GED Language Arts (RLA) : Inferences About Characters

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

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Example Questions

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Example Question #27 : Conclusions About The Passage

Adapted from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1623)

 

[This is a monologue by the character Jacques]

 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

What can we infer about the character of the "justice" described in the passage?

Possible Answers:

This does not refer to a person at all, for justice is an abstract term.

He judges cases according to the law from the bench of the legal court.

He is a pompous fool, not knowing anything at all, though he seems to play the part well.

He is very thin because he works so much.

He is orderly, grave, serious, and ready to speak words that he believes are wise, based on his experience in life.

Correct answer:

He is orderly, grave, serious, and ready to speak words that he believes are wise, based on his experience in life.

Explanation:

The "justice" names yet another stage in life being expressed by the speaker in his monologue.  Let's look at the description:

"(1) In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With (2) eyes severe and (3) beard of formal cut,

(4) Full of wise saws and modern instances;"

The general image is of a man who has put on some middle-age weight and has a serious demeanor. He is "severe"—that is, intense. His formally cut beard is cleanly presented—he is no long-haired rebel. Having lived a number of years, he has wisdom or at least is ready to express what he believes is wisdom as well as insights regarding the current day ("modern instances").

Example Question #28 : Conclusions About The Passage

Adapted from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.82-117 (1599)

 

[This is a speech by Mark Antony]

 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-

For Brutus is an honorable man;

So are they all, all honorable men-

Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me;

But Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal [a public festival]

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And sure he is an honorable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause;

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

Based on the underlined sentence, what can we infer about the emotion that Mark Antony is trying to project that he has?

 

Possible Answers:

That he is impatient with the crowd and waits only because he loved Caesar

That he is enraged and will kill those who took Caesar's heart

That he is grieved and must be silent

That he has been stabbed and his heart will be placed in the coffin

That he has considered all of this and wishes to wait in pondering thought

Correct answer:

That he is grieved and must be silent

Explanation:

Remember that earlier Mark Antony said, "He was my friend, faithful and just to me." Clearly, he has an affection for Caesar. Therefore, when he says that his "heart" is in the coffin, he means that his affections and love are there, with the friend who has died. He now wishes to pause for a moment, until his heart "comes back" and he is able to speak. He is at least acting like he is grieved—for he does ask the men why they do not mourn for him. Seemingly, he is mourning, and his heart is "outside of him" with Caesar.

Example Question #1 : Inferences About Characters

From Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.13-33 (1599)

[This is a speech by Brutus to a crowd at Caesar’s funeral.]  

 

Romans, countrymen, and lovers! Hear me for my

cause, and be silent, that you may hear. Believe me

for mine honor, and have respect to mine honor, that

you may believe. Censure me in your wisdom, and

awake your senses, that you may the better judge.

If there be any in this assembly, any dear friend of

Caesar's, to him I say that Brutus' love to Caesar

was no less than his. If then that friend demand

why Brutus rose against Caesar, this is my answer:

Not that I loved Caesar less, but that I loved

Rome more. Had you rather Caesar were living and

die all slaves, than that Caesar were dead to live

all free men? As Caesar loved me, I weep for him;

as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was

valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I

slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his

fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his

ambition. Who is here so base that would be a

bondman? If any, speak, for him have I offended.

Who is here so rude that would not be a Roman? If

any, speak, for him have I offended. Who is here so

vile that will not love his country? If any, speak,

for him have I offended. I pause for a reply.

What can be inferred from this speech regarding what the crowd seems to think about Brutus before he begins talking?

Possible Answers:

They believe that Brutus has questioned their love for Caesar.

They think that he wanted to kill the whole of Rome, if only he had the power.

They think that he did not love Caesar and killed him unjustly.

They think that Brutus may have been their friend but certainly not Caesar's.

They think that Brutus was always at war with Caesar, from the time they were children.

Correct answer:

They think that he did not love Caesar and killed him unjustly.

Explanation:

Throughout this passage, Brutus defends the fact that he loved Caesar, even though he loved Rome more. Both of these aspects can be found in this key sentence: "As Caesar loved me, I weep for him; as he was fortunate, I rejoice at it; as he was valiant, I honor him; but as he was ambitious, I slew him. There is tears for his love, joy for his fortune, honor for his valor, and death for his ambition." Throughout the passage, he has spoken of his love for Caesar. Here, however, we see quite clearly that he also felt it necessary to kill him. Since the speech is clearly directed to the crowd to convince them that he did love Caesar, though he thought it necessary to kill him, it would seem that the crowd doubted this.

Example Question #231 : Interpreting The Passage

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.

Michael Furey is __________.

Possible Answers:

a man with whom Gabriel's wife had had an affair with while they were married

a man with whom Gabriel's wife had a romantic relationship with when she was young, who is now dead

a man who died saving the life of Gabriel's wife when they were children

someone who committed suicide after his marriage proposal was turned down by Gabriel's wife before she and Gabriel were married

a man who was once romantically involved with Gabriel's wife, and now many years later wants to reestablish the relationship

Correct answer:

a man with whom Gabriel's wife had a romantic relationship with when she was young, who is now dead

Explanation:

Gabriel looks at his wife's aged face and thinks "it was no longer the face for which Michael Furey had braved death," implying that the two had been romantically involved when they were young, and that Michael Furey is the subject of the romance in her life mentioned earlier in the paragraph, where "a man had died for her sake."

Example Question #2 : Inferences About Characters

It was rumoured of him once that he [Dorian Gray] was about to join the Roman Catholic communion, and certainly the Roman ritual had always a great attraction for him. The daily sacrifice, more awful really than all the sacrifices of the antique world, stirred him as much by its superb rejection of the evidence of the senses as by the primitive simplicity of its elements and the eternal pathos of the human tragedy that it sought to symbolize. He loved to kneel down on the cold marble pavement and watch the priest, in his stiff flowered dalmatic, slowly and with white hands moving aside the veil of the tabernacle, or raising aloft the jewelled, lantern-shaped monstrance with that pallid wafer that at times, one would fain think, is indeed the "panis caelestis," the bread of angels, or, robed in the garments of the Passion of Christ, breaking the Host into the chalice and smiting his breast for his sins. The fuming censers that the grave boys, in their lace and scarlet, tossed into the air like great gilt flowers had their subtle fascination for him. As he passed out, he used to look with wonder at the black confessionals and long to sit in the dim shadow of one of them and listen to men and women whispering through the worn grating the true story of their lives.

 

But he never fell into the error of arresting his intellectual development by any formal acceptance of creed or system, or of mistaking, for a house in which to live, an inn that is but suitable for the sojourn of a night, or for a few hours of a night in which there are no stars and the moon is in travail. Mysticism, with its marvellous power of making common things strange to us, and the subtle antinomianism that always seems to accompany it, moved him for a season; and for a season he inclined to the materialistic doctrines of the Darwinismus movement in Germany, and found a curious pleasure in tracing the thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in the brain, or some white nerve in the body, delighting in the conception of the absolute dependence of the spirit on certain physical conditions, morbid or healthy, normal or diseased. Yet, as has been said of him before, no theory of life seemed to him to be of any importance compared with life itself. He felt keenly conscious of how barren all intellectual speculation is when separated from action and experiment. He knew that the senses, no less than the soul, have their spiritual mysteries to reveal.

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

Based on of the underlined sentence, and the main idea of the passage as a whole, which of the following is the most accurate statement regarding Dorian’s philosophy (or lack thereof)?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Dorian believed that experiencing matters was better than simply studying them

Dorian had no philosophy and was a generally ignorant man

Dorian believed in mysticism and religion and thought it to be the best, most attractive route to salvation

Correct answer:

Dorian believed that experiencing matters was better than simply studying them

Explanation:

“Dorian believed that experiencing matters was better than simply studying them” is the correct answer. This should have been a relatively simple question as the passage even says that “no theory of life seemed to him to be of any importance compared with life itself.” In other words, Dorian did not adhere to any kind of philosophy other than that of life itself—experiencing life to the fullest and its utmost, with both good and bad experiences.

Example Question #3 : Inferences About Characters

My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate."

"Culture and corruption," echoed Dorian. "I have known something of both. It seems terrible to me now that they should ever be found together. For I have a new ideal, Harry. I am going to alter. I think I have altered."

"You have not yet told me what your good action was. Or did you say you had done more than one?" asked his companion as he spilled into his plate a little crimson pyramid of seeded strawberries and, through a perforated, shell-shaped spoon, snowed white sugar upon them.

"I can tell you, Harry. It is not a story I could tell to any one else. I spared somebody. It sounds vain, but you understand what I mean. She was quite beautiful and wonderfully like Sibyl Vane. I think it was that which first attracted me to her. You remember Sibyl, don't you? How long ago that seems! Well, Hetty was not one of our own class, of course. She was simply a girl in a village. But I really loved her. I am quite sure that I loved her. All during this wonderful May that we have been having, I used to run down and see her two or three times a week. Yesterday she met me in a little orchard. The apple-blossoms kept tumbling down on her hair, and she was laughing. We were to have gone away together this morning at dawn. Suddenly I determined to leave her as flowerlike as I had found her."

"I should think the novelty of the emotion must have given you a thrill of real pleasure, Dorian," interrupted Lord Henry. "But I can finish your idyll for you. You gave her good advice and broke her heart. That was the beginning of your reformation."

"Harry, you are horrible! You mustn't say these dreadful things. Hetty's heart is not broken. Of course, she cried and all that. But there is no disgrace upon her. She can live, like Perdita, in her garden of mint and marigold."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What does Dorian mean by “Hetty was not one of our own class”?

Possible Answers:

Dorian and Lord Henry hate Hetty

Hetty is upper class, whereas Lord Henry and Dorian are low class

Hetty is an inferior individual

Hetty is low class, whereas Lord Henry and Dorian are upper class

Correct answer:

Hetty is low class, whereas Lord Henry and Dorian are upper class

Explanation:

The correct answer is “Hetty is low class, whereas Lord Henry and Dorian are upper class.” This question is relatively easy: Lord Henry should have given it away. That said, the question is rendered somewhat more difficult by the fact that Dorian is not of the peerage (i.e. titled—Lord, Earl, Duke, etc). At any rate, the answer is clearly that Hetty is low class. Several clues lead to that direction: first and foremost, is the fact that Henry is part of the peerage—Lord Henry—and thus upper class; second, is the fact that Dorian said “of our own class” strongly implying, if not outright saying, that Dorian and Henry are similarly situated, and; finally, Dorian says that Hetty was “simply a girl in a village.”

Example Question #4 : Inferences About Characters

My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate."

"Culture and corruption," echoed Dorian. "I have known something of both. It seems terrible to me now that they should ever be found together. For I have a new ideal, Harry. I am going to alter. I think I have altered."

"You have not yet told me what your good action was. Or did you say you had done more than one?" asked his companion as he spilled into his plate a little crimson pyramid of seeded strawberries and, through a perforated, shell-shaped spoon, snowed white sugar upon them.

"I can tell you, Harry. It is not a story I could tell to any one else. I spared somebody. It sounds vain, but you understand what I mean. She was quite beautiful and wonderfully like Sibyl Vane. I think it was that which first attracted me to her. You remember Sibyl, don't you? How long ago that seems! Well, Hetty was not one of our own class, of course. She was simply a girl in a village. But I really loved her. I am quite sure that I loved her. All during this wonderful May that we have been having, I used to run down and see her two or three times a week. Yesterday she met me in a little orchard. The apple-blossoms kept tumbling down on her hair, and she was laughing. We were to have gone away together this morning at dawn. Suddenly I determined to leave her as flowerlike as I had found her."

"I should think the novelty of the emotion must have given you a thrill of real pleasure, Dorian," interrupted Lord Henry. "But I can finish your idyll for you. You gave her good advice and broke her heart. That was the beginning of your reformation."

"Harry, you are horrible! You mustn't say these dreadful things. Hetty's heart is not broken. Of course, she cried and all that. But there is no disgrace upon her. She can live, like Perdita, in her garden of mint and marigold."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What is implied by “Suddenly I determined to leave her as flowerlike as I had found her”?

Possible Answers:

That Dorian liked Hetty’s perfume

That Dorian refrained from sleeping with Hetty

None of these

That Lord Henry (‘Harry’) is afraid of tulips

Correct answer:

That Dorian refrained from sleeping with Hetty

Explanation:

The correct answer is “That Dorian refrained from sleeping with Hetty.” This is a relatively difficult question that draws on your ability to piece together a passing inference drawn from the main idea of the paragraph. The first, most obvious clue, is that Dorian “spared” Hetty. To spare someone means to “forbear from harming.” Moreover, Dorian leaves another clue by saying he was “determined to leave her as flowerlike as [he] had found her.” Flowers, of one type or another, have long been a symbol of purity and virginity for females. Finally, the paragraph about Hetty leads to the conclusion that Dorian, in a manner unlike him, decided to refrain from indulging (main idea). The passing inference is that Dorian refrained from indulging by sleeping with Hetty.

Example Question #5 : Inferences About Characters

Dorian said nothing, but rose from the table, and passing into the next room, sat down to the piano and let his fingers stray across the white and black ivory of the keys. After the coffee had been brought in, he stopped, and looking over at Lord Henry, said, "Harry, did it ever occur to you that Basil was murdered?"

Lord Henry yawned. "Basil was very popular, and always wore a Waterbury watch. Why should he have been murdered? He was not clever enough to have enemies. Of course, he had a wonderful genius for painting. But a man can paint like Velasquez and yet be as dull as possible. Basil was really rather dull. He only interested me once, and that was when he told me, years ago, that he had a wild adoration for you and that you were the dominant motive of his art."

"I was very fond of Basil," said Dorian with a note of sadness in his voice. "But don't people say that he was murdered?"

"Oh, some of the papers do. It does not seem to me to be at all probable. I know there are dreadful places in Paris, but Basil was not the sort of man to have gone to them. He had no curiosity. It was his chief defect."

"What would you say, Harry, if I told you that I had murdered Basil?" said the younger man. He watched him intently after he had spoken.

"I would say, my dear fellow, that you were posing for a character that doesn't suit you. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. It is not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder. I am sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure you it is true. Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them in the smallest degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations."

"A method of procuring sensations? Do you think, then, that a man who has once committed a murder could possibly do the same crime again? Don't tell me that."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What does Harry mean by “a man can paint like Velasquez”?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Someone can be an immensely talented painter

Someone can be terrible at painting

Someone can be an indifferent painter

Correct answer:

Someone can be an immensely talented painter

Explanation:

The correct answer is “someone can be an immensely talented painter.” This answer should have been relatively obvious given the structure of the sentence—the contrast in between “a man can paint like Velasquez and yet be as dull as possible” quite clearly implies a vast difference between the two. Indeed, Velasquez was the most prominent artist in King Philip IV’s court, and an incredibly important painter during the Spanish Golden Age. Thus, the answer “someone can be an immensely talented painter” makes the most sense.

Example Question #6 : Inferences About Characters

Dorian said nothing, but rose from the table, and passing into the next room, sat down to the piano and let his fingers stray across the white and black ivory of the keys. After the coffee had been brought in, he stopped, and looking over at Lord Henry, said, "Harry, did it ever occur to you that Basil was murdered?"

Lord Henry yawned. "Basil was very popular, and always wore a Waterbury watch. Why should he have been murdered? He was not clever enough to have enemies. Of course, he had a wonderful genius for painting. But a man can paint like Velasquez and yet be as dull as possible. Basil was really rather dull. He only interested me once, and that was when he told me, years ago, that he had a wild adoration for you and that you were the dominant motive of his art."

"I was very fond of Basil," said Dorian with a note of sadness in his voice. "But don't people say that he was murdered?"

"Oh, some of the papers do. It does not seem to me to be at all probable. I know there are dreadful places in Paris, but Basil was not the sort of man to have gone to them. He had no curiosity. It was his chief defect."

"What would you say, Harry, if I told you that I had murdered Basil?" said the younger man. He watched him intently after he had spoken.

"I would say, my dear fellow, that you were posing for a character that doesn't suit you. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. It is not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder. I am sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure you it is true. Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them in the smallest degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations."

"A method of procuring sensations? Do you think, then, that a man who has once committed a murder could possibly do the same crime again? Don't tell me that."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What does “you were posing for a character that doesn’t suit you” mean?

Possible Answers:

Lord Henry does not like the painting of Dorian

None of these

Dorian is wearing an unflattering outfit

Lord Henry does not think that Dorian is capable of murder

Correct answer:

Lord Henry does not think that Dorian is capable of murder

Explanation:

“Lord Henry does not think that Dorian is capable of murder” is the correct answer. This should have been a simple question, as the remainder of the same paragraph goes on to state: “it is not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder.” Indeed, one of the major ideas of the passage is Lord Henry’s absolute refusal to even consider the possibility of Dorian committing a murder—even when Dorian basically tells Lord Henry.

Example Question #7 : Inferences About Characters

Dorian said nothing, but rose from the table, and passing into the next room, sat down to the piano and let his fingers stray across the white and black ivory of the keys. After the coffee had been brought in, he stopped, and looking over at Lord Henry, said, "Harry, did it ever occur to you that Basil was murdered?"

Lord Henry yawned. "Basil was very popular, and always wore a Waterbury watch. Why should he have been murdered? He was not clever enough to have enemies. Of course, he had a wonderful genius for painting. But a man can paint like Velasquez and yet be as dull as possible. Basil was really rather dull. He only interested me once, and that was when he told me, years ago, that he had a wild adoration for you and that you were the dominant motive of his art."

"I was very fond of Basil," said Dorian with a note of sadness in his voice. "But don't people say that he was murdered?"

"Oh, some of the papers do. It does not seem to me to be at all probable. I know there are dreadful places in Paris, but Basil was not the sort of man to have gone to them. He had no curiosity. It was his chief defect."

"What would you say, Harry, if I told you that I had murdered Basil?" said the younger man. He watched him intently after he had spoken.

"I would say, my dear fellow, that you were posing for a character that doesn't suit you. All crime is vulgar, just as all vulgarity is crime. It is not in you, Dorian, to commit a murder. I am sorry if I hurt your vanity by saying so, but I assure you it is true. Crime belongs exclusively to the lower orders. I don't blame them in the smallest degree. I should fancy that crime was to them what art is to us, simply a method of procuring extraordinary sensations."

"A method of procuring sensations? Do you think, then, that a man who has once committed a murder could possibly do the same crime again? Don't tell me that."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

According to Lord Henry, what was Basil Hallward’s greatest flaw?

Possible Answers:

That he was low class

That he was too fond of Dorian

That he was a mediocre painter

That he had no curiosity

Correct answer:

That he had no curiosity

Explanation:

“That he had no curiosity” is the correct answer. This should have been a relatively simple question, given the passage as a whole. Indeed, Lord Henry explicitly says that Hallward’s “chief defect” (which is another way of saying “greatest flaw”) was that “he had no curiosity.” Lord Henry is an interesting character, and his cognitive dissonance plays out in this passage: he claims that murder is “vulgar” and below people like him and Dorian, but mocks Hallward for not having enough “curiosity” to ever visit a place where he might be murdered.

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