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 #2 : Meaning Of Specified Text: Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

"Eternal lines to time" (line 12) very probably refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

the bible

the seasonal cycle

the maturation of the speaker's beloved

poetry

the burial of the speaker's beloved

Correct answer:

poetry

Explanation:

"Eternal lines to time" (line 12) refers to poetry, as poetry is lines of words often set to meter, (to the measure of time).

Example Question #21 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

In line 13, the "eyes" that "can see" are very likely envisioned by the speaker to be used for __________.

Possible Answers:

watching the changing seasons

enjoying the summer sun, however brief

reading his or her poetry

fumbling in the dark of death's shade

admiring his or her beloved's beauty

Correct answer:

reading his or her poetry

Explanation:

In line 13, the "eyes" that "can see" are very likely envisioned by the speaker to be used for reading his or her poetry, as it is the speaker's poetry (his or her "eternal lines to time" (line 12)), which are the source of the beloved's immortality.

Example Question #1 : Meaning Of Specified Text: Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

"Thy eternal summer" (line 9) probably refers to __________.

Possible Answers:

"the eye of heaven" (line 5)

the loveliness and temperance of the speaker's beloved

"the darling buds of May" (line 3)

the "gold complexion" (line 6) of the speaker's beloved

the summer season

Correct answer:

the loveliness and temperance of the speaker's beloved

Explanation:

"Thy eternal summer" probably refers to the loveliness and temperance of the speaker's beloved, mentioned in line 2 ("Thou art more lovely and more temperate"). It is that loveliness the speaker's poetry will guard from fading: "thy eternal summer shall not fade" (line 9).

Example Question #1 : Literary Terminology Describing Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

"Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade," (line 9) is an example of __________

Possible Answers:

alliteration

personification

consonance

assonance

satire

Correct answer:

personification

Explanation:

"Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade," (line 9) is an example of personification, as personification is a figure of speech wherein an inanimate object or idea is endowed with human qualities or abilities. In this case, death is said to brag.

Example Question #1 : Literary Terminology Describing Poetry

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

The speaker's claim that "this gives life to thee" in line 14 is arguably an example of __________.

Possible Answers:

personification

metaphor

hyperbole

alliteration

asyndeton

Correct answer:

hyperbole

Explanation:

The speaker's claim that "this gives life to thee" (line 14) is an example of hyperbole, as the speaker is making an exaggerated claim that his or her poetry will give the beloved immortality.

Example Question #74 : Literary Analysis

1          Shall I compare thee to a summer’s day?
2          Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
3          Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
4          And summer’s lease hath all too short a date:
5          Sometime too hot the eye of heaven shines,
6          And often is his gold complexion dimm’d;
7          And every fair from fair sometime declines,
8          By chance, or nature’s changing course untrimm’d;
9          But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
10        Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,
11        Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,
12        When in eternal lines to time thou grow’st;
13        So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
14        So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.

Within his or her poetry, the speaker claims that his or her beloved will remain __________.

Possible Answers:

fair

enlivened by the returning summer

alive and fair

alive, yet faded

alive

Correct answer:

alive and fair

Explanation:

Within his or her poetry, the speaker claims that his or her beloved will remain alive and fair.

"But thy eternal summer shall not fade,

Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow’st,

Nor shall death brag thou wander’st in his shade,"

Example Question #1 : Genre: Seventeenth Century Poetry

1          Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
2          My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
3          Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
4          Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
5          Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
6          Will man lament the state he should envy?
7          To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
8          And if no other misery, yet age!
9          Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, "Here doth lie
10        Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry,
11        For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
12        As what he loves may never like too much."

This poem is a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

sonnet

pastoral poem

epic poem

conceit

elegy

Correct answer:

elegy

Explanation:

This early-seventeenth-century poem, "On my First Son," by the Englishman, Ben Jonson, is an elegy, as it commemorates a dead person.

Example Question #1 : Context, Speaker, And Addressee: Poetry

1          Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
2          My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
3          Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
4          Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
5          Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
6          Will man lament the state he should envy?
7          To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
8          And if no other misery, yet age!
9          Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, "Here doth lie
10        Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry,
11        For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
12        As what he loves may never like too much."

Who is the speaker of this poem?

Possible Answers:

The speaker cannot be determined

A friend of Ben Jonson

A sorrowful playmate of the deceased

An anonymous grieving father

The grieving father and poet, Ben Jonson

Correct answer:

The grieving father and poet, Ben Jonson

Explanation:

The speaker of this poem is the grieving father and poet, Ben Jonson. "Here doth lie / Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry," (Lines 9–10)

Example Question #1 : Effect Of Specified Text

1          Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
2          My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
3          Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
4          Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
5          Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
6          Will man lament the state he should envy?
7          To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
8          And if no other misery, yet age!
9          Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, "Here doth lie
10        Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry,
11        For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
12        As what he loves may never like too much."

"Seven years thou wert lent to me," (line 3), very likely tells the reader what?

Possible Answers:

The years the speaker was absent from the child's life

The length of time the child suffered

The years since the child's death

The time period wherein the speaker will mourn

The age of the son at his death

Correct answer:

The age of the son at his death

Explanation:

"Seven years thou wert lent to me," (line 3), very likely tells the reader the age of the son at his death. In the same line, "I thee pay" inclines the reader to believe that after seven years, the speaker had to relinquish his son.

Example Question #1 : Figurative Language

1          Farewell, thou child of my right hand, and joy;
2          My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy.
3          Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay,
4          Exacted by thy fate, on the just day.
5          Oh, could I lose all father now! For why
6          Will man lament the state he should envy?
7          To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage,
8          And if no other misery, yet age!
9          Rest in soft peace, and, asked, say, "Here doth lie
10        Ben Jonson his best piece of poetry,
11        For whose sake, henceforth, all his vows be such
12        As what he loves may never like too much."

In which line is there a strong lending metaphor?

Possible Answers:

To have so soon 'scaped world's and flesh's rage, (Line 7)

My sin was too much hope of thee, loved boy. (Line 2)

As what he loves may never like too much." (Line 12)

Oh, could I lose all father now! For why (Line 5)

Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay, (Line 3)

Correct answer:

Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay, (Line 3)

Explanation:

"Seven years thou wert lent to me, and I thee pay," (Line 3), is a strong metaphor in which the speaker seems to believe he has entered into a contract with God, and God has come to collect his payment. The metaphor is the son being compared to a loan.

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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