Senior English Semester 1 Final

13 Questions | Total Attempts: 61

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Senior English Semester 1 Final

This final is an assessment of close reading and analysis skills with narrative, drama, and nonfiction. You are to understand each text on a literal level, identify author’s choices for effect, and apply the critical perspectives for further interpretation. You have one 50-minute class period to complete this exam. This final is worth 100 points.


Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Directions:  Read the following passage carefully.  Read the question and each possible answer carefully.  Choose the best response by choosing the corresponding letter.    By Firoozeh Dumas             When I was eight years old, we went to Switzerland to visit my aunt Parvine, my mother’s sister.  Aunt Parvine has always been considered something of a deity in our family because she managed, despite being an Iranian woman of her generation, to become a doctor and to set up a successful practice in Geneva.  The woman overcame so many hurdles to reach her dream that she deserves to have her likeness carved in marble.  The fact that she actually lives in Switzerland further adds to her allure.  Iranians have always considered Switzerland the apogee of civilization: a small, clean country where bus drivers don’t have to check for tickets since everyone is so genetically honest.  Besides, Switzerland has never particularly welcomed Iranians, thus accruing the magnetism that comes only with repeated rejection.           Aunt Parvine told my father that she was going to teach me how to swim.  My parents decided to leave me with her one afternoon while she worked her medical magic.  It didn’t occur to them that perhaps they should stay and watch the swimming lesson.  My aunt took me to the deep end of the pool and there, this highly educated woman, whom I had grown up worshiping from afar, let go of me.  I sank.  Perhaps because of her medical training, or perhaps because she couldn’t face the prospect of having to explain to my parents that she had killed their child, Parvine eventually decided to intervene.  Moments before I got to see the tunnel with the light at the end and the angels beckoning me to join them, she lifted me out of the water.            My aunt dragged me out of the pool and, doing her best imitation of General Patton in a bad mood, announced that I was hopeless.  When my parents joined us, she announced, “Firoozeh is a rock.” News of my European failure soon reached the rest of my relatives, thus cementing my reputation as The One Incapable of Swimming.  Oddly enough, no one questioned my aunt’s method of instruction; she was, after all, a doctor in Switzerland.               My near-drowning experience brought with it an unexpected ray of hope, like a wildflower blooming in a battlefield: my family was now completely resigned to my inability to swim.  My father no longer insulted me; instead, he treated me with pity, since he now assumed that I was missing the chromosome necessary for buoyancy.  His pity often led to trips to the toy store, thus proving that I was far smarter than my cousins.  I managed to acquire eight new tea sets, while my cousins had merely learned to swim. Most fruits, if left alone on a tree, eventually do ripen, especially if they’re not being yelled at.  It was thus that I, at the age of ten, decided that I was finally ready to learn to swim.  There was, however, one proviso: I wanted to learn to swim in the sea by myself.  I proudly made this announcement to my father, who, once he stopped laughing, said: “You never learned to swim in the pool, so now you want to go drown in the ocean?”                             That summer, we headed for our annual weeklong vacation by the Caspian Sea.  Because of work commitments, my father was unable to join us.  My two brothers, my mother, and my aunt Sedigeh and uncle Abdullah and their four sons, who knew how to swim courtesy of my father, headed north to the Caspian.  Once we arrived, I went straight to the beach.  I took a few steps into the water, where a gentle wave lifted me and I started to swim.  Simple as that.                             When we returned to Abadan, I proudly told my father the news.  He did not believe me.  He and I headed straight for the pool, where he watched in disbelief.  “You, Firoozeh,” he said, shaking his head, “are an odd child.”  “No,” I said, “there was nobody yelling at me in the sea.” Years later, when we moved to Newport Beach, I discovered that one of the greatest joys in life is jumping from a boat into the deep blue Pacific Ocean.  That was before I discovered snorkeling in the crystal-clear waters of the Bahamas with sea turtles and manta rays swimming around me.  Later still, my husband introduced me to the cerulean waters of the Greek islands, where I spent hours swimming with the hot, Mediterranean sun burning on my back.  But despite my dips in the many beautiful bodies of water in the world, I have never forgotten that first gentle wave in the Caspian Sea, the one that lifted me and assured me that, yes, the pilot has had enough sleep.
  • 2. 
      During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman's place was considered to be in the home. Then the mood changed, as charitable missions began to extend the female role of service, and Victorian feminism began to emerge as a potent political force. The icon During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman's place was in the home, as domesticity and motherhood were considered by society at large to be a sufficient emotional fulfilment for females. These constructs kept women far away from the public sphere in most ways, but during the 19th century charitable missions did begin to extend the female role of service, and Victorian feminism emerged as a potent political force. The transformation of Britain into an industrial nation had profound consequences for the ways in which women were to be idealised in Victorian times. New kinds of work and new kinds of urban living prompted a change in the ways in which appropriate male and female roles were perceived. In particular, the notion of separate spheres—woman in the private sphere of the home and hearth, man in the public sphere of business, politics and sociability—came to influence the choices and experiences of all women, at home, at work, in the streets. The Victorian era, 1837-1901, is characterised as the domestic age par excellence, epitomised by Queen Victoria, who came to represent a kind of femininity which was centered on the family, motherhood and respectability. Accompanied by her beloved husband Albert, and surrounded by her many children in the sumptuous but homely surroundings of Balmoral Castle, Victoria became an icon of late-19th-century middle-class femininity and domesticity. Indeed, Victoria came to be seen as the very model of marital stability and domestic virtue. Her marriage to Albert represented the ideal of marital harmony. She was described as ‘the mother of the nation’, and she came to embody the idea of home as a cosy, domestic space. When Albert died in 1861 she retreated to her home and family in preference to public political engagements. Social responsibility The message that motherhood was woman’s highest achievement, albeit within marriage, never weakened through the course of the century. Indeed, it was in this period that motherhood was idealised as the zenith of a woman's emotional and spiritual fulfilment. At the same time, however, motherhood was becoming a social responsibility, a duty to the state and thus a full-time job, which could not easily be combined with paid work. And mothering became something that was no longer natural but which had to be learned. In the new industrial cities such as Manchester, Bradford and Glasgow, infant mortality rates were high. Responsibility for the appalling death rate amongst infants was roundly placed on the shoulders of mothers. Middle-class philanthropists, government inspectors and medical men united in their condemnation of the infant-care methods of poor women. Infant deaths, it was believed, could be prevented if poor mothers breast-fed their babies and were taught baby care. In reality, the high infant mortality rate in the industrial cities was just as much to do with poor sanitation, dirty water, overcrowding and the pervasiveness of disease, but these were more difficult problems to solve. Yet the ideal of true motherhood demanded women be constantly present for their children—it implied a commitment to domesticity and was therefore seen as incompatible with the demands of the labour market. Working-class mothers were therefore more likely to be labelled irresponsible and neglectful, when in truth they were struggling to combine the demands of childcare and putting a meal on the table. Woman's mission Middle-class women of the Victorian era did leave their homes—and not just to socialise but to visit the homes of the poor. These women used their position of privilege to export expertise in domestic affairs to those regarded as in need of advice, so they might attain the same high standards of household management. The power that middle-class women had achieved in the home was now used by them in order to gain access to another world characterised by, as they saw it, poverty, drink, vice and ignorance. At the same time, entering this world provided the lady philanthropist with a little excitement, maybe even danger, and a means to self-discovery. Moreover, these women's unshakeable belief in their own domestic morality not only informed the form of charity they chose to sponsor—mother and baby homes, kindergartens, temperance campaigns and health and hygiene reform—but also those persons deemed worthy of help and the conditions demanded for the receipt of charity. So they provided aid to mothers and infants in the name of improving infant and maternal mortality rates, while barring illegitimate children from their crèches. They could lecture working-class women on cleanliness in homes resembling slums, while they relied on servants to keep their own homes up to the required standard. Towards a political mission Female charitable activity was informed by religious commitment as well as by a sense of moral superiority. In Britain evangelicalism inspired the formation of an extensive range of female associations. These ranged from temperance, missionary and Sunday School societies to female-run benevolent institutions, and societies for the care of widows, orphans, the sick and the infirm. The numbers involved were huge. In Glasgow, for example, in 1895 there were 10,766 Sunday School teachers, all of whom were female volunteers. These women believed that the key to philanthropy was the personal touch, so the lady reformer ventured out to those in need. Across the country it was found that one of the best ways of reaching the poorest families was by employing a ‘Bible-woman’ from the working classes who would more likely be welcomed inside as ‘a motherly woman of their own class’. Women’s mission to women was an extension of the female role of service and self-sacrifice, but by the end of the Victorian era female philanthropists began to realise that, as women, they had little power to change things. Many of the first feminists were active in the philanthropic movement, and it was from this feminine public sphere that demands for improvements in the position of women began to be made. By 1900 women’s moral mission had also become a political mission. The aim of first-wave feminists was to gain better education and employment opportunities for middle-class women, better working conditions and wages for working-class women, and eventually the vote—so that women might have some influence over their fate.
  • 3. 
    Read the last sentence of the passage. But despite my dips in the many beautiful bodies of water in the world, I have never forgotten that first gentle wave in the Caspian Sea, the one that lifted me and assured me that, yes, the pilot has had enough sleep. Why did the speaker indicate that the wave “lifted and assured” her?
    • A. 

      A. When she finally learned to swim, the speaker felt lifted from disillusionment to newfound confidence.

    • B. 

      B. When she finally learned to swim, the speaker felt lifted from exhaustion to rejuvenation.

    • C. 

      C. When she finally learned to swim, the speaker felt convinced that her aunt wouldn’t get the best of her.

    • D. 

      D. When she finally learned to swim, the speaker felt convinced she was floating on air for days.

  • 4. 
    Which of these statements BEST shows the relationship between author’s purpose and tone throughout the excerpt?
    • A. 

      A. Using a sarcastic and biting tone, the author persuades readers to learn how to swim at a very young age.

    • B. 

      B. Using a humorous and informal tone, the author entertains and makes connections with readers while reflecting about a memorable personal experience.

    • C. 

      C. Using a humorous and informal tone, the author convinces readers to never give up on their dreams.

    • D. 

      D. Using a sarcastic and biting tone, the author ridicules people who have difficulty swimming.

  • 5. 
    Reread paragraph 2. Aunt Parvine told my father that she was going to teach me how to swim.  My parents decided to leave me with her one afternoon while she worked her medical magic.  It didn’t occur to them that perhaps they should stay and watch the swimming lesson.  My aunt took me to the deep end of the pool and there, this highly educated woman, whom I had grown up worshiping from afar, let go of me.  I sank.  Perhaps because of her medical training, or perhaps because she couldn’t face the prospect of having to explain to my parents that she had killed their child, Parvine eventually decided to intervene.  Moments before I got to see the tunnel with the light at the end and the angels beckoning me to join them, she lifted me out of the water. Which statement BEST describes the author’s use of diction?
    • A. 

      A. The author selected words that describe the physical properties of water in a pool in order to create a vivid mental image for the reader.

    • B. 

      B. The author selected words that are elevated and formal in order to convey an authoritative tone.

    • C. 

      C. The author selected words that represent an elevated opinion of her aunt that makes her feel that she was at fault for not being able to swim.

    • D. 

      D. The author selected words that reference the speaker’s national heritage in order to make cultural connections for the reader.

  • 6. 
    What is the effect of the author’s use of imagery in the last paragraph of the excerpt?
    • A. 

      A. The use of sensory details such as “deep blue Pacific” and “cerulean waters” create feelings of drowning in unconquerable fears.

    • B. 

      B. The use of sensory details such as “deep blue Pacific” and “cerulean waters” create feelings of exhilaration and contentment as the speaker reflects on overcoming a challenge.

    • C. 

      C. The use of repeated words and phrases emphasize the speaker’s commitment to her new way of life.

    • D. 

      D. The use of repeated words and phrases emphasize the speaker’s desire to continue to relive her first swimming experience.

  • 7. 
    What understanding of this reflective text might emerge when the literary theory of Cultural Criticism is applied?
    • A. 

      A. The author’s experiences are unlike what is experienced by many readers, so, most readers cannot relate to what is happening in the text.

    • B. 

      B. The author’s experiences are so similar to what most readers have experienced that responding to those experiences is completely unavoidable.

    • C. 

      C. The author included the near-drowning experience to help readers understand the fundamentals of swimming.

    • D. 

      D. The author included the near-drowning experience to illustrate the obstacles of trying to become like “everyone else” within a culture of her family.

  • 8. 
    Which sentence from the passage BEST supports the way the author set the “stranger” apart from the “village”?
    • A. 

      A. “News of my European failure soon reached the rest of my relatives, thus cementing my reputation as The One Incapable of Swimming.”

    • B. 

      B. “My aunt took me to the deep end of the pool and there, this highly educated woman, whom I had grown up worshiping from afar, let go of me.”

    • C. 

      C. “He and I headed straight for the pool, where he watched in disbelief.”

    • D. 

      D. “I took a few steps into the water, where a gentle wave lifted me and I started to swim.”

  • 9. 
    Complete the analogy. Perception: outlook as aphorism: ____________
    • A. 

      A. argument

    • B. 

      B. judgment

    • C. 

      C. question

    • D. 

      D. statement

  • 10. 
    Complete the analogy. cultural criticism : marginalized people :: reader response criticism : _______________
    • A. 

      A. sensory details

    • B. 

      B. autobiography

    • C. 

      C. reading situation

    • D. 

      D. sentence variety

  • 11. 
    Read the second paragraph of the essay. During the reign of Queen Victoria, a woman's place was in the home, as domesticity and motherhood were considered by society at large to be a sufficient emotional fulfilment for females. These constructs kept women far away from the public sphere in most ways, but during the 19th century charitable missions did begin to extend the female role of service, and Victorian feminism emerged as a potent political force. Which words in the paragraph best help the reader understand the meaning of the word domesticity?
    • A. 

      A. “During the reign of Queen Victoria”

    • B. 

      B. “female role of service”

    • C. 

      C. “in the home”

    • D. 

      D. “away from the public sphere”

  • 12. 
    From the essay, the reader can infer that Queen Victoria’s reign had which effect?
    • A. 

      A. Victoria’s marriage and family life set an idealized standard that was challenging for middle- and low-income women to attain.

    • B. 

      B. Victoria’s views on respectability created an atmosphere that prohibited women from venturing outside their neighborhoods.

    • C. 

      C. Victoria’s dedication to Britain’s domination of industrial advancements further excluded women from the world of work.

    • D. 

      D. Victoria’s emphasis on the importance of motherhood influenced men and women alike to provide for the needs of all children.

  • 13. 
    Read this paragraph from the essay. The message that motherhood was woman's highest achievement, albeit within marriage, never weakened through the course of the century. Indeed, it was in this period that motherhood was idealised as the zenith of a woman's emotional and spiritual fulfilment. At the same time, however, motherhood was becoming a social responsibility, a duty to the state and thus a full-time job, which could not easily be combined with paid work. And mothering became something that was no longer natural but which had to be learned. Which words in the paragraph best help the reader understand the meaning of the word zenith?
    • A. 

      A. “within marriage”

    • B. 

      B. “woman's highest achievement”

    • C. 

      C. “emotional and spiritual”

    • D. 

      D. “social responsibility”

  • 14. 
    The Victorian era was a fast-moving time when the values of the people began to shift. A double standard is a code, often unwritten, with different sets of rules for different participants. Which of the following quotes from the essay does NOT illustrate the concept of a double standard?
    • A. 

      A. “Yet the ideal of true motherhood demanded women be constantly present for their children—it implied a commitment to domesticity and was therefore seen as incompatible with the demands of the labour market. Working-class mothers were therefore more likely to be labelled irresponsible and neglectful, when in truth they were struggling to combine the demands of childcare and putting a meal on the table.”

    • B. 

      B. “Many of the first feminists were active in the philanthropic movement, and it was from this feminine public sphere that demands for improvements in the position of women began to be made.”

    • C. 

      C. “So they provided aid to mothers and infants in the name of improving infant and maternal mortality rates, while barring illegitimate children from their crèches. They could lecture working-class women on cleanliness in homes resembling slums, while they relied on servants to keep their own homes up to the required standard.”

    • D. 

      D. “Female charitable activity was informed by religious commitment as well as by a sense of moral superiority. In Britain evangelicalism inspired the formation of an extensive range of female associations.”

  • 15. 
    Historical criticism assumes that texts both influence and are influenced by the times in which they were created. The Importance of Being Earnest was written during the Victorian era. Which ideas of the Victorian era presented in “Ideals of Womanhood in Victorian Britain” does the excerpt from The Importance of Being Earnest reflect?
    • A. 

      A. Most marriages at the time were arranged and conducted as business agreements.

    • B. 

      B. Women were most effective in the sphere of the home and hearth.

    • C. 

      C. Women had weak minds and were incapable of making decisions for themselves.

    • D. 

      D. Until recent years, women had limited influence on their own fates.

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