This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It takes place midway through the novella after Scrooge has been exposed to some of his own past experiences of Christmas, some pleasant and some not. He has been made to recall, for example, the simple pleasures of Mr Fezziwig’s Christmas celebrations for his employees and has remembered all that his love of money has cost him during his life. The Spirits are not yet finished with him, however…
It is always a good idea to read the passage through carefully more than once before attempting to answer an extract question for an exam.
Because you will notice different aspects of the passage on each read-through, re-reading is never a waste of time. The first time you read the passage, aim for a general understanding of the extract and how it relates to the question you have chosen to answer. You can begin to make detailed notes and annotations as you plan your answer more carefully during a second reading.
Ask yourself why the specific passage has been chosen. How does it fit with the rest of the text? Are any significant characters or themes introduced? What happens next? Does the passage foreshadow later events? Does it indicate a turning point? Consider the ending of the extract, asking yourself why it ends where it does instead of somewhere else. What might be significant about the final line?
Pay close attention to the wording of the question you have chosen to answer. Perhaps it requires you to write about mood and atmosphere, or a particular character. Or the question might ask for your personal response to the passage or to a character. Maybe dialogue, behaviour or feelings are the focus of the question. Always explain the passage’s immediate context: acknowledge the events which precede the extract, considering their relevance. Discuss detail, setting and characterisation in the extract. In your response, you should also analyse and discuss the relationship between the passage and the wider themes of the text. Group related ideas together to structure your writing. Be sure to leave enough time to discuss the entire passage. It is always disappointing to cover one section in so much detail that you run out of time to do justice to the rest of the extract!
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.