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Massachusetts Comprehensive Assessment System


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MCAS QUESTION OF THE DAY:

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GRADE Grade 8
Download PDF Document 2015, SESSION ONE, READING SELECTION
Paul Laurence Dunbar was an African American poet who wrote in the late 1800s and early 1900s. His poem “Sympathy” speaks of the feelings of a bird in a cage. Read the poem and answer the questions that follow. 
SYMPATHY

I know what the caged bird feels, alas!
     When the sun is bright on the upland slopes;
When the wind stirs soft through the springing grass,
And the river flows like a stream of glass;
  5When the first bird sings and the first bud opes,1
And the faint perfume from its chalice2 steals—
I know what the caged bird feels!
I know why the caged bird beats his wing
Till its blood is red on the cruel bars;
10For he must fly back to his perch and cling
When he fain3 would be on the bough4 a-swing;
And a pain still throbs in the old, old scars
And they pulse again with a keener sting—
I know why he beats his wing!
15I know why the caged bird sings, ah me,
When his wing is bruised and his bosom sore,—
When he beats his bars and he would be free;
It is not a carol of joy or glee,
But a prayer that he sends from his heart’s deep core,
20But a plea, that upward to Heaven he flings—
I know why the caged bird sings!
Paul Laurence Dunbar


____________________
1 opes — opens
2 chalice — a cup or goblet
3 fain — gladly
4 bough — branch
 
“Sympathy” by Paul Laurence Dunbar. In the public domain.

2015 Spring Release, English Language Arts - Grade 8
Download PDF Document Question 6 - Multiple-Choice

Reporting Category: Language
Standard: ELA.K-12.L.3.04 - Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Standard: ELA.K-12.L.3.04 - Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.

 
Which meaning of the word faint is used in line 6?
 
 
 

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Last Updated: January 8, 2019
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