This GCSE English Literature quiz is about dialogue in Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck.
Although “dialogue” technically means a conversation between at least two people, the word is used for any direct speech in a text. Dialogue is a very important aspect of characterisation. Many of the characters in Of Mice and Men speak in a similar manner and the reader must pay attention to the subtle differences between characters.
Dialogue conveys meaning not only through its content, but also through specific details such as language choice, use of dialect and even the interruptions and pauses which an author indicates through punctuation. When reading a work of fiction ask yourself the following questions: 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 much more than about the individual foibles of each character. 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. In Of Mice and Men it is valuable to pay attention to George and Lennie as they discuss past events, including their memories of home, as well as paying close attention to their dreams of the future.
Memorising dialogue is a useful way to prepare for a literature exam. Create a list of the most significant examples of dialogue for each character, especially noting 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 dialogue. What does it tell us about the character who is speaking? Is it possible to imagine another character speaking the same lines? If not, why not? Also consider whether the dialogue gives us information about the person being addressed, or whether it foreshadows or explain later events.
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