GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of American Poetry Before 1925

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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

Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Identification Of American Poetry

Let us go then, you and I,
When the evening is spread out against the sky
Like a patient etherized upon a table;
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets,
The muttering retreats
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells:
Streets that follow like a tedious argument
Of insidious intent
To lead you to an overwhelming question ...
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?”

This author of this poem also wrote __________.

Possible Answers:

Hugh Selwyn Mauberley

"The Red Wheelbarrow"

"Sunday Morning"

Dream of Fair to Middling Women

"Tradition and the Individual Talent"

Correct answer:

"Tradition and the Individual Talent"

Explanation:

A major modernist poet, T. S. Eliot was also a highly influential critic and essayist. In his essay "Tradition and Individual Talent," Eliot rejected the inspired individualism of romantic poets like William Wordsworth in favor of a view of the poet as one who uses tradition to lift him beyond his personal experience.

Passage adapted from "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" by T. S. Elliot, 1-11 (1915)

Example Question #2 : Identification Of American Poetry

Because I could not stop for Death –

He kindly stopped for me – 

The Carriage held but just Ourselves – 

And Immortality.

This stanza opens a famous poem by which American author?

Possible Answers:

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Walt Whitman

Anne Bradstreet

Emily Dickinson

Edgar Allan Poe

Correct answer:

Emily Dickinson

Explanation:

The poem is Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” a lyrical poem in which Dickinson personifies Death as he takes the speaker to her grave.

Example Question #3 : Identification Of American Poetry

The Song of Hiawatha

 

"On the shores of Gitche Gumee,

Of the shining Big-Sea-Water,

Stood Nokomis, the old woman,

Pointing with her finger westward,

O'er the water pointing westward,

To the purple clouds of sunset."

Who wrote the poem from which these lines are taken?

Possible Answers:

Walt Whitman

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stephen Crane

Robert Frost

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Correct answer:

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Explanation:

“The Song of Hiawatha” is one of Longfellow’s best known poems. Published in 1855 and written in trochaic tetrameter, it is an epic that follows the life and adventures of Hiawatha, a Native-American hero.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of American Poetry

In the Desert

 

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter—bitter,” he answered;

 

“But I like it

“Because it is bitter,

“And because it is my heart.”

Which American author wrote this poem?

Possible Answers:

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stephen Crane

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Walt Whitman

Robert Frost

Correct answer:

Stephen Crane

Explanation:

This poem was written by Stephen Crane. It was published in 1895, as part of his poetry collection The Black Riders and Other Lines. Historically, Crane’s poetry has received less attention than his prose, among which is the famous American novel The Red Badge of Courage, but this particular poem is often discussed among scholars and has served as the epigraph to several later works of fiction.

Example Question #5 : Identification Of American Poetry

“So live, that when thy summons comes to join  

The innumerable caravan, which moves  

To that mysterious realm, where each shall take  

His chamber in the silent halls of death,  

Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,  

Scourged to his dungeon, but, sustained and soothed  

By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,  

Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch  

About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams.”

These lines conclude an American poem titled “Thanatopsis.” Who is the author?

Possible Answers:

William Cullen Bryant

Robert Frost

Phillis Wheatley

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Correct answer:

William Cullen Bryant

Explanation:

“Thanatopsis” was published in 1817 by the early American poet, William Cullen Bryant. As its Greek title indicates, the poem is an extended meditation on death (Thantos = "death" in Greek).

Example Question #6 : Identification Of American Poetry

Hear the sledges with the bells,           

          Silver bells!      

What a world of merriment their melody foretells!     

    How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,         

        In the icy air of night!     

    While the stars, that oversprinkle    

    All the heavens, seem to twinkle     

        With a crystalline delight;           

      Keeping time, time, time,   

      In a sort of Runic rhyme,  

To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells           

    From the bells, bells, bells, bells,     

          Bells, bells, bells—       

  From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells.

This stanza is from a poem by which poet?

Possible Answers:

Emily Dickinson

Ralph Waldo Emerson

William Cullen Bryant

Edgar Allan Poe

Robert Frost

Correct answer:

Edgar Allan Poe

Explanation:

This poem is Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Bells.” Known also for his short fiction, much of which has a macabre tone and a preoccupation with human mortality, Poe wrote “The Bells” with the aid of literary devices such as onomatopoeia, metaphor, and diacope. It was published posthumously.

Example Question #7 : Identification Of American Poetry

Concord Hymn

 

"By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

   Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood

   And fired the shot heard round the world.

 

The foe long since in silence slept;

   Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;

And Time the ruined bridge has swept

   Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

 

On this green bank, by this soft stream,

   We set today a votive stone;

That memory may their deed redeem,

   When, like our sires, our sons are gone."

Which poet wrote the above lines?

Possible Answers:

Emily Dickinson

Walt Whitman

Edgar Allan Poe

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Robert Frost

Correct answer:

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Explanation:

Ralph Waldo Emerson may be best known for his critical work, including “Self-Reliance” and various discussions of Transcendentalism, but it is important to recognize his poetry as well. “Concord Hymn,” published in 1836, is one of his best known poems and was sung at the dedication for a monument commemorating the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Concord.

Example Question #8 : Identification Of American Poetry

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it

Because it is bitter,

And because it is my heart.”

Who wrote this poem?

Possible Answers:

Stephen Crane

Ambrose Bierce

Walt Whitman

Paul Laurence Dunbar

Emily Dickinson

Correct answer:

Stephen Crane

Explanation:

This is Stephen Crane’s poem “In the Desert,” taken from his collection of 56 poems titled The Black Riders and Other Lines (1895). The Black Riders and Other Lines was Crane's second book, and was published earlier in the same year as Crane's most famous work, The Red Badge of Courage (1895).

Example Question #21 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it

Because it is bitter,

And because it is my heart.”

During which decade was this poem published?

Possible Answers:

1910s

1820s

1890s

1920s

1900s

Correct answer:

1890s

Explanation:

Even if you weren’t sure when this poem was published, 1895, you could rule out the other choices. Stephen Crane lived a short life, dying in 1900 at the age of 29. All of the five books Crane published in his lifetime were released in the six year period between 1893 and 1899.

The passage is adapted from "In the Desert," which appeared in Stephen Crane's The Black Rider and Other Lines (1895).

Example Question #22 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

In the desert

I saw a creature, naked, bestial,

Who, squatting upon the ground,

Held his heart in his hands,

And ate of it.

I said, “Is it good, friend?”

“It is bitter – bitter,” he answered;

“But I like it

Because it is bitter,

And because it is my heart.”

The same author also wrote which famous war novel?

Possible Answers:

The Red Badge of Courage

The Scarlet Letter

For Whom the Bell Tolls

The Naked and the Dead

All Quiet on the Western Front

Correct answer:

The Red Badge of Courage

Explanation:

Stephen Crane published the novel The Red Badge of Courage in 1895, the same year in which The Black Riders and Other Lines, his only volume of poetry, was published. He was said to prefer The Black Riders and Other Lines to this novel, although the latter was vastly more famous.

The passage is adapted from "In the Desert," which appeared in Stephen Crane's The Black Rider and Other Lines (1895). Erich Maria Remarque's All Quiet on the Western Front (1929), Ernest Hemingway's For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940), Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter (1850), and Norman Mailer's The Naked and the Dead (1958) were all used as alternative options.

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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