Free CLEP American Literature Exam Practice Questions

1. Which of the following works provides a Loyalist interpretation of the Revolution?
  1. Increase Mather’s “Case of Conscience”
  2. Thomas Jefferson’s “A Summary View of the Rights of British America”
  3. Patrick Henry’s “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death”
  4. John Woolman’s “Serious Considerations on Various Subjects of Importance”
  5. Joseph Galloway’s “Historical and Political Reflections on the Rise and Progress of the American Rebellion”

“The bear that breathes the northern blast 
Did numb, torpedo-like, a wasp 
Whose stiffened limbs encramped, lay bathing 
In Sol’s warm breath and shine as saving, 
Which with her hands she chafes and stands 
Rubbing her legs, shanks, thighs, and hands.”

2. How can Edward Taylor’s “Upon a Wasp Chilled with Cold” best be described based on the above excerpt?
  1. A seasonally descriptive poem
  2. A poem of detailed natural observation
  3. A romantic poem about love
  4. An epitaph to a departed loved one
  5. A pastoral depiction of nature

“Her warm thanks offering for all. 
Lord, clear my misted sight that I May hence view Thy divinity, 
Some sparks whereof thou up dost hasp 
Within this little downy wasp 
In whose small corporation we 
A school and a schoolmaster see”

3. How can the poem best be described based on this excerpt?
  1. A devotional poem
  2. A biographical poem
  3. A ballad
  4. A poem about authority
  5. A poem intended to make a political statement
4. Which of the following poems is one of the earliest examples of debunking and disillusionment, reflecting the author’s own impressions of the barbarous colonial frontier?
  1. Philip Freneau’s “On Mr. Paine’s Rights of Man”
  2. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s “Blind Bartimeus”
  3. Ebenezer Cooke’s “The Sot-Weed Factor”
  4. William Cullen Bryant’s “Thanatopsis”
  5. John Trumbull’s “Beneath a Mountain’s Brow”

“That fearful sound of ‘Fire’ and ‘Fire!’
Let no man know is my desire”

5. The above excerpt from Anne Bradstreet’s “Upon the Burning of Our House” can best be described as what?
  1. A plea for godly strength in the face of earthly distress
  2. Keeping a secret in the midst of tragedy
  3. Facing one’s fear alone
  4. The speaker’s goal to be prepared for the day of judgment
  5. A confession regarding tensions in the speaker’s home

“The following Tale was found among the papers of the late Diedrich Knickerbocker, an old gentleman of New York, who was very curious in the Dutch history of the province, and the manners of the descendants from its primitive settlers.”

6. The above passages begin the story of which of the following?
  1. James Fenimore Cooper’s “The Pioneers”
  2. Washington Irving’s “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”
  3. Thomas Paine’s “The American Crisis”
  4. Sarah Kemble Knight’s “The Journal of Madam Knight”
  5. Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”
7. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s “The Scarlett Letter” depicts a belief in individual choice and consequence. This ideal is a characteristic of which of the following?
  1. Realism
  2. Transcendentalism
  3. Puritanism
  4. Naturalism
8. Which of the following is NOT a character in Mark Twain’s “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”?
  1. Widow Douglas
  2. Pap
  3. Tom Canty
  4. The Grangerfords
  5. Judge Thatcher

“We paused before a house that seemed A swelling of the ground; The roof was scarcely visible, The cornice but a mound.”

9. In the above passage from Emily Dickinson’s “Because I Could Not Stop for Death,” the word “house” in the first line depicts which of the following?
  1. The house the speaker grew up in
  2. A church
  3. A school that burned down
  4. The speaker’s tomb
  5. Heaven
10. “The Philosophy of Composition” was Edgar Allan Poe’s follow-up essay detailing the creation of which of his works?
  1. “Annabel Lee”
  2. “The Raven”
  3. “The Fall of the House of Usher”
  4. “To Helen”
  5. “The Masque of the Red Death”

Infographic explaining what is on the American Literature CLEP test