If We Must Die CommonLit Answers Key

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CommonLit is a digital library of leveled texts: short stories, news articles, historical documents and poems. One of poems you can find in CommonLit is If We Must Die by Claude McKay. Well, here we are going to share the “If We Must Die” answers key.

If We Must Die Answers Key

Here is If We Must Die answers key:

  1. Which of the following phrases best describes the speaker of the poem’s attitude towards death?
    A. furious and upset
    B. depressed and disgusted
    C. defiant and dignified
    D. calm and relaxed
    Answer: C. defiant and dignified
  2. Which of the following best paraphrases the speaker’s advice to the listener?
    A. Do not fight against an enemy you cannot defeat.
    B. Sometimes avoiding a tough fight is best.
    C. Fight back, even though we will probably die.
    D. Avoid getting pushed up against the wall, or else the enemy will win.
    Answer: C. Fight back, even though we will probably die.
  3. What is this poem mostly about?
    A. how war is sometimes unavoidable
    B. how men should fight back courageously to die honorably
    C. how difficult it is to fight when you are outnumbered by the enemy
    D. how a group of noble men can always defeat a vicious enemy
    Answer: B. how men should fight back courageously to die honorably
  4. Reread the first 4 lines of the poem.
    If we must die, let it not be like hogs
    Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
    While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
    Making their mock at our accursed lot.
    What is the purpose of the first 4 lines?
    A. to use a comparison to show how they will not die without a fight
    B. to paint a picture of a noble death
    C. to suggest that hogs are indecent and weak creatures
    D. to accuse the enemy of acting like common house pets
    Answer: A. to use a comparison to show how they will not die without a fight
  5. Reread line 4.
    Making their mock at our accursed lot.
    What is the purpose of the alliteration in line 4?
    A. It repeats a letter sound to imitate the sound of giggling.
    B. It draws readers in to create a smooth flow.
    C. It repeats a letter sound to highlight the insults being made.
    D. It draws readers’ attention to the playful mood of the poem.
    Answer: C. It repeats a letter sound to highlight the insults being made.
  6. Reread lines 7 & 8.
    In vain; then even the monsters we defy
    Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
    What is the meaning of lines 7 & 8?
    A. that the enemy are a bunch of emotionless monsters
    B. that dying honorably forces even the enemy to pay their respects
    C. that they are ready to fight back against the enemy despite the dire circumstances
    D. that they are united as one front against an un-unified enemy
    Answer: B. that dying honorably forces even the enemy to pay their respects
  7. Line 8: Shall be constrained to honor us though dead
    Part A: In line 8, “constrained” means about the same as…
    A. revived
    B. forced
    C. invited
    D. proud
    Answer: B. forced
  8. PART B: Which phrase from the poem provides the best clue to the meaning of “constrained”?
    A. “If we must die, let it not be like hogs” (Line 1)
    B. “Making their mock at our accursed lot” (Line 4)
    C. “In vain; then even the monsters we defy” (Line 7)
    D. “We must meet the common foe!” (Line 9)
    Answer: C. “In vain; then even the monsters we defy” (Line 7)
  9. Lines 13 and 14
    Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
    Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
    Part A: In lines 13-14, the diction portrays the enemy as which of the following?
    A. brave
    B. honorable
    C. trapped
    D. weak
    Answer: D. weak
  10. Lines 13 and 14
    Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
    Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!
    Part B: Which of the following words helped you choose the answer to Part A?
    A. murderous
    B. cowardly
    C. pressed
    D. fighting
    Answer: B. cowardly
  11. Part A: The tone of this poem can BEST be described as:
    A. hopeful
    B. cautious
    C. inspirational
    D. critical
    Answer: C. inspirational
  12. Part B: Which two phrases helped you answer Part A?
    A. “be like hogs”
    B. “hunted and penned”
    C. “let us nobly die”
    D. O kinsmen!”
    E. “let us show us brave”
    Answer: C. “let us nobly die” and E. “let us show us brave”

The Text and Analysis of “If We Must Die” by Claude McKay

If we must die, let it not be like hogs

Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,

While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,

Making their mock at our accursed lot.

If we must die, O let us nobly die,

So that our precious blood may not be shed

In vain; then even the monsters we defy

Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!

O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!

Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,

And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!

What though before us lies the open grave?

Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,

Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

This poem begins with the speaker establishing that he and his allies are under attack. A battle scene can be pictured easily, visualizing two groups facing each other. The speaker and his allies are being hunted by the hungry dogs. Then, he is asking his allies to not become weak. While attacking back can lead to death, it is crucial to the speaker that they do not only stand there, waiting to be hunted and killed.

After the scene is established, then the speaker encourages those with him to become their deaths noble so that our precious blood may not be shed in vain. He wants them to fight in a way that even those attacking them would have to honor us though dead.

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