New SAT Reading Practice Test 64: Jane Austen's Mansfield Park

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The following is an excerpt from Jane Austen's Mansfield Park, 1814. The novel's protagonist, Fanny Price, returns home after many years of living with her wealthy relatives at Mansfield Park.

William was gone: and the home he had
left her in was—Fanny could not conceal it
from herself—in almost every respect the
very reverse of what she could have wished.
05It was the abode of noise, disorder, and
impropriety. Nobody was in their right place,
nothing was done as it ought to be. She could
not respect her parents as she had hoped.
On her father, her confidence had not been
10sanguine, but he was more negligent of his
family, his habits were worse, and his manners
coarser, than she had been prepared for.
He did not want abilities; but he had no curiosity,
and no information beyond his profession;
15he read only the newspaper and the
navy-list; he talked only of the dockyard, the
harbour, Spithead, and the Motherbank; he
swore and he drank, he was dirty and gross.
She had never been able to recall anything
20approaching to tenderness in his former
treatment of herself. There had remained
only a general impression of roughness and
loudness; and now he scarcely ever noticed
her, but to make her the object of a coarse
25joke.
Her disappointment in her mother was
greater:?there?she had hoped much, and
found almost nothing. Every flattering
scheme of being of consequence to her soon
30fell to the ground. Mrs. Price was not unkind;
but, instead of gaining on her affection and
confidence, and becoming more and more
dear, her daughter never met with greater
kindness from her than on the first day of
35her arrival. The instinct of nature was soon
satisfied, and Mrs. Price's attachment had no
other source. Her heart and her time were
already quite full; she had neither leisure nor
affection to bestow on Fanny. Her daughters
40never had been much to her. She was fond
of her sons, especially of William, but Betsey
was the first of her girls whom she had ever
much regarded. To her she was most injudiciously
indulgent. William was her pride;
45Betsey her darling; and John, Richard, Sam,
Tom, and Charles occupied all the rest of her
maternal solicitude, alternately her worries
and her comforts. These shared her heart;
her time was given chiefly to her house and
50her servants. Her days were spent in a kind
of slow bustle; all was busy without getting
on, always behindhand and lamenting it,
without altering her ways; wishing to be an
economist, without contrivance or regularity;
55dissatisfied with her servants, without skill
to make them better, and whether helping,
or reprimanding, or indulging them, without
any power of engaging their respect.
Of her two sisters, Mrs. Price very much
60more resembled Lady Bertram than Mrs.
Norris. She was a manager by necessity, without
any of Mrs. Norris's inclination for it, or
any of her activity. Her disposition was naturally
easy and indolent, like Lady Bertram's;
65and a situation of similar affluence and
do-nothingness would have been much more
suited to her capacity than the exertions and
self-denials of the one which her imprudent
marriage had placed her in. She might have
70made just as good a woman of consequence
as Lady Bertram, but Mrs. Norris would have
been a more respectable mother of nine children
on a small income.
Much of all this Fanny could not but be
75sensible of. She might scruple to make use
of the words, but she must and did feel that
her mother was a partial, ill-judging parent,
a dawdle, a slattern, who neither taught nor
restrained her children, whose house was
80the scene of mismanagement and discomfort
from beginning to end, and who had no
talent, no conversation, no affection towards
herself; no curiosity to know her better, no
desire of her friendship, and no inclination
85for her company that could lessen her sense
of such feelings.
Fanny was very anxious to be useful, and
not to appear above her home, or in any way
disqualified or disinclined, by her foreign
90education, from contributing her help to its
comforts, and therefore set about working for
Sam immediately, and by working early and
late, with perseverance and great despatch,
did so much, that the boy was shipped off at
95last, with more than half his linen ready. She
had great pleasure in feeling her usefulness,
but could not conceive how they would have
managed without her.

1. What best describes what happens in the passage as a whole?

  • A. A character discusses her troubled thoughts with close family and friends.
  • B. A character analyzes her observations relative to her experiences and expectations.
  • C. A character reflects on how she could be a better contributor to her immediate family.
  • D. A character considers her economic station in a strongly hierarchical society.

2. Fanny's overall attitude toward her parents is best described as

  • A. justified affection.
  • B. unjustified jealousy.
  • C. unwarranted disrespect.
  • D. warranted disappointment.

3. The first paragraph characterizes Fanny's father's intellectual interests as

  • A. relevant and interesting.
  • B. coarse and joking.
  • C. overly pragmatic.
  • D. arrogantly erudite.

4. As used in line 35, the phrase "instinct of nature" most closely means

  • A. maternal feeling.
  • B. desire for survival.
  • C. thirst for acceptance.
  • D. sense of justice.

5. The more that Fanny is around her mother, the more her mother treats her with

  • A. abuse.
  • B. affection.
  • C. inattention.
  • D. encouragement.

6. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 19-21 ("She . . . herself")
  • B. Lines 33-35 ("her . . . arrival")
  • C. Lines 55-58 ("without . . . respect")
  • D. Lines 61-63 ("She . . . activity")

7. When Fanny returns to live with her parents, she is eager to be

  • A. an idealistic martyr.
  • B. an economical innovator.
  • C. an empowering mentor.
  • D. a helpful contributor.

8. Which option gives the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 5-8 ("It . . . hoped")
  • B. Lines 37-43 ("Her heart . . . regarded")
  • C. Lines 69-73 ("She might . . . income")
  • D. Lines 87-91 ("Fanny . . . comforts")

9. As used in line 46, the word "occupied" most closely means

  • A. stayed.
  • B. resided.
  • C. dwelled.
  • D. engaged.

10. The third paragraph (lines 59-73) suggests that Mrs. Norris is

  • A. more capable than Mrs. Price.
  • B. similar in personality to Mrs. Price.
  • C. more lethargic than Mrs. Price.
  • D. less respectable than Mrs. Price.