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 #21 : Contexts Of Prose

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.

Who is the author of this novel?

Possible Answers:

George Eliot

D.H. Lawrence

Henry Fielding

Wilkie Collins

George Gordon, Lord Byron

Correct answer:

George Eliot

Explanation:

The Mill on the Floss is George Eliot’s novel, her second of seven.

George Gordon wrote Manfred (1817), Henry Fielding wrote Shamela (1741), D.H. Lawrence wrote Sons and Lovers (1913), and Wilkie Collins wrote No Name (1862).

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

Example Question #201 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

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 the author of this passage's real name?

Possible Answers:

Elizabeth Carter

Anne Brontë

Elizabeth Gaskell

Frances Burney

Mary Ann Evans

Correct answer:

Mary Ann Evans

Explanation:

Also known as Mary Anne or Marian Evans, George Eliot (1819-1880) published under a male pseudonym to ensure that her works would be well received and read carefully by critics. The other names on this list are all female British authors.

Frances Burney was also known as Fanny Burney and Madame d'Arblay. Elizabeth Gaskell was often called Mrs. Gaskell in literary circles. As a member of the Bluestockings Society, Elizabeth Carter sometimes wrote under the name Eliza. Anne Brontë wrote under the name Acton Bell.

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

Example Question #22 : Contexts Of Prose

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.

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

Possible Answers:

Ethan Frome

Silas Marner

Daniel Deronda

Middlemarch

Adam Bede

Correct answer:

Ethan Frome

Explanation:

George Eliot wrote Middlemarch (1874), Daniel Deronda (1876), Silas Marner (1861), and Adam Bede (1859). Ethan Frome is a 1911 novel by the American writer Edith Wharton.

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

Example Question #23 : 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.

From which novel is this passage excerpted?

Possible Answers:

The Pickwick Papers

Sense and Sensibility

Brideshead Revisited

A Passage to India

Villette

Correct answer:

Sense and Sensibility

Explanation:

These are the opening lines of Jane Austen's 1811 novel Sense and Sensibility.

The Pickwick Paper (1836) is by Charles Dickens, A Passage to India (1924) is by E.M Forster, Brideshead Revisited (1945) is by Evelyn Waugh, and Villette (1853) is by Charlotte Brontë.

Example Question #203 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

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.

These are the opening lines to which novel?

Possible Answers:

A Tale of Two Cities

Great Expectations

Pride and Prejudice

Wuthering Heights

Middlemarch

Correct answer:

A Tale of Two Cities

Explanation:

This passage is adapted from Charles Dickens' A Tale of Two Cities (1859).

Great Expectations (1891) is by Charles Dickens, Wuthering Heights (1847) is by Emily Brontë, Middlemarch (1874) is by George Eliot, and Pride and Prejudice (1813) is by Jane Austen.

Example Question #1 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following is not a dystopian novel?

Possible Answers:

Brave New World

1984

Lord of the Flies

Finnegans Wake

A Clockwork Orange

Correct answer:

Finnegans Wake

Explanation:

The only one of these novels not set in a fictional dystopia is James Joyce’s Finnegans Wake, an incredibly experimental work that vaguely follows various characters through a dreamlike, nebulous plot.

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following recent British novels did not win the Booker Prize?

Possible Answers:

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Inheritance of Loss

The Luminaries

The Gathering

White Teeth

Correct answer:

White Teeth

Explanation:

Only Zadie Smith’s White Teeth has not won the Booker Prize. Anne Enright’s The Gathering won in 2007, Eleanor Catton’s The Luminaries won in 2013, Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North won in 2014, and Kiran Desai’s The Inheritance of Loss won in 2006.

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

George Orwell’s 1945 novel Animal Farm is an elaborate political allegory for which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The rise of materialism in the United States

The rise of Nazism in Germany

The rise of communism in Russia

The rise of imperialism in Western Europe

The rise of colonialism in India

Correct answer:

The rise of communism in Russia

Explanation:

Orwell’s famous Animal Farm uses pigs, horses, dogs, and other animals to allegorize the 1917 Russian Revolution and subsequent rise of communism. In the novel, specific animals such as Napoleon and Snowball stand in for major political figures such as Vladimir Lenin, Joseph Stalin, and Leon Trotsky.

Example Question #4 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following is the setting for Hilary Mantel’s two-time Booker Prize-winning Wolf Hall trilogy?

Possible Answers:

The French Revolution

The English Restoration

The War of the Austrian Succession

The Louisiana Purchase

The English Reformation

Correct answer:

The English Reformation

Explanation:

Considered one of the best works of English historical fiction in the last century, Mantel’s trilogy is set during the English Reformation and follows the rise of the Church of England and the machinations of historical characters such as Thomas Cromwell, Anne Boleyn, Cardinal Wolsey, and Henry VIII.

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following is an integral literary device in To the Lighthouse?

Possible Answers:

Stream-of-consciousness

Allegory

Dialogue

Absurdism

Dialect

Correct answer:

Stream-of-consciousness

Explanation:

The novel, written by Virginia Woolf in 1927, is a classic example of modernist stream-of-consciousness. Although the plot centers around a family’s vacations to a Scottish island, it is much more concerned with consciousness, emotions, and perceptions than with fast-paced action or plot.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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