on a journey to Onitsha to ask her own brother for help but her brother is unable to help her at the moment.


So, Akueke and Joseph decide to seek help from Ibe’s brother, a retired policeman. At first, Jude refuses to help, instead, he tries to discourage Akueke and  Joseph, saying that Joseph won’t be able to cope. But Akueke is never discouraged by her brother-in-law’s attitude. The following day, Jude sends for them. When they arrive his house, he declares to them that he will help and will continue to help only if Joseph  passes very well at the  end of the first term. The duo, having agreed with the condition, leave Jude’s house.


On the tenth day of September, Joseph leaves for school. In the school, he comes across different people with different backgrounds and characters, among whom are Adamu,Afam, Philip, Chu-boy, Jegede and some others. Adamu turns out to be Joseph’s best friend as he always stands by him even in times of crises.


Joseph finds it difficult to cope with his work in the first few weeks in school. He fails most of his tests except Math in which he has the highest mark in his class and the teachers complain bitterly about his poor performance. This sets fear in him that he may not be able to fulfil his uncle’s condition. But, with the help of Adamu and Mr.Katchy, the math teacher, Joseph improves in his performance and at end of the first term he discovers that he has done well enough to deserve his uncle’s help.


Themes and Issues in the Novel:

  1. Diligence and courage: These themes are exhibited in Joseph who is the protagonist of the story. He is very diligent both at home and at school. He says, ‘I am not afraid of work’ when Afam advises him not to choose Jegede as his house father because he (Afam) believes that jegede will work him to death. Joseph is also very brave. He killed a snake single-handedly.
  2. Determination: Akueke strongly determines to send her son to secondary school despite her poverty. Truly, determination helps her realize her goal.
  3. Wickedness and selfishness:  These are seen in the character of Jude who takes away most of Ibe’s farmlands  piece by piece as his own and almost refuses to help his late brother’s son.

Other themes in the novel include laziness, affection.

Major characters:

  1. Joseph: He is the central character in the novel. He is the first of the four children of Ibe and Akueke. He has a younger brother, kene and two sisters -Ngozi and Ebele. He is a typical village, very hardworking and courageous. He is also very obedient and truthful.
  2. Akueke: She is the wife of late Mr. Ibe and the mother of Joseph. She is an epitome of a loving, caring and exemplary mother. She sells some of her wrappers just to finance her son’s education. She prefers to go hungry to seeing her children suffering or starving. She is also very hard-working. Despite her poor health condition, she still works on her farm.


Adamu : he is Joseph’s friend. Although, he is from a rich home, he is not spoilt or proud. He is very brilliant and helps Joseph to improve in his studies. Adamu , although a Muslim, is never religious bias. His best friend is a Christian. He is really a friend in need who is a friend indeed.


Jude: he is the brother of late Ibe, and an uncle to Joseph. He is a retired policeman. He is very heartless and selfish. He takes away most of his late brother’s farmlands as his own. 


Other major characters include: Chu-boy,Kene, Afam, Mr. katchy and so on.


Narrative Techniques:

  1. The novel is written in the third-person narrative technique. The narrator is an omniscient narrator who tells the story in all its facets.
  2. The language is simple: It is very appropriate to portray the message of the novel.
  3. The plot is linear: The story line is unhindered. One event leads to the other in a chronological order.
  4. Foil characterisation: In the novel, characters are paired and contrasted to bring out moral lessons. For instance, Adamu is the direct opposite of his classmate, Chu-boy. Both of them are from wealthy families, but, while Chu-boy is spoilt and proud, Adamu is not.

Also, Joseph is contrasted with Chu-boy in that while Joseph is very diligent, courageous and truthful, Chu-boy is very lazy, timid and deceitful.



  1. Briefly discuss the characters of: 
  1. Joseph
  2. Jude
  3. Adamu
  1. How does Mr. Katchy Contribute to Joseph’s success?



Read “Village Boy’’  by Ifeoma Okoye.



Ifeoma Okoye’s “Village Boy’’

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