SAT Literature Practice Test 2

Directions: This test consists of selections from literary works and questions on their content, form, and style. After each passage or poem, choose the best answer to each question.

Now try applying what you’ve learned so far to the opening of this short story.

This passage is from “Harrison Bergeron,” a short story in Kurt Vonnegut’s collection of short stories Welcome to the Monkey House.

1. The narrator’s tone can best be described as

A. satirical
B. harshly critical
C. wholly frustrated
D. mildly emotional
E. excessively casual

2. The effect of the repetition of the phrase “nobody was” is to

A. introduce theme
B. underscore a point
C. instill a sense of loneliness
D. refute a commonly held assumption
E. present three contradictory elements

3. In the first paragraph, the author employs which of the following?

A. Internal rhymes
B. Mimicry of the speech of the lower class
C. General comparison
D. Parallel construction
E. Introduction of the protagonist

Take a look at the following passage and questions that follow.

This selection is from the autobiography of Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings.

4. From the passage, it is reasonable to infer that

A. The audience was more interested in Marguerite’s graduation than she was
B. Marguerite was surprised that her name was called
C. The experience of graduating was more overwhelming than Marguerite had imagined
D. Marguerite was unable to get her diploma
E. Marguerite had tried to make a painting of the scene before it happened

5. The sentence “I neither marched up to the stage like a conquering Amazon, nor did I look in the audience for Bailey’s nod of approval” (lines 3-5) contains an example of

A. authorial intrusion
B. startling anachronism
C. complicated syntax
D. anthropomorphism
E. classical allusion

Now put it all together with this excerpt and accompanying drill questions.

The excerpt above is from Ha Jin’s Waiting.

6. The passage as a whole can be said to be a contrast of

A. center and periphery
B. corruption and honesty
C. intellect and physicality
D. heaven and earth
E. secular and divine

7. Lin’s attitude could best be described as

A. haughty
B. indifferent
C. excited
D. thoughtful
E. enthralled

8. It is reasonable to infer that

A. Lin is a professor in the city
B. Lin is returning home after a long time away
C. Lin is on vacation
D. Lin is not used to the country
E. Lin is blind to the beauty of the country

9. Which of the following is an example of personification?

A. Long cucumbers hung on trellises (lines 15)
B. Chickens were strutting and geese waddling (lines 11-12)
C. The air reeked of distillers’ grains mixed in the pig feed (lines 26-27) From the kitchen, where Shuyu was cooking, came the coughing of the bellows” (lines 28-30)
D. Their sow was oinking from the pigpen (lines 19-20)

10. The lines “Sure thing, he thought, Shuyu doesn’t know how to take care of books. Maybe I should give them to my nephews. These books are of no use to me anymore” (lines 7-10)

I. are an example of indirect dialogue

II. signify a shift in the narrator’s focus

III. represent a relinquishing of Lin’s pastoral life

A. I only
B. II only
C. III only
D. I, II, and III
E. I and II

11. The “sour smell” (line 27) refers to

A. Shuyu’s cooking
B. the manure near the pigpen
C. the pig feed
D. the mildewed books
E. the nearby field

12. The passage as a whole is best described as

A. a paean to rural life
B. an elegy for a lost time
C. a detailed description of a place
D. an epiphanic moment in a young man’s life
E. an allegory of a homeward journey

QuestionCorrect AnswerYour AnswerResultExplanation
1A00The narrator is making fun of the notion that everyone is equal (A). He is not harsh (B), nor is he frustrated (C). There is no emotion in the narration (D), and the narration is not too casual (E).
2B00The author uses repetition to underscore his point that everyone is equal (B). The repetition does not introduce a theme (A). The repetition is not intended to make the reader lonely (C). There is no commonly held assumption that is refuted (D). The three elements introduced are not contradictory (E).
3D00The repetition of the subject “nobody” is an example of parallelism (D). There is no internal rhyme (A), and he does not mimic lower-class speech (B). The comparison is not general (C). The protagonist is not mentioned in the first passage (E).
4C00Marguerite’s name doesn’t sound familiar, because she is so overwhelmed by the experience, which is much more challenging than her “preparations” prepared her for (line 3). There is nothing to tell us that she is uninterested in her own graduation (A). Having made “preparations,” she cannot have been surprised (B), but since her honors were read and she took a place on the stage, it is unlikely that she was unable to get her diploma (D). Despite the mention of colors, there is nothing to suggest that Marguerite’s preparations for the day included making a painting of how she imagined the scene (E).
5E00The sentence refers to an Amazon, which, back in 1969, was not a giant online bookseller. When you see a potentially unfamiliar proper name in a passage, especially when it’s being used in a comparison, it’s probably a reference to the Bible or classical literature. This is a classical allusion (E) to the race of female warriors. The author is not intruding here (A). There is no anachronism (B). The syntax is interesting, but not complicated (C). There is no evidence of anthropomorphism here (D).
6C00Lin is thumbing through a book while everyone else is working, so the contrast is between intellect and physicality (C). This is highlighted when Lin sits down on the very surface where work is done (grinding stone) and flips through his Russian dictionary (lines 37–38). There is nothing exactly central or peripheral (A). There is no mention of anyone corrupt or honest (B). There is no mention of heaven (D), so secular and divine are not mentioned either (E).
7D00Throughout the passage, Lin is observing and assessing his surroundings, so (D) is the best answer. He is not “haughty” (A), nor is he indifferent to his surroundings (B) or excited (C). “Enthralled” is too strong a word for the curiosity he feels (E).
8B00The fact that the house is the same as it was twenty years ago and the books are mildewed suggests that Lin has been away a long time (B). We do not know his profession (A) or the purpose for his visit (C). He is comfortable, so he is used to the country (D), and it is not clear that the landscape is beautiful (E).
9D00Bellows do not cough, so this is an example of personification (D). Cucumbers can hang (A), chickens strut, and geese waddle (B). Air can reek (C), and sows can oink (E).
10A00The character is speaking to himself without quotes, so Statement I is true. The narrator continues speaking about the books, so there is no shift, so II is false. We do not know if Lin is relinquishing his pastoral life, so Statement III is not true.
11C00The “distillers’ grains mixed in the pig feed” cause the sour smell (C), not the cooking (A), nor the manure (B). The mildewed books do not smell (D), nor does the field (E).
12C00The passage describes Lin’s home in detail (C). It is not a paean (hymn of praise) (A) or an elegy for a previous time (B). The character does not experience an epiphany (D). There is no evident allegory (E).

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