Reading Comprehension Practice Test 3

Passage For Question 1 to 9

Those examples of poetic justice that occur in medieval and Elizabethan literature, and that seem so satisfying, have encouraged a whole school of twentieth-century scholars to "find" further examples. In fact, these scholars have merely forced victimized character into a moral framework by which the injustices inflicted on them are, somehow or other, justified. Such scholars deny that the sufferers in a tragedy are innocent; they blame the victims themselves for their tragic fates. Any misdoing is enough to subject a character to critical whips. Thus, there are long essays about the misdemeanors of Webster’s Duchess of Malfi, who defined her brothers, and he behavior of Shakespeare’s Desdemona, who disobeyed her father.\n\nYet it should be remembered that the Renaissance writer Matteo Bandello strongly protests the injustice of the severe penalties issued to women for acts of disobedience that men could, and did, commit with virtual impunity. And Shakespeare, Chaucer, and Webster often enlist their readers on the side of their tragic heroines by describing injustices so cruel that readers cannot but join in protest. By portraying Griselda, in the Clerk’s Tale, as a meek, gentle victim who does not criticize, much less rebel against the prosecutor, her husband Waltter, Chaucer incites readers to espouse Griselda’s cause against Walter’s oppression. Thus, efforts to supply historical and theological rationalization for Walter’s persecutions tend to turn Chaucer’s fable upside down, to deny its most obvious effect on reader’s sympathies. Similarly, to assert that Webster’s Duchess deserved torture and death because she chose to marry the man she loved and to bear their children is, in effect to join forces with her tyrannical brothers, and so to confound the operation of poetic justice, of which readers should approve, with precisely those examples of social injustice that Webster does everything in his power to make readers condemn. Indeed. Webster has his heroin so heroically lead the resistance to tyranny that she may well in spire members of the audience to imaginatively join forces with her against the cruelty and hypocritical morality of her brothers. Thus Chaucer and Webster, in their different ways, attack injustice, argue on behalf of the victims, and prosecute the persecutors. Their readers serve them as a court of appeal that remains free to rule, as the evidence requires, and as common humanity requires, in favour of the innocent and injured parties. For, to paraphrase the noted eighteenth-century scholar, Samuel Johnson, despite all the refinements of subtlety and the dogmatism of learning, it is by the common sense and compassion of readers who are uncorrupted by the characters and situations in mereval and Dlizabetahn literature, as in any other literature, can best be judged.

Question 1

According to the passage, some twentieth-century scholars have written at length about

  1. Walter's persecution of his wife in Chaucer's the Clerk's Tale
  2. the Duchess of Malfi's love for her husband
  3. the tyrannical behaviour of the Duchess of Malfi's brothers
  4. the actions taken by Shakespeare's Desdemona
  5. the injustices suffered by Chaucer's Griselda

Correct Answer : D

Question 2

The primary purpose of the passage is to

  1. describe the role of the tragic heroine in medieval and Elizabethan literature
  2. resolve a controversy over the meaning of "poetic justice" as it is discussed in certain medieval and Elizabethan literary treatises
  3. present evidence to support the view that characters in medieval and Elizabethan tragedies are to blame for their fates
  4. assert that it is impossible for twentieth-century readers to fully comprehend the characters and situations in medieval and Elizabethan literary works
  5. argue that some twentieth-century scholars have misapplied the concept of "poetic justice" in analyzing certain medieval and Elizabethan literary works.

Correct Answer : E

Question 3

It can be inferred from the passage that the author consider Chaucer's Grisselda to be

  1. an innocent victim
  2. a sympathetic judge
  3. an imprudent person
  4. a strong individual
  5. a rebellious daughters

Correct Answer : A

Question 4

The author's tone in her discussion of the conclusion's reached by the "school of twentieth-century scholars" (line 4) is best described as

  1. plaintive
  2. philosophical
  3. disparaging
  4. apologetic
  5. enthusiastic

Correct Answer : C

Question 5

It can be inferred from the passage that the author believes that most people respond to intended instances of poetic justice in medieval and Elizabethan literature with

  1. annoyance
  2. disapproval
  3. indifference
  4. amusement
  5. gratification

Correct Answer : E

Question 6

As described in the passage, the process by which some twentieth-century scholars have reached their conclusions about the blameworthiness of victims in medieval and Elizabethan literary works is mot similar to which of the following?

  1. Derivation of logically sound conclusions from well-founded premises
  2. Accurate observation of data, inaccurate calculation of statistics, and drawing of incorrect conclusions form the faulty statistics
  3. Establishment of a theory, application of the theory to ill-fittings data, and drawing of unwarranted conclusions from the data
  4. Development of two schools of thought about a factual situation, debate between the two schools, and rendering of a balanced judgment by an objective observer
  5. Consideration of a factual situation by a group, discussion of various possible explanatory hypotheses and agreement by consensus on the most plausible explanation

Correct Answer : C

Question 7

The author's paraphrase of a statement by Samuel Johnson serves which of the following functions in the passage?

  1. it furnishes a specific example
  2. it articulates a general conclusion
  3. it introduces a new topic
  4. it provides a contrasting perspective
  5. it clarifies an ambiguous assertion

Correct Answer : B

Question 8

The author of the passage is primarily concerned with

  1. reconciling opposing viewpoints
  2. encouraging innovative approaches
  3. defending an accepted explanation
  4. advocating an alternative interpretation
  5. analyzing an unresolved question

Correct Answer : D

Question 9

The primary purpose of the passage is to

  1. criticize the inflexibility of American economic mythology
  2. contrast "Old World" and "New World" economic ideologies
  3. challenge the integrity of traditional political leaders
  4. champion those Americans whom the author deems to be neglected
  5. suggests a substitue for the traditional metaphor of a race

Correct Answer : A

Passage For Question 10 to 15

Woodraw Wilson was referring to the liberal idea of the economic market when he said that the free enterprise system is the most efficient economic system. Maximum freedom means maximum productiveness; our "openness" is to be the measure of our stability. Fascination with this ideal has made Americans defy the "Old World" categories of settled possessiveness versus unsettling deprivation., the cupidity of retention versus the cupidity of seizure, a "status quo" defended of attacked. The United States, it was believed, had no status quo ante. Our only "station" was the turning of a stationary wheel, spinning faster and faster. We did not base our system on property but opportunity-which meant we based it not on stability but on mobility. The more things changed, that is, the more rapidly the wheel turned, the steadier we would be. The conventional picture of class politics is composed of the Haves, who want a stability to keep what they have, and Have-Nots, who want a touch of instability and change in which to scramble for the things they have not. But Americans imagined a condition in which speculators, self-makers, runners are always using the new opportunities given by our land. These economic leaders (front-runners) would thus be mainly agents of Change. The nonstarters were considered the ones who wanted stability, a strong referee to give them some position in the race, a regulative hand to calm manic speculation; an authority that can call things to a half begin things again from compensatorily staggered "starting lines".:Reform" in America has been sterile because it can imagine no change except through the extension of this metaphor of the race, wider inclusion of competitors, "a piece of the action." As it were, of the disenfranchised. There is no attempt to call off the race. Since our only stability is change. America seems not to honor the quite work that achieves social interdependence and stability. There is, in our legends, no heroism of the office clerk, no stable industrial work force of the people who actually make the system work. There is no pride in being an employee (Wilson asked for a return to the time when everyone was an employer). There has been no boasting about our social workers-they are need; empty boasts from the past make us ashamed of our present achievements, make us try to forget or deny the, move away from them. There is no honor but in the wonderland race we must all run, all trying to win, none winning in the end (for there is no end).

Question 10

According to the passge, "Old World" values were based on

  1. ability
  2. property
  3. family connections
  4. guild hierarchies
  5. education

Correct Answer : B

Question 11

In the context of the author's discussion of regulat ing change, which of the following could be most probably regvarded as a "strong referee" (lin e 30) in the United States?

  1. A school principle
  2. A political theorist
  3. A federal court judge
  4. A social worker
  5. A government inspector

Correct Answer : C

Question 12

The author sets off the word "Reform" with quotation marks in order to

  1. emphasize its departure from the concept of settled possessiveness
  2. show his support for a systematic program of change
  3. underscore the flexibility and even amorphousness of United States society
  4. indicate that the term was one of Wilson's favorites
  5. assert that reform in the United States has not been fundamental

Correct Answer : E

Question 13

It can be inferred from the passage that the author most probably thinks that giving the disenfranchised" ‘ a piece of action'" is

  1. a compassionate, if misdirected, legislative measure
  2. an example of American's resistance to profound social change
  3. an innovative program for genuine social reform
  4. a monument to the efforts of industrial reformers
  5. a surprisingly " Old World" remedy for social ills

Correct Answer : B

Question 14

Which of the following metaphors could the authors most appropriately use to summarize his own assessment of the American economic system ?

  1. A windmill
  2. A water fall
  3. A treadmill
  4. A gyroscope
  5. A bellows

Correct Answer : C

Question 15

It can be inferred from the passage that Woodrow Wilson's idea's about the economic market

  1. encouraged those who "make the system work"
  2. perpetuated traditional legends about America
  3. revealed the prejudices of a man born wealthy
  4. foreshadowed the stock market crash of 1929
  5. began a tradition of presidential proclamations on economics

Correct Answer : B