AP English Language

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Explanations of Answers to the Multiple-Choice Section

The Dickens Passage

1. D. The very first sentence indicates the author’s purpose. Here, the reader is told directly that Florence is both fanciful and somber, rich and stern.

2. B. This selection is based on a quite specific description of Florence and an area within the city. To correctly answer this question, the student needs to be familiar with the different types of rhetorical strategies.

3. E. The reader is brought from the general street scene to a specific prison and then to a specific scene outside the prison. Metaphors, similes, and imagery are found throughout the selection, such as “small cells like ovens,” “distrustful windows.” Contrast and comparison are provided with such phrases as “faded and tarnished Great Saloon” placed next to the “walls which record the triumphs of the Medici.” The passage does NOT follow a specific timeline.

4. A. The test taker needs to know the definition of paradox and must be able to recognize it in a given text. Here, smoke is being used to purify the air even though it is in itself a pollutant.

5. E. Dickens is not warning people away from Florence, nor is he criticizing its government. What the text and its selection of details do is to reinforce the idea of Florence being a city of contrast (youth and age, life and death, bright flowers and squalid prisons).

6. B. There is no support from a close reading of the text that will allow you to defend choice B, which sees no connection between the two scenes described. Obviously both reveal aspects of Florence. Both are descriptive, with the second paragraph containing the selective contrast with the first paragraph.

7. C. Distrustful and secret are indicative of “intrigue,” and building thick walls and huge battlements points to the need for protection from aggression. No other choice provides these same inferences.

8. A. A close look at each of the selected lines reveals opposites being placed side by side. This is the nature of antithesis.

9. C. The Palazzo Vecchio is described using such terms as “ponderous gloom,” “faded” and “tarnished” and “mouldering.” These are evocative of a place that is creepy and frightening. None of the other choices projects these qualities.

10. D. In Dickens’s time, “jealous” was used to indicate the state of being watchful or closely guarded. If you look at the context of the line, you can see that “jealous” has nothing to do with our current use of the word.

The Atwood Passage

11. D. Although you might be inclined to accept A, B, or E as possible correct choices, you should be aware that these are specific things the child hears. Each of these would cancel the other out, because they would be equally valid. Choice C is nowhere to be found in the selection. Therefore, the appropriate choice is D, listening.

12. A. The very first word of the selection is “Our.” This immediately links the writer and the reader. Both are vested with this choice of pronoun.

13. E. If you look carefully, you find examples of all of the choices except E. An ellipsis is punctuation comprising three periods. You find none in this sentence. Its function is to notify the reader that a piece of the text has been omitted.

14. B. The question makes reference to wanting or seeking something not permitted, such as Adam and Eve being warned not to eat of the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. The other choices are simply not appropriate to the relationship between forbidden and knowledge.

15. C. This is a rather easy question. The entire third paragraph supports this idea.

16. A. The answer is clearly supported in the last sentence of paragraph 4. That which is immediately practical and helpful in a very tangible way is the more valuable.

17. D. Words, phrases used, and specific details given in this passage support the adjective “wistful” (paragraphs 3 and 4). She is observant throughout the passage as she provides details of the child acquiring her stories. The writer’s wistfulness is reiterated in the last paragraph as she states her yearning for men to share in the language of storytelling.

18. B. The only choice that presents two strategies actually present in the text is B. The entire passage employs exposition to support the author’s purpose. Even the final paragraph, which attempts to persuade, uses exposition to strengthen the appeal to have men welcomed into the language of storytelling. (If you are not crystal clear about the terminology used in the choices, this may be one of those questions you choose to skip, because it can be time consuming trying to determine the correct choice.)

19. C. The abruptness of “Traditionally,” provides no real connection with the previous paragraph or the previous sentence. It is an obvious break that grabs the reader’s attention and leads him or her to Atwood’s point.

20. E. Throughout the passage, Atwood is taking a close look at the beginnings of storytelling. Although she does attempt to persuade us of the need to encourage men to tell their stories, this is not the primary purpose of the piece. It is important to also notice that the title is a clue to this answer.

The Family Passage

21. A. The entire passage is concerned with the concept of family in general, not just the Roman and pre-modern era family. The choices other than A all concern these.

22. D. Through humor, exaggeration, common allusions, and rhetorical questions, the author invites the reader to join her family as a prelude to a scholarly examination of the roots of the word family.

23. C. The footnote identifies a case that some readers may not be familiar with. No sources are cited or referenced. The footnote is strictly informative.

24. C. This is a vocabulary question that demands you know and can identify each of the terms. Knowing the definition of each can only lead you to choose C.

25. E. Each piece of information provided in the passage is given in terms of defining what a family is.

26. B. The first paragraph establishes the conversational tone with its lighthearted references. But, the author’s use of footnotes, direct quotations from experts, and historical references all indicate a scholarly presentation.

27. B. If one closely reads the passage, the only location cited that has a family unit consisting of a mother, father, and children is Bologna in the thirteenth century.

28. A. The word family does NOT have a universal definition. Each culture and time period defined it according to its own circumstances.

29. A. This footnote contains NO specifics that were gathered via observation and experience. There is no data from census, and so forth.

30. D. Even though the reader can locate instances of choices C and E in both paragraphs, they are not responding to a probable reader-generated question. The parentheticals come immediately after a word or phrase that could raise questions from a reader.

31. A. The comment separated only by commas leaves the reader unclear as to whom the personal communication refers: Dixon, Treggiari, or the author.

32. E. Lines 24–25, 27–29, 43–44, and 56–57 support choices A, B, C, and D.

The Emerson Passage

33. A. If you go back to the next to last sentence of paragraph 2, you will see the phrase “the seer’s hour of vision.” Your knowledge of synonyms will lead you to choose A.

34. E. Using the process of substitution, it is not difficult to eliminate all choices other than “the printed page.”

35. B. For Emerson, the universal crosses barriers between time and place. This idea is supported in the third sentence of paragraph 1.

36. D. Using the process of elimination while looking carefully at the given lines, you will discover that the only answer that correctly relates to Emerson’s attitude is D. All the others are negative.

37. B. Vocabulary is a key factor in this question. In this passage, Emerson is “taking apart” the qualities of a great writer, book, and college. This is what an analytical essay does.

38. A. In the first two sentences of paragraph 1, Emerson is setting up the parameters of his argument. There is no figurative language here.

39. D. Carefully reading the last paragraph, especially the last three sentences, can only lead you to choose D. None of the other choices is logical within the context of the passage.

40. C. Antecedents come before the given pronoun, and as close as possible to that pronoun. With this in mind, the fifth sentence of paragraph 3 is the only choice that correctly and logically fits the criteria.

41. E. If you pay close attention to the second paragraph, you will find all the choices, except E.

42. D. Emerson alludes to “great English poets” in the first paragraph, and to a proverb and other writers in the second paragraph. Similes and metaphors can be found throughout both paragraphs, but no paradox is evident.

43. C. Because this is an analytical passage, including the final paragraph, C is the only acceptable choice.

The Conrad Passage

44. D. The very nature of sentences that are long and flowing serves to create a corresponding mood of passivity, ease, and timelessness. This lack of tension in the structure is not indicated in any of the other choices.

45. E. Each of the choices deals with what is yet unknown to the narrator and the reader. The phrase “devious curves” foreshadows the complexity of the novella itself.

46. C. This exemplifies that choosing the correct answer can be dependent on the student’s knowing definitions of terms and ability to recognize them in context. No other choice is acceptable in characterizing this passage.

47. A. This compound-complex sentence sets the task for the reader with its convoluted structure and imagery. This reflects the very essence the narrator is presenting to the reader of the strangeness of the experience.

48. C. The diction, which includes “joined,” “edge to edge,” and “half brown, half blue,” supports the idea of balance and corresponding symmetry.

49. C. Choices A, B, D, and E all reinforce the feeling of abandonment and aloneness. Choice C does not contribute to this impression of isolation; it is rather just a descriptive detail.

50. A. By its very definition, spatial description will provide the reader an opportunity to sense the setting by means of directions, scale, dimension, and color.

51. B. Just find the word as, and you will easily locate the simile comparing the light to scattered pieces of silver.

52. E. A careful reading of the passage uncovers each of the given choices except E. Nowhere in the excerpt does the narrator indicate a contrast between the current situation and a previous one.

53. D. The passage contains no allusions, has no real emotional diction, and maintains a constant first person point of view. And, most obviously, it does not rely on short, direct sentences. Therefore, the only choice is D.

54. B. The entire passage involves the reader in the narrator’s thoughtful and reflective observations about his or her surroundings.