Question Explanations For
Practice Test 3 (Explanations)
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the tone of the passage. (A) is correct because the speaker uses this poem to tell Death, a powerful and frightening force, to “be not proud.” He calls Death a “slave,” he says that it keeps bad company—”poison, war and sickness”—and he ultimately says “Death, thou shalt die.” These all display a defiant tone. (B) is incorrect because the speaker diminishes Death and claims that Death cannot kill him, indicating his lack of fear. (C) is incorrect because, even though the speaker compares Death to sleep and rest, this comparison is not based on the speaker’s own tiredness, which is never mentioned. (D) is incorrect because the word “skepticism” suggests a cautious and questioning attitude, but in this poem the speaker is not merely questioning Death; he’s convinced that Death will be overcome. (E) is incorrect because the word “whimsy” suggests a light-hearted and carefree attitude. While certain paradoxical lines like “Death, thou shalt die,” can be read as playful, the overall tone does not suggests that the speaker is playfully ribbing Death: he is commanding Death not to be proud, and slinging criticisms to humble death. In other words, he is humiliating Death. Further, while the speaker ultimately concludes that no one needs to fear death, this has the tone of a profound realization—not a carefree observation.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to identify literary devices in the passage by name. (B) is correct because “apostrophe” addresses someone or something directly, usually by name. This whole poem is addressed to the personified concept “Death,” which is repeatedly addressed by name and with the pronoun “thou.” (A) is incorrect because an allegory hides its true political, religious, or moral message behind an image or narrative that seems at first glance to be about something else. An allegory about death would indirectly represent death with something not explicitly acknowledged to be death, but this poem directly addresses death. (C) is incorrect because a euphemism is a soft, polite phrase substituted for something impolite or ugly. Many common euphemisms for death emphasize the passage from one state to the next, as in “passed,” “passed away,” or “passed on.” This technique doesn’t apply to “Death Be Not Proud.” The speaker names death explicitly, and speaks about killing and dying in frank terms. (D) is incorrect. An extended metaphor carries one metaphorical comparison across several lines or perhaps an entire poem. Robert Frost’s “The Road Not Taken,” for instance, uses the image of choosing one of two roads as a metaphor for choices in life. “Death Be Not Proud” doesn’t use this technique; it is structured as an address to a character rather than an extended image. (E) is incorrect. Hyperbole is a greatly exaggerated statement; there’s perhaps a case to be made that “Death, thou shalt die” is a hyperbole, but remember that the question is about the whole poem. Taken as a whole, the poem is not structured like an extended exaggeration.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to analyze an argument in the poem and identify supporting information. (D) is correct because, in lines 3-4, the speaker claims that none of the people whom Death thinks it can kill, including the speaker himself, actually die. The subsequent excerpt which most explicitly supports this claim is in line 13, “we wake eternally.” Here the speaker expresses a belief in an eternal life after death that will negate all of Death’s efforts. (A) may be tempting because it indicates that Death is not “mighty and dreadful,” but that claim is supported by the claim in lines 3-4, rather than supporting that claim. (B) is incorrect because it expresses the idea that the best die young, which does not support the idea that those taken by death aren’t really dead. (C) is incorrect because it expresses the idea that Death has to wait for fate to create the conditions for a death before it can act, which supports the idea that Death isn’t mighty, but not the idea that Death doesn’t actually kill. (E) is incorrect because, while it suggests the ultimate overthrow of death, it does not support the idea that those taken by Death before Death dies don’t die.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to determine the unusual meaning of a common word in the poem. (C) is correct because in line 6 the speaker says that “much pleasure” comes from rest and sleep and that “much more must flow” from Death. In other words, rest and sleep are merely “pictures” or lesser versions of Death, since Death will give “much more” of the same effect. (A) is incorrect because rest and sleep are shown to be different from Death: the speaker says that “much more” pleasure “must flow” from Death than from rest and sleep, which means that they cannot be the same thing. (B) is incorrect because, while the speaker claims that rest and sleep are like death, to brace against something is to prepare to endure it, and implies adversity or pain. The conclusion the speaker draws is that death must be pleasant, so we would have no need to brace ourselves against it. (D) is incorrect because, while the lines in question do use an art-based metaphor, “pictures,” to suggest that rest and sleep are like imitations of death, the use of “pictures” is figurative. (E) is incorrect because the speaker reasons that “much more” pleasure comes from Death than from rest and sleep, which makes them distinguishable from Death.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to analyze an argument in the poem. I, II, and II are all true. I is true because the argument that Death is “slave to fate” (line 9), means that other fated events determine when people die, and thus when Death can act. II is true because the statement that Death dwells with “poison, war, and sickness” (line 10) associates Death with other ignominious (disgraceful, contemptible) forces that Death must dwell with because they are causes of death. III is true because the statement that “poppy and charms can make us sleep as well / And better than thy stroke” means that people know how to use certain plants and other objects to induce sleep, which has already been compared to death. Thus, (E) is correct.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a phrase in the poem. (B) is correct because the phrase “why swell’st thou then” comes after several lines where the speaker has discussed all the reasons that Death may not be as powerful as it seems. In the context of those reasons, this rhetorical question suggests that death has no reason to “swell”—in other words, puff itself up with pride—because it has nothing to be proud of. (A) is incorrect because “ambition” relates to lofty goals, but this poem deals with perceptions of Death, not Death’s plans or goals. (C) is incorrect because the speaker does not imply that Death is resentful of others, even though he implies that others are better than Death. (D) is incorrect because Death is not characterized as particularly ambitious, resentful, or hungry in the poem. (E) is incorrect because, while Death is personified in this poem, his actual physical form and size are never described.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret figurative language. (A) is correct because the narrator is contrasting a single memory of his mother and Peggotty with the more general “blank of [his] infancy”—the general emptiness he finds when he tries to remember being a baby. (B) is incorrect because the narrator tells the audience about two memories he has of childhood, making it impossible for the phrase to mean that he has no childhood memories. (C) is not correct because the narrator does not say anything about, for example, filling in the gaps in his memory with made-up stories or otherwise imposing an interpretation on his childhood. (D) is incorrect because the narrator never comments on how remarkable or unremarkable his childhood was. “Blank” in this context does not mean “bland;” it only refers to the empty spaces in the narrator’s memory. (E) is not correct because the narrator says that these details about his mother and Peggotty “assume a distinct presence before” him—in other words, they are things he remembers clearly, not things he’s making up.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the best description of a character in the passage. (E) is correct because one meaning of “plain” is “unattractive,” and the narrator does describe Peggotty as unattractive: her body has “no shape at all,” her eyes “seemed to darken the whole neighbourhood of her face,” and her cheeks and arms are “hard and red.” The narrator also describes Peggotty as “coarse,” or rough, when he says that her skin was “roughened by needlework.” (A) is incorrect because, while the narrator recalls that Pegotty’s finger was “roughened by needlework,” he recalls its texture because of the way that she used to hold it out for him to grasp when he was toddling between Pegotty and his mother. That is a kind gesture, not an insensitive one. (B) is not correct because, although the narrator remembers Peggotty as literally taller than him, “superior” suggests arrogance or emotional distance. The narrator never suggests that Peggotty was emtionally unavailable or thought of herself as better than him. (C) is incorrect because the recollections the narrator has of Peggotty are mostly about her frightful physical appearance and her helping him to learn how to walk, which aren’t exclusively characteristic of mothers. (D) is incorrect because, while the narrator says that Pegotty has “no shape at all” and eyes that “seemed to darken their whole neighbourhood,” these descriptions aren’t intended to suggest that it was actually difficult to perceive Pegotty’s shape or face; rather, they contrast with the youth and beauty of the narrator’s mother. Further, while the narrator describes Pegotty’s finger as “rough,” her behavior in this excerpt doesn’t seem “stern.”
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 phrase is directly followed with “by stooping down or kneeling on the floor,” which implies the narrator’s mother and Peggotty are lowering themselves to the eye-level the narrator as a small child. (A) is incorrect because the word “dwarfed” implies the narrator’s mother and Peggotty shrank, which opposes a claim that they were “like giants,” or significantly taller than him. (C) is not correct because in context of the phrase, the narrator is describing how his mother and Peggotty looked to him as they were “stooping down or kneeling on the floor,” which only describes a relationship among the narrator and the two women he sees, not the two women he sees and any other adults. (D) is not correct because, although looking at people through a “distorting lens,” such as a backwards telescope, can make them appear smaller, nothing in the passage suggests that the narrator was looking at his mother and Peggotty through such a device. Further, while a “distorting lens” could refer metaphorically to the distorting lens of memory, the “sight” to which the narrator refers is his sight within the memory, not “sight” in the sense of recollection. (E) is incorrect because “groveling” implies a relationship of subservience that isn’t supported by the passage; the “stooping” and “kneeling” described more likely suggest that Pegotty and the narrator’s mother have to stoop and kneel to interact with the narrator than that they are frightened or awe-struck by the narrator—who, after all, is only a very small child in this memory.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze the purpose of the quoted lines. (B) is correct because in this line, the narrator is remembering how Peggotty’s skin felt, specifically comparing her finger to “a pocket nutmeg grater.” A nutmeg grater is an object with a rough surface designed to scrape powder from a seed, so this comparison suggests that Pegotty had rough, scratchy skin. (A) might be tempting because we sometimes use “pocket” as a diminutive adjective—in other words, to indicate that something is small. However, the narrator is comparing Pegotty’s finger—not himself—to the pocket nutmeg grater. (C) may be tempting because the grater does evoke “roughness,” but there’s no other support for the idea that it is meant to evoke the metaphorical “roughness” of a difficulty home life. The specific events recalled by the narrator are actually fairly pleasant. (D) is not correct because, while nutmeg is a spice, the device is mentioned specifically in comparison to Pegotty’s finger, and there’s not literally a nutmeg grater in the narrator’s memory. (E) might be tempting because Pegotty does hold out her finger to the narrator, so you might read “like a pocket nutmeg grater” as meaning that she held out her finger in the same way that she held out a pocket nutmeg grater. However, a close reading of the sentence shows that the comparison is specifically indicating that Pegotty’s finger is “roughened … like a pocket nutmeg grater.”
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify the central theme of the passage. (E) is correct because the narrator spends the first half of the passage sharing memories of his childhood before expressing his trust in his memory because of the “closeness and accuracy” of his childhood observance which he had to draw on. (A) is incorrect because, while the narrator does mention people who cared for him as a child, he mentions it as an example of a clear early memory while making a broader point about memory. (B) is not correct because, while the narrator does discuss children, the narrator does not single out childrens’ proclivity for make-believe. Rather, he suggests that they have a greater capacity for close and accurate observation than most adults. (C) is not correct because, although the narrator does suggest that many adults lose a child’s close observation and strong memory, he mentions that mainly to make the point that he has not lost those qualities, which is why he has such a strong and clear memory of his childhood. (D) is not correct because, while the narrator does briefly acknowledge that his memories could be mistake, he never touches on the subject of lies.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret the literal meaning of a phrase in the passage. (D) is correct because the narrator follows “This may be fancy” with “but,” suggesting a contrast, and then claims that people can remember more about their childhood than they usually think. Therefore, “This may be fancy” probably means the opposite—that childhood memories may not be accurate. If you break down this phrase, you can see why: “This” refers back to the memory presented in the previous paragraph, and “fancy” is used here in its sense of “imagination.” “This may be fancy” therefore means “What I’ve just said might be made up.” (A) and (B) incorrectly take “fancy” in its sense of “complex” or “elevated” and take “This” to refer to the narrator’s writing. The narrator is not wondering whether his style is too “fancy;” he is wondering whether his memories are made up, in the “imaginary” sense of “fancy.” (C) is incorrect because “This may be fancy” refers to the legitimacy of the narrator’s memory he just shared, not the narrator’s skepticism about arguments regarding memory. (E) is incorrect because the detail that the narrator thinks may be “fancy,” or made up, is specifically his memory of how Peggotty’s finger felt. He introduces that detail saying it is an “impression on [his] mind which [he] cannot distinguish from actual remembrance:” in other words, he has the feeling this happened, but he can’t tell whether that feeling is a genuine memory.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. (E) is correct because the narrator is claiming that one view is more accurate than another, so the sense of “correctness” fits nicely. This one might be tricky if you’re thinking of “correctness” in the strictest sense of “truth,” so that something must either be correct or not—and can’t be more or less correct—but “correct” has the sense of “accurate” as well as “true.” (A) and (B) are incorrect because both suggest that there might be something more socially proper about the second statement. “Decency” connotes social and moral acceptability, and “discretion” means something like “tactfulness” or “caution,” and suggests that something must be concealed, or only revealed very carefully. The notion that many adults lack a talent that many children possess actually seems more potentially scandalous or upsetting than the notion that people can develop an exceptional memory, but that is the idea that the narrator says could be said with “more propriety,” so neither of those senses are logical in this comparison. (C) is incorrect because it conflates “propriety” with “property” and therefore “possessions” or “belongings.” If you plug this word into the sentence, you get “it may with greater belonging be said” that one view is correct, which doesn’t make sense. (D) is incorrect. The word “support” implies that there is evidence that observant adults retain this quality from childhood, but the narrator never provides or even mentions such evidence.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because the narrator claims in lines 19-20 that “the power of observation in numbers of very young children” is very strong, and then claims that “grown men” who are “remarkable” in their powers of observation may accurately “be said not to have lost” that “faculty.” In other words, they have retained their childhood powers of observation. (A) is incorrect because the narrator never mentions anything regarding the encouragement of children to be observant of their surroundings. (B) and (D) are in correct because the narrator claims that it’s more proper to say that adults with keen powers of observation retained them from childhood than to say that they developed them—in other words, they maintain rather than develop the talent. (E) is incorrect because, although the narrator mentions “figures” (his mother and Peggotty) in his memory, he never claims that their presence or affection was responsible for his talent of observation.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to analyze an argument in the passage. (B) is correct because the narrator opens the last paragraph by mentioning a “misgiving” or concern he might have has: by presenting his general thoughts about memory and observation, he might be “meandering” or moving away from his main topic. This excerpt is from a fictional autobiography, so the main topic happens to be the narrator’s own life—but you don’t need to know what the main topic is to select the correct answer. All you need to notice is that the narrator concludes that “these conclusions” are on topic because they are based “in part on [his] own experience of [him]self” as a child and adult. Further, he anticipates that readers might notice that he must have been “a child of close observation” to recall his experience with the clarity with which it is related in “this narrative,” and might therefore be skeptical of his story. His conclusion that adults can have very clear memories of their childhoods, along with his claim to have a talent for observation and a keen memory, explain and support a level of detail that otherwise might not make sense. (A) is not correct because, even though the narrator says that he “might” have a misgiving that his comments were “meandering,” the phrase “but that,” which has a sense like “except that,” shows that he does not in fact think such a misgiving is warranted. (C) is incorrect because the narrator doesn’t raise the question of whether his conclusions are “scientific.” (D) is incorrect because it reverses the argument the narrator is making: he uses the “wide-ranging curiosity” of children as evidence for “his thoughts about the power of observation in adults.” This answer flips that, suggesting that his thoughts about adults prove something about children. (E) is incorrect for similar reasons to (C); the narrator says that he “might” have a misgiving, but he doesn’t. Further, the misgiving that he might have is only that his comments were meandering—not that they were disturbing.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the feelings of the speaker of the poem. (C) is correct because the speaker uses language that characterizes the shark as a horrible creature: line 5 tells us that the shark has a “saw pit of mouth” and a “charnel of maw,” and line 7 describes its “ghastly flank.” These words emphasize how scary and disturbing the shark is, which match with “horror.” The shark is also described in line 2 as a “pale sot,” and in line 15 he’s called a “dotard lethargic and dull,” who needs the pilot fish to navigate for him. These are insulting descriptions, which match with “disdain.” (A) is incorrect because feelings of “awe and respect” would not be expressed in such contemptuous language. (B) is incorrect for two reasons—first, and most obviously, there’s no indication that the speaker is “surprised” by the shark. The speaker’s description is instead quite knowing and matter-of-fact, suggesting a familiarity with these creatures. The second reason depends on the sometimes subtle difference between horror and fear; fear suggests a more immediate, fight-or-flight reaction to something scary, whereas horror suggests a more lingering, reflective form of unease. In this case, it’s most accurate to say that the speaker feels horror rather than fear. (D) is incorrect because there’s no evidence that the speaker is jealous of the shark or wants to be like him. (E) is incorrect because the speaker’s negative feelings towards the shark don’t match with positive words like “fascination” or “wonder.”
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret the cumulative effect of word choices. (D) is correct because fluid-sounding words like “sleek” and “azure” work alongside similar-sounding vowels to make a smooth, flowing effect. “Hard” and “soft” aren’t quite technical terms in this context, but in general, consonants that involve a stop can be called “hard,” while those that can be said without a stop are “soft.” A stop is when you have stop your breath for a moment while you’re speaking, either by pressing your tongue against the roof of your mouth or by closing your lips. The “k” in “sleek” is a hard sound because you have to stop your breath with the back of your tongue for a moment to say it, but “azure” and “slim” can both be said without any stops; they have nothing but soft sounds. (A) is incorrect because, even though these words contain mostly soft consonants, the marine imagery of this poem isn’t particularly “soft.” Instead, it focuses on the shark’s “saw-pit of mouth” and “port of serrated teeth,” which are harsh and frightening. (B) is incorrect because this set of words does not have many “hard” sounds at all. (C) is incorrect because, while the words might almost evoke a “hissing” sound, there’s nothing in the poem about the spray of the ocean. (E) is incorrect because “sleek” and “slim” aren’t inappropriate in this context or especially rare, and the words don’t refer to the marine world in general—just to the pilot fish.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret figurative language. (A) is correct because “charnel” refers to a “charnel house,” a place where bones or bodies were stored together. The word is also often used to refer to a place of violent death. A “maw” is a dangerous or hungry mouth. The words together therefore mean that the shark’s dangerous mouth is like a place where bodies are stored—in other words, the line emphasizes the shark’s murderous brutality. (B) is incorrect because the words don’t emphasize size. (C) is incorrect because the words also aren’t descriptors of slowness or speed. (D) may be tempting because this phrase, which describes a “jaw,” most nearly matches the literal meaning of a phrase describing a “maw.” However, the task in this question is not to find the phrase that most nearly means the same thing as “charnel of maw”: it is to determine what the phrase emphasizes about the shark. That’s more about the tone and implications of the words, which evoke violence and brutality—not efficiency. (E) is incorrect because, while “maw” does suggest voraciousness, the word “charnel” adds an additional sense of violence that goes beyond mere hunger.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify specific, named literary devices in the passage. (A) is correct because both “triple tiers” and “glittering gates” repeat the initial sounds of words, making the quoted portion an example of alliteration. (B) is incorrect because an anaphora is a rhetorical technique involving the repetition of the same word, which is not present in this line. (C) is incorrect because an internal rhyme exists when two or more words within the same line rhyme. This line includes some repeated consonants and vowel sounds, but no rhymes. (D) is because metonymy calls something by the name of something it is usually associated with. However, “gates” are not generally associated with teeth. (E) is incorrect because synecdoche is a device whereby one part of a thing represents its whole; this line uses something that is not literally a part of the shark to draw a comparison between the shark’s jaws and gates.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to interpret the cumulative effect of word choices. (B) is correct because words like “sot” and “dotard” refer to someone stupid or senile, indicating that the shark is less intelligent than the pilot fish, upon whom he relies for navigation. (A) is incorrect because the words “sot” and “dotard” don’t imply grumpiness, as “truculent” does. (C) is incorrect because “sot” and “dotard” don’t imply intimidation. (D) is incorrect because the words don’t relate to hunting skills, only intellectual capabilities. (E) is incorrect because “sot” and “dotard” insult the shark’s mental acuity, not its sociability.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to work out the roles of specific words in a complex structure. (C) is correct because the word “glittering” refers to the “glittering gates” of the shark’s teeth. (A) is incorrect because “alert” modifies “the sleek little pilot-fish” (line 3). (B) is incorrect because “liquidly” modifies “they” (6), which refers to the pilot-fish. (D) is incorrect because “friends” modifies “they” (13), which refers to the pilot-fish. (E) is incorrect because the pilot-fish are described as “Eyes and brains” to the shark: in other words, they do the shark’s seeing and thinking for it.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret the argument of the poem. I is incorrect because, according to the speaker, the pilot-fish “guide him [the shark] to prey, / Yet never partake of the treat.” In other words, they don’t eat any of the pretty. II is incorrect because it describes a benefit the pilot-fish confer upon the shark. The pilot-fish do not directly benefit from guiding the shark to prey, since they don’t “partake of the treat.” III is correct because, as the speaker states, the little fish “find a haven” (11) in the shark’s mouth. Since only III is correct, (C) is the correct answer, and all the other answers are incorrect.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to interpret how an image is described in the poem. (E) is correct because the shark’s mouth is never said to be a place for prayer, worship, or reflection, as a temple primarily is. (A) is incorrect because, in line 11, the fish “find a haven” in the shark’s mouth. The word “haven” means “refuge.” (B) is incorrect because, in line 9, the shark’s mouth is called a “port” which is synonymous with “harbor.” (C) is incorrect because, in line 10, the teeth are called “glittering gates.” (D) is incorrect because, in line 12, the mouth is called an “asylum,” which is a kind of sanctuary.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to consider the speaker’s perspective and the situations described to determine which the speaker finds ironic. (D) is correct because it is ironic, and the irony is emphasized by the speaker. The situation is ironic in the sense that it violates normal expectations: the shark’s “charnel of maw” becomes a “refuge” for the pilot-fish. The speaker emphasizes this irony by exclaiming “An asylum in jaws of the Fates!” (12). (A) is incorrect because, although the shark’s flank is described as “ghastly” (line 7), the speaker does not say that it is the scariest part of the fish. (B) is incorrect because, while the speaker describes this contrast, nothing suggests that the speaker finds the contrast surprising or ironic. (C) is incorrect because, while the speaker describes the teeth as “glittering gates” for the pilot-fish, he also describes them as a “charnel of maw” situated in a “gorgonian head.” Thus, while the pilot-fish find asylum in the jaws, the speaker seems to find them repulsive. (E) is incorrect because, while the speaker describes the shark’s jaws as a “saw-pit” and a “charnel,” which are gory images, he doesn’t actually describe them as “bloody.” Rather, they are “white triple tiers of glittering gates.”
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because Murray’s first response to Eileen’s question is to ask “home?” This uncertainty reveals a lack of strong attachment to his home town. He also reveals that he plans to visit only out of a sense of obligation and doesn’t want to stay. (A) is incorrect because Murray expresses ambivalence about seeing his sisters; he “won’t stay more than a few days, if [he] can help it.” (B) is incorrect because, while Murray is a little uncertain about what he thinks of as “home,” he doesn’t express a desire to remain at the sanitarium; on the contrary, he has big plans for what he will do after he leaves. (D) is incorrect because there’s no indication that Murray struggles to remember things. (E) is incorrect because, while Murray doesn’t seem to have strong relationships with his family, there’s no indication that this is specifically the result of a “turbulent childhood.”
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to consider the relationships between characters in the passage. (A) is correct because Murray says that his sisters “have never seen the real me and never have wanted to,” but Eileen does want to—asking “What is—the real you?” She follows that pondering question with questions about his plans and dreams in an effort to learn more about him. (B) is incorrect because the passage doesn’t indicate whether either Eileen or Murray’s sisters critiqued his work. (C) is incorrect because we never learn how Murray’s sisters feel about Murray living in the town. (D) is incorrect because Murray feels obliged by family ties to visit his sisters, not Eileen (and there’s no evidence that anyone pressured him). (E) is incorrect because we don’t have enough evidence to make comparisons between Murray’s treatment of Eileen and his sisters.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because Murray says that his stories will make him “as rich as Rockefeller,” a famous multimillionaire. He then describes his plans to travel and to stay in the country. He evidently sees his writing as a path to not just a stable lifestyle, but a lavish one. (A) is incorrect because Murray does not speak of his stories expressing deep truths; he focuses on the money they will make. (B) is incorrect because to be “as rich as a Rockefeller” means to have more than just “enough money to live on”; it means to have great wealth. (D) is incorrect because Murray does not include Eileen in his description of his New York plans. (E) is incorrect because Murray never suggests that his family disapproves of his career choice or expresses a desire to prove himself to them.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to make inferences about the point of view of a character in the passage. (A) is correct because Eileen, as we know from the stage directions, tries “to appear enthused” when she hears Murray’s plan. We tend to react like this when we want to seem happy for someone but are secretly feeling other emotions as well. In other words, Eileen’s reaction shows her ambivalence about Murray’s choice. (B) is incorrect because there’s not enough evidence to say that Eileen is “resentful”; we know she’s not entirely happy that Murray plans to go to New York, but we don’t know if resentment is one of her negative reactions. Her remark, “I love to hear you talk of yours,” further suggests that she doesn’t resent hearing about Murray’s dreams. (C) and (E) are incorrect because Eileen is “trying to appear enthused,” implying that she’s not really enthused. “Excited” is a synonym for “enthused,” and “jubilant” has even stronger positive connotations. (D) is incorrect because to be “blasé” is to be indifferent because of experience; that is, the kind of not-caring that sets in when you’ve seen it all before. Eileen has mixed feelings about Murray’s plans, but she’s not indifferent to them, and there’s no evidence that she’s worldly enough to be “blasé” about someone moving to New York to become a great writer.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to consider how the author reveals aspects of a character through description and action. (B) is correct because Murray gives an “embarrassed laugh” after Eileen says that she loves to hear Murray speak about his dreams. He nearly discloses a more intimate thought, “You’re the only one—” before changing the subject. This strongly suggests that an incompletely-articulated closeness exists between the two characters. (A) is incorrect because, while Murray is hiding his feelings, there’s no strong evidence that he is doing so to intentionally manipulate Eileen. He could simply be uncertain about his own feelings. (C) is incorrect because, although Murray’s later behavior seems self-centered and insensitive, his embarrassment at this moment shows that he does care what Eileen thinks. (D) is incorrect because, while Murray has been discussing his dreams, the events around his behavior suggest other causes than daydream: he speaks with an “embarrassed laugh” after Eileen says that she loves to hear him talk, and he abruptly changes the subject after confessing that she is “the only one.” That suggests he’s embarrassed about the intimacy they share, and wants to avoid admitting it. (E) is incorrect because neither Murray nor Eileen demonstrate cynical attitudes here, and the scene hasn’t been particularly romantic so far. In fact, until Murray abruptly changes the subject, this is the only clearly romantic moment in the excerpt.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to make inferences about the point of view of a character in the passage. (C) is correct because Murray responds to Eileen’s news that she mailed a letter to Fred with alarm. Eileen responds, according to the stage direction, “apprehensively,” stating, “You don’t say anything. I thought—you’d be glad. You’ve always told me it was the honourable thing to do.” Murray’s apparent disapproval is thus an unpleasant surprise for Eileen, who thought he’d wanted her to mail the letter. (A) is incorrect because Eileen expected the opposite reaction from Murray. (B) is incorrect because Eileen states that Murray has previously said that Eileen’s writing a letter to Fred is the honorable thing to do, however Murray’s reaction to this letter is now the opposite, so either Murray has changed his mind about what is honorable or doesn’t care. Further, Murray’s comment that he says “more than his prayers” is irreverent—not pious. (D) is incorrect because, at this moment, Murray’s behavior is confusing and ambiguous; earlier he wanted Eileen to send the letter, now he doesn’t, and he doesn’t explain why. (E) is incorrect because, while the fact that Murray had encouraged Eileen to write a letter breaking things off with Fred suggests a rivalry between the two, Murray’s sudden change of heart doesn’t establish or reinforce that rivalry.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because, since Murray has not been clear with Eileen about his true feelings, Eileen is apprehensive that ending her relationship with another man will reveal that she cares for Murray in a way that he does not reciprocate. (A) is incorrect because Eileen’s letter breaks things off with Fred; this means that Murray and Fred are not competitors. (B) is incorrect because Eileen’s decision suggests that she cares more for Murray than Fred. (D) is incorrect because the passage never introduces the idea of gossip as a potential fear. (E) is incorrect because, in context, it’s clear that Eileen’s primary fear is not boring Murray.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to consider how the author reveals aspects of a character through description. “Halting” speech is speech that’s characterized by stops; hesitations, interruptions, thoughts that the speaker starts to express but doesn’t finish. (A) is correct because the places where Eileen stops—halts—are indicated by em-dashes—are mainly places where she’s saying something about her feelings for Murray. We have further evidence of her feelings in the context of the conversation: the reason Eileen asked Murray to meet her is to tell him that she’s broken things off with Fred, which she says must seem “silly” and “can’t mean anything” much to Murray. In other words, it’s important to her to tell Murray that she’s available, and while she says that it’s silly and can’t mean much to him, she also says that she thought he’d be glad, so she was really hoping for a different response from Murray. (B) is incorrect because she speaks haltingly even after the subject has changed from Murray’s plans, and doesn’t actually have any stops in her questions about his plans. (C) is incorrect because Fred isn’t around, and Eileen has already mailed the letter to break things off with him. (D) is incorrect because Eileen doesn’t use halting speech to omit details and create a sense of mystery and allure; she goes ahead and talks about her feelings. She just hesitates. (E) is incorrect because Eileen’s pauses are focused on lines expressing a sense of intimacy with Murray, not scattered randomly as they might be if they reflected cold and frailty.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the central tension of the passage. (A) is correct because Murray has not made his mind up about Eileen, telling her one thing on one day another thing the next; he clearly has some feelings for her, but he changes the subject. His uncertainty leaves her doubtful of the sense of intimacy that she feels with him, and she’s very surprised by his reaction to the news that she broke things off with Fred. (B) is incorrect because Murray and Eileen discuss his writing, indicating that he has already shared it with her. (C) is incorrect because Eileen is respectful in her conduct towards Murray; she’s dropping some big hints by asking him to meet her privately so that she can tell him she broke up with Fred, but she’s not overbearing. (D) is incorrect because the two are meeting in private. (E) is incorrect because, while Eileen is worried that Murray won’t feel the way she does, Murray is more uncomfortable about the fact that Eileen has feelings for him than about the idea that she might not.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the type of narrative voice used in the passage. (C) is correct because the narrator uses the third-person pronouns “he” and “she” to refer to the characters in the passage. The narrator also describes the internal thoughts and emotions of several different characters, such as Nathalie’s intentions regarding Brantain, without focusing on one character in particular. (A) is incorrect because the narrator does not refer to him- or herself in the first person (as “I”) and describes the inner life of other characters. (B) is incorrect because the narrator does not use the second person pronoun “you” to put the reader into the story as a character. (D) is incorrect because the narrator is able to describe the thoughts and feelings of both Nathalie and Brantain and describes the action in the scene from an outside viewpoint, not the perspective of one character. (E) is incorrect because an objective narrator describes solely the outward actions of characters, not their internal thoughts.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. According to the passage, Nathalie knows that Brantain loves her (line 16), and so she is “confidently waiting” for him to propose to her so that she can become rich, despite the fact that he is “insignificant and unattractive.” This characterizes her as someone that doesn’t particularly care for Brantain but is using him to achieve “the entourage which wealth could give her,” or a group to surround herself with when she is rich. (B) is incorrect because the two men are Brantain and the unnamed man who kisses Nathalie, but the description of Brantain as “insignificant and unattractive” indicates that Nathalie does not love him. (C) is incorrect because Nathalie is using Brantain for his money, and she gets very angry with the second man that enters, so in neither relationship is she characterized as devoted or loving. (D) is incorrect because, although Nathalie is less wealthy than Brantain, that does not mean she is “penniless,” meaning she has no money at all. Moreover, nothing in the passage suggests she is a “vagrant,” meaning a homeless person. (E) is incorrect because Nathalie understands Brantain’s feelings enough to plan around them, so she’s not confused. She also never shows any regret or apologizes, so she’s not penitent.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to analyze the purpose of a part of the passage. I is correct because the darkness of the room gives it a romantic ambiance and suggests something hidden. This matches the “low” conversation between Nathalie and Brantain, neither of whom is talking explicitly about “the things that occupied their thoughts.” II is incorrect because Brantain’s attitude towards Nathalie is not menacing: he watches her “ardently,” which suggests desire, not a threat, and he is not aggressive at all even after he sees another man kiss her. III is correct because the shadows hiding Braintain cause an awkward mistake: the newcomer kisses Nathalie because he thinks they’re alone. Since only I and III are correct, (D) is correct.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the passage. (B) is correct because “ardently” can mean “passionately” or “enthusiastically,” and we know from the context that Braintain is intensely romantically interested in Nathalie. (A) is incorrect because, although “fiercely” captures the strong connotations of “ardently” it, fails to capture the amorous connotations. (C) is incorrect because the word “eagerly” does not connote the strong passion implied by “ardently.” (D) is incorrect because “vigorously” implies physical strength or force, but gazing at someone is not a strenuous activity. (E) is incorrect because “restlessly” implies unease or discomfort, not love.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to analyze a portion of the passage and identify its implications. (C) is correct because it’s implied that this kiss was a mistake, since the newcomer “had not seen her visitor” and kissed Nathalie passionately, believing she was alone. Nathalie is being courted by Brantain and is upset with the man who kissed her—but he immediately understands why she’s upset and apologizes for this “very first break.” He also comes over frequently. That suggests that they have an ongoing romantic relationship that they both agree should be kept secret. (A) is incorrect because a “promiscuous womanizer” is someone who seduces many women and views them as conquests rather than people deserving respect and deference. Nothing in the passage suggests that the newcomer is in a relationship with anyone but Nathalie, and he seems both sorry for failing to respect her wish to keep their relationship a secret, and genuinely concerned about whether she will forgive him. (B) is incorrect because the new visitor did not realize Brantain was there. (D) is incorrect because the visitor gives Nathalie “an ardent, lingering kiss,” not a friendly peck on the cheek. He also wouldn’t have had to apologize for the “very first break” if his actions had merely been friendly affection, since friends don’t generally agree that it’s necessary to keep their affection secret. (E) is incorrect because there is no indication in the passage that Nathalie and the newcomer had a past relationship that ended; rather, they have an ongoing relationship that must be kept secret.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This quesion requires you to determine how a common word takes on an unusual meaning in this passage. (E) is correct because “returned,” in this case, is the verb that describes Nathalie’s speech. It plays the same role in this sentence as “said” would have. When used this way, “returned” means “replied in a forceful way” or “shot back.” “Rejoined” has the same meaning. (A), “retaliated,” suggests responding with aggression to someone else’s aggression. Since the newcomer is apologetic, Nathalie has nothing to retaliate against, and her own words are upset but not aggressive. (B), “revoked,” is not a speaking verb, so it cannot play this role in this sentence. It means “to cancel or take back something you had allowed or granted before.” (C), “revived,” is also not a speaking verb. It means “to regain energy or come back to life.” (D), “renewed,” is also not a speaking verb. It means “to make new again.”
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the tone of the passage. (A) is correct because the characters and their intentions are described in very direct and unflattering terms. The narrator doesn’t bother to blunt her descriptions; Brantain is “blustering,” “insignificant,” and “unattractive”—but also “enormously rich,” and the “very handsome” Nathalie likes and requires “the entourage which wealth could give her.” (B) is incorrect because this is an unappealingly transactional description of a courtship. Brantain is a rather unappealing character, whom Nathalie intends to marry for his money. (C) is incorrect because a “casual and colloquial” tone would generally involve conspicuously informal language and conversational idioms; while this paragraph is very direct, it doesn’t use any such conversation idioms or conspicuously informal language. (D) is incorrect because while the narrator doesn’t seem entirely to approve of the situation, he or she also doesn’t seem shocked. Rather, the paragraph is blasé. (E) is incorrect because although the room is literally dark and full of shadows, “dark” as a tone word describes tragedy, sadness, or menace. “Brooding” also means menacing or deeply unhappy. This paragraph is somewhat cynical, but not tragic or menacing.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to discern between descriptions of a character that are supported by a passage and one that is not. (E) is correct because “guileless” means that someone is lacking in “guile,” which is intelligence used in a manipulative way. Braintain is described this way, not Nathalie. She is characterized as (A), “attractive,” when she is called “handsome” and as having a “fine, rich coloring” (lines 9-10). She is characterized as (B), “pragmatic,” by her plan to marry Brantain, whom she does not seem to like, for the unsentimental reason of his wealth. She is characterized as (C), “dark-haired,” when she is described as a “brune” (line 10) or brunette. She is characterized as (D), “poised,” when she is described as “composed” (line 11) and keeps her “presence of mind” even in this startling situation (line 41).
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to consider the relationships between characters in the passage. (C) is correct because the visitor immediately kisses Nathalie as he enters the room, indicating his romantic interest. After he realizes he’s made a mistake, he asks for her forgiveness while “softening” his tone, indicating that he cares about her feelings and point of view. (A) is incorrect because the visitor immediately, passionately kisses Nathalie, suggesting his strong interest in her. He later “coldly” defends himself, but that is only in response to her sharp reproach. (B) is incorrect because he acts as more than just a friend, and he is very invested in explaining himself after he kisses her, which shows a level of seriousness. (D) is incorrect because indifferent and apathetic both mean “uncaring,” but he clearly cares about Nathalie since he kisses her and asks for her forgiveness. (E) may be tempting because the visitor seems like he might be hurt when Nathalie repels her advances, but as a word describing the visitor’s attitude “repulsed” would mean that he feels a strong aversion to her—not that he was rejected. Although he does grow cold for a moment, he remains interested in repairing their relationship.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret figurative language. (D) is correct because to “keep someone in one’s eye,” like the more familiar “keep an eye on someone,” means “to watch someone carefully.” (A) is incorrect because the narrator only watches the girl in the morning, while “course of the girl’s life” implies a more involved surveillance of the girl’s life’s milestones or other deciding moments. (C) is incorrect because the passage as a whole suggests that the narrator watches the girl because he’s attracted to her, not because he’s suspicious of her. (E) is incorrect because the narrator indicates that he followed the girl only to “the point at which [their] ways diverged.”
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to interpret how figurative language characterizes the narrator. (A) is correct because “sprang” and “flood” suggest a sudden, powerful rush, like that of a flood. By comparing his feelings to an uncontrollable natural force, the narrator suggests that they are “unbidden”—they arise without his conscious effort, consent, or control. (B) is incorrect because these comparisons to water do not suggest that the narrator is selfish: they suggest that his emotions come in sudden waves. (C) is incorrect because “facile” means “too simple” or “too easy.” These images emphasize the power of the narrator’s emotions, not their simplicity. (D), “sanguine,” means something like “brave” or “composed.” However, the narrator only speaks of the future with uncertainty and fear, stating that “I did not know whether I would ever speak to her or not or, if I spoke to her, how I could tell her of my confused adoration.” (E) is incorrect because “determined” implies the narrator’s affections are deliberate, while he claims his affections arise without conscious effort and he seems to be unable to control his emotional response.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to understand and identify literary devices. (A) is the correct answer because “my heart leaped” (line 4) is an example of personification: it describes the narrator’s heart as if it were a person who could jump up and down. (B) is incorrect because this line is not an example of apostrophe, as the narrator is not directly addressing something or someone that is not in the scene. (C) is incorrect because ethos involves depicting something as an authoritative source. The narrator is only saying that his heart was excited, not that it was an authority. (D) is incorrect because this line does not contain an example of dramatic irony, which occurs when the audience knows important details that characters do not. In this line, the readers don’t know anything the narrator doesn’t. (E) is incorrect because the words in this line do not phonetically mimic or resemble the sound of a heart leaping, as onomatopoeia would.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning of a specific word choice. A “chalice” is a kind of ornamental cup, often used in religious ceremonies, but it’s also significant in literature because chalices are a common image in chivalric stories about knights and romantic quests, representing precious treasures. (C) is correct because before the image of the chalice, the narrator describes being accompanied by the image of the girl through places “hostile to romance.” The sentence in which the image of the chalice appears directly compares the sensation of being “accompanied” by “her image” in places “hostile to romance” to bearing a “chalice safely through a throng of foes.” (lines 23-24). The “throng of foes” describes the people who make the market “hostile to romance,” so the “chalice” must represent “her image” and the “romance” associated with it, which is precious to the narrator. (A) is incorrect because a chalice is a kind of cup, which can represent a “thirst.” However, while the narrator yearns for a specific person in the passage, he does not express a general “thirst for romance.” Indeed, he seems somewhat confused by his romantic feelings. (B) is incorrect because a “token” is a tangible object that represents an abstraction. However, the narrator possesses no physical chalice: it is entirely figurative. (D) is incorrect because the idea of rejection isn’t addressed in the scene this image summarizes. The market and foes are “hostile to romance” only in the sense that they create an unromantic setting. (E) is incorrect because, while the image of a chalice reveals the influence of a certain religious tradition, there’s no evidence that the narrator intends to use the image for that purpose.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to identify a line that does not contribute the narrator’s description of places that are hostile to romance. “Strange prayers and praises” (line 25) does not contribute to the narrator’s description of “places the most hostile to romance.” “Strange prayers and phrases” characterizes the strong feelings of love that the narrator feels toward the girl in connection with the metaphor of the spiritual “chalice.” (A), (B), and (C), and are all part of the description of the market that explains why it is “hostile to romance.” (D) is incorrect because it summarizes those descriptions, lumping together all of those people as “foes” of romance.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to characterize the narrator’s feelings. (A) is correct because lines throughout the passage describe the narrator’s as powerful, confusing, and out of his control. He describes his odd behavior in the first paragraph as something that “happened,” as though he had no control, says that her name “sprang” to his lips in “strange prayers and praises” that he himself didn’t understand, tells us that his eyes were often full of tears and he didn’t know why, and describes his own feelings as “confused adoration.” (B) is incorrect because it is too strongly negative and implies that the narrator was solely tormented by his feelings. The narrator does sometimes seem to suffer from the desperate power of his feelings, be he also cherishes them, as indicated by the metaphor of bearing a chalice through a throng of foes. (C) is incorrect because, while the narrator concludes with a musical metaphor, his feelings are far from “light-hearted.” That means “carefree,” but the narrator cares intensely. (D) is incorrect because although the narrator may view his affections for the girl as confusing, as “disconcerting” suggests, there is no evidence he finds them “demeaning.” Indeed, the chalice metaphor suggests he views the task of bearing his feelings as a kind of heroic quest. (D) is incorrect because “serendipitous” implies a kind of lucky coincidence that is not evident in the passage, and there is a strong theme of yearning, which is opposed to fulfillment.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret figurative language. (D) is correct because a person playing a harp controls what sounds it makes by choosing what strings to play. By comparing his body to a harp and his beloved to a harpist, the narrator is saying that his beloved has complete control over him; he is completely fascinated or “captivated” by her. (A) is incorrect because, for the narrator’s beloved to be “manipulative,” she would have to be intentionally controlling him. However, nothing in this passage suggests that she thinks about him at all, let alone tries to control him; they have only exchanged “a few casual words” (lines 9-10). (B) and (C) are incorrect because the take the metaphor too literally: there is no suggestion that the girl is actually a harpist. (E) is incorrect because, while “sinewy” seems to draw a connection between slenderness of body and the strings of a harp, the narrator’s body is compared to the harp—not the girl’s.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to infer the meaning of a relationship. (C) is correct because we see the narrator overwhelmed by his feelings for the girl throughout the passage, but we never see the girl reciprocate his feelings. (A) is incorrect because the boy and girl are not married, which is evidenced by their complete lack of contact and separate living spaces. (B) is incorrect because the relationship is not a forbidden passion, as there is no instance of either the boy or the girl being told they cannot become romantically involved with one another. (D) is incorrect because a “reunion” implies a prior relationship and a separation, but the characters in this passage have only ever exchanged a few casual words. (E) is incorrect because there is no indication that the boy and the girl are either related or rivals.
The Correct Answer is (B) — The question requires you to interpret the meaning of a line in the passage. (B) is correct because, as we know from the narrator’s watching his beloved with the blind pulled down, he does not want to be seen (lines 2-3). The narrator worries that, when he and the girl part ways, she will notice that he has been right behind her. To hide this, he hurries past her, to make it seem as if he were in a rush and not paying any attention to her. (A) is incorrect because the narrator never mentions his physical condition, which isn’t necessarily “excellent” just because he can pass someone while walking. (C) is incorrect. The boy “quickened the pace and passed the girl” every morning before school (line 1), while his trip to the market with his aunt takes place Saturday evenings (line 13). (D) is incorrect because there is no indication in the passage that the boy is concerned with his attendance record. (E) is incorrect because, while the market was “hostile to romance,” that only means it was unromantic, not that anyone opposed a specific romance, and because he passed her every morning but only visited the market on Saturdays.
The Correct Answer is (A) — The narrator includes the trip to the market with his aunt to show that he is constantly thinking of the girl and his feelings for her. He states: “her image accompanied me even in places the most hostile to romance” (lines 12-13). (B) is incorrect because the narrator compares his morning routine to the girl’s, but not his market routine, where she is present only as an image in his mind. (C) is incorrect because the girl is not present during the market trip. (D) and (E) are incorrect because the narrator only briefly mentions his aunt to establish why he went to the market; he doesn’t describe her in sufficient detail to accomplish either of these goals.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in the specific context of the poem. (B), “likeness,” is correct because the speaker of the poem is comparing the rose to Delia, claiming that she and the flower are alike. (A) is incorrect because the speaker does not suggest that Delia’s beauty is engraved or carved into the rose, only that her beauty and the rose resemble each other. (C) is incorrect because the rose does not stand for Delia’s beauty; it is like Delia’s beauty in that both will fade. (D) is incorrect because the rose is not an “idea;” it is a physical object that resembles Delia’s beauty. (E) is incorrect because a “forebearer” is something that comes before something else. The rose does not come before Delia’s beauty; the speaker presents both of them as things that exist now.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question asks you to determine the meaning of an unusual phrase in this poem. (B) is correct. The “half-blown rose” still has its “beauty” enclosed in “tender green:” in other words, the beautiful flower of the rose is still hidden by the plant’s green petals. Later, the rose is “full-blown,” spreading its “glory in the air.” This strongly suggests that “blown” means “blossomed” and that “half-blown” means “half-blossomed.” (A) is incorrect because the events of lines 1-7 seem to be a linear, chronological description of the life of the rose; the rose is “full-blown” when it begins to decline, and “half-blown” before that. Thus, a half-blown rose has not yet begun to wither. (C) is incorrect because, while glass can be “blown,” the poem is alluding to the blossoming and wilting of a living rose—and a glass rose is a piece of art that never blossoms or wilts. (D) is incorrect because the poem speaks of only a single rose, not the roses that blossom on a bush, and because the image in lines 3-4 of the rose enclosing its beauty in tender green is more suggestive of a bud concealing petals than a bush without any buds. The bush would not be “enclosing” its beauty, but only waiting for it. (E) is incorrect because, like a bush, a seed may hold the potential to grow into a flower, but it doesn’t actually “enclose” a flower.
The Correct Answer is (B) — This question requires you to identify specific, named literary devices in the poem. (B) is correct because “enjambment” is the continuation of a sentence from one line to the next. (A) is incorrect because “juxtaposition” means to place two or more ideas side by side to develop comparisons and contrasts. (C) is incorrect because “blank verse” describes a form of poetry written in iambic pentameter that does not rhyme, but while these two specific lines don’t rhyme, the poem is written in rhyming verse. (D) may be temping because a “couplet” is a pair of lines, but these two lines do not rhyme. (E) is incorrect because it refers to a specific form of alliterative poetry—in other words, poetry that repeats initial consonant sounds—but these lines are not alliterative.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question asks you to parse the grammar used in the poem in order to better understand its meaning. (C) is correct because all of the feminine pronouns in lines 3-4 refer to the rose: “she” uses “her tender green” leaves to enclose the beauty that times gives “her.” (A) is incorrect because the speaker is addressing Delia directly. When he does use pronouns to refer to her, they are second-person pronouns like “thou.” (B) is incorrect because the speaker would not refer to himself in the third person. He never refers to himself in this poem, but if he did, we would expect a first-person pronoun like “I.” (D) is incorrect because it would not make sense for the blush, which is red or pick, on Delia’s cheeks to enclose its beauty in “tender green.” (E) is incorrect because it would turn make the sentence say that time bestows beauty on time, which does not make sense.
The Correct Answer is (E) — This question requires you to understand the implications of a part of the poem. (E) is correct because the line in which the speaker observes a difference is “No April can revive thy wither’d flowers.” After roses wither, they can bloom again in the spring (in April, perhaps). After Delia gets old, however, she will never be young again, no matter what time of year it is. (A) is incorrect because, although the speaker does point out that roses die soon after they fully bloom, there is nothing in the poem that suggests that Delia will be immortalized in verse. (B) is incorrect because the speaker never claims that roses are capable of reciprocating love. He does, however, believe that Delia can: that’s why he encourages her to “love whilst that [she] mayst be lov’d again.” (C) is incorrect because both the rose’s and Delia’s beauty are acknowledged by the speaker. (D) is incorrect because there is no reference in the poem to a gardener or to Delia’s independence.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to interpret the meaning of a word as it is used in the poem. (D) is correct because line 8 is presented as a parallel to line 6. In the same way that the rose’s “full-blown pride” immediately starts “declining” after its peak, Delia’s “beauty” “clouds” “after fairest shining.” “Clouds” must therefore mean something like “is in declining,” and which conveys a sense of something that shines losing its luster and brightness; “fades” is the only answer that matches this meaning. (A) and (B) are incorrect because, although “to cloud something” can mean to make it obscure or hard to understand, it would not make sense to day that Delia’s beauty “becomes confused” or “mystifies” somebody after its peak. (C) and (E) are incorrect because they take “clouds” literally as referring to a cloud of smoke or water vapor. The image here compares Delia’s fading beauty to the sun dimming behind a cloud; it does not suggest that her beauty actually gets smoky or wet.
The Correct Answer is (A) — This question requires you to identify the main idea of the poem. The correct answer is (A) because the speaker compares Delia to a “half-blown rose,” a flower that has only half-bloomed, whose “pure sweet beauty” is still partly hidden, and warning her to love before her youthful beauty peaks and fades like a rose that blooms and wilts; she must, therefore, be young and beautiful. (B) is incorrect because the speaker’s purpose seems to be to persuade deal to love while she is young; it would make sense to try to persuade a living person, but not a figment of one’s imagination. (C) is incorrect because the speaker warns Delia to love while she is young, which would be a strange sentiment to address to a deceased person. (D) is incorrect because the speaker warns that Delia’s beauty will wane with age, implying that he expects her to live until she is old. (E) is incorrect because the speaker is addressing a human named Delia and talking to her about a flower. He refers to Delia as “thou” and the flower as “she,” which shows that they are not the same person or thing.
The Correct Answer is (C) — This question requires you to identify the central argument of the poem. (C) is correct because, throughout the poem, the speaker compares Delia’s beauty to a rose, reminding her that her beauty will fade just like the rose will wilt. At the end of the poem, he tells her to “love whilst that thou mayst be lov’d again”—in other words, to love someone else (perhaps the speaker) while she’s still beautiful enough to be loved back. (A) is incorrect because the speaker is urging Delia to be less cautious, not more so: he thinks Delia should return someone’s affections (perhaps his) right now, while she’s still beautiful. (B) is incorrect because the analogy with the wilting rose is meant to illustrate the loss of physical beauty, not the revelation of a wilted personality. The rose does initially hide some of its beauty, but when it blooms it’s actually beautiful—not faking it—and when it wilts, it really loses its beauty, it doesn’t just stop hiding its inner wiltedness. (D) is incorrect because the speaker does not discuss whether lovers will be compatible over time; on the contrary, his focus is on loving people back right now, perhaps even ignoring questions about the long term. (E) is incorrect because the speaker compares the rose’s life-cycle to changes in Delia’s appearance, not in her feelings.
The Correct Answer is (D) — This question requires you to determine which one of several conventional senses of a word is correct in context (D), “in return,” makes the most sense in context because the speaker is warning Delia to love someone before her beauty fades. His point is that, once “speedy time” dissolves “the beauty of [her] fairest brow,” it’ll be too late for her to love anyone because other people won’t find her attractive any more. Therefore, she should “love” while she can still be “lov’d again”—in other words, loved back or “in return.” (A) is incorrect because nothing in the poem suggests that Delia has been loved by someone else before this point in her life. (B) is incorrect because the poem is not focused on love lasting through time. If anything, the poem suggests that people will only be loved as long as they are beautiful—not “continuously” at all. (C) is incorrect because it’s not clear what “moreover” would be in addition to. If the idea is that Delia might be loved on top of loving someone else, then “in return” better captures this sense of back-and-forth between two lovers. (E) is incorrect because it does not make sense in any context for someone to be “loved against” or to “love against” someone else.