Read the specified lines and highlight at least 7 of the bits of evidence that make you think or feel something about Bruce’s character... it can be either positive or negative. For each piece of evidence you highlight, a bubble will appear. Decide whether you think something about Bruce here or whether you have a feeling towards him. Click on the corresponding bubble and write your idea in it.

You must highlight 7 before you can continue

Teachers could alternatively use the Categorise Texts Text Tool to move notes across- they could be categorised into evidence which make us like/ dislike Bruce.

Perhaps she would be worth a little attention. He was, after all, between girlfriends now that Laura had gone to London. They had agreed he would go to London every month but it had not worked out. He had been unable to find the time and she had been most unreasonable about it, he thought.

'If you cared anything about me, you would have made the effort,' she had said. 'But you don't and you didn't.'

He had been appalled by the unfairness of this attack. There had been very good reasons why he could not go to London, apart from the expense, of course. There was a rugby international that weekend and if she thought he was going to miss that just to go to London for a weekend then she was going to have to think again. Which she did.

Bruce turned and, as he did so, he caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror, and smiled. 'Terrific!' he said, unbuttoning his rugby shirt. 'That looks just terrific!'

It was a favourite mirror of his, full length, which made it possible for him to inspect the benefits of his regular sessions at the gym. Very satisfactory, he thought.

From '44 Scotland Street' by Alexander McCall Smith, Birlin

Now you have chosen evidence which gives you a reaction to Bruce, decide 7 different ones which you are going to work with in your answer. Click the relevant bubble. HINT: Try to have a range of thoughts and feelings where possible.

Now you have chosen the evidence you’re going to work with, let’s think about what this answer needs! The question is focusing on Bruce - during the particular lines but also across the whole text. It’s important that in your answer you provide evidence and explain what thought or feeling it makes you have and WHY. What has the writer done to make you feel that way? Is there something about the language or something about where it is in the story?

Teachers could use the Text Tool- Hide the words (either) to make this activity more interactive. If there is a student’s answer or a teacher’s modelled answer, pupils could insert what evidence works best OR they could justify why the evidence makes them like or dislike Bruce.

Look at this example of one point:

I think that Bruce is a bit selfish at the start of the extract as he says he thought his ex-girlfriend had been ‘most unreasonable’ about him not visiting her “because he didn’t have the time."

What is it doing? What is it missing?

“I think that Bruce is selfish as he says his ex-girlfriend was ‘most unreasonable’ about him not visiting her. This is selfish because he didn’t make the time for her and therefore they broke up- as relationships need compromise and for the couple to see each other, I can understand why she may have been unreasonable."

What makes this a better point?

Now it’s your turn- using your ideas and these examples as a guide, write your own response.

Then using the mark scheme, decide what mark you would have given yourself.


I think that Bruce is a bit selfish at the start of the extract as he says he thought his ex-girlfriend had been ‘most unreasonable’ about him not visiting her “because he didn’t have the time."

What is it doing? What is it missing?

"I think that Bruce is selfish as he says his ex-girlfriend was ‘most unreasonable’ about him not visiting her. This is selfish because he didn’t make the time for her and therefore they broke up- as relationships need compromise and for the couple to see each other, I can understand why she may have been unreasonable."

Mark scheme

This question tests the ability to evaluate texts critically and support this with appropriate textual references.

Give 0 marks for responses where there is nothing worthy of credit.

Give 1-2 marks to those who express a simple personal opinion with linked, basic textual reference.

Give 3-4 marks to those who give a personal opinion supported by straightforward textual references. These responses will show limited interaction with the text as a whole.

Give 5-6 marks to those who give an evaluation of the text and its effects, supported by appropriate textual references. These responses will show some critical awareness of the text as a whole.

Give 7-8 marks to those who give a critical evaluation of the text and its effects, supported by well-selected textual references. These responses will show critical awareness and clear engagement with the text.

Give 9-10 marks to those who give a persuasive evaluation of the text and its effects, supported by convincing, well selected examples and purposeful textual references. These responses will show engagement and involvement, where candidates take an overview to make accurate and perceptive comments on the text as a whole.

Areas for possible evaluation:

  • he seems welcoming and pleasant at first (he smiles at Pat when she arrives at the flat)
  • he is scathing about Anna (but possibly with some justification)
  • he is concerned about the rent but again that may be reasonable enough
  • Pat’s thoughts about him (mostly favourable in a "laddish" way)
  • his thoughts about Pat (another side to his character)
  • he thinks Pat might be "worth a little attention" (arrogant/patronising)
  • he thinks he is "between girlfriends" (not short of self-confidence!)
  • he had been "unable" to find time to visit Laura in London once a month
  • he blames her for being "unreasonable"
  • she had accused him of not caring enough to make any effort to see her (a lot of truth in that)
  • he is aggrieved and self-righteously indignant at the "unfairness" of her attack
  • he thought the expense was a good reason
  • and he clearly thought more about the rugby international than he did about Laura
  • he smiles at his own image in the mirror
  • he thinks he is "terrific"
  • he is proud of his physique

Personal response/evaluation:

  • some positive first impressions perhaps
  • he emerges as arrogant
  • he is also vain/self-satisfied
  • he is patronising
  • he is selfish
  • he is insensitive
  • he is sexist

This is not a checklist and the question must be marked in levels of response. Look for and reward valid alternatives.