The prophet


Pick “The Prophetess,” “Amnesty,” or “Lomba”–whichever story drew you in the most. 

Reread and study the story again, and identify three primary powers of the story. What makes it powerful? What makes it compelling? What drew YOU in? Why? What words, lines, phrases, events, stylistic choices of the writer’s, etc. caused you to be drawn in?

This glossary of literary terms might be useful to remind you of some techniques writers use to give their writing power. 

Write an analytical essay in 4 numbered sections. You do not need to provide transitions between the parts, but the 4th part will tie the essay together. (You might think of this as the place where a thesis will emerge–at the end. Yes, this is a nontraditional essay style–but a completely respectable academic format!) 

    1    Primary power 1–explain, describe, and give examples

    2    Primary power 2–explain, describe, and give examples

    3    Primary power 3–explain, describe, and give examples

    4    Step back and look at the 3 primary powers you’ve identified. What does it all seem to suggest about the story and how readers can interpret and learn from the story? 

Other specifications:

    •    The essay should be double spaced in a 12-point font.

    •    The essay should be 4-6 pages long.

    •    The essay must use in-text citations and include a Works Cited page at the end. Please use MLA format for citations. The Purdue Online Writing Lab is a great resource for MLA formatting questions. 

    •    You may–but are not required to–use additional sources other than the story text. These, too, must be cited. 

    •    The essay should be at least 70% your own writing, meaning you should use the source story and additional texts (if you chose to use them) to provide evidence for your claims, but the majority of the paper will be your writing and analysis–your ideas.

    •    The essay must use reasons and evidence for your claims. 

    •    Opinions and the word “I” are completely fine!


Since the three readings come from various places that are not (except “Lomba”) specified, I will provide Works Cited entries you can copy and paste at the ends of your essays. (You’re welcome!  

Gordimer, Nadine. “Amnesty.” The New Yorker. August 27,1990, p. 39.

Habila, Helon. “Lomba.” Gods and Soldiers. Edited by Rob Spillman. Penguin Books, 2009, pp. 13-34.

Ndebele, Njabulo. “The Prophetess.” Staffrider Vol. 7 No. 3 and 4, 1988.

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