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 #21 : Contexts Of American Plays

When was Long Day’s Journey Into Night first performed?

Possible Answers:

1940s

1970s

1960s

1980s

1950s

Correct answer:

1950s

Explanation:

Although it was written a decade earlier, the play did not debut until 1956. It won the Pulitzer Prize in 1957.

Example Question #491 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

When was Our Town first performed?

Possible Answers:

1940s

1970s

1950s

1930s

1960s

Correct answer:

1930s

Explanation:

Although it was set several decades earlier, the play debuted in 1938 and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama the same year.

Example Question #492 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Who wrote A Raisin in the Sun?

Possible Answers:

Adrienne Kennedy

Tom Stoppard

August Wilson

Tony Kushner

Lorraine Hansberry

Correct answer:

Lorraine Hansberry

Explanation:

Playwright Lorraine Hansberry (1930-1965) wrote A Raisin in the Sun (1959). Tony Kushner wrote Angels in America (1993). Tom Stoppard wrote Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1966). August Wilson wrote Fences (1987). Adrienne Kennedy wrote A Lesson in Dead Language (1968). All of these authors are major award-winning, twentieth-century American playwrights.

Example Question #72 : Contexts Of Plays

The title of A Raisin in the Sun was based on a poem by which American author?

Possible Answers:

Gwendolyn Brooks

Gertrude Stein

Maya Angelou

ee cummings

Langston Hughes

Correct answer:

Langston Hughes

Explanation:

Langston Hughes’ famous poem “Harlem” (also called “A Dream Deferred”) (1951) likens a delayed dream to a grape that withers into a raisin in the sun.

Example Question #73 : Contexts Of Plays

When was A Raisin in the Sun first performed?

Possible Answers:

1960s

1940s

1950s

1930s

1920s

Correct answer:

1950s

Explanation:

A Raisin in the Sun was the first play by an African-American playwright to debut on Broadway, and it did so in 1959.

Example Question #493 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

What is the setting of A Raisin in the Sun?

Possible Answers:

Oklahoma City

Harlem

San Francisco

Chicago

New Orleans

Correct answer:

Chicago

Explanation:

The play is set in midcentury Chicago and reflects, among other social concerns of that (and this) time, racist housing policies. While the play was inspired by Langston Hughes' poem "Harlem" (1951), the play was definitively set in Chicago, and the connection to "Harlem" was based on a metaphorical image (of a grape withering in the sun).

Example Question #494 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Who wrote Long Day’s Journey Into Night?

Possible Answers:

Eugene O’Neill

Tony Kushner

Tennessee Williams

Henrik Ibsen

Arthur Miller

Correct answer:

Eugene O’Neill

Explanation:

American playwright Eugene O’Neill (1888-1953) wrote  Long Day’s Journey Into Night (1956), one of his most famous plays. Arthur Miller wrote Death of a Salesman (1949). Tennessee Williams wrote Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955). Tony Kushner wrote Angels in America (1993). Henrik Ibsen (the only non-American in the answer options) wrote Hedda Gabler (1890).

Example Question #495 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

What is the setting of Long Day’s Journey Into Night?

Possible Answers:

A New Orleans factory and nightclub

A Milwaukee slaughterhouse

A Connecticut home

A Wyoming ranch

A Brooklyn tenement

Correct answer:

A Connecticut home

Explanation:

The play takes place over the course of a single day in the lives of a dysfunctional Connecticut family. Although the play is extremely lavish in its description of the setting, all of the action of the play is restricted to that one location.

Example Question #496 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

To what genre does Long Day’s Journey Into Night belong?

Possible Answers:

Post-structuralism

Postmodernism

Surrealism

Realism

Absurdism

Correct answer:

Realism

Explanation:

Inspired by the works of realist playwrights such as Anton Chekhov and Henrik Ibsen, Long Day’s Journey Into Night is a highly realist work of drama. The work, as it is realist, cannot also be surrealist. Postmodernism and post-structuralism are near synonyms, and are anachronous to O'Neil's play.

Example Question #497 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Who wrote Our Town?

Possible Answers:

Sam Shepard

August Strindberg

Lorraine Hansberry

Thornton Wilder

August Wilson

Correct answer:

Thornton Wilder

Explanation:

Our Town (1938) is by the American playwright Thornton Wilder (1897-1975). It is one of his earlier works. August Strindberg wrote A Dream Play (1901). Sam Shepard wrote The Right Stuff (1983). August Wilson wrote The Coldest Day of the Year (1989). Lorraine Hansberry wrote The Drinking Gourd (1960). Aside from Strindberg, all of these playwrights are American.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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