This is the first of two GCSE English Literature extract questions for An Inspector Calls by JB Priestley. You will notice that there are only four characters in this passage: the Inspector, Mrs Birling, Mr Birling and Sheila. Where are the others? Read the passage through at least twice before answering the questions. When answering, try to remember everything you know about the play and its themes, but also pay very close attention to the details of this particular passage.
When preparing to answer an extract question, be sure to read through the passage more than once. Sometimes it’s a good idea to read through first without stopping, then to read again more slowly, making notes or annotations.
Ask yourself why this passage has been chosen, why is it important? Where does it come in the text? Does it introduce significant characters or significant themes? What happens afterwards? Does the passage foreshadow later events? Do any characters experience change? Think about the point where the extract ends: why do you think it ends where it does instead of somewhere else? What is significant about the final line?
When answering an extract question, it’s important to focus on exactly what the question has asked you to discuss. This might be a particular character, mood and atmosphere, dialogue, behaviour or feelings. Always explain the passage’s immediate context: what events precede the extract? Pay close attention to the detail of the passage, to setting and characterisation. Explain how the passage relates to the themes of the text. Try, where possible, to group related ideas together, but be sure to discuss the entire passage – it’s no good writing in detail about the first half of the extract while neglecting the second half!
Read the extract below carefully from An Inspector Calls before answering the questions.