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

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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 #7 : Content

1    'So careful of the type?' but no.


2    From scarped cliff and quarried stone


   She cries, `A thousand types are gone:


   I care for nothing, all shall go.




 

5   'Thou makest thine appeal to me:


6    I bring to life, I bring to death:


   The spirit does but mean the breath:


8    I know no more.' And he, shall he,




 

9    Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,


10  Such splendid purpose in his eyes,


11  Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,


12  Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,




 

13  Who trusted God was love indeed


14  And love Creation's final law—


15  Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw


16 With ravine, shriek'd against his creed—




 

17 Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,


18  Who battled for the True, the Just,


19 Be blown about the desert dust,


20  Or seal'd within the iron hills?




 

21  No more? A monster then, a dream,


22 A discord. Dragons of the prime,


23  That tare each other in their slime,


24 Were mellow music match'd with him.




 

25  O life as futile, then, as frail!


26  O for thy voice to soothe and bless!


27  What hope of answer, or redress?


28  Behind the veil, behind the veil.

                                         (1849)

The speaker questions if __________ will “be blown about the desert dust/ Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20).

Possible Answers:

himself 

dinosaurs 

Man

"she" (line 3) 

his friend 

Correct answer:

Man

Explanation:

The speaker questions if Man will “be blown about the desert dust / Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20). Lines 19-20 are the end of a complete thought that began with line 9, "Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,". The poet questions whether Man, who does all the actions listed in lines 11-14 and lines 17-18, will be “be blown about the desert dust / Or seal’d within the iron hills?” (lines 19-20) because Nature "red in tooth and claw / With ravine, shriek'd against his creed" (lines 15-16).

(Passage adapted from "In Memorium A. H. H." by Alfred Lord Tennyson, LVI.1-28)

Example Question #41 : Literary Analysis Of British Poetry

1    'So careful of the type?' but no.


2    From scarped cliff and quarried stone


   She cries, `A thousand types are gone:


   I care for nothing, all shall go.




 

5   'Thou makest thine appeal to me:


6    I bring to life, I bring to death:


   The spirit does but mean the breath:


8    I know no more.' And he, shall he,




 

9    Man, her last work, who seem'd so fair,


10  Such splendid purpose in his eyes,


11  Who roll'd the psalm to wintry skies,


12  Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer,




 

13  Who trusted God was love indeed


14  And love Creation's final law—


15  Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw


16 With ravine, shriek'd against his creed—




 

17 Who loved, who suffer'd countless ills,


18  Who battled for the True, the Just,


19 Be blown about the desert dust,


20  Or seal'd within the iron hills?




 

21  No more? A monster then, a dream,


22 A discord. Dragons of the prime,


23  That tare each other in their slime,


24 Were mellow music match'd with him.




 

25  O life as futile, then, as frail!


26  O for thy voice to soothe and bless!


27  What hope of answer, or redress?


28  Behind the veil, behind the veil.

                                         (1849)

Answer the following with the best possible answer:

Throughout this excerpt, the poet experiences a/an __________.

Possible Answers:

agonizing death of a loved one 

reviving hope 

lessening of hope 

disappearing trust in science 

questioning of faith 

Correct answer:

questioning of faith 

Explanation:

Throughout this excerpt, the poet experiences a questioning of faith. The poet says that "Man, her last work . . ." (line 9) has "trusted God was love indeed / And love Creation's final law—
" (lines 13-14), but Nature, or Creation (because line 9 implies that Nature created man), is "red in tooth and claw / with ravine, shrik'd against his creed—" (lines 15-16) ("Creed" is faith). Love is not Nature's final law according to this imagery, and not according to the poet's reference to the extinction of dinosaurs in lines 1-4: "'So careful of the type?' but no. / From scarped cliff and quarried stone / She cries, `A thousand types are gone: / I care for nothing, all shall go." 



(Passage adapted from "In Memorium A. H. H." by Alfred Lord Tennyson, LVI.1-28) 

 






Example Question #91 : Literary Analysis

1    Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
2             Nor question much
3    That subtle wreath of hair, which crowns my arm;
4    The mystery, the sign, you must not touch,
5             For 'tis my outward soul,
6    Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,
7             Will leave this to control
8    And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.
 
9    For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
10           Through every part
11  Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
12  Those hairs which upward grew, and strength and art
13           Have from a better brain,
14  Can better do'it; except she meant that I
15           By this should know my pain,
16  As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die.
 
17  Whate'er she meant by'it, bury it with me,
18           For since I am
19  Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry,
20  If into other hands these relics came;
21           As 'twas humility
22  To afford to it all that a soul can do,
23           So, 'tis some bravery,
24  That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.
 
(1633)

Which of the following best explains how the poet feels about "that subtle wreath of hair" (line 3)? 

Possible Answers:

None of the other answers

"By this should know my pain, / As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die" (lines 15-16)

"For since I am / Love's martyr" (lines 18-19) 

"For 'tis my outward soul" (line 5) 

"The mystery, the sign, you must not touch" (line 4)

Correct answer:

"By this should know my pain, / As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die" (lines 15-16)

Explanation:

"By this should know my pain, / As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die" (lines 15-16) best explains how the poet feels about the "wreath of hair" (line 3). The poet allows us to understand that his love for his beloved caused him pain (line 15) and that he is one of love's martyrs (line 19). He also ends by saying "That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you" (line 24). This gives us the impression that she did not love him back, while he was truly in love with her. He was a prisoner of her love, and the wreath of hair that "crowns" his arm (line 3) is like a shackle that prisoners are manacled with.

(Passage adapted from "The Funeral" by John Donne)

Example Question #881 : Gre Subject Test: Literature In English

1    Whoever comes to shroud me, do not harm
2             Nor question much
3    That subtle wreath of hair, which crowns my arm;
4    The mystery, the sign, you must not touch,
5             For 'tis my outward soul,
6    Viceroy to that, which then to heaven being gone,
7             Will leave this to control
8    And keep these limbs, her provinces, from dissolution.
 
9    For if the sinewy thread my brain lets fall
10           Through every part
11  Can tie those parts, and make me one of all,
12  Those hairs which upward grew, and strength and art
13           Have from a better brain,
14  Can better do'it; except she meant that I
15           By this should know my pain,
16  As prisoners then are manacled, when they'are condemn'd to die.
 
17  Whate'er she meant by'it, bury it with me,
18           For since I am
19  Love's martyr, it might breed idolatry,
20  If into other hands these relics came;
21           As 'twas humility
22  To afford to it all that a soul can do,
23           So, 'tis some bravery,
24  That since you would have none of me, I bury some of you.
 
(1633)

Which of the following are exhibit rhyme that is both slant rhyme and an end rhyme?

Possible Answers:

"harm" (line 1) and "arm" (line 3)

All of the answers 

"fall" (line 9) and "all" (line 11)

"gone" (line 6) and "dissolution" (line 8)

"part" (line 10) and "art" (line 12)

Correct answer:

"gone" (line 6) and "dissolution" (line 8)

Explanation:

"Gone" (line 6) and "dissolution" (line 8) are examples of a slant rhyme and an end rhyme. "Slant rhymes" are rhymes with similar but not exactly the same sounds, and "end rhymes" are rhymes of the final syllables in two lines of poetry.

(Passage adapted from "The Funeral" by John Donne)

Example Question #2 : Literary Terminology And Devices

1   If but some vengeful god would call to me

2   From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,

3    Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,

4    That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

 

5    Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,

6    Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;

7    Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I

8    Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

 

9    But not so.   How arrives it joy lies slain,

10  And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?

11  —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,

12  And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. . . .

13  These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown

14  Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

 

(1898)

"—Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain" (line 11) is an example of ___________.

Possible Answers:

personification

metonym 

apostrophe 

metaphor 

simile 

Correct answer:

personification

Explanation:

"—Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain" (line 11) is an example of personification, as "personification" is a figure of speech where an inanimate object or idea possesses human attributes or abilities. Here, "Casualty" (an idea) is obstructing the sun and rain. An idea cannot obstruct the sun or rain. Humans have the ability to obstruct objects, though they cannot obstruct the sun or rain. 

(Passage adapted from "Hap" by Thomas Hardy)

Example Question #1 : Theme: Poetry

1   If but some vengeful god would call to me

  From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,

3    Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,

4    That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

 

5    Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,

6    Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;

7    Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I

8    Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

 

9    But not so.   How arrives it joy lies slain,

10  And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?

11  —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,

12  And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. . . .

13  These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown

14  Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

 

(1898)

Who or what is causing the speaker pain and suffering? 

Possible Answers:

love's loss (line 4) 

a Powerfuller than I (line 7) 

Casualty and Time (lines 10,11) 

All of the answers 

god (line 1) 

Correct answer:

Casualty and Time (lines 10,11) 

Explanation:

Casualty and Time are causing the speaker pain and suffering. They are mentioned in lines 11 and 12. In line 13, the speaker refers to them as doomsters who strew blessings as pain: "These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown / Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain." It is not a god or a "Powerfuller than I" because the first 8 lines are devoted to explaining that it would be easier to accept pain if he knew a god, even a mean one, was behind his pain, but then right after considering this idea, the speaker says, "But not so" (line 9).

(Passage adapted from "Hap" by Thomas Hardy)

Example Question #1 : Grammar And Syntax: Poetry

1   If but some vengeful god would call to me

  From up the sky, and laugh: "Thou suffering thing,

3    Know that thy sorrow is my ecstasy,

4    That thy love's loss is my hate's profiting!"

 

5    Then would I bear it, clench myself, and die,

6    Steeled by the sense of ire unmerited;

7    Half-eased in that a Powerfuller than I

8    Had willed and meted me the tears I shed.

 

9    But not so.   How arrives it joy lies slain,

10  And why unblooms the best hope ever sown?

11  —Crass Casualty obstructs the sun and rain,

12  And dicing Time for gladness casts a moan. . . .

13  These purblind Doomsters had as readily strown

14  Blisses about my pilgrimage as pain.

 

(1898)

In line 7, the speaker mentions "a Powerfuler than I" (line 7). To whom is this referring?

Possible Answers:

"some . . . god" (line 1) 

"Casualty" (line 11) 

"Time" (line 12) 

the speaker's "love" (line 4) 

"Doomsters" (line 13) 

Correct answer:

"some . . . god" (line 1) 

Explanation:

In line 7, the speaker is referring to a god when he mentions "a Powerfuler than I." The first two stanzas emphasize that the speaker would "bear it" (line 5) to know if "some vengeful god" (line 1) "had willed and meted me the tears I shed" (line 8). If a god has "willed and meted" the speaker's tears, then that god is "Powerfuller" (line 7).

 

(Passage adapted from "Hap" by Thomas Hardy)

Example Question #2 : Literary Terminology Describing Poetry

Cupid, because thou shin'st in Stella's eyes 

from Sir Philip Sidney's Astrophil and Stella 

1   Cupid, because thou shin’st in Stella’s eyes,

2   That from her locks, thy day-nets, none ‘scapes free,

3   That those lips swell, so full of thee they be,

4   That her sweet breath makes oft thy flames to rise,

5   That in her breast thy pap well sugared lies,

6   That her Grace gracious makes thy wrongs, that she

7   What words so ere she speak persuades for thee,

8   That her clear voice lifts thy fame to the skies:

9   Thou countest Stella thine, like those whose powers

10 Having got up a breach by fighting well,

11 Cry, “Victory, this fair day all is ours.”

12 Oh no, her heart is such a citadel,

13 So fortified with wit, stored with disdain,

14 That to win it, is all the skill and pain.

 

(1591)

"Oh no, her heart is such a citadel" (line 12) is an example of a(n) __________.

Possible Answers:

simile 

hyperbole 

personification 

metaphor 

satire 

Correct answer:

metaphor 

Explanation:

"Oh no, her heart is such a citadel" is an example of a metaphor, as a "metaphor" is a figure of speech that is used to compare two objects without the use of words like "like" or "as."  Stella's heart is being compared to a citadel.

 

(Passage adapted from "Astrophil and Stella" by Sir Philip Sydney, XII.1-14)

Example Question #1 : Context, Speaker, And Addressee

1    Devouring time, blunt thou the lion's paws,

2    And Make the earth devour her own sweet brood; 

3    Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,

4    And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood; 

5    Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet'st

6    And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed time,

7    To the wide world and all her fading sweets;

8    But I forbid thee one most heinous crime, 

9    O carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,

10  Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen.

11  Him in thy course untainted do allow,

12  For yet beauty's pattern to succeeding men.

13     Yet do thy worst, old time; despite thy wrong,

14     My love shall in my verse ever live young. 

 

(1609)

To whom is the poet speaking? 

Possible Answers:

None of the answers 

A young man 

Time 

People in general 

The poet's beloved 

Correct answer:

Time 

Explanation:

The poet is speaking to time. The poem begins with the apostrophe "Devouring time," (line 1). In line 6, the poet says, "And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed time." The poet also ends by telling time to "do thy worst, old time" (line 13).

 

(Passage adapted from "Sonnet 19" by William Shakespeare)

Example Question #1 : Characterization And Motivation

1    Devouring time, blunt thou the lion's paws,

2    And Make the earth devour her own sweet brood; 

3    Pluck the keen teeth from the fierce tiger's jaws,

4    And burn the long-lived phoenix in her blood; 

5    Make glad and sorry seasons as thou fleet'st

6    And do whate'er thou wilt, swift-footed time,

7    To the wide world and all her fading sweets;

8    But I forbid thee one most heinous crime, 

9    O carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow,

10  Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen.

11  Him in thy course untainted do allow,

12  For yet beauty's pattern to succeeding men.

13     Yet do thy worst, old time; despite thy wrong,

14     My love shall in my verse ever live young. 

 

(1609)

What "crime" is the poet forbidding time to commit? 

Possible Answers:

Killing the poet

Speeding up time 

Causing the poet to eventually forget some of his memories

None of the answers 

Causing the poet's lover to age 

Correct answer:

Causing the poet's lover to age 

Explanation:

The poet is forbidding time to commit the crime of causing the poet's lover to age. "O carve not with thy hours my love's fair brow, / Nor draw no lines there with thine antique pen" (lines 9-10) suggests that time draws lines on the poet's love's fair brow; the lines can be understood as wrinkles because wrinkles can look as if they are lines carved into skin.

 

(Passage adapted from "Sonnet 19" by William Shakespeare)

All GRE Subject Test: Literature in English Resources

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