GED Language Arts (RLA) : Passage Meaning and Inference

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

Example Question #321 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

The youth kept from intercourse with his companions as much as circumstances would allow him. In the evening he wandered a few paces into the gloom. From this little distance the many fires, with the black forms of men passing to and fro before the crimson rays, made weird and satanic effects.

He lay down in the grass. The blades pressed tenderly against his cheek. The moon had been lighted and was hung in a treetop. The liquid stillness of the night enveloping him made him feel vast pity for himself. There was a caress in the soft winds; and the whole mood of the darkness, he thought, was one of sympathy for himself in his distress.

He wished, without reserve, that he was at home again making the endless rounds from the house to the barn, from the barn to the fields, from the fields to the barn, from the barn to the house. He remembered he had often cursed the brindle cow and her mates, and had sometimes flung milking stools. But, from his present point of view, there was a halo of happiness about each of their heads, and he would have sacrificed all the brass buttons7 on the continent to have been enabled to return to them. He told himself that he was not formed for a soldier. And he mused seriously upon the radical differences between himself and those men who were dodging implike around the fires.

(1895)

As used in the passage, "halo of happiness" refers to ________________.

Possible Answers:

the stars

the youth's companions

angels in heaven

the youth's cows

Correct answer:

the youth's cows

Explanation:

The previous sentence describes the "brindle cow and her mates", and the youth expresses a desire to "sacrifice all the brass buttons on the continent" to return to them.  In context, it is clear that he believes it is the cows who have the "halo of happiness."

Passage adapted from The Red Badge of Courage by Steven Crane (1895)

Example Question #11 : Literary Devices In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Of what stylistic technique is Sentence 1 an example?

Possible Answers:

Interrogative voice

Imperative voice

Past perfect tense

Indirect personification

Declarative norm

Correct answer:

Imperative voice

Explanation:

Sentence 1 is a command to the reader: “Call me Ishmael.” It is not a question (interrogative voice) or a simple descriptive statement (declarative voice); rather, it is the imperative voice.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #11 : Literary Devices In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Sentence 4 contains an example of what literary device?

Possible Answers:

Cliché

Parallelism

Portmanteau

Ad hominem

Telegraphic sentence

Correct answer:

Parallelism

Explanation:

Sentence 4 contains several clauses that all begin with “whenever” and follow the same grammatical statement. This is parallelism, or the use of identical sentence structure for melodic or rhetorical effect. None of the other choices appear in this sentence.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #12 : Literary Devices In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Which sentence contains an example of allusion?

Possible Answers:

Sentence 8

Sentence 7

Sentence 5

Sentence 6

None of these

Correct answer:

Sentence 6

Explanation:

In Sentence 6, the phrase “With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword,” refers to the famous Roman statesman Cato. None of the other passages are references to other works of literature or art, which is the definition of literary allusion.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #11 : Literary Devices In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

In Sentence 9, of what literary device is “belted round by wharves” an example?

Possible Answers:

Onomatopoeia

Anthropomorphism

Epithet

Symbolism

Consonance

Correct answer:

Anthropomorphism

Explanation:

Also known as "personification," "anthropomorphism" is the attribution of human characteristics to non-human or inanimate things. In this case, it’s the idea that an island could be wearing a “belt” of wharves.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #53 : Language In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

What other literary device can be seen in Sentence 9?

Possible Answers:

Simile

Allegory

Metaphor

Litotes

Symbolism

Correct answer:

Simile

Explanation:

Sentence 9 makes a comparison about the island using “as”: “belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs.” Similes are comparisons using “like” or “as” (metaphors are comparisons lacking these two words), and that is the device seen here.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #331 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

The phrase “it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from… methodically knocking people’s hats off” is an example of what literary device?

Possible Answers:

Dramatic irony

Hyperbole

Foreshadowing

Conceit

Alliteration

Correct answer:

Hyperbole

Explanation:

"Hyperbole" is the use of dramatic exaggeration (e.g. “this suitcase weighs a ton”), often to make a comical observation. The narrator in question is probably not actually knocking the hats off the heads of strangers in the street; he’s merely using the phrase to describe his general misanthropy. Like the “pistol and ball” reference, then, this phrase is an example of hyperbole.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #11 : Literary Devices In The Passage

1 Call me Ishmael. 2 Some years ago—never mind how long precisely—having little or no money in my purse, and nothing particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world. 3 It is a way I have of driving off the spleen and regulating the circulation. 4 Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off—then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can. 5 This is my substitute for pistol and ball. 6 With a philosophical flourish Cato throws himself upon his sword; I quietly take to the ship. 7 There is nothing surprising in this. 8 If they but knew it, almost all men in their degree, some time or other, cherish very nearly the same feelings towards the ocean with me.

9 There now is your insular city of the Manhattoes, belted round by wharves as Indian isles by coral reefs—commerce surrounds it with her surf. 10 Right and left, the streets take you waterward. 11 Its extreme downtown is the battery, where that noble mole is washed by waves, and cooled by breezes, which a few hours previous were out of sight of land. 12 Look at the crowds of water-gazers there.

Sentence 12 is an example of what literary technique?

Possible Answers:

Imperative voice

Telegraphic sentence

Pleonasm

Stream of consciousness

Pathetic fallacy

Correct answer:

Imperative voice

Explanation:

Like in Sentence 1, Sentence 12 commands the reader to undertake an action. In this case, the action is simply to look at the crowds of people, but that doesn’t change the fact that a sentence containing a command is an example of imperative voice. None of these other techniques or devices appear in Sentence 12.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick; or, the Whale (1851)

Example Question #151 : Passage Meaning And Inference

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

What is the tone of the second paragraph in this passage?

Possible Answers:

Naively optimistic

Scathingly critical

Subtly humorous

Cautiously hopeful

Deeply dejected

Correct answer:

Subtly humorous

Explanation:

The speaker goes out of his way to stress his unexceptionality: his lack of ambition and his eminent safeness. He then describes an important man’s praise of this quality in detail. The combined effect is one of slight, not overt, humor.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Example Question #332 : Ged Language Arts (Rla)

1 I am a rather elderly man. 2 The nature of my avocations for the last thirty years has brought me into more than ordinary contact with what would seem an interesting and somewhat singular set of men, of whom as yet nothing that I know of has ever been written:—I mean the law-copyists or scriveners. 3 I have known very many of them, professionally and privately, and if I pleased, could relate divers histories, at which good-natured gentlemen might smile, and sentimental souls might weep. 

4 … I am a man who, from his youth upwards, has been filled with a profound conviction that the easiest way of life is the best. 5 Hence, though I belong to a profession proverbially energetic and nervous, even to turbulence, at times, yet nothing of that sort have I ever suffered to invade my peace. 6 I am one of those unambitious lawyers who never addresses a jury, or in any way draws down public applause; but in the cool tranquility of a snug retreat, do a snug business among rich men's bonds and mortgages and title-deeds. 7 All who know me, consider me an eminently safe man. 8 The late John Jacob Astor, a personage little given to poetic enthusiasm, had no hesitation in pronouncing my first grand point to be prudence; my next, method. 9 I do not speak it in vanity, but simply record the fact, that I was not unemployed in my profession by the late John Jacob Astor; a name which, I admit, I love to repeat, for it hath a rounded and orbicular sound to it, and rings like unto bullion. 10 I will freely add, that I was not insensible to the late John Jacob Astor's good opinion.

11 Some time prior to the period at which this little history begins, my avocations had been largely increased. 12 The good old office, now extinct in the State of New York, of a Master in Chancery, had been conferred upon me. It was not a very arduous office, but very pleasantly remunerative.

In Sentence 9, of what literary device is “not unemployed” an example?

Possible Answers:

Caricature

Hyperbole

Litotes

Rhetoric

Pathos

Correct answer:

Litotes

Explanation:

"Litotes" is the use of deliberate understatement to create an (often humorous) effect, and it’s the device we see here. "Hyperbole" is the use of deliberate exaggeration, and "pathos" is an author’s appeal to their reader’s emotions. A "caricature" is a cartoonish portrait or description of someone.

Passage adapted from Herman Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener” (1853)

Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors