STAAR EOC Test: Reading : Figurative Language

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for STAAR EOC Test: Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analysis Of Literary Text

Adapted from “Solitary Death, make me thine own” in Underneath the Bough: A Book of Verses by Michael Field (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) (1893)

Solitary Death, make me thine own,

And let us wander the bare fields together;

          Yea, thou and I alone

Roving in unembittered unison forever.


I will not harry thy treasure-graves,

I do not ask thy still hands a lover;

            My heart within me craves

To travel till we twain Time’s wilderness discover.


To sojourn with thee my soul was bred,

And I, the courtly sights of life refusing,

            To the wide shadows fled,

And mused upon thee often as I fell a-musing.


Escaped from chaos, thy mother Night,

In her maiden breast a burthen that awed her,

           By cavern waters white

Drew thee her first-born, her unfathered off-spring toward her.


On dewey plats, near twilight dingle,

She oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses

           In thine ears a-tingle,

Pours her cool charms, her weird, reviving chaunt rehearses.


Though mortals menace thee or elude,

And from thy confines break in swift transgression.

            Thou for thyself art sued

Of me, I claim thy cloudy purlieus my possession.


To a long freshwater, where the sea

Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows,

            Come thou, and beckon me

To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows:


Then take the life I have called my own

And to the liquid universe deliver;

            Loosening my spirit’s zone,

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the river.

In the text, “Death” is personified as ________________.

Possible Answers:

the captain of a ship

a mother

a long-desired companion

a thief

a lover

Correct answer:

a long-desired companion


In this poem, death is personified (and addressed) as a desired companion. While the description of the relationship sounds reasonably intimate, the speaker specifically states that he or she “do[es] not ask thy still hands a lover.” In literature, Death is more often characterized as a thief, but this piece is subverting that trope. "Night" is personified as death’s “mother,” and while the river is discussed at length, death is taking the speaker to the river, not ferrying the speaker across it on a boat.

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