This GCSE English Literature quiz focusses on dialogue in A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. The term “dialogue” refers to any direct speech in literature, although technically it means a conversation between at least two people. Dialogue is a significant element in characterisation. A character’s speech, its style and content, has much to tell the reader. Characters in A Christmas Carol are given consistent, straightforward dialogue which symbolises character traits shared with swathes of humanity. The good natured characters, in fact, exhibit virtues rather than individual characteristics. And Scrooge, of course, strongly displays several vices which he is meant to share with all miserly and self-centred people.
Be sure to note specific details about a character’s language choice or use of dialect. When studying a work of fiction spend some time to consider these questions: in what way does the speech of each character differ from that of others? Does vocabulary vary between characters? Have you observed any changes in a character’s dialogue over time, or in different situations? Do characters speak differently depending on who is being addressed?
Dialogue can tell you much more than about individual characteristics. Speech can prompt events, or convey information which the reader would otherwise not know, for example Fan’s reference to their father’s change for the better. When we learn of Scrooge’s unhappy family life, we are meant to have a better understanding of the conditions which might influence someone to become unfeeling as an adult.
Memorising dialogue is an excellent addition to your preparations for a literature exam. Create a list of the most significant examples of dialogue for each character, paying extra attention particularly in this text to those examples which prompt Scrooge to reconsider his own behaviour.
The quiz below asks you to work out who is speaking each of these lines. Consider the significance of the dialogue before answering the questions. What do the lines tell you about the type of character who speaks them? If it is possible to imagine another character uttering similar lines, what does that tell you about those characters? What lessons are Scrooge and the reader meant to learn?