This GCSE English Literature quiz will test you on the dialogue found in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. Dialogue is the term for a conversation between at least two people. When discussing dialogue in a text, the word is used for direct speech. Each character in Never Let Me Go has a unique way of speaking which is part of his or her characterisation. All of the conversations in this novel take place in the past and sometimes, as Kathy switches between remembered episodes, it can be hard to tell the order in which the conversations occurred in Kathy’s life. Important dialogue often relates to earlier or later conversations between the same characters, enabling the reader to follow the characters as they slowly come to terms with the fact that they have been chasing after dead ends.
Dialogue conveys a great many things about characters. How do different characters speak? How does vocabulary vary between different characters? Does the way in which a character speaks change over time, or in different situations? Does it matter to whom the character is speaking?
Dialogue tells you about more than just what each character is like. You can also learn more about the story, including events which happened before the story begins, and how characters expect to see future events unfold. This is especially important in Never Let Me Go, because the events are related through one character’s memory, including her memory of what was said on different occasions.
Memorising dialogue is a useful way to prepare for a literature exam. For all of the main characters, create a list of the most significant examples of dialogue, especially those that illustrate their characteristics or occur at a turning point in the text.
The quiz below focusses on knowing who is speaking each of these lines. When answering the questions, think carefully about the significance of the lines. What do they tell us about the character who speaks them? If you can’t imagine another character speaking the same words, ask yourself why? Other points to consider is whether the dialogue gives us information about the person being addressed, or whether it foreshadows or explain later events.
See how much you remember about the dialogue in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro.