This is the first of two GCSE English Literature extract questions for DNA by Dennis Kelly. It takes place near the end of Act Two, in the scene set in “A Woods”. Phil, Leah, Lou and Danny begin the scene by discussing the latest turn of events and are soon joined by Richard and Cathy and later Jan and Mark. This scene marks the point in the play where the carefully constructed plan to explain Adam’s disappearance, and deflect the blame from those who are truly responsible, goes very badly awry, implicating an innocent man.
The most important thing you can do when preparing to answer an extract question is to read the passage through more than once.
The first reading will enable you to understand the passage, especially in terms of the question you will answer. Consider specifically how the passage relates to the question. During the second reading, you can begin to make annotations, underlining those details you plan to discuss, or use as evidence, in your writing. It is a very good habit to read extract passages more than once, especially when you devote each reading to a specific aim. After your initial preparation, plan in greater detail how you can use the passage to answer the question.
Try to spare a moment or two to consider the reason this particular extract might have been chosen. What is its significance to the overall text? How would you describe its importance? Which of the text’s themes does it touch upon or develop? Can you describe how the experiences of each of the characters differ? How does the extract relate to the events which follow; for example, can you point to any evidence of foreshadowing, or perhaps a turning point? Think about the point where the extract ends: is the final line significant? How does the extract’s ending relate to the events or themes of the text?
Be sure to consider the exact requirements of the question you are expected to answer. What are the specifics you have been asked to address? An extract question might concern any aspect of the writing, including mood and atmosphere, character, dialogue, theme, or, sometimes, your own personal response. Begin by explaining the passage’s immediate context: describe what has happened before the events in the extract, showing how this is relevant to the passage. Always discuss the passage itself in detail, rather than writing in a general way about the text and its themes. Plan out your answer before you begin, grouping related ideas together. A plan is never a waste of time! Make sure you pace yourself so that you are able to cover the entire passage.
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.