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Writing about Literature

When writing about literature, there are certain conventions to follow, such as the use of formal language and the correct way to incorporate quotations from a text. Learning to write about literature is a key skill you will have developed during your GCSE studies. Other skills involve the analysis of a work of literature or the best way to share your analysis in your writing.

This quiz tests your knowledge of the skills required for this form of writing.

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  1. Which of the following sentences is a good example of how to write about literature?
    Remember to keep your tone formal and to avoid merely retelling the story
  2. Which of the following should you analyse when writing about literature?
    Usually you will want to write about all of these; sometimes an essay question will ask you to focus on two (i.e. language and meaning)
  3. What should accompany a quotation from the text?
    Use quotations sparingly to back up your argument. Always choose the best quotation which helps to make your point and then explain how it supports your point
  4. What does 'interpretation' mean?
    Every text has multiple possible interpretations. The important thing is for you to support your view with evidence and to convince your reader that your interpretation is valid
  5. When writing an essay about literature, you should...
    It is pointless to say something like, 'The author uses alliteration in the third line,' if you can't give a reason why the author made that choice, or explain what effect the alliteration has
  6. Which tool does an author use in order to accomplish his or her purpose in writing?
    Writers only have words at their command, which is why it always pays to closely examine the text. Every word has been chosen for a reason. Plot, character, theme, mood - all of these are built from words alone. Carefully analyse the language used in the text and incorporate your insights into your essay writing
  7. How should you NOT treat the plot?
  8. Which of the following is true?
    The more closely you examine a piece of literature, the more meanings you are likely to find
  9. Which of the following is a good example of how to use a quotation when writing an essay about literature?
    For more practice on using quotations in your writing, try our Using Evidence From the Text quiz
  10. What is the term for the political, cultural, social, or economic environment in which a piece of literature is written?
    Because many literary works challenge the prevailing ideas of their time and place, context becomes an excellent tool to aid your analysis

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