This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen. It takes place in Chapter 42, which is towards the end of the novel. The passage represents quite a change from the overall tenor of the text, which has been light, comic and full of sparkling dialogue for its majority. Here Elizabeth confronts the many ways in which her life is unnecessarily tedious and she shows little optimism for the future. Even Mr Bennet, who is always ready to make a joke, takes on a darker hue in this chapter.
Read the passage through more than once before beginning to write your answer.
You will notice different details and aspects of the passage on each reading. Aim in the first reading to gain a general understanding of the extract, paying attention to how it relates to the question you will be answering. On the second reading, you can begin to make detailed notes and annotations, sketching out a rough plan. Once you’ve done this, you will be ready to plan more carefully exactly how you will answer the question.
Remember to ask yourself why the specific passage might have been chosen. In what way does it relate to the rest of the text? Which significant characters and themes appear? Consider what follows later in the text. Can you spot any foreshadowing of later events? Can you specify how the passage follows earlier events? Is a turning point evident? Also consider the extract’s ending: why does the passage end where it does? What significance do you perceive in the final line?
Pay close attention to the actual wording of the question you have chosen to answer. What have you been asked to discuss? Among the many possibilities, the question might concern mood and atmosphere, a particular character or a theme. Perhaps you are expected to give a personal response to the passage or to a character. Dialogue, or the behaviour or feelings of a character, might be the focus. Each of these different types of questions requires a different sort of answer. Begin by explaining the passage’s immediate context: briefly note the events which precede the extract and comment upon their relevance. Remember to refer to the detail of the passage, rather than discussing it more generally, or even vaguely. Analyse and discuss the relationship between the passage and the broad themes of the text. Structure your writing by grouping related ideas together. Be careful to leave enough time to discuss the entire passage in order to avoid having an incomplete answer.
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.