Percy Bysshe Shelley, “Ozymandias” I met a traveller from an antique land
Who said: “Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert. Near them on the sand,
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown
And wrinkled lip and sneer of cold command
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
`My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings:
Look on my works, ye mighty, and despair!’
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.”
1. What is the rhyme scheme of the first eight lines? A
2. What is the central image of the poem? B
A. A collapsed statue in the desert
B. A wounded king
C. A face and inscription on a coin
D. A plaque near a WWII battle site
E. The Sphinx
Excerpt from Sir Philip Sidney, “An Apology for Poetry”
Therefore compare we the poet with the historian and with the moral philosopher. . . . . The philosopher therefore and the historian are they which would win the goal, the one by precept, the other by example; but both not having both, do both halt. For the philosopher, setting down with thorny arguments the bare rule, is so hard of utterance and so misty to be conceived, that one that hath no other guide but him shall wade in him till he be old, before he shall find sufficient cause to be honest. For his knowledge standeth so upon the abstract and general that happy is that man who may understand him, and more happy that can apply what he doth understand. On the other side, the historian, wanting the precept, is so tied, not to what should be but to what is, to the particular truth of things, and not to the general reason of things, that his example draweth no necessary consequence, and therefore a less fruitful doctrine.
Now doth the peerless poet perform both; for whatsoever the philosopher saith should be done, he giveth a perfect picture of it in some one by whom he presupposeth it was done, so as he coupleth the general notion with the particular example. A perfect picture, I say; for he yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of that whereof the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description, which doth neither strike, pierce, nor possess the sight of the soul so much as that other doth. For as, in outward things, to a man that had never seen an elephant or a rhinoceros, who should tell him most exquisitely all their shapes, color, bigness, and particular marks; or of a gorgeous palace, an architector, with declaring the full beauties, might well make the hearer able to repeat, as it were by rote, all he had heard, yet should never satisfy his inward conceit with being witness to itself of a true lively knowledge; but the same man, as soon as he might see those beasts well painted, or that house well in model, should straightways grow, without need of any description, to a judicial comprehending of them; so no doubt the philosopher, with his learned definitions, be it of virtues or vices, matters of public policy or private government, replenisheth the memory with many infallible grounds of wisdom, which notwithstanding lie dark before the imaginative and judging power, if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the speaking picture of poesy.
3. What is the author’s primary criticism of the philosopher? A
A. The philosopher communicates only general, abstract ideas.
B. The philosopher can make an untrue argument seem true.
C. The philosopher cannot know truth beyond the five senses.
D. The philosopher is difficult to understand.
E. The philosopher cannot attain true wisdom.
4. What is the author’s primary criticism of the historian? C
A. The historian considers only abstract precepts.
B. The historian may distort events to reflect political preferences.
C. The historian deals only with particular events, not general principles.
D. The historian can see only the past through the lens of the present.
E. The historian is difficult to understand.
5. The author praises poets primarily for their ability to: C
A. Preserve the highest values of the past.
B. Write both abstract ideas and particular details.
C. Communicate more clearly than the philosopher.
D. Entertain and instruct.
E. Speak of the present as a historian speaks of the past.
6. Which of the following best captures the meaning of the final sentence in the above passage? E
A. A poet can make the philosopher’s wisdom appeal to the imagination of the reader.
B. The philosopher’s ideas appeal to the imagination of the audience, but not to the intellect.
C. The philosopher is wiser than the poet in matters of public policy and private government.
D. The painter can illuminate the ideas of the philosopher best of all.
E. The imagination is of no use in acquiring wisdom.
Excerpt from Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness
“Going up that river was like traveling back to the earliest beginnings of the world, when vegetation rioted on the earth and the big trees were kings. An empty stream, a great silence, an impenetrable forest. The air was warm, thick, heavy, sluggish. There was no joy in the brilliance of sunshine. The long stretches of the waterway ran on, deserted, into the gloom of overshadowed distances. On silvery sandbanks hippos and alligators sunned themselves side by side. The broadening waters flowed through a mob of wooded islands; you lost your way on that river as you would in a desert, and butted all day long against shoals, trying to find the channel, till you thought yourself bewitched and cut off for ever from everything you had known once–somewhere–far away–in another existence perhaps. There were moments when one’s past came back to one, as it will sometimes when you have not a moment to spare to yourself; but it came in the shape of an unrestful and noisy dream, remembered with wonder amongst the overwhelming realities of this strange world of plants, and water, and silence. And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. It was the stillness of an implacable force brooding over an inscrutable intention. It looked at you with a vengeful aspect. I got used to it afterwards; I did not see it any more; I had no time. I had to keep guessing at the channel; I had to discern, mostly by inspiration, the signs of hidden banks; I watched for sunken stones; I was learning to clap my teeth smartly before my heart flew out, when I shaved by a fluke some infernal sly old snag that would have ripped the life out of the tin-pot steamboat and drowned all the pilgrims; I had to keep a look-out for the signs of dead wood we could cut up in the night for next day’s steaming. When you have to attend to things of that sort, to the mere incidents of the surface, the reality–the reality, I tell you–fades. The inner truth is hidden–luckily, luckily. But I felt it all the same; I felt often its mysterious stillness watching me at my monkey tricks, just as it watches you fellows performing on your respective tight-ropes for–what is it? half-a-crown a tumble–”
7. The punctuation marks that open and close this passage indicate that it is taken from: B
A. A novel.
C. The early 1900s.
D. The author’s point of view.
E. A soliloquy in a play.
8. In the last sentence of this passage, what does the pronoun “it” refer to? B
A. “The inner truth”
B. “Mysterious stillness”
C. “Mere incidents of the surface”
D. “The reality”
E. “Monkey tricks”
9. When the character in this passage says, “And this stillness of life did not in the least resemble a peace. . . . It looked at you with a vengeful aspect,” what literary device is being employed? E
10. What is the setting of the story the character is telling? C
A. On a river
B. In an aircraft
C. In a horse-drawn carriage
D. On large ocean vessel
E. On the Thames River in London
11. How is this passage organized? A
A. Association of ideas
B. Main idea and supporting evidence
C. Chronological order
D. Cause and effect
E. Comparison and contrast
Katherine Mansfield, “Mrs. Brill”
The band had been having a rest. Now they started again. And what they played was warm, sunny, yet there was just a faint chill-a something, what was it?-not sadness-no, not sadness-a something that made you want to sing. The tune lifted, lifted, the light shone; and it seemed to Miss Brill that in another moment all of them, all the whole company, would begin singing. The young ones, the laughing ones who were moving together, they would begin, and the men’s voices, very resolute and brave, would join them. And then she too, she too, and the others on the benches-they would come in with a kind of accompaniment-something low, that scarcely rose or fell, something so beautifulmoving. . . . And Miss Brill’s eyes filled with tears and she looked smiling at all the other members of the company. Yes, we understand, we understand, she thought-though what they understood she didn’t know.
Just at that moment a boy and girl came and sat down where the old couple had been. They were beautifully dressed; they were in love. The hero and heroine, of course, just arrived from his father’s yacht. And still soundlessly singing, still with that trembling smile, Miss Brill prepared to listen. “No, not now,” said the girl. “Not here, I can’t.” “But why? Because of that stupid old thing at the end there?” asked the boy. “Why does she come here at all-who wants her? Why doesn’t she keep her silly old mug at home?” “It’s her fu-fur which is so funny,” giggled the girl. “It’s exactly like a fried whiting.” “Ah, be off with you!” said the boy in an angry whisper. Then: “Tell me, ma petite chere-” “No, not here,” said the girl. “Not yet.”
On her way home she usually bought a slice of honeycake at the baker’s. It was her Sunday treat. Sometimes there was an almond in her slice, sometimes not. It made a great difference. If there was an almond it was like carrying home a tiny present-a surprisesomething that might very well not have been there. She hurried on the almond Sundays and struck the match for the kettle in quite a dashing way.
But to-day she passed the baker’s by, climbed the stairs, went into the little dark room-her room like a cupboard-and sat down on the red eiderdown. She sat there for a long time. The box that the fur came out of was on the bed. She unclasped the necklet quickly; quickly, without looking, laid it inside. But when she put the lid on she thought she heard something crying.
12. Who is the “old thing” the boy refers to? C
A. The girl
B. The band members
C. Mrs. Brill
D. The baker
E. A cat
13. Which of the following statements best characterizes Mrs. Brill at the beginning of the passage? A
A. She feels a connection with the other people on the benches.
B. She feels disoriented.
C. She feels frustrated.
D. She feels hurt.
E. She waits impatiently.
14. Which of the following statements best characterizes Mrs. Brill at the end of the passage? B
A. She was furious.
B. She was hurt.
C. She felt nervous and agitated.
D. She felt cheerful.
E. She was short-tempered.
15. What is the setting of the first part of this passage? A
A. In a park
B. On a boat
C. In a snowstorm
D. At a movie theater
E. In a rural area
16. In what point of view is this passage written in? A
A. Third person limited omniscience
B. First person
C. Omniscient narrator
D. Objective narrator
E. Second person
John Donne, “Death be not proud”
Death be not proud, though some have called thee Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so; For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow Die not, poor death, nor yet canst thou kill me. From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be, Much pleasure, then from thee much more must flow, And soonest our best men with thee do go, Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery. Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men, And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell, And poppy, or charms can make us sleep as well, And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then? One short sleep past, we wake eternally, And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
17. What form does this poem use? B
18. To whom is this poem addressed? A
A. To death
B. To the speaker’s lover
C. To God
D. To eternity
E. To the muses
19. When speaking of death, which poetic device does the poet employ? C
D. Internal rhyme
20. Which of the following interpretations best captures the central theme of the poem? B
I. We need not fear death.
II. Certainty of eternal life takes our fear of death away.
III. Death is inevitable and must be faced with humility.
A. I only
B. I and II
C. I, II, and III
D. II only
E. III only