272 Explanations for Sample Examination V Passage One: From Eugene O'Neill's The Hairy Ape Those familiar with O'Neill's short play, The Hairy Ape, are no doubt conscious of its brilliant commentary on Social Darwinism. Focused around Yank, a oft-swearing, shovel-shaking, systemdefying brute of a man who toils below decks in the ship's boiler room, the play catalogs Yank's encounter with the upper levels of the social strata and his blunt rejection by each. "Injured" by the offhand remark of a beautiful socialite, who on a tour of the boat encounters Yank's coarse and begrimed being and, revolted, labels him a "hairy ape," Yank sets out on a personal quest to avenge this insult to his persona. However, during his highly unrealistic quest to hunt her down in New York City, Yank discovers the true depths of his outcast state. Ignored by the wealthy socialites on Fifth Avenue, forcibly removed by a workers' union he has mistaken for a group of anarchists, and ultimately trounced and thrown into jail by the local constabulary, Yank's experience anticipates the existential condition explored by later writers: man as wayfarer in a hostile and indifferent universe. The surrealistic final scene, in which Yank is crushed to death by a gorilla he frees from a cage at the zoo, symbolically places him at the bottom of the evolutionary chain and social strata. The passage used in this examination, however, does not feature Yank, but Mildred, the young socialite who insults him, and her rather pretentious chaperon of an aunt. The dialogue immediately establishes what appears to be a distinct difference in their personalities: Mildred commenting dreamily about the beauty of the liner's black smoke against the horizon, her aunt dryly retorting "I dislike smoke of any kind" (lines 4-5). The ensuing exchange, in which Mildred and her aunt lock horns over the smoking habits of her great-grandmother, features sardonic and condescending remarks by the aunt and snide attacks by Mildred on her aunt's person. The aunt, whose choice of the word "must" (line 28) confirms her distaste for chaperoning Mildred, attempts to establish an "armed truce" (line 30) with her niece, telling Mildred she is "quite free to indulge any pose of eccentricity" (lines 30-31) she desires on the condition that she herself not accompany Mildred on her "slumming" (line 40). Mildred, whom we learn has done social service on New York's Lower East Side and who is now bound for a similar experience in London's Whitechapel, initially comes off as a young lady with genuine concern for the poor and unfortunate, someone totally different from her socially pretentious aunt who readily confesses to "loathe deformity" (line 43). However, Mildred's pale retort, said with a "trace of genuine earnestness" according to the stage directions in lines 46-47, does little to confirm this sentiment. Rather, though Mildred suggests an interest in discovering "how the other half lives" (line 48), she admits that it is little more than a "groping sincerity" (line 49), a feeble and ineffectual attempt "to be sincere, to touch life somewhere" (line 52). Mildred's ready confession that she lacks the "vitality [and] integrity" (line 54) to make a genuine social endeavor, as well as her vision of self as a "waste product" in her family's lucrative steel business (lines 59-60), reveal that the only real difference between Mildred and her aunt is the her limited perception of the gulf between her social elitism, the poverty of the masses, and her aunt's blissful disconcem. The passage's parenthetical comments pique additional interest, serving less as stage directions than as an indirect means of enhancing the characterization and determining the tone. Finally, the images of giant "blast furnaces, flaming to the sky, melting steel, making millions" (lines 56-57), and the objective correlative of the Bessemer waste product (lines 59-60), vividly convey how wealth can vitiate empathy and sever the connection between social worlds. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part ol this page I* Illegal. Explanations for Sample Examination V 273 1. The first intimation of Mildred's specious sensitivity is her (A) romantic reaction to the steamship's smoke (line 3). The word "specious," defined as "having a false look of truth," suggests that Mildred's aesthetic appreciation and empathy for the underprivileged are nothing but pretensions, something she herself later admits. For example, she refers to her social service as "attempts to discover how the other half lives" (lines 47-48) and labels her efforts a "groping sincerity" (line 49). She also confesses with "weary Wtterness" (line 53) that she lacks the vitality or integrity to engage in such work. Though there are several instances in which this speciousness shines through, the very first intimation of it is the opening lines, in which Mildred gazes up at the steamship's smoke with "affected dreaminess." The choice of the adjective "affected" is synonymous with "specious," suggesting that Mildred's romantic sensitivity is less than genuine. 2. In the passage Mildred most vehemently disagrees with her aunt over which of the following? (C) the earnestness of Mildred's social commitment. The passage depicts Mildred's relationship with her aunt as somewhat combatative. Their disagreement begins with their antithetical reactions to smoke, extends through their disparate level of interest in dead relations, and climaxes in their polar affinities for social service. Mildred's aunt is particularly sardonic about the latter, referring to her niece's work on the Lower East Side as "morbid thrills" (line 36), suggesting that the poor hated her interference in their lives, and labeling her new social service interest in Whitechapel "slumming" (line 40). This clearly bothers Mildred the most as is evidenced by her protestation, "Please do not mock at my attempts to discover how the other half lives. Give me credit for some sort of groping sincerity in that at least I would like to help them. I would like to be of some use in the world" (lines 47-51). Even though it is clear that Mildred aristocratic nature effectively impedes her ever having a genuine commitment to social improvement, she still resents her aunt's mockery of her attempt. 3. The characterization of Mildred's aunt is primarily established through her (B) candid and pretentious tone. The comments which Mildred's aunt makes-stating her dislike of smoke, labeling her niece a "ghoul," characterizing the poor as a "deformity"-are blunt, even cruel, and reveal her as an aristocratic snob. Her tone, which is on occasion sarcastic, is primarily pretentious once she begins her commentary on Mildred's social work. Phrases such as "morbid thrills" (line 36), "slumming" (line 40) and "deformity" (line 43) confirm this as do stage directions such as "Pretending boredom" (line 11). 4. The most pointed barb directed at Mildred by her aunt concerns Mildred's (D) ironic humiliation of the downtrodden. Lines 37-39, "how they must have hated you, by the way, the poor that you made so much poorer in their own eyes!," infer that Mildred's aristocratic nature made the poor she was endeavoring to help feel even more deprived. Mildred, who states with some earnestness, "I would like to help them. I would like to be of some use in the world...! would like to be sincere, to touch life unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page is illegal. 274 Explanations for Sample Examination V <5<>Tna«jkara" (litv»e 40.52), has sincere if ineffechial intentions. She is aware of how foreign such people and conditions are to her experience, and self-deprecatingly refers to her concern as a "groping sincerity" (line 49). Her aunt's comments, however, indict her of a concomitant cruelty: the humiliation of those she is trying to assist. This is a particularly cruel comment. 5. The attitude of Mildred's aunt towards the poor is BEST characterized as being one of (D) revulsion. Mildred's aunt clearly indicates that she has neither the desire nor the intent to accompany Mildred to Whitechapel. As she firmly states, "Do not ask me to chaperon you there, however. I told your father I would not" (lines 42-43). Her subsequent admission that she "loathe[s] deformity" (line 43) is as shocking in its choice of verb as it is in its choice of noun to describe the mentally ill. This is best represented by choice (D), "revulsion." 6. Which of the following does NOT refer to Mildred's attempts to discover "how the other half lives"? (A) "natural born ghoul" (lines 18-19). The phrase "pose of eccentricity" (line 31) refers to Mildred's unusual decision (to her aunt, at least) to involve herself with the lower classes, while "morbid thrills" (line 36) is her aunt's sardonic assessment of what she must experience when doing so. The word "slumming" (line 40) has both the denotative resonance of the locales which she visits and the connotative association of sullying oneself by mingling with an inferior. Similarly, the phrase "nerve tonic" (line 41) is a sardonic euphemism for Mildred's empathetic sojourn into Whitechapel. This accounts for choices (B), (C), (D) and (E). On the contrary, the phrase "natural born ghoul" (lines 18-19) refers to Mildred's insistence on talking about deceased members of the family, making (A) the exception. 7. Mildred's response to her aunt's disparagement of her social service implies that she is (B) painfully conscious of the feebleness of her altruism. Lines 47-49, "Please do not mock at my attempts to discover how the other half lives. Give rne credit for some sort of groping sincerity in that at least," suggest that Mildred realizes her attempt to connect to the "other half is clumsy and inept. Though her subsequent observation, "I would like to help them. I would like to be of some use in the world" (lines 49-51), suggests an empathetic spirit, her later admission, "But I'm afraid I have neither the vitality nor integrity. All that was burnt out in our stock before I was born" (lines 53-55), reveals she knows how her wealth and aristocratic status have effectively insulated her from the underprivileged. Mildred's description of her grandfather's fiery blast furnaces and her father's highly successful domestic refinement of the business shows that she knows her stock well. Her candid self-appraisal-"!'m a waste product in the Bessemer process" (lines 59-60)-reflects an acute understanding of the degree to which her wealth has eroded her connection to the financially less fortunate. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal. Explanations for Sample Examination V such a •uelty: vulsion. Mildred i your ine 43) This is 275 The passage is marked by all of the following EXCEPT (D) social commentary on the sufferings of the poor. The fact that all but one line of the dialogue is preceded by some sort of italicized direction; the fact that Mildred, who appears empathetic and diametrically opposed to her aunt's aristocratic snobbishness, is actually quite like her; the fact that Mildred and her aunt engage in a subtle sardonic exchange; and the fact that Mildred perceives herself as a "waste product in the Bessemer process" (lines 59-60) confirm choices (A), (B), (C) and (E). However, though the underprivileged are alluded to several times in the passage, there is no graphic catalog of their sufferings. If lives"? it, at s ine 40) iation of is a : choices :e on painfully re me attempt would city. All :er wealth nestic l-'Tm a the degree Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page is I Ma gal. 276 Explanations for Sample Examination V Passage Two: From Thornton Wilder's The Bridge of San Luis Rey This passage from Thornton Wilder's somewhat neglected novel catalogs the existence of Uncle Pio, whose life from birth to adulthood is best characterized as colorful and itinerant. The compact but detailed exposition of Pio's character provides a rich and mysterious subtext for the student to explore. The opening sentence, which immediately qualifies Uncle Pio's social status by the insertion of the word "illegitimately" (line 2), "sets the stage," so to speak, for the character's eventful existence. The suggestion that upon Pio's running away at age ten he was "pursued without diligence" (lines 3-4) implies that, as a bastard, Pio was an unwanted addition to the good Castilian household, someone whose absence was a boon rather than a loss. His subsequent employ-as a errand boy, as an animal trainer, as a cook, and as a double-agent-is abetted by the six attributes that the speaker says he naturally possessed: "a memory for names and faces, with the aptitude for altering his own; the gift of tongues; inexhaustible invention; secrecy; the talent for falling into conversation with strangers; and that freedom of conscience that springs from a contempt for the dozing rich he preyed upon" (lines 511). These gifts, a potent mixture of imagination, espionage and lack of compunction, quickly elevate Pio's role from subordinate factotum to trusted confidant. Invaluable to theaters, landowners and politicians alike, he lithely graduates from spreading rumors and slanders in tavern doorways to trafficking in the deeper shadows of political espionage. The opening sentence of the second paragraph-"He never did one thing for more than two weeks at a time even when enormous gains seemed likely to follow upon it" (lines 29-31)-provides the first clue to Pio's peripatetic existence. While his early mobility can readily be explained by his initial flight and his subsequent struggle for subsistence, his later refusal to commit to any single activity for more than two weeks reveals a disdain for conformity, predicability, and money. While his brief forays into thievery are quickly checked by his fear of incarceration, his involvement with the Inquisition is cut short by his keen perception that such mercurial executioners could change allegiance quickly. Having accrued a lifetime's worth of experiences by twenty, the speaker indicates that Pio narrowed his interests to three: a desire to maintain his independence, a need to cultivate relationships with beautiful women, and a wish to be proximate to people who loved Spanish literature and theater. The first of these, consistent with the independent experiences of his early life, is further illuminated by the speaker's observation that Pio was "willing to renounce the dignities of public life, if in secret he might feel that he looked down upon men from a great distance" (lines 46-49). Clearly, the bastardy which labeled him an outcast from birth also fueled Pio's later desire for superiority. The second, less easily linked to his early existence, was perhaps subliminally motivated by a need for maternal affection. The speaker's comment that, "all he asked was to be accepted casually, to be trusted, to be allowed like a friendly and slightly foolish dog to come and go into their rooms and to write their letters for them" (lines 51-55), paints a portrait of a fawning individual, attracted not by lust but by sentiment. The fact that Pio cared for these women when they were ill or when they had suffered financial reversals suggests that his motives were in no way mercenary. The third and final interest, Pio's fascination with literature, reflects a thirst for knowledge and an artistic sensibility that the conditions of his early life denied. The final lines of the passage, "He had discovered all that treasure for himself, borrowing or stealing from the libraries of his patrons, feeding himself upon it in secrecy-behind the scenes, as it were, of his mad life...." (lines 60-64), provide an appropriate metaphor for Pio's clandestine existence since in all of his involvements-romantic, economic, or political-he had been content to function in the background. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal. Explanations for Sample Examination V 277 9. The primary purpose of the passage is to examine (C) the motivation behind Pio's peripatetic nature. but ore. of e. 3-4) 1 I of d 55pate From the age of ten, when Pio ran away to the city of Madrid from his father's hacienda, Pio was on the move. Forced to earn his keep exclusively by his wits, Pio quickly graduated from an errand boy for local merchants, to an animal trainer in traveling circuses, to a shady figure providing "insider" information, slandering reputations, speciously applauding new shows, and even engineering minor rebellions. The speaker indicates that he "never did one thing for more than two weeks at a time even when enormous gains seemed likely to follow upon it" (lines 29-31), suggesting that his impatience was surprisingly not motivated by financial gain. In fact, the passage suggests that Pio's talents were such that he "could have become a circus manager, a theatrical director, a dealer in antiquities, an importer of Italian silks, a secretary in the palace or the Cathedral" (lines 31-34) had he the desire to devote his attentions exclusively to one task or profession. However, his need for independence effectively prevented him from ever settling into a particular routine. 10. Pio's illegitimacy may be seen as the cause of which of the following? seks rst flight iore TltO lit hips ater. ted by he dy less I. His decision to run away to Madrid. II. The failure of his family to pursue him. III. His later contempt for the rich and powerful. (E) I, II and III. The qualifier, "illegitimately" (line 2) which closes the first sentence, immediately establishes Pio as belonging to the literary type known as the outcast. His sudden decision to flee his father's house at the youthful age of ten implies that his bastard status promoted a measure of unhappiness. Moreover, the fact that he was "pursued without diligence" (lines 3-4) implies that his departure was thought to be no great loss. Pio's shadowy dealings and his brief career as a thief are later said to be spawned by his "contempt for the dozing rich he preyed upon" (lines 10-11). This, and the observation in lines 46-50 that "He was willing to renounce the dignities of public life, if in secret he might feel that he looked down upon men from a great distance, knowing more about them than they knew themselves," suggests that Pio detested the world of money, power, and prestige into which he had undesirously been conceived. 11. Pio's career is BEST described as a (B) persevering climb toward social acceptance. be it, sure This answer is consistent with the explication of question #11. The passage suggests that "From ten to fifteen he distributed handbills for merchants, held horses, and ran confidential errands. From fifteen to twenty he trained bears and snakes for traveling circuses; he cooked, and mixed punches; he hung about the entries of the more expensive taverns and whispered information into the travelers' ears....He was attached to all the theaters in town and could applaud like ten. He spread slanders at so much a slander. He sold rumors about crops and about the value of land. From twenty to thirty his services came to be recognized in very high circles-he was sent out by Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal. 278 Explanations for Sample Examination V the government to inspirit some half-hearted rebellions in the mountains, so that the government could presently arrive and wholeheartedly crush them" (lines 11-26). The sequence of employments, from chores and errands to clandestine political assignments, is suggestive of his gradual acceptance into social circles. 12. Which of the following labels most accurately captures the nature of Pio's youthful employment? (A) factotum. The term "factotum," more commonly known as a "jack of all trades," is clearly the best choice of the five since Pio's youthful employment takes him from tavern to circus to theater to palace. Lines 31-34, "He could have become a circus manager, a theatrical director, a dealer in antiquities, an importer of Italian silks, a secretary in the palace or the Cathedral," further confirm this. 13. The passage suggests that Pio was trusted by all of the following groups EXCEPT (D) criminals and other ne'er-do-wells. Lines 11-13 suggest that merchants trust Pio with handling their horses and running "confidential errands." In addition, the speaker points out how "From twenty to thirty his services came to be recognized in very nigh circles-he was sent out by the government to inspirit some half-hearted rebellions in the mountains, so that the government could presently arrive and wholeheartedly crush them" (lines 21-26) and how "he had been reduced for a time to making investigations for the Inquisition" (lines 36-38). Later, lines 33-34 suggest that he could have been a "secretary in the palace or the Cathedral." Finally, the speaker points out that women permitted him to "to come and go into their rooms and to write their letters for them" (lines 53-55). This information confirms choices (A), (B) (C) and (E). Choice (D) is not in evidence anywhere in the passage. 14. In which of the following capacities did Pio spend the largest portion of his early life? (E) secret-agent. The passage indicates that "From twenty to thirty his services came to be recognized in very high circles-he was sent out by the government to inspirit some half-hearted rebellions in the mountains, so that the government could presently arrive and wholeheartedly crush them. His discretion was so profound that the French party used him even when they knew that the Austrian party used him also..." (lines 21-28). The ten-year span in which he functions as a double-agent is longer than the duration of any of his other involvements. 15. According to lines 34-36, Pio's brief career as a thief was cut short by (D) trepidation. As the speaker states, Pio "had stolen several times, but the gains had not been sufficient to offset his dread of being locked up" (lines 34-36). Though Hamlet suggests that "conscience makes cowards of us all," Pio's thievery is checked not by compunction, but by the specter of being caught and incarcerated. Unauthorized copying or reusing my part of this page Is Illegal. Explanations for Sample Examination V nent his lyment? 279 16. Lines 36-41 imply that Pio's involvement with the Inquisition was a by-product of his (B) desire to avoid penury. Again, this derives directly from the passage, specifically lines 36-38 which state "he had been reduced for a time to making investigations for the Inquisition." The word "reduced," suggestive of a lack of gainful employment, couples with Pio's brief career as a thief to imply that he had done these things to avoid poverty. 17. The word "mad," as used in line 63, is BEST interpreted as (D) adventurous. tals and Pio's life, a free-wheeling exodus from one temporary employment to another, brings him in contact with an extraordinary diversity of realms: the theater, business, religion, politics, the circus, the military, and the tavern among others. The intrigue he experiences as a professional slanderer, as a double-agent, or as a confidant to beautiful women can only be labeled "adventurous." 18. Upon considering the passage as a whole, which of the following inferences CANNOT safely be made about Pio? (E) that he exploited the women he attended. rly life? ry high The fact that Pio ran away at the tender age often supports (A), while lines 5-11, "He possessed the six attributes of the adventurer-a memory for names and faces, with the aptitude for altering his own; the gift of tongues; inexhaustible invention; secrecy; the talent for falling into conversation with strangers; and that freedom of conscience that springs from a contempt for the dozing rich he preyed upon," confirm (B). Choice (C) is proven by lines 46-49, which indicate that Pio was "willing to renounce the dignities of public life, if in secret he might feel that he looked down upon men from a great distance," while choice (D) draws credence from the final paragraph, which shows how Pio "wanted to be near those that loved Spanish literature and its masterpieces, especially in the theater" (lines 58-60). The speaker's description of Pio's relationship with women, however, portrays him as a devotee, someone who fawned over them and whose main desire "was to be accepted casually, to be trusted, to be allowed like a friendly and slightly foolish dog to come and go into their rooms..." (lines 52-54). This makes (E) the clear exception. 19. Which of the following seems LEAST compatible with Pio's "behind the scenes" persona? (E) his connoisseurship of women. :o offset ikes ing Pio's role as an animal trainer, his function as a one man claque in the theaters, his sly passing on of information to travelers' ears outside taverns, and his function as an provocateur and special agent of the government are all consistent with a "behind the scenes" persona. However, hisactivity with women, though undoubtedly conducted in subtle and clandestine ways, differs from the rest in that such intimate involvement with beautiful women would clearly place him into a discomfiting relationship with their husbands and lovers. Lines 46-50, "He was willing to renounce the dignities of public life, if in secret he might feel that he looked down upon men from a great distance, knowing more about them than they knew themselves," suggest that Pio himself was not only conscious of this precariousness, but that he reveled in it as well. Unnithorlad copying or reusing «ny p»rt at Ihls page l« Illegal- £>3W iTtc Explanations for Sample Examination III :gest the Passage Two: John Hollander's ''Science and Human Behavior" one" : more rating firm .' ols, s! To J the his ict : s, ee ik 'et 187 John Hollander's poem "Science and Human Behavior" is centered about a well-known classical allusion, the Greek personification of Fate as three women who stretch the fabric of one's life across a loom, weave into it the events of one's earthly existence, then cut the threads, determining an individual's life span. In the poem, dedicated to B.F. Skinner, a prominent behavioral scientist, the speaker begins with a series of participial phrases that attempt to convey our discomfort with predictable behavior. The instances of behavior-ranging from asking a certain girl to dance, to personal idiosyncrasies involving eating or travel, to curiosity about the source of terror and libidinous desires-exemplify things that we would like to believe are not controlled by some external engine that determines what we do by behavioral conditioning. The speaker suggests that humans naturally reject the notion that their habits and preferences can be controlled by some "Golden Rope / By which (they] feel bound, determined, and betrayed" (lines 13-14). In short, the speaker believes that all humans naturally reject the notion that they are no different from Pavlov's dog, whose conditioning made him slather in response to a bell rather than a meal. If, however, human behavior is deterministic in nature, the speaker opts for the classical conception of it, "Three nasty Thingummies" who twist the string of command into overlapping, DNA-like strands and who stalwartly resist our human curiosity to tug on the line and see what occurs or to sadistically enjoy the suffering of others: Our own old impulse to pull the string and see Just what would happen, or to feel the small But tingling tug upon the line, to free The captives so that we might watch them crawl Back into deeper water again....(lines 18-22). Though the speaker is intrigued by this control and power, he nevertheless concedes that it does not belong in the hands of humans but rather in the "blase discretion of disgusting / Things like the two who spin and measure, and / The Third and surely The Most Horrible, / Whom we'd best forget, within whose bony hand / Lies crumpled the Secret she will never tell" (lines 24-28). The description of the "Thingummies" reflects the speaker's distaste for behavior modification of any sort. They are depersonalized as "disgusting things," and the "Most Horrible" of the three, Atropos, is portrayed as a cadaverous and secretive creature who zealously guards the nature of our destinies. Lines 32-36, ...in the end The question is whether merely Determining Or really Knowing is what we most pretend To honor because it seems most frightening Or worship because we hold it most to blame, concisely frame the most intriguing issue. Are we most frightened by the prospect of our actions being the product of some chain of events, or by the possibility that the pattern of our lives is subject to some furtive and vicarious intent? The closing allusion to Dr. Johnson, who imperiously declaims that humans exercise free will in all their doings, is humorously balanced by the image of the Three Fates grinning wickedly in some cloudy domain. In the end both speaker and reader remain benighted as to the reality or extent of deterministic control. Who (if anyone) controls the "Golden Rope" (line 13), the "line" (line 20), or the "wire / Designed to receive the message" (lines 30-31) remains an impenetrable but perpetually disturbing mystery. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal. 188 Explanations for Sample Examination III 15. The primary figure of speech used in the poem is (E) allusion. Though the first stanza's ambiguity may hinder the immediate recognition of the central allusion, the passage's focus upon the Three Fates and their manipulation of human destiny becomes increasingly more accessible as the poem progresses. The exact identity of the "They" mentioned in line 9 is first hinted at by the speaker's reference to the "Golden Rope / By which we feel bound, determined, and betrayed" (lines 13-14). A more helpful hint perhaps is the phrase "Three nasty Thingummies" (line 16), which in its rather severe description of three old crones may lead some students to think of the three witches in Shakespeare's Macbeth, a play with which many high school students are familiar. For those students with a background in mythology, lines 24-28, which refer to "...the blase discretion of disgusting / Things like the two who spin and measure, and / The Third and surely The Most Horrible, / Whom we'd best forget, within whose bony hand / Lies crumpled the Secret she will never tell," may provide the clincher in their precise description of each Fate's task. The mention of "Atropos and her sisters" grinning overhead (lines 41-42) even provides one of their names. This clinches (E) as the best possible choice. 16. The subject of the long sentence which comprises most of the first stanza is (D) "we" (line 11). The syntax of the opening line of the poem provides as much difficulty as its content. The sentence, which actually runs the entire fourteen lines of the first stanza and up to the word "again" in line 22, is initiated by four separate participial phrases. These phrases, which begin with the participles "Feeling" (line 1), "Abashed" (line 5), "afraid" (line 8), and "shocked" (line 10), all describe the word "we" in line 11, and illustrate what humans feel about others knowing their innermost thoughts and desires. 17. The things cataloged by the speaker in the first eleven lines are most accurately labeled (C) behaviors that people believe are their own. The things mentioned in the opening eleven lines-romantic inclination, eating idiosyncrasies, irrational preferences, innate fears, and erotic impulses-are private and personal things. What the speaker is suggesting is that humans are discomfited by any suggestion that these behaviors could be known, even manipulated, by others. This is confirmed by lines 11-14, "...we vainly hope /That certain predictions never can be made, / That the mind can never spin the Golden Rope / By which we feel bound, determined, and betrayed." These lines further intimate that these "certain predictions" involve our most morbid inquisitiveness-into the moment and nature of our deaths. 18. The "Golden Rope" mentioned in line 13 is a symbol of (D) slavish determinism. This is pretty much derived from the diction in line 14, "bound, determined, and betrayed," which is suggestive of captivity and predestination. The "Golden Rope" is later referred to as an "endless strand" (line 17), a "string" (line 18), and a "line" (line 20), further suggesting that humans are marionettes on a string. In the third stanza the rope becomes a "wire" (line 30) which either triggers the relay or receives the message, but in either case remains an instrument of control. Choice (D) best captures this sentiment. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of thl* page Is Illegal. 1 Explanations for Sample Examination III 189 19. The "Golden Rope" (line 13) is later compared to a (B) telegraph wire. As was suggested in the analysis of the previous question, lines 30-32, "...whether it be the wire / Designed to receive the message or to fire / The tiny initial relay," figuratively present the "Golden Rope" as a telegraph cable, thus making (B) the best answer. 20. In light of the poem's subject, the "Three nasty Thingummies" (line 16) are clearly the (C) Fates. Though both the initial explication and the analysis of question #15 are probably more than sufficient to verify the answer as (C), a more precise answer is provided by Bulfinch, who describes the office of the three, Clothos, Lachesis, and Atropos, as to spin the thread of human destiny and to sever it with shears at their arbitrary discretion. The Sirens (A), as afficionadoes of the Odyssey will know, were the beautiful voices that tempted sailors to shore and wrecked their ships on the rocks. The nine Muses (B) were goddesses of literature, art, or science, who offered inspiration to those involved in these fields. The Graces (D) were three goddesses who presided over dance, banquets, and social occasions, while the Furies (E) were three goddesses who, as instruments of vengeance, punished those who managed to evade public justice. 21. The speaker likely brands the third Thingummy "The Most Horrible" because of her (E) fatal secret. Those familiar with the Three Fates will already know that it is Atropos who wields the shears, but the text provides sufficient clues that suggest this answer. Lines 26-28, for example, suggest that Atropos holds crumpled within her bony hand "the Secret she will never tell." And though the subsequent lines suggest that this "secret" involves the nature of the Thingummies' control over human destiny, both Atropos' designation as "Most Horrible" and her position after "the two who spin and measure" (line 25) reveal her to be the agent of death; thus, (E) is the best choice. 22. In light of the entire poem, Dr. Johnson's summative comment in lines 39-40 is BEST seen as a(n) (A) cavalier miscalculation. There is a painting of Dr. Johnson, our great lexiconist, on the wall of his residence just off Fleet Street that we believe to be the inspiration for this vision. In any case, Johnson's boast, that "Our will is free, and there's an end on 't" (lines 39-40), is shown to be pompous, dogmatic, and ultimately erroneous when Atropos and her sisters are seen grinning mischievously overhead. This laughter suggests that they are mocking both his surety and his naivete. 23. The speaker implies that the Thingummies' amusement at the poem's end is primarily a reaction to which of the following? I. Johnson's mention of their name II. Johnson's naive conviction that human beings exercise free will. III. Johnson's pose and attire. (B) II only. Though the speaker overtly suggests that the Thingummies laugh at the invocation of their name, the fervency with which Dr. Johnson voices his conviction that man's will is free implies that this is the real source of their laughter. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal. 190 Explanations for Sample Examination III 24. When one considers the poem as a whole, it is clear that the author sees the attempts by Skinner and others to control human behavior as (C) aberrant. This follows logically from the poem as a whole. If our simplest fears, inclinations and tendencies can be foreseen by others in random and inconsequential ways, then it follows that our deepest and most intimate secrets can also be laid bare or presaged. Though only the title and dedication allude to Skinner and his work in the field of conditioned behavior, the speaker's position on such research is clearly established in the second stanza. Here he advocates that "if such a thing exists at all, / Three nasty Thingummies should hold it, twisting / Strand unto endless strand, always resisting / Our own old impulse to pull the string and see / Just what would happen" (lines 15-19). This delegation of responsibility is reemphasized in lines 22-24, which state "It is well / To leave such matters in their power, trusting / To [their] blase discretion." This implies that human efforts to enforce such control are misguided. 25. Ultimately, the speaker implies all of the following EXCEPT (E) that free will is a scientifically established fact. That scientists should not manipulate human behavior (A) and that the darkest human impulses are best restrained by others (D) have been sufficiently validated by the analysis of question #24. That humans have an innate desire to know the future (B) is clear in lines 18-19, which acknowledge the innately human impulse "to pull the string and see / Just what would happen." Similarly, lines 20-22, "to free / The captives so that we might watch them crawl / Back into deeper water again," confirm (C), the human desire to vicariously enjoy the predicaments of others. However, the laughter of the Three Fates at Dr. Johnson's confident assertion suggests that (E) cannot have any validity. 26. The most unusual aspect of the poem is its (B) pattern and choice of rhymes. The use of classical (the Fates) and contemporary (B.F. Skinner) allusions is clever but not rare, while the use of a central conceit (the "Golden Rope," string, wire, etc) goes back to the early sonneteers. Similarly both a philosophical concern and comic situations pervade poetry from Donne to Chaucer. This eliminates choices (A), (C), (D) and (E). The choice and pattern of rhyme, however, is extraordinarily intricate. For example, the rhyme scheme of stanza one seems to be ABBCACADEEFGFG. Though some may argue that lines 9-10 should be AA since they both end in "ing," it should be noted that these contain double rhymes and that the root words "choose" and "refuse" aurally differ from "scream" and "dream." This double rhyme is also present in stanza two in the words "twisting" and "resisting" (lines 16-17), and again in "trusting" and "disgusting" (lines 23-24). It is of further interest to note that each of the three stanzas is actually a self-contained sonnet. This makes (B) the most persuasive choice. Unauthorized copying or reusing any part of this page Is Illegal.
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