GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of Plays

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Subject Test: Literature in English

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All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

1 Diagnostic Test 158 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

The author of A Streetcar Named Desire also wrote which of the following plays?

Possible Answers:

The Glass Menagerie

A Raisin in the Sun

Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Angels in America

Death of a Salesman

Correct answer:

The Glass Menagerie

Explanation:

Tennessee Williams, the author of A Streetcar Named Desire, published The Glass Menagerie in 1945.

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

Which of the following is not a character from A Streetcar Named Desire?

Possible Answers:

Harold Mitchell

Prior Walter

Stanley Kowalski

Blanche DuBois

Stella Kowalski

Correct answer:

Prior Walter

Explanation:

Prior Walter is a character from the play Angels in America, not from A Streetcar Named Desire.

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

Who wrote the play Angels in America?

Possible Answers:

Arthur Miller

Tony Kushner

Lynn Nottage

Eugene O’Neill

Suzan-Lori Parks

Correct answer:

Tony Kushner

Explanation:

Tony Kushner is the author of Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, which was more recently adapted into an HBO miniseries. The play is divided into two parts (which can be performed together or separately): Millennium Approaches and Perestroika.

Example Question #1 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

In what decade was Angels in America first performed?

Possible Answers:

1950s

1960s

1980s

1970s

1990s

Correct answer:

1990s

Explanation:

The play premiered in 1991 and won the 1993 Pulitzer Prize in Drama. If you didn’t know this, though, you could still infer that the play was performed in 1990s, as a central subject is the AIDS crisis that was just becoming widespread in America in the mid- to late-1980s.

Example Question #484 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Which of the following is not a character in Angels in America?

Possible Answers:

Amanda Wingfield

Prior Walter

Roy Cohn

Harper Pitt

Louis Ironson

Correct answer:

Amanda Wingfield

Explanation:

Amanda Wingfield is a character in Tennessee Williams’ The Glass Menagerie, not Tony Kushner’s Angels in America.

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

Who wrote Death of a Salesman?

Possible Answers:

Wendy Wasserstein

Suzan-Lori Parks

Arthur Miller

Lynn Nottage

Eugene O’Neill

Correct answer:

Arthur Miller

Explanation:

This author is Arthur Miller, an important American playwright and essayist. Miller is famous for being married to Marilyn Monroe and for testifying before the House Un-American Activities Committee as well as for his significant contributions to American drama, for which he was awarded the Pulitzer Prize and various other honors.

Example Question #4 : Contexts Of American Plays After 1925

The author of Death of a Salesman also wrote all but which of the following plays?

Possible Answers:

They Too Arise

A View from the Bridge

The Violent Bear It Away

The Crucible

All My Sons

Correct answer:

The Violent Bear It Away

Explanation:

The Violent Bear It Away is actually a novel by Flannery O’Connor and not a play at all. The other four works are all dramas written by Miller between 1937 and 1955.

Example Question #482 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Which of the following is not a character in Death of a Salesman?

Possible Answers:

Martha

Willy Loman

Happy Loman

Biff Loman

Miss Forsythe

Correct answer:

Martha

Explanation:

Martha is a central character in Edward Albee’s 1962 play Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? and not in Miller’s Death of a Salesman.

Example Question #481 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

During what decade was Death of a Salesman first performed?

Possible Answers:

1940s

1900s

1930s

1920s

1910s

Correct answer:

1940s

Explanation:

This play not only premiered in but also won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama in 1949. If you didn’t know this, you could still eliminate some of the answer choices if you knew that Arthur Miller wasn’t born until 1915.

Example Question #61 : Contexts Of Plays

Which of the following literary devices does not appear in Angels in America?

Possible Answers:

Monologue

Deus ex machina

Doubling

Religious allusions

Hallucinatory visions

Correct answer:

Deus ex machina

Explanation:

Angels in America features doubling (one actor playing two or more roles), Biblical allusions and visitations from angels, monologues by several of the main characters, and hallucinatory visions. It does not include deus ex machina, which is a theatrical device whereby something unexpected and unexplained intervenes to fix a plot problem and drastically alter the course of the play. (A famous deus ex machina occurs in Hamlet in the form of the pirates.)

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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