New SAT Reading Practice Test 69: Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

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Charles Dickens's Great Expectations was first published in 1861. Pip, a poor orphan who is cared for by his sister and her husband, meets the young girl who will become the lifetime object of his affections while simultaneously becoming aware of his lowly position in the caste system.

I must have been about ten years old when I went to Miss Havisham's, and
first met Estella.
My uncle Pumblechook, who kept a cornchandler's shop in the high-street of the
town, took me to the large old, dismal house, which had all its windows barred. For
05miles round everybody had heard of Miss Havisham as an immensely rich and grim
lady who led a life of seclusion; and everybody soon knew that Mr. Pumblechook had
been commissioned to bring her a boy.
He left me at the courtyard, and a young lady, who was very pretty and seemed very
proud, let me in, and I noticed that the passages were all dark, and that there was a
10candle burning. My guide, who called me "boy," but was really about my own age, was
as scornful of me as if she had been one-and-twenty, and a queen. She led me to Miss
Havisham's room, and there, in an armchair, with her elbow resting on the table, sat
the strangest lady I have ever seen, or shall ever see.
She was dressed in rich materials—satins and lace and silks—all of white—or rather,
15which had been white, but, like all else in the room, were now faded yellow. Her shoes
were white, and she had a long white veil dependent from her hair, and bridal flowers
in her hair; but her hair was white. I saw that the bride within the bridal dress had
withered like the dress.
"Who is it?" said the lady at the table.
20"Pip, ma'am. Mr. Pumblechook's boy."
"Come nearer; let me look at you; come close. You are not afraid of a woman who
has never seen the sun since you were born?"
"No, ma'am."
"Do you know what I touch here?" she said, laying her hands, one upon the other,
25on her left side.
"Yes, ma'am; your heart."
"Broken!" She was silent for a little while, and then added, "I am tired; I want diversion.
Play, play, play!"
What was an unfortunate boy to do? I didn't know how to play.
30"Call Estella," said the lady. "Call Estella, at the door."
It was a dreadful thing to be bawling "Estella" to a scornful young lady in a mysterious
passage in an unknown house, but I had to do it. And Estella came, and I heard her
say, in answer to Miss Havisham, "Play with this boy! Why, he is a common labouring
35I thought I overheard Miss Havisham answer, "Well? You can break his heart."
We played at beggar my neighbour, and before the game was out Estella said disdainfully,
"He calls the knaves Jacks, this boy! And what coarse hands he has! And what
thick boots!"
I was very glad to get away. My coarse hands and my common boots had never
40troubled me before; but they troubled me now, and I determined to ask Joe why he had
taught me to call those picture cards Jacks which ought to be called knaves.
For a long time I went once a week to this strange, gloomy house—it was called Satis
House—and once Estella told me I might kiss her.
And then Miss Havisham decided I was to be apprenticed to Joe, and gave him ?25
45for the purpose; and I left off going to see her, and helped Joe in the forge. But I didn't
like Joe's trade, and I was afflicted by that most miserable thing—to feel ashamed of
I couldn't resist paying Miss Havisham a visit; and, not seeing Estella, stammered
that I hoped she was well.
50"Abroad," said Miss Havisham; "educating for a lady; far out of reach; prettier than
ever; admired by all who see her. Do you feel that you have lost her?"
I was spared the trouble of answering by being dismissed, and went home dissatisfied
and uncomfortable, thinking myself coarse and common, and wanting to be a

1. The passage can best be summarized as which one of the following statements?

  • A. A boy has interesting interactions at an old woman's house and reflects on these experiences.
  • B. A boy seduces a girl into falling in love with him for the years to come.
  • C. A woman teaches a young boy about the merits of apprenticeship.
  • D. A girl travels abroad for her education, leaving her companion behind to fend for himself.

2. The passage is generally organized

  • A. from most to least important details.
  • B. chronologically.
  • C. spatially.
  • D. through a sequence of flashbacks and present-day reflection.

3. The second paragraph (lines 3-7) serves to explain

  • A. why Pip wanted to be a gentleman.
  • B. why Miss Havisham desired companionship.
  • C. how Pip came to be at Miss Havisham's.
  • D. how Pip came to fall in love with Estella.

4. As used in line 12, the word "resting" most closely means

  • A. suppressing.
  • B. dreaming.
  • C. sleeping.
  • D. laying.

5. What best describes Miss Havisham's appearance?

  • A. Typical
  • B. Unusual
  • C. Colorful
  • D. Vivacious

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

  • A. Lines 3-4 ("My . . . barred")
  • B. Lines 11-13 ("She . . . see")
  • C. Lines 27-28 ("Broken . . . Play")
  • D. Lines 31-32 ("It was . . . do it")

7. How does Pip feel about his current social and economic circumstances?

  • A. Dissatisfied
  • B. Content
  • C. Serene
  • D. Entertained

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

  • A. Lines 8-10 ("He left . . . burning")
  • B. Lines 23-26 ("No . . . heart")
  • C. Line 35 ("I thought . . . heart")
  • D. Lines 52-54 ("I was . . . gentleman")

9. The paragraph in lines 39-41 highlights Pip's feeling

  • A. a sense of belonging.
  • B. a need to show off.
  • C. out of place.
  • D. ready to argue.

10. As used in line 46, the word "afflicted" most closely means

  • A. diseased.
  • B. strengthened.
  • C. emboldened.
  • D. troubled.