This GCSE English Literature quiz is the second of two extract questions for The Crucible by Arthur Miller. It takes place towards the end of the play, in Act IV, and presents two of the condemned women in the early hours of the morning on the day of their execution. Herrick has been ordered to clear the room to make space for the administrative work required to document the legal details of the proceedings. The women at first appear as bunches of rags, highlighting their pathetic state, the neglectful treatment they have received and their worthlessness in the eyes of their own community.
Before beginning to write an answer to an extract question, it is important to read the passage through carefully more than once.
Doing so will allow you to notice new details and aspects of the passage which you might not have seen the first time. On a first reading, aim to gather a general understanding of the extract, especially in consideration of how it relates to the question you will be answering. When you read the extract a second time, begin to make detailed notes and annotations. These will help you to plan your answer to the question.
Consider the reasons why the specific passage might have been chosen. How does it relate to the rest of the text? Which are the significant characters and themes included? What happens later in the text? Are any events foreshadowed? How does the passage follow earlier events? Perhaps the passage presents a turning point. Consider its ending: why has the extract been brought to a close where it has? What is the significance of the final line?
Pay careful attention to the wording of the question you have chosen to answer. Have you been asked to write about mood and atmosphere? A particular character? A theme? You might be expected to give a personal response to the passage or to a character. Or maybe the question focusses on dialogue, behaviour or feelings. A different answer is required for each of these different types of question. Remember to explain the passage’s immediate context: note the events which precede the extract, commenting upon their relevance. Your answer should refer to the detail of the passage. Ensure that you analyse and discuss the relationship between the passage and the wider themes of the text and structure your writing by grouping related ideas together. Leave enough time to discuss the entire passage. An answer which only discusses one section of the passage is incomplete.
Read the extract below carefully before answering the questions.
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