SAT Literature Subject Test
The Practice SAT Literature Subject Tests
Practice Test 4: Answers and Explanations
Answers and Explanations
1 C Walls are said to “spring out” (line 7), a human capacity, so that is the example of personification in the first paragraph (C). None of the other answer choices are examples of personification.
2 E The sisters are said to make their father’s friends “shake with laughter” (line 17) but often “weep” (line 25), so they are “amusing yet despairing.” They may be “vivacious,” but they are not “standoffish” (A). They may be “joyful,” but they are not “impolite” (B). They are “beloved” but not “acrimonious” (hostile) (C), and they are not “superficial” (D).
3 B The curse refers to the melancholy the sisters suffered that their mother did not have (B). There is no evidence that the girls were unlucky in romance (A). The mother’s talent (or lack thereof) is not mentioned (C). The “curse” is not the overreaction to events (D), and the mother’s fear is not described as “constant” (E).
4 A The last sentence describes contrasts: The girls make people happy but they themselves are unhappy; they are fun but are themselves lonely (A). There is no analogy (B). The author does not make an appearance in the passage, nor does the voice change (C). The narrator is not particularly detached (D). The differentiation between “happy” and “sad” is not subtle (E).
5 E The sisters are prone to wild mood swings, but Hanne’s “temperament was as different as possible from theirs” (lines 39–40) (E). There is no evidence that Hanne is “practical,” or that the sisters are not (A). Although Hanne attempts to reassure the girls, Hanne’s practical answers do not reassure them (B). Hanne is not “dismissive” (C), nor is she “uncaring” (D).
6 D The sentence states that the girls were the life of the party (D). The “gods of true joy” do not refer to Christian religion (A). The sisters are not the hostesses of these parties (B). Although (C) is mentioned in the passage, this sentence does not suggest that the girls’ mere presence guaranteed social success. The girls banish “care and envy” but there is no evidence that they themselves were never worried or jealous (E).
7 E The girls are never described as decorators (E). They are good storytellers: “brimful of tales” (line 21) (A). They sing like “a pair of nightingales” (lines 12–13) (B). They were excellent imitators (line 13) (C), and they could “make up a charade or a game of forfeits” (lines 18–19) (D).
8 B The girls make Madam Baek feel as though she was in an “atmosphere of rust” (i.e., uncomfortable) (B). Although she may be concerned, this is not the meaning of uncanny (A). Nor is “preoccupied” a good synonym for her feeling of unease (C). Neither “poisonous” (D) nor “invigorating” (E) makes sense here.
9 A The girls are obviously educated in the arts and spend their time at balls and not at work, plus the family has at least one servant, so it is logical to conclude that they are members of the upper class (A). Unless we are their psychiatrists, we can’t diagnose their illness, and the narrator doesn’t tell us what they suffered from (B). There is no mention of a search for a husband (C). There is no evidence that they were frightened (D) or that they didn’t care if men paid them attention or not (E).
10 A “Negro eyes” refers to the black people watching the funeral (A). White people are not the ones watching (B). The funeral refers to the finest event in general, not the finest-looking people (C). There is not mention of what white funerals are like (D). There is no evidence that there were any white people in attendance at the funeral (E).
11 C All of the community’s important people came to Joe’s funeral, so he must have been well regarded (C). Janie does not necessarily feel genuine grief, and she’s not mentioned in the first paragraph (A). There is no information in the passage about Joe’s life (B). There is no generalization being drawn from this particular funeral (E) and (D).
12 E Janie’s outside appearance gives no clue to her inner feelings: “She sent her face to Joe’s funeral, and herself went rollicking with the springtime across the world”; so she is detached (E). We do not know what the mourners are really feeling (A) and (B). We cannot judge their sincerity (C). And we don’t know enough to be able to tell if they are a single community (D).
13 C To be in the secret orders, you must be “initiated,” and they are wearing certain colors, so it is reasonable to assume that they are members of a fraternal organization (C). There is only one car mentioned (A). There is nothing in the passage about governing commands (B). There is no evidence that anyone at the funeral was a stranger (D). There is no mention of heaven or life after death (E).
14 D Janie is obviously not grieving at Joe’s death, and her veil allows her to go to the funeral without letting on (D). Janie is not anguished (A). No one is staring at her accusingly (B). Janie’s emotional state cannot be described as “solid” (C). Janie knows what her true feelings are (E).
15 C Everyone is celebrating, but Janie is not; she is isolated (C). The funeral does not emphasize Joe’s life (A). The primary effect of the phrase is not to emphasize the “community” of the funeral (B). There is no mention of distances traveled (D). There is no larger lesson that the passage is attempting to draw parallels to (E).
16 B The most obvious style is the use of incomplete sentences (B). There is no dialect in the passage (A), nor is there much religious imagery (C). There are no ironies in the passage (D), and although there are some contrasts, there are no oxymorons (E).
17 E Janie is herself behind the veil, which is described as “resurrection and life” (E). “Gloat and glamor” refers to the secret orders (A); “starched and ironed” refers to Janie’s outward appearance (B). “Darkness. Deep hole” refers to the funeral proceedings, not Janie’s emotions (C); she is not “weeping and wailing” (D).
18 D Janie feels as though she is reborn, brought to life by Joe’s death (lines 25-26) (D). Janie is inwardly celebrating, so his death has had some effect on her (A). We have no evidence that Janie cared for Joe (B). We don’t know Janie’s exact feelings, but she feels calm, not antipathetic (C). We have no evidence that the community knows or doesn’t know about Janie’s feelings for Joe (E).
19 B The country life is “unvexed,” meaning lacking cares and strife (B). None of the other choices mean “lacking.”
20 C Lines 12 and 13 describe the circumstances under the “long litigious laws” (line 11), which ultimately are the undoing of both the victor and the vanquished; the poet says that those kinds of exhausting legal proceedings are “not your decrees” (line 15), because this is not the approach which Driden takes to justice (B), (D). “Suits” in line 12 does not refer to clothing (A), but to lawsuits; and “conquers” (line 13) is not referring to military victory (E) but to victory in court.
21 E The poet considers the country-dweller to be “blessed” and “unvexed” so the poet thinks that country life is excellent. Only “idyllic” fits this description (E).
22 E The poet never mentions the effect of country life on health—“Enjoyed his youth, and now enjoys his age” does not refer to health but rather longevity (B). The poet does talk about a calm mind: “Like your own soul, serene, a pattern of your mind” (A). The poet does speak of friendship: “All who deserve his love, he makes his own; And, to be loved himself, needs only to be known” (C), and says that the country-dweller is “wise” (D).
23 D The poet describes the subject as “uncumbered with a wife,” so he finds a wife to be a burden and a source of strife (D). Marriage is not a necessity; the subject of the poem is not married (A), (B). The protracted lawsuit does not refer to marriage (C), nor is there evidence that the poet considers marriage to be a prison sentence (E).
24 A The first six lines speak of a general “he,” while the rest of the poem addresses the subject using “you” (A). There is no switch in tense (B), nor is there a general switch in attitude (C). There is no extended simile (D), and although God is mentioned in the last lines, there is no divine intervention (E).
25 D The sentence reads, “Just, good, and wise, contending neighbors come, From your award to wait their final doom,” so “their” refers to the contending neighbors (D). None of the others is the correct antecedent.
26 B The “contending” (i.e., disagreeing) neighbors come for advice and to avoid lawsuits, so the subject must play the role of a judge (B). There is no evidence that he is a farmer (A) or a religious leader (C). Similarly, nowhere in the poem does it suggest the subject is a writer (D) or scholar (E).
27 E The first sentence has alliteration in “foes,” “before,” and “friendship.” The second sentence has alliteration in “long litigious laws.” The third contains alliteration in “penitence,” “succeeds,” and “short,” in so (E) is the correct answer.
28 B The poet is making the point that it’s difficult to get along, and even Adam and Eve disagreed (B). The poet does not suggest that God punishes all couples, nor is equality the issue in the poem (A). “Matched” means “coupled,” not necessarily “similar” (C). Choice (D) is too general a statement for the poem. Intelligence is not mentioned as a reason for being ostracized (E).
29 E The poet uses all the listed words except “faith” as symbols of “heart” (E). The poet calls his heart “thou” in line 7 (A). “Reflector” is located in line 9 (B) and “Recorder” in line 11 (C). The poet addresses his “Strong Heart” in line 1 (D).
30 B The poet says his heart warned him when he began to think of evil thoughts, so “forming” is the best synonym (B). None of the others accurately fits the meaning.
31 D The poet wants his heart to stay put and not break their bond. (“Hold yet a while, Strong Heart, Not part a lifelong yoke”) (D). There is nothing in the passage that suggests an outside love (A). There is no mention of a failing heart (“Strong Heart”) (B). The heart is clearly inside the poet, so it is not a separate being (C). He considers his heart a friend (“In thee is friendship”), not an enemy (E).
32 A The poet speaks of rare smooth sailing and marching up and downhill for a long time, so (A) is the best answer. There is not a literal journey (and it is in the past) (B). There is no evidence of prison (C). Although the poet seems to find the water easier, there is no expression of regret (D). The poet speaks of a metaphoric journey, not a literal one (E).
33 A All are mentioned except the theme of “love” (A). The poet calls his heart true (B). He mentions his “faith” (C). He says his heart warned him against “evil thoughts” or reminded him of his moral duties (D), and he speaks of a long time spent together (E).
34 A In lines 8 and 11, an exclamation point and a question mark take the place of words (Statement 1). There is no consistent rhythm, and it does not reflect the theme (Statement 2). The form of the poem does not mirror its content (Statement 3).
35 B The poet appears to be thanking his heart and coaxing it to stay, so “begging” is the best answer (B). The poet is not “excited” (A), nor is he “resigned” (C). There is no evidence of pride (D), and although there is a question mark, the poet does not employ a “questioning” tone (E).
36 C The poet is comparing his heart to a recorder of thoughts, so it is a “metaphor” (C). There is no “alliteration” (A), “personification” (B), “paradox” (D), or “allegory” (E).
37 E There is no evidence the men speak foreign languages (“various degrees of fluency” refers to their skill levels in the subjects, not foreign languages) (E). They are “youngish bachelors” and, therefore, unmarried (line 2) (A). Wilkinson did not “condescend” to speak with female teachers, and Coristine won’t look at them (B). Wilkinson is a teacher, Coristine a lawyer (C). They both like books: “they were linked together by an ardent love of literature” (lines 23–24) (D).
38 C Because Wilkinson is compared to Coristine, and “Coristine was a lawyer in full practice,” then Wilkinson must have a position of responsibility in the school system (C). There is no mention of how well he was paid (A). There is also no discussion about how people feel about them (B). They are not eating, so they are not “sated” (D). Although they are well-dressed, this is not the focus of this line (E).
39 D The young men are being contrasted to “respectable” church-members, so they must be “rebellious” (D). Although they may be “chauvinists,” this sentence does not say that (A). There is no discussion of how talented they are (B). There is no evidence that they used to go to church (C), and because they do not go to church, they are not “pious” (E).
40 A Wilkinson is described as “sedate” (line 14), so Coristine is in comparison the opposite, which is “excitable” (A). None of the other words conveys this meaning.
41 D According to the men, women were “bringing the dignity of law and education to the dogs,” so the men thought they were inferior (D). They had opportunities to meet women at work (A). There is no evidence in the passage that they felt threatened (B) or feared their jobs would be taken from them (C); although that may have been their subconscious fear, the passage never states this. They object to female teachers and clerks (E).
42 A Coristine is a practicing lawyer, but his name is not part of the firm’s name, so he is not valued by his firm (A). There is no discussion of his finances (B). There is nothing to suggest he works independently (C) or that he doesn’t contribute sufficiently to the firm (D). He may indeed be at the beginning of his career, but this conclusion cannot be reached by the evidence in the passage (E).
43 B The author makes fun of the characters as he paints them as snobs who consider themselves superior (B). The author is not offended (A), nor is the writing hesitant or overtly critical (C). The passage is not marked by extreme honesty (D) nor is it distant (E).
44 A People were going to church as the young men went to their literary society, so “journeying to” is the best match (A). There is no evidence that they were in a hurry (B) or that they were late (E). And they were going, not coming (C), (D).
45 C The line can be restated as “in trying to reclaim some virtue, the theater world’s efforts have been wasted,” so (C) is the best answer. None of the other words fits the sentence.
46 C The line can be restated as “in trying to reclaim some virtue, the theater world’s efforts have been wasted” so (C) is the best answer. The speaker does not think that actors are conceited (A), nor does the speaker claim that the theater is a home to those who don’t believe in God (B). Although the passage speaks of labor, it is not the labor of acting (D). There is no evidence that the speaker is talking about the transformative power of theater (E).
47 B A pen writing (“refrain”-ing) and having patience is an example of personification (B). None of the other phrases contains an example of personification.
48 C Even if you don’t know what triplets are, you can tell which answers are wrong. The poem has pairs of rhyming phrases and some phrases that come in rhyming sets of threes (C). There is a regular rhythm to the poem (A). There are triplets as well as couplets (B). Nothing is epic about the poem (D), and there are active as well as passive verbs (E).
49 B From the lines “You care as little what the Poets teach, As you regard at Church what Parsons preach” (lines 4–5), it is clear that the author thinks people disregard what’s said in church (B). It is not clear from the poem that the speaker thinks church is boring, only that he or she is aware that others do (A). There is no evidence that there is gossip in the church (C) or that the speaker considers the church a place for hypocrites (D). She does not compare church and state’s superiority, but suggests only that people learn little from either (E).
50 B The lines are sarcastic in that the speaker is mocking the people by saying that they learn as little from theater as they do from church (B). They are not an exaggeration (A). Although the tone is negative, it is not condemning (C). The speaker does not admire the theatergoers (D). In order for something to be parodical, it must be copying something else (E).
51 D The poem states that people do everything in church and theater except conduct contests (D). They “ogle” (line 10) (A). They “snore” (line 8) (B). They “roar” (heckle the stage) (line 9) (C). They “get dully drunk” (line 9) (E).
52 B The phrase “devoutly snore” is an ironic, satirical attack on the people (B), who the author believes are insufficiently attentive at church services and the theatre both. The poet does not sincerely believe that sleeping is a pious act (A), nor that people sleeping in pews are being respectfully quiet (E). He is lamenting the lack of respect that people show for church and the theatre, but he is not criticizing people for staying up too late at night (D), and he believes that the problem lies with the people, not the services themselves (C).
53 D Each line of the poem has ten syllables. If “Y’ ” weren’t elided with the following syllable, this line would have eleven syllables (uh-oh) so it’s abbreviated to keep the meter even (D). Remember: You don’t need any outside knowledge, so (A) can’t be the answer. There is no evidence that the poet wanted to save copying time (B). In order to be alliteration, the similar sounds must be close together (C). A new subject is not being addressed (E).
54 C The first paragraph introduces what people think about pirates. The second paragraph is about how pirates feel guilty, so (C) is the best answer. Answer choice (A) is too general; the second paragraph doesn’t really elaborate. There are no opposing viewpoints (B). The second paragraph does not justify the pirates’ actions (D). The purpose of paragraph two is not to cite popular culture but rather to talk about pirates’ feelings of guilt (E).
55 D The author supposes that pirates feel so guilty that they live with the constant hell of their consciences, so (D) is the best answer, in that the student is wracked with guilt. The pirates do not atone for their actions or turn themselves into the police (A). According to the author, the pirates think a lot about their actions (B). There are no accusations in the passage (C). There is no evidence that the pirates feel justified in their actions (E).
56 C The sea is compared to a highway, so (C) is the correct answer. None of the other answers is a comparison between two things.
57 A The writing uses a lot of flowery adjectives and long sentences, so (A) is the best answer. The subject is not particularly simple (B). There are no unanswered questions (C). Although the author does seem to be against the pirates, the prose itself is not biased (D). The author does not anticipate any objections or alternative interpretations (E).
58 B The pirates hide out when they are not plundering, so “ensconces” is the best answer (B). None of the other words has the correct meaning.
59 E The victims’ relatives believe they were lost “from the inclemencies of the elements”—i.e., the harsh weather (a storm) (E). There is no evidence that the relatives believe the victims died of disease (A) or that they were murdered by pirates (B). There is no mention of slavery (C) or that the victims ran away (D).
60 A The author says “every man, whether civilized or savage, has interwoven in his constitution a moral sense,” so it is clear that he believes in a general conscience that all humans have (A). There is no mention of God or a deity (B) or a higher court (C). The only punishment the author talks about is the punishment of the pirates’ consciences (D). The author does not discuss how upbringing (or nurture) affects a moral code (E).
61 D The line can be translated as “pirates act on the saying ‘dead men tell no tales’ and kill all their victims so they won’t be around to bear witness to the crime.” Therefore, the word “practically” tells us that there is logic behind the killings (D). This part of the passage does not speak of remorse (A). All the victims were indeed killed (B). The pirates were motivated by greed, yes, but they killed their victims so they (the pirates) wouldn’t get caught (C). The word “practically” means “in a practical way” here, not “an uncertain amount” (E).
62 B The author proves that conscience is haunting by quoting a pirate song that supports his point (B). The author is unlikely to find his or her own narrative boring (A). The song supports the author’s point, so he is obviously not introducing a contrasting opinion (C). The song is offered as an example of a previous point, not a point still to come (D). It is impossible to prove that the author is pandering to certain readers (E).