This GCSE English Literature quiz is the first of two extract questions for To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. It takes place during the second half of the novel when tensions in Maycomb are running high due to the trial of Tom Robinson for the rape of Mayella Ewell. As so often is the case in their games and explorations, Scout, Jem and Dill stumble into the fraught, incomprehensible adult world. Because the reader sees this world through the eyes of the perceptive young Scout, we see how the outwardly unremarkable town masks its simmering violence.
Before attempting to answer an extract question for an exam, always be sure to read the passage through carefully at least twice. Re-reading is never a waste of time.
The first time you read the passage, aim for a broad understanding of the extract and consider how you might answer the question. You can begin to make detailed notes and annotations as you gather your thoughts during a second reading. Consider why the specific passage has been chosen. How does it fit with the rest of the text? Does it introduce any significant characters or themes? Which events follow? Does the passage foreshadow later events? Does it represent a turning point? Think about the ending of the extract: why does it end where it does instead of somewhere else? Is there anything of significance in the final line?
Be sure that you pay close attention to the question you have chosen to answer. Perhaps you have been asked to write about mood and atmosphere, or a particular character. Maybe the question asks for your personal response to the passage or to a character. You might be asked to discuss dialogue, behaviour or feelings. Remember to explain the passage’s immediate context: acknowledge the events which precede the extract. Consider detail, setting and characterisation. In your response, you should analyse and discuss the relationship between the excerpt and the themes of the text. Structure your writing by grouping related ideas together. Ensure that you leave enough time to discuss the entire passage rather than covering one section in detail before running out of time to do justice to the rest of the extract!
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.