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AP English Language and Composition

Multiple Choice Homework -- January 2

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Carefully read the text below, then answer the multiple choice questions that follow.

Excerpt from Holy the Firm by Annie Dillard:















































   One night a moth flew into the candle, was

caught, burnt dry, and held.  I must have been

staring at the candle, or maybe I looked up when

a shadow crossed my page; at any rate, I saw it

all.  A golden female moth, a biggish one with a

two-inch wingspan, flapped into the fire,

dropped her abdomen into the wet wax, stuck,

flamed, frazzled and fried in a second.  Her mov-

ing wings ignited like tissue paper, enlarging the

circle of light in the clearing and creating out of

the darkness the sudden blue sleeves of my

sweater, the green leaves of jewelweed by my

side, the ragged red trunk of a pine.  At once the

light contracted again and the moth’s wings van-

ished in a fine, foul smoke.  At the same time her

six legs clawed, curled, blackened, and ceased,

disappearing utterly.  And her head jerked in

spasms, making a spattering noise; her antennae

crisped and burned away and her heaving mouth

parts crackled like pistol fire.  When it was all

over, her head was, so far as I could determine,

gone, gone the long way of her wings and legs.

Had she been new, or old? Had she mated and

laid her eggs, had she done her work?  All that

was left was the glowing horn shell of her abdo-

men and thorax – a fraying, partially collapsed

gold tube jammed upright in the candle’s round



    And then this moth-essence, this spectacular

skeleton, began to act as a wick.  She kept burn-

ing.  The wax rose in the moth’s body from her

soaking abdomen to her thorax to the jagged

hold where her head should be, and widened

into flame, a saffron-yellow flame that robed her

to the ground like any immolating monk.  That

candle had two wicks, two flames of identical

height, side by side.  The moth’s head was fire.

She burned for two hours, until I blew her out.

    She burned for two hours without changing,

without bending or leaning – only glowing

within, like a building fire glimpsed through sil-

houetted walls, like a hollow saint, like a flame-

faced virgin gone to God, while I read by her

light, kindled, while Rimbaud in Paris burnt out

his brains in a thousand poems, while night

pooled wetly at my feet.

1. All of the following are present in the opening sentence of the passage EXCEPT
a. subordinate clauses
b. an objective tone
c. elements in a series
d. a typical narrative opening
e. more verbs than nouns or adjectives
2. The "fried" in line 8 derives force from which of the following?
I.  Its commonplace associations
II. Its location in the sentence
III. Its alliterative associations with the verbs that precede it
a. II only
b. I and II only
c. I and III only
d. II and III only
e. I, II, and III
3. The objects of the verb "creating" (line 10) combine to form an impression of
a. familiar reality imposed on an unfamiliar locale
b. sudden color in a formerly monochromatic scene
c. miraculous isolation in a hostile environment
d. ominous fragility in a threatening episode
e. supernatural inspiration of creative thought
4. The phrase "gone the long way of her wings and legs" (line 22) emphasizes the
a. unusual proportions of the moth
b. unexpected course of the moth's death
c. irrevocable disappearance of the moth's head
d. rapidity with which the fire consumed the moth
e. foulness of the lingering smoke from the burned head

AP English -- Taryn Barber -- Largo High School -- 2006/2007