AP English Literature : Relationship Between Words

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP English Literature

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Example Questions

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Example Question #71 : Interpreting Words And Excerpts

Adapted from "The Mouse’s Petition" in Poems by Anna Letitia Barbauld (1773)


Found in the trap where he had been confined all night by Dr. Priestley, for the sake of making experiments with different kinds of air

“To spare the humbled, and to tame in war the proud.” - Virgil

 

OH! hear a pensive captive's prayer,
For liberty that sighs;
And never let thine heart be shut
Against the prisoner's cries.

For here forlorn and sad I sit,

Within the wiry grate;
And tremble at th' approaching morn,

Which brings impending fate.

If e'er thy breast with freedom glow'd,
And spurn'd a tyrant's chain,
Let not thy strong oppressive force
A free-born mouse detain.

Oh! do not stain with guiltless blood
Thy hospitable hearth;
Nor triumph that thy wiles betray'd
A prize so little worth.

The scatter'd gleanings of a feast
My scanty meals supply;
But if thine unrelenting heart
That slender boon deny,

The cheerful light, the vital air,
Are blessings widely given;
Let nature's commoners enjoy
The common gifts of heaven.

The well-taught philosophic mind
To all compassion gives;
Casts round the world an equal eye,
And feels for all that lives.

If mind, as ancient sages taught,
A never dying flame,
Still shifts thro' matter's varying forms,
In every form the same,

Beware, lest in the worm you crush
A brother's soul you find;
And tremble lest thy luckless hand
Dislodge a kindred mind.

Or, if this transient gleam of day
Be all of life we share,
Let pity plead within thy breast,
That little all to spare.

So may thy hospitable board
With health and peace be crown'd;
And every charm of heartfelt ease
Beneath thy roof be found.

So when unseen destruction lurks,
Which men like mice may share,
May some kind angel clear thy path,
And break the hidden snare.

In the bolded and underlined excerpt, the pairing of "little" with "all" is used to do what? (Note that the italics are included in the original text.)

Possible Answers:

To create irony and to illustrate the necessity of releasing all animals from human captivity

To create irony and to illustrate the foolishness of extending ethical consideration to non-human creatures

To create irony and to illustrate the foolishness of dismissing any aspect of mortal existence

To illustrate the relative unimportance of any individual perceiving consciousness in a complex, constantly varying universe

To illustrate the relative unimportance of human comfort in the face of global environmental concerns

Correct answer:

To create irony and to illustrate the foolishness of dismissing any aspect of mortal existence

Explanation:

The pairing of "little" with "all" in this context is used to create irony, and to illustrate the foolishness of dismissing any aspect of mortal existence. The "little all" that is being referred to here is personal freedom, in addition to literal access to open space and sunlight, which is hardly a "little" thing. The pairing of "little" and "allL here ironizes and shows the failings of ethical systems which apply varying levels of ethical consideration to conscious beings for arbitrary reasons.

Global environmental concerns are not at issue in this poem. The poem is actually arguing for the importance of all individual perceiving consciousness in a complex, constantly varying universe. While it stands to reason that the speaker would advocate for the release of all animals from captivity, in this context that issue is not specifically at play, and the larger issue of ethical reasoning is more specifically being treated.

Example Question #71 : Ap English Literature And Composition

The following is an excerpt from A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce (1916)

The swift December dusk had come tumbling clownishly after its dull day and, as he stared through the dull square of the window of the schoolroom, he felt his belly crave for its food. He hoped there would be stew for dinner, turnips and carrots and bruised potatoes and fat mutton pieces to be ladled out in thick peppered flour-fattened sauce. Stuff it into you, his belly counseled him.

It would be a gloomy secret night. After early nightfall the yellow lamps would light up, here and there, the squalid quarter of the brothels. He would follow a devious course up and down the streets, circling always nearer and nearer in a tremor of fear and joy, until his feet led him suddenly round a dark corner. The whores would be just coming out of their houses making ready for the night, yawning lazily after their sleep and settling the hairpins in their clusters of hair. He would pass by them calmly waiting for a sudden movement of his own will or a sudden call to his sin-loving soul from their soft perfumed flesh. Yet as he prowled in quest of that call, his senses, stultified only by his desire, would note keenly all that wounded or shamed them; his eyes, a ring of porter froth on a clothless table or a photograph of two soldiers standing to attention or a gaudy playbill; his ears, the drawling jargon of greeting . . .

The underlined word "stultified" most nearly means which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Sustained 

Rivaled 

Fortified 

Increased

Hampered

Correct answer:

Hampered

Explanation:

The correct answer is "hampered." To "stultify" means to cause to lose fervor for a cause or goal. The author wishes to convey that the character's senses, which are otherwise keen, are affected by his lust.

Example Question #71 : Interpreting Words

Adapted from "The Windhover" in Poems by Gerard Manley Hopkins (1918)

I caught this morning morning’s minion, king-
dom of daylight’s dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding
  Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding
High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing
In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,
  As a skate’s heel sweeps smooth on a bow-bend: the hurl and gliding
  Rebuffed the big wind. My heart in hiding
Stirred for a bird,—the achieve of; the mastery of the thing!

Brute beauty and valor and act, oh, air, pride, plume, here
  Buckle! AND the fire that breaks from thee then, a billion
Times told lovelier, more dangerous, O my chevalier!

  No wonder of it: shéer plód makes plough down sillion
Shine, and blue-bleak embers, ah my dear,
  Fall, gall themselves, and gash gold-vermillion.

The "Dauphin" in line 2 represents which of the following in the rest of the poem?

Possible Answers:

"wimpling wing"

"skate's heel"

"Brute Beauty"

"my chevalier"

"My heart"

Correct answer:

"my chevalier"

Explanation:

The dauphin is the heir of the kingdom of daylight (i.e. the falcon). Just as the falcon is the heir of the morning, Hopkins sees the falcon representative of his Chevalier (a feudal lord)—in this case, a religious metaphor—who he sees as heir of the world.

Example Question #11 : Relationship Between Words

Adapted from Lorna Doone: A Romance of Exmoor by Richard Doddridge Blackmore (1869)  

Hitherto none had worsted me, although in the three years of my schooling, I had fought more than threescore battles, and bedewed with blood every plant of grass towards the middle of the Ironing-box. And this success I owed at first to no skill of my own; until I came to know better; for up to twenty or thirty fights, I struck as nature guided me, no wiser than a father-long-legs in the heat of a lanthorn; but I had conquered, partly through my native strength, and the Exmoor toughness in me, and still more that I could not see when I had gotten my bellyful. But now I was like to have that and more; for my heart was down, to begin with; and then Robert Snell was a bigger boy than I had ever encountered, and as thick in the skull and hard in the brain as even I could claim to be.

. . .

I marvel how Robin Snell felt. Very likely he thought nothing of it, always having been a boy of a hectoring and unruly sort. But I felt my heart go up and down as the boys came round to strip me; and greatly fearing to be beaten, I blew hot upon my knuckles. Then pulled I off my little cut jerkin, and laid it down on my head cap, and over that my waistcoat, and a boy was proud to take care of them. Thomas Hooper was his name, and I remember how he looked at me. My mother had made that little cut jerkin, in the quiet winter evenings. And taken pride to loop it up in a fashionable way, and I was loth to soil it with blood, and good filberds were in the pocket. Then up to me came Robin Snell (mayor of Exeter thrice since that), and he stood very square, and looking at me, and I lacked not long to look at him. Round his waist he had a kerchief busking up his small-clothes, and on his feet light pumpkin shoes, and all his upper raiment off. And he danced about in a way that made my head swim on my shoulders, and he stood some inches over me. But I, being muddled with much doubt about John Fry and his errand, was only stripped of my jerkin and waistcoat, and not comfortable to begin.

When the author writes “I marvel how Robin Snell felt,” he most nearly means __________.

Possible Answers:

he is afraid of how Robin Snell felt

he is shocked by how Robin Snell felt 

he is in awe of how Robin Snell felt

he understands how Robin Snell felt

he is curious about how Robin Snell felt

Correct answer:

he is curious about how Robin Snell felt

Explanation:

The correct answer is “he is curious about how Robin Snell felt.” To "marvel" can mean to be in wonder or awe of something, or to be curious about something. In this context, the author wishes to convey that he is curious about how Robin Snell felt about the impending match, specifically whether he was also frightened to fight.

Example Question #72 : Ap English Literature And Composition

Adapted from The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1766)

The temporal concerns of our family were chiefly committed to my wife's management; as to the spiritual, I took them entirely under my own direction. The profits of my living, which amounted to but thirty-five pounds a year, I made over to the orphans and widows of the clergy of our diocese; for having a sufficient fortune of my own, I was careless of temporalities, and felt a secret pleasure in doing my duty without reward. I also set a resolution of keeping no curate, and of being acquainted with every man in the parish, exhorting the married men to temperance and the bachelors to matrimony, so that in a few years it was a common saying, that there were three strange wants at Wakefield, a parson wanting pride, young men wanting wives, and ale-houses wanting customers. Matrimony was always one of my favorite topics, and I wrote several sermons to prove its happiness; but there was a peculiar tenet that I made a point of supporting; for I maintained with Whiston, that it was unlawful for a priest of the church of England, after the death of his first wife, to take a second, or to express it in one word, I valued myself upon being a strict monogamist. I was early initiated into this important dispute, on which so many laborious volumes have been written. I published some tracts upon the subject myself, which, as they never sold, I have the consolation of thinking are read only by the happy Few. Some of my friends called this my weak side; but alas! they had not like me made it the subject of long contemplation. The more I reflected upon it, the more important it appeared. I even went a step beyond Whiston in displaying my principles: as he had engraved upon his wife's tomb that she was the only wife of William Whiston; so I wrote a similar epitaph for my wife, though still living, in which I extolled her prudence, economy, and obedience till death; and having got it copied fair, with an elegant frame, it was placed over the chimney-piece, where it answered several very useful purposes. It admonished my wife of her duty to me, and my fidelity to her; it inspired her with a passion for fame, and constantly put her in mind of her end.

It was thus, perhaps, from hearing marriage so often recommended, that my eldest son, just upon leaving college, fixed his affections upon the daughter of a neighboring clergyman, who was a dignitary in the church, and in circumstances to give her a large fortune: but fortune was her smallest accomplishment. Miss Arabella Wilmot was allowed by all, except my two daughters, to be completely pretty. Her youth, health, and innocence, were still heightened by a complexion so transparent, and such an happy sensibility of look, as even age could not gaze on with indifference. As Mr Wilmot knew that I could make a very handsome settlement on my son, he was not averse to the match; so both families lived together in all that harmony which generally precedes an expected alliance. Being convinced by experience that the days of courtship are the most happy of our lives, I was willing enough to lengthen the period; and the various amusements that the young couple every day shared in each other's company, seemed to increase their passion. We were generally awaked in the morning by music, and on fine days rode a hunting. The hours between breakfast and dinner the ladies devoted to dress and study: they usually read a page, and then gazed at themselves in the glass, which even philosophers might own often presented the page of greatest beauty. At dinner my wife took the lead; for as she always insisted upon carving everything herself, it being her mother's way, she gave us upon these occasions the history of every dish. When we had dined, to prevent the ladies leaving us, I generally ordered the table to be removed; and sometimes, with the music master's assistance, the girls would give us a very agreeable concert. Walking out, drinking tea, country dances, and forfeits, shortened the rest of the day, without the assistance of cards, as I hated all manner of gaming, except backgammon, at which my old friend and I sometimes took a two-penny hit. Nor can I here pass over an ominous circumstance that happened the last time we played together: I only wanted to fling a quatre, and yet I threw deuce ace five times running. Some months were elapsed in this manner, till at last it was thought convenient to fix a day for the nuptials of the young couple, who seemed earnestly to desire it.

What is the meaning of the word “temporal” in the first line?

Possible Answers:

Homely

Timely

Worldly

Filial

Familial

Correct answer:

Worldly

Explanation:

While we might think of the world “temporal” as concerning things to do with “time,” it is not in this case synonymous with “timely.” Look at the context: “The temporal concerns of our family were chiefly committed to my wife's management, as to the spiritual I took them entirely under my own direction.” We can see that “temporal” is placed in contrast to “spiritual.” In this case, the “spiritual concerns” are issues of religion, whereas the “temporal concerns” are the “worldly” concerns of the family, such as money and housekeeping. Here it is important not to be fooled into choosing “homely” when thinking of the wife taking care of the management of the home. Likewise, “familial” can be chosen as an incorrect answer, as the “worldly” concerns would have incorporated “familial” concerns but are not governed by them. “Filial” is irrelevant as it means relating to or due from a son or a daughter.

Example Question #71 : Ap English Literature And Composition

Adapted from The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1766)

The temporal concerns of our family were chiefly committed to my wife's management; as to the spiritual, I took them entirely under my own direction. The profits of my living, which amounted to but thirty-five pounds a year, I made over to the orphans and widows of the clergy of our diocese; for having a sufficient fortune of my own, I was careless of temporalities, and felt a secret pleasure in doing my duty without reward. I also set a resolution of keeping no curate, and of being acquainted with every man in the parish, exhorting the married men to temperance and the bachelors to matrimony, so that in a few years it was a common saying, that there were three strange wants at Wakefield, a parson wanting pride, young men wanting wives, and ale-houses wanting customers. Matrimony was always one of my favorite topics, and I wrote several sermons to prove its happiness; but there was a peculiar tenet that I made a point of supporting; for I maintained with Whiston, that it was unlawful for a priest of the church of England, after the death of his first wife, to take a second, or to express it in one word, I valued myself upon being a strict monogamist. I was early initiated into this important dispute, on which so many laborious volumes have been written. I published some tracts upon the subject myself, which, as they never sold, I have the consolation of thinking are read only by the happy Few. Some of my friends called this my weak side; but alas! they had not like me made it the subject of long contemplation. The more I reflected upon it, the more important it appeared. I even went a step beyond Whiston in displaying my principles: as he had engraved upon his wife's tomb that she was the only wife of William Whiston; so I wrote a similar epitaph for my wife, though still living, in which I extolled her prudence, economy, and obedience till death; and having got it copied fair, with an elegant frame, it was placed over the chimney-piece, where it answered several very useful purposes. It admonished my wife of her duty to me, and my fidelity to her; it inspired her with a passion for fame, and constantly put her in mind of her end.

It was thus, perhaps, from hearing marriage so often recommended, that my eldest son, just upon leaving college, fixed his affections upon the daughter of a neighboring clergyman, who was a dignitary in the church, and in circumstances to give her a large fortune: but fortune was her smallest accomplishment. Miss Arabella Wilmot was allowed by all, except my two daughters, to be completely pretty. Her youth, health, and innocence, were still heightened by a complexion so transparent, and such an happy sensibility of look, as even age could not gaze on with indifference. As Mr Wilmot knew that I could make a very handsome settlement on my son, he was not averse to the match; so both families lived together in all that harmony which generally precedes an expected alliance. Being convinced by experience that the days of courtship are the most happy of our lives, I was willing enough to lengthen the period; and the various amusements that the young couple every day shared in each other's company, seemed to increase their passion. We were generally awaked in the morning by music, and on fine days rode a hunting. The hours between breakfast and dinner the ladies devoted to dress and study: they usually read a page, and then gazed at themselves in the glass, which even philosophers might own often presented the page of greatest beauty. At dinner my wife took the lead; for as she always insisted upon carving everything herself, it being her mother's way, she gave us upon these occasions the history of every dish. When we had dined, to prevent the ladies leaving us, I generally ordered the table to be removed; and sometimes, with the music master's assistance, the girls would give us a very agreeable concert. Walking out, drinking tea, country dances, and forfeits, shortened the rest of the day, without the assistance of cards, as I hated all manner of gaming, except backgammon, at which my old friend and I sometimes took a two-penny hit. Nor can I here pass over an ominous circumstance that happened the last time we played together: I only wanted to fling a quatre, and yet I threw deuce ace five times running. Some months were elapsed in this manner, till at last it was thought convenient to fix a day for the nuptials of the young couple, who seemed earnestly to desire it.

The opposite of the underlined word “temperance” as it is used in the first paragarph would be __________.

Possible Answers:

arid

loyalty

distrust

drunkenness

immodesty

Correct answer:

drunkenness

Explanation:

The speaker makes clear what type of "temperance," or abstinence, he intends for married men when he states: “ale-houses wanting customers.” We can see that he is urging the married men to abstain from drinking alcohol. So, the opposite of this type of temperance would be “drunkenness.” We must be careful in this case to avoid “arid,” as it is a near antonym of “temperate,” not “temperance.”

Example Question #1 : Effect Of Specified Text: Prose

Passage adapted from “Reconstruction” by Frederick Douglass (1866)

Without attempting to settle here the metaphysical and somewhat theological question (about which so much has already been said and written), whether once in the Union means always in the Union—agreeably to the formula, “Once in grace always in grace”—it is obvious to common sense that the rebellious States stand today, in point of law, precisely where they stood when, exhausted, beaten, conquered, they fell powerless at the feet of Federal authority. Their State governments were overthrown, and the lives and property of the leaders of the Rebellion were forfeited. In reconstructing the institutions of these shattered and overthrown States, Congress should begin with a clean slate, and make clean work of it.

Let there be no hesitation. It would be a cowardly deference to a defeated and treacherous President, if any account were made of the illegitimate, one-sided, sham governments hurried into existence for a malign purpose in the absence of Congress. These pretended governments, which were never submitted to the people, and from participation in which four millions of the loyal people were excluded by Presidential order, should now be treated according to their true character, as shams and impositions, and supplanted by true and legitimate governments, in the formation of which loyal men, black and white, shall participate.

It is not, however, within the scope of this paper to point out the precise steps to be taken, and the means to be employed. The people are less concerned about these than the grand end to be attained. They demand such a reconstruction as shall put an end to the present anarchical state of things in the late rebellious States—where frightful murders and wholesale massacres are perpetrated in the very presence of Federal soldiers. This horrible business they require shall cease. They want a reconstruction such as will protect loyal men, black and white, in their persons and property; such a one as will cause Northern industry, Northern capital, and Northern civilization to flow into the South, and make a man from New England as much at home in Carolina as elsewhere in the Republic. No Chinese wall can now be tolerated. The South must be opened to the light of law and liberty, and this session of Congress is relied upon to accomplish this important work.

What is the purpose of the expression, "Once in grace always in grace"?

Possible Answers:

To provide some explanation for Douglass's mention of theological matters

To introduce the theme of grace and redemption into the narrative

To express a colloquial way of understanding the problem of reconstruction after the American Civil War

To provide a theory of grace and redemption for the reader

To soften the biases of the reader by appealing to the joyful notion of grace

Correct answer:

To provide some explanation for Douglass's mention of theological matters

Explanation:

At the beginning of the passage, Douglass sets aside the more philosophical and "somewhat theological" problems that might be involved in a detailed discussion of reconstruction after the American Civil War. The expression in question is related to Christian notions of salvation. Thus, he is paralleling the political issue expressed as, "Once in the Union means always in the Union," with this more theological notion, namely, "Once in grace always in grace." Of course, given his stated desires, he does not wish to go into the details of this parallel here.

Example Question #81 : Interpreting Words

1 Suddenly I saw the cold and rook-delighting Heaven

2 That seemed as though ice burned and was but the more ice,

3 And thereupon imagination and heart were driven

4 So wild that every casual thought of that and this

5 Vanished, and left but memories, that should be out of season

6 With the hot blood of youth, of love crossed long ago;

7 And I took all the blame out of all sense and reason,

8 Until I cried and trembled and rocked to and fro,

9 Riddled with light. Ah! when the ghost begins to quicken,

10 Confusion of the death-bed over, is it sent

11 Out naked on the roads, as the books say, and stricken

12 By the injustice of the skies for punishment?

(1916)

"Ice" (line 2) and "this" (line 4) are an example of

Possible Answers:

slant rhyme

free verse

true end rhyme

feminine rhyme

internal rhyme

Correct answer:

slant rhyme

Explanation:

A "slant rhyme" is a pair of words that almost rhyme (have identical ending syllables), but not quite. "Ice" at the end of line 2 and "this" at the end of line 4 are a good example of a slant rhyme. They have the same final consonant sound--the "s" sound. Their vowels, however, while being similar, are not the same. "Ice" has a long "i" sound while "this" has a short "i" sound. Therefore, the words sound very similar, but are not identical. They comprise a slant rhyme, and not a true rhyme.

Passage adapted from William Butler Yeats' "The Cold Heaven" (1916)

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