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Reading Assessment I. Anglo-Saxon and

Medieval Poetry

DIRECTIONSCarefully read the following passage. Use context clues to help define any words with which you are unfamiliar. Pay close attention to the use of figurative language, argument, and tone. Then, on a separate sheet of paper, answer the questions that follow.

                                      from Beowulf “My people have said, the wisest, most knowing And best of them, that my duty was to go to the Danes’ Great king. They have seen my strength for themselves, Have watched me rise from the darkness of war, Dripping with my enemies’ blood. I drove Five great giants into chains, chased All of that race from the earth. I swam In the blackness of night, hunting monsters Out of the ocean, and killing them one By one; death was my errand and the fate They had earned. Now Grendel and I are called Together, and I’ve come. Grant me, then, Lord and protector of this noble place, A single request! I have come so far, Oh shelterer of warriors and your people’s loved friend, That this one favor you should not refuse me— That I, alone and with the help of my men, May purge all evil from this hall. I have heard, Too, that the monster’s scorn of men Is so great that he needs no weapons and fears none. Nor will I. My lord Higlac Might think less of me if I let my sword Go where my feet were afraid to, if I hid Behind some broad linden shield: my hands Alone shall fight for me, struggle for life Against the monster. God must decide Who will be given to death’s cold grip. Grendel’s plan, I think, will be What it has been before, to invade this hall And gorge his belly with our bodies. If he can, If he can. And I think, if my time will have come, There’ll be nothing to mourn over, no corpse to prepare For its grave: Grendel will carry our bloody Flesh to the moors, crunch on our bones And smear torn scraps of our skin on the walls Of his den. No, I expect no Danes Will fret about sewing our shrouds, if he wins. And if death does take me, send the hammered Mail of my armor to Higlac, return The inheritance I had from Hrethel, and he From Wayland. Fate will unwind as it must!”   Hrothgar replied, protector of the Danes: “Beowulf, you’ve come to us in friendship, and because Of the reception your father found at our court. Edgetho had begun a bitter feud, Killing Hathlaf, a Wulfing warrior: Your father’s countrymen were afraid of war, If he returned to his home, and they turned him away. Then he traveled across the curving waves To the land of the Danes.”


Directions Answer these questions about the excerpt from Beowulf.

1.Reread lines 1–3. Which lofty ideal do Beowulf’s people expect him to uphold?

A.honesty in all situations

B.mercy toward his enemies

C.charity for the less fortunate

D.responsibility toward those in need

2.Which phrase is a kenning for the word sea?

A.“blackness of night” (line 8)

B.“this noble place” (line 13)

C.“hammered / Mail” (lines 38–39)

D.“curving waves” (line 49)

3.Beowulf’s boasting in lines 5–11 focuses on his legendary

A.fear and need to overcome it

Bpride and tendency to exaggerate

C.kindness and desire to do good deeds

D.hunting skills and belief in fate

4.In lines 11–18, Beowulf identifies the battle with Grendel as one between

A.humans and monsters

B.intellect and emotion

C.life and death

D.good and evil

5.What is ironic about Beowulf’s statement in lines 36–37?

A.The Danes will not mourn Beowulf.

B.Beowulf and his men will survive.

C.There will be no corpses if Grendel wins.

D.Beowulf does not trust the Danes.

6.In line 45, the alliteration in “begun a bitter feud” helps to

A.clarify the meaning of words

B.create rhythm and unify ideas

C.convey a sensory experience

D.explain metaphors and similes


Short ResponseWrite three or four sentences to answer this question.

7.In line 41, Beowulf exclaims, “Fate will unwind as it must!” What can you infer about his beliefs from this statement?

Extended ResponseWrite two or three paragraphs to answer this question.

8.In lines 19–27, Beowulf says that he, like Grendel, needs no weapons to fight. What can you infer about Beowulf’s character from these lines?

DIRECTIONSRead this excerpt from “The Prologue” of The Canterbury Tales and answer the questions that follow.

                  from The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer He had his son with him, a fine young Squire, A lover and cadet, a lad of fire With locks as curly as if they had been pressed. He was some twenty years of age, I guessed. In stature he was of a moderate length, With wonderful agility and strength. He’d seen some service with the cavalry In Flanders and Artois and Picardy And had done valiantly in little space Of time, in hope to win his lady’s grace. He was embroidered like a meadow bright And full of freshest flowers, red and white. Singing he was, or fluting all the day; He was as fresh as is the month of May. Short was his gown, the sleeves were long and wide; He knew the way to sit a horse and ride. He could make songs and poems and recite, Knew how to joust and dance, to draw and write. He loved so hotly that till dawn grew pale He slept as little as a nightingale. Courteous he was, lowly and serviceable, And carved to serve his father at the table.


Directions Answer these questions about the excerpt from The Canterbury Tales.

9.Chaucer develops the Squire’s character by

A.describing his appearance and talents

B.comparing him to other young nobles

C.showing other characters’ reactions to him

D.relating conversations between characters

10.Reread lines 7–14. Why might it be ironic that the Squire is described as “singing he was, or fluting all the day”?

A.The reader assumes that all cadets receive musical instruction as part of their training.

B.Chaucer suggests that the Squire is more interested in traveling than in pleasing his lady.

C.The reader expects the Squire to be training for battle rather than playing music.

D.Chaucer depicts the Squire first as a wild horseman and then as a polite cadet.

11.Reread lines 11–15. The Squire’s style of dress suggests that he is

A.youthful and vain

B.timid and scholarly

C.rugged and unkempt

D.strange and mysterious

12.Which one of the Squire’s character traits emerges in lines 21–22?





13.Chaucer’s gently ironic depiction of the Squire comes from the contrast between the young man’s

A.artistic talents and his well-groomed appearance

B.occupation as a knight in training and his personal interests

C.average height and his impressive athletic abilities

D.love of family and his loyalty to his country

14.Which lines in the excerpt characterize the Squire as a well-educated nobleman?

A.lines 1–3

B.lines 4–6

C.lines 7–10

D.lines 16–18


Short ResponseWrite three or four sentences to answer this question.

15.List three character traits of the Squire. Cite line references from the excerpt to support your choices.

Extended ResponseWrite two or three paragraphs to answer this question.

16.Chaucer compares the Squire to different things in nature. Identify two of these comparisons and explain what they reveal about the Squire.

Date: 2016-03-03; view: 8002

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