GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Contexts of Prose

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 #191 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is set in which of the following locations?

Possible Answers:

The Amazon River

The Congo River

The Mississippi River

The Nile River

The Zambezi River

Correct answer:

The Congo River

Explanation:

Written in 1899, this classic and semi-autobiographical novella follows the adventures of the anti-hero Marlow up the Congo River as he seeks the ivory trader Kurtz. It examines issues such as racism, colonialism, madness, illness, and civilization.

Example Question #192 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

Charles Dickens’ 1859 novel A Tale of Two Cities was set during which significant historical event?

Possible Answers:

the American Revolution

the Great Fire of London

the Hundred Years’ War

the French Revolution

the Industrial Revolution

Correct answer:

the French Revolution

Explanation:

A Tale of Two Cities takes place in the years leading up to and during the French Revolution (1789-1799). It concerns the adventures of Sydney Carton, his doppelgänger Charles Darnay, Lucie Manette and her father, the Defarges, Jacques One through Three, and the Crunchers.

Example Question #12 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

Which of the following works humorously parodies the Gothic novel?

Possible Answers:

Wuthering Heights

Jane Eyre

Mansfield Park

Sense and Sensibility

Northanger Abbey

Correct answer:

Northanger Abbey

Explanation:

Northanger Abbey is a parodic Gothic novel.

Example Question #13 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Who is the author of this novel?

Possible Answers:

Jane Austen

Emily Brontë

Oscar Wilde

Charles Dickens

Jonathan Swift

Correct answer:

Charles Dickens

Explanation:

A Tale of Two Cities is Charles Dickens’ novel, published in weekly installments in 1859.

Jonathan Swift wrote Gulliver's Travels (1726), Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emily Brontë wrote Wuthering Heights (1847), and Oscar Wilde wrote The Picture of Dorian Grey (1891).

Example Question #14 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

During what major historical event does this novel occur?

Possible Answers:

The War of Austrian Succession

The French Revolution

The American Revolution

The English Restoration

The English Reformation

Correct answer:

The French Revolution

Explanation:

A Tale of Two Cities (1859) is set in London and Paris immediately before and during the French Revolution (1775 and 1792).

Example Question #15 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way – in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.

Which of the following is not a character in this novel?

Possible Answers:

Charles Darnay

Lucie Manette

Ebenezer Scrooge

Sidney Carton

Madame Defarge

Correct answer:

Ebenezer Scrooge

Explanation:

Ebenezer Scrooge is a main character in Charles Dickens’ 1843 novel A Christmas Carol. All the others are primary characters in A Tale of Two Cities.

(Passage adapted from Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, (1859))

Example Question #13 : Contexts Of Prose

The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home; for to supply her loss, he invited and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it.

Who is the author of this novel?

Possible Answers:

George Eliot

Charlotte Brontë

Jane Austen

Horace Walpole

Charles Dickens

Correct answer:

Jane Austen

Explanation:

Jane Austen wrote Sense and Sensibility, although it was originally published anonymously, by “A Lady.”

(Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, (1811))

Example Question #12 : Contexts Of British Prose

The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home; for to supply her loss, he invited and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it.

Which of the following books was not also written by the author of this passage? 

Possible Answers:

Emma

Jane Eyre

Persuasion

Pride and Prejudice

Northanger Abbey

Correct answer:

Jane Eyre

Explanation:

Jane Eyre was written in 1847 by Charlotte Brontë. Pride and Prejudice (1813), Emma (1815), Northanger Abbey (1817), and Persuasion (1817) are all by Jane Austen.

(Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, (1811))

Example Question #18 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

The family of Dashwood had long been settled in Sussex. Their estate was large, and their residence was at Norland Park, in the centre of their property, where, for many generations, they had lived in so respectable a manner as to engage the general good opinion of their surrounding acquaintance. The late owner of this estate was a single man, who lived to a very advanced age, and who for many years of his life, had a constant companion and housekeeper in his sister. But her death, which happened ten years before his own, produced a great alteration in his home; for to supply her loss, he invited and received into his house the family of his nephew Mr. Henry Dashwood, the legal inheritor of the Norland estate, and the person to whom he intended to bequeath it.

What genre does this novel belong to?

Possible Answers:

Comedy of Manners

Roman à Clef

Melodrama

Tragicomedy

Gothic

Correct answer:

Comedy of Manners

Explanation:

Sense and Sensibility is a classic example of the comedy of manners, a work in which a social class’s flaws and foibles are cleverly examined and satirized.

(Passage adapted from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, (1811))

Example Question #13 : Contexts Of British Prose 1660–1925

Outside Dorlcote Mill

A wide plain, where the broadening Floss hurries on between its green banks to the sea, and the loving tide, rushing to meet it, checks its passage with an impetuous embrace. On this mighty tide the black ships, laden with the fresh-scented fir-planks, with rounded sacks of oil-bearing seed, or with the dark glitter of coal, are borne along to the town of St. Ogg’s, which shows its aged, fluted red roofs and the broad gables of its wharves between the low wooded hill and the river brink, tinging the water with a soft purple hue under the transient glance of this February sun. Far away on each hand stretch the rich pastures and the patches of dark earth, made ready for the seed of broad-leaved green crops, or touched already with the tint of the tender-bladed autumn-sown corn.

What is this novel?

Possible Answers:

The Mill on the Floss

Silas Marner

Tess of the d’Urbervilles

Howards End

Madame Bovary

Correct answer:

The Mill on the Floss

Explanation:

These are the opening lines of the 1860 novel The Mill on the Floss.

Tess of the d’Urbervilles (1891) is by Thomas Hardy, Madame Bovary (1856) is by Gustave Flaubert, Howards End (1910) is by E.M Forster, and Silas Marner (1861) is by George Eliot. 

(Passage adapted from The Mill on the Floss, (1860) by George Eliot)

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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