CLEP Humanities : Analyzing the Content of Nineteenth-Century Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for CLEP Humanities

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyzing The Content Of Nineteenth Century Poetry

Cannon to right of them,
Cannon to left of them,
Cannon in front of them
  Volley'd and thunder'd;
Storm'd at with shot and shell,
Boldly they rode and well,
Into the jaws of Death,
Into the mouth of Hell
  Rode the six hundred.

The above lines are from which poem?

Possible Answers:

The Battle of Marathon

"Kubla Kahn"

"The Charge of the Light Brigade"

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

"Crossing the Bar"

Correct answer:

"The Charge of the Light Brigade"

Explanation:

The poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" was written in 1854 to commemorate the same event in the Crimean War, where a British brigade made a nearly suicidal charge at the Battle of Balaclava. Published just six weeks after the event, Alfred, Lord Tennyson's poem is a famous poetic depiction of heroic soldiering from the mid-nineteenth century, with its recitation of the marching, drilling, and cannon fire of the battle.

Example Question #2 : Analyzing The Content Of Poetry

Passage adapted from "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson (1890)

 

Because I could not stop for Death—

He kindly stopped for me—

The Carriage held but just Ourselves—

And Immortality.

 

We slowly drove—He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility—

What is the rhyme scheme for the above poem?

Possible Answers:

AABB CCDD

ABBA CDDC

ABCD ABCD

AAAB CCCD

ABAB CDCD

Correct answer:

ABAB CDCD

Explanation:

A rhyme scheme identified by letter describes each rhyme with the same letter. Thus, since the poem's first and third lines rhyme, the first stanza should be marked as ABAB. Because the second stanza has a new rhyming word, the second stanza should be marked CDCD.

Example Question #2 : Poetry

Passage adapted from "Because I could not stop for Death" by Emily Dickinson (1890)

 

Because I could not stop for Death—

He kindly stopped for me—

The Carriage held but just Ourselves—

And Immortality.

 

We slowly drove—He knew no haste

And I had put away

My labor and my leisure too,

For His Civility—

In this poem, what is the poetic device that Dickinson uses in reference to "Death"?

Possible Answers:

Consonance

Personification

Objectification

Alliteration

Simile

Correct answer:

Personification

Explanation:

In this poem, Dickinson has death something that has "stopped for me," a thing that can know, and that has "Civility." These are all features of a person, despite "death" technically being an event or abstract idea. Making an abstract idea have human traits is called "personification."

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