Analyzing And Interpreting Literature Clep Essay Samples

CLEP - Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

Terms used in study material for CLEP - Analyzing and Interpreting Literature.
Repetition of a constanant sound - do or die; safe and sound. A common use for alliteration is emphasis. It occurs in everyday speech in such prhases as "tittle-tattle," "bag and baggage," "bed and board," "primrose path," and "through thick and thin" and in sayings like "look before you leap."
a reference in one literary work to a character or theme found in another literary work.a brief reference to a person, event, place, or phrase. The writer assumes will recognize the reference. For instance, most of us would know the difference between a mechanic's being as reliable as George Washington or as reliable as Benedict Arnold. Allusions that are commonplace for readers in one era may require footnotes for readers in a later time.
character struggles against somone or something - man against himself; mand against man; man against society; man against nature.
Repetition of vowel sounds
A direct address to a person, thing, or abstraction, such as "O Western Wind," or "Ah, Sorrow, you consume us." Apostrophes are generally capitalized.
cunning; ingenuity; craftiness
the point where crisis comes to point of greatest intensity and is resolved
conversation used to reveal characters and advance plot
the running of one line of poetry into the next without a break for the rhyme or syntax
opening; beginning portion of plot which background information is set forth
term used to express mild disgust; annoyance
using hints or clues to suggest what will happen later; builds suspense
work sounds the same but spelled differently - they're and there
expressing much in a few words; concise
conflict between appearance and reality; Romeo & Juliet - audience knows she's sleeping, Romeo thinks she's dead.
slow and relaxed; lazy andpeaceful; sluggish in character
Comparing two unlike things that have something in common - "I think the sun is a flower that blooms for just one hour". Implicit comparison between two unlike things.
Word represents something else which it suggests - a 'herd' of cows refered to as fifty 'head'; head represents herd.
Word which imitates a sound - bang; pop; hiss; sizzle
an arrangement of the parts of a composition so that elements of equal importance are balanced in construction.
something non-human given human characteristics
a narrative involving conflict
character struggles toward or for somone or something
as a metaphor but uses 'like' or 'as'.
speech while alone, or talking to self
work with the same meaning
part used for the whole or the whole for the part
character who enables us to see one or more other characters better - Tom Sayer (romantic) for Huck Finn (realism).
standing for qualities or concepts rather than for actual personages.Figurative treatment of one subject disguised under another subject.
a short moral story (often with animal characters)
a simple story that illustrates a moral or religious lesson
a speech delivered by a character expressing emotion towards an unresponsive audience
a short metrical tale, usually ribald and humorous, popular in medieval France.
a rhyme of two syllables, one stressed and one unstressed, as "waken" and "forsaken" and "audition" and "rendition." Feminine rhyme is sometimes called double rhyme or internal rhyme.
a lyric poem with complex stanza forms
a statement consisting of two parallel parts in which the second part is structurally reversed ("Susan walked in, and out rushed Mary.")
Used to gie an image a "concrete" reality: a gold-edged love poem for example.
A statement with two parts which seem contradictory; examples: sad joy, a wise fool, the sound of silence, or Hamlet's saying, "I must be cruel only to be kind"
a foot consisting of an unaccented and accented syllable. Shakespeare often uses iambic, for example the beginning of Hamlet's speech (the accented syllables are italicized), "To be or not to be. Listen for the accents in this line from Marlowe, "Come live with me and be my love." English seems to fall naturally into iambic patterns, for it is the most common meter in English.
Trochaic: a foot consisting of an accented and unaccented syllable. Longfellow's Hiawatha uses this meter, which can quickly become singsong (the accented syllable is italicized):
"By the shores of GitcheGumee
By the shining Big-Sea-water."
The three witches' speech in Macbeth uses it: "Double, double, toil and trouble."
Anapestic: a foot consisting of two unaccented syllables and an accented syllable. These lines from Shelley's Cloud are anapestic:
"Like a child from the womb, like a ghost from the tomb
I arise and unbuild it again."
a deliberate act of omission, The omission of an unstressed vowel or syllable to preserve the meter of a line of poetry
(logic) a self-contradiction.
That when we live no more, we may live ever - a situation where she and her loved one are both alive and dead. No one can be both alive and dead, so this is a paradox.
short account of an incident (especially a biographical one)
This was the new style of literature that focused on the daily lives and adventures of a common person. This style was a response to Romanticism's supernaturalism and over-emphasis on emotion
an inoffensive expression that is substituted for one that is considered offensive
a tragedy that starts good and ends bad. The opposite may also hold true

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."

CLEP Analyzing Interpreting Literature Exam Study Guide with Practice Questions

  1. What is the rhyme scheme of the first eight lines?
  2. What is the central image of the poem?
    1. A collapsed statue in the desert
    2. A wounded king
    3. A face and inscription on a coin
    4. A plaque near a WWII battle site
    5. The Sphinx
  3. 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.

  4. What is the author’s primary criticism of the philosopher?
    1. The philosopher communicates only general, abstract ideas.
    2. The philosopher can make an untrue argument seem true.
    3. The philosopher cannot know truth beyond the five senses.
    4. The philosopher is difficult to understand.
    5. The philosopher cannot attain true wisdom.
  5. What is the author’s primary criticism of the historian?
    1. The historian considers only abstract precepts.
    2. The historian may distort events to reflect political preferences.
    3. The historian deals only with particular events, not general principles.
    4. The historian can see only the past through the lens of the present.
    5. The historian is difficult to understand.
  6. The author praises poets primarily for their ability to:
    1. Preserve the highest values of the past.
    2. Write both abstract ideas and particular details.
    3. Communicate more clearly than the philosopher.
    4. Entertain and instruct.
    5. Speak of the present as a historian speaks of the past.
  7. Which of the following best captures the meaning of the final sentence in the above passage?
    1. A poet can make the philosopher’s wisdom appeal to the imagination of the reader.
    2. The philosopher’s ideas appeal to the imagination of the audience, but not to the intellect.
    3. The philosopher is wiser than the poet in matters of public policy and private government.
    4. The painter can illuminate the ideas of the philosopher best of all.
    5. 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--”

  1. The punctuation marks that open and close this passage indicate that it is taken from:
    1. A novel.
    2. Dialogue.
    3. The early 1900s.
    4. The author’s point of view.
    5. A soliloquy in a play.
  2. In the last sentence of this passage, what does the pronoun “it” refer to?
    1. “The inner truth”
    2. “Mysterious stillness”
    3. “Mere incidents of the surface”
    4. “The reality”
    5. “Monkey tricks”
  3. 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?
    1. Metaphor
    2. Allusion
    3. Personification
    4. Metonym
    5. Symbolism
  4. What is the setting of the story the character is telling?
    1. On a river
    2. In an aircraft
    3. In a horse-drawn carriage
    4. On large ocean vessel
    5. On the Thames River in London


CLEP Analyzing Interpreting Literature Exam Answer Key

by Enoch Morrison

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Last Updated: 12/14/2017

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