AP English Literature:
Practice Test 3

Directions: The AP English Literature multiple choice section consists of selections from literary works and questions on their content, form, and style. After reading each passage or poem, choose the best answer to each question and then click on the corresponding answer. Click on the right arrow to move on to the next question. Start your test prep now with our free AP English Literature practice test.

Questions #1–11 are based on the following passage from Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs.

When my grandmother returned home and found her youngest child Benjamin had fled, great was her sorrow; but, with characteristic piety, she said, “God’s will be done.” Each morning, she inquired if any news had been heard from her boy. Yes, news was heard. The master was rejoicing over a letter, announcing the capture of his human chattel.

That day seems like yesterday, so well do I remember it. I saw him led through the streets in chains, to jail. His face was ghastly pale, yet full of determination. He had begged one of the sailors to go to his mother’s house and ask her not to meet him. He said the sight of her distress would take from him all self-control. She yearned to see him, and she went; but she screened herself in the crowd, that it might be as her child had said.

We were not allowed to visit him; but we had known the jailer for years, and he was a kind-hearted man. At midnight he opened the jail door for my grandmother and myself to enter, in disguise. When we entered the cell not a sound broke the stillness. “Benjamin, Benjamin!” whispered my grandmother. No answer. “Benjamin!” she again faltered. There was a jingle of chains. The moon had just risen, and cast an uncertain light through the bars of the window. We knelt down and took Benjamin’s cold hands in ours. We did not speak. Sobs were heard, and Benjamin’s lips were unsealed; for his mother was weeping on his neck.

How vividly does memory bring back that sad night! Mother and son talked together. He asked her pardon for the suffering he had caused her. She said she had nothing to forgive; she could not blame his desire for freedom. He told her that when he was captured, he broke away, and was about casting himself into the river, when thoughts of her came over him, and he desisted. She asked if he did not also think of God. I fancied I saw his face grow fierce in the moonlight. He answered, “No, I did not think of him. When a man is hunted like a wild beast he forgets there is a God, a heaven. He forgets every thing in his struggle to get beyond the reach of the bloodhounds. “Don’t talk so, Benjamin,” said she. “Put your trust in God. Be humble, my child, and your master will forgive you.”

“Forgive me for what, mother? For not letting him treat me like a dog? No! I will never humble myself to him. I have worked for him for nothing all my life, and I am repaid with stripes and imprisonment. Here I will stay till I die, or till he sells me.”

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Question 1
This story is told from the

A
first person point of view
B
second person point of view
C
third person point of view, limited
D
third person point of view, multiple
E
third person point of view, omniscient
Question 1 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (A). Notice the usage of the words “my,” “I,” and “we” throughout the passage. The author is recounting a personal narrative from her own point of view.
Question 2
In the first paragraph, what is the effect of the phrase "human chattel"?

A
It presents the slave owner as the main antagonist of the passage.
B
It emphasizes Benjamin's dislike of being treated like a dog.
C
It serves to dehumanize Benjamin as an archetypal slave.
D
It shows the writer's disgust at her relative's escape attempt and subsequent capture.
E
It appeals to the high-mindedness of the reader in order to emphasize moral superiority.
Question 2 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The word "chattel" has two meanings. The first is a movable personal possession, and the second is a slave. The connotation of the term is to portray Benjamin as a portable piece of property.
Question 3
In the first paragraph, the author characterizes her grandmother as

A
dejected but antagonistic
B
pragmatic and bitter
C
compassionate and moralistic
D
devout yet doleful
E
fearful and resigned
Question 3 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). In the first paragraph, the author uses the phrases “great was her sorrow” and “characteristic piety”—her grandmother is sad but also steadfast and guided by a belief in God.
Question 4
In the second paragraph, why does the author use the phrase “full of determination”?

A
To characterize Benjamin as inherently rebellious
B
To prove he was emotionally stronger than his mother believed
C
To indicate how strongly Benjamin felt about maintaining his pride
D
To create a visual image for the reader of what the day was like
E
To display the level of humiliation Benjamin felt on being led in chains through the streets
Question 4 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). The passage says that although he was “ghastly pale” he was resolute that he did not want to show weakness or see his mother. He even goes so far as to beg “one of the sailors” to tell her “not to meet him.”
Question 5
The author and Benjamin most likely have which of the following relationships?

A
Mother and son
B
Grandmother and grandson
C
Cousin and cousin
D
Sister and brother
E
Niece and uncle
Question 5 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). In the first paragraph, we learn that the woman the author is describing is her “grandmother” and that Benjamin is “her youngest child.” Logically, Benjamin would either be the author’s father or be the author’s uncle. Since the author does not refer to him as her father, he is more likely a more distant relative.
Question 6
The passage implies that Benjamin would have which of the following reactions to seeing his mother?

A
He would become physically sick.
B
He would feel betrayed.
C
He would become unrestrained.
D
He would become inconsolable.
E
He would become defeated.
Question 6 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (C). In paragraph 2, the writer states that Benjamin did not want to see his mother because “the sight of her distress would take from him all self-control. The opposite of “self-control” is “unrestrained.” The other choices here are logical choices, but do not directly stem from the passage.
Question 7
The phrase “Benjamin’s lips were unsealed” is what type of literary device?

A
an oxymoron
B
a metaphor
C
an allusion
D
an allegory
E
a parody
Question 7 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). This phrase is a metaphor. The subject “lips” is implied to be something that could be “unsealed” to emphasize Benjamin’s long silence finally being broken.
Question 8
Which of the following is NOT an emotion Benjamin experiences in the story?

A
profound sadness
B
moderate regret
C
acute nostalgia
D
mild forgetfulness
E
spiritual cynicism
Question 8 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (D). Benjamin is sad when he meets his mother in jail, regretful for causing her harm, nostalgic for the taste of freedom he experienced, and spiritually cynical when he describes how distant he felt from God. At no point does Benjamin seem forgetful or absentminded.
Question 9
In context, the word “fancied” in the fourth paragraph most likely means

A
enjoyed
B
reckoned
C
superimposed
D
recollected
E
observed
Question 9 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (B). In context, the writer is imagining she sees a change come across Benjamin’s face as his mother mentions thinking of God. The closest match to “imagined” is “reckoned.”
Question 10
According to the passage, what does Benjamin most strongly object to?

A
Being referred to as human chattel
B
The conditions in which he is held in jail
C
Repenting for the pain he has caused his mother
D
Humbling himself before God
E
Asking forgiveness from his slaveowner
Question 10 Explanation: 
The correct answer is (E). The last paragraph shows Benjamin’s vehement opposition towards humbling himself before his former master. Benjamin states, “No! I will never humble myself to him.”
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