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And look at the way the auto-mobile's making headway - bigger and faster all the time.


Who are the most memorable characters from fiction? All readers have a favourite, a person who seems as real as the people they see every day. In some cases, a character can seem even more real. Think of Atticus Finch, Scout, Huckleberry Finn, Magwitch, Ron Weasley, or Katniss Everdeen - it can be hard to believe these people are purely the invention of their authors.

This quiz tests the ability to understand character by inference from dialogue, action or description.

The creation of a fictional character is called...
The portrayal of historical figures in historical fiction and biography is also characterisation. Good characterisation adds depth to a character and is what makes any particular character memorable
Characterisation can be accomplished through...
description of the character
telling the reader how other characters judge or respond to the character
All of the above
The character's thoughts (if known) and actions will also be important
'She was a woman of mean understanding, little information, and uncertain temper. When she was discontented she fancied herself nervous.' - What do these lines from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice tell the reader about Mrs. Bennet?
Mrs. Bennet has a nervous condition, but is patient
Mrs. Bennet is egotistical and clever
Mrs. Bennet is not terribly bright and also lacks self-awareness
Mrs. Bennet is cruel and moody
At the end of the first chapter, Austen tells her reader what Mrs. Bennet is like, but this follows two pages of dialogue from which the reader has already begun to build a mental image of Mrs. Bennet's character. Her lack of self-awareness and low intelligence is a catalyst for much of the action in the novel
'This was Slim, the jerkline skinner. His hatchet face was ageless. He might have been thirty-five or fifty. His ear heard more than was said to him, and his slow speech had overtones not of thought, but of understanding beyond thought.' - In this passage from Of Mice and Men, John Steinbeck portrays Slim as wise. Which words convey this impression?
This was Slim, the jerkline skinner
His hatchet face was ageless
He might have been thirty-five or fifty
His ear heard more than was said to him, his speech had overtones of [...] understanding beyond thought
'I learned early on that if you tell people what you see at low tide they'll think you're exaggerating or lying when you're actually just explaining strange and wonderful things as clearly as you can.' - This is the first sentence from Jim Lynch's book, The Highest Tide. Which of the following is true?
The book has a first-person narrator
The book has a second-person narrator
The book has a third-person, limited narrator
The book has an omniscient narrator
The narrator is the protagonist (main character) of this story, which means it will be told from a limited point of view. Using a first-person narrator allows the author to share the protagonist's thoughts and motivations with the reader, while limiting the reader to viewing all other characters through the protagonist's eyes
Reread the sentence in question five. What does it tell us about the protagonist?
The protagonist is very clever, but people often think she is lying about the things she has seen
The protagonist is most likely a fisherman
The protagonist is knowledgeable about the seashore, but is not always trusted by others
The protagonist is easily-angered
We don't yet know if the protagonist is male or female, which makes the first answer wrong
After hearing her former acquaintance, Benedick, declare that he loves no one, Beatrice replies: 'A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.' - Which of the following is NOT true of this character from William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing?
Beatrice appears to dislike Benedick
Beatrice is most likely to spend her time wishing for a husband
Beatrice has no plans to fall in love with anyone
Beatrice is not afraid to express strong opinions
One of the key points to remember about characters is that they often change before the end of a story - Beatrice remains clever, argumentative, and quick with a cutting remark, but decides before the end of the play that she does love Benedick after all
'BIRLING: Yes, my dear, I know - I'm talking too much. But you youngsters just remember what I said. We can't let these Bernard Shaws and H.G. Wellses do all the talking. We hardheaded practical business men must say something sometime. And we don't guess - we've had experience - and we know.' - Which of the following is true of this character from J.B. Priestley's play, An Inspector Calls?
Mr. Birling defers in his opinion to respectable men such as H.G. Wells and George Bernard Shaw
Mr. Birling doesn't care about the younger generation
Mr. Birling sees himself as a man of the world, whose knowledge comes from experience
Mr. Birling respects thinkers and theorists
'BIRLING: And look at the way the auto-mobile's making headway - bigger and faster all the time. And then ships. Why, a friend of mine went over this new liner last week - the Titanic - she sails next week - forty-six thousand eight hundred tons - forty-six thousand eight hundred tons - New York in five days - and every luxury - and unsinkable, absolutely unsinkable. That's what you've go to keep your eye on, facts like that, progress like that - and not a few German officers talking nonsense and a few scaremongers here making a fuss about nothing.' - Considering your knowledge of Mr. Birling from the quotation in question eight, what does this speech tell us about his character?
Mr. Birling is involved in ship-building
Mr. Birling has a ticket for the Titanic's maiden voyage
Mr. Birling is anti-progress
Mr. Birling is not remotely as practical and knowledgeable as he likes to think
Mr. Birling is self-satisfied, but is blind to modern reality. His predictions about the likelihood of the coming war (WWI) are as mistaken as his trust in the Titanic
'Coleridge received the Person from Porlock / And ever after called him a curse, / They why did he hurry to let him in? / He could have hid in the house. / It was not right of Coleridge in fact it was wrong / (But often we all do wrong) / As the truth of it is I think he was already stuck / With Kubla Khan. / He was weeping and wailing: I am finished, finished, / I shall never write another word of it, / When along comes the Person from Porlock / And takes the blame for it.' - How does Stevie Smith characterise Coleridge in these lines from her poem, 'Thoughts about the Person from Porlock'?
As someone who always hid away from visitors
As someone who prefers to lay the blame for his own failings on others
As someone who didn't mind being interrupted
All of the above
Smith is writing about Samuel Taylor Coleridge, who blamed the unfinished nature of his poem, 'Kubla Khan', on a visitor, the 'Person from Porlock'
You can find more about this topic by visiting BBC Bitesize - Characterisation and narrative voice

Author:  Sheri Smith

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