This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at dialogue in Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Direct speech in literature is referred to as “dialogue”, although the technical meaning of the term is a conversation between at least two people. A significant aspect of characterisation, dialogue provides much crucial information about the characters. By paying close attention to the style and content of a person’s speech, you will be able to create a mental portrait of the character. Characters in Pride and Prejudice are sharply distinguished from one another by the style and content of their dialogue.
One way to approach dialogue in a work of fiction is to ask yourself how a character’s speech differs from that of the other characters. Do you see evidence of a different vocabulary or the use of a different register?
Do characters change their manner of speaking over time, or in different situations? Do any characters predictably vary their speech according to who is being addressed?
Much of the most important factual information in Pride and Prejudice is conveyed through the very significant letters. Dialogue, which comprises most of the novel, conveys the social relationships between characters, their attitudes to one another, and their attempts to negotiate these relationships.
When preparing for a literature exam, it is a very good idea to memorise dialogue. For each character, make a list of the most significant instances of dialogue, aiming to draw links between these examples and the themes important in the text.
The quiz below asks you to remember which character speaks the words. Think a bit about the significance of the dialogue before you answer each question. What type of character would speak those words? Can you conceive of another character possibly uttering similar lines? What does that information tell you about the novel and how those characters might be related thematically.