AP English Literature : Inferences and Implied Ideas

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP English Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

From “The Dead” in Dubliners by James Joyce (1915)

She was fast asleep.

Gabriel, leaning on his elbow, looked for a few moments unresentfully on her tangled hair and half-open mouth, listening to her deep-drawn breath. So she had had that romance in her life: a man had died for her sake. It hardly pained him now to think how poor a part he, her husband, had played in her life. He watched her while she slept as though he and she had never lived together as man and wife. His curious eyes rested long upon her face and on her hair: and, as he thought of what she must have been then, in that time of her first girlish beauty, a strange friendly pity for her entered his soul. He did no like to say even to himself that her face was no longer beautiful but he knew that it was no longer the face for which Michael Furey had braved death.

Perhaps she had not told him all the story. His eyes moved to the chair over which she had thrown some of her clothes. A petticoat string dangled to the floor. One boot stood upright, its limp upper fallen: the fellow of it lay upon its side. He wondered at his riot of emotions of an hour before. From what had it proceeded? From his aunt’s supper, from his own foolish speech, from the wine and dancing, the merry-making when saying good-night in the hall, the pleasure of the walk along the river in the snow. Poor Aunt Julia! She, too, would soon be a shade with the shade of Patrick Morkan and his horse. He had caught that haggard look upon her face for a moment when she was singing Arrayed for the Bridal. Soon, perhaps, he would be sitting in that same drawing-room, dressed in black, his silk hat on his knees. The blinds would be drawn down and Aunt Kate would be sitting beside him, crying and blowing her nose and telling him how Julia had died. He would cast about in his mind for some words that might console her, and would find only lame and useless ones. Yes, yes: that would happen very soon.

The air of the room chilled his shoulders. He stretched himself cautiously along under the sheets and lay down beside his wife. One by one they were all becoming shades. Better pass boldly into that other world, in the full glory of some passion, than fade and wither dismally with age. He thought of how she who lay beside him had locked in her heart for so many years that image of her lover’s eyes when he had told her that he did not wish to live.

Generous tears filled Gabriel’s eyes. He had never felt like that himself towards any woman but he knew that such a feeling must be love. The tears gathered more thickly in his eyes and in the partial darkness he imagined he saw the form of a young man standing under a dripping tree. Other forms were near. His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself which these dead had one time reared and lived in was dissolving and dwindling.

A few light taps upon the pane made him turn to the window. It had begun to snow again. He watched sleepily the flakes, silver and dark, falling obliquely against the lamplight. The time had come for him to set out on his journey westward. Yes, the newspapers were right: snow was general all over Ireland. It was falling on every part of the dark central plain, on the treeless hills, falling softly upon the hill where Michael Furey lay buried. It lay thickly drifted on the crooked crosses and headstones, on the spears of the little gate, on the barren thorns. His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

The juxtaposition of Michael Furey's death and Gabriel's imagined scenario of Aunt Julia's death shows __________.

Possible Answers:

the futility of life

the contrast between Gabriel's vengeful pleasure at the death of Michael Furey versus his genuine sadness at the death of his aunt

all life ends in death, regardless of how or when it arrives

the contrast between the death of the young and passionate versus the death of the old and withered

the contrast between the foolish death of an over-eager youth versus the natural death of an old woman

Correct answer:

the contrast between the death of the young and passionate versus the death of the old and withered

Explanation:

The first paragraph implies that Michael Furey died young and in the name of love, while Aunt Julia is old and Gabriel predicts that her death will come soon because "he had caught that haggard look upon her face."

Example Question #2 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

Adapted from Coriolanus by William Shakespeare (III.iii.152-167)

 

You common cry of curs! whose breath I hate

As reek o' the rotten fens, whose loves I prize

As the dead carcasses of unburied men

That do corrupt my air, I banish you;

And here remain with your uncertainty!

Let every feeble rumor shake your hearts!

Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes,

Fan you into despair! Have the power still

To banish your defenders; till at length

Your ignorance, which finds not till it feels,

Making not reservations of yourselves,

Still your own foes, deliver you as most 

Abated captives to some nation

That won you without blows! Despising,

For you, the city, thus I turn my back:

There is a world elsewhere.

What does the passage imply about the speaker's relationship to his addressees?

Possible Answers:

The speaker's power within the city is equal to that of his addressees'.

The speaker has always been an avowed enemy of the city.

The speaker is now, and has always been, extremely concerned about his addresses' future welfare.

The speaker has been charged with protecting them, but has fallen out of favor.

The speaker has a longstanding positive relationship with his addressees.

Correct answer:

The speaker has been charged with protecting them, but has fallen out of favor.

Explanation:

The speaker has in the past been charged with protecting the city; this is implied by his references to them being vulnerable in his absence. He has also fallen out of favor; this is made clear by the fact that he has been banished.

The speaker's power is obviously not equal to his addressees' because they have the power to banish him. He does not seem concerned about their welfare since his is cursing them and wishing them ill. His implication that they will be vulnerable without him implies that he has been helping the city rather than being its avowed enemy. His vitriol in addressing his listeners implies that their relationship has not been particularly positive.

Example Question #3 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

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.

How could one describe the action of God according to Hopkins' expressions in this poem?

Possible Answers:

Gorgeous

Kindly

Fulfilling

Amazing

Beautiful

Correct answer:

Amazing

Explanation:

Several expressions help to find the answer to this question. The poem itself is talking about the "grandeur"—the greatness—of God being found throughout the world; however, it is not merely a matter of being beautiful. The grandeur is said to "flame up" and suddenly arise into experience. This means that it is amazing or wonderful—not expected. Therefore, the simple word "amazing" is the best answer.

Example Question #4 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

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 implied about human use of the world in this passage?

Possible Answers:

It is a necessary evil.

It is corrosive to the world.

It recreates the original grandeur of the world.

It is a tedious affair, bearing little fruit.

It fulfills the command to "be fruitful and multiply" spoken of in the Bible.

Correct answer:

It is corrosive to the world.

Explanation:

The descriptions of "generations" who have trod upon the soil in work and life speak eloquently of the opinion Hopkins wishes to communicate regarding human activity. It "sears," "blears," "smears," and "smudges" nature. Thus, in a way, we can say that it corrodes nature's bounty and the work of God in the world. This is at least the general idea communicated in this poem.

Example Question #5 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

From Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1854)

There was an air of jaded sullenness in them both, and particularly in the girl; yet, struggling through the dissatisfaction of her face, there was a light with nothing to rest upon, a fire with nothing to burn, a starved imagination keeping life in itself somehow, which brightened its expression. Not with the brightness natural to cheerful youth, but with uncertain, eager, doubtful flashes, which had something painful in them, analogous to the changes on a blind face groping its way.

She was a child now, of fifteen or sixteen, but at no distant day would seem to become a woman all at once. Her father thought so as he looked at her. She was pretty. Would have been self-willed (he thought in his eminently practical way) but for her bringing-up.

"Thomas, though I have the fact before me, I find it difficult to believe that you, with your education and resources, should have brought your sister to a scene like this."

"I brought him, father," said Louisa, quickly. "I asked him to come."

"I am sorry to hear it. I am very sorry indeed to hear it. It makes Thomas no better, and it makes you worse, Louisa."

She looked at her father again, but no tear fell down her cheek.

Based on the passage, what can you infer is the reason for the father's disappointment with the children?

Possible Answers:

The children were not working on their school work.

The children were out past their curfew.

Louisa was being willful and thus also being a bad influence on her brother.

They were looking at some happening that he disapproved of.

They were acting immature and uneducated.

Correct answer:

They were looking at some happening that he disapproved of.

Explanation:

The only real hint that we get in this passage is the remark by the father when he says, "'Thomas, though I have the fact before me, I find it difficult to believe that you, with your education and resources, should have brought your sister to a scene like this.'" Though he misjudges who brought whom to the scene, the father is disappointed that they were looking at something—the "scene." Though this is described earlier in the book, you can infer its happening based on these words.

Example Question #1 : Word Choice And Effect

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.

Why does Mill call Plato and Aristotle “headsprings”?

Possible Answers:

They were attached to the same "heady" matters as was Socrates.

They were the great sources of Socrates' inspiration.

They were intellectuals, lost in "heady" and lofty thoughts.

They were primary influences on all later philosophy.

They founded the only two philosophical schools ever stable in the West.

Correct answer:

They were primary influences on all later philosophy.

Explanation:

In this sentence, Mill is remarking about the many kinds of influence exercised by the life of Socrates. Mill says that Socrates was the prototype for all virtue, but also was influential on Aristotle and Plato, both of whom were headsprings—like springs of water that start the flow of a river—"of ethical as of all other philosophy.”

Example Question #5 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

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.

The "dream that was not a dream" could also be described as which of the following?

Possible Answers:

A sleepwalking episode: the writer encountered a strange scene while sleepwalking.

The narrator knows it really was just a dream, but the writer believes it was something more.

A delusion: the writer witnessed something that was not really there because he is going crazy.

A vision: the writer witnessed something that was not physically there, but had profound meaning.

A nightmare.

Correct answer:

A vision: the writer witnessed something that was not physically there, but had profound meaning.

Explanation:

The writer is described as not fully asleep, so he is not dreaming. The figures appear vividly before him even though they are not really there, so it can be said he is having a vision.

Example Question #6 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

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)

 

FAUST: 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 is NOT a reasonable inference to draw about Faustus' feelings on his situation?

Possible Answers:

He must choose between earthly academic pursuits and the dark arts, and he feels ambivalent about the decision.

He has had a long and successful academic career, but feels that he has reached the limit of earthly, academic pursuits.

He has been offered the use of dark arts, and he is excited by the power this opportunity could afford him.

He has had a long and successful academic career which has led him to feel superior to and bored with those around him.

He must choose between earthly academic pursuits and the dark arts, and he finds the new path of magic exciting.

Correct answer:

He must choose between earthly academic pursuits and the dark arts, and he feels ambivalent about the decision.

Explanation:

The only inference that is not reasonable to draw about Faustus' feelings on his situation is that he must choose between earthly academic pursuits and the dark arts and that he feels ambivalent about the decision. While he is choosing between these two things, there is nothing in the speech to suggest that this choice is mandatory. Also, he expresses only excitement about his choice, not ambivalence.

Example Question #6 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

Adapted from Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1854)

"Well!" blustered Mr. Bounderby, "what’s the matter? What is young Thomas in the dumps about?"

He spoke of young Thomas, but he looked at Louisa.

"We were peeping at the circus," muttered Louisa, haughtily, without lifting up her eyes, "and father caught us."

"And, Mrs. Gradgrind," said her husband in a lofty manner, "I should as soon have expected to find my children reading poetry."

"Dear me," whimpered Mrs. Gradgrind. "How can you, Louisa and Thomas! I wonder at you. I declare you’re enough to make one regret ever having had a family at all. I have a great mind to say I wish I hadn’t. Then what would you have done, I should like to know?"

Mr. Gradgrind did not seem favorably impressed by these cogent remarks. He frowned impatiently.

"As if, with my head in its present throbbing state, you couldn’t go and look at the shells and minerals and things provided for you, instead of circuses!" said Mrs. Gradgrind. "You know, as well as I do, no young people have circus masters, or keep circuses in cabinets, or attend lectures about circuses. What can you possibly want to know of circuses then? I am sure you have enough to do, if that’s what you want. With my head in its present state, I couldn’t remember the mere names of half the facts you have got to attend to."

"That’s the reason!" pouted Louisa.

"Don’t tell me that’s the reason, because it can’t be nothing of the sort," said Mrs. Gradgrind. "Go and be somethingological directly." Mrs. Gradgrind was not a scientific character, and usually dismissed her children to their studies with this general injunction to choose their pursuit.

In truth, Mrs. Gradgrind’s stock of facts in general was woefully defective, but Mr. Gradgrind, in raising her to her high matrimonial position, had been influenced by two reasons. Firstly, she was most satisfactory as a question of figures, and, secondly, she had "no nonsense" about her. By nonsense he meant fancy, and truly it is probable she was as free from any alloy of that nature as any human being not arrived at the perfection of an absolute idiot ever was.

The simple circumstance of being left alone with her husband and Mr. Bounderby was sufficient to stun this admirable lady again without collision between herself and any other fact. So, she once more died away, and nobody minded her.

"Bounderby," said Mr. Gradgrind, drawing a chair to the fireside, "you are always so interested in my young people—particularly in Louisa—that I make no apology for saying to you, I am very much vexed by this discovery. I have systematically devoted myself (as you know) to the education of the reason of my family. The reason is (as you know) the only faculty to which education should be addressed. And yet, Bounderby, it would appear from this unexpected circumstance of today, though in itself a trifling one, as if something had crept into Thomas’s and Louisa’s minds which is—or rather, which is not—I don’t know that I can express myself better than by saying—which has never been intended to be developed, and in which their reason has no part."

What is the implication of the two underlined and bolded sentences?

Possible Answers:

Children should learn more about circuses, following a scientific manner of exposition.

Circuses are not reasonable affairs.

It is understandable to wish to hear a lecture about the circus.

It is difficult to find a place for a circus to remain.

It is unthinkable that the children would go to the circus on a school night.

Correct answer:

Circuses are not reasonable affairs.

Explanation:

Mr. Gradgrind is scolding his children for going to such a frivolous thing as the circus. Circuses do not have "masters" in the same way that there are schoolmasters. Likewise, they are not in cabinets—like shells and other specimens for study. Finally, he implies that one cannot go to lectures on circuses—as though the only important things in the world are those that are lectured upon. The implication, on the whole, is that circuses are not reasonable affairs (especially for the Gradgrind children).

Example Question #7 : Inferences And Implied Ideas

Adapted from Hard Times by Charles Dickens (1854)

"Well!" blustered Mr. Bounderby, "what’s the matter? What is young Thomas in the dumps about?"

He spoke of young Thomas, but he looked at Louisa.

"We were peeping at the circus," muttered Louisa, haughtily, without lifting up her eyes, "and father caught us."

"And, Mrs. Gradgrind," said her husband in a lofty manner, "I should as soon have expected to find my children reading poetry."

"Dear me," whimpered Mrs. Gradgrind. "How can you, Louisa and Thomas! I wonder at you. I declare you’re enough to make one regret ever having had a family at all. I have a great mind to say I wish I hadn’t. Then what would you have done, I should like to know?"

Mr. Gradgrind did not seem favorably impressed by these cogent remarks. He frowned impatiently.

"As if, with my head in its present throbbing state, you couldn’t go and look at the shells and minerals and things provided for you, instead of circuses!" said Mrs. Gradgrind. "You know, as well as I do, no young people have circus masters, or keep circuses in cabinets, or attend lectures about circuses. What can you possibly want to know of circuses then? I am sure you have enough to do, if that’s what you want. With my head in its present state, I couldn’t remember the mere names of half the facts you have got to attend to."

"That’s the reason!" pouted Louisa.

"Don’t tell me that’s the reason, because it can’t be nothing of the sort," said Mrs. Gradgrind. "Go and be somethingological directly." Mrs. Gradgrind was not a scientific character, and usually dismissed her children to their studies with this general injunction to choose their pursuit.

In truth, Mrs. Gradgrind’s stock of facts in general was woefully defective, but Mr. Gradgrind, in raising her to her high matrimonial position, had been influenced by two reasons. Firstly, she was most satisfactory as a question of figures, and, secondly, she had "no nonsense" about her. By nonsense he meant fancy, and truly it is probable she was as free from any alloy of that nature as any human being not arrived at the perfection of an absolute idiot ever was.

The simple circumstance of being left alone with her husband and Mr. Bounderby was sufficient to stun this admirable lady again without collision between herself and any other fact. So, she once more died away, and nobody minded her.

"Bounderby," said Mr. Gradgrind, drawing a chair to the fireside, "you are always so interested in my young people—particularly in Louisa—that I make no apology for saying to you, I am very much vexed by this discovery. I have systematically devoted myself (as you know) to the education of the reason of my family. The reason is (as you know) the only faculty to which education should be addressed. And yet, Bounderby, it would appear from this unexpected circumstance of today, though in itself a trifling one, as if something had crept into Thomas’s and Louisa’s minds which is—or rather, which is not—I don’t know that I can express myself better than by saying—which has never been intended to be developed, and in which their reason has no part."

Based on the underlined sentence, what would be an example of the "fancy" mentioned therein?

Possible Answers:

The telling of a creative story to children

Seeing most things as being beneath one's dignity

Being overly concerned with the quality of fabric for the furniture in a sitting room

A passing desire for something trivial

Going into too much detail when relating events that occurred

Correct answer:

The telling of a creative story to children

Explanation:

The word "fancy" is based on an older usage related to fantasy or the Latin "phantasia." These terms relate to the imagination—only someone with imagination comes up with a good fantasy story. Something fantastic is something requiring a lot of imagination as well. It should not be confused with being "fancy" in the sense of being expensive. Mrs. Gradgrind is described as being very "no nonsense." That is, she has no real imagination or fancy in the sense discussed above. If she did, she would do things like tell wonderful stories. However, Mr. Gradgrind can rest assured that she will not do such fanciful things!

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