Multiple Choice Questions for “The Egg is All” by EB White (essay attached at the end) 1) White’s use of the passive voice in paragraph one I. II. III. A. B. C. D. E. Suggests that external factors are partly responsible for his isolation. Contrasts his active love of writing in paragraph two. Employs an Objective Correlative. I only II only III only I and II only I, II, and III 2) The best synonym for the word "corpus" in the phrase "'corpus' of my work" (line 10) is: A) volume B) body C) entirety D) aim E) style 3) Which of the following best represents how the author feels about the world of letters in paragraph two? I: entranced and seduced II: confused and alarmed III: credulous and supportive A) I only B) I and II C) I and III *** D) III only E) I, II, and III 4) The function of the shift in focus between the first and second paragraph serves to: A. create a bridge for the reader between the author’s personal isolation and his artistic development B. contrast the author’s agency with his feeling of paralysis as a writer C. include exposition to enhance the sense of hope about writing for the reader D. include the author’s sense of mortality as relevant to his writing career 5) The phrase “cadaver of my work” in line 14 is a metaphor for: I. the death of the author’s writing career II. the author’s life work III. the author’s ability to overcome adversity IV. the author’s lack of accomplishment in recent years V. the author’s isolation as a writer I. II. III. IV. V. I, II, III II, III, and IV II and IV only I and V only I, IV and V 6) The word “denouement” in context of the last line in paragraph 3 is best interpreted to mean: A. detail B. finale C. loose end D. accomplishment E. blunder 7) The author’s attitude toward scientists’ ability to destroy the egg is best described as one of: A. profound admiration B. skeptical bewilderment C. qualified enthusiasm D. reasoned objectivity E. idolatrous devotion 8) In paragraphs 3 and 4, which of the following rhetorical devices is most in evidence? A. appeal to authority B. the massing of factual information C. the use of abstract generalizations D. impressionistic descriptive writing E. the use of anecdote 9) Why does the author include the reference to Dr. Piccard’s experiment? A. to provide an analogy to the mission of the writer in modern society B. to provide a contrast with the other forms of travel mentioned earlier C. to allude to the world of physical science to add gravity to the discussion D. to use hyperbole to dramatize the dangers of exceeding your reach E. to discuss the application of the Law of Probability to the writer’s task 10) What is the rhetorical function for the passage “But despair is no good---for the writer for anyone” In line____? A. It supports the writer’s contention that writers should be open to all human emotions. B. It provides a specific example to support the author’s thesis. C. It serves as a transition between the paragraphs that come before and after. D. It reiterates an idea presented in the previous paragraph. E. It supports the idea that the author lacks hope for the future of humanity. 11) The passage “Only hope can carry us aloft, can keep us afloat” in line _____ includes the use of each of the following EXCEPT: A. alliteration B. simple sentence C. subordinate clause D. compound verb E. parallelism 12) The author’s overall view of the writer’s role in modern society can best be described as A. theorizing about the value of technological advances in modern society. B. sustaining hope amidst the many reasons for despair in the modern world. C. documenting the reasons for despair and hope in modern society. D. creating a corpus worthy of respect and a reception of awards. E. engaging with thinkers in other disciplines, such as science. December 7, 1971 The Egg Is All By E. B. WHITE E. B. White made these remarks (in absentia) upon receiving the National Medal for Literature last Thursday. He now lives in Maine. Ten years ago they pulled the railroad out from under me, and this almost severed my connection with New York. Then sixteen months ago, I met with a motor accident, and this made the highway a problem for me. As for the skies, I quit using the flying machines in 1929 after the pilot of one of them, blinded by snow, handed the chart to me and asked me to find the Cleveland airport. The world of letters sometimes seems as remote or inaccessible to me these days as the City of New York, and it would be foolhardy of me to comment at length on that wonderful, untidy and seductive world. I drifted into it a long time ago with no preparation other than an abiding itch. I fell in love with the sound of an early typewriter and have been stuck with it ever since. I believed then, as I do now, in the goodness of the published word: it seemed to contain an essential goodness, like the smell of leaf mold. Being a medalist at last, I can now speak of the "corpus" of my work--the word has a splendid sound. But glancing at the skimpy accomplishments of recent years, I find the "cadaver of my work" a more fitting phrase. I have always felt that the first duty of a writer was to ascend--to make flights, carrying others along if he could manage it. To do this takes courage, even a certain conceit. My favorite aeronaut was not a writer at all, he was Dr. Piccard, the balloonist, who once, in an experimental moment, made an ascension borne aloft by two thousand small balloons, hoping that the Law of Probability would serve him well and that when he reached the rarefied air of the stratosphere some (but not all) of the balloons would burst and thus lower him gently to earth. But when the doctor reached the heights to which he had aspired, he whipped out a pistol and killed about a dozen of the balloons. He descended in flames, and the papers reported that when he jumped from the basket he was choked with laughter. Flights of this sort are the dream of every good writer: the ascent, the surrender to Probability, finally the flaming denouement, wracked with laughter--or with tears. Today, with so much of earth damaged and endangered, with so much of life dispiriting or joyless, a writer's courage can easily fail him. I feel this daily. In the face of so much bad news, how does one sustain one's belief? Jacques Cousteau tells us that the sea is dying; he has been down there and seen its agony. If the sea dies, so will Man die. Many tell us that the cities are dying; and if the cities die, it will be the same as Man's own death. Seemingly, the ultimate triumph of our chemistry is to produce a bird's egg with a shell so thin it collapses under the weight of incubation, and there is no hatch, no young birds to carry on the tradition of flight and song. "Egg is all," quote Dr. Alexis Romanoff, the embryologist, who spent his life examining the egg. Can this truly be the triumph of our chemistry--to destroy all by destroying the egg? But despair is no good--for the writer, for anyone. Only hope can carry us aloft, can keep us afloat. Only hope, and a certain faith that the incredible structure that has been fashioned by this most strange and ingenious of all the mammals cannot end in ruin and disaster. This faith is a writer's faith, for writing itself is an act of faith, nothing else. And it must be the writer, above all others, who keeps it alive--choked with laughter, or with pain.