STAAR EOC Test: Reading : Comparing and Contrasting

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for STAAR EOC Test: Reading

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All STAAR EOC Test: Reading Resources

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Comparing And Contrasting

Adapted from “Solitary Death, make me thine own” in Underneath the Bough: A Book of Verses by Michael Field (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) (1893)

Solitary Death, make me thine own,

And let us wander the bare fields together;

          Yea, thou and I alone

Roving in unembittered unison forever.

 

I will not harry thy treasure-graves,

I do not ask thy still hands a lover;

            My heart within me craves

To travel till we twain Time’s wilderness discover.

 

To sojourn with thee my soul was bred,

And I, the courtly sights of life refusing,

            To the wide shadows fled,

And mused upon thee often as I fell a-musing.

 

Escaped from chaos, thy mother Night,

In her maiden breast a burthen that awed her,

           By cavern waters white

Drew thee her first-born, her unfathered off-spring toward her.

 

On dewey plats, near twilight dingle,

She oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses

           In thine ears a-tingle,

Pours her cool charms, her weird, reviving chaunt rehearses.

 

Though mortals menace thee or elude,

And from thy confines break in swift transgression.

            Thou for thyself art sued

Of me, I claim thy cloudy purlieus my possession.

 

To a long freshwater, where the sea

Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows,

            Come thou, and beckon me

To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows:

 

Then take the life I have called my own

And to the liquid universe deliver;

            Loosening my spirit’s zone,

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the river.

In this passage "Night" is characterized in relation to death as __________________.

Possible Answers:

a paternal figure with a close, reassuring relationship to Death

an innocent maiden who helps Death, unaware of Death’s actions against mortal beings

a maternal figure with a stifling amount of control over Death’s actions

a maternal figure with a close, reassuring relationship to Death

a marginalized, obsolete being

Correct answer:

a maternal figure with a close, reassuring relationship to Death

Explanation:

“Night” is directly related to "Death," she is Death’s “mother!” She is figured as having given birth to death “unfathered,” and as having maintained a close, supportive maternal relationship with Death (“she oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses . . . pours her cool charms”).

Her relationship to Death is helpful as opposed to stifling or controlling. She is spoken of as protective and relevant to Death, not obsolete. And while she is referred to as a “maiden” Night is also explicitly figured as aware of the consequences of Death’s actions (“men’s sobs and curses”).

Example Question #6 : Analysis Of Literary Text

Adapted from “Solitary Death, make me thine own” in Underneath the Bough: A Book of Verses by Michael Field (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) (1893)

Solitary Death, make me thine own,

And let us wander the bare fields together;

          Yea, thou and I alone

Roving in unembittered unison forever.

 

I will not harry thy treasure-graves,

I do not ask thy still hands a lover;

            My heart within me craves

To travel till we twain Time’s wilderness discover.

 

To sojourn with thee my soul was bred,

And I, the courtly sights of life refusing,

            To the wide shadows fled,

And mused upon thee often as I fell a-musing.

 

Escaped from chaos, thy mother Night,

In her maiden breast a burthen that awed her,

           By cavern waters white

Drew thee her first-born, her unfathered off-spring toward her.

 

On dewey plats, near twilight dingle,

She oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses

           In thine ears a-tingle,

Pours her cool charms, her weird, reviving chaunt rehearses.

 

Though mortals menace thee or elude,

And from thy confines break in swift transgression.

            Thou for thyself art sued

Of me, I claim thy cloudy purlieus my possession.

 

To a long freshwater, where the sea

Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows,

            Come thou, and beckon me

To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows:

 

Then take the life I have called my own

And to the liquid universe deliver;

            Loosening my spirit’s zone,

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the river.

Which of the following is a relevant contrast at work in the poem?

Possible Answers:

Corporeal reality and abstract concepts

Light and dark

Good and evil

Nature and science

Corporeal reality and religious teachings

Correct answer:

Corporeal reality and abstract concepts

Explanation:

The contrast of corporeal reality and an abstract view of the universe is important contrast throughout this poem. The physical realm is attended to with imagery and personification of abstract concepts (Night and Death, also the last stanza ties the personification of Death to the physicality of “the wind, the light, the river”), and with attention to the physical realities of death (“men’s sobs and curses”).

Moral judgments like “good and evil” are not at play in the work, nor is the question of nature and science. While darkness is a theme, and light appears at the end of the poem, they are not directly contrasted. While one might expect a poem about death to have religious overtones, there are no overt religious overtones present in this poem.

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