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How to Win at AP poetry

How to Win at AP-style Multiple Choice Poetry
In terms of AP Exam multiple-choice answer options…remember that for every multiple choice question,
you can have five possible outcomes. Only one is correct.
1.distractor: aptly named, as they’re intended to distract you.
2.literalist misread: if you take the poem too literally you could miss the metaphoric meaning.
3.careless misread: if you’re not reading carefully, you’ll miss something!
4.almost right: close, but not as inclusive as #5
5.BEST answer
Also, you’ll want to be aware that there are certain TYPES of multiple choice question:
Types of Multiple Choice questions found on the AP English Literature exam:
1. Questions on dramatic situation:
a. Who is speaking?
b. Where is she?
c. The subject of the third paragraph….
d. To whom is the poem addressed?
e. Who is the speaker in line 8?
f. Where does the poem take place?
g. At what time of the year does the poem take place?
2. Questions on structure
a. How are stanzas 1 and 2 related to stanza 3?
b. Which of the following divisions of the poem best represents its structure?
3. Questions on theme:
a. Which of the following best sums up the meaning of stanza 2?
b. With which of the following is the poem centrally concerned?
c. Which of the following best sums up the passage?
4. Questions on grammar and meaning of words:
a. Which of the following best defines the word “glass” as it is used in line 9?
b. To which of the following does the word “which” in line 7 refer?
c. The verb “had done” may best be paraphrased as?
5. Questions on imagery and figurative language:
a. To which of the following does the poet compare his love?
b. The images in lines 3 and 8 come from what area of science?
c. The metaphor used in the first line of the poem compared English to?
6. Questions on diction:
a. Which of the following words is used to suggest the poet’s dislike of winter?
b. The poet’s delight in the garden is suggested by all of the following words except?
c. The choice of verbs in paragraph 4 suggest…
d. The speaker’s anger is implied by….
7. Questions on tone, literary devices, and metrics:
a. The following poem is an example of ? (a sonnet, a villanelle)
b. Which of the following literary techniques is illustrated by the phrase “murmurous hum
and buzz of the hive”?
c. The meter of the last line in each stanza is?
d. The purpose of the metaphor in paragraph 7 is…
e. The allusion in the passage refers to…..
Please read and annotate the following poem and come up with 7 multiple choice questions based on
the question types above. YOU WILL TURN YOUR QUESTIONS IN TO TURNITIN.COM. Thank you!
“The Fish” – a poem by Elizabeth Bishop
I caught a tremendous fish
and held him beside the boat
half out of water, with my hook
fast in a corner of his mouth.
He didn't fight.
He hadn't fought at all.
He hung a grunting weight,
battered and venerable
and homely. Here and there
his brown skin hung in strips
like ancient wallpaper,
and its pattern of darker brown
was like wallpaper:
shapes like full-blown roses
stained and lost through age.
He was speckled with barnacles,
fine rosettes of lime,
and infested
with tiny white sea-lice,
and underneath two or three
rags of green weed hung down.
While his gills were breathing in
the terrible oxygen
- the frightening gills,
fresh and crisp with blood,
that can cut so badlyI thought of the coarse white flesh
packed in like feathers,
the big bones and the little bones,
the dramatic reds and blacks
of his shiny entrails,
and the pink swim-bladder
like a big peony.
I looked into his eyes
which were far larger than mine
but shallower, and yellowed,
the irises backed and packed
with tarnished tinfoil
seen through the lenses
of old scratched isinglass.
They shifted a little, but not
to return my stare.
- It was more like the tipping
of an object toward the light.
I admired his sullen face,
the mechanism of his jaw,
and then I saw
that from his lower lip
- if you could call it a lip
grim, wet, and weaponlike,
hung five old pieces of fish-line,
or four and a wire leader
with the swivel still attached,
with all their five big hooks
grown firmly in his mouth.
A green line, frayed at the end
where he broke it, two heavier lines,
and a fine black thread
still crimped from the strain and snap
when it broke and he got away.
Like medals with their ribbons
frayed and wavering,
a five-haired beard of wisdom
trailing from his aching jaw.
I stared and stared
and victory filled up
the little rented boat,
from the pool of bilge
where oil had spread a rainbow
around the rusted engine
to the bailer rusted orange,
the sun-cracked thwarts,
the oarlocks on their strings,
the gunnels- until everything
was rainbow, rainbow, rainbow!
And I let the fish go.
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