Literature and Literacy Criticism Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 2 (page 2)

Updated on Sep 27, 2011


  1. b.   In lines 3–4, Wharton makes it clear that she will be refuting the statement in the first two lines: but it is certainly a misleading [premise] on which to build any general theory. In lines 8–9, she states that a subject is suited to a short story or a novel, and in lines 9–10, if it appears to be adapted to both the chances are that it is inadequate in either. This firmly refutes the opening statement.
  2. d.   After making it clear that subjects are not equally suitable for short stories and novels, Wharton explains what makes a particular subject suitable for the novel form (paragraphs 4 and 5) and how the elements of time and length are different in the short story (paragraph 6).
  3. b.   In lines 15–18, Wharton writes that rules in art are useful mainly for the sake of the guidance they give, but it is a mistake [ . . . ] to be too much in awe of them. Thus, they should be used only as a general guide.
  4. a.   Wharton compares general rules in art to both a lamp in a mine and a handrail down a black stairwell.
  5. c.   In paragraph 4, Wharton states the two chief reasons a subject should find expression in novel-form: first, the gradual unfolding of the inner life of its characters and second the need of producing in the reader's mind the sense of the lapse of time (lines 25–27).
  6. b.   Wharton uses this paragraph to clarify the "rules" she established in the previous paragraph by describing more specifically that if a subject can be dealt with in a single retrospective flash it is suitable for a short story while those that justify elaboration or need to suggest the lapse of time require the novel form.
  7. e.   In lines 39–42, Wharton writes that short stories observe two 'unities': that of time, which is limited to achieve the effect of compactness and instantaneity, and that of point of view, telling the story through only one pair of eyes.
  8. b.   This paragraph expands on the final idea of the previous paragraph, that of the limited point of view. In line 44, Wharton refers to the character who serves as reflector—thus in line 46, this reflecting mind is that same person, the one who tells the story.
  9. d.   As the introduction states, Higgins is a professor, and he contrasts the life of the gutter with Science and Literature and Classical Music and Philosophy and Art (lines 9–10). Thus, his life is best described as the life of a scholar.
  10. e.   The answer to this question is found in Liza's statement in lines 22–24: You think I must go back to Wimpole Street because I have nowhere else to go but father's. This statement indicates that Wimpole Street is probably where Liza grew up.
  11. e.   Liza's reply to Higgins suggests that she wants more respect. She criticizes him for always turning everything against her, bullying her, and insulting her. She tells him not to be too sure that you have me under your feet to be trampled on and talked down (lines 24-25). learly he does not treat her with respect, and as her actions in the rest of the excerpt reveal, she is determined to get it.
  12. b.   Liza is from the gutter, but she can't go back there after being with Higgins and living the life of the scholar, a refined, educated, upper-class life. Thus the best definition of common here is unrefined.
  13. a.   In these lines Higgins threatens Liza and lays hands on her, thus proving that he is a bully.
  14. c.   Higgins refers to Liza as my masterpiece, indicating that he thinks of Liza as his creation—that he made her what she is today.
  15. b.   The excerpt opens with Higgins telling Liza "If you're going to be a lady" and comparing her past—the life of the gutter—with her present—a cultured life of literature and art. We also know that Higgins taught Liza phonetics (line 40) and that Liza was once only a flower girl but is now a duchess (lines 55–56). Thus, we can conclude that Higgins taught Liza how to speak and act like someone from the upper class.
  16. d.   Higgins realizes that Liza—with the knowledge that he gave her—now has the power to stand up to him, that she will not just let herself be trampled on and called names (line 59). He realizes that she has other options and she is indifferent to his bullying and big talk (line 55).
  17. c.   Liza's final lines express her joy at realizing that she has the power to change her situation and that she is not Higgins' inferior but his equal; she can't believe that all the time I had only to lift up my finger to be as good as you (lines 59–60). She realizes that she can be an assistant to someone else, that she doesn't have to be dependent on Higgins.
  18. d.   In the first few lines, the narrator states that Miss Temple was the superintendent of the seminary and that she received both instruction and friendship from Miss Temple, who was also like a mother to her she had stood me in the stead of mother.
  19. a.   The narrator states that with Miss Temple, I had given in allegiance to duty and order; I was quiet; I believed I was content (lines 12–13).
  20. d.   The context here suggests existence or habitation, not captivity or illness.
  21. c.   We can assume that the narrator would go home during vacations, but she spent all of her vacations at school because Mrs. Reed had never sent for me to Gateshead (lines 50–51). Thus we can infer that Mrs. Reed was her guardian, the one who sent the narrator to Lowood in the first place.
  22. b.   The narrator describes her experience with school-rules and school-duties (line 53) and how she tired of the routine (line 56) after Miss Temple left. She also contrasts Lowood with the real world of hopes and fears, of sensations and excitements (lines 35–36) and that the view from her window seemed a prison-ground, exile limits (line 44). Thus, it can be inferred that Lowood is both a structured and isolated place.
  23. a.   The narrator states in lines 26–27 that she had undergone a transforming process and that now she again felt the stirring of old emotions (line 30) and remembered that the real world was wide and awaited those who had courage to go forth (lines 36–37). She also looks at the road from Lowood and states how [she] longed to follow it further! More importantly, she repeats her desire for liberty and prays for a new servitude—something beyond Lowood.
  24. e.   In lines 13–15, the narrator states that with Miss Temple at Lowood, she believed she was content, that to the eyes of others, usually even to my own, I appeared a disciplined and subdued character. This suggests that in her natural element (lines 29–30) she is not so disciplined or subdued. Her desire for freedom and to explore the world are also evident in this passage; she longs to follow the road that leads away from Lowood (line 46) and she is half desperate in her cry for something new, something beyond Lowood and the rules and systems she tired of [ . . . ] in one afternoon (line 56).
  25. d.   Because Lowood had been the narrator's home for eight years and all she knew of existence was school rules, duties, habits, faces, etc. (lines 53–55)—because she had had no communication [ . . . ] with the outer world (lines 52–53), it is likely that she feels her initial prayers were unrealistic. At least a new servitude would provide some familiar territory, and it therefore seems more realistic and attainable than liberty or change.

For more practice on literature and literacy critical reading questions, review:

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