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 #1 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of these British authors had a fatwa placed on him or her by the Iranian government for his or her allegedly blasphemous novel The Satanic Verses?

Possible Answers:

Salman Rushdie

Nadifa Mohamed

Zadie Smith

J.M. Coetzee

Kazuo Ishiguro

Correct answer:

Salman Rushdie

Explanation:

This author is Salman Rushdie, whose other works include Midnight’s Children and The Moor's Last Sigh. Rushdie’s work is known for its frequent use of magical realism, Indian settings, and historical subject matter. In 1989, Iran called for Rushdie’s assassination in response to the author’s portrayal of Islam in his writing.

Example Question #2 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following is least likely to be the title of a (hypothetical) critical essay about Anthony Burgess’ 1962 novel A Clockwork Orange?

Possible Answers:

"Abnormal Psychology: A Case Study"

"Adolescent Antisocial Behavior"

"Slang: Origins and Derivations"

"Love and the British Crisis of Religion"

"Cinema and the Art of Brainwashing"

Correct answer:

"Love and the British Crisis of Religion"

Explanation:

Burgess’ dystopian novel concerns a troubled teenage boy who speaks in a distinctive fictional slang (Nadsat) and perpetrates violent crimes in his society. This character, Alex, is later imprisoned and punished through the use of movies and aversive conditioning. Love and religion do not play important roles in the novel.

Example Question #1 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following is least likely to be the title of a (hypothetical) critical essay about Aldous Huxley’s 1932 novel Brave New World?

Possible Answers:

"Love in the Time of Dystopia"

"Gender Identity: A Fluid Paradigm"

"Castes and Conditioning: Educational Methods"

"Natural Reproduction: An Antiquated Approach"

"Gentle Tyranny: Leaders of the World State"

Correct answer:

"Gender Identity: A Fluid Paradigm"

Explanation:

Set in the fictional and futuristic World State dictatorship, Huxley’s novel is darkly dystopian and concerns a society where natural reproduction no longer occurs. Instead, babies are grown in scientific labs and separated into artificial castes, where they are conditioned and raised to have only a certain level of intelligence. The novel centers on the relationship between two characters, Lenina Crowne and Bernard Marx, and the various ways in which they defy societal expectations and rules. The only subject not covered in this novel is gender identity.

Example Question #3 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

Which of the following contemporary British authors is known for her three novels about World War I and for her use of real English poet-soldiers such as Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon as characters?

Possible Answers:

Zadie Smith

Hilary Mantel

Pat Barker

Carol Ann Duffy

A. S. Byatt

Correct answer:

Pat Barker

Explanation:

The author is Pat Barker, and the novels are Regeneration, The Eye in the Door, and The Ghost Road. The works concern the lives and mental illnesses of several English soldiers (including Sassoon and Owen) in a psychiatric hospital during World War I.

Example Question #34 : Contexts Of British Prose

Which British writer could be described as a modern-day fairy tale writer?

Possible Answers:

Kate Atkinson

Angela Carter

Nadifa Mohamed

P. D. James

A. S. Byatt

Correct answer:

Angela Carter

Explanation:

Angela Carter was well known for her fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays, but one of her best known works of fiction is The Bloody Chamber, a short story collection that presents familiar fairy tales with an unfamiliar (and often feminist) twist.

Example Question #31 : Contexts Of Prose

Which of the following modernist British novels does not include an important love affair?

Possible Answers:

Brideshead Revisited

1984

The Heart of the Matter

Lady Chatterly’s Lover

A Clockwork Orange

Correct answer:

A Clockwork Orange

Explanation:

All of the above books except A Clockwork Orange, by Anthony Burgess, feature some form of adultery or romantic secrecy.

Example Question #32 : Contexts Of Prose

Which of the following contemporary British novels does not include an important love affair?

Possible Answers:

White Teeth

The Satanic Verses

Never Let Me Go

Wolf Hall

None of these choices

Correct answer:

None of these choices

Explanation:

All of the above novels feature important love affairs. In Zadie Smith’s White Teeth, there are several significant acts of adultery or romantic secrecy. In Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian Never Let Me Go, the three main characters are involved in a love triangle. In Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, one of the two protagonists pursues the mountaineer he is in love with. In Hilary Mantel’s Wolf Hall, the infamous Henry VIII pursues romantic dalliances with various women.

Example Question #33 : Contexts Of Prose

During what decade was The Remains of the Day published and awarded the Man Booker Prize?

Possible Answers:

1960s

1950s

1970s

1940s

1980s

Correct answer:

1980s

Explanation:

The Remains of the Day was published in 1989, and it won the Booker Prize that same year. It is Kazuo Ishiguro’s third novel.

Example Question #211 : Cultural And Historical Contexts

What country was the author of The Remains of the Day born in?

Possible Answers:

Japan

North Korea

South Africa

China

Indonesia

Correct answer:

Japan

Explanation:

Kazuo Ishiguro was born in Nagasaki, Japan. He moved to England with his family when he was five years old and is considered an English author.

Example Question #13 : Contexts Of British Prose After 1925

During what decade was White Teeth published?

Possible Answers:

1990s

2010s

2000s

1970s

1980s

Correct answer:

2000s

Explanation:

White Teeth, Zadie Smith’s first novel, was published in 2000 and won the Whitbread Book Award for a first novel, the Guardian First Book Award, and the Commonwealth Writers First Book Prize the same year.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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