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ACT Reading Test - 4

Reading Questions

DIRECTIONS: The passage in this test is followed by several questions. After reading the passage, choose the best answer to each question. You may refer to the passage as often as necessary.
"The Meaning of Home"
by John Berger

1 The term home (Old Norse Heimer, High German heim, Greek komi, meaning "village") has, since a long time, been taken over by two kinds of moralists, both dear to those who wield power. The notion of home became the keystone for a code of domestic morality, safeguarding the property (which included the women) of the family. Simultaneously the notion of homeland supplied a first article of faith for patriotism, persuading men to die in wars which often served no other interest except that of a minority of their ruling class. Both usages have hidden the original meaning.

2 Originally home meant the center of the world--not in a geographical, but in an ontological sense. Mircea Eliade has demonstrated how home was the place from which the world could be founded. A home was established, as he says, "at the heart of the real." In traditional societies, everything that made sense of the world was real; the surrounding chaos existed and was threatening, but it was threatening because it was unreal. Without a home at the center of the real, one was not only shelterless, but also lost in nonbeing, in unreality. Without a home everything was fragmentation.

3 Home was the center of the world because it was the place where a vertical line crossed with a horizontal one. The vertical line was a path leading upwards to the sky and downwards to the underworld. The horizontal line represented the traffic of the world, all the possible roads leading across the earth to other places. Thus, at home, one was nearest to the gods in the sky and to the dead of the underworld. This nearness promised access to both. And at the same time, one was at the starting point and, hopefully, the returning point of all terrestrial journeys.

Berger, John. "The Meaning of Home." ref: . 2013. Web. 18 December 2013.

1. The main purpose of this passage is to:
A) Persuade the reader to stop believing in home as a place of residence.
B) Explain the original meaning of home.
C) Explain why people have changed the meaning of home.
D) Describe the various meanings of home and how they relate to the original meaning.

2. According to the context of the passage, what does the phrase "which included the women" imply?
A) That the women are considered property.
B) That the women are important assets when considering the meaning of home.
C) That the women also protect the home.
D) That the definition of home would not be complete without women. .

3. The tone of the first paragraph implies:
A) That the narrator agrees with the change in the meaning of the word home.
B) That the narrator feels strongly that the meaning of home is correct in the modern sense.
C) That the narrator strongly disagrees with what the meaning of home has become.
D) That the narrator does not care about the meaning of the word home.

4. According to the first sentence, the narrator establishes that:
A) The new meaning of home was constructed out of love
B) The new meaning of home was constructed out of hate.
C) The new meaning of home was constructed to give families more freedom.
D) The new meaning of home was constructed by people of power.

5. Which of the following best summarizes the main point of the last paragraph?
A) Home was a place for understanding, a starting point, and a place to return.
B) Home was where a person could make decisions about religion.
C) Home was a place where people found protection from the outside world.
D) Home was a place where a person could never return once he or she left.

From "Notes of a Native Son"(1955)
by James Baldwin

1 The only white people who came to our house were welfare workers and bill collectors. It was almost always my mother who dealt with them, for my father's temper, which was at the mercy of his pride, was never to be trusted. It was clear that he felt their very presence in his home to be a violation: this was conveyed by his carriage, almost ludicrously stiff, and by his voice, harsh and vindictively polite. When I was around nine or ten I wrote a play which was directed by a young, white schoolteacher, a woman, who then took an interest in me, and gave me books to read, and, in order to corroborate my theatrical bent, decided to take me to see what she somewhat tactlessly referred to as "real" plays. Theater-going was forbidden in our house, but, with the really cruel intuitiveness of a child, I suspected that the color of this woman's skin would carry the day for me. When, at school, she suggested taking me to the theater, I did not, as I might have done if she had been a Negro, find a way of discouraging her, but she agreed that she should pick me up at my house one evening. I then, very cleverly, left all the rest to my mother, who suggested to my father, as I knew she would, that it would not be very nice to let such a kind woman make the trip for nothing. Also, since it was a schoolteacher, I imagine that my mother countered with the idea of sin with the idea of "education," which word, even with my father, carried a kind of bitter weight.

2 Before the teacher came my father took me aside to ask why she was coming, what interest she could possibly have in our house, in a boy like me. I said I didn't know but I, too, suggested that it had something to do with education. And I understood that my father was waiting for me to say something--I didn't quite know what; perhaps that I wanted his protection against this teacher and her "education." I said none of these things and the teacher came and we went out. It was clear, during the brief interview in our living room, that my father was agreeing very much against his will and that he would have refused permission if he had dared. The fact that he did not dare caused me to despise him: I had no way knowing that he was facing in that living room a wholly unprecedented and frightening situation.

3 Later, when my father had been laid off from his job, this woman became very important to us. She was really a very sweet and generous woman and went to a great deal of trouble to be of help to us, particularly during one awful winter. My mother called her by the highest name she knew: she said she was a "christian." My father could scarcely disagree but during the four or five years of our relatively close association he never trusted her and was always trying to surprise in her open, Midwestern face the genuine, cunningly hidden, and hideous motivation. In later years, particularly when it began to be clear that this "education" of mine was going to lead me to perdition, he became more explicit and warned me that my white friends in high school were not really my friends and that I would see, when I was older, how white people would do anything to keep a Negro down. Some of them could be nice, he admitted, but none of them were to be trusted and most of them were not even nice. The best thing was to have as little to do with them as possible. I did not feel this way and I was certain, in my innocence, that I never would.

"from 'Notes of a Native Son' (1955)." ref: 2013. Web. 18 Dec. 2013.

6. The phrase "which was at the mercy of his pride" implies:
A) The narrator's father was too proud to beg.
B) The narrator disliked the fact that his father was proud.
C) The narrator's father's temper was linked to his pride.
D) The narrator's father's temper had nothing to do with his pride.

7. According to the passage, it can be reasonably inferred that the narrator grew up in a time when:
A) Slavery was recently abolished, which affected the narrator's family, especially his father.
B) Society accepted African Americans, and the narrator's family felt very safe around Caucasians.
C) Racism was a thing of the past, and the narrator's entire family was happy to welcome Caucasians into their home.
D) Racism caused the narrator to hate Caucasians, and he did not want his teacher to come to his home.

8. As it is used in the passage, the word perdition most likely means:

A) success
B) happiness
C) damnation
D) fulfillment

9. The phrase "the woman's skin would carry the day for me" most likely means:
A) The woman's skin would carry the narrator wherever he wanted to go.
B) Because the teacher was white, she would have more influence and would help the narrator get his play noticed.
C) Because the teacher was white, the narrator felt like she would be able to convince his parents to let her take him to the theater.
D) Although the teacher was white, she wanted to carry the narrator to school.

10. Which of the following sentences best summarizes the passage?
A) During the years after the abolition of slavery, some white people began to reach out and help encourage African Americans to get educated and adjust in society, and although the narrator's father never trusted this, the narrator did.
B) During the years after the abolition of slavery, white people wanted to keep black people down, and the teacher of the narrator wanted to encourage him to get an education just so he would later be disappointed.
C) During the years after the abolition of slavery, a white teacher took a black boy to the theater because she wanted to support his interest in plays.
D) During the years after the abolition of slavery, some black people foolishly mistrusted white people although they only had good intentions and wanted to help them.

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