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Reading Poetry Practice Exercises: GED Language Arts, Reading (page 4)

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Updated on Mar 9, 2011

Passage 4

  1. b.   This is a sonnet, a poem that follows a very specific format. Sonnets have 14 lines; most are written in iambic pentameter and follow a specific rhyme scheme.
  2. a.   Shakespeare is suggesting that it would be inadequate to compare his love to summertime, because the summer does not last long, whereas his love is eternal. The phrase summers lease refers to the fact that the seasons are only temporary. The short date that he refers to means that the season is short, not that it is almost summertime.
  3. d.   The context speaks of the eye of heaven as shining, and also of being too hot. These things apply to the sun, not to the moon or to birds. The gold complexion also suggests the sun, not the eye of a god looking down.
  4. e.   The poet is speaking to someone he loves, and he is trying to express the idea that his love will last forever.
  5. d.   Shakespeare is saying that, even though his lover will one day die, the poem itself will live forever. This means that, in some way, his lover will live forever, as well.

Passage 5

  1. a.   The poem describes a group of soldiers, called the Light Brigade, who are charging into certain death because they were commanded to do so. They are charging into the face of cannons, and they suspect that someone blundered (gave the wrong command)—but they are obeying just the same.
  2. c.   A blunder is a mistake, something that someone did accidentally. In this poem, the blunder appears to be that a superior officer gave the Light Brigade a bad command. The soldiers have no chance of surviving.
  3. d.   The soldiers know that someone has issued a foolish order, but they also know that a soldier obeys his superior officers. Theirs not to reason why means that it is not a soldier's duty to question the orders that he is given; his duty is to obey those orders—even when it is clear that the order means certain death.
  4. b.   The phrases jaws of death and mouth of hell are examples of personification because the author is taking the abstract concept of death and treating it as though it were a living person—a person who has a mouth and jaws. The image then becomes quite powerful, as the reader can picture death actually biting and eating its victims.
  5. b.   The author is honoring the brave men who charged against the enemy's cannons, even though they knew that they would not likely survive the charge. The poem does depict the horrors of war, but that is not its central focus. Tennyson is concerned mostly with the brave obedience of the Light Brigade.

Passage 6

  1. a.   The speaker is saying that he owes a debt to those who made the road, but an even greater debt because they have stopped using it and left him to walk on it in peace.
  2. c.   The rhyme scheme is a, b, a, b, c, c.
  3. b.   The word proxy means on behalf of someone else. If you vote by proxy, for example, you are allowing someone else to cast your vote on your behalf. The speaker in the poem is saying that a fox or mouse will make footprints in the snow on his behalf when he can't be there.
  4. c.   Most of this poem is written in iambic trimeter. The iambic meter is one unstressed syllable followed by one stressed syllable, and there are three feet per line—making it trimeter. Pentameter, on the other hand, is five feet per line.
  5. a.   This is an imagistic poem, one that tries to help the reader to visualize something by describing it in words. Frost is trying to paint a picture in the reader's mind of the autumn road that he's walking on, and even what that road will be like when covered with snow and walked by mice and foxes.
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