New SAT Reading Practice Test 44: Anna Karenina

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Anna Karenina

The following passage is adapted from Leo Tolstoy's 1873 novel, Anna Karenina (translated from the original Russian by Constance Garnett). Prior to this excerpt, one of the major characters, Levin, has realized that he is in love with his longtime friend Kitty Shtcherbatsky.

At four o'clock, conscious of his throbbing heart,
Levin stepped out of a hired sledge at the Zoological
Gardens, and turned along the path to the frozen
mounds and the skating ground, knowing that he
05would certainly find her there, as he had seen the
Shtcherbatskys' carriage at the entrance.
It was a bright, frosty day. Rows of carriages,
sledges, drivers, and policemen were standing in the
approach. Crowds of well-dressed people, with hats
10bright in the sun, swarmed about the entrance and
along the well-swept little paths between the little
houses adorned with carving in the Russian style.
The old curly birches of the gardens, all their twigs
laden with snow, looked as though freshly decked in
15sacred vestments.
He walked along the path towards the skating-
ground, and kept saying to himself—"You mustn't
be excited, you must be calm. What's the matter
with you? What do you want? Be quiet, stupid," he
20conjured his heart. And the more he tried to com-
pose himself, the more breathless he found himself.
An acquaintance met him and called him by his
name, but Levin did not even recognize him. He
went towards the mounds, whence came the clank
25of the chains of sledges as they slipped down or
were dragged up, the rumble of the sliding sledges,
and the sounds of merry voices. He walked on a few
steps, and the skating-ground lay open before his
eyes, and at once, amidst all the skaters, he knew her.
30He knew she was there by the rapture and the ter-
ror that seized on his heart. She was standing talking
to a lady at the opposite end of the ground. There
was apparently nothing striking either in her dress
or her attitude. But for Levin she was as easy to find
35in that crowd as a rose among nettles. Everything
was made bright by her. She was the smile that shed
light on all round her. "Is it possible I can go over
there on the ice, go up to her?" he thought. The place
where she stood seemed to him a holy shrine, unap-
40proachable, and there was one moment when he
was almost retreating, so overwhelmed was he with
terror. He had to make an effort to master himself,
and to remind himself that people of all sorts were
moving about her, and that he too might come there
45to skate. He walked down, for a long while avoiding
looking at her as at the sun, but seeing her, as one
does the sun, without looking.
On that day of the week and at that time of day
people of one set, all acquainted with one another,
50used to meet on the ice. There were crack skaters
there, showing off their skill, and learners clinging to
chairs with timid, awkward movements, boys, and
elderly people skating with hygienic motives. They
seemed to Levin an elect band of blissful beings
55because they were here, near her. All the skaters, it
seemed, with perfect self-possession, skated towards
her, skated by her, even spoke to her, and were
happy, quite apart from her, enjoying the capital ice
and the fine weather.
60Nikolay Shtcherbatsky, Kitty's cousin, in a short
jacket and tight trousers, was sitting on a garden
seat with his skates on. Seeing Levin, he shouted to
"Ah, the first skater in Russia! Been here long?
65First-rate ice—do put your skates on."

1. According to the passage, how did Levin first know that Kitty was at the Zoological Gardens?

  • A. Kitty's carriage was parked near the entrance.
  • B. Nikolay said he had been skating with Kitty earlier.
  • C. He saw her talking with another woman near the pond.
  • D. Kitty invited him to meet her there at a certain time.

2. As used in line 10, "swarmed" most nearly means

  • A. invaded.
  • B. gathered.
  • C. flew.
  • D. obstructed.

3. The passage most strongly suggests that which of the following is true of Levin?

  • A. He worries about his appearance.
  • B. He wishes he were more impressive.
  • C. He is an extremely passionate person.
  • D. He is wary of his surroundings.

4. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 7-12 ("It was a bright, frosty day…in the Russian style")
  • B. Lines 22-27 ("An acquaintance met him…merry voices")
  • C. Lines 38-45 ("The place where…there to skate")
  • D. Lines 48-53 ("On that day…hygienic motives")

5. What theme does the passage communicate through the experiences of Levin?

  • A. Love is a powerful emotion.
  • B. People long to have company.
  • C. Life should be filled with joy.
  • D. People are meant to work hard.

6. The passage most strongly suggests that which of the following is true of how Levin appears to others?

  • A. People think that Levin looks agitated because of the way he is acting.
  • B. People think that Levin is sick because he seems to be feverish.
  • C. People think that Levin seems normal because he is doing nothing unusual.
  • D. People think that Levin is in trouble because he is not protecting himself emotionally.

7. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 1-6 ("At four o'clock…at the entrance")
  • B. Lines 9-12 ("Crowds…the Russian style")
  • C. Lines 23-29 ("He went…he knew her")
  • D. Lines 60-65 ("Nikolay Shtcherbatsky…your skates on")

8. As used in line 20, "conjured" most nearly means

  • A. begged.
  • B. created.
  • C. summoned.
  • D. tricked.

9. The author's use of the word "throbbing" in line 1 implies that Levin

  • A. has cut himself badly.
  • B. has a sudden pain in his chest.
  • C. is about to collapse.
  • D. is in an agitated state.

10. Based on the tone of this passage, what emotion does the author wish the reader to feel about Levin?

  • A. Empathy
  • B. Cynicism
  • C. Hostility
  • D. Disgust