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Analysing fiction

Responding to a fiction text

Responding to a fiction text

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Responding to a fiction text

​​In a nutshell

Responding to a fiction text is when you share your thoughts or reactions on an idea in writing. In exams, you will be asked to look at a specific texts or text passages and pick out details to respond to the question that the examiner has given. In this summary, you will learn how to structure a well-written response to a text.

Understanding the question

It is important to spend some time looking at the question and what it is asking before you actually start writing your response. The question will always ask you to refer back to the text and use quotes as examples to prove and support your point. Here are some examples of the type of questions that you may have to answer:

  • (4 marks) List four things from this text that suggest the house is haunted.
    • This type of question doesn't require close analysis but rather comprehension skills. You need to look for relevant information from the text. Don't spend too much time on this type of question, it is only worth a few marks.
  • (8 marks) This extract is from a key moment in the text. For example, how is the theme of jealousy portrayed here? Support your views with detailed reference to the text.
    • For this question, take some time to go through and annotate your text to find themes. Explore and analyse how language devices and structure work together to create effect. 
  • (8 marks) How does the writer use language in the last paragraph to show change?
    • This question tells you to focus on language. Pick out language devices that correspond to the question. Notice how characters behave and look at dialogue.
  • (20 marks) In this extract, the writer makes the reader feel sympathy for the main character. To what extent do you agree with this? 
    • This question asks for your opinion and it is more of a personal response. However, you still need to look closely at language features to back up your decision. Explore how the word choices from the author affect the reader.

​​Structuring a paragraph 

Use a paragraph to make a main point. Focus on the question, use evidence from the text and discuss the evidence you've annotated. It is important to change your paragraph structure depending on how you would like to present your ideas. You can use PEEL or PEA paragraphs to help you. 

  • PEEL – Point, Evidence, Explain, Link to plot.
  • PEA – Point, Evidence, Analysis.

Using quotations in your answer 

When using quotations, try to be selective and use short quotes as this has more impact than copying out chunks of phrases from the text. Closely analyse your quote to support your point. Here are some examples on how you can do this:

  • Focus on a word. 
  • Write about the connotations of the word. 
  • The context of the word - this is important because how the word is used in the sentence may affect the connotations of the word chosen.
  • What is the effect of the language feature? 
  • What is the reader's response to the language used in the quotation?

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FAQs - Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to read the question before responding to a text?

Which quotes should I use when responding to a text?

How do I respond to a text?


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