Keywords: fiction, Year 7+, 13 questions overall, 9 MCQs, 4 short-answer questions, classic, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy, 19th century literature, 19th century Russia.
(Chapter 2, Anna Karenina, Leo Tolstoy.)
Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself. He was incapable of deceiving himself and persuading himself that he repented of his conduct. He could not at this date repent of the fact that he, a handsome, susceptible man of thirty-four, was not in love with his wife, the mother of five living and two dead children, and only a year younger than himself. All he repented of was that he had not succeeded better in hiding it from his wife. But he felt all the difficulty of his position and was sorry for his wife, his children, and himself. Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had such an effect on her. He had never clearly thought out the subject, but he had vaguely conceived that his wife must long ago have suspected him of being unfaithful to her, and shut her eyes to the fact. He had even supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or interesting, merely a good mother, ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view. It had turned out quite the other way.
- Stepan’s wife Dolly is mad at him. Why?
a) He isn’t in love with her.
b) He cheated on her with a younger woman.
c) He cheated on her without her knowledge.
d) He doesn’t feel sorry for her and their children.
2. This passage is written in ____________ and in _____________.
a) Third-person, past tense
b) First-person, past tense
c) Third-person, present tense
d) First-person, present tense
3. What assumptions did Stepan make about Dolly’s reaction to the affair?
a) He assumed that she had already known for years and that she decided to just ignore it.
b) He assumed that she would react in the same way she did: being upset and angry.
c) He assumed that she wouldn’t really care about the affair.
d) He assumed she already knew and was waiting for the right time to bring it up.
4. This passage’s writing style can best be described as:
a) Perfunctory and narrative
b) Wordy and persuasive
c) Complex and narrative
d) Informative and narrative
5. What is the main thing Stepan is sorry for?
a) He’s sorry for the way he has hurt Dolly’s feelings.
b) He’s sorry that he has broken Dolly’s trust.
c) He’s sorry that he wasn’t able to hide his affair properly.
d) He doesn’t feel sorry at all.
6. Stepan describes Dolly as “merely a good mother”. This is:
a) An insult, since Stepan doesn’t value motherhood
b) A compliment, since Stepan finds motherhood important
c) An insult, since Dolly isn’t actually a good mother
d) A joke, since Stepan and Dolly don’t have any children
7. Stepan believes that Dolly “ought from a sense of fairness to take an indulgent view”. What does this mean?
a) The fairest reaction Dolly should have towards Stepan’s affair is to accept it.
b) The fairest reaction Dolly should have towards Stepan’s affair is to have her own affair with someone else.
c) Dolly is being fair in her distressed reaction to Stepan’s affair.
d) Dolly is being fair in her attitude towards Stepan after she found out about the affair.
8. If you had to add a line break (i.e. break up the paragraph), where would be the best place to do it?
a) After the first sentence (“Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself.”)
b) After the sixth sentence (“Possibly he might have managed to conceal his sins better from his wife if he had anticipated that the knowledge of them would have had such an effect on her.”)
c) After the fourth sentence (“All he repented of was that he had not succeeded better in hiding it from his wife.”)
d) After the ninth sentence (“It had turned out quite the other way.”)
9. What is the overall tone of this passage?
a) Detached and critical
b) Witty and omniscient
c) Comedic and informal
d) Subjective and sagacious
10. If Dolly read this passage, how do you think she’d feel about Stepan’s perspective?
Considering her negative reaction towards Stepan’s affair, she probably wouldn’t be happy to hear that he isn’t sorry that he hurt her feelings. She’d most likely disagree with Stepan’s logic (and pretty much everything that he’s said in this passage).
11. When is Stepan an honest person? How do we know this?
Stepan is only honest when he thinks about himself. In other words, he never lies to himself. We know this because of the very first line: “Stepan Arkadyevitch was a truthful man in his relations with himself.”
12. Describe Stepan’s character with two different adjectives. Use quotes to support your answer.
Any adjective concerning Stepan’s selfishness, honesty with himself, promiscuity or narcissism would be acceptable. Every sentence is actually related to this question (depending on the adjectives you choose)!
13. What is Stepan’s opinion of Dolly? Use one quote to support your answer.
He doesn’t find her attractive, interesting or young. The best quote to use here would be: “He had even supposed that she, a worn-out woman no longer young or good-looking, and in no way remarkable or interesting…”. Other acceptable answers include his disregard for her feelings or his underestimating her reaction to the affair.
The original passage and questions are here!
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Note: This passage is from Chapter 2 of Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina. To my knowledge, utilising this passage as a free educational exercise falls under fair use. If not, please let me know. I want to make sure that everything on this website is fair and right. The questions are of my own creation.