AP English Literature : Comparisons and Contrasts

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP English Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Comparisons And Contrasts

Adapted from “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1877) in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918, ed. Bridges) 

 

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

     It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

     It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

     And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

     And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

 

And for all this, nature is never spent;

     There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

     Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

     World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

What is the relationship between the two sentences whose beginnings are underlined?

Possible Answers:

To be amazed at the combination of human labor and nature in day to day life

To condemn industrial work and praise the bucolic life of the farmer

To force the reader to envision the world in a hardscrabble manner in order to acknowledge the true sources of beauty in life

To contrast human corroding of nature with the endless fecundity of the latter

To prepare the reader to overcome a bias against nature and then provide a striking remark regarding natural beauty

Correct answer:

To contrast human corroding of nature with the endless fecundity of the latter

Explanation:

The two sentences effectively contrast two situations. On the one hand, there are human persons, who toil and "smudge" nature with their work, seemingly wearing it down over time; however, in contrast to this, nature is "never spent"—it never loses its vitality and power.

Example Question #2 : Comparisons And Contrasts

Adapted from “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1877) in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918, ed. Bridges) 

 

The world is charged with the grandeur of God.

     It will flame out, like shining from shook foil;

     It gathers to a greatness, like the ooze of oil

Crushed. Why do men then now not reck his rod?

Generations have trod, have trod, have trod;

     And all is seared with trade; bleared, smeared with toil;

     And wears man's smudge and shares man's smell: the soil

Is bare now, nor can foot feel, being shod.

 

And for all this, nature is never spent;

     There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And though the last lights off the black West went

     Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

     World broods with warm breast and with ah! bright wings.

To what is nature compared in this passage?

Possible Answers:

The forgetful and beautiful lillies of the field

The story of God's salvation of the Hebrews in Egypt

The waxing of new love

God's providential guidance of the growth of plants

The dawning sky

Correct answer:

The dawning sky

Explanation:

The third and fourth lines of the second stanza of the poem give us the image we are looking for:

"And though the last lights off the black West went / Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward, springs—"

Nature is like the morning dawn that arises in the sky, which earlier had experienced the sunset. Although much of this passage is focused upon God (if only implicitly and indirectly at times), the key image here is that of the sunrise.

Example Question #3 : Comparisons And Contrasts

From “Essay on Liberty” by John Stuart Mill

Mankind can hardly be too often reminded, that there was once a man named Socrates, between whom and the legal authorities and public opinion of his time, there took place a memorable collision. Born in an age and country abounding in individual greatness, this man has been handed down to us by those who best knew both him and the age, as the most virtuous man in it; while we know him as the head and prototype of all subsequent teachers of virtue, the source equally of the lofty inspiration of Plato and the judicious utilitarianism of Aristotle, "i maëstri di color che sanno," the two headsprings of ethical as of all other philosophy. This acknowledged master of all the eminent thinkers who have since lived—whose fame, still growing after more than two thousand years, all but outweighs the whole remainder of the names which make his native city illustrious—was put to death by his countrymen, after a judicial conviction, for impiety and immorality. Impiety, in denying the gods recognized by the State; indeed his accuser asserted (see the Apologia) that he believed in no gods at all. Immorality, in being, by his doctrines and instructions, a "corrupter of youth." Of these charges the tribunal, there is every ground for believing, honestly found him guilty, and condemned the man who probably of all then born had deserved best of mankind, to be put to death as a criminal.

To pass from this to the only other instance of judicial iniquity, the mention of which, after the condemnation of Socrates, would not be an anti-climax: the event which took place on Calvary rather more than eighteen hundred years ago. The man who left on the memory of those who witnessed his life and conversation, such an impression of his moral grandeur, that eighteen subsequent centuries have done homage to him as the Almighty in person, was ignominiously put to death, as what? As a blasphemer. Men did not merely mistake their benefactor; they mistook him for the exact contrary of what he was, and treated him as that prodigy of impiety, which they themselves are now held to be, for their treatment of him. The feelings with which mankind now regard these lamentable transactions, especially the later of the two, render them extremely unjust in their judgment of the unhappy actors. These were, to all appearance, not bad men—not worse than men most commonly are, but rather the contrary; men who possessed in a full, or somewhat more than a full measure, the religious, moral, and patriotic feelings of their time and people: the very kind of men who, in all times, our own included, have every chance of passing through life blameless and respected. The high-priest who rent his garments when the words were pronounced, which, according to all the ideas of his country, constituted the blackest guilt, was in all probability quite as sincere in his horror and indignation, as the generality of respectable and pious men now are in the religious and moral sentiments they profess; and most of those who now shudder at his conduct, if they had lived in his time, and been born Jews, would have acted precisely as he did. Orthodox Christians who are tempted to think that those who stoned to death the first martyrs must have been worse men than they themselves are, ought to remember that one of those persecutors was Saint Paul.

How are the accusers of Socrates and Jesus compared or contrasted?

Possible Answers:

They were both, in a way, groups of honest men.

They both rejected their own context as well as the new message offered by Jesus and Socrates.

Their biases clouded their ability to render an adequate sentence for the crimes of Socrates and Jesus alike.

They were both equally corrupt, haters of moral virtue.

They both were thralls of patriarchal imagery and society.

Correct answer:

They were both, in a way, groups of honest men.

Explanation:

Strangely enough, the comparison that Mill wishes to make is that these two groups of men were not bad men, per se. In many ways, they were good men for their time, just very clouded in their judgments of reality because of their biases.

Example Question #4 : Comparisons And Contrasts

Adapted from "The Book of the Grotesque" in Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson (1919)

In his bed the writer rolled over on his side and lay quite still. For years he had been beset with notions concerning his heart. He was a hard smoker and his heart fluttered. The idea had got into his mind that he would some time die unexpectedly and always when he got into bed he thought of that. It did not alarm him. The effect in fact was quite a special thing and not easily explained. It made him more alive, there in bed, than at any other time. Perfectly still he lay and his body was old and not of much use any more, but something inside him was altogether young. He was like a pregnant woman, only that the thing inside him was not a baby but a youth. No, it wasn’t a youth, it was a woman, young, and wearing a coat of mail like a knight. It is absurd, you see, to try to tell what was inside the old writer as he lay on his high bed and listened to the fluttering of his heart. The thing to get at is what the writer, or the young thing within the writer, was thinking about.

. . .

In the bed the writer had a dream that was not a dream. As he grew somewhat sleepy but was still conscious, figures began to appear before his eyes. He imagined the young indescribable thing within himself was driving a long procession of figures before his eyes.

You see the interest in all this lies in the figures that went before the eyes of the writer. They were all grotesques. All of the men and women the writer had ever known had become grotesques.

The grotesques were not all horrible. Some were amusing, some almost beautiful, and one, a woman all drawn out of shape, hurt the old man by her grotesqueness. When she passed he made a noise like a small dog whimpering. Had you come into the room you might have supposed the old man had unpleasant dreams or perhaps indigestion.

For an hour the procession of grotesques passed before the eyes of the old man, and then, although it was a painful thing to do, he crept out of bed and began to write. Some one of the grotesques had made a deep impression on his mind and he wanted to describe it.

At his desk the writer worked for an hour. In the end he wrote a book which he called “The Book of the Grotesque.” It was never published, but I saw it once and it made an indelible impression on my mind. The book had one central thought that is very strange and has always remained with me. By remembering it I have been able to understand many people and things that I was never able to understand before. The thought was involved but a simple statement of it would be something like this:

That in the beginning when the world was young there were a great many thoughts but no such thing as a truth. Man made the truths himself and each truth was a composite of a great many vague thoughts. All about in the world were the truths and they were all beautiful.

The old man had listed hundreds of the truths in his book. I will not try to tell you of all of them. There was the truth of virginity and the truth of passion, the truth of wealth and of poverty, of thrift and profligacy, of carelessness and abandon. Hundreds and hundreds were the truths and they were all beautiful.

And then the people came along. Each as he appeared snatched up one of the truths and some who were quite strong snatched up a dozen of them.

It was the truths that made the people grotesques. The old man had quite an elaborate theory concerning the matter. It was his notion that the moment one of the people took one of the truths to himself, called it his truth, and tried to live his life by it, he became a grotesque and the truth he embraced became a falsehood.

In paragraph eight, the author makes use of __________ to demonstrate the multi-faceted nature of truth.

Possible Answers:

Imagery

Contrast

Comparison

Circumolocution

Extrapolation

Correct answer:

Contrast

Explanation:

Contrast is a comparison meant to show the difference between two things. In this case, the author lists opposites (wealth/poverty, carlessness/abandon) in order to demonstrate the many sides of truth. The things listed contradict each other, but the writer considers them all truths.

Example Question #5 : Comparisons And Contrasts

Adapted from Act 1, Scene 1, ln. 78-119 of The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (1604) in Vol. XIX, Part 2 of The Harvard Classics (1909-1914)

 

FAUSTUS: How am I glutted with conceit of this!

Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,

Resolve me of all ambiguities,

Perform what desperate enterprise I will?

I’ll have them fly to India for gold,

Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,

And search all corners of the new-found world

For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;

I’ll have them read me strange philosophy

And tell the secrets of all foreign kings;

I’ll have them wall all Germany with brass,

And make swift Rhine circle fair Wittenberg;

I’ll have them fill the public schools with silk,

Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad;

I’ll levy soldiers with the coin they bring,

And chase the Prince of Parma from our land,

And reign sole king of all the provinces;

Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war

Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp’s bridge,

I’ll make my servile spirits to invent.

[Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS]

Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,

And make me blest with your sage conference.

Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,

Know that your words have won me at the last

To practice magic and concealed arts:

Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy

That will receive no object, for my head

But ruminates on necromantic skill.

Philosophy is odious and obscure,

Both law and physic are for petty wits;

Divinity is basest of the three,

Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile:

’Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me.

Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;

And I that have with concise syllogisms

Gravell’d the pastors of the German church,

And made the flowering pride of Wittenberg

Swarm to my problems, as the infernal spirits

On sweet Musaeigus, when he came to hell,

Will be as cunning as Agrippa was,

Whose shadows made all Europe honor him.

Which of the following contrasts is most relevant to the passage?

Possible Answers:

Light and darkness

Past and present

Conventional knowledge and magic

Activity and passivity

Illusion and reality

Correct answer:

Conventional knowledge and magic

Explanation:

The most relevant contrast in the passage is the contrast between conventional knowledge and magic. While Faustus describes magic as being fascinating, he frames conventional knowledge as "odious," "petty," and "base."

While illusion and reality are extremely important themes in the overall play, they are not the most relevant contrast seen in this passage. Light and darkness, as a contrast for this passage, is an overly vague answer, and is not discussed directly in this excerpt.

Example Question #6 : Comparisons And Contrasts

Adapted from Act 1, Scene 1, ln. 78-119 of The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe (1604) in Vol. XIX, Part 2 of The Harvard Classics (1909-1914)

 

FAUSTUS: How am I glutted with conceit of this!

Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,

Resolve me of all ambiguities,

Perform what desperate enterprise I will?

I’ll have them fly to India for gold,

Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,

And search all corners of the new-found world

For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;

I’ll have them read me strange philosophy

And tell the secrets of all foreign kings;

I’ll have them wall all Germany with brass,

And make swift Rhine circle fair Wittenberg;

I’ll have them fill the public schools with silk,

Wherewith the students shall be bravely clad;

I’ll levy soldiers with the coin they bring,

And chase the Prince of Parma from our land,

And reign sole king of all the provinces;

Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war

Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp’s bridge,

I’ll make my servile spirits to invent.

[Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS]

Come, German Valdes and Cornelius,

And make me blest with your sage conference.

Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius,

Know that your words have won me at the last

To practice magic and concealed arts:

Yet not your words only, but mine own fantasy

That will receive no object, for my head

But ruminates on necromantic skill.

Philosophy is odious and obscure,

Both law and physic are for petty wits;

Divinity is basest of the three,

Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile:

’Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish’d me.

Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt;

And I that have with concise syllogisms

Gravell’d the pastors of the German church,

And made the flowering pride of Wittenberg

Swarm to my problems, as the infernal spirits

On sweet Musaeigus, when he came to hell,

Will be as cunning as Agrippa was,

Whose shadows made all Europe honor him.

What is main difference in content between the first half of the passage, before the arrival of Valdes and Cornelius, and the second, after their arrival?

Possible Answers:

Before their arrival, Faustus weighs the consequences of his decision; after their arrival, he asks Valdes and Cornelius for their help in gaining occult powers.

Before their arrival, Faustus justifies his decision to himself in academic terms; after their arrival, he explains it in more practical, financially oriented terms.

Before their arrival, Faustus dreams about what occult powers might allow him to do; after their arrival, he complains about his current station in life, and begs for their help in escaping Wittenberg.

Before their arrival, Faustus fantasizes about the earthly pleasures he will gain from his occult powers; after their arrival, he justifies his fascination with the occult in intellectual terms.

Before their arrival, Faustus considers a trip to a foreign land; after their arrival, he decides to stay and use his powers for the good of science.

Correct answer:

Before their arrival, Faustus fantasizes about the earthly pleasures he will gain from his occult powers; after their arrival, he justifies his fascination with the occult in intellectual terms.

Explanation:

Before Valdes and Cornelius' arrival, Faustus fantasizes about the earthly pleasures he will gain from his occult powers; after their arrival, he justifies his fascination with the occult in intellectual terms. The first section of the speech is focused almost exclusively on "pleasant fruits and princely delicates," and other luxuries like "silk." It is only after the arrival of Valdes and Cornelius that Faustus begins to discuss his dissatisfaction with conventional academics in favor of the "concealed arts."

It is difficult to characterize Faustus' tone as "begging" at any point. While he fantasizes about traveling, he never makes a plan and thus does not reverse it and decide to stay in Wittenberg.

Example Question #71 : Passage Content

Adapted from “The Habit of Perfection” in Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1919)

 

Elected silence, sing to me

And beat upon my whorlèd ear,

Pipe me to pastures still and be

The music that I care to hear.

 

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb:

It is the shut, the curfew sent

From there where all surrenders come

Which only makes you eloquent.

 

Be shellèd, eyes, with double dark

And find the uncreated light:

This ruck and reel which you remark

Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.

 

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,

Desire not to be rinsed with wine:

The can must be so sweet, the crust

So fresh that come in fasts divine!

 

Nostrils, your careless breath that spend

Upon the stir and keep of pride,

What relish shall the censers send

Along the sanctuary side!

 

O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet

That want the yield of plushy sward,

But you shall walk the golden street

And you unhouse and house the Lord.

 

And, Poverty, be thou the bride

And now the marriage feast begun,

And lily-colored clothes provide

Your spouse not labored-at nor spun.

What is the contrast expressed in the last (underlined and bolded) stanza?

Possible Answers:

Between the poverty of self-spun clothes and the clothes of those who have others make their clothing.

Between freely chosen poverty and the gifts of God

Between poverty and the wealth of a marriage ceremony

Between the simple poverty of hunger and the grandness of a large feast

None of the other answer choices is correct.

Correct answer:

Between freely chosen poverty and the gifts of God

Explanation:

Even if you do not realize the religious context of this passage (though there are various hints throughout the poem—talk of censers, the "Lord," "fasts divine," and so forth), you can see that the stanza in question is contrasting poverty with being provided with "lily-colored" clothes. The "spouse" is Jesus in Christian imagery, and the theme of the lilies and clothing comes from certain passages of the Gospels.

Example Question #72 : Passage Content

Adapted from “Solitary Death, make me thine own” in Underneath the Bough: A Book of Verses by Michael Field (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) (1893)

 

Solitary Death, make me thine own,

And let us wander the bare fields together;

          Yea, thou and I alone

Roving in unembittered unison forever.

 

I will not harry thy treasure-graves,

I do not ask thy still hands a lover;

            My heart within me craves

To travel till we twain Time’s wilderness discover.

 

To sojourn with thee my soul was bred,

And I, the courtly sights of life refusing,

            To the wide shadows fled,

And mused upon thee often as I fell a-musing.

 

Escaped from chaos, thy mother Night,

In her maiden breast a burthen that awed her,

           By cavern waters white

Drew thee her first-born, her unfathered off-spring toward her.

 

On dewey plats, near twilight dingle,

She oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses

           In thine ears a-tingle,

Pours her cool charms, her weird, reviving chaunt rehearses.

 

Though mortals menace thee or elude,

And from thy confines break in swift transgression.

            Thou for thyself art sued

Of me, I claim thy cloudy purlieus my possession.

 

To a long freshwater, where the sea

Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows,

            Come thou, and beckon me

To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows:

 

Then take the life I have called my own

And to the liquid universe deliver;

            Loosening my spirit’s zone,

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the river.

Which of the following is an important contrast at play in the poem?

Possible Answers:

Corporeal reality and abstract concepts

Light and dark

Good and evil

Nature and science

Corporeal reality and religious teachings

Correct answer:

Corporeal reality and abstract concepts

Explanation:

The contrast of corporeal reality and an abstract view of the universe is an important contrast throughout this poem. The physical realm is attended to with imagery and an extended personification of abstract concepts (Night and Death, also the last stanza ties the personification of Death to the physicality of “the wind, the light, the river”), and with attention to the physical realities of death (“men’s sobs and curses”).

Moral judgments like “good and evil” are not at play in the work, nor is the question of nature and science. While darkness is an overriding theme, and light appears at the end of the poem, they are not directly contrasted. While one might expect a poem about death to have religious overtones, there are no overt religious overtones present in this poem.

Example Question #4 : Characterization And Motivation: Prose

Adapted from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)

"Dorian," cried Hallward, "that is not the question. England is bad enough I know, and English society is all wrong. That is the reason why I want you to be fine. You have not been fine. One has a right to judge of a man by the effect he has over his friends. Yours seem to lose all sense of honor, of goodness, of purity. You have filled them with a madness for pleasure. They have gone down into the depths. You led them there. Yes: you led them there, and yet you can smile, as you are smiling now. And there is worse behind. I know you and Harry are inseparable. Surely for that reason, if for none other, you should not have made his sister's name a by-word."

"Take care, Basil. You go too far."

"I must speak, and you must listen. You shall listen. When you met Lady Gwendolen, not a breath of scandal had ever touched her. Is there a single decent woman in London now who would drive with her in the park? Why, even her children are not allowed to live with her. Then there are other stories—stories that you have been seen creeping at dawn out of dreadful houses and slinking in disguise into the foulest dens in London. Are they true? Can they be true? When I first heard them, I laughed. I hear them now, and they make me shudder. What about your country-house and the life that is led there? Dorian, you don't know what is said about you. I won't tell you that I don't want to preach to you. I remember Harry saying once that every man who turned himself into an amateur curate for the moment always began by saying that, and then proceeded to break his word. I do want to preach to you. I want you to lead such a life as will make the world respect you. I want you to have a clean name and a fair record. I want you to get rid of the dreadful people you associate with. Don't shrug your shoulders like that. Don't be so indifferent. You have a wonderful influence. Let it be for good, not for evil. They say that you corrupt every one with whom you become intimate, and that it is quite sufficient for you to enter a house for shame of some kind to follow after. I don't know whether it is so or not. How should I know? But it is said of you. I am told things that it seems impossible to doubt. Lord Gloucester was one of my greatest friends at Oxford. He showed me a letter that his wife had written to him when she was dying alone in her villa at Mentone. Your name was implicated in the most terrible confession I ever read. I told him that it was absurd—that I knew you thoroughly and that you were incapable of anything of the kind. Know you? I wonder do I know you? Before I could answer that, I should have to see your soul."

"To see my soul!" muttered Dorian Gray, starting up from the sofa and turning almost white from fear.

"Yes," answered Hallward gravely, and with deep-toned sorrow in his voice, "to see your soul. But only God can do that."

A bitter laugh of mockery broke from the lips of the younger man. "You shall see it yourself, tonight!" he cried, seizing a lamp from the table. "Come: it is your own handiwork. Why shouldn't you look at it? You can tell the world all about it afterwards, if you choose. Nobody would believe you. If they did believe you, they would like me all the better for it. I know the age better than you do, though you will prate about it so tediously. Come, I tell you. You have chattered enough about corruption. Now you shall look on it face to face."

There was the madness of pride in every word he uttered. He stamped his foot upon the ground in his boyish insolent manner. He felt a terrible joy at the thought that someone else was to share his secret, and that the man who had painted the portrait that was the origin of all his shame was to be burdened for the rest of his life with the hideous memory of what he had done.

Contrast the characters of Dorian and Basil, as presented in this passage.

Possible Answers:

Dorian is youthful and engaged, while Basil is overweening and prideful.

Dorian is immature, while Basil shows the wisdom of many years.

Dorian is wicked and destructive, while Basil is religious.

Dorian is bashful, while Basil is forward and pushy.

Dorian is aloof and amoral, while Basil is concerned and engaged.

Correct answer:

Dorian is aloof and amoral, while Basil is concerned and engaged.

Explanation:

Throughout this passage, Dorian is portrayed as being disconnected from the morally negative things attributed to him by Basil. While we might be able to say that he is wicked or immoral, it is best to note the milder critique that could be made, namely that Dorian seems detached from moral right and wrong. Basil accuses him of this, noting how Dorian smiles without caring about his critiques. Thus, it is best to note that Dorian is aloof and amoral (i.e. not particularly moral at all), while Basil is concerned with Dorian's moral well-being.

Example Question #3 : Characterization And Motivation: Prose

Adapted from The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde (1891)

"Dorian," cried Hallward, "that is not the question. England is bad enough I know, and English society is all wrong. That is the reason why I want you to be fine. You have not been fine. One has a right to judge of a man by the effect he has over his friends. Yours seem to lose all sense of honor, of goodness, of purity. You have filled them with a madness for pleasure. They have gone down into the depths. You led them there. Yes: you led them there, and yet you can smile, as you are smiling now. And there is worse behind. I know you and Harry are inseparable. Surely for that reason, if for none other, you should not have made his sister's name a by-word."

"Take care, Basil. You go too far."

"I must speak, and you must listen. You shall listen. When you met Lady Gwendolen, not a breath of scandal had ever touched her. Is there a single decent woman in London now who would drive with her in the park? Why, even her children are not allowed to live with her. Then there are other stories—stories that you have been seen creeping at dawn out of dreadful houses and slinking in disguise into the foulest dens in London. Are they true? Can they be true? When I first heard them, I laughed. I hear them now, and they make me shudder. What about your country-house and the life that is led there? Dorian, you don't know what is said about you. I won't tell you that I don't want to preach to you. I remember Harry saying once that every man who turned himself into an amateur curate for the moment always began by saying that, and then proceeded to break his word. I do want to preach to you. I want you to lead such a life as will make the world respect you. I want you to have a clean name and a fair record. I want you to get rid of the dreadful people you associate with. Don't shrug your shoulders like that. Don't be so indifferent. You have a wonderful influence. Let it be for good, not for evil. They say that you corrupt every one with whom you become intimate, and that it is quite sufficient for you to enter a house for shame of some kind to follow after. I don't know whether it is so or not. How should I know? But it is said of you. I am told things that it seems impossible to doubt. Lord Gloucester was one of my greatest friends at Oxford. He showed me a letter that his wife had written to him when she was dying alone in her villa at Mentone. Your name was implicated in the most terrible confession I ever read. I told him that it was absurd—that I knew you thoroughly and that you were incapable of anything of the kind. Know you? I wonder do I know you? Before I could answer that, I should have to see your soul."

"To see my soul!" muttered Dorian Gray, starting up from the sofa and turning almost white from fear.

"Yes," answered Hallward gravely, and with deep-toned sorrow in his voice, "to see your soul. But only God can do that."

A bitter laugh of mockery broke from the lips of the younger man. "You shall see it yourself, tonight!" he cried, seizing a lamp from the table. "Come: it is your own handiwork. Why shouldn't you look at it? You can tell the world all about it afterwards, if you choose. Nobody would believe you. If they did believe you, they would like me all the better for it. I know the age better than you do, though you will prate about it so tediously. Come, I tell you. You have chattered enough about corruption. Now you shall look on it face to face."

There was the madness of pride in every word he uttered. He stamped his foot upon the ground in his boyish insolent manner. He felt a terrible joy at the thought that someone else was to share his secret, and that the man who had painted the portrait that was the origin of all his shame was to be burdened for the rest of his life with the hideous memory of what he had done.

Based on Basil's words, in what way might Dorian's friends be contrasted before and after they get to spend time with him?

Possible Answers:

They go from being uncouth to being aware of the ways of high society.

They go from having stable jobs to becoming unemployed.

The become immature after being mature.

They go from being upright to being self-indulgent.

They go from being cultured to being crass.

Correct answer:

They go from being upright to being self-indulgent.

Explanation:

A key text for this question is found in Basil's statement, "[Your friends] seem to lose all sense of honor, of goodness, of purity. You have filled them with a madness for pleasure." Indeed, it seems that Dorian's friends lose their "polish"—but it is above all a moral polish that they lose. It is not merely a matter of becoming immature or irresponsible. They lose all sense of purity and honor. Therefore, the best thing to say is that they go from being upright to being self-indulgent.

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