GED Literature Answers and Explanations

1. 3: The clock is ebony, symbolizing death, and it is placed against the western wall of the room. The sun sets in the west, another symbol of death. Words such as dull, heavy, and monotonous also provide a clue. The momentary pause of the orchestra members at the end of each hour prefigures the final pause that all the dancers and orchestra members will make. Poe writes that "the giddiest grew pale," an allusion to the pallor of death. Other words suggesting the finality of death are nervousness, disconcert, tremulousness, and meditation.

2. 5: The passage refers to musicians, but choice 1 is not accurate because the passage also mentions waltzers who had to stop dancing when the musicians of the orchestra stopped playing, making 5 correct. There is no indication of food in the descriptions given of the apartment where the clock is located. A garden party would be held outdoors while this is clearly an interior scene. This need for an outdoor setting is true as well of a boating party. Thus the first four options are all incorrect, leaving only choice 5.

3. 2: Because of the sound of the chiming clock, the musicians stop, which means the dancers stop as well. Choice 1 is not accurate. The passage makes no mention of food or a meal or even of the host. Although an uninvited guest makes an appearance in the story, that scene is not included here, so choice 3 is incorrect. The passage does not indicate that the dancers are masked nor that they are asked to remove their masks. This means option 4 is not correct. The members of the orchestra do not leave during the passage, making choice 5 the wrong one.

4. 4: The passage refers specifically to "the Time that flies," a reminder of the brevity of life. The pause of both orchestra and dancers when the clock strikes is simply a prelude to the final pause. There is not enough information in the passage to indicate that a king even exists, nor is there mention of the skill of the orchestra. Thus number 1 can be eliminated. There is no indication of the need for police, making option 2 incorrect. The clock seems to be in good working order, and thus the third choice is incorrect. Choice 5 suggests rowdy guests, which the passage does not support.

5. 3: The best words are in choice 3, mysterious and forbidding. The passage does not answer the mystery of why the orchestra and dancers regularly halt at the sound of the chimes. Many of the words-such as ebony, disconcert, pale, confused, and tremulousness-in the passage refer to puzzles or gloominess. The other choices are extremes that cannot be supported. Choices 1 and 2 are too light for the passage, whereas choices 4 and 5 are too negative. The passage hints at negative events to come, but these are not expressed in the passage itself.

6. 2: The passage refers to the nameless shoemaker's haggard eyes, his inability to focus on a question, his repetitive motions, and his inability to give his name. There is no indication of any art or gallery. The setting is Paris; the passage does not indicate that. Thus choice 1 is incorrect. The man being described is not identified as British or as a member of government, so choice 3 is incorrect. The man is making shoes, not hospital calls; therefore, choice 4 is incorrect. Although the man is making shoes by hand, there is no sign that he is a fashion designer. Choice 5 is also not correct.

7. 1: The first choice is correct. The man gives his name as One Hundred and Five, North Tower, an address, not a personal name. The reference to a tower suggests a prison. Option 2 is an incorrect choice; the man has not apparently been out of the North Tower in many years. Nor is option 3 correct because the man is not precisely homeless. Nothing in the passage tells the reader when the man left home, so option 4 can be eliminated. There is also no reference to his marriage or lack of it in this selection, making number 5 incorrect.

8. 4: The man does not laugh in this passage. Choice 1 is clearly stated in the passage. He has lapses in conversation with Mr. Lorry. It is also clear in the passage that the man has no remembrance of a given personal name, so choice 2 can be eliminated. The repeated motion of his hands when they do not hold the shoe is a telling sign of derangement, so choice 3 is incorrect. Choice 5 is not accurate; the man speaks in short, choppy sentences until his final sentence, a collection of short sentences strung together by and.

9. 5: The man is working on a lady's walking-shoe when his visitors arrive and states that he had learned the trade, which was not his original manner of work, at his own request since arriving at the prison. He even expresses some pride in the quality of his work, which is based on a pattern because he has never seen the current mode of shoe. There is no indication that he is engaged in carving wood, blowing glass, smiting, or dressmaking. All of the other choices are clearly false.

10. 2: Defarge is somehow the man's keeper and is concerned with his well-being. The first choice suggests unkindness, which is clearly not the case-Defarge is neutral at best. That option can be eliminated. He does not appear to be a family member, so choice 3 can be eliminated as well. There is also no suggestion of cruelty nor of a profession nor of a definite setting, leaving choice 4 untenable. A man in this setting is unlikely to have any money. Choice 5 thus makes no sense.

11. 3: Christian refers to himself as tongue-tied and unable to declare his love. He longs to be able to express his thoughts, to be eloquent. There is no indication in the text that he is unwilling to fight; this makes option 1 incorrect. He does not discuss the matter of new situations, and so the second choice is also not the right one. Fencing is not mentioned in the text, eliminating option 4. Christian's ability to sing is not part of the conversation, making the fifth choice incorrect.

12. 4: Cyrano offers to be the eloquence Christian needs while Christian provides the physical beauty that Cyrano lacks. There is no mention of a serenade, making choice 1 incorrect. Choice 2 is also wrong; Christian's problem is a lack of verbal skill, both written and oral. Writing a letter would not be possible for him. The third response is not correct; the men have not yet been sent to war, though they soon will be. The idea of falling in love with another woman is not suggested; thus choice 5, likewise, is incorrect.

13. 5: The laced doublet indicates that Christian is a gentleman; earlier in the scene, he is introduced as a new member of the Guard and presumably has not yet been dressed in uniform. Cyrano in contrast wears the leather doublet of a seasoned soldier. Option 1 is incorrect; Christian is a soldier, as his lines about having a military wit attest. The second option is also wrong. No mention is made of Cyrano's being wounded. The third option is unsupported by the words. A leather doublet is not armor; therefore, choice 4 is incorrect.

14. 1: The repetition of consonant sounds, such as l, is the definition of alliteration. Personification, choice 2, is the giving of human qualities to nonhuman things, and so is not correct. Option 3, metaphor, refers to a direct comparison of two unlike things. It, therefore, is wrong as well. An allusion is a reference to classical or biblical literature, and so option 4 is incorrect. Choice 5, simile, is an indirect comparison of two unlike things using like or as. It is also an incorrect choice.

15. 2: Cyrano has already written a letter to Roxane but has not delivered it. Choice 1 is what Cyrano tells Christian, but it is false and requires no inference. Option 3 is not supported by the text; Cyrano assures Christian that Roxane will think it is written for her. Christian seems to regard his case as hopeless, and thus it is unlikely that he will be able to gain confidence from studying Cyrano's letter. Option 4 can be eliminated. Christian has made it clear that he will not woo Roxane on his own, so choice 5 can be eliminated as well.

Last Updated: 05/15/2014