GRE Subject Test: Literature in English : Literary Analysis of Poetry

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 : Theme: Poetry

A Late Walk

1          When I go up through the mowing field,
2          The headless aftermath,
3          Smooth-laid like thatch with the heavy dew,
4          Half closes the garden path.

5          And when I come to the garden ground,
6          The whir of sober birds
7          Up from the tangle of withered weeds
8          Is sadder than any words

9          A tree beside the wall stands bare,
10        But a leaf that lingered brown,
11        Disturbed, I doubt not, by my thought,
12        Comes softly rattling down.

13        I end not far from my going forth
14        By picking the faded blue
15        Of the last remaining aster flower
16        To carry again to you.

One theme of the poem is                   .

Possible Answers:

romantic habits are pointless

the life of the farmer is better than the urbanite's

the passing of time is something sorrowful

spring will always return

human beings are the only creatures burdened by time

Correct answer:

the passing of time is something sorrowful

Explanation:

One theme of the poem is the passing of time is something sorrwoful, as the poem treats the arrival of winter with weighty vocabulary ("withered weeds"), despondent imagery (such as a falling leaf), and straight-forwardly states that the business of "sober birds" is "sadder than any words."

Example Question #11 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry Before 1925

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

The first two lines of this poem imply all but which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers are correct.

Bradstreet kept her book from being seen by most.

Bradstreet felt that her book was somehow inferior.

Bradstreet felt that her writing was not strong.

Bradstreet intended to publish her book immediately after writing it.

Correct answer:

Bradstreet intended to publish her book immediately after writing it.

Explanation:

The first two lines imply that Bradstreet feels her book (the "offspring") is "ill-formed" and the product of a "feeble mind," which indicates she did not think her writing was strong and did not want it seen by anyone else. The fact that it remained "by her side" after she wrote it indicates that she had no plans to publish it.

Example Question #21 : Literary Analysis Of Poetry

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

The third and fourth lines of the poem imply all but which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The book was published by friends of Bradstreet.

Bradstreet felt that her friends had erred in publishing the book.

None of the other answers are correct.

The book was published with Bradstreet's knowledge.

The book was published overseas and not in her own country.

Correct answer:

The book was published with Bradstreet's knowledge.

Explanation:

Nothing in these lines indicates that Bradstreet had any knowledge that her friends were publishing her book "abroad," and the fact that she charaterizes them as "less wise than true" indicates that she found their actions unwise and deceitful.

Example Question #33 : Literary Analysis

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

Lines 11–14 imply all but which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Bradstreet felt her revisions created new problems in addition to solving old ones.

None of the other answers are correct.

Bradstreet felt she corrected the errors in the original book.

The more Bradstreet revised the book, the more new errors she saw.

Bradstreet felt the need to revise the book since it bore her name.

Correct answer:

Bradstreet felt she corrected the errors in the original book.

Explanation:

These lines indicate that Bradstreet did not feel her revisions improved the book, which she saw as hers and therefore necessary to revise.  The fact that she says she saw more "spots" after "wash[ing its] face" indicates that she both found more errors and that she felt her revisions made the poems worse somehow.

Example Question #1 : Inferences: Poetry

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

In the lines "In better dress to trim thee was my mind, / But nought save homespun cloth i' th' house I find," Bradstreet is using the image of dressing a child in better clothes to symbolize __________.

Possible Answers:

her dislike for the appearance of the book

her inability to improve the poems in her rough draft

her sense of betrayal by her friends in their publishing her book

None of the other answers are correct.

her desire to have herself represented by her best possible work

Correct answer:

her inability to improve the poems in her rough draft

Explanation:

Given the context of these lines and the double-meaning of trim, meaning both "to dress" and "to cut in length," the image of dressing a child in better clothes probably refers to her desire to revise the poems into better forms and her inability to do so (because she has only "homespun cloth").

Example Question #11 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

The lines "In critic's hands beware thou dost not come, / And take thy way where yet thou art not known" implies all but which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Bradstreet wants her book to be seen by new readers

None of the other answers are correct.

Bradstreet is concerned about the reception of her book by critics

Bradstreet is concerned about what new readers will think of the book

Bradstreet is concerned about the reception of the book in an unfamiliar country

Correct answer:

Bradstreet wants her book to be seen by new readers

Explanation:

"Take thy way" is an older way of saying "be careful," so in essence Bradstreet is warning her book to be careful with strangers (i.e., new readers in places where her work is not known) and critics.

Example Question #11 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry Before 1925

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

The underlined lines "And for thy mother, she alas is poor, / Which caused her thus to send thee out of door" could be interpreted in but which of the following ways?

Possible Answers:

Bradstreet is only allowing publication of the book because she requires money.

All three of the answer choices beginning "Bradstreet . . . " are correct.

Bradstreet is ashamed of the appearance of her "child."

None of the other answers are correct.

Bradstreet is to be pitied for sending such a faulty example of her work into the world.

Correct answer:

Bradstreet is ashamed of the appearance of her "child."

Explanation:

Nothing in the lines indicates anything about Bradstreet's disappointment at the book's appearance, though some might believe her to be pitiable and in need of money to have allowed such a flawed book (in her eyes) to be published.

Example Question #21 : Literary Analysis Of Poetry

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

The literary technique that Bradstreet uses in addressing her book directly as her "offspring" is __________.

Possible Answers:

personification

metonymy

synecdoche

None of the other answers are correct.

apostrophe

Correct answer:

personification

Explanation:

Personification, which imbues an inanimate object with human traits, is the most likely answer.  Apostrophe involves the address of a personified object which is not present, but Bradstreet's poem implies that her "offspring" is close by.  

Example Question #11 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry Before 1925

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

Which of the following is the most likely meaning of the underlined fifth and sixth lines of the poem?

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers are correct.

Bradstreet's book was printed on lower quality paper.

Bradstreet's manuscript was printed in its rough draft form, without editing.

Bradsteet did not care for the typeface the book was printed in.

Bradstreet's friends printed the book with a lesser publisher than it deserved.

Correct answer:

Bradstreet's manuscript was printed in its rough draft form, without editing.

Explanation:

Bradstreet's book was published using an uncorrected rough draft of her poems, since she herself did not know it was being published, and thus she feels its "errors were not lessened" by editing.

Example Question #12 : Literary Analysis Of American Poetry

Adapted from "The Author to Her Book" by Anne Bradstreet (1678)

Thou ill-form’d offspring of my feeble brain,
Who after birth didst by my side remain,
Till snatched from thence by friends, less wise than true,
Who thee abroad, expos’d to public view,
Made thee in rags, halting to th’ press to trudge,
Where errors were not lessened (all may judge).
At thy return my blushing was not small,
My rambling brat (in print) should mother call,
I cast thee by as one unfit for light,
Thy visage was so irksome in my sight;
Yet being mine own, at length affection would
Thy blemishes amend, if so I could:
I wash’d thy face, but more defects I saw,
And rubbing off a spot, still made a flaw.
I stretched thy joints to make thee even feet,
Yet still thou run’st more hobling then is meet;
In better dress to trim thee was my mind,
But nought save home-spun cloth, i’ th’ house I find.
In this array ’mongst vulgars mayst thou roam.
In critics' hands, beware thou dost not come;
And take thy way where yet thou art not known,
If for thy father askt, say, thou hadst none:
And for thy mother, she alas is poor,
Which caus’d her thus to send thee out of door.

Lines 7-10 imply all but which of the following?

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers is correct.

Bradstreet did not feel the poems should have been read by the public.

Bradstreet felt the poems needed tighter editing.

Bradstreet immediately acknowledged she was the author of the book.

Bradstreet was embarassed by the book's publication.

Correct answer:

Bradstreet immediately acknowledged she was the author of the book.

Explanation:

There's nothing in these lines to indicate that Bradstreet immediately acknowledged authorship of the book, given that she finds it "rambling" and in need of tighter editing, and the fact that she "blushes" at its publication implies she does not feel the book was ready to be seen by the public.

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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