HiSET: Language Arts - Reading : Analysis

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for HiSET: Language Arts - Reading

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Example Questions

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Example Question #21 : Analysis

Adapted from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895)

He sounded the clacker till his arm ached, and at length his heart grew sympathetic with the birds' thwarted desires. They seemed, like himself, to be living in a world which did not want them. Why should he frighten them away? They took upon more and more the aspect of gentle friends and pensioners—the only friends he could claim as being in the least degree interested in him, for his aunt had often told him that she was not. He ceased his rattling, and they alighted anew.

"Poor little dears!" said Jude, aloud. "You shall have some dinner—you shall. There is enough for us all. Farmer Troutham can afford to let you have some. Eat, then my dear little birdies, and make a good meal!"

They stayed and ate, inky spots on the nut-brown soil, and Jude enjoyed their appetite. A magic thread of fellow-feeling united his own life with theirs. Puny and sorry as those lives were, they much resembled his own.

His clacker he had by this time thrown away from him, as being a mean and sordid instrument, offensive both to the birds and to himself as their friend. All at once he became conscious of a smart blow upon his buttocks, followed by a loud clack, which announced to his surprised senses that the clacker had been the instrument of offense used. The birds and Jude started up simultaneously, and the dazed eyes of the latter beheld the farmer in person, the great Troutham himself, his red face glaring down upon Jude's cowering frame, the clacker swinging in his hand.

"So it's 'Eat my dear birdies,' is it, young man? 'Eat, dear birdies,' indeed! I'll tickle your breeches, and see if you say, 'Eat, dear birdies' again in a hurry! And you've been idling at the schoolmaster's too, instead of coming here, ha'n't ye, hey? That's how you earn your sixpence a day for keeping the rooks off my corn!"

Select the answer that best identifies the main idea of the first paragraph.

Possible Answers:

When Jude stops his task, the birds give up and fly away

Jude is engaged in a job of scaring birds and relishes the task

Jude sees old people as birds in a field

Jude has no friends

Jude empathizes with the birds over time and lets them land

Correct answer:

Jude empathizes with the birds over time and lets them land

Explanation:

The reader knows that Jude becomes sympathetic with the birds from the line, “his heart grew sympathetic with the birds' thwarted desires.” Jude feels empathy, or what he perceives to be similar feelings, towards the birds, and lets them land in the field from which he is supposed to be scaring them away. None of the other answers accurately frame the main idea, and none can be solidly supported with textual evidence.

Example Question #22 : Analysis

Adapted from Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy (1895)

He sounded the clacker till his arm ached, and at length his heart grew sympathetic with the birds' thwarted desires. They seemed, like himself, to be living in a world which did not want them. Why should he frighten them away? They took upon more and more the aspect of gentle friends and pensioners—the only friends he could claim as being in the least degree interested in him, for his aunt had often told him that she was not. He ceased his rattling, and they alighted anew.

"Poor little dears!" said Jude, aloud. "You shall have some dinner—you shall. There is enough for us all. Farmer Troutham can afford to let you have some. Eat, then my dear little birdies, and make a good meal!"

They stayed and ate, inky spots on the nut-brown soil, and Jude enjoyed their appetite. A magic thread of fellow-feeling united his own life with theirs. Puny and sorry as those lives were, they much resembled his own.

His clacker he had by this time thrown away from him, as being a mean and sordid instrument, offensive both to the birds and to himself as their friend. All at once he became conscious of a smart blow upon his buttocks, followed by a loud clack, which announced to his surprised senses that the clacker had been the instrument of offense used. The birds and Jude started up simultaneously, and the dazed eyes of the latter beheld the farmer in person, the great Troutham himself, his red face glaring down upon Jude's cowering frame, the clacker swinging in his hand.

"So it's 'Eat my dear birdies,' is it, young man? 'Eat, dear birdies,' indeed! I'll tickle your breeches, and see if you say, 'Eat, dear birdies' again in a hurry! And you've been idling at the schoolmaster's too, instead of coming here, ha'n't ye, hey? That's how you earn your sixpence a day for keeping the rooks off my corn!"

What is one of the main points of the final paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Jude has been shirking his duties

Troutham does not pay Jude regularly

Jude is brave

Jude is insolent

Troutham is erudite

Correct answer:

Jude has been shirking his duties

Explanation:

The last paragraph states that Troutham knows that Jude has been negligent in his duties: “you've been idling at the schoolmaster's too, instead of coming here, ha'n't ye.” To help you, “shirking” means neglecting, “insolent” means rude and disrespectful, and “erudite” means knowledgeable and well-spoken.

Example Question #23 : Analysis

Passage adapted from "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

5  And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear: 

10  'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

What is one of the main the themes of the poem?

Possible Answers:

Nature is a destructive force 

The legacies of powerful rulers are eternal

All prominent figures and large empires eventually fade and decay

Dictators can have a strong command over their subjects

Correct answer:

All prominent figures and large empires eventually fade and decay

Explanation:

The poem suggests that even if leaders hold themselves as great and build monuments to themselves, eventually they will fade from history and importance. This idea is presented by the ironic nature of Ozymandias's inscription: "Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!" within the setting of a wasteland. The answer choice about powerful dictators does not include the shift in the poem where we realize that he Ozymandias is no longer relevant. The choice about nature likewise does not include the ironic nature of the king's rotting statue, and the choice stating that legacies are eternal is the opposite of this poem's theme. 

Example Question #24 : Analysis

      As the boat bounced from the top of each wave, the wind tore through the hair of the hatless men, and as the craft plopped her stern down again the spray slashed past them. The crest of each of these waves was a hill, from the top of which the men surveyed, for a moment, a broad tumultuous expanse; shining and wind-riven. It was probably splendid. It was probably glorious, this play of the free sea, wild with lights of emerald and white and amber.

      "Bully good thing it's an on-shore wind," said the cook. "If not, where

would we be? Wouldn't have a show."

      "That's right," said the correspondent. 

      The busy oiler nodded his assent.

      Then the captain, in the bow, chuckled in a way that expressed humor, contempt, tragedy, all in one. "Do you think we've got much of a show, now, boys?" said he.

      Whereupon the three were silent, save for a trifle of hemming and hawing. To express any particular optimism at this time they felt to be childish and stupid, but they all doubtless possessed this sense of the situation in their mind. A young man thinks doggedly at such times. On the other hand, the ethics of their condition was decidedly against any open suggestion of hopelessness. So they were silent.

      "Oh, well," said the captain, soothing his children, "we'll get ashore

all right."

      But there was that in his tone which made them think, so the oiler quoth:

"Yes! If this wind holds!"

Adapted from Stephen Crane's "The Open Boat" (1897)

The conflict in this story can mainly be described as ____________________.

Possible Answers:

Man vs. Man 

Man vs. Nature

Man vs. Himself

Man vs. Society

Correct answer:

Man vs. Nature

Explanation:

The correct answer is Man vs. Nature. The clear conflict in this situation is whether or not the men will survive the storm at sea. There is no evidence of strong personal conflict between the men on the boat, and no societal pressure either. While there may be some internal conflict within each man, the best and most clear choice is Man vs. Nature. 

Example Question #25 : Analysis

Passage adapted from "Ozymandias" by Percy Bysshe Shelley (1818)

I met a traveller from an antique land

Who said: "Two vast and trunkless legs of stone

Stand in the desert... Near them, on the sand,

Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,

5  And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,

Tell that its sculptor well those passions read

Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,

The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed:

And on the pedestal these words appear: 

10  'My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:

Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!'

Nothing beside remains. Round the decay

Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare

The lone and level sands stretch far away."

Who is the speaker of the poem?

Possible Answers:

An explorer

A former subject of King Ozymandias

A traveller from an antique land

Someone who heard a firsthand account

Correct answer:

Someone who heard a firsthand account

Explanation:

The speaker is a person who heard a firsthand account from a traveller. Line one says, "I met a traveller from an antique land," and so we know that the traveller is not the one speaking. It cannot be a former subject of the king, since we know that his civilization was ancient, and we have no reason to believe that the author of the poem is himself the speaker. There is no evidence that the speaker was an explorer. 

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