Specimen Paper 1, Series 1 – Jamaica Inn

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Specimen Paper 1, Series 1 – Jamaica Inn

This extract is from the opening of a novel by Daphne du Maurier. Although written in 1936 it is set in the past. In this section a coach and horses, with its passengers, is making its way through Cornwall to Jamaica Inn.
Jamaica Inn

It was a cold grey day in late November. The weather had changed overnight, when a backing wind brought a granite sky and a mizzling rain with it, and although it was now only a little after two oclock in the afternoon the pallor of a winter evening seemed to have closed upon the hills, cloaking them in mist. It would be dark by four. The air was clammy cold, and for all the tightly

5 closed windows it penetrated the interior of the coach. The leather seats felt damp to the hands, and there must have been a small crack in the roof, because now and again little drips of rain

fell softly through, smudging the leather and leaving a dark-blue stain like a splodge of ink.
The wind came in gusts, at times shaking the coach as it travelled round the bend of the road, and in the exposed places on the high ground it blew with such force that the whole body of the

10 coach trembled and swayed, rocking between the high wheels like a drunken man.

The driver, muffled in a greatcoat to his ears, bent almost double in his seat in a faint endeavour to gain shelter from his own shoulders, while the dispirited horses plodded sullenly to his command, too broken by the wind and the rain to feel the whip that now and again cracked above their heads, while it swung between the numb fingers of the driver.
15 The wheels of the coach creaked and groaned as they sank into the ruts on the road, and sometimes they flung up the soft spattered mud against the windows, where it mingled with the constant

driving rain, and whatever view there might have been of the countryside was

hopelessly obscured.
The few passengers huddled together for warmth, exclaiming in unison when the coach sank

20 into a heavier rut than usual, and one old fellow, who had kept up a constant complaint ever since he had joined the coach at Truro, rose from his seat in a fury; and, fumbling with the

window-sash, let the window down with a crash, bringing a shower of rain upon himself and his

fellow-passengers. He thrust his head out and shouted up to the driver, cursing him in a high petulant voice for a rogue and a murderer; that they would all be dead before they reached

25 Bodmin if he persisted in driving at breakneck speed; they had no breath left in their bodies as it

was, and he for one would never travel by coach again.
Whether the driver heard him or not was uncertain: it seemed more likely that the stream of reproaches was carried away in the wind, for the old fellow, after waiting a moment, put up the window again, having thoroughly chilled the interior of the coach, and, settling himself once

30 more in his corner, wrapped his blanket about his knees and muttered in his beard.

His nearest neighbour, a jovial, red-faced woman in a blue cloak, sighed heavily, in sympathy, and, with a wink to anyone who might be looking and a jerk of her head towards the old man, she remarked for at least the twentieth time that it was the dirtiest night she ever remembered, and she had known some; that it was proper old weather and no mistaking it for summer this

35 time; and, burrowing into the depths of a large basket, she brought out a great hunk of cake and plunged into it with strong white teeth.

Mary Yellan sat in the opposite corner, where the trickle of rain oozed through the crack in the roof. Sometimes a cold drip of moisture fell upon her shoulder, which she brushed away with impatient fingers.

40 She sat with her chin cupped in her hands, her eyes fixed on the window splashed with mud and rain, hoping with a sort of desperate interest that some ray of light would break the heavy blanket of sky, and but a momentary trace of that lost blue heaven that had mantled Helford yesterday shine for an instant as a forerunner of fortune.

Section A: Reading
Answer all questions in this section.

You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section

Read again the first part of the source, lines 1 to 7.

  1. List four things from this part of the text about the weather in Cornwall. [4 marks]

  1. Look in detail at this extract from lines 8 to 17 of the source:

How does the writer use language here to describe the effects of the weather? You could include the writers choice of:

words and phrases

language features and techniques

• sentence forms. [8 marks]

  1. You now need to think about the whole of the source.

This text is from the opening of a novel.

How has the writer structured the text to interest you as a reader? You could write about:

• what the writer focuses your attention on at the beginning

• how and why the writer changes this focus as the extract develops

• any other structural features that interest you. [8 marks]

  1. Focus this part of your answer on the second half of the source, from line 18 to the end.

A student, having read this section of the text said: “The writer brings the very different characters to life for the reader. It is as if you are inside the coach with them.”

To what extent do you agree? In your response, you could:

• write about your own impressions of the characters

• evaluate how the writer has created these impressions

• support your opinions with quotations from the text. [20 marks]

Section B: Writing
You are advised to spend about 45 minutes on this section.

Write in full sentences.

You are reminded of the need to plan your answer.

You should leave enough time to check your work at the end.

  1. You are going to enter a creative writing competition. Your entry will be judged by a panel of people of your own age. [40 marks: 24 for content and organsiation, 16 for technical accuracy]

Write a description suggested by this picture:


Write the opening part of a story about a place that is severely affected by the weather.
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