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A Christmas Carol - Illustrating and Supporting Points
Improve your English Literature skills in this quiz.

A Christmas Carol - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz is about illustrating and supporting points and looks at A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Whenever you wish to argue a point about a text, you need to rely on evidence. You can strengthen your case by referring specifically and accurately to evidence from a text. Quoting accurately from a text is not the easiest of skills to learn, however. This quiz gives you the chance to test these vital literary skills. See how well you can identify the answers which have incorporated the evidence in support of a point accurately and grammatically. And when writing your own essays or exam answers, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three primary methods of using evidence when writing about a text: the first is to paraphrase, the second is to quote single words or short phrases, and the third is to quote longer sections of text. Although sometimes neglected, paraphrasing is one of the easiest methods and is an essential skill in writing. The use of paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of a text, even though you do not quote directly. This is the most useful method of using evidence when you do not have the text to hand (especially during an exam).

Selectively quoting single words or phrases is effective and is particularly useful when you wish to draw attention to a specific choice of language. By mixing paraphrase and a short quotation in the same sentence, you can be flexible in your writing and use of evidence. This is much more elegant and clear than writing long sentences full of multiple quotations. Sentences full of multiple quotations can be clumsy and very difficult to read.

The third, and final, method is to quote a full sentence or more. This method is appropriate if quoting a short phrase that would not make sense on its own, or if you would like to discuss a longer quotation in detail.

Remember: only use quotation marks around a single word if that word is significant in itself. Do not quote an ordinary word just because it happens to appear in the text. This is unnecessary and distracting to your reader. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on the best way to illustrate and support points made about A Christmas Carol. Remember, the purpose of this quiz is to test your ability to quote and to paraphrase, rather than your knowledge of the text. One helpful tip is that it might be easier to eliminate the incorrect answers first!

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Read the text from A Christmas Carol and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. Remember that the answer will also need to be grammatically correct.
1.
"The Grocers'! oh the Grocers'! nearly closed, with perhaps two shutters down, or one; but through those gaps such glimpses! It was not alone that the scales descending on the counter made a merry sound, or that the twine and roller parted company so briskly, or that the canisters were rattled up and down like juggling tricks, or even that the blended scents of tea and coffee were so grateful to the nose."
Dickens compares the "scenes" in the Grocers' to a performance "glimpsed" through the gaps in the shutters
Dickens compares the scenes at the Grocers' to a performance, emphasising exciting sights such as "canisters being rattled up and down like juggling tricks"
Dickens compares the scenes at the Grocers' to a performance, emphasising exciting sights such as containers being "rattled up and down like juggling tricks"
Dickens compares the scenes at the Grocers' to a performance "glimpsed" through the "gaps" between the shutters
Sometimes it is necessary to change a word to make your sentence grammatical (here "canisters" has been changed to "containers" in the correct answer). Be sure to use quotation marks only for the words which are identical to the text
2.
"Make up the fires, and buy another coal-scuttle before you dot another i, Bob Cratchit!"
Bob is told to "make up the fires" before "he dots another i"
Scrooge tells Bob to "make up the fires" and "buy another coal-scuttle"
Bob knows that Scrooge has changed when he orders him to "make up the fires" before "he dots another i"
Scrooge's signals that his transformation is complete when he orders Bob to "make up the fires" before doing any more work
Remember that it is not sufficient to merely quote text; the quotation must support a point that you have made. Here the second answer uses quotations correctly, but does not make any point about the text
3.
"It was a great surprise to Scrooge, while listening to the moaning of the wind, and thinking what a solemn thing it was to move on through the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss, whose depths were secrets as profound as Death: it was a great surprise to Scrooge, while thus engaged, to hear a hearty laugh. It was a much greater surprise to Scrooge, to recognise it as his own nephew's."
Fred's laugh is powerful enough to break through to the "lonely darkness over an unknown abyss" where Scrooge wanders
Fred's laugh is powerful enough to break through to the lonely darkness over an unknown abyss where Scrooge wanders
Fred's "laugh" is powerful enough to break through to the "lonely darkness over an unknown abyss" where Scrooge wanders
Fred's "laugh" is powerful enough to break through to the "lonely darkness" over "an unknown abyss" where Scrooge wanders
Remember not just to quote the text, but also to use the quotation to support your own point. This sentence could follow another point about the juxtaposition of the lonely abyss with the hearty, unexpected laugh
4.
"The scaling him with chairs for ladders to dive into his pockets, despoil him of brown-paper parcels, hold on tight by his cravat, hug him round the neck, pommel his back and kick his legs in irrepressible affection."
The children's love for their father is conveyed ironically through violent imagery as they scale, "despoil", "pommel" and "kick" him in their search for presents
The children's "affection" for their father is conveyed ironically through violent imagery as they "scale", "despoil", "pommel" and "kick" him in their search for presents
The children love their father, even though they are almost "violent" as they besiege him for their presents
The children love their father, even though they are almost "violent" as they "despoil" and ransack him for their presents
Sometimes it is necessary to quote several separate words when making a point about the use of language. Try to keep these words together in a list, rather than scattering them throughout the sentence
5.
"It isn't that, Spirit. He has the power to render us happy or unhappy; to make our service light or burdensome; a pleasure or a toil."
Scrooge praises Mr Fezziwig while forgetting that he makes "work" "burdensome" and a "toil" for his own employee, Bob
Scrooge praises Mr Fezziwig while forgetting that he makes work "burdensome" and a "toil" for his own employee, Bob
Scrooge praises Mr Fezziwig while forgetting that he makes work burdensome and a toil for his own employee, Bob
Scrooge praises Mr Fezziwig while forgetting that he makes work "burdensome" and "toilsome" for his own employee, Bob
When you use the exact words that appear in the text, these must be enclosed in quotation marks. Similar words, here such as "toilsome", are not exact quotes
6.
"'Spirit!' said Scrooge, shuddering from head to foot. 'I see, I see. The case of this unhappy man might be my own. My life tends that way now.'"
Scrooge demonstrates that he has not yet understood the message of Christmas Yet to Come when he acknowledges that the example set by the un-mourned man "might be my own"
Scrooge demonstrates that he has not yet understood the message of Christmas Yet to Come when he acknowledges that the example set by the un-mourned man "might" be his own
Scrooge demonstrates that he has not yet understood the message of Christmas Yet to Come when he acknowledges that the "case of this unhappy man might be my own"
All of the above
It is very important to use quotations grammatically. If your sentence talks about Scrooge in the third-person, a quotation using the first-person pronouns "I" or "me" for Scrooge will be jarring
7.
"I wouldn't show weak eyes to your father when he comes home, for the world."
Mrs Cratchit expresses her desire to protect her husband from further grief by adding an emphatic "for the world" to her explanation
Mrs Cratchit knows that Bob would feel further grief if he were to become aware of her failing eyesight
Mrs Cratchit knows her husband would feel further grief if she were to let him become aware of her "weak eyes"
All of the above
It is always useful to practise different ways of using evidence from the text, including by paraphrasing
8.
"It is a fair, even-handed, noble adjustment of things, that while there is infection in disease and sorrow, there is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good-humour."
The narrator balances the infectious nature of "disease and sorrow" with the "irresistibly contagious" nature of joy
The narrator presents laughter as infectious, comparing its ability to spread to a contagion
The narrator presents the easy spread of joy as a "noble adjustment" to the equally easy spread of sorrow
All of the above
Developing a variety of ways of using quotations will make your essays and answers to exam questions more interesting
9.
"'I wear the chain I forged in life,' replied the Ghost. 'I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it.'"
Jacob Marley "forged" his own "chain" "link by link" and "yard by yard" when he committed bad deeds "in life"
Jacob Marley willingly chose his "chain" by forging it "link by link" and yard by yard
The bad deeds which Jacob Marley committed in life have become a metaphoric chain chosen by "my own free will"
The bad deeds which Jacob Marley committed in life have become a metaphoric chain chosen by his "own free will"
Quoting "my own free will" makes the sentence ungrammatical when the rest of the sentence refers to Jacob Marley in the third person
10.
"Really, for a man who had been out of practice for so many years, it was a splendid laugh, a most illustrious laugh. The father of a long, long line of brilliant laughs!"
Scrooge's laugh welcomes Christmas Day like the pealing bells. Their sound is echoed in the alliteration of the "l" in the phrase, "long, long line of brilliant laughs"
"Long, long line of brilliant laughs" contains alliteration
The "l" sound is alliterated in "long, long line of brilliant laughs"
The phrase "long, long line of brilliant laughs" contains alliteration of the "l" sound
Remember that it is not enough just to point out alliteration or any other literary device. You need to explain what effect it has and how it relates to your point
Author:  Sheri Smith

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