This GCSE English Literature quiz is about understanding the text in Charlotte Brontë's Jane Eyre. It is important to ensure that you understand a text as well as possible before you begin to analyse and write about it. Comprehending a text is not always as straightforward as it might seem. After all, if authors had only simple messages to convey, would they really require hundreds of pages and thousands of words to do so? Extra effort is needed when you read a text written in a previous century, or in another country, or with characters given a strong dialect. Jane Eyre was written in the nineteenth century, using a vocabulary and style rather different to that of a modern novel. These factors can make the novel more of a challenge to understand
Authors have a variety of methods at their disposal in order to convey meaning. While it is always possible to state what they mean directly, they will also communicate with their readers through the various aspects of fiction: character, setting, plot, theme and dialogue, for example. Analysing each of these elements separately will help you to develop your understanding of the text. It is always a good idea to re-read the text; only reading a book once can lead you to miss important details. So, whenever you find that you need to re-read sections of text, don’t worry! If you have to make some extra effort to understand a part of the text which you find tricky, it just shows that you’ve been paying close attention to its subtleties!
Spend some time considering how the context, setting and events of the text are related. Making a timeline of events is a useful method of revision, one which will help develop your understanding of the text. Remember that events in a novel are not always related chronologically, so the timeline will need to account for flashbacks or for earlier events only revealed in later chapters. How might Jane Eyre change, for example, if Mr Rochester had not had his terrible secret hidden away in the attic, but had been honest from the beginning?
Analyse the relationship between characters’ actions and motivations. Examine the clues which explain the interactions of different characters. Consider whether words can be taken at face value, or if subtext reveals otherwise. Remember to think about the narrator, too. What is the narrator’s role? As you consider these elements of the text, remember to ask yourself how you could justify your views through evidence.
Always spend some time analysing the beginnings and endings in the text. Consider possible reasons why the text begins as it does. What do you learn at the very beginning of the novel about the setting and the characters? Do you see any evidence of the foreshadowing of future events? This type of analysis also works well with the beginnings and ends of chapters. You can significantly improve your knowledge and understanding of the text by careful and detailed analysis of this sort.
Read the questions below on Jane Eyre and test your knowledge and understanding of the text.