The Last Breath by Sam Kahiga

The Last Breath - Sam KahigaIn The Last Breath by Sam Kahiga we have the theme of conflict, control, selflessness, sacrifice, love, gratitude and change. Narrated in the first person by an unnamed narrator the reader realises from the beginning of the story that Kahiga might be exploring the theme of conflict and love. The narrator is very much in love with Eva however his father does not agree with the romance due to the fact that Eva is blind. If anything it is the father who is blind as he cannot see it in himself to look beyond Eva’s disability. He is stuck in his ways and adamant that the narrator will not marry Eva. It may also be important that in the first three sentences of the story Kahiga makes reference to eyes and sight. It is possible that Kahiga is using irony, particularly when it comes to the narrator’s father. There is also a sense that the narrator’s life is being controlled by his father. Not only when it comes to his relationship with Eva but his job choice was a decision made for him by his father. It is as though the narrator is not allowed to follow the path he wishes to follow due to the input of his father. The father is the one who is gauging for the narrator what is suitable and what will make the narrator happy. In reality the narrator’s father is controlling him and the narrator is acutely aware of this. Rather than being happy with the choices his father has made for him the narrator is sad and bitter about the circumstances he finds himself in.

The narrator’s mother also plays a significant role in the story and is more understanding of how the narrator feels about Eva. However it is interesting that she like her husband does not think that it is a good idea for the narrator to marry Eva. The mother’s role is more of a peacemaker between father and son. It may also be significant that Kahiga tells the reader that the sunshine has left the narrator’s mother. It is possible that she is symbolically as much in the dark as her husband is when it comes to the narrator wanting to marry Eva. There is also no doubting that the friction between father and son has taken an effect on the narrator now that he knows his father is dying of cancer. He does not wish his father to be dead rather he silently loves him and begins to possibly accept his father for who he is. The battles that they have fought over Eva do not appear to take on the same significance. The engagement ring also plays a significant role in the story. Though it has the outward appearance of being something cheap it’s deeper meaning and importance cannot be underestimated. It is a symbol again no matter how cheap it may look of the narrator’s love for Eva.

The fact that the narrator’s father also donates his cornea to Eva shows a redemptive quality within the father. His stance on Eva has changed dramatically as too has his view of the narrator’s relationship with Eva. With his pending death he appears to have an epiphany or moment of realisation and for the first time is sacrificing something of himself in order to help the narrator and Eva. If anything Kahiga could be suggesting that the narrator’s father with his last breath before he died decided upon donating his cornea to Eva. Where previously the narrator’s father had scorned upon the idea of the narrator marrying Eva his act of generosity in giving Eva sight suggests that the narrator’s father for the first time in the story understands his son and acknowledges that he is in love with Eva. The narrator’s father is making sacrifices which will benefit not only the narrator but Eva too. In what can only be described as an act of altruism. If anything the narrator’s father is setting aside his own feelings and acting selflessly. Where many would focus on themselves at the time of their death the narrator’s father doesn’t. He thinks of his son and Eva.

The end of the story is also interesting as Kahiga appears to be exploring the theme of gratitude. The narrator while he is standing by his father’s grave thanks his father for his kindness. Even though he suspects that his father can’t hear him (mute grave). He is still none the less grateful for his father’s actions despite the fact that his father was ill and dying when he decided to donate his cornea to Eva. Again the narrator’s father was acting selflessly and for the benefit of another human being. The reader is also left to assume that Eva and the narrator have gotten married as Eva is waiting for the narrator at the end of the story in the narrator’s home. Not only is there a sense of gratitude from the narrator but he appears to be happy too. His father’s donation has given the woman he loves sight. Where at the start of the story there was conflict at the end there is resolution and happiness. The narrator being able for the first time to live his life as he wants to live it and not how others might want him to live which had previously been the case in the story when the narrator’s father attempted successfully to control the narrator’s life.

Cite Post
McManus, Dermot. "The Last Breath by Sam Kahiga." The Sitting Bee. The Sitting Bee, 29 Jun. 2017. Web.

257 comments

  • A touching story

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Delight. I would agree. It is a touching story.

      • Explain how we know that the narrator is not rich?

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          The narrator still lives with his parents. Which would suggest he is dependent on them as he cannot afford a home of his own. Also the narrator has given Eva a cheap copper ring as an engagement ring. Usually one would expect an engagement ring to be a diamond ring. Which would be more expensive.

    • To what extent does the narrator’s father have feelings?

      • Dermot (Post Author)

        Thanks for the comment Rabela. Though the narrator’s father hides his feelings throughout the story. He still nonetheless feels strongly about helping the narrator and Eva. Something that is noticeable by the fact that he donates his cornea’s to Eva. Even though at the beginning of the story he had dismissed the narrator’s relationship with Eva.

        • Thank you for this analysis. What does the narrator mean by saying …’give her eyes’..? From the visit the father drove very carelessly. What does that imply?

          • Dermot (Post Author)

            Thanks for the comment Aviwe. The narrator most likely meant for his father to see Eva as though she was not blind. To look upon Eva the way that the narrator does. The careless driving comes from the narrator’s father’s anger at the narrator standing up to him. It may be a matter that the father’s pride has been wounded as he is unaccustomed to the narrator standing up to him.

  • Why did Sam Kahiga refer to Eva as Inner Eva in the story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Luvhengo. It is possible that Kahiga is suggesting that the narrator’s father does not see everything that the narrator sees in Eva. All he can see is what is on the outside and the fact that Eva is blind.

      • Thanx for your response. Eva said she is ready to receive the cornea from someone who is about to…to cross over. I admit that she means someone who is about to die. The narrator only said ‘You mean that someone has-? Why the narrator did not finish this sentence?

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          It may be a case that the narrator is excited about the prospect of Eva being able to see. It is also possible that the narrator is afraid. He may like things as they are with Eva not being able to see him. He may fear that should Eva see him, she will change her mind about marrying him.

  • Did the narrator realize who the donor of Eva’s corneas was?

  • What was meant by sunshine?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Papzen. When the narrator tells his mother that Eva has told him that he has ‘brought sunshine into her life.’ It means that Eva feels as though the narrator has brought light, joy and happiness into her life.

  • Why was the narrator’s father taken aback when the narrator suggested (in the beginning of the story) that he should “…give her eyes”?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Hi Shiné. It is possible that the narrator’s father realises after the narrator makes the statement that he has been viewing Eva in an unpleasant and unfair light. Judging Eva on the fact that she is blind rather than trying to see Eva as the narrator sees her.

  • Dermot (Post Author)

    I’ve only read Chapters 2-4 in The New Tribe. Which only mentions Arthur, Ginny, Julia, Chester and Ray.

  • What does the narrator mean when saying “for how long would dad keep on beating home the fact? As if it wasn’t home already.”

  • What does the writer mean when he says “whatever it was it made no difference”*the last breath*

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Rinolia. Kahiga is suggesting that no matter what the narrator’s father says to the narrator about Eva or thinks about Eva, the narrator is not going to change his opinion about Eva. The narrator still intends to marry Eva.

  • I request help I am grade a 12 learner.

  • Briefly, the conflict in the story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Tshikondela. The conflict in the story is between the narrator and his father. The narrator’s father doesn’t believe that the narrator should marry Eva (because she is blind). This leads to conflict between both characters.

  • What really happened to Eva’s eyes that lead to her blindness. Discuss.

  • Do you think the title of the story is relevant? Substantiate.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The title may be important as the narrator’s father may have only decided to donate his cornea to Eva when he was dying or literally taking his last breath.

  • What made the father of narrator change his mind about his son’s relationship with Eva…and why did he decide to give her his cornea (sight)?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Vanessa. As far as I can figure out the narrator’s father eventually realised how much the narrator loved Eva and changed his mind about Eva. It might also have been a case that the narrator’s father knew he was dying and wanted to bring happiness to both Eva and the narrator. That may be the reason as to why the narrator’s father decided to donate his cornea to Eva.

  • Why does the narrator want to marry Eva when he comes ‘of age.’

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Jay. The narrator wants to marry Eva because he loves her and he will be able to do so without the interference of his father.

  • While driving home the father and the narrator do not agree. Describe their disagreement (write two sentences.)

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Letty. The narrator and his father are arguing over the fact that the narrator loves Eva and wants to marry her. The narrator’s father does not think this is a good idea and lets the narrator know that he does not think it is a good idea for the narrator to marry Eva.

    • Why does Eva refuse the ring

  • In the first three sentences there are a number of references to eyes and sight. Why do you think this is so?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      It is possible that Kahiga is using the imagery of sight at the beginning of the story to place an emphasis on an individual’s eyes. Perhaps for the reader to see things as the narrator does or also for the narrator’s father to see things as his son does. It is also possible that Kahiga is using irony, particularly when it comes to the narrator’s father. He can’t see what the narrator can see when it comes to Eva.

  • Thanks guyz for all ur contribution,think it will be helpful to us during the paper that we are going to write Wednesday.

  • What happened to the narrator when his father interfered with his dreams in the past

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Sthembilr. The narrator has lived his life as an unhappy person because he followed the rules his father set in place for him. Any dreams the narrator had did not reach fruition.

  • Why does Eva refuse the ring?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Nsindiso. Eva wants to wait till she can see the ring. She wants to wait till after her cornea operation.

  • Where is the irony in this short story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator’s father can’t see how the narrator can love a blind woman (Eva). If anything it is the narrator’s father who is blind and not Eva.

  • What was the intention of the narrator’s father for not allowing his son to marry Eva?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Nhlakanipho. The narrator’s father didn’t think that the narrator would live a prosperous life if he married Eva. The narrator’s father considered Eva to be more of a hindrance than a help. Also the narrator’s father though he wished the best for his son it was on his terms. He wished to remain in control of the narrator’s life.

  • Why does Eva turn her face away from the narrator “She turned away her face.”

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Lungisani. As far as I can figure out Eva turns her head away as a reaction to hearing the news that the narrator’s father has lung cancer. She is most likely sad about hearing this news.

  • My questions are.

    Why Eva turned away her face from the narrator?

    Who is always caught between two characters?

    Why is the story called the last breath?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I’ve answered your first question in the comment above Lungisani.

      The narrator is caught between Eva and his father. So too is the narrator’s mother caught between the narrator and the narrator’s father (her husband).

      It is most likely that the narrator’s father decided to donate his cornea when he was on his death bed. Making the decision with his last breath.

  • Why did the narrator buy a cheap ring to marry Eva? What does this ring symbolise?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Molefe. It is most likely that the narrator has very little money, hence the cheap ring. Though he could have saved up his money and bought a more expensive ring. He didn’t want to wait and wanted to ask Eva to marry him immediately so strong is his love for her. The ring itself symbolises the narrator’s love for Eva.

  • Why did narrator’s father not realize he had increased speed?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Zandile. The narrator’s father was probably unaware that he was driving faster because he was angry. The narrator stands up to his father (saying give Eva eyes). This is probably a shock to the father and as such he begins to drive faster.

  • A terrible cough shook his frame and the car swerved dangerously to the edge of the road .What’s the effect and the result of this line in the story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Kahiga is most likely using this line as foreshadowing. The reader is told later on in the story that the narrator’s father has lung cancer which eventually kills him. The narrator’s father is driving dangerously and could have killed himself and the narrator. This would mirror the fact that the narrator’s father eventually dies of lung cancer. The terrible cough which shook the narrator’s father is in all probability a sign of the lung cancer.

  • The narrator’s father disapproved of the marriage between his son and Eva. Was that a good decision?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator’s father was probably looking out for or at least thought he was protecting the narrator. He may have thought that living with somebody who was blind was too difficult for the narrator. As to whether it is a good decision is left to each individual reader to decide. Some will see the father as being right. While others might suggest that the narrator’s love is strong enough to bear any difficulties he might face.

  • In the short story “A Chip of Glass Ruby” how does the title align with the the story itself?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Gordimer may be suggesting that Mrs Bamjee is a shining light (chip of glass ruby shining) in a dark place (apartheid).

  • Where did Eva stay before being married to the narrator?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Mahlori. Kahiga never names the place that Eva stayed in before she married the narrator but it may be a home for the blind

  • Where did Eva and the narrator first meet?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Kahiga never mentions where Eva and the narrator first met but it may have been at the home (for the blind) that Eva is living in.

  • Thanks for everything Dermot you’re a life saver.

  • Beside the father disagreeing with the speaker, what else have they disagreed on?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Mthax. The narrator also disliked the fact that when he wanted to study music his father made him work in a bank.

  • I think Eva was right that the narrator brought her light, since she (Eva) received a cornea from his (narrator’s) father

  • What does the coughing/cough mean on page 98 (transforming moments )….the meaning of the word doesn’t seem to be the normal coughing…

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Pretty. The narrator is trying to disguise her voice as it is night time and she does not want to get into trouble for talking in her dormitory. She is helping the other girls with their course work. So she will say a few words, then cough, say a few more words and cough again.

  • Thank you so much Dermot

  • Why the did writer only mention the name of Eva?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Thabang. Kahiga might have wished to keep the focus on Eva. Hence her being the only character named in the story.

  • Hi if I may ask who is the main character of the last breath?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Pezisa. The main character in the story is the narrator, who is unnamed throughout the story.

  • What does the narrator want or desire in this story and what stands in the way of his desire?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Priscilla. The narrator wants Eva and does eventually marry her. The stumbling block is the narrator’s father. The narrator wants his father’s approval when it comes to his relationship with Eva.

      • While driving home the father and son do not agree. Describe their disagreement (write two sentences)

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          The narrator and his father are arguing over the fact that Eva is blind. Something that does not bother the narrator as he loves Eva but his father cannot understand how the narrator can love someone who is blind.

          • The mother is worried about the situation and reveals her concern to the son. Discuss what her concern is.

            • Dermot (Post Author)

              The mother has two concerns. Her first concern is the narrator’s happiness. She does not wish for him to be unhappy. Which suggests that the mother is taking the same position as the narrator’s father. That being that he should not marry Eva because she is blind. Neither the narrator’s mother or father understand how deep the narrator’s love for Eva is (not till the end of the story). The mother’s second concern is the fact that the narrator’s father has lung cancer. Something which the narrator’s mother is more focused on than accepting the narrator loves Eva.

  • To what extent do you feel the father is right to be worried and what extent do you think he is wrong?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator’s father is concerned about the narrator’s desire to marry Eva. He loves the narrator and wants (what he thinks) is best for the narrator. As to whether he is wrong is difficult to say and left to each individual reader to decide. Though we never know the narrator’s age. If he is old enough to ask Eva to marry him. He is old enough to make up his own mind without being influenced by others (the narrator’s father).

      • The second section of the story Dermot it begins with a description of the weather which concludes with “sunshine seemed forever gone from my mother.” How is the weather used symbolically?

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          Kahiga uses words like dark and gloomy to describe the weather which in many ways may mirror how the narrator and his mother may be feeling with the impending death of the father from lung cancer. The fact that the sunshine seemed forever gone from the narrator’s mother also suggests that the narrator’s mother is losing the happiness she may have felt with the narrator’s father.

  • What does the narrator learn about his father in this story?

  • What is the narrator in the story? And what distracted the narrator if his desire. Lastly how does the narrator found Eva?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Lalucia. I’m slightly confused by your questions. Do you mean who is the narrator? If so. The narrator is a young man who is in love with a blind girl called Eva. The distraction the narrator may have felt is the fact that his father did not agree with him marrying Eva (not till the end of the story). As to how the narrator found Eva. Kahiga never tells the reader as to how the narrator met Eva but he is very much in love with her.

  • Explain why the narrator is asking for his father’s forgiveness?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Cindy. The narrator is most likely seeking his father’s forgiveness because it is only after his father died that the narrator realises how much he loved the narrator. Something that is noticeable by the fact that the narrator’s father gave his cornea to Eva.

  • One word for the phrase ‘ Cross Over ‘?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      It’s difficult to pick just one word without knowing the sentence or the context in which the word is used. Cross over may mean moving. From one position or place to another.

      • Well based on the story the sentence says

        ‘I’m going to the hospital to receive a new cornea from…Someone else-Someone who is about to -to Cross Over’

        so what do you think it means ?

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          Eva is telling the narrator that she is going to receive a new cornea from someone (the narrator’s father) who is going to die and go to heaven. Move from the land of living to the eternal world.

  • Refer to the figure of speech ‘Bright as an angel’

  • Here are the last Questions

    (1) Compare and contrast the narrator’s feelings towards his father at the beginning and the end of the story.

    (2) If you were the narrator’s father would you have donated your organ to help the narrator (son) after he had shown disrespect towards you?

    (3) Refer to the sentence,’I’ve got my bags packed! Explain why Eva’s bags are packed.

    (4) Discuss the relevance of the title ‘The Last Breath’ in this story

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      (1) At the start of the story the narrator is arguing with his father over his relationship with Eva. However at the end of the story the narrator realises that he is eternally grateful to his father for donating his cornea to Eva. There is a shift from anger to gratitude.

      (2) The narrator’s father has shown great strength by donating his cornea. A strength that many people may not have. The narrator’s father has shown the narrator true love.

      (3) Eva’s bags are packed because she is going to the hospital to receive a new cornea.

      (4) The Last Breath as a title suggests that the narrator’s father on his death bed decided that he would donate his cornea to Eva. With his last breath the narrator’s father is showing the narrator (and Eva) how much he loves them.

  • Thanks Dermot. I really appreciate it.

  • Hey Dermot

    busy with something?

  • Here are my Questions please don’t hesitate to answer

    1. What happened to the narrator when his father interfered with his dreams in the past?

    2. Describe the Narrator’s Relationship with his father

    3. Why is the Narrator So in love with Eva?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1, The narrator ended up working in a bank. A job that he did not like and which he wished he never took. In reality apart from his relationship with Eva. The narrator has adhered to everything his father has requested.

      2. At the beginning of the story the relationship between the narrator and his father is thorny. They argue over the narrator’s love for Eva. However after the narrator’s father dies the narrator realises that his father truly loved him.

      3. The narrator thinks that Eva is an angel and that she is perfect. Which suggests she is everything the narrator longed for.

  • Reveal the narrator’s character

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment M T E. The narrator is a young man who is very much in love with Eva. He hopes that his father will understand this. However due to the fact that Eva is blind. The narrator’s father does not think he should marry Eva. The narrator has also lived his life doing as his father says. Hence him working in a job (the bank) that he does not like. The narrator lacks the ability to stand up to his father though when it comes to Eva. The narrator will not back down. At the end of the story the narrator on hearing that his father has donated his cornea to Eva. Understands that his father really loved him.

  • What is the meaning of the title?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      It is possible that Kahiga is suggesting that the narrator’s father with his last breath before he died decided upon donating his cornea to Eva.

  • What is the setting and theme of the story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment Hoperams. The story is set between the home for the blind that Eva lives in and the narrator’s family home. The central theme of the story is sacrifice. Though there are also sub themes The sub themes are conflict, control, selflessness, love, gratitude and change

  • Please help me with the following questions because I’ve been given work about this book at school to write about it’s title, author, characters, main character, setting, six figures of speech, 10 vocabulary list, plot in two paragraphs.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The title of the story is The Last Breath and Sam Kahiga (author) might be using the title to suggest that the narrator’s father on his last breath before he died decided to donate his cornea to Eva. There are four characters in the story. The narrator, his father, his mother and Eva. The narrator is the main character. The story is set in two different places. The school for the blind where Eva lives and the narrator’s family home. As for figures of speech. I have brought sunshine into her life (narrator about Eva). I’d plunge her back into darkness (narrator about Eva again). My happiness was in Eva’s hand (narrator about Eva). A voice that chilled my heart (narrator on finding out his father is sick). How could I ever leave this angel (narrator about Eva). It was August, and life was once more brisk and lively (narrator commenting on the month of August). I’m not sure what you mean by a vocabulary list.

      The plot in a few sentences would be. The narrator loves Eva. However his father is against the narrator marrying Eva because she is blind. This causes an argument which remains unresolved. Later in the story the narrator finds out that his father has cancer. The narrator proposes to Eva but she tells him to wait as she has the opportunity for her sight to be restored. The narrator’s father dies and after his death the narrator discovers that his father donated his cornea to Eva and that is why Eva is now able to see. The narrator also realises that his father truly loved him despite their argument.

  • Hi, I am an English teacher in grade 12 will you kindly provide me with question and answers of the story,because the summary and analysis is here already

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Thanks for the comment M.H. If you go through the comments on the post you will notice that most of the comments are questions which in my reply I answer. Perhaps you could use some of those questions and answers.

  • Last paragraph

    There is no time to waste, on a fine morning like this especially with Eva and “Mother back in the house waiting for the oranges”.

    I need the figure of speech used.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Kahiga may be using irony here as previously Eva had been waiting for a new cornea and now she is waiting for oranges.

  • Life was once more brisk and lively.

    Figure of speech used here guys.

  • Hello please help me with this questions. 1.Identify characters and describe their characterisation. For each of the characters give at least 3 traits. 2.Describe nature of conflict brought in the story. Thanks

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator – loves Eva and is prepared to marry her without his father’s consent. Which shows a defiant streak. Likely to be always there for Eva due to the love he feels for her. He is a caring person.

      Eva – loves the narrator though wants to wait till she has an eye operation before she marries him. Accepts she is blind and that she can still live her life. A determined woman.

      The narrator’s father – is a stubborn man who may not necessarily understand his son. Lacks compassion for Eva and does not think the narrator should marry Eva.

      The narrator’s mother – is caught in the middle between her love for her husband and her love for her son. She doesn’t think the narrator should marry Eva because she is blind. But will accept whatever course of action he decides upon.

      The main conflict in the story is the fact that the narrator’s father does not want the narrator to marry Eva because she is blind. He does not appear to be able to see past Eva’s blindness unlike the narrator. However the narrator’s father has a change of heart when he is dying and on his last breath before dying agrees to donate his cornea to Eva so that the narrator and Eva can be happy.

  • The title has two meanings what are those meanings?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I can only figure out one meaning, that the narrator’s father on his last breath before he died decided to donate his cornea to Eva.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Actually another meaning might be that the narrator will love Eva till his last breath.

  • What does the mother mean when she says that they do not want their son to be unhappy?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator’s parents do not think that the narrator should marry Eva. They don’t want him to marry her and be unhappy. They can’t see that he loves her regardless of the fact that she is blind.

  • thank u but I still have questions

    1. Reasons why the writer named the girl but not other characters ?

    2. Is the tittle appropriate in view of the story gives reasons?

    3. The Fathers decision to help Eva and to donate his corneas in the story ,find two quotes to prove this?

    4. To which extent can the Father’s residence towards the marriage be justified or not?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. It is possible that Kahiga wanted to keep the focus on Eva. Not only on the fact that she was blind but that she was loved by the narrator. This may be the reason as to why she is the only character named.

      2. If you take the title to mean the narrator’s father on his last breath before dying decided to donate his cornea. Then yes the title is appropriate. Similarly if the title is given to mean that the narrator will love Eva till his last breath, again it would be an appropriate title.

      3. The first quote would be when Eva says to the narrator ‘I’m going to hospital to receive a new cornea.’ Though as readers we don’t know that the donor is the narrator’s father. At the end of the story the narrator says ‘I must say thanks. You always had a kind heart and you really showed my that with your last breath.’ This confirms that the narrator’s father donated his cornea.

      4. It’s difficult to say. The narrator’s father wants his son to be happy and he doesn’t think he’ll be happy by marrying a blind girl.

  • Hello.. Can you please help me with this questions.

    1. Group the characters in terms of static and dynamic characters. For those who are grouped as dynamic characters why are they referred as dynamic.

    2. What do we learn from this story/what is the moral from this short story

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator’s mother would be a static character while the narrator, his father and Eva would be dynamic characters as they change in the story. The narrator changes his opinion of his father. The narrator’s father changes his opinion about Eva and Eva is given the opportunity to see.

      One moral of the story is that a parent’s love is endless. Something that is noticeable by the fact that the narrator’s father donates his cornea to Eva knowing he is helping not only Eva but the narrator too.

  • Who was the conflict resolver?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I would say that the narrator’s father was the conflict resolver. He not only donated his cornea to Eva but by doing so he was giving the narrator his blessing when it came to the narrator marrying Eva.

  • Thank u.

    Eva said “But God him” . How did Eva know that it is a HIM who donated a new cornea ?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I don’t know how Eva knew it was a him. Her doctor might have told her that there was a male donor. I’m not really sure.

  • Okay thank you.

  • Hi,

    1.Discuss the suitability if the title of the short story “The last breath”
    2. Discuss how the theme of discrimination is evident in the story

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. The title of the story would be appropriate as the narrator’s father on his last breath when he was dying decided upon donating his cornea to Eva.
      2. The narrator’s father discriminates against Eva based solely on the fact that she is blind. He doesn’t think she is suited to be the narrator’s girlfriend (wife).

  • Hello Dermot can you help me with these questions?

    1. In the first three sentences there are number of references to eyes and sight. Why do you think this is so?
    2. What does narrator want,or desire in the story,and what stands in the way of his desire?
    3. Why driving home,the father and son do not agree describe the disagreement (write two sentences )
    4. The mother is worried about the situation and reveals her concern to the son:discuss what her concern is?
    5. To what extent do you feel the father is right to be worried, and to what extent do you think he is wrong? Discuss.
    6. The second section of the story begins with a description of the weather, which concludes with “Sunshine seemed forever gone from my mother ” Explain how the weather is used symbolically?
    7. Describe the engagement ring,and say what it tells us about the narrator?
    8. Why does Eva refuse the ring?
    9. What does the narrator learn about his father in this story?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. It is possible that Kahiga is using the imagery of sight at the beginning of the story to place an emphasis on an individual’s eyes. Perhaps for the reader to see things as the narrator does or also for the narrator’s father to see things as his son does. It is also possible that Kahiga is using irony, particularly when it comes to the narrator’s father. He can’t see what the narrator can see when it comes to Eva.

      2. The narrator wants to marry Eva. However his father does not agree that the narrator should marry Eva.

      3. Both the narrator and his father are arguing over as to whether the narrator should marry Eva. The narrator wants to but his father is against the idea bases solely on the fact that Eva is blind.

      4. The mother wants the narrator to be happy. However like the narrator’s father she does not think the narrator will be happy should he decide upon marrying Eva. She is also like the narrator’s father basing her opinion solely on the fact that Eva is blind.

      5. It is only natural for a father to be concerned about their son. However the narrator’s father needs to respect the narrator’s decision. The narrator is old enough to make up his own mind about who he wants to marry.

      6. The line ‘Sunshine seemed forever gone from my mother’ suggests a sense of loss. Which relates to the death of the narrator’s father. Kahiga using the weather as symbolise to highlight the loss.

      7. The engagement ring is unusual but is all that the narrator can afford. It also shows his commitment to Eva and his strong desire to marry Eva.

      8. Eva wants to be able to see before she gets married.

      9. That his father always loved him and was there for him. Though the narrator might not have realised it.

  • Hey Dermot so here are the Questions
    of The Last Breath :

    1.Where do the speaker and his Father go to see Eva?
    2.Refer to lines 1-2 (‘My Last Word …to Marry me’)
    a)Identify the speakers tone in these lines
    b)Why Is the speakers tone appropriate at this particular stage in the story?
    3.What does the Words,’the angel in her’Suggest about Eva’s Character?
    4.Quote Six Consecutive Words that indicate that the Speaker’s Father is ill?
    5.what does the Speaker’s father Correct(He corrected. ..In his seat’)?
    6.how does the Narrator’s Relationship with his father differ from his relationship with his Mother?

    7.Later in the story, the speaker proposes marriage to Eva

    a )Explain why the following is False :

    The speaker proposes with a Diamond ring.

    b)What is Eva’s Response to the Speaker’s proposal? State Two Points.

    8.Discuss how the theme of discrimination is evident in this extract.
    9.discuss the Suitability of the title of the Short Story, The last Breath

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. A school for the blind as far as I know.
      2a. A defiant tone.
      2b. Yes. The narrator is standing up for himself.
      3. That Eva in the narrator’s eyes is from heaven. A gift from God.
      4. I only came across a sentence that has five words. Your father is very sick.
      5. The car back safely onto the road.
      6. The narrator feels as though he can talk to his mother. That she understands him.
      7a. He proposes with a cheap copper ring.
      7b. She wants to wait for two reasons. So that she can see the ring and till she has her operation.
      8. I don’t have access to the extract.
      9. It is possible that the title refers to the moment that the narrator’s father decided to donate his cornea to Eva. He made the decision with his last breath.

  • I appreciate it.

  • I really appreciate it and it really helped me to understand the story. Thanks!✊

  • Dermot I need your help.

  • Tomorrow I have to do a speech based on The Last Breath so please summarize it in short for me.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The narrator who is unnamed is in love with a young blind woman called Eva. He tells his father that he plans on marrying Eva but the father does not think this is a good idea. They have an argument with neither man agreeing with the other. The narrator talks to his mother about Eva and she too does not think that it would be a good idea for the narrator to marry Eva. The narrator’s mother also tells the narrator that his father is ill. Despite this the narrator goes ahead with his plans to ask Eva to marry him but she tells him that she wants to wait till she can see again. It is only after his father has died that the narrator realises that his father donated his cornea to Eva. Even though they had argued the father wanted to see the narrator happy and realised he loved Eva.

      Good luck with your speech.

  • Thanks a lot ☺.

  • 1. what is the mood of the short story. provide reasons
    2. At what point is the climax reached in the story?
    3. identify the settings of the short story.
    4. who is the narrator of the short story?
    5. what happened to the narrator as the story concluded?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. The mood of the story at first is one of disbelief or anger followed by acceptance. At the start of the story the narrator cannot believe that his father would judge Eva based solely on the fact that she is blind. At the end of the story the narrator realises he has misjudged his father.
      2. As far as I can work out the climax occurs when Eva decides to wait when it comes to getting married. She knows that someone has donated their cornea to her and she wants to wait to see the ring.
      3. The story is set in two different places. The school for the blind where Eva lives and the narrator’s family home.
      4. A young unnamed man.
      5.The narrator accepts that his father always loved him.

  • who is/are the main character(s) ?

  • I need help on the plot of the story.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The plot in a few sentences would be. The narrator loves Eva. However his father is against the narrator marrying Eva because she is blind. This causes an argument which remains unresolved. Later in the story the narrator finds out that his father has cancer. The narrator proposes to Eva but she tells him to wait as she has the opportunity for her sight to be restored. The narrator’s father dies and after his death the narrator discovers that his father donated his cornea to Eva and that is why Eva is now able to see. The narrator also realises that his father truly loved him despite their argument.

  • In the first three sentences there are a number of references to eyes and sight. Why is this so?

  • 1. ( ‘what will you do? you can’t marry her like that!’…)
    a). why does the boy take his father to meet Eva?
    b). why does the speaker use ‘her’ and not the name of the girl?
    c). identify the tone the speaker uses.
    2. (‘we’ve gone through this before.’)
    a). the speaker and his father have also disagreed on another matter. what have they disagreed on?
    3. (‘when i come of age…Eva to marry me.’)
    a). state why the son wants to marry Eva when he comes ‘of age’.
    4. (‘a look of surprise momentarily came to dad’s face.’)
    a). why does the father seem to be surprised?
    5. identify two characteristics of the father.
    6. discuss the mother’s and father’s view of Eva.
    7. ‘acceptance’ is one of the themes in this story. Discuss this theme
    8. do you think the tittle of this short story is appropriate? substantiate your answer

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1a. He wants to introduce Eva to him.
      1b. Because Eva is blind the narrator’s father considers her to be less worthy. Hence not using Eva’s first name.
      1c. Determined.
      2a. About what the narrator should work at. He ended up working in a bank because that is what his father wanted.
      3a. He will no longer be under his father’s control.
      4a. Most likely because he can’t see the reason as to why the narrator would want to marry someone who is blind.
      5. Stubborn and kind.
      6. Both want the narrator to be happy but do not think the narrator should marry Eva due to the fact she is blind.
      7. By donating his cornea to Eva the narrator’s father accepts that the narrator truly loves Eva.
      8. It is possible that the title refers to the moment that the narrator’s father decided to donate his cornea to Eva. He made the decision with his last breath. So it may be appropriate.

  • What’s caused Eva to be blind?

  • Can you highlight the importance of organ donation?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Organ donation is important as it gives a person the opportunity to live their life to their potential. Something that is noticeable when Eva receives a cornea donation from the narrator’s father. It is as though Eva has been given a second chance in life.

  • Hi explain both the literal and figurative meaning of the title of this story.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      The literal meaning and figurative meaning are very close. Literally the narrator’s father has taken his last breath (and died). While figuratively he would have made the decision to donate his cornea to Eva on his last breath.

  • Dear Dermot

    You are the greatest super hero i know,thank you for you help.

    Gratefully
    Ernvylle

  • What could you conclude about each character and please explain how each character is characterized

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Narrator – determined and in love with Eva. Will not back down on his decision to marry Eva.

      Eva – Determined and focused. Wants to see wedding ring before she accepts the narrator’s marriage proposal.

      Father – Selfless. At first the father comes across as being selfish because he can’t understand why the narrator wants to marry Eva. However his actions of donating his cornea to Eva suggest he love’s the narrator and is selfless.

      Mother – Minor character who wants the best for the narrator. Though does believe that the narrator should not marry Eva. However she like the father changes her opinion.

  • Hello Dermot

    I’d like to really know if you have summaries of My Children, My Africa and The Doll’s House stories?

  • Hello Dermot

    Can I ask you some questions regarding The Doll’s House And My Children My Africa summary stories?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I haven’t read My Children, My Africa so I won’t be able to answer those questions. Any questions you have on The Doll’s House. Post them here.

  • Hello Dermot

    Here Are Some Certain Questions I Really Wanna Know Regarding The Doll’s House Story..

    THE DOLL’S HOUSE

    1.How are Mrs Burnell and Mrs Kelveys described in the short story?
    Give TWO descriptions of EACH character.

    2.Refer to lines 2-3 (‘ Like two little . . . .doll’s house stood’).
    (a) Identify the figure of speech in this line.
    (b)Explain why this figure of speech is appropriate.

    3.Give TWO examples from the story to prove that the Kelveys are poor.

    4.Give TWO possible reasons why Else is ‘dazed’ in lines 20-22 (‘ They did not. . . .the white gate’).

    5.Explain the irony in the words,’Wicked, disobedient little girl!’ (line 23) in the context of the story as a whole.

    6.In your opinion, do the Kelveys contribute to the way in which they are treated by others? discuss your view.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. Mrs Burnell does not want Kezia to bring the Kelveys to her home to see the doll’s house. Which may suggest she is selfish and does not want her children associating with the Kelveys due to their lower class status. Mrs Kelvey has struggled through life. The reader aware that she makes the children’s clothes from pieces of material donated by others. Also Mr Kelvey may be in jail.

      2. You seem to be working off an extract. I don’t have access to the extract.

      3. Their mother making their clothes for them from scraps of material from other people. I think they eat just jam sandwiches for lunch. Whereas the other children may eat meat.

      4. Again I don’t have access to the extract.

      5. If anyone is being wicked, and disobedient it is Aunt Beryl. The Kelvey’s have done nothing wrong throughout the story.

      6. I don’t think either of the girls are responsible for the position they find themselves in. It is others who have judged them by their appearance and the fact that their father might be in prison.

  • hi dermot I had some few questions about the short story LAST BREATH

    1.Do you think it is fair to judge Eva because of her disability?give reason for your answer

    2.what is meant by this phrase in the contex of this short story? “THEY WERE DENYING ME THAT HAND FOR MARRIAGE”

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. I don’t think it would be fair to judge Eva by her disability. Eva’s disability is just one part of her. When judging people (if you have to) then a person should be judged as a whole. Both positive and negative aspects of the person should be taken into consideration. Eva is a nice girl who just happens to be blind.

      2. I think that line refers to the narrator’s parents not supporting his desire to marry Eva.

  • What are the characteristics of each character?

  • Hi Dermot

    Can you please help me.

    Discuss the significance of the “terrible cough” and the dangerous swerve of the father in the story of the last breath.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Kahiga may be using the ‘terrible cough’ as foreshadowing with the reader later learning that the narrator’s father has lung cancer. With regard to the swerve of the car. Kahiga may be symbolically highlighting that the narrator’s father is losing control over his life.

  • 1.mention one event in the story where the father interfered with the narrator’s dreams.
    2.why would you think the title of the story is called “His Last Breath?”
    3.Answer true or false and give reason for your answer: Eva agreed to marry the narrator when he was proposing for the first time.
    4.Eva was a beautiful Young girl ,quote a phrase of not move than six words in the extract that describes her beauty?
    5.Then give her eye’s:How is the above statement fulfilled in the story?
    6.Do you think it was fair for the father to judge Eva because of her disability? Motivate your answer?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. When the narrator’s father made him work in the bank.

      2. The narrator’s father most likely when he was dying and on his last breath agreed to donate his cornea to Eva.

      3. False. She wanted to wait for the cornea operation first.

      4. I don’t have access to the extract you are working off.

      5. The narrator’s father donates his cornea to Eva. Helping her to see again.

      6. No it wasn’t fair. Nobody should be judged by their disability.

  • Compare and contrast characters in the story.

  • 1 The father in the story shows prejudice towards the blind girl whom his son wants to marry. Why do you think he feels this way?
    2. Explain the unexpected twist which occurs in the story.
    3. How does the writer use the changes in weather to reflect the son’s feelings?
    4. How is the title of the story relevant to the plot and the changes?
    5. How does the narrator’s mother feel about the blind girl?
    6.The month of August arrives and ‘life was once more brisk and lively’. Ecplain why this is so.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. He wants the best for the narrator and doesn’t feel it is in the narrator’s best interest to marry a blind a girl.

      2. The narrator’s father donates his cornea to Eva.

      3. I would need to read the story again.

      4. The narrator’s father possibly on his last breath before dying decided upon donating his cornea to Eva.

      5. She feels similar to the father. She wants the best for the narrator.

      6. Autumn has arrived and the season has changed. Just as Eva has changed and can see again.

  • What is the message of this story?

  • 1. In the first three sentences there are a number of references to eyes and sight.Why do you think this is so?

    2. What does the narrator want,or desire,in this stroy,and what stands in the way of his desire?

    3. While driving home,the father and son do not agree: describe their disagreement.

    4. The mother is worried about the situation,and reveals her concern to the son: discuss what her concern is.

    5. To what extent do you feel the father is right to be worried,and to what extent do you think he is wrong?Discuss.

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. It is possible that Kahiga is using the imagery of sight at the beginning of the story to place an emphasis on an individual’s eyes. Perhaps for the reader to see things as the narrator does or also for the narrator’s father to see things as his son does. It is also possible that Kahiga is using irony particularly when it comes to the narrator’s father. He can’t see what the narrator can see when it comes to Eva.

      2. He wants to marry Eva and feels obstructed by his father.

      3. The father is telling the narrator that he cannot marry Eva because she is blind. He does not see Eva in the same way as the narrator does.

      4. Her concern is two-fold. She wants the narrator to be happy but doesn’t think he should marry Eva. Secondly the narrator’s father has lung cancer and the narrator’s mother is concerned.

      5. The narrator’s father wants the best for the narrator and does not see the narrator marrying Eva as being the right thing to do. The narrator’s father can not see past her disability. The narrator’s father may be in the wrong because he is interfering (again) in the narrator’s life. Rather than allowing him the independence to make his own decisions and marry Eva.

      • Thank you
        6. The second section of the begins with a description of the weather,which concludes with “Sunshine seemed forevergone from my Mother”.Explain how the weather is used symbolically.

        7. Describe the engagement ring,and say what it tells is about the narrator.

        8. Why does Eva refuse the ring?

        9. What does the narrator learn about his father in this story? (Three sentences)

        • Dermot (Post Author)

          6. Sunshine can symbolically represent warmth and brightness. It is possible that by using the sunshine or weather that Kahiga is suggesting that the warmth and brightness that the narrator’s mother once felt about life has gone. Things may now be cold and dark for her. Particularly knowing that the narrator’s father has lung cancer.

          7. It’s a copper band as far as I remember. It is all that the narrator can afford.

          8. She wants to wait till she has her cornea operation.

          9. The narrator learns that his father always loved him and always put him first. Even though it may not have seemed like that to the narrator. In reality though the narrator may have felt his father was a hindrance to him marrying Eva. At the end of the story by donating his cornea to Eva. He has helped not only Eva but the narrator too.

  • Where do the narrator and his father go to see Eva?

  • What does the lamb symbolize in the dolls house

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I don’t recall a lamb. Do you mean lamp? If so the lamp symbolizes connection. A connection between Kezia and Else

  • can you please explain this on the last breath
    1. Setting
    2. Characters
    3. Climax
    4. Atmosphere
    5. Theme
    6. Plot
    7. Background
    8. Type of Narrator
    9. Rising action
    10. Denouement

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      1. Eva’s home for the blind and the narrator’s family home.
      2. the narrator, his father and mother and Eva.
      3. Eva refusing to accept the wedding ring.
      4. Hopelessness and hopefulness.
      5. Several themes with the central theme being sacrifice.
      6.Young man (the narrator) wants to marry girl (Eva). His father disagrees but as the story progresses the narrator realises that his father is willing to make sacrifices for him (donating his cornea) so that he can marry Eva.
      7. Narrator wants to marry Eva. However his father objects to the marriage.
      8. First person.
      9. The narrator’s father has lung cancer and though the focus is on him. The father himself is focused on helping Eva.
      10. Narrator visiting father’s grave and showing gratitude.

  • can you please help me with the theme of the Last breath short story

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I go through each of the themes in the post. If you’re looking for the main theme then that would be sacrifice. The narrator’s father making sacrifices for Eva.

  • Hi Dermot can you help me in finding the tone and the mood of the story and please explain them?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      Simply put. Tone is the feeling that the writer sets and mood is the feeling the reader feels after reading the story. In this case the tone and mood I think would be similar. The narrator is frustrated and then reflective after he discovers his father donates his cornea to Eva.

  • What is the darkness seen in the story guys?

  • Thank you very much it really helped me to see dis cz I have understanding of this book

  • What is the theme of the last breath

  • The second section of the story Begin’s with a description of the weather, which concludes with “sunshine seemed forever gone from my mother” how did the weather used symbolically???

  • What are the figures of speech in this story of “last breath”?

    • Dermot (Post Author)

      I would need to read the story again and at the moment I’m trying to work my way through a back log of stories.

  • Hi Dermot. can u pls help me on this

    A.Refer to line 1-2 ‘I looked at …. the Inner Eva

    B.How many references are there to sight and seeing in these line?

    C.Suggest why these references are significant.

    D.Exaplain what the narrotor means by ”the Inner Eva”

    E.Refer to line 4:”come of age ….marry me.Explain the meaning of to”come of age”

    F.What place have they been ”visiting”?

    G.Refer to line 10-12:”a look of….hold of dad”

  • A.Exaplain what the narrator think s ”had got hold” of his father.

    B.What makes her dad look surprised and increase his speed.

    C.Refer to line 15-16:”glimpse of the….helpples Eva was.”commmmenton the effect of metaphor the narrator uses her

    D.Refer to line 19:”Dad dind’t reply….shook his frame”.Discuss the significance of the “terrible cough” and the dangerouse swerve.

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