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SAT Literature Practice Test 8

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.

Try some of the techniques you learned in the chapters on poetry and prose to complete this drama exercise. Do the specific questions first and the general ones next.

Pygmalion by George Bernard Shaw line 5

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SAT practice test on Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw

This excerpt is from Pygmalion, by George Bernard Shaw.

1. The central contrasts in the passage are expressed in all of the following pairs EXCEPT

A. A lady in a florist’s shop … “flower girls”
B. Buckingham Palace … “the Tower of London”
C. Mrs. Pearce … “the King”
D. proper bedroom … “the back kitchen”
E. good and do whatever you’re told … “naughty and idle”

2. From his speech, it seems clear that Higgins views Eliza as

A. a naive child
B. an obedient servant
C. a potential wife
D. a futile project
E. a tenacious competitor

3. According to the passage, all of the following are characteristic of a “lady” EXCEPT

A. articulate speech
B. employment in a florist’s shop
C. private transportation
D. fine clothing
E. the leisure not to work

4. The first four lines of Higgins’ speech imply

A. the discipline developed in a military background like Eliza’s
B. Higgins’ prejudice about people of different social classes
C. Higgins’ long familiarity with Eliza and her character
D. the insight Higgins has into what motivates women
E. Eliza’s preference for direction over explanation

5. Higgins’s speech can best be described as

A. condescending
B. didactic
C. instructive
D. explicatory
E. apathetic

6. From the passage, Higgins may accurately be described as all of the following EXCEPT

A. presumptuous
B. generous
C. arrogant
D. self-important
E. determined

Question Correct Answer Your Answer Result Explanation
1 C 0 0 Mrs. Pearce never is contrasted with the king (C). Eliza was a flower girl—Higgins is hoping to make her into a lady in a florist’s shop (A). If she’s good, she goes to the palace; if she’s bad, she goes to jail in the Tower of London (B). Again, good = proper bedroom. Bad = kitchen (D). Goodness is contrasted with naughtiness (E).
2 A 0 0 Higgins treats Eliza like a child with his patronizing tone, warning her of what will happen if she is “naughty and idle” or a “wicked girl” (A). She is not a servant because she won’t have to do chores (B). He looks down on her; we know she is not a potential wife and matrimony is never mentioned (C). If it were futile, he would not embark on the project (D). He certainly does not find her to be a tenacious competitor (E).
3 E 0 0 According to Higgins, she will work in a florist’s shop as a lady, so she will have to work (E). Ladies “speak beautifully” (A) and are like “a lady in a florist’s shop” (B). She will ride in taxis (private transportation), not buses or trolleys (public) (C). Ladies are “beautifully dressed” (D).
4 B 0 0 Higgins is making assumptions and judgments about Eliza based on her social class (B), rather than on her as a person. It is Higgins, not Eliza, who has the military background (A). There is no evidence that Higgins is intimately familiar with Eliza as a person (C), and it is implausible that Higgins’ superior attitude expresses sincere insight into what women want from men (D). Eliza has not expressed a preference (E) in this scene; she just seems confused.
5 A 0 0 Higgins oversimplifies the matter and talks to Eliza as though she were a child (A). He is not trying to teach her something with the speech (B), (C), nor does the speech really explain anything (D). His words are not apathetic (E).
6 B 0 0 Higgins is making an offer to “improve” Eliza according to his opinion of what makes one person better than another; if he is successful, her reward will be “seven and six pence,” which is about 3/8 of a pound of sterling (somewhere between $45–$250 in present-day value). Since she is threatened with beatings and death for her participation in this project, and her reward is at best $40 per month, it is hard to say that Higgins is generous (B). His condescending speech suggests that he is arrogant (C), and his focus on his own benefit shows self-importance (D); his certainty that Eliza will jump at this opportunity is presumptuous (A). However, from the plan that Higgins describes, it is clear that he is determined (E); he will convince Eliza to participate, and she will be successful (or so he believes).
Total: 6, Your Rights: 0


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