GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of British Plays 1660–1925

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Literature in English

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Contexts Of British Plays 1660–1925

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

Who is the author of the play from which this passage is adapted?

Possible Answers:

George Bernard Shaw

Noel Coward

Harold Pinter

John Boynton Priestley

Oscar Wilde

Correct answer:

George Bernard Shaw

Explanation:

This is Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw’s Pygmalion.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of British Plays 1660–1925

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

In what decade was this play first performed?

Possible Answers:

1920s

1930s

1910s

1940s

1900s

Correct answer:

1910s

Explanation:

Pygmalion premiered in 1913.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of British Plays 1660–1925

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

Which hit American Broadway musical was based on this play?

Possible Answers:

West Side Story

Porgy and Bess

My Fair Lady 

Show Boat!

The King and I

Correct answer:

My Fair Lady 

Explanation:

My Fair Lady, written in 1956 by Lerner and Loewe, is by far the most famous adaptation of Pygmalion.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #4 : Contexts Of British Plays 1660–1925

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

The title of this play is taken from which ancient Greek work?

Possible Answers:

The Odyssey

The Iliad

The Oresteia

Metamorphoses

Lysistrata

Correct answer:

Metamorphoses

Explanation:

Pygmalion is a character in Ovid’s Metamorphoses—specifically, an artist who falls in love with a beautiful ivory statue he’s sculpted.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #31 : Contexts Of British Plays

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

Who is one of the protagonists of this play?

Possible Answers:

Pygmalion

Lord Henry Wotton

Henry Higgins

Lord Alfred Douglas

Basil Hallward

Correct answer:

Henry Higgins

Explanation:

The two main characters of Pygmalion are the Cockney flower vendor Eliza Doolittle and the phonetics professor Henry Higgins.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #32 : Contexts Of British Plays

THE FLOWER GIRL: There's menners f' yer! Te-oo banches o voylets trod into the mad. [She sits down on the plinth of the column, sorting her flowers, on the lady's right. She is not at all an attractive person. She is perhaps eighteen, perhaps twenty, hardly older. She wears a little sailor hat of black straw that has long been exposed to the dust and soot of London and has seldom if ever been brushed. Her hair needs washing rather badly: its mousy color can hardly be natural. She wears a shoddy black coat that reaches nearly to her knees and is shaped to her waist. She has a brown skirt with a coarse apron. Her boots are much the worse for wear. She is no doubt as clean as she can afford to be; but compared to the ladies she is very dirty. Her features are no worse than theirs; but their condition leaves something to be desired; and she needs the services of a dentist].

THE MOTHER: How do you know that my son's name is Freddy, pray?

THE FLOWER GIRL: Ow, eez ye-ooa san, is e? Wal, fewd dan y' de-ooty bawmz a mather should, eed now bettern to spawl a pore gel's flahrzn than ran awy atbaht pyin. Will ye-oo py me f'them? [Here, with apologies, this desperate attempt to represent her dialect without a phonetic alphabet must be abandoned as unintelligible outside London.]

Which of the following is not a subject of the play?

Possible Answers:

A gentlemen’s wager

Class distinctions

Irish famine

Social deception

Cockney slang

Correct answer:

Irish famine

Explanation:

The play’s premise is as follows: a professor of linguistics (Henry Higgins) and an old friend (Colonel Pickering) make a wager that the professor can take a Cockney street vendor (Eliza Doolittle) and, through intensive guidance and tutelage, transform her into a duchess who can be presented in high society without anyone suspecting. Irish famine is the only subject that does not appear in the play.

(Passage adapted from Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw, I.26-29 (1916))

Example Question #33 : Contexts Of British Plays

CECILY: Uncle Jack would be very much annoyed if he knew you were staying on till next week, at the same hour.

ALGERNON: Oh, I don’t care about Jack.  I don’t care for anybody in the whole world but you.  I love you, Cecily.  You will marry me, won’t you?

CECILY: You silly boy!  Of course.  Why, we have been engaged for the last three months.

ALGERNON: For the last three months?

CECILY: Yes, it will be exactly three months on Thursday.

ALGERNON: But how did we become engaged?

CECILY: Well, ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism.  And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive.  One feels there must be something in him, after all.  I daresay it was foolish of me, but I fell in love with you, Ernest.

Who is the author of this play?

Possible Answers:

Oscar Wilde

George Bernard Shaw

Noel Coward

Harold Pinter

W.B. Yeats

Correct answer:

Oscar Wilde

Explanation:

This is Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest.

(Passage adapted from The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde, II.i (1895))

Example Question #34 : Contexts Of British Plays

CECILY: Uncle Jack would be very much annoyed if he knew you were staying on till next week, at the same hour.

ALGERNON: Oh, I don’t care about Jack.  I don’t care for anybody in the whole world but you.  I love you, Cecily.  You will marry me, won’t you?

CECILY: You silly boy!  Of course.  Why, we have been engaged for the last three months.

ALGERNON: For the last three months?

CECILY: Yes, it will be exactly three months on Thursday.

ALGERNON: But how did we become engaged?

CECILY: Well, ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism.  And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive.  One feels there must be something in him, after all.  I daresay it was foolish of me, but I fell in love with you, Ernest.

During what decade was this play first performed?

Possible Answers:

1910s

1870s

1880s

1900s

1890s

Correct answer:

1890s

Explanation:

The Importance of Being Earnest was first performed in 1895. If you didn’t know this, you could at least rule out a few of the answers; Oscar Wilde died in 1900, and he was still alive to see the premier of his work.

(Passage adapted from The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde, II.i (1895))

Example Question #35 : Contexts Of British Plays

CECILY: Uncle Jack would be very much annoyed if he knew you were staying on till next week, at the same hour.

ALGERNON: Oh, I don’t care about Jack.  I don’t care for anybody in the whole world but you.  I love you, Cecily.  You will marry me, won’t you?

CECILY: You silly boy!  Of course.  Why, we have been engaged for the last three months.

ALGERNON: For the last three months?

CECILY: Yes, it will be exactly three months on Thursday.

ALGERNON: But how did we become engaged?

CECILY: Well, ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism.  And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive.  One feels there must be something in him, after all.  I daresay it was foolish of me, but I fell in love with you, Ernest.

This play satirizes all of the following except __________.

Possible Answers:

Victorian traditions

English immigrants

upper-class norms and behaviors

matrimony

London society

Correct answer:

English immigrants

Explanation:

The play’s clever storyline follows several English characters through light-hearted deceptions, courtship, and farcical situations caused by their own dishonesty. It is an extended examination of triviality as well as a satire of Victorian London and its upper-class marriage customs. The only topic listed that the play does not touch on is immigration.

(Passage adapted from The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde, II.i (1895))

Example Question #10 : Contexts Of British Plays 1660–1925

CECILY: Uncle Jack would be very much annoyed if he knew you were staying on till next week, at the same hour.

ALGERNON: Oh, I don’t care about Jack.  I don’t care for anybody in the whole world but you.  I love you, Cecily.  You will marry me, won’t you?

CECILY: You silly boy!  Of course.  Why, we have been engaged for the last three months.

ALGERNON: For the last three months?

CECILY: Yes, it will be exactly three months on Thursday.

ALGERNON: But how did we become engaged?

CECILY: Well, ever since dear Uncle Jack first confessed to us that he had a younger brother who was very wicked and bad, you of course have formed the chief topic of conversation between myself and Miss Prism.  And of course a man who is much talked about is always very attractive.  One feels there must be something in him, after all.  I daresay it was foolish of me, but I fell in love with you, Ernest.

This author wrote all of the following works except __________.

Possible Answers:

Ravenna

Lady Windermere’s Fan

Salome

Tamburlaine

The Picture of Dorian Gray

Correct answer:

Tamburlaine

Explanation:

Tamburlaine is a 1590 play by the Elizabeth author Christopher Marlowe. The rest of the works are by Oscar Wilde.

(Passage adapted from The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde, II.i (1895))

← Previous 1

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: