To Kill a Mockingbird - Illustrating and Supporting Points

This GCSE English Literature quiz takes a look at illustrating and supporting points in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird. If you want to argue a point about a text, you will need to rely on evidence. By referring specifically and accurately to evidence from a text, you can strengthen your case. Quoting accurately from a text is not the easiest of skills to learn, however. This quiz gives you an opportunity to test these vital literary skills. See how well you can spot the answers which have incorporated the evidence in support of a point accurately and grammatically. And don’t forget when writing essays to follow up your quotation with an explanation, too!

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How to use evidence to support a point:

There are three key methods of using evidence when writing about a text: the first is by paraphrasing, the second by quoting single words or short phrases, and the third is by quoting longer sections of text. Paraphrasing is actually one of the easiest methods and is an essential skill in writing. Even without using a direct quotation, the use of paraphrasing clearly demonstrates your knowledge of a text. This is also likely to be the method used most when you do not have the text to hand (especially during an exam).

Quoting single words or phrases is effective and useful when you wish to draw attention to a specific choice of language. Mixing paraphrase and a short quotation in the same sentence is a very flexible way to use evidence. This is almost always better than writing long sentences full of multiple quotations. Such sentences can be clumsy and very difficult to read.

The third, and final, method is to quote a full sentence or more. If quoting a short phrase would not make sense on its own, or if you would like to discuss a longer quotation in detail, this method can be the best choice.

Remember: you should only use quotation marks around a single word if that word is significant in itself. It is unnecessary, and distracting, to quote each individual word which also happens to appear in the text. If you are using an exact phrase or sentence from the text, remember to put quotation marks around it.

See how you do with this quiz on the best way to use evidence from To Kill a Mockingbird. Remember, the purpose of this quiz is not to test your knowledge of the text, rather your ability to know how to quote and paraphrase. One helpful tip is that it might be easier to eliminate the incorrect answers first!

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Read the text from To Kill a Mockingbird and then choose the answer which best uses evidence in support of a point.
  1. "Why ladies hooked woollen rugs on boiling nights never became clear to me"
    Here the word "ladies" is significant, because Scout struggles to interpret or understand why she is expected to behave differently from boys. Remember that your sentence must be grammatical
  2. "It occurred to me that in their own way, Tom Robinson's manners were as good as Atticus's"
    There are many correct ways to use evidence from a text! Being clear and accurate are essential, but you can experiment with variety
  3. "Being Southerners, it was a source of shame to some members of the family that we had no recorded ancestors on either side of the Battle of Hastings"
    "Southerners" is merely descriptive here. The point being made concerns the importance of ancestors and history, not the use of the word "Southerners"
  4. "Dill and Jem were simply going to peep in the window with the loose shutter to see if they could get a look at Boo Radley, and if I didn't want to go with them I could go straight home and keep my fat flopping mouth shut, that was all"
    It is very easy to describe what you are reading, but is not always easy to make a point, rather than merely being descriptive. Practise making points about the texts you are studying
  5. "'Atticus doesn't drink whiskey,' I said. 'He never drunk a drop in his life — nome, yes he did. He said he drank some one time and didn't like it'"
    Remember to use quotation marks when you are using a phrase exactly as it appears in the text
  6. "Aunt Alexandra fitted into the world of Maycomb like a hand into a glove, but never into the world of Jem and me"
    "Hand" and "glove" do not need quotation marks because the entire phrase is not quoted directly and the words are not unusual in themselves. Instead the correct answer makes a point about the use of the simile
  7. "He did not do the things our schoolmates' fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read"
    Where individual words and phrases are not significant in themselves, paraphrasing can be a useful method of referring to the text
  8. "Maycomb gave them Christmas baskets, welfare money, and the back of its hand"
    Scout portrays the relationship between Maycomb and the Ewells as one between strict parents and unruly and unloved children
  9. "I always thought Maycomb folks were the best folks in the world, least that's what they seemed like"
    Both the single word "seemed" and the description of Maycomb people as the "best folks in the world" are directly quoted from the text because they are essential to the point
  10. "Until it happened I did not realize that Jem was offended by my contradicting him on Hot Steams, and that he was patiently awaiting an opportunity to reward me"
    Remember that you need to use quotation marks when referring directly to a single significant word

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