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Silas Marner - Illustrating and Supporting Points
...whose unnurtured souls have been like young winged things...

Silas Marner - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz will challenge you on illustrating and supporting points in George Eliot's Silas Marner. If you wish to discuss and to argue about a text, you will need to rely on evidence. By referring specifically and accurately to evidence from a text, you strengthen the points upon which your argument relies. This is not the easiest of skills to learn, however. This quiz gives you the opportunity to test these skills. See how well you can spot the answers which have incorporated the evidence in support of a point accurately and grammatically. And don’t forget when writing essays to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three key methods of using evidence when writing about a text: the first is by paraphrasing, the second by quoting single words or short phrases, and the third is by quoting longer sections of text.

Often neglected, paraphrasing is actually one of the easiest methods and is an essential skill. Paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of a text, even though you don’t use a direct quotation.

One effective method of drawing attention to a specific choice of language is by quoting single words or short phrases. It can also be useful to mix paraphrase and quotation in the same sentence. This is almost always better than writing long sentences full of multiple quotations. Such sentences can be unwieldy and difficult to read.

The third, and final, possibility is to quote a full sentence or more. This is often the best choice when quoting a short phrase on its own makes no sense or because you would like to discuss the longer quotation in close detail.

Remember: if you are using a single word which is not especially significant in itself, you do not normally need to use quotation marks. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on the best way to use evidence from George Eliot's Silas Marner.

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Read the text from Silas Marner and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point.
1.
"At first there was a little peevish cry of 'mammy', and an effort to regain the pillowing arm and bosom; but mammy's ear was deaf, and the pillow seemed to be slipping away backwards."
"Slipping away backwards" means that Eppie loses her mother
Death removes Eppie's safety and comfort when her mother physically and metaphorically slips "away" backwards
Death removes Eppie's safety by her mother's physical and metaphorical "slipping away backwards"
Eppie's mother slips away backwards when she dies
Remember to keep your sentence grammatical when you use a quotation. Sometimes this can be a challenge! Also remember to make a point rather than merely explaining what part of a text means (as in the first answer here)
2.
"The heap of gold seemed to glow and get larger beneath his agitated gaze."
In an almost magical transformation, Silas's gold seems to "get larger" and come to life
Silas is "agitated" because his gold is "glowing" and "getting larger"
The heap of gold only "seemed" to get larger and come to life
The "heap of gold" "gets larger" and makes Silas "agitated"
Don't forget to use quotation marks around specific phrases taken from the text
3.
"Was there not a drawer filled with the neat work of her hands, all unworn and untouched, just as she had arranged it fourteen years ago — just, but for one little dress, which had been made the burial-dress?"
The "little burial-dress" shows that Nancy and Godfrey had a child, but that it had died very young
"Little" and "dress" and "fourteen years ago" tell the reader that Nancy's and Godfrey's baby died
Eliot uses the "burial" "dress" to indicate that Nancy's one baby died
Eliot quietly uses the one missing dress to indicate the death of Nancy's and Godfrey's baby
Paraphrasing is a good way of using evidence from the text, especially when the point being made relies on information rather than language choices or imagery
4.
"Instead of a man who had more cunning than honest folks could come by, and, what was worse, had not the inclination to use that cunning in a neighbourly way, it was now apparent that Silas had not cunning enough to keep his own."
The repetition of the word "cunning" emphasises the ambiguous attitude the inhabitants of Raveloe have towards knowledge and skill
The villagers of Raveloe would approve of Silas's cunning if he used his skills in a neighbourly way
At first, the villagers of Raveloe are distrustful of Silas because his "cunning" is not "neighbourly", but they lose their "distrust" when he loses his gold
It is "apparent" that the theft suffered by Silas makes his neighbours more "neighbourly"
Be careful only to quote what is relevant and to use the quote in the correct context
5.
"But about the Christmas of that fifteenth year, a second great change came over Marner's life, and his history became blent in a singular manner with that of his neighbours"
By using the passive phrase "became blent", Eliot implies that Silas has little control over the direction of his life
By referring to the "changes" that happen to him, Eliot implies that Silas has little control over the direction of his life
Eliot uses the metaphor of lives being "blended" together in a village when Silas's life "changes"
Eliot shows that communities thrive when they become blent
Quotations should always be accurate
6.
"Such colloquies have occupied many a pair of pale-faced weavers, whose unnurtured souls have been like young winged things, fluttering forsaken in the twilight."
Eliot uses the phrase young winged things to hint at the vulnerability of the young weavers
Eliot uses the phrase "young winged things" to hint at the vulnerability of the young weavers
Eliot uses the phrases young winged things and flutters to imply that the pale-faced weavers are creatures of twilight
Eliot uses the phrases "young winged things" and "flutters" to imply that the "pale-faced weavers" are creatures of "twilight"
It's important not to try to say too much in one sentence. This sentence could be followed by another one which discusses the significance of comparing the young weavers to creatures, such as bats or moths, which fly at twilight
7.
"He was so undivided in his aims that he seemed like a man of firmness."
Godfrey's firmness is only a matter of outward appearance, as Eliot's use of the word seemed implies
Eliot's use of the word seemed implies that Godfrey has only taken on the appearance of being a man of firmness
Godfrey's firmness is only a matter of outward appearance, as Eliot's use of the word "seemed" implies
Eliot's use of the word "seemed" implies that Godfrey has only taken on the "appearance" of being a "man of firmness"
Avoid littering sentences with multiple quotations (and remember to quote only exact words and phrases!)
8.
"Dunstan's own recent difficulty in making his way suggested to him that the weaver had perhaps gone outside his cottage to fetch in fuel, or for some such brief purpose, and had slipped into the Stone-pit."
In almost hoping for ill to have befallen Silas, Dunstan has morally "slipped" into evil thought which will be followed by evil actions
Dunstan's wishful thinking about the missing weaver appears to be punished when he falls into the Stone-pit himself
By imagining that the weaver had "slipped into the Stone-pit", Dunstan unknowingly predicts his own demise
All of the above
There are many ways to quote or paraphrase a text in order to support your argument or an individual point. Practise the various possibilities in order to improve your skills
9.
"'At first, I'd a sort o' feeling come across me now and then,' he was saying in a subdued tone, 'as if you might be changed into the gold again.'"
By using the word "again", Silas expresses his semi-magical belief that his stolen "gold" was somehow transformed into a living treasure
By using the word again, Silas expresses his semi-magical belief that his stolen gold was somehow transformed into a living treasure
By using the word "again", Silas expresses his semi-magical belief that his stolen gold was somehow transformed into a living treasure
By using the word "again", Silas expresses his semi-magical belief that his stolen "gold" was somehow "transformed" into a living treasure
It is correct to place quotation marks around the word "again", because the point depends on Silas's use of this word
10.
"Aaron was not indisposed to display his talents, even to an ogre, under protecting circumstances."
Protecting circumstances refers to the presence of Aaron's mother in Silas's cottage
The use of the phrase protective circumstances undermines Silas's "ogre-like" qualities
Although Aaron views Silas Marner as an ogre, he is persuaded by protecting circumstances to sing a Christmas carol in the cottage
By referring to Silas Marner as an "ogre" in the eyes of the young Aaron, Eliot reinforces the fairy-tale elements of the novel
When the use of a single word is significant in itself, that word should be enclosed in quotation marks
Author:  Sheri Smith

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