New SAT Reading Practice Test 74: Jane Eyre

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This is an excerpt from Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre, written in 1847. Jane, previously a governess at Thornfield Hall, is engaged to marry the wealthy homeowner Mr. Rochester. She fretfully relays unexpected events to him that have recently occurred in his absence.

"I dreamt another dream, sir: that Thornfield Hall was a dreary ruin, the retreat of
bats and owls. I thought that of all the stately front nothing remained but a shell-like
wall, very high and very fragile-looking. I wandered, on a moonlight night, through
the grass-grown enclosure within: here I stumbled over a marble hearth, and there
05over a fallen fragment of cornice. Wrapped up in a shawl, I still carried the unknown
little child: I might not lay it down anywhere, however tired were my arms—however
much its weight impeded my progress, I must retain it. I heard the gallop of a horse at
a distance on the road; I was sure it was you; and you were departing for many years
and for a distant country. I climbed the thin wall with frantic perilous haste, eager
10to catch one glimpse of you from the top: the stones rolled from under my feet, the
ivy branches I grasped gave way, the child clung round my neck in terror, and almost
strangled me; at last I gained the summit. I saw you like a speck on a white track,
lessening every moment. The blast blew so strong I could not stand. I sat down on the
narrow ledge; I hushed the scared infant in my lap: you turned an angle of the road: I
15bent forward to take a last look; the wall crumbled; I was shaken; the child rolled from
my knee, I lost my balance, fell, and woke."
"Now, Jane, that is all."
"All the preface, sir; the tale is yet to come. On waking, a gleam dazzled my eyes;
I thought—Oh, it is daylight! But I was mistaken; it was only candlelight. Sophie, I
20supposed, had come in. There was a light in the dressing-table, and the door of the
closet, where, before going to bed, I had hung my wedding-dress and veil, stood open;
I heard a rustling there. I asked, 'Sophie, what are you doing?' No one answered; but a
form emerged from the closet; it took the light, held it aloft, and surveyed the garments
pendent from the portmanteau. 'Sophie! Sophie!' I again cried: and still it was silent. I
25had risen up in bed, I bent forward: first surprise, then bewilderment, came over me;
and then my blood crept cold through my veins. Mr. Rochester, this was not Sophie,
it was not Leah, it was not Mrs. Fairfax: it was not—no, I was sure of it, and am still—it
was not even that strange woman, Grace Poole."
"It must have been one of them," interrupted my master.
30"No, sir, I solemnly assure you to the contrary. The shape standing before me had
never crossed my eyes within the precincts of Thornfield Hall before; the height, the
contour were new to me."
"Describe it, Jane."
"It seemed, sir, a woman, tall and large, with thick and dark hair hanging long down
35her back. I know not what dress she had on: it was white and straight; but whether
gown, sheet, or shroud, I cannot tell."
"Did you see her face?"
"Not at first. But presently she took my veil from its place; she held it up, gazed
at it long, and then she threw it over her own head, and turned to the mirror. At that
40moment I saw the reflection of the visage and features quite distinctly in the dark
oblong glass."
"And how were they?"
"Fearful and ghastly to me—oh, sir, I never saw a face like it! It was a discoloured
face—it was a savage face. I wish I could forget the roll of the red eyes and the fearful
45blackened inflation of the lineaments!"
"Ghosts are usually pale, Jane."
"This, sir, was purple: the lips were swelled and dark; the brow furrowed: the black
eyebrows widely raised over the bloodshot eyes. Shall I tell you of what it reminded
50"You may."
"Of the foul German spectre—the Vampyre."
"Ah!—what did it do?"
"Sir, it removed my veil from its gaunt head, rent it in two parts, and flinging both
on the floor, trampled on them."

1. What option best summarizes the passage?

  • A. A character shares troubling portents for the future.
  • B. A character seeks counsel for her terrifying dreams.
  • C. Two characters determine how to overcome supernatural forces.
  • D. Two characters recount their respective travels.

2. Mr. Rochester's overall attitude towards Jane is best described as

  • A. dismissive impatience.
  • B. skeptical depression.
  • C. anxious trepidation.
  • D. respectful curiosity.

3. As used in line 7, the word "retain" most closely means

  • A. remember.
  • B. collect.
  • C. hold onto.
  • D. sacrifice.

4. In her dream, how did Jane first perceive the presence of Mr. Rochester?

  • A. Through sight
  • B. Through hearing
  • C. Through smell
  • D. Through touch

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

  • A. Lines 7-9 ("I heard . . . country")
  • B. Lines 9-12 ("I climbed . . . summit")
  • C. Lines 14-16 ("I bent . . . woke")
  • D. Lines 43-45 ("Fearful . . . lineaments")

6. The most likely purpose of Jane's statement in line 18 ("All . . . come") is to

  • A. give a description.
  • B. demonstrate her respect.
  • C. describe a character.
  • D. provide a transition.

7. As used in line 23, the word "form" most closely means

  • A. entity.
  • B. creation.
  • C. system.
  • D. clothing.

8. Lines 26-28 ("Mr. . . . Poole") mainly serve to

  • A. vividly describe an apparition.
  • B. describe residents of Thornfield Hall.
  • C. anticipate and address a likely objection.
  • D. recount troubling memories from a dream.

9. The frightening intruder as described by Jane

  • A. strongly resembles a household servant.
  • B. is quite unique in its terrible attributes.
  • C. is weak and about to suffer collapse.
  • D. is rather likely to transform into a bat.

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

  • A. Line 3 ("Very high . . . looking")
  • B. Lines 22-23 ("I asked . . . closet")
  • C. Lines 43-44 ("Fearful . . . face")
  • D. Line 51 ("Of . . . Vampyre")