GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Identification of British 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 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

Published in 1962, this dystopian novel features a protagonist named Alex, a gang of violently antisocial teenagers, and Nadsat, a fictional slang with Slavic derivations.

Possible Answers:

A Clockwork Orange

1984

Brave New World

Fahrenheit 451

The Handmaid’s Tale

Correct answer:

A Clockwork Orange

Explanation:

The novel is Anthony Burgess’s A Clockwork Orange. The work, which was later adapted into a film by Stanley Kubrick, is set in a futuristic English society with a subculture of violent young gangs. A Clockwork Orange examines, among other issues, drug use, prison conditions, the role of language and music in culture, and psychological brainwashing and aversion therapy. One of the novel’s most salient features is Burgess’s use of the invented slang Nadsat, which includes words such as "horrorshow" (good), "droog" (friend), and "starry" (old).

Example Question #4 : Identification Of British Prose

What famous dystopian novel is a direct allegory for the rise of communism in the Soviet Union?

Possible Answers:

The Handmaid’s Tale

1984

Animal Farm

Fahrenheit 451

Brave New World

Correct answer:

Animal Farm

Explanation:

George Orwell’s Animal Farm, published in 1945, uses pigs, horses, dogs, and other animals on the fictitious Manor Farm to create an elaborate allegory of the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent rise of communism. In the novel, certain animals are meant to directly represent Communist Party leaders; for example, the pig Napoleon represents Joseph Stalin, the pig Snowball represents Leon Trotsky, and the human Mr. Jones represents the assassinated Tsar Nicholas. Although Orwell was a critic of capitalism and a proponent of socialism, he was inspired to condemn Russian communism in the novel because of its tyranny, despotism, and systematic manipulation of language to serve those in power.

Example Question #5 : Identification Of British Prose

What dystopian novel contains such inventions as hormone chewing gum, “feelies,” and children raised in hatcheries?

Possible Answers:

Brave New World

Fahrenheit 451

1984

Animal Farm

Lord of the Flies

Correct answer:

Brave New World

Explanation:

Published in 1932, Brave New World was written by Aldous Huxley. The title was taken from Shakespeare’s The Tempest (V.i.187-190): “Oh, wonder! / How many goodly creatures are there here! / How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world, / That has such people in ’t!” The novel itself is concerned with advancements in reproductive technology and loss of individual identity in a mass-produced culture. In Huxley’s society, population is strictly limited and children are bred to belong to certain castes so as not to disrupt the harmonious consumer culture.

Example Question #6 : Identification Of British Prose

Which Virginia Woolf novel centers around the life of a poet who lives for hundreds of years and shifts gender from male to female?

Possible Answers:

A Room of One’s Own

To the Lighthouse

Orlando: A Biography

Mrs. Dalloway

Jacob’s Room

Correct answer:

Orlando: A Biography

Explanation:

Published in 1928, Orlando: A Biography is Virginia Woolf’s classic examination of feminism, gender roles, and social satire. The best-known characters are Orlando; Princess Sasha; Marmaduke Bonthrop Shelmerdine, Esquire (aka Shel); and the transgender Archduchess Henrietta/Archduke Harry.

Example Question #1 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

This seven-work set of fantasy novels about a mythical land was used to develop an elaborate Christian allegory.

Possible Answers:

The Chronicles of Narnia

The Handmaid’s Tale

The Lord of the Rings

Brighton Rock

The End of the Affair

Correct answer:

The Chronicles of Narnia

Explanation:

The first book Lewis wrote was The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, which was published in 1949. Characters in the series include Aslan, a powerful and benevolent lion meant to represent Jesus Christ; Mr. Tumnus, a faun; the evil White Witch Jadis; Prince Caspian, a hero and adventurer; and the four Pevensie children, Peter, Susan, Lucy, and Edward.

Example Question #2 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

Which dystopian novel was published in 1954 and concerns a group of boys governing themselves on an island?

Possible Answers:

Animal Farm

Fahrenheit 451

Lord of the Flies

1984

Brave New World

Correct answer:

Lord of the Flies

Explanation:

This classic novel was written by William Golding and follows the story of Ralph, Piggy, Jack, Simon, and other boys as they try to survive on a desert island in the wake of a plane crash and nuclear war. The novel examines human nature and morality as well as the contrast between the needs of an individual and the needs of a society.

Example Question #7 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

Brighton Rock was written by which British author?

Possible Answers:

Angela Carter

E.M. Forster

Graham Greene

Virginia Woolf

D. H. Lawrence

Correct answer:

Graham Greene

Explanation:

Brighton Rock is a 1938 novel by Graham Greene, a writer whose work often investigated contemporary moral, religious, and political issues. The novel begins as a traditional thriller set at the seaside resort town of Brighton but soon morphs into an examination of human morality and crime. The main characters in this novel are anti-hero Pinkie Brown, a teenage gangster who is blinded by acid in the story’s denouement; Rose, a naïve girl who is deceived by and marries Pinkie; and Ida Arnold, a kind and determined woman who tracks down Pinkie’s misdeeds.

Example Question #8 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

Written in 1928, this novel about the illicit affair between a lower-class, married gamekeeper and an aristocratic woman was once banned for its obscene language and frank examination of sex. Who is the author?

Possible Answers:

Evelyn Waugh

D. H. Lawrence

Kingsley Amis

William Golding

Thomas Mann

Correct answer:

D. H. Lawrence

Explanation:

The book in question is Lady Chatterly’s Lover, which was written by D. H. Lawrence. In the novel, Lawrence discusses the insufficiencies of a purely intellectual life and the importance of physical relationships. The story follows the eponymous Lady Chatterly who, frustrated by emotional and physical neglect from her paralyzed husband, begins an affair with the self-assured and sometimes brutal Oliver Mellors.

Example Question #3 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

Who is the author of Lucky Jim, a 1954 satire of the British educational system and pseudo-intellectualism?

Possible Answers:

Kingsley Amis

D. H. Lawrence

Evelyn Waugh

Thomas Mann

William Golding

Correct answer:

Kingsley Amis

Explanation:

Kingsley Amis’ Lucky Jim follows the misadventures of Jim Dixon, a professor of medieval literature at an unnamed English university. Jim’s disgust with the academic pretension at his university transforms over the course of the novel from private scorn to uncontrollable public excess, and after giving a disastrously drunken lecture, he is fired. The book is noted as an early example of the “boarding school” or “campus” novel genre.

Example Question #4 : Identification Of British Prose After 1925

This novel about an aristocratic family in 1920s England features characters such as Lord Sebastian, Lady Marchmain, and Charles Ryder. Who is the author?

Possible Answers:

Evelyn Waugh

Thomas Mann

Ezra Pound

Kingsley Amis

Hart Crane

Correct answer:

Evelyn Waugh

Explanation:

The novel described is Evelyn Waugh’s 1945 novel Brideshead Revisited. The story concerns the young Charles Ryder, who is befriended by Sebastian Marchmain (son and heir apparent of the elite Roman Catholic Marchmain family) and who eventually falls in love with Julia Marchmain. The novel examines contemporary issues such as faith and religion, homosexuality, alcoholism, and family ties.

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