SAT II Literature : Other Content Analysis Questions: Poetry

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SAT II Literature

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1 3 4

Example Question #1 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Within his or her poetry, the speaker claims that his or her beloved will remain __________.

Possible Answers:

fair

alive

alive and fair

enlivened by the returning summer

alive, yet faded

Correct answer:

alive and fair

Explanation:

Within his or her poetry, the speaker claims that his or her beloved will remain alive and fair.

"But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,"

Example Question #2 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Poetry

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1          How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
2          I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
3          My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
4          For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
5          I love thee to the level of everyday's
6          Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
7          I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
8          I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
9          I love thee with the passion put to use
10        In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
11        I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
12        With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
13        Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
14        I shall but love thee better after death.

What does the speaker indicate is more powerful than his or her love?

Possible Answers:

tears

lost saints

childhood's faith

God

old griefs

Correct answer:

God

Explanation:

According to lines 13 and 14, "and, if God choose, / I shall but love thee better after death," only God is more powerful than the speaker's love.

Example Question #2 : Content

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1          How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
2          I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
3          My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
4          For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
5          I love thee to the level of everyday's
6          Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
7          I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
8          I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
9          I love thee with the passion put to use
10        In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
11        I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
12        With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
13        Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
14        I shall but love thee better after death.

The speaker compares loving "purely" (line 8) to                      .

Possible Answers:

arrogance

innocence

self-aggrandizement

humility

chastity

Correct answer:

humility

Explanation:

The speaker compares loving "purely" to humility, as the speaker loves like men who "turn from Praise" (line 8).

Example Question #3 : Content

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1          How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
2          I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
3          My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
4          For the ends of Being and ideal Grace.
5          I love thee to the level of everyday's
6          Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
7          I love thee freely, as men strive for Right;
8          I love thee purely, as they turn from Praise.
9          I love thee with the passion put to use
10        In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
11        I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
12        With my lost saints – I love thee with the breath,
13        Smiles, tears, of all my life! – and, if God choose,
14        I shall but love thee better after death.

Were this poem to have a topic sentence, it would very probably be which line?

Possible Answers:

"I love thee with the breath,/Smiles, tears, of all my life!" (lines 12-13)

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." (line 1)

"I love thee with the passion put to use/In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith." (lines 9-10)

"I love thee with a love I seemed to lose" (line 11)

"I shall but love thee better after death." (line 14)

Correct answer:

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." (line 1)

Explanation:

Were this poem to have a topic sentence, it would be "How do I love thee? Let me count the ways." (line 1). Line 1 clearly states the speaker's intent to count the ways that he or she loves.

Example Question #4 : Content

Batter my heart (Holy Sonnet 14)

1          Batter my heart, three-person'd God; for you
2          As yet but knock, breathe, shine, and seek to mend;
3          That I may rise, and stand, o'erthrow me, and bend
4          Your force, to break, blow, burn, and make me new.
5          I, like an usurp'd town, to another due,
6          Labour to admit you, but O, to no end.
7          Reason, your viceroy in me, me should defend,
8          But is captived, and proves weak or untrue.
9          Yet dearly I love you, and would be loved fain,
10        But am betroth'd unto your enemy;
11        Divorce me, untie, or break that knot again,
12        Take me to you, imprison me, for I,
13        Except you enthrall me, never shall be free,
14        Nor ever chaste, except you ravish me.

The metaphysical conceit of the "usurp'd town" (line 5) turns at line 9 to                    .

Possible Answers:

the metaphor of an already engaged lover

the metaphor of the knot

the metaphor of an imprisoned criminal

the metaphor of the chaste lover

the metaphor of the "three-person'd God" (line 1)

Correct answer:

the metaphor of an already engaged lover

Explanation:

The metaphysical conceit of the "usurp'd town" (line 5) turns at line 9 to the metaphor of an already engaged lover "betroth'd unto your enemy" (line 10). A metaphysical conceit is simply an extended metaphor with rather complex logic.  

Example Question #5 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry

A Late Walk

1          When I go up through the mowing field,
2          The headless aftermath,
3          Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
4          Half closes the garden path.

5          And when I come to the garden ground,
6          The whir of sober birds
7          Up from the tangle of withered weeds
8          Is sadder than any words

9          A tree beside the wall stands bare,
10        But a leaf that lingered brown,
11        Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
12        Comes softly rattling down.

13        I end not far from my going forth
14        By picking the faded blue
15        Of the last remaining aster flower
16        To carry again to you.

What does the speaker believe caused the "leaf that lingered brown" (line 10) to come "softly rattling down" (line 12)?

Possible Answers:

His thoughts

A squirrel

The leaf's own wishes

The wind

The shivering tree

Correct answer:

His thoughts

Explanation:

In line 11, the speaker expresses the belief that it fell as a result of his thoughts: "Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought."

Example Question #5 : Content

1   Go, wiser thou! and in thy scale of sense

2   Weigh thy Opinion against Providence;

3   Call Imperfection what thou fancy'st such,

4   Say, here he gives too little, there too much;

5   Destroy all creatures for thy sport or gust,

6   Yet cry, If Man's unhappy, God's unjust;

7   If Man alone engross not Heav'n's high care,

8   Alone made perfect here, immortal there:

9   Snatch from his hand the balance and the rod,

10 Re-judge his justice, be the GOD of GOD!

11 In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our error lies;

12 All quit their sphere, and rush into the skies.

13 Pride still is aiming at the blest abodes,

14 Men would be Angels, Angels would be Gods.

15 Aspiring to be Gods, if Angels fell,

16 Aspiring to be Angels, Men rebel;

17  And who but wishes to invert the laws

18 Of ORDER, sins against th' Eternal Cause.

                                                       (1734)

According to the speaker, what is man’s greatest sin? 

Possible Answers:

Destruction of God's creatures 

Rebellion 

Attempting to be perfect 

Attempting to be immortal 

Pride

Correct answer:

Pride

Explanation:

Pride is man’s greatest sin because “In Pride, in reasoning Pride, our error lies” (line 11).  Lines 1-8 show man judging and questioning the opinion of “Providence” (line 2). Lines 9-10 show that man tries to "Snatch from His hand the balance and the rod” (line 9) as well as “re-judge His justice, be the God of God.” Line 11 suggests that it is "pride, . . . reasoning pride," that causes man to try and take God’s place, and lines 17-18 claim that whoever tries to do so, “sins against the Eternal Cause.”

(Passage adapted from "An Essay on Man" by Alexander Pope, I.IV.1-18)

Example Question #6 : Content

1    'So careful of the type?' but no.


2    From scarped cliff and quarried stone


   She cries, `A thousand types are gone:


   I care for nothing, all shall go.




 

5   'Thou makest thine appeal to me:


6    I bring to life, I bring to death:


   The spirit does but mean the breath:


8    I know no more.' And he, shall he,




 

9    Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,


10  Such splendid purpose in his eyes,


11  Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,


12  Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,




 

13  Who trusted God was love indeed


14  And love Creation's final law—


15  Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw


16 With ravine, shriek'd against his creed—




 

17 Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,


18  Who battled for the True, the Just,


19 Be blown about the desert dust,


20  Or seal'd within the iron hills?




 

21  No more? A monster then, a dream,


22 A discord. Dragons of the prime,


23  That tare each other in their slime,


24 Were mellow music match'd with him.




 

25  O life as futile, then, as frail!


26  O for thy voice to soothe and bless!


27  What hope of answer, or redress?


28  Behind the veil, behind the veil.

                                         (1849)

The speaker questions if __________ will “be blown about the desert dust/ Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20).

Possible Answers:

himself 

Man

"she" (line 3) 

his friend 

dinosaurs 

Correct answer:

Man

Explanation:

The speaker questions if Man will “be blown about the desert dust / Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20). Lines 19-20 are the end of a complete thought that began with line 9, "Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,". The poet questions whether Man, who does all the actions listed in lines 11-14 and lines 17-18, will be “be blown about the desert dust / Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20) because Nature "red in tooth and claw / With ravine, shriek'd against his creed" (lines 15-16).

(Passage adapted from "In Memorium A. H. H." by Alfred Lord Tennyson, LVI.1-28)

Example Question #2 : Other Content Analysis Questions: Poetry

Glory be to God for dappled things –
   For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
      For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
   Landscape plotted and pieced – fold, fallow, and plough;
      And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim.
 
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
   Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how?)
      With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change:
                                Praise him.

What does God "father" in line 10? 

Possible Answers:

Dappled things 

None of the other answers 

Nature 

Change 

All trades 

Correct answer:

Change 

Explanation:

God fathers change. In lines 7-5, the speaker is saying that "whatever is fickle" (line 8) "He fathers" (line 10). If something is "fickle," it is changing constantly. "All things counter, original, spare, strange" also supports the fact that the speaker believes God fathers change. In line 10, the speaker further states that God fathers change because God's "beauty is past change." 

(Passage adapted from "Pied Beauty" by Gerard Manley Hopkins) 

Example Question #8 : Content

What dire offence from amorous causes springs,

What mighty contests rise from trivial things,

I sing — This verse to Caryl, Muse! is due:

This, even Belinda may vouchsafe to view:

Slight is the subject, but not so the praise,

If She inspire, and He approve my lays.

 

… Sol thro’ white curtains shot a tim’rous ray,        

And oped those eyes that must eclipse the day.       

Now lapdogs give themselves the rousing shake,      

And sleepless lovers just at twelve awake:   

Thrice rung the bell, the slipper knock’d the ground,

And the press’d watch return’d a silver sound.        

Belinda still her downy pillow prest,

Her guardian Sylph prolong’d the balmy rest.

What is Belinda doing at the end of the second stanza?

Possible Answers:

Just waking up

Ringing someone’s doorbell

Acting as the object of someone else’s love

Still sleeping

Pining over an unrequited love

Correct answer:

Still sleeping

Explanation:

The last two lines clarify that, while everyone else is finally awaking, Belinda is still asleep: “Belinda still her downy pillow prest, / Her guardian Sylph prolong’d the balmy rest.” A sylph is  a sprite and, in this case, a being who guards Belinda’s sleep.

Passage adapted from The Rape of the Lock by Alexander Pope (1712)

← Previous 1 3 4
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

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