New SAT Reading Practice Test 89: This Side of Paradise

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Question 10 questions

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This excerpt is the beginning of F. Scott Fitzgerald's This Side of Paradise, published in 1920. The book opens up with the following character introduction of Fitzgerald's semi-autobiographical protagonist, Amory Blaine.

Amory Blaine inherited from his mother
every trait, except the stray inexpressible
few, that made him worth while. His father,
an ineffectual, inarticulate man with a taste
05 for Byron and a habit of drowsing over the
Encyclopedia Britannica, grew wealthy at
thirty through the death of two elder brothers,
successful Chicago brokers, and in the
first flush of feeling that the world was his,
10 went to Bar Harbor and met Beatrice O'Hara.
In consequence, Stephen Blaine handed
down to posterity his height of just under
six feet and his tendency to waver at crucial
moments, these two abstractions appearing
15 in his son Amory. For many years he hovered
in the background of his family's life, an
unassertive figure with a face half-obliterated
by lifeless, silky hair, continually occupied in
"taking care" of his wife, continually harassed
20 by the idea that he didn't and couldn't understand
But Beatrice Blaine! There was a woman!
Early pictures taken on her father's estate
at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin, or in Rome
25 at the Sacred Heart Convent—an educational
extravagance that in her youth was
only for the daughters of the exceptionally
wealthy—showed the exquisite delicacy of
her features, the consummate art and simplicity
30 of her clothes. A brilliant education
she had—her youth passed in renaissance
glory, she was versed in the latest gossip of
the Older Roman Families; known by name
as a fabulously wealthy American girl to
35 Cardinal Vitori and Queen Margherita and
more subtle celebrities that one must have
had some culture even to have heard of. She
learned in England to prefer whiskey and
soda to wine, and her small talk was broadened
40 in two senses during a winter in Vienna.
All in all Beatrice O'Hara absorbed the sort of
education that will be quite impossible ever
again; a tutelage measured by the number of
things and people one could be contemptuous
45 of and charming about; a culture rich in
all arts and traditions, barren of all ideas, in
the last of those days when the great gardener
clipped the inferior roses to produce
one perfect bud.
50 In her less important moments she
returned to America, met Stephen Blaine and
married him—this almost entirely because
she was a little bit weary, a little bit sad. Her
only child was carried through a tiresome
55 season and brought into the world on a
spring day in ninety-six.
When Amory was five he was already a
delightful companion for her. He was an
auburn-haired boy, with great, handsome
60 eyes which he would grow up to in time,
a facile imaginative mind and a taste for
fancy dress. From his fourth to his tenth year
he did the country with his mother in her
father's private car, from Coronado, where
65 his mother became so bored that she had a
nervous breakdown in a fashionable hotel,
down to Mexico City, where she took a mild,
almost epidemic consumption. This trouble
pleased her, and later she made use of it as an
70 intrinsic part of her atmosphere—especially
after several astounding bracers.
So, while more or less fortunate little rich
boys were defying governesses on the beach
at Newport, or being spanked or tutored or
75 read to from "Do and Dare," or "Frank on
the Mississippi," Amory was biting acquiescent
bell-boys in the Waldorf, outgrowing a
natural repugnance to chamber music and
symphonies, and deriving a highly specialized
80 education from his mother.
"Yes, Beatrice." (Such a quaint name for
his mother; she encouraged it.)
"Dear, don't think of getting out of bed yet.
85 I've always suspected that early rising in early
life makes one nervous. Clothilde is having
your breakfast brought up."
"All right."
"I am feeling very old to-day, Amory," she
90 would sigh, her face a rare cameo of pathos,
her voice exquisitely modulated, her hands
as facile as Bernhardt's. "My nerves are on
edge—on edge. We must leave this terrifying
place to-morrow and go searching for
95 sunshine."
Amory's penetrating green eyes would
look out through tangled hair at his mother.
Even at this age he had no illusions about

1. Beatrice is best characterized as

  • A. privileged and eccentric.
  • B. mean-spirited and haughty.
  • C. wealthy and industrious.
  • D. misanthropic and itinerant.

2. Lines 1-3 ("Amory . . . while") most strongly suggest that

  • A. Amory and his mother share many unfavorable qualities.
  • B. Amory's best characteristics came from his mother.
  • C. Amory's great intellect and personality came from his father.
  • D. Amory has a striking interest in genetics.

3. The style of the second paragraph (lines 22-49) is generally

  • A. educational and morose.
  • B. intellectual and nebulous.
  • C. idealistic and optimistic.
  • D. emphatic and descriptive.

4. As used in line 31, the word "passed" most closely means

  • A. spent.
  • B. gave up.
  • C. tossed.
  • D. agreed.

5. The passage implies that Beatrice married Stephen for what reason?

  • A. True love
  • B. Because she settled
  • C. Because she was forced
  • D. Because of vengeance

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

  • A. Lines 3-10 ("His father . . . O'Hara")
  • B. Lines 15-21 ("For many . . . her")
  • C. Lines 50-53 ("In her . . . sad")
  • D. Lines 84-87 ("Dear . . . up")

7. Amory's upbringing and education can best be described as

  • A. demanding.
  • B. scholarly.
  • C. exhausting.
  • D. unique.

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

  • A. Lines 15-21 ("For . . . her")
  • B. Lines 41-49 ("All in . . . bud")
  • C. Lines 72-80 ("So . . . mother")
  • D. Lines 84-87 ("Dear . . . up")

9. As used in line 63, the word "did" most closely means

  • A. made.
  • B. traveled.
  • C. caused.
  • D. organized.

10. Amory's relationship with his mother is

  • A. traditionally pious.
  • B. unusually friendly.
  • C. blatantly disrespectful.
  • D. cold and distant.