AP English Literature and Composition Practice Test 17

Questions 1-14 refer to the following information.


A snake came to my water-trough
On a hot, hot day, and I in pyjamas for the heat,

To drink there.
In the deep, strange-scented shade of the great dark carob-tree
05I came down the steps with my pitcher
And must wait, must stand and wait, for there he was at the trough
before me.

He reached down from a fissure in the earth-wall in the gloom
And trailed his yellow-brown slackness soft-bellied down, over the
10edge of the stone trough
And rested his throat upon the stone bottom,
And where the water had dripped from the tap, in a small clearness,
He sipped with his straight mouth,
Softly drank through his straight gums, into his slack long body,
Someone was before me at my water-trough,
And I, like a second comer, waiting.

He lifted his head from his drinking, as cattle do,
And looked at me vaguely, as drinking cattle do,
20And flickered his two-forked tongue from his lips, and mused a
And stooped and drank a little more,
Being earth-brown, earth-golden from the burning bowels of the earth
On the day of Sicilian July, with Etna1 smoking.

25The voice of my education said to me
He must be killed,
For in Sicily the black, black snakes are innocent, the gold are

And voices in me said, If you were a man
30You would take a stick and break him now, and finish him off.
But must I confess how I liked him,
How glad I was he had come like a guest in quiet, to drink at my

And depart peaceful, pacified, and thankless,
35Into the burning bowels of this earth?

Was it cowardice, that I dared not kill him?
Was it perversity, that I longed to talk to him?
Was it humility, to feel so honoured?
I felt so honoured.

40And yet those voices:
If you were not afraid, you would kill him!

And truly I was afraid, I was most afraid, But even so, honoured still
That he should seek my hospitality
45From out the dark door of the secret earth.

He drank enough
And lifted his head, dreamily, as one who has drunken,
And flickered his tongue like a forked night on the air, so black,
Seeming to lick his lips,
50And looked around like a god, unseeing, into the air,
And slowly turned his head,
And slowly, very slowly, as if thrice adream,
Proceeded to draw his slow length curving round
And climb again the broken bank of my wall-face.

55And as he put his head into that dreadful hole,
And as he slowly drew up, snake-easing his shoulders, and entered
A sort of horror, a sort of protest against his withdrawing into that
horrid black hole,
60Deliberately going into the blackness, and slowly drawing himself
Overcame me now his back was turned.

I looked round, I put down my pitcher,
I picked up a clumsy log
65And threw it at the water-trough with a clatter.

I think it did not hit him,
But suddenly that part of him that was left behind convulsed in
undignified haste.
Writhed like lightning, and was gone

70Into the black hole, the earth-lipped fissure in the wall-front,
At which, in the intense still noon, I stared with fascination.

And immediately I regretted it.
I thought how paltry, how vulgar, what a mean act!
I despised myself and the voices of my accursed human education.

75And I thought of the albatross2
And I wished he would come back, my snake.

For he seemed to me again like a king,
Like a king in exile, uncrowned in the underworld,
Now due to be crowned again.

80And so, I missed my chance with one of the lords
Of life.
And I have something to expiate:
A pettiness.

—D. H. Lawrence (1923)

1 a volcano in Sicily
2 The Ancient Mariner in Coleridge's poem is forever plagued by the albatross he thoughtlessly killed.

1. The speaker's experience in the poem is best described as

2. After finding the snake, the speaker behaves as though he

3. The speaker provides the detail "and I in pyjamas" (line 2) most probably as

4. Which of the following best describes the prevailing poetic technique used in lines 8–15?

5. Lines 18–22 imply that the foremost characteristic of the snake is its

6. The snake's origins, as described by the speaker, suggest that the snake

7. In line 25 and line 74, "education" is best interpreted to mean

8. Lines 29–35 emphasize that the speaker

9. For the speaker, the snake is most like

10. The questions that the speaker asks in lines 36–38 serve mainly to

11. Which of the following adjectives best describes the speaker's action in lines 55–65?

12. The allusion to "the albatross" (line 75) most strongly conveys the speaker's

13. The word, "again" in "he seemed to me again like a king" (line 77) refers back to all of the following EXCEPT

14. At the end of the poem the speaker regards his encounter with the snake as