Sample Questions: Analyzing and Interpreting Literature

Learn more about the Analyzing and Interpreting Literature exam.

The following Analyzing and Interpreting Literature sample questions aren't used in actual CLEP exams and aren’t presented here as they will be on the test. Use them to get a sense of question format and difficulty level.


Each of the questions or incomplete statements below is followed by five suggested answers or completions. Select the one that is best in each case.

Questions 1–3 refer to the passage below.

(SIR PETER:) When an old bachelor marries a young wife,
what is he to expect? ’Tis now six months since Lady
Teazle made me the happiest of men—and I have been
the most miserable dog ever since! We tift a little going

(5) to church and fairly quarrelled before the bells had done
ringing. I was more than once nearly choked with gall
during the honeymoon, and had lost all comfort in life
before my friends had done wishing me joy. Yet I chose
with caution—a girl bred wholly in the country, who

(10) never knew luxury beyond one silk gown, nor dissipation
above the annual gala of a race ball. Yet she now plays
her part in all the extravagant fopperies of fashion and
the town, with as ready a grace as if she never had seen
a bush or a grassplot out of Grosvenor Square!*—I am

(15) sneered at by all my acquaintance and paragraphed in the
newspapers. She dissipates my fortune, and contradicts all
my humors; yet the worst of it is, I doubt I love her, or I
should never bear all this. However, I’ll never be weak
enough to own it.


  1.  In lines 3–4, the phrases “the happiest of men” and “the most miserable dog” are best described as:

    A. Metaphors characterizing Sir Peter's conflicted state of mind
    B. Allusions to literary characters famed for their good and bad marriages
    C. Clichés illustrating the contrast between Sir Peter's previous hopes and present reality
    D. Stock attitudes about marriage based upon popular myth
    E. Euphemisms describing Sir Peter's transition from a devoted bridegroom to an adulterous husband
  2.  According to lines 8–11 (“Yet I chose . . . race ball”), Sir Peter chose a bride that he hoped would be

    A. different from the rural women of her time
    B. ignorant of his wish for a lavish lifestyle
    C. innocent and guileless in morals and habits
    D. fond of the duties that accompany life on a farm
    E. graceful, accomplished, and socially sophisticated
  3. In context, the word “grace” (line 13) most nearly means

    A. skill
    B. privilege
    C. virtue
    D. prayer 
    E. demand


C, C, A


For more sample questions and information about the exam, download "Analyzing and Interpreting Literature at a Glance" from the resources section below.