AP 1997 Practice Test

Questions 1-13. Read the following passage carefully
before you choose your answers.

Mr. Jones, of whose personal accomplishments we have
hitherto said very little, was, in reality, one of the handsomest
young fellows in the world. His face, besides being the picture of health,
had in it the most apparent marks of sweetness and good-nature.
These qualities were indeed so characteristical in his counte- (5)
nance, that, while the spirit and sensibility in his eyes, though
they must have been perceived by an accurate observer, might
have escaped the notice of the less discerning, so strongly was
this good-nature painted in his look, that it was remarked by
almost every one who saw him. (10)
It was, perhaps, as much owing to this as to a very fine com-
plexion that his face had a delicacy in it almost inexpressible, and
which might have given him an air rather too effeminate, had it
not been joined to a most masculine person and mien: which latter
had as much in them of the Hercules as the former had of the (15)
Adonis. He was besides active, genteel, gay and good-humoured,
and had a flow of animal spirits which enlivened every conver-
sation where he was present.
When the reader hath duly reflected on these many charms
which all centered in our hero, and considers at the same (20)
the fresh obligations which Mrs. Waters had to him, it will be a
mark more of prudery than candour to entertain a bad opinion of
her because she conceived a very good opinion of him.
But, whatever censures may be passed upon her, it is my busi-
ness to relate matters of fact with veracity. Mrs. Waters had, in (25)
truth, not only a good opinion of our hero, but a very great affec-
tion for him. To speak out boldly at once, she was in love, according
to the present universally received sense of that phrase, by which
love is applied indiscriminately to the desirable objects of all our
passions, appetites, and senses, and is understood to be that pref- (30)
erence which we give to one kind of food rather than to another.
But though the love to these several objects may possibly be
one and the same in all cases, its operations, however, must be
allowed to be different; for, how much soever we may be in love
with an excellent sirloin of beef, or bottle of Burgundy; with a (35)
damask rose, or Cremona fiddle; yet do we never smile, nor ogle,
nor dress, nor flatter, nor endeavour by any other arts or tricks
to gain the affection of the said beef, etc. Sigh indeed we some-
times may; but it is generally in the absence, not in the presence,
of the beloved object.... (40)
The contrary happens in that love which operates between per-
sons of the same species, but of different sexes. Here we are no
sooner in love than it becomes our principal care to engage the
affection of the object beloved. For what other purpose, indeed,
are our youth instructed in all of the arts of rendering themselves (45)
agreeable? If it was not with a view to this love, I question whether
any of those trades which deal in setting off and adorning the
human person would procure a livelihood. Nay, those great po-
lishers of our manners, who are by some thought to teach what
principally distinguishes us from the brute creation, even danc- (50)
ing-masters themselves, might possibly find no place in society.
In short, all the graces which young ladies and young gentlemen
too learn from others, and the many improvements which, by the
help of a looking-glass, they add of their own, are in reality those
very spicula et faces amoris* so often mentioned by Ovid; or, as (55)
they are sometimes called in our own language, the whole artil-
lery of love.

* The spears and flames of love

1. The structure of the sentence beginning in line 5 does which of the
(A) It stresses the variety of Mr. Jones's personal attributes.
(B) It implies that Mr. Jones is a less complicated personality
than the speaker suggests.
(C) It disguises the prominence of Mr. Jones's sensitive na-
ture and emphasizes his less readily discerned traits.
(D) It reflects the failure of some observers to recognize Mr.
Jones's spirit and sensibility.
(E) It belies the straightforward assertion made in the pre-
vious sentence.

2. In context, the word "sensibility" (line 6) is best interpreted to mean
(A) self-esteem
(B) forthright and honest nature
(C) capacity to observe accurately
(D) ability to ignore the unimportant
(E) awareness and responsiveness

3. The first two paragraphs indicate that the speaker assumes
(A) accurate observers of human nature are rare
(B) spirited and sensible people are by nature rather effem-
(C) a person's character can be accurately discerned from
his or her outward appearance
(D) a correlation exists between an individual's "personal
accomplishments" (line 1) and his or her physical prowess
(E) good-naturedness in a person is usually not readily ap-

4. The shift in the speaker's rhetorical stance from the first
sentence of the second paragraph (lines 11-16) to the second
sentence (lines 16-18) can best be described as one from
(A) subjective to objective
(B) speculative to assertive
(C) discursive to laconic
(D) critical to descriptive
(E) literal to figurative

5. The word "former" in line 15 refers to
(A) "face" (line 12)
(B) "delicacy" (line 12)
(C) "air" (line 13)
(D) "person" (line 14)
(E) "mien" (line 14)

6. The speaker's allusion to Hercules and Adonis (lines 15-16)
serves primarily to
(A) imply an undercurrent of aggressiveness in Mr. Jones's
(B) suggest the extremes of physical attractiveness repre-
sented in Mr. Jones's appearance
(C) assert the enduring significance of mythical beauty
(D) symbolize the indescribable nature of Mr. Jones's coun-
(E) emphasize how clearly Mr. Jones's features reflected his

7. The use of the phrase "it will be" in line 21 indicates that the
(A) wishes the reader to arrive at the same conclusion re-
garding Mrs. Waters as the speaker has
(B) believes the presentation of Mr. Jones before this pas-
sage to have been predominantly negative
(C) expects that the description of Mr. Jones will offend some
of the more conservative readers
(D) regards Mrs. Waters' judgment concerning Mr. Jones to
be impulsive rather than sincere
(E) fears that the readers will be overly lenient in their judg-
ment of Mrs. Waters

8. The style of the third paragraph differs from that of the first
and second paragraphs in that it is
(A) instructive rather than descriptive
(B) argumentative rather than expository
(C) interpretative rather than metaphorical
(D) objective rather than representational
(E) conversational rather than analytical

9. In the fourth paragraph, the speaker establishes the predom-
inant tone for the rest of the passage primarily by
(A) exaggerating the affection Mrs. Waters has for Mr. Jones
(B) contrasting the popular understanding of love with the
speaker's own view of love
(C) describing candidly the affection Mrs. Waters has for Mr.
(D) likening the popular conception of love to people's phys-
ical appetites
(E) insisting on the veracity of the speaker's personal opin-
ions concerning Mrs. Waters

10. The speaker's attitude toward "dancing-masters" (lines 50-
51) might best be described as
(A) assumed arrogance
(B) grudging respect
(C) feigned bitterness
(D) sarcastic vindictiveness
(E) wry disdain

11. The passage indicates that the speaker believes which of the
following to be true of Mr. Jones?
(A) He is principally concerned with attracting the attention
of women.
(B) He is naturally suited to engage the affections of women.
(C) He has practiced extensively the arts and graces with
which youths render themselves agreeable.
(D) He is too good-natured to make full use of "the whole
artillery of love" (lines 5-57).
(E) He has cultivated his good nature and sensibility in order
to compete well with other men.

12. The final metaphors of the last paragraph (lines 5-57) sug-
gest that this passage most probably precedes a description of
(A) the way in which Mr. Jones acquired his manners and
(B) a costume ball at which Mr. Jones and Mrs. Waters meet
and dance
(C) a scene in which Mr. Jones prepares himself for a meet-
ing with Mrs. Waters
(D) an attempt by Mr. Jones to engage the affections of Mrs.
Waters with the help of classical love poetry
(E) an encounter between Mr. Jones and Mrs. Waters
couched in the terminology of war

13. The speaker's tone in the passage can best be described as
which of the following?
(A) Flippant
(B) Whimsical
(C) Pretentious
(D) Satirical
(E) Contemptuous

Questions 14-23. Read the following poem carefully
before you choose your answers.


September rain falls on the house.
In the failing light, the old grandmother
sits in the kitchen with the child
beside the Little Marvel Stove,*
reading the jokes from the almanac, (5)
laughing and talking to hide her tears.

She thinks that her equinoctial tears
and the rain that beats on the roof of the house
were both foretold by the almanac,
but only known to a grandmother. (10)
The iron kettle sings on the stove.
She cuts some bread and says to the child,

It's time for tea now; but the child
is watching the teakettle's small hard tears
dance like mad on the hot black stove, (15)
the way the rain must dance on the house.
Tidying up, the old grandmother hangs up the clever almanac

on its string. Birdlike, the almanac
hovers half open above the child, (20)
hovers above the old grandmother
and her teacup full of dark brown tears.
She shivers and says she thinks the house feels chilly,
and puts more wood in the stove.

It was to be, says the Marvel Stove. (25)
I know what I know, says the almanac.
With crayons the child draws a rigid house
and a winding pathway. Then the child
puts in a man with buttons like tears
and shows it proudly to the grandmother. (30)

But secretly, while the grandmother
busies herself about the stove,
the little moons fall down like tears
from between the pages of the almanac
into the flower bed the child (35)
has carefully placed in the front of the house.

Time to plant tears, says the almanac.
The grandmother sings to the marvelous stove
and the child draws another inscrutable house.

* Brand name of a wood- or coal-burning stove

14. The mood of the poem is best described as
(A) satiric
(B) suspenseful
(C) reproachful
(D) elegiac
(E) quizzical

15. In line 10, "known to" is best interpreted as
(A) imagined by
(B) intended for
(C) predicted by
(D) typified in
(E) experienced by

16.In line 19, "Birdlike" describes the
(A) markings on the pages of the almanac
(B) whimsicality of the almanac's sayings
(C) shape and movement of the almanac
(D) child's movements toward the almanac
(E) grandmother's movements toward the almanac

17. Between lines 24 and 25 and between lines 32 and 33, there
is a shift from
(A) understatement to hyperbole
(B) realism to fantasy
(C) optimism to pessimism
(D) present events to recalled events
(E) formal diction to informal diction

18. The child's attitude is best described as one of
(A) anxious dismay
(B) feigned sympathy
(C) absorbed fascination
(D) silent remorse
(E) fretful boredom

19. All of the following appear to shed tears or be filled with tears
(A) child
(B) teacup
(C) almanac
(D) teakettle
(E) grandmother

20. The grandmother and the child in the poem are portrayed
primarily through descriptions of their
(A) actions
(B) thoughts
(C) conversation
(D) facial expressions
(E) physical characteristics

21. Throughout the poem, the imagery suggests that
(A) both nature and human beings are animated by similar
(B) most human activities have more lasting consequences
than is commonly realized
(C) past events have little influence on activities of the
(D) both natural and artificial creations are highly
(E) the optimism of youth differs only slightly from the
realism of age

22. Which of the following literary devices most significantly
contributes to the unity of the poem?
(A) Use of internal rhyme
(B) Use of epigrammatic expressions
(C) Use of alliteration
(D) Repetition of key words
(E) Repetition of syntactic patterns

23. The poet's attitude toward the characters in the poem is best
described as a combination of
(A) detachment and understanding
(B) disdain and curiosity
(C) envy and suspicion
(D) approval and amusement
(E) respect and resentment

Questions 24-36. Read the following passage carefully
before you choose your answers.

Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon
the North of England: they lie very thick on the hills; every parish
has one or more of them; they are young enough to be very active,
Line and ought to be doing a great deal of good. But not of late years
are we about to speak. We are going back to the beginning of this (5)
century: late years-present years-are dusty, sunburnt, hot,
arid. We will evade the noon-forget it in siesta, pass the mid-day
in slumber-and dream of dawn.
If you think, from this prelude, that anything like a romance is
preparing for you, reader, you never were more mistaken. Do you (10)
anticipate sentiment, and poetry, and reverie? Do you expect pas-
sion, and stimulus, and melodrama? Calm your expectations; re-
duce them to a lowly standard. Something real, cool, and solid lies
before you; something unromantic as Monday morning, when all
who have work wake with the consciousness that they must rise (15)
and betake themselves thereto. It is not positively affirmed that
you shall not have a taste of the exciting-perhaps towards the
middle and close of the meal-but it is resolved that the first dish
set upon the table shall be one that a Catholic-ay, even an Anglo-
Catholic-might eat on Good Friday in Passion Week. It shall be (20)
cold lentils and vinegar without oil; it shall be unleavened bread
with bitter herbs, and no roast lamb.
Of late years, I say, an abundant shower of curates has fallen
upon the North of England; but at that time that affluent rain(25)
had not descended. Curates were scarce then; there was no Pas-
toral Aid, no Additional Curates' Society to stretch a helping
hand to worn-out old rectors and incumbents, and give them the
wherewithal to pay a vigorous young colleague from Oxford or
Cambridge. The present successors of the Apostles, disciples of
Dr. Pusey and tools of the Propaganda, were at that time being (30)
hatched under cradle-blankets or undergoing regeneration by
nursery-baptism in wash-hand basins. You could not have guessed
by looking at any one of them that the Italian-ironed double frills
of its net-cap surrounded the brows of a pre-ordained, specially
sanctified successor of St. Paul, St. Peter, or St. John; nor could (35)
you have foreseen in the folds of its long nightgown the white
surplice in which it was hereafter cruelly to exercise the souls of
its parishioners, and strangely to nonplus its old-fashioned vicar
by flourishing aloft in a pulpit the shirt-like raiment which had
never before waved higher than the reading-desk. (40)
Yet even in those days of scarcity there were curates:
the precious plant was rare, but it might be found. A certain favored
district in the West Riding of Yorkshire could boast three rods of
Aaron blossoming within a circuit of twenty miles. You shall see
them, reader. Step into this neat garden-house on the skirts of (45)
Whinbury, walk forward into the little parlor-there they are at
dinner. Allow me to introduce them to you: Mr. Donne, curate of
Whinbury; Mr. Malone, curate of Briarfield; Mr. Sweeting, curate
of Nunnely. These are Mr. Donne's lodgings, being the habitation
of one John Gale, a small clothier. Mr. Donne has kindly invited (50)
his brethren to regale with him. You and I will join the party, see
what is to be seen, and hear what is to be heard. At present,
however, they are only eating, and while they eat we will talk
24. In lines 1-4, the primary effect of using clauses that elaborate
on one another is to
(A) establish the eminence of the curates
(B) create a precise narrative setting
(C) establish an appropriately solemn tone
(D) emphasize the sense of abundance being described
(E) lull the reader into an impressionable frame of mind

25. The phrase "ought to be doing" in line 4 does which of the
following in the opening sentence?
(A) It shifts the focus from generalities to individual cases.
(B) It replaces descriptive prose with imaginative speculation.
(C) It presents a judgment on the curates.
(D) It emphasizes the theoretical rather than the practical.
(E) It proposes a discussion of the spiritual duties of modern curates.

26. The word "noon" (line 7) refers most directly to the
(A) period in which the narrative will be set
(B) period in which the speaker lives
(C) beginning of the century in which the speaker lives
(D) central portion of the narrative
(E) present proliferation of curates

27. The speaker characterizes a "romance" (line 9) as all of the
following EXCEPT
(A) nostalgic
(B) insubstantial
(C) fanciful
(D) exciting
(E) religious

28. The expectation referred to in lines 9-12 is reinforced most
strongly by which of the following phrases?
(A) "an abundant shower of curates" (line 1)
(H) "young enough to be very active" (line 3)
(C) "But not of late years" (line 4)
(D) "going back to the beginning of this century" (lines 5-6)
(E) "dream of dawn" (line 8)

29. From the statement "It is not positively affirmed that you
shall not have ataste of the exciting" (lines l6-17), the reader
may infer that
(A) suspense is an integral part of the story
(B) some drama may enter the story
(C) the reader's expectations will be confirmed by the story
(D) the reader's taste is likely to be changed by the story
(E) the story depends on melodrama for its effect

30. In the context of the passage, the phrase "cold lentils and
vinegar without oil" (line 21) is used as a metaphor for the
(A) religiosity of Catholics
(B) austerity of curates
(C) poverty of the previous era
(D) serious state of mind of the narrator
(E) beginning episode of the speaker's story

31. The speaker implies in the second paragraph that the
narrative that follows will most likely be a
(A) vehement attack on a modern institution
(B) straightforward account of ordinary events
(c) witty criticism of eminent social figures
(D) cautionary tale about a degenerate cleric
(E) dramatic account of an unexpected occurrence

32. The phrases "hatched under cradle-blankets" and "under-
going regeneration by nursery-baptism in wash-hand
basins" (lines 31-32) imply a contrast between
(A) believers and disbelievers
(B) disciples and mentors
(C) younger clergy and older clergy
(D) ministers and their congregations
(E) Roman Catholics and Anglo-Catholics

33. Which of the following aspects of the "disciples of Dr. Pusey"
(lines 29-30) is most clearly emphasized by the description of
their preaching style in line 39?
(A) Their humility and moral rectitude
(B) Their bizarre behavior in the eyes of tradition-minded clergy
(c) The respect they inspire in their congregations
(D) The radical nature of the doctrine they preach
(E) The success with which Dr. Pusey's tenets have been

34. The description of a curate in lines 32-40 has the primary
effect of
(A) augmenting the curate's own view of himself
(B) reflecting the speaker's religious intensity
(C) indicating the important position in society occupied by
the curate
(D) suggesting the elaborate pretensions of the curate
(E) emphasizing the respect accorded the curate by his

35.The phrase "rods of Aaron" (lines 43-4) refers
specifically to
(A) curates
(B) saints
(C) trees
(D) Apostles
(E) gardens

36. The passage as a whole introduces contrasts between all
of the following EXCEPT
(A) young and old
(B) present and past
(C) plenitude and scarcity
(D) romance and realism
(E) virtue and vice

Questions 37-46. Read the following poem carefully
before you choose your answers.

"The Habit of Perfection"

Elected Silence, sing to me
And beat upon my whorled ear,
Pipe me to pastures still and be
The music that I care to hear.

Shape nothing, lips; be lovely-dumb: (5)
It is the shut, the curfew sent
From there where all surrenders come
Which only makes you eloquent.

Be shelled, eyes, with double dark
And find the uncreated light: (10)
This ruck and reel which you remark
Coils, keeps, and teases simple sight.

Palate, the hutch of tasty lust,
Desire not to be rinsed with wine:
The can must be so sweet, the crust (15)
So fresh that come in fasts divine!

Nostrils, your careless breath that spend
Upon the stir and keep of pride,
What relish shall the censers send
Along the sanctuary side! (20)

O feel-of-primrose hands, O feet
That want the yield of plushy sward,
But you shall walk the golden street
And you unhouse and house the Lord.

ruck and reel: multitude and commotion (25)
can: vessel for holding liquids
censers: vessels for burning incense
sward: grass-covered land.

37. The importance of "Silence" (line 1) is established by all of
the following EXCEPT
(A) capitalizing the "5"
(B) alluding to it throughout the poem
(C) describing it as elected
(D) imparting to it human qualities
(E) placing it at the beginning of the poem

38. In the first stanza, the speaker makes use of paradox by doing
which of the following?
(A) Requesting that he be simultaneously serenaded and assaulted
(B) Expressing both a desire and an apprehension
(C) Using mere language to depict a religious experience
(D) Addressing a presence invisible to the reader
(E) Depicting silence as though it were a kind of sound

39. The reference to "curfew" (line 6) indirectly establishes the
(A) depth of the silence sought by the speaker
(B) existence of an ultimate spiritual power
(C) disparity between what the speaker seeks and what can
actually be attained
(D) connection between the speaker's past and the future he
(E) inability of "lovely-dumb" (line 5) lips to achieve true

40. Which of the following best conveys the meaning of the
word "uncreated" (line 10)?
(A) Nascent
(B) Mortal
(C) Internal
(D) Imperfect
(E) Amorphous

41. Which of the following best paraphrases the meaning
of line 12?
(A) Confounds true vision
(B) Delights the spirit
(C) Demands visual acuity
(D) Emits an intense light
(E) Maintains the simplicity of vision

42. In line 13, the word "hutch" suggests the
(A) lowly animal nature of human appetite
(B) personally destructive effects of alcohol
(C) finite influence of sensual desires on the spirit
(D) ardor associated with abstinence
(E) state of poverty sought by the speaker

43. The verb phrase "must be" (line 15) serves primarily to
(A) suggest that the speaker demands the sensation
of sweetness
(B) indicate that the speaker has not actually experienced
the sweetness
(C) importune the reader to share in the sensation
of sweetness described
(D) modify the tone of emotional intensity established
by the previous stanza
(E) reflect an attitude of ambivalence on the part of
the speaker

44. The words "stir" and "keep" (line 18) convey which
of the following?
(A) Attraction and repulsion
(B) Excitement and exploitation
(C) Stimulation and sustenance
(D) Disruption and confusion
(E) Acquisition and refinement

45. What is the subject of "provide" (line 27)?
(A) "Poverty" (line 25)
(B) "bride" (line 25)
(C) "marriage feast" (line 26)
(D) "lily-colored clothes" (line 27)
(E) "spouse" (line 28)

46. The speaker metaphorically likens himself to a
(A) musician
(B) bridegroom
(C) laborer
(D) gardener
(E) soldier

Sample Essay Question 1
(Suggested time: 40 minutes)

In the passage below, which comes from William Wordsworth's
autobiographical poem The Prelude, the speaker encounters un-
familiar aspects of the natural world. Write an essay in which you
trace the speaker's changing responses to his experience and
explain how they are conveyed by the poem's diction, imagery,
and tone.

One summer evening (led by her) I found
A little boat tied to a willow tree
Within a rocky cave, its usual home.
Straight I unloosed her chain, and stepping in
Pushed from the shore. It was an act of stealth (5)
And troubled pleasure, nor without the voice
Of mountain-echoes did my boat move on;
Leaving behind her still, on either side,
Small circles glittering idly in the moon,
Until they melted all into one track (10)
Of sparkling light. But now, like one who rows,
Proud of his skill, to reach a chosen point
With an unswerving line, I fixed my view
Upon the summit of a craggy ridge,
The horizon's utmost boundary; far above (15)
Was nothing but the stars and the grey sky.
She was an elfin pinnace; lustily
I dipped my oars into the silent lake,
And, as I rose upon the stroke, my boat
Went heaving through the water like a swan; (20)
When, from behind that craggy steep till then
The horizon's bound, a huge peak, black and huge,
As if with voluntary power instinct
Upreared its head. I struck and struck again,
And growing still in stature the grim shape (25)
Towered up between me and the stars, and still,
For so it seemed, with purpose of its own
And measured motion like a living thing,
Strode after me. With trembling oars I turned,
And through the silent water stole my way (30)
Back to the covert of the willow tree;
There in her mooring place I left my bark,--
And through the meadows homeward went, in grave
And serious mood; but after I had seen
That spectacle, for many days, my brain (35)
Worked with a dim and undetermined sense
Of unknown modes of being; o'er my thoughts
There hung a darkness, call it solitude
Or blank desertion. No familiar shapes
Remained, no pleasant images of trees, (40)
Of sea or sky, no colours of green fields;
But huge and mighty forms, that do not live
Like living men, moved slowly through the mind
By day, and were a trouble to my dreams.

led by her: nature
pinnace: a small boat

Sample Essay Question 2
(Suggested time: 40 minutes)

Read the following poem carefully. Then write an essay in
which you discuss how such elements as language, imagery,
structure, and point of view convey meaning in the poem.

"The Centaur" (A creature in Greek mythology that had the
body of a horse and the head and torso of a man)

The summer that I was ten--
Can it be there was only one
summer that I was ten? It must

have been a long one then--
each day I'd go out to choose (5)
a fresh horse from my stable

which was a willow grove
down by the old canal.
I'd go on my two bare feet.

But when, with my brother's jack-knife, (10)
I had cut me a long limber horse
with a good thick knob for a head,

and peeled him slick and clean
except a few leaves for the tail,
and cinched my brother's belt (15)

around his head for a rein,
I'd straddle and canter him fast
up the grass bank to the path,

trot along in the lovely dust
that talcumed over his hoofs, (20)
hiding my toes, and turning

his feet to swift half-moons.
The willow knob with the strap
jouncing between my thighs

was the pommel and yet the poll (25)
of my nickering pony's head.
My head and my neck were mine,

yet they were shaped like a horse.
My hair flopped to the side
like the mane of a horse in the wind. (30)

My forelock swung in my eyes,
my neck arched and I snorted.
I shied and skittered and reared,

stopped and raised my knees,
pawed at the ground and quivered. (35)
My teeth bared as we wheeled

and swished through the dust again.
I was the horse and the rider,
and the leather I slapped to his rump

spanked my own behind. (40)
Doubled, my two hoofs beat
a gallop along the bank,

the wind twanged in my mane,
my mouth squared to the bit.
And yet I sat on my steed (45)

quiet, negligent riding,
my toes standing the stirrups,
my thighs hugging his ribs.

At a walk we drew up to the porch.
I tethered him to a paling. (50)
Dismounting, I smoothed my skirt

and entered the dusky hall.
My feet on the clean linoleum
left ghostly toes in the hall.

Where have you been? said my mother. (55)
Been riding, I said from the sink,
and filled me a glass of water.

What's that in your pocket? she said.
Just my knife. It weighted my pocket
and stretched my dress awry. (60)

Go tie back your hair, said my mother,
and Why is your mouth all green?
Rob Roy, he pulled some clover
as we crossed the field, I told her.

--May Swenson

Sample Essay Question 3
(Suggested time--4O minutes)

Read the poem below carefully. You will note that it has two major secti6ns that are joined by another section, lines 21-26. Write an essay in which you discuss how the diction, imagery, and movement of the verse in the poem reflect differences in tone and content between the two larger sections.

"Ogun" (The Yoruba and Afro-Caribbean creator-god)

My uncle made chairs, tables, balanced doors on, dug out
coffins, smoothing the white wood out

with plane and quick sandpaper until
it shone like his short-sighted glasses.

The knuckles of his hands were sil-
vered knobs of nails hit, hurt and flat-

tened out with blast of heavy hammer. He was knock-knee'd,
flat-footed and his clip clop sandals slapped across the concrete

flooring of his little shop where canefield mulemen and a fleet
of Bedford lorry drivers dropped in to scratch themselves and talk.

There was no shock of wood, no beam
of light mahogany his saw teeth couldn't handle.

When shaping squares for locks, a key hole
care tapped rat tat tat upon the handle

of his humpbacked chisel. Cold
world of wood caught fire as he whittled: rectangle

window frames, the intersecting x of fold-
ing chairs, triangle

trellises, the donkey
box-cart in its squeaking square.

But he was poor and most days he was hungry.
Imported cabinets with mirrors, formica table

tops, spine-curving chairs made up of tubes, with hollow
steel-like bird bones that sat on rubber ploughs,

thin beds, stretched not on boards, but blue high tensioned cables,
were what the world preferred.

And yet he had a block of wood that would have baffled them.
With knife and gimlet care he worked away at this on Sundays,

explored its knotted hurts, cutting his way
along its yellow whorls until his hands could feel

how it had swelled and shivered, breathing air,
its weathered green burning to rings of time,

its contoured grain still tuned to roots and water.
And as he cut, he heard the creak of forests:

green lizard faces gulped, grey memories with moth
eyes watched him from their shadows, soft

liquid tendrils leaked among the flowers
and a black rigid thunder he had never heard within his hammer

came stomping up the trunks. And as he worked within his shattered
Sunday shop, the wood took shape: dry shuttered

eyes, slack anciently everted lips,
flat ruined face, eaten by pox, ravaged by rat

and woodworm, dry cistern mouth, cracked
gullet crying for the desert, the heavy black

enduring jaw; lost pain, lost iron;
emerging woodwork image of his anger.

lorry: kind of truck

--E. K. Hrathwaite

Sample Essay Question 4
(Suggested time--4O minutes)

Below is a complete short story. Read it carefully.
Then write a well-organized essay in which you
analyze the blend of humor, pathos, and the grotesque
in the story.


The last time I saw my father was in Grand Central Station. I
was going from my grandmother's in the Adirondacks to a cottage
on the Cape that my mother had rented, and I wrote my father
that I would be in New York between trains for an hour and a
half, and asked if we could have lunch together. His secretary (5)
wrote to say that he would meet me at the information booth at
noon, and at twelve o'clock sharp I saw him coming through the
crowd. He was a stranger to me-my mother divorced him three
years ago and I hadn't been with him since-but as soon as I saw
him I felt that he was my father, my flesh and blood, my future (10)
and my doom. I knew that when I was grown I would be something
like him; I would have to plan my campaigns within his limita-
tions. He was a big, good-looking man, and I was terribly happy
to see him again. He struck me on the back and shook my hand.
"Hi, Charlie," he said. "Hi, boy. I'd like to take you up to my club, (15)
but it's in the Sixties, and if you have to catch an early train I
guess we'd better get something to eat around here." He put his
arm around me, and I smelled my father the way my mother sniffs
a rose. It was a rich compound of whiskey, after-shave lotion, shoe
polish, woolens, and the rankness of a mature male. I hoped that (20)
someone would see us together. I wished that we could be photo-
graphed. I wanted some record of our having been together.

We went out of the station and up a side street to a restaurant.
It was still early, and the place was empty. The bartender was
quarreling with a delivery boy, and there was one very old waiter (25)
in a red coat down by the kitchen door. We sat down, and my father
hailed the waiter in a loud voice. "Kelluer!" he shouted. "Garcon!
Cameriere! You!" His boisterousness in the empty restaurant
seemed out of place. "Could we have a little service here!" he
shouted. "Chop-chop." Then he clapped his hands. This caught (30)
the waiter's attention, and he shuffled over to our table. "Were
you clapping your hands at me?" he asked. "Calm down, calm
down, sommelier," my father said. "If it isn't too much to ask of
you-if it wouldn't be too much above and beyond the call of duty,
we would like a couple of Beefeater Gibsons." (35)
"I don't like to be clapped at," the waiter said.
"I should have brought my whistle," my father said. "I have a
whistle that is audible only to the ears of old waiters. Now, take
out your little pad and your little pencil and see if you can get
this straight: two Beefeater Gibsons. Repeat after me: two Beef- (40)
eater Gibsons."
"I think you'd better go somewhere else," the waiter said
"That," said my father, "is one of the most brilliant suggestions
I have ever heard. Come on, Charlie, let's get the hell out of here." (45)
I followed my father out of that restaurant into another. He
was not so boisterous this time. Our drinks came, and he cross-
questioned me about the baseball season. He then struck the edge
of his empty glass with his knife and began shouting again. "Gar-
con! Kellner! Cameriere! You! Could we trouble you to bring us (50)
two more of the same."
"How old is the boy?" the waiter asked.
"That," my father said, "is none of your Goddamned business."
"I'm sorry, sir," the waiter said, "but I won't serve the boy
another drink." (55)
"Well, I have some news for you," my father said. "I have some
very interesting news for you. This doesn't happen to be the only
restaurant in New York. They've opened another on the corner.
Come on, Charlie."
He paid the bill, and I followed him out of that restaurant into (60)
another. Here the waiters wore pink jackets like hunting coats,
and there was a lot of horse tack on the walls. We sat down, and
my father began to shout again. "Master of the hounds! Tallyhoo
and all that sort of thing. We'd like a little something in the way
of a stirrup cup. Namely, two Bibson Geefeaters." (65)
"Two Bibson Geefeaters?" the waiter asked, smiling.
"You know damned well what I want," my father said angrily.
"I want two Beefeater Gibsons, and make it snappy. Things have
changed in jolly old England. So my friend the duke tells me. Let's
see what England can produce in the way of a cocktail." (70)
"This isn't England," the waiter said.
"Don't argue with me," my father said. "Just do as you're told."
"I just thought you might like to know where you are," the
waiter said.
"If there is one thing I cannot tolerate," my father said, "it is (75)
an impudent domestic. Come on, Charlie."
The fourth place we went to was Italian. "Buon giorno," my
father said. "Per favore, possiamo avere due cocktail americani,
forti,forti. Molto gin, poco vermut."
"I don't understand Italian," the waiter said. (80)
"Oh, come off it," my father said. "You understand Italian, and
you know damned well you do. Vogliamo due cocktail americarn.
The waiter left us and spoke with the captain, who came over
to our table and said, "I'm sorry, sir, but this table is reserved." (85)
"All right," my father said. "Get us another table."
"All the tables are reserved," the captain said.
"I get it," my father said. "You don't desire our patronage.
Is that it? Well, the hell with you. Vada all'inferno. Let's go, Charlie."
"I have to get my train," I said. (90)
"I'm sorry, sonny," my father said. "I'm terribly sorry." He put
his arm around me and pressed me against him. "I'll walk you
back to the station. If there had only been time to go up to my
"That's all right, Daddy," I said. (95)
"I'll get you a paper," he said. "I'll get you a paper to read on
the train."
Then he went up to a newsstand and said, "Kind sir, will you be
good enough to favor me with one of your God-damned, no-good,
ten-cent afternoon papers?" The clerk turned away from him and (100)
stared at a magazine cover. "Is it asking too much for you to sell
me one of your disgusting specimens of yellow journalism?."
"I have to go, Daddy," I said. "It's late."
"Now, just wait a second, sonny," he said. "Just wait a second.
I want to get a rise out of this chap." (105)
"Goodbye, Daddy," I said, and I went down the stairs and got
my train, and that was the last time I saw my father.

Sample Essay Question 5
(Suggested time--4O minutes)

In a novel or play, a confidant (male) or a confidante (female) is
a character, often a friend or relative of the hero or heroine, whose
role is to be present when the hero or heroine needs a sympathetic
listener to confide in. Frequently the result is, as Henry James
remarked, that the confidant or confidante can be as much "the
reader's friend as the protagonist's." However, the author some-
times uses this character for other purposes as well.
Choose a confidant or confidante from a novel or play of recog-
nized literary merit and write an essay in which you discuss the
various ways this character functions in the work. You may write
your essay on one of the following novels or plays or on another
of comparable quality. Do not write on a poem or short story.

As You Like It
The Awakening
The Color Purple
Don Quixote
Great Expectations
The Great Gatsby
The Handmaid's Tale
Hedda Gabler
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
Lord of the Flies
The Mill on the Floss
The Misanthrope
A Passage to India
The Portrait of a Lady
Pride and Prejudice
A Raisin in the Sun
Romeo and Juliet
A Streetcar Named Desire
The Turn of the Screw
The Watch That Ends the Night
Wide Sargasso Sea
Wuthering Heights

Sample Essay Question 6
(Suggested time--4O minutes)

"The true test of comedy is that it shall awaken thoughtful laughter."
-George Meredith

Choose a novel, play, or long poem in which a scene or character
awakens "thoughtful laughter" in the reader. Write an essay in
which you show why this laughter is "thoughtful" and how it
contributes to the meaning of the work.
Choose a novel, play, or long poem by one of the following
authors or another author of comparable merit.

Aristophanes-----Moliere-----Margaret Atwood-----Vladimir Nabokov
Jane Austen-----Gloria Naylor-----Samuel Beckett-----Walker Percy
Lord Byron-----Harold Pinter-----Geoffrey Chaucer-----Alexander Pope
Charles Dickens-----Barbara Pym-----T. S. Eliot-----Mordecai Richler
William Faulkner-----William Shakespeare-----Henry FieldingGeorge Bernard Shaw-----Zora Neale Hurston-----Tom Stoppard
Aldous Huxley-----Jonathan Swift-----Henry James-----Anthony Trollope
Ben Jonson-----Mark Twain-----Franz Kafka-----Voltaire
Margaret Laurence-----Evelyn Waugh-----Bobbie Ann Mason
Oscar Wilde

Sample Essay Question 7
(Suggested time--4O minutes)

Choose a distinguished novel or play in which some of the
most significant events are mental or psychological; for example,
awakenings, discoveries, changes in consciousness. In a well-
organized essay, describe how the author manages to give these
internal events the sense of excitement, suspense, and climax usually
associated with external action. Do not merely summarize the plot.
You may choose one of the works listed below or another of
comparable quality that is appropriate to the question.

Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain
Sophocles, Oedipus Rex
Shakespeare, Hamlet; Othello; King Lear
Ibsen, A Doll's House
James, The Portrait of a Lady
Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Forster, A Passage to India
Bronte-, Jane Eyre
Ellison, Invisible Man
Austen, Pride and Prejudice
Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter
Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment
Dickens, Great Expectations
Miller, Death of a Salesman
Albee, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
Morrison, Song of Solomon
Woolf, To the Lighthouse
Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
Chopin, The Awakening

Answer Key to Multiple-Choice Ouestions

1-D, 2-E, 3-c, 4-B, 5-A, 6-B, 7-A, 8-A, 9-D, 10-B, 11-B, 12-B, 13-D,
14-D, 15-B, 16-c, 17-B, 18-c, 19-A, 20-A, 21-A, 22-D, 23-A, 24-D,
25-c, 26-B, 27-E, 28-E, 29-B, 30-B, 31-B, 32-c, 33-B, 34-D, 35-A,
36-E, 37-B, 38-B, 39-B, 40-c, 41-A, 42-A, 43-B, 44-c, 45-A, 46-B