Question Explanations For
Practice Test 1 (Explanations)
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the main theme of the passage. (E) is correct because “a series of losses” has brought “once-unimaginable consequences” to the family. Even though “nothing had seemed less likely than that the Rutherfurds should ever have to leave their home” (lines 58-59), the death of all the men in the family and the economic pressure of “lean years” (line 62) have forced the Rutherfurds to sell their house. (A) is incorrect because the passage describes the history of only one family, not the rich in general, and focuses on the intimate life of family members rather than their “lifestyle” or the way they spend money. (B) is incorrect because, although we may infer that Mrs. Jackson is benefiting from the Rutherfurds’ economic misfortune, the benefits for Mrs. Jackson are never clearly described. (C) is incorrect for the same reason: although Archie and Ronnie died in “the War” (line 59), the passage as a whole does not focus on this. (D) is incorrect because “the War […] took Ronnie and Archie and the light from the eyes of their mother” (lines 59-60), which is a significant effect on the Rutherfurd family.
The Correct Answer is (D) — (D)—This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. (D), “welcome,” is correct because to “receive” a visitor is to welcome that person into one’s home. You might have eliminated (D) if you noticed that Lady Jane didn’t like having Mrs. Jackon in the home, because “welcome” has a positive tone and implies good cheer, but whatever her private feelings Lady Jane “receive[d] Mrs. Jackson smiling.” While it may not have been a sincerely-felt welcome, it still seems to have been a pleasant one. (A) is incorrect because to “grasp” is to physically take hold of or to understand, neither of which works in context. (B)may be tempting because it better describes Lady Jane’s private feelings than “welcome” does; she’s “accepting” Mrs. Jackson in the sense that she is tolerating her. However, this phrase is describing a specific, physical action: Lady Jane is rising from her chair and greeting Mrs. Jackson, and (D) better describes that specific action. (C) is incorrect because Mrs. Jackson is a person, not a package or a letter, so she is arriving—not being delivered. (E) is incorrect for reasons similar to those for (A). To “get” is to acquire or to understand, and again, neither of those makes sense in this context.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a phrase in the passage. (C) is correct because “to “find something trying” is to find it difficult or painful (in other words, to dislike it), while to be “uncomplaining” is to accept something without complaining. (A) and (D) are incorrect because this phrase tells us nothing about Nicole’s attitude towards her mother’s performance or the sale. (B) is incorrect because Lady Jane’s finding “the preliminaries trying” is the opposite of her being “eager.” To be “eager” is to be enthusiastic about something, and to want it very much; to find it “trying” is to dislike it. (E) is incorrect because nothing in this phrase suggests a lack of understanding on Lady Jane’s part. However, the fact that Lady Jane “finds the preliminaries trying” suggests that she does “understand the importance of present events”; the reason she is uncomfortable is because she knows the house is going to be sold.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (B) is correct because the rooms are “sacred” to Lady Jane in the sense that they have great sentimental value to her. Her potential buyers are “casting calculating glances” around the room to evaluate how much they are worth in monetary terms. (A)incorrectly distorts both of these attitudes. The rooms are metaphorically “sacred” to Lady Jane, not actually filled with religious significance, so “piety” or religious devotion is not relevant. Furthermore, nothing tells us that Lady Jane’s buyers are avaricious or scheming to spend as little money as possible. (C) incorrectly brings up “modern families,” which are not relevant to the passage. (D), like (A), makes unsupported suggestions about the motivations of Lady Jane and her buyers. (D) may be tempting if you understood “calculating glances” to suggest that the guests were devious, because “calculating” can imply a devious, scheming attitude—however, given that the guests are considering purchasing the house, it’s more reasonable to interpret the word in its sense of “computing” or “tallying,” because the guests are potential buyers who are examining the house to determine what it’s worth. (E) incorrectly suggests that the tension is between reality and Lady Jane’s desires, while in fact it is between Lady Jane’s and her buyers’ perceptions of the rooms.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning of a symbol in the passage. (A) is correct because Lady Jane has left Archie and Ronnie’s rooms untouched after their deaths. The affectionate description of the objects in the “sacred” rooms (line 12)—“made by himself” (line 13), “just as he had left it” (lines 16-17), “waiting” (line 17)—suggests that Lady Jane treats the rooms as precious places to remember the boys by. (B) is incorrect: nothing here implies that Lady Jane has a habit of keeping possessions, and she certainly does not see them as “useless.” (C) may be tempting because it’s clear that Lady Jane attaches a great sentimental value the rooms and the things inside them, but the phrase “valuable antique” implies very old goods with great monetary value. The description of the crooked bookshelves and stacked-up sporting equipment does not suggest that Ronnie and Archie’s possessions were either very old or worth very much money. (D) is incorrect because it misinterprets Lady Jane’s choice to leave the rooms alone for sentimental reasons as a matter of indifference. Lady Jane left the rooms alone because they were like memorials to her lost sons—not because cleaning them up would be a hassle. (E) is incorrect: although the rooms are figuratively described as “waiting” for the boys, Lady Jane herself does not actually believe her dead sons are coming back.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (B) is correct because a “sanctuary” is both a place of refuge and a sacred place; the fact that the family was able to escape from company to “refresh their souls” (line 25) shows that it was a refuge, and the fact that they kept their most special possessions there and observed special rules for their care conveys the sense that it was a sacred space. (A) is incorrect because the fact that there were nice toys in the corner room might explain why it was fun for children, but it doesn’t adequately explain why it was a sanctuary for the whole family. This choice accounts for one reason the children might like to be in the room, but doesn’t mention the fact that the parents took refuge there. (C) incorrectly inverts cause and effect by suggesting that the room was a sanctuary because Barbara received difficult news there, when the opposite is more likely true: the room was a good place for difficult news because it was a sanctuary. (D) moves beyond the actual claims of the passage: although the Rutherfurds sometimes retreated to this room when guests were over, we never learn that guests were absolutely forbidden from entering. (E) is incorrect because the passage never suggests that the other rooms in the house are uncomfortable.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret figurative language. (C) is correct because “records,” in this case, refers to a metaphorical log of good and bad behaviour by the children. If the children’s “records” were “unblemished”—in other words, had no “blemishes” or “black marks”—then the children had not behaved badly. (A) might be tempting if you interpreted “records” as the kind of vinyl records on which music could be recorded; however, there’s no context to support this interpretation of the word, and no other mention of any “classical music albums.” (B) interprets the unblemished records as the picture-books themselves, but “records unblemished” are one of the conditions for touching the picture books, so that would be a strangely circular rule: you can only look at the precious books when your hands are clean and the books are pristine. (D) incorrectly takes “records” to mean “accounting books.” (E) incorrectly applies “unblemished” to the picture-books.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (B) is correct because hanging the portraits of family together places Barbara in the same category as the other children. Further, Lady Jane’s feelings are made clear in the nearby phrase “Lady Jane … had never let her feel that she was not as much to her as her own” (lines 49-51). In other words, Lady Jane never let Barbara feel that she meant less to Lady Jane than Lady Jane’s own children. (A) is not supported by the passage; the passage doesn’t directly discuss the cousins’ attitudes or behavior towards Barbara, but it does indicate that at least Lady Jane took care to make Barbara feel like an equal member of the family and suggests they were a close and loving family. (C) is not supported either: Barbara’s portrait hangs alongside those of the Rutherfurd children, not above it. (D) is incorrect because, although Barbara’s father had a poor character, nothing suggests that Barbara’s origins are concealed. (E) is incorrect because while the passage indicates that the children were “each painted at the age of five,” that fact doesn’t imply that they were all five at the same time.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the best description of a character in the passage. (E) is correct because Norman Burt had “brains and ambition” (line 45) but was “unstable as water” (line 46), was “only too thankful to get rid of” his daughter (lines 48-49), and his wife died “after two years of misery and anxiety” (lines 46-47). (A) is incorrect because, although Barbara’s mother may have made a mistake by marrying an unreliable man, the passage does not say that Sir Walter judged her for this mistake or blamed Barbara. (B) is incorrect because, although Norman Burt was “unstable”, the passage does not say he had a secret second family. (C) is incorrect because it goes beyond what is implied by the passage to speculate about a specific, devious ambition to take possession of the Rutherfurd house; Burt’s abandonment of his daughter and any relationship with the Rutherfurd family makes this even less plausible. (D) is incorrect because the fact that Norman was “only too thankful to get rid of” his daughter suggests that the memory of his wife did not have a strong hold on him.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a phrase in the passage. (C) is correct because the passage indicates that “Lean years came” (line 62), meaning that they had little income, bringing “the need for retrenchment.” “Retrenchment” here means “austerity” or cutting back on one’s expenses, which the Rutherfurds have no experience doing. (A) is incorrect, perhaps misinterpreting “retrenchment” as a reference to trench warfare in World War I. (B) and (D) are unsupported by the passage. (E) is incorrect: although Lady Jane does still grieve for her dead children, the phrase in question does not refer to that.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the narrative tone. (E), “wistful,” is correct because the passage focuses on fond memories from the past. (A), “foreboding,” is incorrect because the passage does not suggest that an unknown bad thing will happen in the future. (B), “sardonic,” is incorrect because the passage does not make fun of something in a cutting way. (C), “optimistic,” is incorrect because nothing suggests the Rutherfurds’ situation will improve. (D), “giddy,” is incorrect because the narrative tone is not overflowing with excitement.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the best description of a character in the passage. (E) is correct because the dish-washer’s imagination transforms her everyday task into something magical: steam becomes an “embodiment of dream” and a bowl gleaming in sunlight becomes “a little crystal boat”. (A) is incorrect because “apathetic” means “lacking enthusiasm,” and while the dish-washer might feel unenthused about washing dishes, she is captivated by the ways the steam, sunlight, and breeze interact with her task. (B) is not correct because “preoccupied” implies the dish-washer is completely absorbed in thought. This might be true if the dish-washer were so distracted by her daydreaming that she stopped washing, but since she manages to balance both, she cannot fairly be described as “preoccupied.” (C) is incorrect because it is never stated or implied that the dish-washer is confused, which the word “bemused” suggests. (D) is incorrect because, although the dish-washer is entertained by her daydreams, to say she is “zealous” implies a much higher level of enthusiasm than she actually shows.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the genre of the poem. (E) is correct because this poem presents the “narrative,” or story, of how the dish-washer’s imagination alters her experience of washing dishes. (A) is incorrect because the word “elegy” usually refers to a mournful poem about a deceased person. (B) is incorrect because an ode is addressed to its subject; this poem is about an individual dishwasher, but it is not addressed to domestic workers. (C) is not correct because an epitaph is a short statement written for someone who is deceased, and this poem is neither especially short nor obviously about a dead person. (D) is incorrect because chants involve the repetition of whole lines or key phrases, and this poem does not employ such repetition to achieve its effect.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to work out the roles of specific words in a complex sentence structure. The sentence stretches across several lines, but we can put it together and omit line breaks to make it easier to read. “A breeze came in, a stranger to the town, and set her tumblers bobbing up and down, and making tinkly music, frail and sweet, like fairy bells you startle with your feet in woodland grass.” In this sentence, “a stranger to the town” is an appositive phrase; that is, it just gives a different name to “a breeze.” The phrase “and making tinkling music” is a parenthetical phrase that adds information to “bobbing up and down.” Thus, whatever “set her tumblers bobbing up and down” also caused the tinkling music. Everything else in the sentence describes the tinkly music itself, not its cause. If we omit the appositive phrase from the first part of the sentence, it reads “A breeze came in … and set her tumblers bobbing up and down, and making tinkly music …” Thus, (C) is correct: the “breeze” “set her tumblers bobbing up and down, and making tinkly music” (A) is incorrect because “An airy blue embodiment of dream” only draws the dish-washer’s gaze away from the foam of her dishes; it does not to move pots or make noise. (B) is not correct because, while “Her hands” are active within the poem, they are only responsible for washing dishes, not making music. (D) is incorrect because, although the tinkly music is compared to fairy bells, the fairy bells are not actually present in the scene and therefore cannot produce any real sounds. (E) is incorrect because “a little crystal boat” describes the bowl shining in the sunlight, which is simply the next thing that catches the dishwasher’s attention.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret the cumulative effect of word choices. (A) is correct because both “a genie” and “fairy bells” are fantastic images that make the everyday activity of dish-washing seem magical. (B) is incorrect because, although there is a contrast between dish-washing and magical creatures, the magic in this scene creates a sense of delight rather than unease. Images like “frail and sweet” music and sunlight “nesting in a bowl” are charming, not unsettling. (C) is incorrect because, while the fantastic imagery creates a sense of magic and wonder, and a chore can be a “ritual” in the sense that it is performed the same way many times, “ritual magic” refers to ceremonial activities undertaken to achieve some magical end—not something like the whimsical sense of magic and wonder that the dish-washer has as she carries out a simple chore. (D) is incorrect because the poem’s setting never changes. Although the poem compares the tinkling of glasses to the sound of fairy bells “In woodland grass” (line 11), the actual events of the poem never leave the kitchen. (E) is incorrect because, without any direct evidence that the dish-washer is unable to distinguish between reality and fantasy, the similes are best interpreted as merely imaginative descriptions—not hallucinations.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the central tension of the poem. (A) is correct because, as lines 5-6 reveal, the dishwasher is doing housework without paying much attention to it; she is also surrounded by beauty, and as lines 11-12 reveal, “her soul” is awake to the beauty described by the fantastical daydream imagery. (B) is incorrect because both the genie and the crystal boat are images that only appear briefly in the poem, and appear to take attention at different times rather than to compete for divided attention. (C) is not correct because the dish-washer only imagines music and boats rather than composing or building them. (D) is incorrect because, while the dish-washer is washing dishes, her attention is never drawn to washing her hands. (E) is incorrect because the dish-washer is daydreaming about magical events, not past events, as “reminiscing” suggests.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify a specific, named literary device. (C) is correct because personification attributes a human quality to a non-human thing, and “the breeze” is being described as “a stranger to this town,” as if it were a person who was visiting. (A) might be tempting if you interpret “embodiment” to mean that “dream” took the form of a human-like body, but an “embodiment” can be any tangible form; in this case, it’s a “plume of steam.” (B) might be tempting if you imagine the “dish-washer” is an appliance rather than a person, but the poem as a whole suggests she is actually a person washing dishes in a sink. (D) is incorrect because the tumblers do not need to be alive to bob up and down. (E) is incorrect because, while the “crystal boat” gives a new form to non-human things, the new form is not a human form.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to make inferences about an author’s purpose in composing a poem. (A) is correct because the entire poem is about the dish-washer finding new ways to see an unexciting task she most likely performs frequently; her imagination lets her hear music hear music when her tumblers bob around and see an “embodiment of dream” when steam rises from her dish water. (B) is not correct because nowhere in the poem is it stated or implied that housework must be done efficiently, and the dish-washer never shows caution or even considerable effort in performing her task. (C) is incorrect because the fairy-tale creatures mentioned in the poem are presented as figments of the dish-washer’s imagination. (D) is incorrect because the poem does not give enough information to support this strong conclusion. One chore doesn’t suggest a tedious life, and one episode of daydreaming does not suggest an obsession with fantasies. (E) is incorrect because the poem does not suggest that the dish-washer’s daydreams make her unproductive. In fact, the line “Her hands worked on with even rise and fall” suggests she was working at a steady pace in spite of her daydreams.
The Correct Answer is (E) — (E)—This question requires you to determine how a specific word choice takes on a special meaning in context, beyond its conventional senses. “Situation” is a very common word with many possible meanings, so it’s important to carefully analyze its context. The first sentence speaks to Sir Walter’s “vanity of person and situation.” The phrase “vanity of person” seems like it means excessive pride in appearance, which is supported by the remarks immediately following the paragraph’s first sentence. Sir Walter is described as being formerly “handsome,” currently “very fine,” and concerned with his appearance. The second half of the paragraph stresses that he is “delighted with the place he [holds] in society.” That very strongly suggests that “situation” refers to his “place … in society.” Thus, (E) is correct. (A), (B), (C), are incorrect because, while they all refer to things that could be described as “situations,” the passage doesn’t tell us anything about Sir Walter’s home, job, or income. (D) may be tempting because the passage does suggest that Sir Walter has a “personal problem” in that he hasn’t remarried, and that he “prides himself on remaining single for his dear daughters’ sake”—however, he seems to be making that up, having been rejected by some women he wanted to marry, so he’s evidently not proud of his problem.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a challenging sentence. This complex, irony-laden sentence is best understood when broken down in smaller parts. The phrase, “His good looks and his rank had one fair claim on his attachment” means that Sir Walter’s love for (or “attachment” to) his own appearance and status could perhaps be justified in one way (that is, they “had one fair claim”). The next part of the sentence, “since to them he must have owed a wife,” just means that Sir Walter’s looks and rank drew his wife to him. The sentence’s final part, “of very superior character to any thing deserved by his own,” is a little tricky because of the ambiguous words “his own.” In context, it makes the most sense for “his own” to refer to Sir Walter’s character. Therefore, (B) is correct because the final part of the sentence suggests that Sir Walter’s looks and rank enabled him to marry someone with a better character than he had. (A) is incorrect because it introduces the idea of Sir Walter’s debts to his parents, an idea which doesn’t come up in the passage. (C) is incorrect because it contradicts the passage’s earlier statements affirming Sir Walter’s good looks and baronetcy. (D) is incorrect because it makes Lady Elliot the one who had a “fair claim” and “deserved” something, but it’s Sir Walter’s good looks a rank that had a “fair claim” on his marriage, and Sir Walter’s poor character “deserved” much less than Lady Elliot’s “very superior character.” (E) is incorrect because, while Sir Walter genuinely is flawed and Lady Elliot was “not the very happiest being in the world” (lines 21-22) during her marriage, these ideas are not the topic of this particular sentence.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify specific, named literary devices in the passage. (C) is correct because the words “no matter of indifference” are a major understatement when applied to Lady Elliot’s attitude about her own death, suggesting merely that it wasn’t the sort of thing that she didn’t care about. (A) is incorrect because hyperbole is the opposite literary device, involving overstatement rather than understatement. (B) is incorrect because “oxymoron” refers to a paradoxical phrase, like “tiny giant.” (D) is incorrect because an epithet, in epic poetry, is a special adjective repeatedly used to describe someone. (E) is incorrect because a synonym is a word with a similar meaning to another word.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because of the phrase in parentheses, “having met with one or two private disappointments in very unreasonable applications” (lines 49-50). We can infer that the “very unreasonable applications” were proposals of marriage to people who were unlikely to accept—and that their rejections were “private disappointments” for Sir Walter. That implies that, whatever Sir Walter’s public persona may indicate about his unwillingness to remarry, in truth he has tried unsuccessfully to marry again. (A) is incorrect because there’s no evidence that Sir Walter is in financial trouble. (B) is incorrect because there’s also no evidence pointing to Sir Walter’s heavy grief. (D) is incorrect because the passage doesn’t suggest that Lady Russell actually wanted to marry Sir Walter—merely that their marriage might have been “anticipated … by their acquaintance” (lines 37-38). In other words, they didn't marry even though their long and close relationship might have suggested they would. (E) is incorrect because the narrator states that women in this society who remarry are often questioned about their motivations but implies that this is not the case for men; indeed, the fact that “Sir Walter’s continuing in singleness requires explanation” suggests that it was perhaps more scandalous not to remarry.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to make inferences about the point of view of a character in the passage. (D) is correct because it makes the most sense in context for the remark about the “inferior value” of Sir Walter’s other children to be the conceited Sir Walter’s own idea. The preceding sentences express his view of Elizabeth, his favorite, and this sentence begins by expressing his view of Mary, so it’s only logical to assume that this clause also expresses his perspective. (A) is incorrect because it doesn’t make sense in context for Mary to regard herself and Anne as of “very inferior value,” or at least not in those terms. We don’t have any evidence suggesting that Mary has an especially poor self-image. Even if she did, the callous language of “value,” which precedes a remark about Mary having “a little artificial importance,” suggests the cold, appraising eye of an outside observer rather than a self-description. (B) is incorrect because Lady Russell is deceased, and in any case appears to have cared for all of her children. (C) is incorrect because Charles Musgrove hasn’t even been introduced yet at this point in the paragraph and isn’t described in enough detail for us to draw conclusions about what he thinks. (E) is incorrect for reasons similar to (A); there is no suggestion that Anne has such a dim view of herself, and there is clear evidence that these sentences express Sir Walter’s perspective.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to identify the tone of the passage. (B) is correct because “pointed” suggests particularly incisive comments, and “knowing” implies worldliness, both of which are evident. For example, when the narrator remarks that “Anne, with an elegance of mind and sweetness of character, which must have placed her high with any people of real understanding, was nobody with either father or sister,” she both demonstrates a sense of how “people of real understanding” see the world, and sharply implies that Sir Walter and Mary are not such people. (A), “sympathetic and generous,” can be ruled out because the narrator makes many sarcastic remarks at the expense of just about everyone mentioned. (C) is incorrect because the narrator seems to know a great deal about everyone mentioned (even having enough information to discern between popular misconception and actual truth). (D) is incorrect because “removed and impartial” means unconcerned with taking a position; here the narrator has many definite positions about the character of the people being discussed. (E), “crude and insulting,” is incorrect because the narrator’s words, while potentially hurtful to the people described, are nevertheless wrapped up in a sophisticated verbal package that doesn’t fit the descriptor “crude.”
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to consider how the author reveals aspects of a character through description, subtle word choices, or relationships with other characters. (A) is correct because the narrator states in lines 16-19 that Lady Elliot’s “judgement and conduct, if they might be pardoned the youthful infatuation which made her Lady Elliot, had never required indulgence afterwards.” In other words, her “youthful infatuation” was the only time she’d done anything requiring the “indulgence,” or forgiveness, of others. (B) is incorrect because there’s no evidence of Lady Elliot’s “lifelong sense of adventure and romance.” (C) is incorrect because all of the evidence in the passage points towards Lady Elliot’s marriage to Sir Walter as a misjudgement. We know from lines 12-15 that Sir Walter owes his marriage to his looks and rank, not his character, and Lady Elliot’s “infatuation” is something to be “pardoned,” implying that it was a mistake. (D), like (A), is incorrect because all of the evidence points to the opposite conclusion; on the whole, Lady Elliot is “sensible” (line 16). (E) is incorrect because Lady Elliot lives for seventeen years after her marriage to Sir Walter.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to find direct textual evidence for a character’s motivations, and omit any choices that are not in the text. Sir Walter’s favorite daughter is Elizabeth. (D) is correct because the evidence in lines 56-57 shows that Elizabeth is “very handsome, and very like himself [Sir Walter].” The passage doesn’t indicate that Elizabeth has “artificial importance.” That’s a description of Mary, who is of “very inferior value” compared with Elizabeth, and therefore not Sir Walter’s favorite daughter. This means that the (A), (B), (C), and (E) answers must all be incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to analyze the structure of the passage. (A) is correct because the passage begins by describing Sir Walter and moves successively through accounts of Lady Elliot, Lady Russell, Elizabeth, Mary, and Anne. (B) is incorrect because, while vanity is a trait of Sir Walter’s, the passage isn’t focused on the folly of vanity as such, nor does it transition from this to praise of intellectual independence. (C) is incorrect because the passage doesn’t begin with an account of Lady Russell or end with an account of Lady Elliot. (D) is incorrect because we don’t learn anything about Sir Walter’s life was like before his baronetcy. (E) is incorrect because public opinion is mentioned throughout the passage, and secrets only come up in the middle (lines 49-50).
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the main idea of the poem. (A) is correct because the poem clearly addresses the idea of “loving two equally,” and the speaker has very powerful feelings for each man—Damon subdued her heart, Alexis gained her love, and her feelings are a fever in her blood. Lines 11-12 effectively express the idea that her feelings are both equal and very powerful. (B) is incorrect because a major premise of the poem, established in lines 1-2, is that the speakers love is divided equally between two men. She seems to suffer for that reason, and doesn’t like dividing her love, but it’s never implied that her love is false. (C) is incorrect because the poem makes it clear that the speaker does love Alexis and Damon equally. The poem never discusses whether loving two men is a selfish act. (D) is incorrect because the first stanza explains that she would not have loved either men so much if she had not loved the other—thus, her love was actually amplified by being divided, not lessened. (E) is incorrect because, although the poem alludes to Cupid, a mythical figure associated with love, it never suggests that the speaker’s love is not true—indeed, by asking Cupid to take a dart back, the speaker implies that her love is the very same love that that the mythical Cupid inspires.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to determine which word is correct in the specific context of the passage. (B) is correct because “between” indicates a connection or relationship involving two parties. In this poem, the speaker’s love is divided “between” two lovers. “‘Twixt” is an abbreviation of “betwixt,” which is an archaic form of “between.” (A) is incorrect because the speaker’s love is not being divided “over” or “on top of” two lovers. (C) is incorrect because the speaker’s love is not being divided “across” or “all through” or “over the length of” two lovers. (D) is incorrect because the speaker’s love is not being divided “under” or “at a lower level” or “directly below” two lovers. (E) is incorrect because the speaker’s love is not being divided “in” or “inside of” or “within” two lovers.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. “Scorn” is part of a parallel structure in which the speaker expresses the idea that when one of the two men she loves is around, she wants the other one. When only Alexis is there, she pines for Damon; when only Damon is there, Damon gets nothing but her “scorn.” (C) is the correct answer because the sense of “rejection,” or the spurning of Damon’s affections because the speaker is thinking of Alexis, best fits the context. (A) is incorrect because “punishment” or abuse is too strong a word to describe the speaker’s rejection. (B), “mockery,” implies insults and taking pleasure in cruel teasing that are not supported. (D), “derision,” is incorrect for reasons similar to those for (B); there’s no support for the idea that the speaker is making fun of or ridiculing Damon. (E) is incorrect because “abhorrence” is a very strongly negative word, and the context does not support such a powerfully negative feeling.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze the purpose of the lines and rhyme scheme in the second stanza. Consider the effect of the author’s choice in comparison to other possible choices. (B) is correct because the rhyme scheme of the second stanza mirrors or reflects the alternation of the speaker’s love and affection for Alexis and Damon. Lines 7 and 9, which speak about Alexis, end with the rhyme “is” and “miss.” Lines 8 and 10, which speak about Damon, end with the rhyme “mourn” and “scorn.” (A) is incorrect because the speaker does not alternate between loving both of the men and neither of the men; she alternates between loving each of the men. (C) is incorrect because the speaker does not alternate between love and suffering: she experiences both at once, suffering from loving too much. (D) is incorrect because the “passage of time” is not addressed in the second stanza. (E) is incorrect because “deception” is not addressed in the second stanza.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning of a line in the poem. (D) is correct because the speaker asks Cupid to “cure … this restless fever in my blood” by taking back one of his darts. Cupid is a god of love, and his darts cause people to fall in love—thus, we can infer that the “fever” that would be cured by Cupid taking back a dart is love. (A) is incorrect because the speaker is not literally ill. (B) is incorrect because the speaker does not indicate that she is embarrassed or shameful. (D) may be tempting because, if the speaker could love only one of the two men she loves, she might also cure her loneliness by being with the other; however, the “fever” does not represent loneliness or indecision, and those are not the effects of Cupid’s arrows. Those are just side-effects of the main affliction: loving two men at once. (E) is incorrect because, while it wouldn’t be unreasonable for the speaker to be upset with Cupid for making her fall in love with two men, that idea is never clearly suggested—but her love for the two men is the main subject of the poem. The word “this” in “this restless fever” suggests that the fever is something already discussed, like her love, not something unnamed.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify specific, named literary devices in the passage. (A) is correct because the speaker addresses Cupid through epithet, naming him with a descriptive phrase (like a nickname) about a quality, in line 13: “thou mighty winged god.” The speaker also addresses Cupid through apostrophe, an exclamation addressed to a person (typically one who is dead or absent), in line 16: “But which, O Cupid, wilt thou take?” (B) is incorrect because hyperbole is the use of exaggerated statements and figurative language. The reference to a “golden-pointed dart” is a figurative expression for love, but the words addressed to Cupid aren’t hyperbolic. (C) is incorrect because antithesis is a strong and direct opposition and symbolism is the representation of a hidden meaning by something else. There is an opposition between the speaker’s desire to be cured and her desire to continue to love both men, and Cupid and his arrows are themselves symbols for love, but Cupid isn’t addressed through those devices. (D) is incorrect because synecdoche is calling a whole thing by the name of a part (or vice versa), and personification is the description of non-human things in human terms. Cupid is a personification of love, but there is no synecdoche in this stanza. (E) is incorrect because there are no similes—comparisons using “like” or “as”—in this stanza.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a stanza in the poem. A “dilemma” is a situation with two possible outcomes that are both equally unappealing. (A) is correct because the stanza opens with the speaker begging to be cured of her divided love, but ends with her dreading the loss of either love. The speaker asks Cupid to cure her of this “restless fever in her blood” which represents her love of both men. She then exclaims, “But which, O Cupid, wilt thou take? / If Damon’s, all my hopes are crossed; / Or that of my Alexis, I am lost.” In other words, she wants to be cured of loving both men; however, she also wants to keep loving each of them, because losing her love for either would ruin her life. (B) is incorrect because, while the first stanza suggests she would not have loved either man without the other, the third stanza does not imply that the speaker will lose both men if she ceases to love one of them. (C) is incorrect because the speaker asks for Cupid to take back a dart—not to strike either man with a new one. (D) is incorrect because it describes the dilemma in stanza two, not the dilemma in stanza three. (E) is incorrect because, while the poem as a whole suggests that the speaker does suffer from rather than enjoy loving, that’s more of a contradiction than a dilemma (if you assume that love should feel good), and it’s not the main topic of this stanza.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the tone of the poem. (C) is correct because the tone of the poem is “ambivalent,” as the speaker is torn between mixed feelings. She loves Alexis, but she also loves Damon; she wants to be cured of her lovesickness, but she also doesn’t want to give up either of her loves. (A) is incorrect because “heartbroken” connotes despair that comes from loss or rejection; the speaker hasn’t lost or been rejected by either of her loves—she’s tormented by her divided feelings. (B) is incorrect because “triumphant” connotes victorious pride and happiness. The speaker is not bragging about two men vying for her affection. (D) is incorrect because “courageous” connotes fearlessness and valiant action. The speaker is paralyzed by doubt and is asking Cupid for help rather than taking a strong stand herself. (E) may be tempting because people often confuse “ambivalent” and “apathetic,” but while both can be associated with indecisiveness, ambivalence connotes caring too much about both to go either way, while apathy connotes not caring much either way. A poem entitled “On Being Kind of Into Two People About the Same Amount I Guess” might have an apathetic tone, but the feelings expressed in this poem are much too strong to describe the tone as “apathetic.”
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the feelings, intentions, opinions, and identity of the speaker of the poem. (C) is correct because the speaker loves two men, which means her affections are “divided”, and loving both of them makes her very unhappy, or “tortured.” (A) is incorrect because the poem does not say that the speaker is deceiving either Damon or Alexis, which means she’s not “unfaithful.” She is also not remorseful” because she has not done anything that she regrets. (B) is incorrect because the speaker is not an observer. Because the poem is narrated in the first person, the speaker is the woman equally in love with Damon and Alexis. (D) is incorrect because the speaker is not an allegorical figure, representing the idea of loving two men. She is a specific person, struggling with her feelings. (E) is incorrect is incorrect for the same reason: the speaker is one specific person, not a figure symbolizing an abstract idea like love.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to identify the central theme of the passage. (D) is correct because the passage consistently compares the narrator’s experience of visiting the lake as a child to the experience of returning as an adult with his own child. (A) is incorrect because the passage does not compare routes to the lake. (B) is incorrect. The narrator does compare his experience of leaving the house quietly with his son’s experience, but this is only one example of the overall theme identified in (D). (C) is incorrect because, although the narrator feels that he has assumed the role his father used to play, he does not express any fear about this. This is also an example of the broader theme in (D). (E) is incorrect because the passage spends much more time contemplating how memories compare to the present than the accuracy of those memories, which is only briefly mentioned before the narrator’s memories are described at length and in great detail.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because “holy” is used to show that the narrator revered the lake and regarded it as special and wonderful. The narrator’s comparison of the lake to a cathedral in line 26, and the fact that its natural beauty struck him as “infinitely remote and primeval” (line 34) support this interpretation of the line. (A) is incorrect because nothing in the passage suggests the narrator’s fondness for the lake was “misplaced” or undeserved. (B) incorrectly takes “holy” to mean that the place must actually have been consecrated for organized worship. The word “holy” does not necessarily connote actual consecration, and no church camp is mentioned in the passage; the reference to a “cathedral” in line 27 is metaphorical. (D), like (B), incorrectly draws a link between “holy” and an actual religious institution, which is never mentioned in the passage. (E) incorrectly conflates the narrator’s sense of the lake as a holy place and his sense that he has “become” his father to infer that the narrator has a specific religious belief in reincarnation, but this phrase does not specifically relate to reincarnation, and the narrator seems to be expressing a strange feeling that he has become his father rather than a specific belief.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. (D) is correct because the narrator wonders “how time would have marred” the lake (lines 4-5), and feels sure that its natural purity will have been spoiled by a “tarred road” (line 8) and perhaps other artificial things. (A) and (E) might be tempting because of their negative connotations. It’s clear that the narrator is speculating about how changes might have turned something he loved into something that will be a disappointment; however, this word describes the place, not the narrator’s own feelings, so these choices don’t make sense in this sentence. When (B), “forlorn,” is being used to describe a place, it connotes abandonment. (C), “uninhabited,” shares that connotation. Neither of those choices makes sense in the context of the sentence because the “tarred road” is given as one example of how the lake might be “desolated.” Paving a road is not one way of making a place empty or abandoned. Rather, it would generally be associated with more people and additional traffic.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning or effect of an image in the passage. (C) is correct because this image uses the common, idiomatic sense of “grooves” as routines or habits that are like the grooves that form on frequently-travelled paths or dirt roads. (A) incorrectly associates “grooves” with music, perhaps thinking of the grooves in a vinyl record or “groove” in the sense of a rhythm. The passage does not, however, suggest that his memory was guided back by thinking of the music of childhood; indeed, there is a theme of silence. (B) is incorrect because the sentences around this image show the narrator reaching back into his memory simply by thinking, not by practicing a skill. (D) may be tempting because the narrator is travelling to and reminiscing about a lake. However, the “grooves” are a symbol that represent something about the narrator’s own mind—not a stand-in for a geographical feature. (E), like (D) connects this image with another element from the passage, but once again a physical feature external to the narrator is selected. A “well-worn oarlock” could also be a good symbol for the reminiscences the narrator is discussing, but the symbol of “grooves” represents the idea itself—not other symbols for the same idea.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to analyze the purpose of the quoted lines. Consider the effect of the author’s choice in comparison to other possible choices. (D) is correct because the fact that the narrator tries not to make any sound in a place he compares to a “cathedral” strongly suggests that he sees the lake as a sacred or “holy” place (line 5) he must not disturb. (A) and (B) are not supported by this excerpt. (C) is incorrect. Although the narrator took care when leaving the camp not to wake up his father, this excerpt shows him out on the lake in a canoe, far from where his father might hear him. (E) incorrectly takes the author’s carefulness as evidence of skill rather than of reverence for the silent lake.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (B) is correct because the narrator is lying awake and hearing his son sneak out of the camp, just as his own father presumably listened to him sneak out as a boy. (A) is incorrect; although there is some nostalgia in the speaker’s looking back on his childhood, he does not characterize his childhood as “lost” or express grief over the passage of time. (C) incorrectly characterizes sneaking out of the camp as reckless, although nothing in the passage suggests heading out early is dangerous. (D) is incorrect: although the narrator did enjoy heading out early in the morning, as described in lines 13-25, lines 40-42 focus on his son, not the narrator himself. (E) is incorrect: the narrator does not express any anger about his son’s sneaking out, nor does he suggest his son has a habit of breaking rules.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to work out the roles of specific words in a complex sentence structure. (B) is correct because the narrator’s point is that, if his son has taken on his own role, then, by analogy, the narrator has taken on his own father’s role. This analogous process is “simple” because both characters are moving back in the same straightforward way, each taking on the role of his father. (A) is incorrect because the narrator and his son are taking on their fathers’ roles, not each other’s. (C) also misunderstands who is taking whose place, suggesting that the narrator’s son resembles the narrator’s father. In fact, the narrator’s son resembles the narrator, and the narrator resembles his own father. (D) is contradicted by the main idea of the passage: a generational gap describes two generations having trouble understanding each other because their experiences are so different, but the profoundly similar childhood experiences of the narrator and his son suggest that they have a lot in common. (E) incorrectly suggests that the narrator is literally confusing himself with his father as a result of memory loss. The narrator is in fact describing a “sensation” or “feeling” that he knows is an “illusion,” not an actual belief.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to identify the lines that foreshadow changes to the lake. (B) is correct because, in these lines, the narrator wonders what bad things may have happened to the lake since he was there as a child. He specifically worries that an artificial, modern “tarred road” may have replaced the more natural, rustic dirt road that used to lead there. This correctly anticipates the discovery in lines 35-36 that there is now a tarred road. (A) incorrectly focuses on the narrator’s son, not the lake. (C) refers to the lake but does not anticipate changes to it. The lake is not more or less wild since the narrator was last there. (D) incorrectly presents the lines that confirm the change to the lake, not the lines that anticipate this change. (E) confirms that things are “pretty much the same”, which is the opposite of a change.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the genre of the passage. (E), “personal narrative,” is correct because this passage focuses on one person’s experiences and his thoughts about those experiences and is written in a narrative form. (A), “character analysis,” is incorrect because the passage does not analyze the personality of any characters. (B), “allegory,” is incorrect because the characters in this account seem to be people in their own right, not metaphors for broader ideas. (C), “satire,” is incorrect because the passage does not make fun of or attack anything. (D), “interior monologue,” is incorrect because an interior monologue tracks one person’s thoughts in a specific moment, usually showing that person thinking about his or her immediate situation. It is also written in the character’s inner voice, as he “speaks” to himself in his mind. This passage narrates a series of events and includes some of the narrator’s personal reflections on those events, but the narrator also phrases his reflections in terms that wouldn’t make sense for his internal voice. For example, “I wondered how time would have marred this unique, this holy spot” (lines 4-6) sounds like a narrator telling us about his internal thoughts—not his internal monologue. That would simply be the question that he told us he wondered about; “how else would time have marred this unique, holy spot?”
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to parse a specific phrase which expresses a central idea in the poem. (D) is correct because the title explicitly refers to the “living,” and the word “lost” refers to those who have lost standing and reputation, and implied by 13-14, which mention “shame” and “guilt,” 15-16, which refer to the “living lost” as “fallen and branded,” and 30, which states that “all condemn” these people. (A) is incorrect because the “lost” in this case are also “living.” (B) is incorrect because the poem states in the third stanza that those who mourn for the dead will ultimately find solace as a natural result of the grieving process, which “shall heal the tortured mind at last” (line 4). (C) is incorrect because there’s no mention in the poem of anyone being abandoned. (E) is incorrect because the grieving mothers and widows mentioned in the first stanza are only being compared to the poem’s main subject—they are not the main subject themselves.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the groups that are directly addressed by the speaker in this poem. (C) is correct because the speaker directly addresses those who grieve for the dead in the first and third stanzas (as in line 17, “Weep, ye who sorrow for the dead”), and those who grieve for the living in the fourth stanza (as in lines 25-6, “But ye, who for the living lost, that agony in secret bear”), but never addresses those who have forgotten the dead. (A) and (B) are incorrect because they each only include one of the two groups the speaker addresses directly, while (D) and (E) are incorrect because they both include a group that is never mentioned or addressed by the speaker.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to make inferences about the author’s purpose in selecting the image of flowers. (C) is correct because flowers tend to decay shortly after being clipped, and in this context, the bride “dost wear the widow’s veil”—that is, her husband is dead—”before the wedding flowers are pale!”—that is, so shortly after the wedding that the flowers are still fresh. (A) is incorrect because the flowers, not the bride, are described as pale. Further, while the word “pale” is associated with both death and grief, the flowers are actually described as “not yet pale.” (B) is incorrect. A withering flower could be interpreted as a metaphor for the death of a loved one; however, in this stanza, the image that represents death is “the widow’s veil.” The dying flowers in this stanza symbolize the passage of time. (D) is incorrect. While a flower that never wilted might represent enduring love, the poem does not say that the flowers it mentions will never wilt. It only says that they haven’t gone pale yet. (E) is incorrect because there is no other floral imagery in the poem.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to consider the structure of the poem and the specific senses and roles of words within that structure. (E) is correct because lines 1-4 and lines 5-8 are statements of address to two different kinds of people, and the words “Matron” and “Bride” name the kinds of people the speaker is addressing. (A) might be tempting because hearts are a common symbol for love, but “love” in line 1 serves to illustrate the relationship that the person being addressed had to those she is mourning, while “heart” in line 7 refers to a person’s emotional core (for a heart to endure is for a person to survive great emotional distress) and serves to illustrate an idea about suffering. (B) is incorrect because the word “children” refers to those who died without referring to their deaths, while “widow’s veil” indicates the death of the bride’s husband. (C) may be tempting because a “grave” and “wedding flowers” are both associated with ceremonies; however, the “grave” represents the death and burial of the matron’s children, while “wedding flowers” represent the recent marriage of the bride to her husband, which are very different kinds of ceremonies. (D) may be tempting because “last” and “endure” can be synonyms, but in this context “last” is being used as an adjective meaning “final,” not a verb with a similar sense to “endure.”
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to determine which one of several senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. Every choice provides a possible meaning for “shrink” in some context. (C) is correct because “shrink” has the sense of having an aversion to something or begin unwilling to do it in this context. The speaker is discussing those who feel the “shame” and “guilt” of those they love, after their loved ones have become “fallen and branded.” It makes sense that they would not want to name shameful loved-ones. (A) is incorrect because “dwindle” means literally to decrease in size or amount, which is not logical in this context. (B) is tempting, because one can imagine that the mourners would “become withdrawn” when thinking or speaking about their loved ones. However, plugging “become withdrawn” into the poem produces the phrase “become withdrawn to name,” which does not make sense. (D) is incorrect for reasons which are similar to those for (A); the literal sense of being “reduced” doesn’t make sense in this context. However, “are reduced to name” could also mean something like “are so reduced in circumstances that they must name.” That interpretation may be more tempting, but still doesn’t quite fit the context: the mourners are clearly emotionally affected by shame, but there’s no implication that the circumstances of their lives are otherwise reduced in a way that would force them to name their loved-ones. (E) is incorrect because, in context, the mourners are the subjects. It might make sense to suggest that they “are diminished” by the act of naming “fallen and branded” loved ones, but it’s not clear who or what they would “diminish” in this context.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a sentence in the poem. (A) is correct because, according to lines 25-26, the people being addressed “bear” an “agony” “in secret.” Lines 27-28 ask who will console them; by asking this as a rhetorical question, the speaker implies that no one will console them. (B) is incorrect because there’s no evidence here that such people are physically incapable of being consoled; rather, the lines suggest that nobody wants to console them. (C) is incorrect because this interpretation more closely matches an idea expressed in the previous stanza. (D) is incorrect because the passage doesn’t discuss personal growth. (E) is incorrect because the passage’s rhetorical question suggests that consolation from another is unlikely.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to identify specific, named literary devices in the passage. (B) is correct. An antithesis presents a contrast between two things, emphasizing this contrast by using parallel language to describe the two things. In lines 29-30, “grief for your sake” is opposed to “scorn for them”. In other words, someone can only feel sorry that you have a shameful loved-one if that person thinks your loved one is shameful. Feeling sorry for you means looking down on your loved one. The author emphasizes this tension through parallel language: “grief” contrasts with “scorn”, just as “for your sake” contrasts with “for them”. (A) is incorrect because a simile is a “like” or “as” comparison—for instance, “cool as a cucumber.” (C) is incorrect because blank verse is unrhymed iambic pentameter. Blank verse does not rhyme, and iambic pentameter has five iambic feet (two-syllable chunks with one unstressed syllable followed by a stressed syllable), adding up to ten syllables per line. The lines in this poem, however, are only eight syllables long and they rhyme. This poem is in rhymed iambic tetrameter. (D) is incorrect because an onomatopoeia is a word that’s meant to imitate a sound: “boom,” “zap,” and “meow” are some examples. (E) is incorrect because a caesura is a pause in the middle of a line of metered verse, like in Alexander Pope’s line, “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” In 29-30 of “The Living Lost,” the two lines flow smoothly without any pauses as would be indicated by punctuation.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning of figurative language in the passage. (B) is correct because the “gloom” over the “world of spirits” stands in contrast to “the hope to meet when life is past” mentioned in line 23. That “hope to meet” is an allusion to a pleasant afterlife for “the dearest” (line 4) departed, whose “worth” (line 22) can be pleasantly recalled, suggesting an unpleasant fate in the afterlife for the “living lost” who are “fallen and branded.” (A) is incorrect because the lines seem to represent a fear of the shameful fate that awaits loved ones in death, and there is no evidence that the speaker is implying the mourners wish to see their loved ones meet that fate. (C) is incorrect because the speaker doesn’t see death as necessarily gloomy: the “hope to meet when life is past” suggests that there the speaker expects solace for some in the “world of spirits.” (D) is incorrect because an uncertainty about life after death would presumably also disturb those who mourn the dead, but this “gloom” is presented as a unique fear for those who mourn the living. (E) is incorrect because “the world of spirits” refers to another world where spirits go, not to spirits in this world.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to analyze the structure of the poem. (D) is correct because stanzas one and three address those who mourn the dead, while stanzas two and four address those who mourn the living. The first stanza observes that there are those who weep for the dead and feel that there is no worse pain, while the second stanza claims that the pain of those who mourn for the living is even worse. The third stanza observes that those who weep for the dead can find consolation in the honor of those they mourn and the pleasantness of their memory, while the fourth claims that there is no such solace for those who mourn the living, because their mourning is itself a shameful secret—and rather than having pleasant memories of their loved one’s past to console them, they have fears for their loved one’s gloomy and uncertain future. (A) is incorrect because the rhyme scheme does not vary between these stanzas. Each stanza has the same alternating rhyme scheme. (B) is incorrect because, while the second and fourth stanzas offer somewhat different perspectives on the nature of mourning, they do not address the nature of death. (C) is incorrect because only the first stanza mentions any “characters,” in the persons of the matron and the bride; the second and fourth stanzas do not name any alternative characters, either from different or similar walks of life. (E) is incorrect because, while the third stanza does offer ideas about how those who mourn the dead can move beyond the pain of mourning, the second and fourth stanzas do not offer a “different solution.” The speaker does not suggest any hope of relief for those who mourn the living; indeed, that is one reason why the speaker suggests those who mourn the living lost experience “pangs of keener wo.”
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify an instance of a certain type of figurative language. A euphemism is a softer or less “in-your-face” way of describing topics that people find rude, sad, or uncomfortable. (E) is correct because “those who sleep in earth” provides a more roundabout way of describing the dead, who are not literally “sleeping.” (A) is incorrect because “the dearest and the last” is a straightforward description of a mother’s last child. (B) is incorrect because, while it expresses a potentially uncomfortable idea, it does so in direct terms. (C) is incorrect because “the world’s cold pity” doesn’t attempt to mask an unpleasant subject. (D) is incorrect because “sorrow for the dead” is a straightforward description of an unpleasant feeling, rather than a polite substitute for such a description.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze the purpose of the quoted lines. Consider the effect of the author’s choice in comparison to other possible choices. (B) is correct because each of Second Lord’s asides either mocks or undermines Cloten’s preceding statements. (A) is incorrect because Cloten never realizes that Second Lord is mocking him, and while Cloten does mention a conflict between him and an opponent at the beginning of this passage and whoever the woman he speaks of chose over him, Second Lord’s asides in this excerpt did not cause that earlier conflict and thus do not expose Cloten’s affinity for it. (C) is incorrect because it is never stated or implied that Second Lord has any sort of allegiance to Cloten’s foes. Although Second Lord thinks little of Cloten, that does not necessarily mean he is on the side of Cloten’s enemies. (D) is incorrect because even though First Lord is pandering to Cloten and is the only one Cloten speaks to in this passage, this is most likely due to the mere fact that Second Lord speaks exclusively in asides (which Cloten cannot hear), making it impossible for Cloten to engage with.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (B) is correct because the majority of First Lord’s lines are dedicated to appealing to Cloten’s ego, no matter how outlandish or deluded, which aligns with the meaning of “obsequious”, meaning attentiveness to the point of excess, and “flattery”, meaning insincere praise. (A) is incorrect because First Lord never criticizes Cloten, but instead consistently agrees with and supports Cloten’s claims. (C) is not correct because First Lord only agrees with Cloten. (D) is incorrect because First Lord is not challenging what Second Lord is saying, which would qualify as a “counterpoint”, but instead agreeing with whatever Cloten says. (E) is incorrect because it implies there is a second meaning underneath First Lord’s statement’s literal meaning, while First Lord’s statements are direct and simple; for example, his claim “Sir, as I told you always, her beauty and her brain go not together” means only that the woman’s beauty and intelligence are not equal.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to determine how a specific word choice takes on a special meaning in context, beyond its conventional senses. (A), “change,” is correct, because we can infer from context that First Lord is urging Cloten to put on fresh cloths. While urging Cloten to change his shirt, First Lord observes that Cloten “reek[s] as a sacrifice,” or smells bad after his difficult fight, presumably because he is soaked with sweat. Cloten can get rid of this bad smell by changing his shirt. (B) is incorrect because, while stealing a shirt would give Cloten a shirt to use instead of his current one, Cloten is characterized as a land-holder who has two lords buttering him up, suggesting a degree of wealth and status that’s inconsistent with a need to steal a shirt. (C) is incorrect because Cloten’s shirt isn’t physically damaged, it just reeks, so there is no need for him to mend it. (D) may be tempting for a couple of reasons: “slip” and “shift” can both refer to a type of shirt, a long undershirt typically worn by women, and “slip” can mean “to get out of.” However, “slip” is being used as a verb in this context, so sense that is a type of shirt doesn’t fit, “shift” doesn’t precisely share the sense of “to get out of,” and even if it did, people of wealth and status would be more likely to change a dirty shirt than to just take one off and go around shirtless. (E) is incorrect because, while that would be one way to get rid of the reeking shirt, First Lord asking Cloten to lend his soiled shirt would tend to imply that First Lord wanted to borrow it, but First Lord thinks it reeks.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a statement in the passage. (E) is correct because in the line quoted, First Lord sarcastically states that Cloten’s enemy must be “a throughfare” (a road or passageway) for steel (that is, for a sword) if he is unharmed. In other words, the only way he could be unharmed is if a sword could pass through harmlessly through his body. (A) is incorrect because it is never stated how Cloten’s opponent acted during the fight. (B) is not correct because the line focuses on whether someone was hurt after swordplay, not on matters of honor. (C) is incorrect because, while First Lord does state that Cloten’s opponent must be hurt if he is not dead, he does not mention whether the opponent flees. (D) is not correct because this line does not refer to any fleeing or fear of death.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. In lines 19-20, First Lord says that Cloten’s opponent “gave [him] some ground”—in other words, retreated. Lines 21-22 show Second Lord’s rebuttal: that the opponent retreated by “as many inches as you have oceans.” (C) is correct because Cloten owns zero oceans—after all, no one can own an ocean—which implies that the opponent retreated by zero inches. (A) is incorrect because it is never stated or implied that Cloten would like to own any oceans, and a sarcastic remark from Second Lord about how many oceans Cloten currently has does not mean Cloten desires to own more, if any. (B) is incorrect because even though land holdings are briefly discussed, they are not the central idea here. Second Lord only mentions land holdings as part of a pun when he says that Cloten’s opponent “gave [him] ground”—in other words, added space between himself and Cloten by backing away. The conversation is not actually about how much land anyone owns. (D) is incorrect because the only mention of an ocean comes from Second Lord, who only sarcastically implies that Cloten has no oceans. There is no suggestion that Cloten’s opponent fled over an ocean. (E) is incorrect for the same reason as (B): the “land” that Second Lord mentions is just part of a pun about Cloten’s opponent running away and does not relate to any land Cloten might own in real life.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a phrase in the passage. Most of the choices offer an interpretation of key words in the phrase that could make sense in some context, but don’t match the specific context of the passage. (A) is correct because it properly interprets the phrase “true election” as something like “right choice.” Second Lord expresses his distaste for Cloten throughout this passage, and Cloten has just exclaimed that his beloved chose his rival over him, so it makes sense that Second Lord would think that was the right choice and say so at this moment. (B) is incorrect because it is based on an incorrect assumption that the word “election” implies that Cloten’s beloved must have chosen or appointed Cloten and his rival for some specific role, in this case, to fight for her affection; “election” doesn’t necessarily imply that kind of appointment to a task or post, and there’s no other support for that idea in the passage, though. It can simple mean to make a choice. Indeed, it seems more likely that Cloten fought his rival out of simple jealousy, because his beloved chose the rival over Cloten. (C) is incorrect because it is based on an interpretation of “election” in the sense of a political vote for a public office. That’s the word’s most common contemporary sense, but there’s no support in this context for the idea that a political election is occurring. (D) might be tempting if you misread the quip “if it be a sin to … she is damned” as meaning something like “danged if you do, and danged if you don’t.” That could lead you to interpret the whole sentence as something like “If it’s a sin to make the right choice, she’s damned either way,” implying confusion over an impossible dilemma. However, this quip means something more like “if you could get paid to … she’d be rich.” Or, more specifically, if making the right choice is a sin, she’s damned—because those who sin are damned, and she sinned by making the right choice. (E) is incorrect because, while “true” can mean “honest,” the phrase “make a true election” specifies the making of a choice—not the act of expressing her choice to Cloten.