In 1922, students applying to the University of Illinois needed to know classic literary works without having the material in front of them.
Unlike the modern exam, which typically includes a literary passage with reading comprehension questions following, this 20th century test expected students to come in already knowing everything from key Old Testament passages to plays by Shakespeare to poetry and other famous works of English literature.
On Monday’s “The Glenn Beck Radio Program,” Glenn Beck, Stu Burguiere and Pat Gray looked at five questions from a 1922 test, as detailed in a recent IntellectualTakeout.org article by Annie Holmquist.
“Describe the conditions causing Achilles to stop fighting” was the first question, referencing the character in Homer’s “The Iliad” who was indestructible except for one of his heels. After fighting many battles, Achilles died when a poisoned arrow was shot into his heel, giving us the idiom “Achilles’ heel.”
Pat and Stu were not fans of the Shakespeare section of the test, which asked, “What characters in ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ are more than mere types? Defend your answer.”
Stu had a simple, all-purpose answer: “Shakespeare’s dumb. So don’t ask me about it again.”
“When that’s relevant to my life I’ll let you know,” Pat added.
Read all five questions here.