NIGHTMARE by N.E Okechukwu English Literature Jss 2 Third Term

Subject : English Grammar 

Class : JSS 2

Term : Third Term

Week : Week 5

Topic :

Nightmare Exploration

Topic: “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu

Class, today we’re going to discuss the poem titled “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu. It’s a poem that captures the experience of the narrator in a difficult and frightening situation. Let’s explore the key elements of the poem in a list format:

1. Opening Scene:
– The narrator wakes up and checks the time.
– They mention getting atop the stage to perform mime.
– The cheerleaders, crew, and fans are excited and chanting the narrator’s name.
– The narrator feels a sense of accomplishment and recognition.

2. Sense of Unease:
– Suddenly, the narrator realizes that something is wrong.
– They wonder which part of their performance they missed or messed up.
– This realization threatens their joy and contentment.
– The atmosphere changes, and the narrator’s happiness turns into worry.

3. Introducing Danger:
– The narrator notices beads of sweat on their forehead.
– Despite the audience’s encouragement to take a bow, the narrator hesitates.
– They make a personal promise not to give up, even if it means facing difficulties.

4. Unexpected Threat:
– The narrator sees an arm, but it doesn’t belong to their performing group.
– They compare it to a magician’s wand, but soon realize it’s a gun.
– The introduction of the gun changes the situation dramatically.
– The narrator realizes that things have taken a dangerous turn.

5. Internal Struggle:
– The narrator’s heart is willing to escape, but their legs won’t move.
– They attempt to run but feel as if they are stuck or glued in place.
– The fear and panic intensify as they try to escape the imminent danger.
– The sound of the gun raises the question of whether the narrator will survive.


6. Awakening:
– The sound of the gun startles the narrator, abruptly waking them up.
– They realize that the previous events were just a dream.
– The sudden awakening brings a sense of relief and reassurance.

7. Post-Dream Reflection:
– The narrator initially believed the sound of the gun was a consequence of their actions.
– They thought it represented the aftermath of their nightmare scenario.
– However, they soon realize that the sound they heard was their cup falling and making a loud noise.
– The dream turns out to be an illusion, and the narrator’s fears are unfounded.

8. Relief and Conclusion:
– The narrator expresses a sense of relief upon realizing that it was only a dream.
– They mention their cup being full to the brim, symbolizing a metaphorical overflowing of worries or concerns.
– The cup falls and makes a thudding sound, signifying the end of the dream and the dissipation of fear.
– The revelation that it was just a dream brings a sense of calmness and the reassurance that everything is fine.

In conclusion, “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu takes us through the experience of a dream that starts as a fearful scenario but ends with the relief of realizing it was only an illusion. It explores the contrast between the imagined danger and the comforting reality of waking up unharmed.

Now, let’s take a moment to discuss dreams and their impact on our emotions. Have you ever had a dream that felt incredibly real and caused you to wake up with strong emotions? How did you feel when you realized it was just a dream?




Summary of the Poem “Nightmare”:

The poem “Nightmare” tells the story of a renowned performer, possibly a musician, poet, or actor, who experiences a nightmare during his performance. In the dream, he realizes that something is wrong with his performance and wonders where he made a mistake. This suggests that he may not have rehearsed adequately before going on stage.

As the nightmare progresses, the performer becomes anxious and starts sweating. Despite his fans’ advice to leave the stage, he is determined not to give up. However, the situation worsens when gunshots interrupt the performance. The performer finds himself immobilized and unable to escape. It is implied that his enemies are responsible for his predicament, as they have taken advantage of his weaknesses and flaws.

Ultimately, the performer’s dreams of success and fame are shattered, and he falls from grace to a state of failure and disappointment.

The poem explores themes of performance anxiety, determination in the face of adversity, and the consequences of neglecting proper preparation. It serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of thorough rehearsal and the potential consequences of overlooking one’s shortcomings.



 The poetic devices and figures of speech used in the poem “Nightmare”:

1. Rhyme Scheme:
– The poem follows an AABBCC rhyme scheme, with each pair of lines rhyming with each other.

2. Metaphor:
– “Beads of perspiration adorns my brow” – The sweat on the narrator’s forehead is compared to beads, using the metaphor of adornment.
– “Like magicians moving a wand” – The arm holding the gun is compared to a magician’s wand, creating a vivid image.

3. Personification:
– “Fans urging me to take the bow” – The fans are personified, as they are given the human-like quality of urging the narrator.

4. Hyperbole:
– “As cheerleaders, crew, and fans hail my name” – The exaggerated language is used to emphasize the enthusiasm and support of the audience.

5. Symbolism:
– “Cup full to the brim” – The cup symbolizes the narrator’s worries or concerns, representing a state of being overwhelmed.

6. Allusion:
– “Fall from grace to grass” – This phrase alludes to a loss of prestige or status, suggesting a downfall from a successful position to a less favorable one.

7. Onomatopoeia:
– “Thud” – The sound of the cup falling is represented by the word “thud,” which imitates the sound it makes upon hitting the ground.

8. Repetition:
– The repetition of certain phrases, such as “Oh my God” and “Not to give up,” creates a sense of emphasis and reinforces the narrator’s emotions and determination.

9. Imagery:
– The use of descriptive language throughout the poem creates vivid mental images, such as the sweat on the narrator’s brow and the scene of a performer on stage.

10. Irony:
– The title itself, “Nightmare,” creates irony as it suggests a terrifying experience, but in reality, it is a dream and not an actual danger.

These poetic devices and figures of speech contribute to the overall impact of the poem, enhancing the imagery, emotions, and themes explored by the poet.


Theme in the poem “Nightmare”:

1. Dreams and Reality:
– The poem explores the contrast between the narrator’s dream and reality.
– It emphasizes the confusion and disorientation that can occur when dreams feel vivid and real.
– The theme highlights the importance of distinguishing between imagination and actual experiences.

2. Fear and Anxiety:
– The poem delves into the emotions of fear and anxiety that the narrator experiences during the nightmare.
– It portrays the sense of unease and worry that can accompany challenging situations or performances.
– The theme explores how fear can disrupt one’s confidence and performance.

3. Determination and Resilience:
– The poem showcases the narrator’s determination to not give up despite the difficulties faced on stage.
– It emphasizes the importance of perseverance and resilience in pursuing goals and overcoming obstacles.
– The theme highlights the strength of character and resolve needed to face adversity.

4. Consequences of Neglect:
– The poem suggests that the narrator’s downfall in the dream may be a result of not properly preparing or rehearsing.
– It explores the idea that neglecting one’s responsibilities or shortcomings can lead to negative outcomes.
– The theme serves as a reminder of the importance of diligence and preparation in achieving success.

5. Illusions and Deceptions:
– The poem plays with the theme of illusions and deceptions, as the narrator initially believes the dream to be reality.
– It raises questions about perception and the ability to discern between what is real and what is imagined.
– The theme invites reflection on the nature of appearances and the potential for misinterpretation.

6. Fragility of Fame:
– The poem touches upon the idea that fame and success can be fleeting and vulnerable.
– It suggests that even those who seem accomplished can face sudden setbacks or downfall.
– The theme emphasizes the need for humility and recognition of the transient nature of worldly achievements.

These themes provide valuable insights into the human experience, encouraging reflection on emotions, determination, consequences, perception, and the pursuit of success.




1. In the poem, the narrator opens their eyes to check _______.

a) their performance

b) the time

c) the audience’s reaction


2. The narrator feels a sense of _______ when their name is hailed by cheerleaders, crew, and fans.

a) fear

b) accomplishment

c) disappointment


3. The narrator wonders which part of their _______ they missed during their performance.

a) costume

b) script

c) rhymes


4. Beads of perspiration _______ the narrator’s brow.

a) decorate

b) protect

c) adorn


5. The narrator makes a vow to _______ even if it hurts their cow.

a) give up

b) remain determined

c) disappoint the audience


6. In the dream, the narrator sees an arm that turns out to be _______.

a) a magician’s wand

b) a musical instrument

c) a gun


7. The narrator’s heart is willing, but their _______ don’t yield.

a) arms

b) legs

c) voice


8. The sound of the gun disrupts the gathering and _______ the narrator.

a) encourages

b) scares

c) motivates


9. The narrator realizes their enemies have added up their sins and believe their _______ is filled.

a) cup

b) hat

c) plate


10. At the end of the poem, the narrator wakes up and realizes it was all just a _______.

a) nightmare

b) prank

c) rehearsal


Remember to choose the most appropriate option for each blank.


Lesson Plan Presentation

Title: Exploring the Poem “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu

– To analyze and comprehend the poem “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu.
– To identify and discuss the poetic devices and figures of speech used in the poem.
– To understand and interpret the themes portrayed in the poem.

Materials Needed:
– Whiteboard/flipchart and markers
– Printed copies of the poem “Nightmare” for each student
– Projector and screen (optional)

Duration: Approximately 45 minutes

1. Greet the students and introduce the topic of the lesson: analyzing the poem “Nightmare” by N.E Okechukwu.
2. Explain the objective of the lesson and its relevance in understanding poetry and literary devices.

Warm-up Activity:
3. Engage the students in a brief discussion about dreams. Ask questions such as:
– Have you ever had a vivid dream that felt real?
– How did you feel when you woke up from that dream?
– Did any of your dreams ever scare you or make you anxious?

Body of the Lesson:
4. Distribute printed copies of the poem “Nightmare” to each student or display it using a projector.
5. Read the poem aloud, emphasizing the rhythm and emotions conveyed.
6. Discuss the plot and narrative of the poem:
– Explain that the poem tells the story of a performer who experiences a nightmare during their performance.
– Highlight the key events and emotions described in the poem.

Analyzing Poetic Devices and Figures of Speech:
7. Introduce the concept of poetic devices and figures of speech:
– Explain that poets often use various techniques to enhance the meaning and impact of their poems.
– Emphasize that poetic devices and figures of speech add depth, imagery, and emotion to the poem.

8. Engage the students in a guided analysis of the poem’s poetic devices and figures of speech:
– Identify examples of rhyme scheme, metaphors, personification, hyperbole, symbolism, allusion, onomatopoeia, repetition, imagery, and irony present in the poem.
– Encourage students to explain the effect of each device and how it contributes to the overall meaning and tone of the poem.
– Write down examples of each device on the whiteboard/flipchart to facilitate discussion and understanding.

Exploring the Poem’s Themes:
9. Discuss the thematic elements present in the poem:
– Explain that themes are the underlying messages or ideas explored in a literary work.
– Identify and discuss themes such as dreams and reality, fear and anxiety, determination and resilience, consequences of neglect, illusions and deceptions, and the fragility of fame.
– Encourage students to share their interpretations and insights on these themes.

10. Summarize the main points discussed during the lesson, including the poetic devices and figures of speech identified and the themes explored.
11. Conduct a brief class discussion on the students’ personal reflections and thoughts about the poem.
12. Encourage the students to express their opinions and emotions related to the themes portrayed in the poem.

Assessment (Optional):
13. Assign a follow-up activity, such as a writing task or a group discussion, where students can apply their understanding of poetic devices and themes.
14. Review and provide feedback on the students’ work to assess their comprehension of the poem and its analysis.

15. Recap the key points covered during the lesson and emphasize the importance of analyzing poetry to enhance understanding and appreciation.
16. Encourage students to explore and appreciate

different forms of literature, including poetry, as it offers a unique way of expressing emotions and ideas.

Extension Activities (Optional):
1. Ask students to write their own poem based on a personal dream or nightmare they’ve had. Encourage them to incorporate some of the poetic devices and figures of speech discussed in class.
2. Organize a poetry recitation session where students can perform their poems or the poem “Nightmare” to showcase their understanding of rhythm, tone, and emotions.
3. Divide the class into groups and assign each group a different poetic device or figure of speech. Have them create presentations or posters explaining the device and providing examples from various poems, including “Nightmare.”
4. Conduct a poetry circle where students can read aloud and discuss their favorite poems or lines from other poets, connecting them to the themes explored in “Nightmare.”

By engaging students in these extension activities, they will deepen their appreciation for poetry, develop their creative writing skills, and strengthen their ability to analyze and interpret literary works.

Closing Remarks:
Poetry allows us to explore and understand the complexities of the human experience. Through the poem “Nightmare,” we have explored themes of dreams, fear, determination, and the consequences of neglect. We have also examined various poetic devices and figures of speech that enrich the poem’s meaning and impact.

Remember, analyzing poetry requires careful observation, thoughtful reflection, and an appreciation for the artistry of language. I encourage you all to continue exploring and enjoying poetry, as it can open doors to new worlds of imagination and emotion.

Thank the students for their active participation and invite any final questions or comments before concluding the lesson.


Weekly Assessment /Test


1. In the poem “Nightmare,” the narrator’s sense of _______ turns into worry.
a) joy
b) accomplishment
c) fear

2. The narrator’s vow is to not give up _______.
a) even if it hurts their cow
b) when they feel tired
c) if they receive applause

3. Beads of perspiration _______ the narrator’s brow.
a) decorate
b) adorn
c) protect

4. The narrator sees an arm holding a _______ in their dream.
a) microphone
b) wand
c) flower

5. The sound of the gun disrupts the gathering and _______ the narrator.
a) encourages
b) frightens
c) inspires

6. The narrator’s heart is willing, but their _______ don’t yield.
a) hands
b) legs
c) voice

7. The narrator wakes up and realizes that it was all just a _______.
a) reality
b) performance
c) dream

8. The narrator wonders which part of their _______ they missed during their performance.
a) costume
b) script
c) rhymes

9. The cup falling and making a thudding sound symbolizes the end of the _______.
a) performance
b) dream
c) applause

10. The narrator feels a sense of _______ when they realize it was just a dream.
a) relief
b) accomplishment
c) disappointment

11. The narrator’s fans urge them to _______.
a) give up
b) take a bow
c) continue performing

12. The narrator’s legs feel like they are _______ in the dream.
a) tied
b) floating
c) dancing

13. The narrator’s vow is to not give up, _______ if it hurts their cow.
a) even
b) especially
c) occasionally

14. The sound of the gun disrupts the gathering and makes the narrator feel _______.
a) brave
b) powerful
c) frightened

15. The narrator sees an arm that turns out to be holding a _______.
a) microphone
b) flower
c) gun

16. The narrator wakes up and realizes that the whole experience was just a _______.
a) reality
b) rehearsal
c) dream

17. The narrator’s legs don’t yield, making them feel _______.
a) strong
b) paralyzed
c) agile

18. The poem “Nightmare” explores the theme of _______.
a) love and friendship
b) dreams and reality
c) success and failure

19. The cup falling symbolizes the end of the _______.
a) performance
b) dream
c) applause

20. The narrator’s heart is willing, but their _______ don’t cooperate.
a) arms
b) legs
c) mind

Remember to choose the most appropriate option for each blank. These questions will help you revise the poem “Nightmare” effectively. Good luck!



1. b) accomplishment
2. a) even if it hurts their cow
3. b) adorn
4. c) flower
5. b) frightens
6. b) legs
7. c) dream
8. c) rhymes
9. b) dream
10. a) relief
11. b) take a bow
12. a) tied
13. a) even
14. c) frightened
15. c) gun
16. c) dream
17. b) paralyzed
18. b) dreams and reality
19. a) performance
20. b) legs



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