GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of American Prose After 1925

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

There was a contention as far as a suit (in which, piety and dignity, religion and estimation, were mingled) which of the religious orders should ring to prayers first in the morning; and it was determined, that they should ring first that rose earliest.  If we understand aright the dignity of this bell, that tolls for our evening prayer, we would be glad to make it ours, by rising early, in that application, that it might be ours as well as his, whose indeed it is.  The bell doth toll for him, that thinks it doth; and though it intermit again, yet from that minute, that that occasion wrought upon him, he is united to God.  Who casts not up his eye to the sun when it rises?  But who takes off his eye from a comet, when that breaks out? who bends not his ear to any bell, which upon any occasion rings?  But who can remove it from that bell, which is passing a piece of himself out of this world?

The larger prose piece from which this passage was taken provided the title for a novel by which of the following authors?

Possible Answers:

William Faulkner

Ernest Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Robert Penn Warren

Henry James

Correct answer:

Ernest Hemingway

Explanation:

The line "Never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee" appears later in this sermon and provided the title for Ernest Hemingway's novel For Whom the Bell Tolls.

Adapted from "Meditation XVII" in Devotions Upon Emergent Occasions, and Severall Steps in My Sicknes by John Donne (1624)

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

The author of Wise Blood and The Violent Bear It Away, this Southern writer was an invalid for much of her life.

Possible Answers:

Eudora Welty

Dorothy Allison

Flannery O’Connor

Zora Neale Hurston

Carson McCullers

Correct answer:

Flannery O’Connor

Explanation:

This is Flannery O’Connor, a Southern Gothic writer who suffered from lupus and is perhaps best known for short stories such as “Good Country People,” “A Good Man Is Hard to Find,” and “Parker’s Back.” Her works are deeply invested in moral and ethical questions and in probing psychological examinations of her often poor, uneducated Southern characters.

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

Which of the following novels is not set during a war?

Possible Answers:

Gravity’s Rainbow

For Whom the Bell Tolls

A Farewell To Arms

As I Lay Dying

Catch-22

Correct answer:

As I Lay Dying

Explanation:

Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 is set during World War II, Thomas Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow is set during the end of World War II, and Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms and For Whom the Bell Tolls are set during World War I and the Spanish Civil War, respectively. Only Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying is set during peacetime. 

Example Question #4 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

Which American writer is famous for a novel depicting the migration and struggles of the Okies during the Dust Bowl?

Possible Answers:

Cormac McCarthy

Jack Kerouac

John Dos Passos

Junot Díaz

John Steinbeck

Correct answer:

John Steinbeck

Explanation:

This is John Steinbeck, and the novel in question is the 1939 Pulitzer Prize- and National Book Award-winning Grapes of Wrath. It is set during the Great Depression and centers on a family of indigent tenant farmers who move from Oklahoma to California.

Example Question #5 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

Which of these writers is known for his dark, brooding western novels and polysyndetic sentence style?

Possible Answers:

John Steinbeck

James Baldwin

Junot Díaz

Vladimir Nabokov

Cormac McCarthy

Correct answer:

Cormac McCarthy

Explanation:

This is Cormac McCarthy, whose novels include All the Pretty Horses, Blood Meridian, The Road, and No Country For Old Men. His work often features apocalyptic settings, largely male casts, and dialogues of untranslated Spanish.

Example Question #6 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

This Dominican novelist won the 2008 Pulitzer for The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao.

Possible Answers:

Roberto Bolaño

Junot Díaz

Sandra Cisneros

Laura Esquivel

Edwidge Danticat

Correct answer:

Junot Díaz

Explanation:

The writer in question is Junot Díaz. His other works include story collections titled Drown and This Is How You Lose Her, and much of his short fiction revolves around Dominican-American immigrants.

Example Question #7 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

A classic American novel by this author depicts the glittering, empty lives of flappers and their ilk in the Hamptons of the early twentieth century.

Possible Answers:

D.H. Lawrence

Robert Penn Warren

John Dos Passos

Ernest Hemingway

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Correct answer:

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Explanation:

This is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s famous novel The Great Gatsby, published in 1925.

Example Question #8 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

Which of the following authors is not a Southern Gothic writer?

Possible Answers:

Carson McCullers

Ernest Hemingway

William Faulkner

Flannery O’Connor

Walker Percy

Correct answer:

Ernest Hemingway

Explanation:

Hemingway was an expatriate who wrote terse, emotionally complex novels set mainly in Europe. He is not an exemplar of the Southern Gothic style, which is known for its setting of the American South and its use of macabre and grotesque events (often to provide social commentary).

Example Question #9 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

This author set many of his novels in the fictional Mississippi county of Yoknapatawpha. Who is he?

Possible Answers:

John Steinbeck

Jack Kerouac

Cormac McCarthy

John Dos Passos

William Faulkner

Correct answer:

William Faulkner

Explanation:

This is William Faulkner. Yoknapatawpha comes from a Cherokee phrase and is based on real places in Mississippi, and many of his novels—such as Absalom! Absalom!, Light in August, As I Lay Dying, and The Sound and the Fury—are set here.

Example Question #10 : Contexts Of American Prose After 1925

This 1958 novel features a storyline about an adult man who becomes obsessed with and begins a sexual relationship with a preteen girl.

Possible Answers:

All the King’s Men

Of Mice and Men

White Noise

Rabbit, Run

Lolita

Correct answer:

Lolita

Explanation:

This is Vladimir Nabokov’s highly controversial Lolita. Although the book was largely regarded as pornographic and received little critical acclaim when it was first published, it has since become one of the most highly regarded novels of the twentieth century.

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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