SAT Literature Subject Test

Part III

The Practice SAT Literature Subject Tests

Chapter 19

Practice Test 4



Your responses to the SAT Literature Subject Test questions should be filled in on Test 4 of your answer sheet.


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 and fill in the corresponding oval on the answer sheet.

Note: Pay particular attention to questions that contain the words NOT, LEAST, or EXCEPT.

Questions 1-9. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

  1. Which of the following is personified in the first paragraph of the passage (lines 1-23) ?

(A)   voices

(B)   nightingales

(C)   ceilings and walls

(D)   paunches

(E)   ballrooms

  2. The sisters can best be described as

(A)   vivacious yet standoffish

(B)   joyful yet impolite

(C)   beloved yet acrimonious

(D)   popular yet superficial

(E)   amusing yet despairing

  3. The “curse in her blood” (lines 32-33) refers to

(A)   bad luck in romance

(B)   the strain of melancholy inherited by the sisters

(C)   the mother’s lack of talent

(D)   the girls’ overreaction to events

(E)   the mother’s constant fear

  4. The style of the last line can best be described as

(A)   a description of contrasts

(B)   an extended analogy

(C)   authorial intrusion

(D)   ironic detachment

(E)   subtle differentiation

  5. In contrast to the sisters, Hanne is

(A)   practical

(B)   reassuring

(C)   dismissive

(D)   uncaring

(E)   even-tempered

  6. The sentence “When one of them opened the ball, light as a bird, bold as a thought, she consecrated the gathering to the gods of true joy of life, from whose presence care and envy are banished” (lines 8-12) can best be restated as

(A)   the sisters acted as religious figures, blessing events

(B)   the sisters were anxious hosts, making sure their guests were enjoying themselves

(C)   if the sisters were at the ball, it could be considered a success

(D)   the sisters were so delightful that many in their presence had a good time

(E)   the girls never worried about or were jealous of others

  7. Which of the following is NOT mentioned as a talent of the sisters?

(A)   storytelling

(B)   singing

(C)   impersonations

(D)   organizing games

(E)   decorating

  8. In this context, “uncanny” (line 31) most nearly means

(A)   concerned

(B)   uncomfortable

(C)   preoccupied

(D)   poisonous

(E)   invigorating

  9. It can be inferred from the passage that the sisters

(A)   were members of the upper class

(B)   suffered from crippling clinical depression

(C)   were in search of appropriate husbands

(D)   were easily frightened

(E)   were indifferent to male attention

Questions 10-18. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

10. Which of the following is the closest paraphrase of the first sentence of the passage?

(A)   Joe’s funeral was the finest display the black people of Orange County had ever seen.

(B)   Joe’s funeral was the finest display of black people that the white people of Orange County had ever seen.

(C)   The finest-looking black people in Orange County were all in evidence at Joe’s funeral.

(D)   The ceremony of Joe’s funeral was not much compared to an average funeral for a white person in Orange County.

(E)   Joe’s funeral gave the white people in attendance a chance to experience the world from a black point of view.

11. The effect of the first paragraph is to

(A)   contrast the pomp and display of the assembled mourners with Janie’s genuine grief

(B)   show how Joe’s funeral was not in keeping with the tendencies of his life

(C)   demonstrate the importance with which Joe was viewed in his community

(D)   illustrate the fruitless nature of our attempts to disguise the starkness of death

(E)   emphasize the ephemerality of life

12. It can be inferred that the mourners at Joe’s funeral

(A)   are deeply grieved by Joe’s death

(B)   are exaggerating their respect for Joe out of sympathy for Janie

(C)   are insincerely using Joe’s funeral as an excuse for a flamboyant celebration

(D)   are all members of a single, tight-knit community

(E)   would be surprised to learn of Janie’s sense of detachment from the proceedings

13. “Secret orders” (line 7) most probably refers to

(A)   the self-importance felt by those driving expensive automobiles to the funeral

(B)   the silent commands governing the conduct of some attendees at the funeral

(C)   members of fraternal organizations who came to the funeral dressed in their clubs’ regalia

(D)   the haughty behavior of people attending the funeral whom the other attendees had never met or seen

(E)   the majestic, heavenly hosts of which Joe is now presumably a member

14. Why is Janie’s veil described as “a wall of stone and steel” (lines 19-20) ?

(A)   The veil allows Janie to suppress her anguish and maintain her composure during the funeral.

(B)   The veil screens Janie from the accusing stares of the mourners at the funeral.

(C)   The veil represents the solidity of Janie’s emotional state.

(D)   The veil allows Janie to endure the formal pretense of mourning at Joe’s funeral, which is not in keeping with her true feelings.

(E)   The veil allows Janie to hide her true feelings from herself until after the funeral.

15. What is the effect of the phrase “the people finished their celebration” (line 31) ?

(A)   It draws attention to the funeral’s emphasis on the virtues of Joe’s life and achievements.

(B)   It emphasizes the communal nature of the funeral, which brings together individuals from all ranks of society.

(C)   It emphasizes Janie’s isolation from the others at the funeral.

(D)   It emphasizes the distances from which people had traveled to attend the funeral.

(E)   It points out that celebrations are by nature temporary and must give way to the routines of daily life.

16. The style of the passage is characterized by the repeated use of

(A)   African American dialect

(B)   grammatically incomplete sentences

(C)   religious imagery

(D)   ironic turns of phrase

(E)   oxymoron

17. Which of the following phrases from the passage best expresses Janie’s emotional state during the funeral?

(A)   “gloat and glamor” (line 6)

(B)   “starched and ironed” (line 18)

(C)   “Darkness. Deep hole.” (line 23)

(D)   “Weeping and wailing” (line 24)

(E)   “resurrection and life” (line 26)

18. Which of the following inferences can be made about Janie’s relationship to Joe?

(A)   Janie knew Joe only as a casual acquaintance and is unmoved by his death.

(B)   Janie cared deeply for Joe and has not yet fully experienced the shock of his death.

(C)   Janie felt a strong dislike for Joe and must disguise her antipathy at his funeral.

(D)   Janie’s relationship with Joe was such that she feels unburdened and revitalized by his death.

(E)   Janie’s feelings for Joe were a secret to the community and must be suppressed at his funeral.

Questions 19-28. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

19. In context “void of” (line 2) most nearly means

(A)   empty of

(B)   lacking

(C)   reversed in

(D)   canceled from

(E)   disqualified for

20. Lines 12 and 13 refer to

(A)   the importance of fine clothing when attempting to get a legal award

(B)   the subject’s approach to disputes, which gave few rewards to the victor

(C)   the way a court case under the legal system could bankrupt even the winner

(D)   the method through which Driden’s justice gave victory to the most patient

(E)   the subject’s attitude toward military victory, which he felt was hollow

21. It can be inferred from the poem that the poet considers country life to be

(A)   tedious

(B)   onerous

(C)   momentous

(D)   undesirable

(E)   idyllic

22. Which of the following is NOT mentioned by the poet as a benefit of country living?

(A)   a calm mind

(B)   old age

(C)   many friends

(D)   wisdom

(E)   good health

23. It can be inferred from the poem that the author thinks of marriage as

(A)   a necessary evil

(B)   an unavoidable concession

(C)   a protracted lawsuit

(D)   a source of aggravation

(E)   a prison sentence

24. Which of the following best describes the difference between lines 1-6 and lines 7-22 ?

(A)   generalization to direct address

(B)   present tense to past tense

(C)   positive discourse to negative discourse

(D)   simple description to extended simile

(E)   terrestrial presence to divine intervention

25. The word “their” (line 8) refers to

(A)   suits

(B)   expenses

(C)   foes

(D)   neighbors

(E)   laws

26. Which of the following best describes the subject of the poem’s role in his community?

(A)   farmer

(B)   judge

(C)   religious leader

(D)   writer

(E)   scholar

27. Which of the following contains an example of alliteration?

  I.   “And, foes before, return in friendship home” (line 9)

 II.   “And save the expense of long litigious laws” (line 11)

III.   “Long penitence succeeds a short delight” (line 20)

(A)   I only

(B)   II only

(C)   III only

(D)   I and III only

(E)   I, II, and III

28. Lines 21-22 can be restated as

(A)   True equality is hard to come by; and whenever it does occur, it is cursed by God.

(B)   It’s difficult to get along with someone else; even God’s original creations fought.

(C)   The more alike two people are, the more they’re prone to argue.

(D)   Soul mates are rare; the rest of humanity lives outside Paradise with incompatible spouses.

(E)   It is wise to disguise intelligence—those who are exceptional are often cast out of society.

Questions 29-36. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

29. In the poem, the speaker uses all of the following to replace the subject of his address EXCEPT

(A)   Thou (line 7)

(B)   Reflector (line 9)

(C)   Recorder (line 11)

(D)   Heart (line 1)

(E)   faith (line 12)

30. In this context “brewing” (line 14) most nearly means

(A)   threatening

(B)   forming

(C)   clouding

(D)   imbibing

(E)   foreshadowing

31. It is clear from the first three lines that the poet regards his heart as

(A)   aching for the love of another

(B)   failing and ceasing to function

(C)   a separate entity

(D)   wanting to separate from his body

(E)   an enemy of his soul

32. The lines “And age it seems since you and I began our March up hill or down. Sailing smooth o’er Seas that are so rare—” (lines 4-6) can best be restated as

(A)   “We’ve been through many travails, some easy, some more difficult.”

(B)   “Our journey will take a long while and range over land and sea.”

(C)   “We are prisoners of an army from across the ocean.”

(D)   “It is unfortunate that most of our journey has not been on the water.”

(E)   “We are now too old to hike; sailing is easier on our frail limbs.”

33. All of the following are themes of the poem EXCEPT

(A)   love

(B)   loyalty

(C)   faith

(D)   morality

(E)   passage of time

34. The author employs which of the following unusual techniques:

  I.   punctuation functioning as words

 II.   rhythm reflecting theme

III.   form mirroring content

(A)   I only

(B)   III only

(C)   I and II

(D)   I and III

(E)   I, II, and III

35. The poet’s tone can best be described as

(A)   excited

(B)   begging

(C)   resigned

(D)   proud

(E)   questioning

36. “Thou perfect note of thoughts” (line 10) is an example of

(A)   alliteration

(B)   personification

(C)   metaphor

(D)   paradox

(E)   allegory

Questions 37-44. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

37. The two men have all of the following in common EXCEPT

(A)   they are both unmarried

(B)   they both look down upon women

(C)   they are both professionals

(D)   they are both bibliophiles

(E)   they both speak foreign languages

38. The phrase “well up” (line 16) in this context most nearly means

(A)   handsomely paid

(B)   generally liked

(C)   professionally advanced

(D)   comfortably sated

(E)   nattily dressed

39. The sentence “Thither, on Wednesday evenings, when respectable church-members were wending their way to weekly service, they hastened regularly, to meet with a band of like-minded young men, and spend a literary hour or two” (lines 3-8) suggests the men are

(A)   chauvinists

(B)   talented authors

(C)   lapsed church-members

(D)   rebellious

(E)   pious

40. In this context, “mercurial” (line 21) most nearly means

(A)   excitable

(B)   overheated

(C)   incorrigible

(D)   embarrassed

(E)   self-confident

41. From the passage it is reasonable to conclude that the two men

(A)   had little opportunity to meet women

(B)   felt threatened by female influence

(C)   feared their jobs would be taken by women

(D)   considered women generally inferior to men

(E)   felt that women were fit only for teaching and clerical work

42. By the phrase, “Coristine was a lawyer in full practice, but his name did not appear on the card of the firm which profited by his services” the author suggests that

(A)   Coristine is not valued by his firm

(B)   Coristine does not have enough money to have business cards made

(C)   although he was part of a firm, he worked independently

(D)   Coristine did not contribute sufficiently to his company’s earnings

(E)   Coristine is at the beginning of his career

43. The tone of the passage can best be described as

(A)   indignantly offended

(B)   gently mocking

(C)   hesitantly critical

(D)   unflinchingly honest

(E)   offhandedly distant

44. As it is used in the passage, the phrase “wending their way” (line 5) can best be replaced with the words

(A)   journeying to

(B)   hastening to

(C)   retiring from

(D)   returning from

(E)   late to

Questions 45-53. Read the following poem carefully before you choose your answers.

45. In this context, “vain” (line 1) most nearly means

(A)   boastful

(B)   desperate

(C)   wasted

(D)   capricious

(E)   complex

46. The first two lines “How vain have prov’d the Labours of the Stage, In striving to reclaim a vitious Age!” suggest that

(A)   the speaker considers actors a self-important group

(B)   the speaker considers the theater world to be full of back-stabbing heathens

(C)   the speaker considers that the theater’s attempt to improve society’s morality has failed

(D)   acting requires more work than most common citizens understand

(E)   through good theater, people can be metaphorically transported back in time

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

(A)   “Poets may write the Mischief to impeach” (line 3)

(B)   “What honest Pen has Patience to refrain?” (line 7)

(C)   “And run so very evenly your Race” (line 13)

(D)   “Y’ improve in Wit just as you do in Grace” (line 14)

(E)   “It must be so, some Doemon has possest” (line 15)

48. The poem consists of

(A)   arrhythmic rhyme

(B)   rhyming couplets only

(C)   rhyming couplets and triplets

(D)   epic hyperbole

(E)   passive verbs only

49. From the poem, it is reasonable to infer that the speaker regards the church as

(A)   intensely boring

(B)   ineffective in its teachings

(C)   a den of gossip

(D)   the domain of hypocrites

(E)   inferior to theater

50. The tone of lines 13-14, “And run so very evenly your Race,/Y’ improve in Wit just as you do in Grace,” can best be described as

(A)   hyperbolic

(B)   sarcastic

(C)   condemning

(D)   admiring

(E)   parodical

51. According to the poet, people do all of the following in church and/or the theater EXCEPT

(A)   look at others

(B)   nap soundly

(C)   heckle the stage

(D)   conduct contests

(E)   become inebriated

52. In the context, what is the narrative effect of the phrase “devoutly snore” (line 8) ?

(A)   It indicates that the people are so pious as to be devout even while asleep.

(B)   It is an ironic attack on the people’s lack of attention to services.

(C)   It is an attack on church services, which have become less interesting than the theatre.

(D)   It rebukes people who carouse so late that they cannot stay awake at church.

(E)   It contrasts the respectful quietude of people in church with the commotion they make at plays.

53. Why does line 14 “Y’ improve in Wit just as you do in Grace” contain an abbreviation?

(A)   In the seventeenth century “you” or “ye” was commonly spelled “y.”

(B)   Because the poet wrote in longhand, the abbreviation was an attempt to save copying time.

(C)   To form alliteration with “your” (line 13) and “you” (line 14).

(D)   To make the line fit the poem’s meter.

(E)   To make it evident that a new subject is being addressed.

Questions 54-62. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.

54. Which of the following sentences best describes the passage’s structure?

(A)   Paragraph one introduces a topic, while paragraph two further elaborates, citing poetic evidence.

(B)   Paragraph one states a point of view, while paragraph two opposes it.

(C)   Paragraph one states the general perception of a profession, while paragraph two delves into the actual emotions of the individuals in that profession.

(D)   Paragraph one explains atrocities, and paragraph two justifies them.

(E)   Paragraph one provides background on a topic, while paragraph two gives a contemporary popular culture example.

55. Which of the following situations would be most analogous to the author’s suppositions about pirates’ emotions?

(A)   A student who cheated on a test but felt so bad about it that he turned himself in

(B)   A student who cheated on a test and gave her transgression no more than a passing thought

(C)   A student who falsely accused another student of cheating, and then retracted his statement because of guilt

(D)   A student who cheated on a test but felt so ashamed that he was unable to enjoy the high grade he received

(E)   A student who cheated on a test but felt justified in doing so because the teacher had not properly prepared her for the material on the test

56. Which of the following is an example of a metaphor?

(A)   “their haunts for centuries” (lines 18-19)

(B)   “the desperate exploits, foul doings, and diabolical career” (lines 5-6)

(C)   “the great highway of nations” (lines 10-11)

(D)   “the desperadoes and runagates of every clime and nation” (lines 7-9)

(E)   “the apprehension and foreboding of the mind” (lines 31-32)

57. The author’s prose can be characterized as

(A)   descriptively complex, using extensive modifiers and subordinate clauses

(B)   deceptively ornate, couching a simple subject in complicated language

(C)    rhetorically interrogative, raising questions that the author never answers

(D)   narrowly biased, providing a unilateral viewpoint

(E)   defensively argumentative, anticipating critical objections and rejecting them

58. The word “secretes” (line 12) as it is used in the passage most nearly means

(A)   admits

(B)   ensconces

(C)   emanates

(D)   entertains

(E)   silences

59. According to the passage, what do relatives of the victims believe happened to the victims?

(A)   They died of scurvy or other shipborne diseases.

(B)   They were murdered by pirates.

(C)   They were kidnapped by foreign cultures to be sold as slaves.

(D)   They succumbed to the lure of the open ocean.

(E)   They capsized in a large storm and drowned.

60. The author most likely believes in

(A)   a universal conscience that transcends cultures

(B)   a supreme deity who governs all actions

(C)   a higher court to which murderers are held accountable

(D)   the potential power of international law

(E)   the importance of nurture in the development of a moral code

61. The use of the word “practically” (line 28)

(A)   proves that murderers are always haunted by remorse

(B)   suggests that not all victims were killed

(C)   insinuates that the pirates were motivated only by greed

(D)   explains the logic behind murder

(E)   implies that the author is not exactly sure of the pirates’ actions

62. The author inserts the poem/song at the end most likely to

(A)   liven up a boring narrative

(B)   support a point by quoting a poetic source

(C)   discuss an opinion that is opposed to his

(D)   provide a text for subsequent analysis

(E)   appease readers who prefer rhyme to prose



How to Score The Princeton Review Practice SAT Literature Subject Test

When you take the real exam, the proctors will collect your test booklet and bubble sheet and send your answer sheet to New Jersey where a computer looks at the pattern of filled-in ovals on your answer sheet and gives you a score. We couldn’t include even a small computer with this book, so we are providing this more primitive way of scoring your exam.

Determining Your Score

STEP 1   Using the answer key on the next page, determine how many questions you got right and how many you got wrong on the test. Remember: Questions that you do not answer do not count as either right or wrong answers.

STEP 2   List the number of right answers here.


STEP 3   List the number of wrong answers here. Now divide that number by 4. (Use a calculator if you’re feeling particularly lazy.)

(B)_____ ÷ 4 = (C) _____

STEP 4   Subtract the number of wrong answers divided by 4 from the number of correct answers. Round this score to the nearest whole number. This is your raw score.

(A) – (C) = _____

STEP 5   To determine your real score, take the number from Step 4 and look it up in the left-hand column of the Score Conversion Table on this page; the corresponding score on the right is your score on the exam.

Answer Key to Practice Sat Literature Subject Test 3

  1. C

  2. E

  3. B

  4. A

  5. E

  6. D

  7. E

  8. B

  9. A

10. A

11. C

12. E

13. C

14. D

15. C

16. B

17. E

18. D

19. B

20. C

21. E

22. E

23. D

24. A

25. D

26. B

27. E

28. B

29. E

30. B

31. D

32. A

33. A

34. A

35. B

36. C

37. E

38. C

39. D

40. A

41. D

42. A

43. B

44. A

45. C

46. C

47. B

48. C

49. B

50. B

51. D

52. B

53. D

54. C

55. D

56. C

57. A

58. B

59. E

60. A

61. D

62. B

SAT Literature Subject Test—Score Conversion Table