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Question of the Day: AP English Literature

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 author's tone in the passage is _________.

condescending toward other characters besides the narrator

facetious throughout

lighthearted

derisive in its portrayal of the institution of marriage during the author's time period 

solemn throughout

The study of English Literature can be a time-consuming task, simply because in order to truly grasp the concepts of it, you sometimes have to read lengthy passages. Because of this, it can be difficult to find resources that are truly effective when it comes to the study of English literature. However, one study tool that you may find to be helpful is the AP English Literature Question of the Day, one of Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools. Through the practice you get using the Question of the Day, plus the information and tools it provides, you can work to improve your English literature skills on a daily basis. Whether you need English tutoring in TampaEnglish tutoring in Denver, or English tutoring in Seattle, working one-on-one with an expert may be just the boost your studies need.

The AP English Literature Question of the Day allows you to study one concept each day. The Question of the Day provides a passage to read, along with a multiple-choice AP English Literature sample question that pertains to the passage. The questions vary in difficulty, so on any given day, you may receive a question that will test you at a different level. The question will typically relate to a passage from a written work. The types of material that is covered by the Question of the Day will be similar to those that are on the actual AP English Literature test. This may allow you to become more comfortable with the style, content, and type of questions that will be asked. Varsity Tutors offers resources like free AP English Literature Practice Tests to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an AP English Literature tutor.

Once you have answered the Question of the Day, you will see a number of statistics that will evaluate your performance and compare your answer to that of other students studying for the AP English Literature exam. One such statistic is the amount of time it took you to answer your question as opposed to how long it took other test-takers. By knowing how your speed compares to that of others, you may be able to learn to manage your time more efficiently. Another statistic you may find valuable is the percentage of users who answered the question correctly. By knowing specific information about how many others are answering a question correctly, you can help to prepare yourself better by knowing what you need to work on. Finally, the AP English Literature sample questions’ answers also provide explanations and links to relevant concepts. This provides you with insight into the answer, and allows you to further improve your skills by giving additional review opportunities. In addition to the AP English Literature Question of the Day and AP English Literature tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our AP English Literature Flashcards.

When it comes to AP English Literature, your success will rely on being able to fully grasp the intricacies of the English language. You will also have to have an understanding of what the authors of great works of literature were trying to convey in their writing. With the help of Varsity Tutors’ Learning Tools, like the Question of the Day, you will get a daily reminder of what you need to know in order to succeed on your upcoming exam. The Question of the Day is a perfect way to work some AP English Literature review into every day.

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