Lord of the Flies - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz looks at illustrating and supporting points in Lord of the Flies by William Golding. Writing good essays about literature requires the ability to use evidence from the text to support any points you make. Being able to use the text to back up your argument is what makes your writing persuasive. Quoting or paraphrasing from the text also demonstrates your knowledge and understanding. Although this skill is essential, it is definitely not easy. Like most skills, it improves with practise. In addition to choosing the most effective evidence, you will also need to pay attention to detail and punctuate accurately. This quiz is designed to test these important literary skills and is intended to be challenging. Can you identify the answers which have managed to use evidence correctly? In your own writing, don’t forget to follow up your quotation with explanation and analysis, too!

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How to use evidence to support a point:

You should know the three key methods of using evidence from a text: paraphrasing, quoting single words or short phrases, and quoting longer sections of text. Each of these methods takes some practise in order to use it successfully. Rephrasing a section of the text in your own words, or paraphrasing, is the easiest to master. The art of paraphrasing is an essential skill for good writing. It also demonstrates your knowledge of the text. This skill can be very useful in closed-book exam situations.

The second method is to quote individual words or short phrases from the text in support of a point you make. You can memorise short, relevant quotations from the text in order to use them this way, although you should be careful not to use them in a way that makes no sense just because you’ve taken the time to memorise them! This method is especially good to use if you want to point out details of language choice. It takes a bit of practise to include quotations in essays well, and, as you improve, you might like to consider combining methods. For example, your writing becomes more flexible when you can mix paraphrase with short quotations in the same sentence. Practising combinations of methods will ensure that you avoid writing awkward, cluttered sentences.

The final method is to quote a full sentence or more. When a short phrase does not make sense or you are finding it difficult to incorporate a short quotation grammatically, this might be the best method to use. This is also a good choice when you wish to discuss the quotation in close detail.

Here is a useful tip for writing elegantly: avoid quoting single, ordinary words just to show that you have read the text. This really only demonstrates that a word has been copied from one place to another. Sometimes an ordinary word might be used in a significant way, in which case it should have quotation marks. For example, in Lord of the Flies, the fairly ordinary word “beast” becomes significant when the idea of it grows to such terrifying proportions in the boys’ imaginations. On all other occasions, exact phrases or sentences from the text should be enclosed in quotation marks.

Try this quiz on the best way to use evidence from Lord of the Flies. The aim of this quiz is to test your ability to quote and to paraphrase; your knowledge of the text is not being tested here. One helpful tip is that it might be easier to eliminate the incorrect answer first.

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Read the text from Lord of the Flies and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point. The right answer will also be grammatically correct.
  1. "Ralph took the shell from Piggy and a little water ran down his arm. In colour the shell was deep cream, touched here and there with fading pink. Between the point, worn away into a little hole, and the pink lips of the mouth, lay eighteen inches of shell with a slight spiral twist and covered with a delicate, embossed pattern"
    While ordinary words, such as the simple colour names, pink and cream, do not need to be quoted, nuanced terms, such as "fading pink" should be placed in quotation marks
  2. "On the other side of the island, swathed at midday with mirage, defended by the shield of the quiet lagoon, one might dream of rescue; but here, faced by the brute obtuseness of the ocean, the miles of division, one was clamped down"
    Be sure to place quotation marks around the full quotation. Here, "the boys" has been substituted for "one" and therefore does not need to be placed within quotation marks
  3. "'Life,' said Piggy, expansively, 'is scientific, that's what it is. In a year or two when the war's over they'll be travelling to Mars and back'"
    It is acceptable, although not necessary, to place "beast" in quotation marks to show that the fear is not founded on an actual beast living on the island (capitalising the word as "Beast", also demonstrates this point). It is also acceptable to use "littluns" here because the sentence is quoting the older boys' term for the group of children Piggy is addressing
  4. "Simon's head was tilted slightly up. His eyes could not break away and the Lord of the Flies hung in space before him"
    Very short quotations can work well when placed in the middle of a clear, grammatically correct sentence
  5. "Someone was moaning outside and a babble of voices rose. A fierce argument was going on and the wounded savage kept groaning"
    Remember how useful paraphrasing can be! Quotations are not always necessary
  6. "The beast was on its knees in the centre, its arms folded over its face. It was crying out against the abominable noise something about a body on the hill. The beast struggled forward, broke the ring and fell over the steep edge of the rock to the sand by the water. At once the crowd surged after it, poured down the rock, leapt on to the beast, screamed, struck, bit, tore. There were no words, and no movements but the tearing of teeth and claws"
    Although it is not usually a good idea to use lots of short quotations in a sentence, it works very well when the short quotations are in a list
  7. "In front of them, only three or four yards away, was a rock-like hump where no rock should be. Ralph could hear a tiny chattering noise coming from somewhere - perhaps from his own mouth. He bound himself together with his will, fused his fear and loathing into hatred, and stood up"
    Following a point with a colon is a useful way to introduce a supportive quotation
  8. "There was no place for standing on one's head. This time Ralph expressed the intensity of his emotion by pretending to knock Simon down; and soon they were a happy, heaving pile in the under-dusk"
    Remember that the quoted words should exactly match those in the text being quoted
  9. "Ralph turned to the sea. The horizon stretched, impersonal once more, barren of all but the faintest trace of smoke. Ralph ran stumbling along the rocks, saved himself on the edge of the pink cliff, and screamed at the ship"
    This point made in this answer is supported by reference to Ralph's screaming and by quoting an interesting phrase in which Golding illustrates the indifference of the sea to the plight of the boys
  10. "'Meetings. Don't we love meetings? Every day. Twice a day. We talk.' He got up on one elbow. 'I bet if I blew the conch this minute, they'd come running. Then we'd be, you know, very solemn, and someone would say we ought to build a jet, or a submarine, or a TV set. When the meeting was over they'd work for five minutes then wander off or go hunting"
    Remember that paraphrasing is a very practical way of using the text to support a point. It is not necessary to place quotation marks around the word "talk", since it is a common word being used with its normal meaning

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