This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at dialogue in Dennis Kelly's DNA. In literature, “dialogue” is the term used to describe any direct speech. Plays, which are, of course, meant to be performed for an audience, consist primarily of dialogue. The style and content of dialogue are essential means of characterisation, giving the audience important information about each of the characters. Dialogue is also a tool which allows the author to instigate action, keep the plot moving and show how characters develop.
A useful approach to thinking about dialogue in a work of fiction is to compare and contrast the speech of different characters. See if you can define how the speech of one character is differentiated from that of another. Can you perceive differing vocabularies or registers? Who speaks formally, and when? Who uses slang or dialect, and when, or to whom? Do you detect any patterns?
One excellent way to revise for a literature exam is by memorising dialogue. Aim to choose a few key lines for each character, being sure to connect these lines to an important theme of the text. This technique will both help your memory and allow you to identify which quotations might be useful for answering particular types of exam questions.
The quiz below asks you to remember which character in DNA speaks the words given. Think about what makes the quoted dialogue important before answering. Can you think of any reasons why particular words belong more obviously to one character, rather than another? Would another character be able to speak the same words believably? Why, or why not? What does this tell you?