This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for My Mother Said I Never Should by Charlotte Keatley. It takes place during Act Two, when the four characters come together to clear Doris’s house in Cheadle Hulme. Sharp emotions of grief and regret combine with long-established patterns of relationship to create a scene in which strong feelings simmer beneath every word spoken.
Whenever you begin preparing to write an answer to an extract question, first be sure that you read the passage through more than once. This is a good habit to develop because re-reading gives you an opportunity to notice other details and aspects of the passage you might miss otherwise.
The first reading should focus on general understanding; spend some time considering how the details of the passage relate to the question you will be answering. The second reading gives you a chance to make detailed notes and annotations. After this initial preparation you can begin to plan exactly how you will use the passage to answer the question.
Think about the reasons behind the choice of extract. Can you describe its importance to the text as a whole? What is its role? Which themes are evident in the passage? Consider each of the characters and how their experiences might differ. What is the relationship between the passage and the events which come afterwards? Can you see evidence of foreshadowing? How might you relate the passage to earlier events? Is there a turning point? Have a think about the extract’s ending: is the final line significant? How does the extract’s end relate to the events or themes of the text?
Spend a moment to consider the exact wording of the question you have chosen to answer. What have you been asked to address? Extract questions come in many guises and you might be expected to focus on mood and atmosphere, character, dialogue, theme, or your own personal response. Start with explaining the passage’s immediate context: mention the events which precede the extract, explaining their relevance. Ensure that you refer to the passage in detail, rather than being too general in your discussion. How does the passage relate to the themes of the text? Try grouping related ideas together to give your answer some structure. Make sure that you plan carefully, so that you have enough time to discuss the entire passage.
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.