GED Language Arts (RLA) : Comparing Two Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #6 : Passage Meaning And Inference

PASSAGE ONE

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

In what way does the content of Passage One differ from Passage Two?

Possible Answers:

Passage Two speaks out against current funereal practices, while Passage One avoids the topic

Passage Two does not discuss gory details, while Passage One revels in them

Passage Two evaluates a eulogy, while Passage One is a eulogy

Passage Two criticizes a leader, while Passage One praises him

Passage Two is opinionated, while Passage One is not

Correct answer:

Passage Two evaluates a eulogy, while Passage One is a eulogy

Explanation:

Passage One is an elegy for, or a poem eulogizing, Abraham Lincoln. Passage Two is evaluating a different eulogy and criticizing its shortcomings. None of the other answer choices apply here.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume II. by William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

Example Question #7 : Passage Meaning And Inference

PASSAGE ONE

-The subject of this poem is Abraham Lincoln

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

How would the author of Passage One respond to the statement made in Passage Two that “Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused”?

Possible Answers:

The author would criticize both Mr. Bancroft and the author of Passage Two for being overly analytical at a time of national mourning

The author would disagree that Lincoln’s character is steady and resolute

The author would praise the author of Passage Two for his necessary criticism during a time when obituaries were not edited as carefully as they should

The author would agree that Lincoln’s character is steady but would offer examples of various confused ideas that Lincoln once held

The author would agree that Lincoln’s character is steady and resolute

Correct answer:

The author would agree that Lincoln’s character is steady and resolute

Explanation:

Passage One portrays Lincoln as a heroic Captain, a strong and unwavering leader of his country, so the author would most likely agree that Lincoln’s character is steady and resolute.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume IIby William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

Example Question #8 : Passage Meaning And Inference

PASSAGE ONE

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

Which of the following best describes the shift in tone between the beginning and end of Passage One?

Possible Answers:

Sardonic to begrudging

Admiring to cynical

Incisive to maudlin

Triumphant to sorrowful

Caustic to penitent

Correct answer:

Triumphant to sorrowful

Explanation:

The beginning of the poem has a triumphant tone, which can be observed in the lines “the prize we sought is won” and “the bells I hear, the people all exulting.” By the end of the poem, however, the speaker is walking “with mournful tread” in response to the death of the “Captain,” and the tone has shifted to one of sorrow.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume IIby William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

Example Question #9 : Passage Meaning And Inference

PASSAGE ONE

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

In Passage Two, what is the closest meaning of the bolded and underlined word “resolute”?

Possible Answers:

Determined

Pigheaded

Garrulous

Interminable

Vacillating

Correct answer:

Determined

Explanation:

“Resolute” means determined. This can be gathered from the context clues: In the same sentence, the author notes in an approving way that Lincoln became more steady and was not confused, and the word that best matches these traits is “resolute.” “Pigheaded” means stubborn and is too strong a word for this passage’s tone. “Vacillating” means wavering or constantly changing opinions, “interminable” means endless or continuing for a very long amount of time, and “garrulous” means excessively talkative.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume IIby William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

Example Question #10 : Passage Meaning And Inference

PASSAGE ONE

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

The syntax of Passage Two is slightly more _________________ than that of Passage One?

Possible Answers:

Laconic

Lackadaisical

Convoluted

Tenuous

Dilatory

Correct answer:

Laconic

Explanation:

“Laconic” means using few words. The syntax (or sentence structure) of Passage Two is shorter and uses fewer words than that of Passage One, which employs long, flowing sentences, so this is the correct choice. “Convoluted” means twisted or complicated, “tenuous” means uncertain, “dilatory” means slow or causing delay, and “lackadaisical” means uninterested or unenthusiastic.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume IIby William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

Example Question #11 : Conclusions About The Passage

PASSAGE ONE

O CAPTAIN! my Captain! our fearful trip is done, 

The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won, 

The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting, 

While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring; 

      But O heart! heart! heart!

        O the bleeding drops of red! 

          Where on the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead. 

 …

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still, 

My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will; 

The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, 

From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;

      Exult, O shores! and ring, O bells! 

        But I, with mournful tread, 

          Walk the deck my Captain lies, 

            Fallen cold and dead.

 

PASSAGE TWO

Bancroft's eulogy on Lincoln never pleased the latter's lifelong friends—those who knew him so thoroughly and well. February 16, 1866, David Davis, who had heard it, wrote me: "You will see Mr. Bancroft's oration before this reaches you. It is able, but Mr. Lincoln is in the background. His analysis of Mr. Lincoln's character is superficial. It did not please me. How did it satisfy you?" On the 22d he again wrote: "Mr. Bancroft totally misconceived Mr. Lincoln's character in applying 'unsteadiness' and confusion to it. Mr. Lincoln grew more steady and resolute, and his ideas were never confused. If there were any changes in him after he got here they were for the better. I thought him always master of his subject. He was a much more self-possessed man than I thought. He thought for himself, which is a rare quality nowadays. How could Bancroft know anything about Lincoln except as he judged of him as the public do? He never saw him, and is himself as cold as an icicle. I should never have selected an old Democratic politician, and that one from Massachusetts, to deliver an eulogy on Lincoln."

In which of these ways does the content of Passage One differ from Passage Two?

Possible Answers:

Passage One uses ethos (an appeal to the author’s authority), while Passage Two does not

Passage One avoids mention of the Civil War, while Passage Two discreetly criticizes it

Passage One is concerned with upholding a bipartisan government, while Passage Two is strongly against it

Passage One relies on repetition, while Passage Two criticizes repetition

Passage One addresses the current state of the nation, while Passage Two does not

Correct answer:

Passage One addresses the current state of the nation, while Passage Two does not

Explanation:

While Passage One notes that “The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,” referring to the country’s safety and stability following the Civil War, Passage Two does not discuss the state of the nation at all.

Passages taken from, respectively: Walt Whitman's "O Captain! My Captain!" (1865) and  ABRAHAM LINCOLN: The True Story of a Great Life, volume IIby William H. Herdon and Jesse W. Weik (1896).

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