This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for Susan Hill's The Woman in Black. It takes place in the fifth chapter, after Mrs Drablow’s funeral. The passage conveys the otherworldly beauty of the tidal island where Eel Marsh House is located and Arthur’s strong response to the landscape. Note the relationship between the unusual place and Arthur’s mixed emotions.
It is essential that you read the passage through more than once. On the first reading, you should aim to understand the passage and begin to think about it in terms of the question you will answer. How does the passage relate to the question? The second reading is where you can begin to make annotations, pulling out the details that you will discuss in your writing.
It is good to develop the habit of reading passages more than once, especially with a specific aim in mind for each reading. After this initial preparation, you can plan how you will use the passage to answer the question.
Think about the reasons why this particular extract might have been chosen. How does it relate to the text as a whole? Can you describe why it is important? Which themes are evident? How do the experiences differ between characters? Can you describe the way the extract relates to following events; for example, is there any evidence of foreshadowing? Can you discern a turning point? Remember to consider how the extract ends: is the final line significant? Think about the way in which the extract’s end relates to the events or themes of the text.
Give yourself time to think about the exact requirements of the question you will be answering. What specifically are you expected to write about? An extract question can concern any aspect of the writing; you might be asked to write about mood and atmosphere, character, dialogue, theme, or your own personal response. Remember to begin by explaining the passage’s immediate context: describe what has happened before the events in the extract, explaining their relevance. Discuss the passage in detail, rather than writing about the text in general terms. How does the passage relate to the text’s themes? Remember to plan out your answer before you begin, grouping related ideas together. Give yourself enough time to cover the entire passage.
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.