SAT Writing and Language Practice Test: The Familiar Myth

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The Familiar Myth

Jermaine typed "Joseph Campbell" into his Internet browser. His teacher had said that Campbell's research held the key to understanding the universal motifs of literature from around the world. He clicked on a web page dedicated to the man's life and work. The first thing Jermaine noted was that American mythologist and author Joseph Campbell wrote in his 1 seminal work, The Hero with a Thousand Faces, "Myth is the secret opening through which the inexhaustible energies of the cosmos pour into human cultural manifestation." Online, Jermaine learned that 2 Campbell showcases what he calls the "monomyth" in this work. "Monomyth" is a term Campbell borrowed from fellow author James Joyce, referring to a story pattern that has served as the basis for many pieces of literature from around the world. The monomyth is often referred to as the "hero's journey."

Next, Jermaine clicked to view a graphic representation of the story structure. A plot diagram detailed the typical events of 3 a heros' journey. The start of the journey is referred to as "the call to adventure." It is followed by several challenges and encounters with people who appear to help him. The hero experiences revelations along the way, and these revelations are the catalyst for transformation. Most heroes undergo this transformation in order to reach 4 the end of there journey.

5 Jermaine clicked a link titled "Cultural Representations." He learned that throughout time, many cultures have expressed their worldview through myths. While some of these stories are representative of humanity as a whole, the monomyth prominently featured one hero working for the good of all humans, experiencing 6 hardships, challenges, and will triumph. Two very recognizable instances of this structure from modern times are the stories of superheroes found in comic 7 books. Such as Superman and Batman.

Jermaine then read monomyths found in other cultures. He learned about the Kayapo Indians and their myth about a boy who stole fire from a jaguar. The boy brought this fire to his people, enabling them to cook their food. To a large extent, this hero brought more to his people than just the 8 use of fire—in this story, fire symbolized civilization. Similarly, in Greek mythology, Prometheus also stole fire to bring to his people. In the mythology of the Daribi people, native to Papua New Guinea, Souw, a wanderer, brought his people livestock and crops. These stories are similar 9 not only in its structure but also in its symbolism.10

The monomyth, Jermaine learned, is a structure that people across all cultures are familiar and comfortable with to the point that they can picture themselves as the hero in their own story. It is because of this that the monomyth will continue to be a 11 timely story structure moving forward.


  • B. initial
  • C. primary
  • D. fictitious


  • B. Campbell is showcasing what he calls the monomyth
  • C. Campbell showcased what he calls the monomyth
  • D. Campbell showcased what he called the monomyth


  • B. a hero's journey.
  • C. a heroes journey.
  • D. a heroes' journey.


  • B. the journey they are ending.
  • C. the end of their journey.
  • D. the end of they're journey.

5. Which choice most effectively establishes the main topic of the paragraph?

  • A. Jermaine sought out famous stories and myths to help him better understand the monomyth concept.
  • B. Jermaine wanted to write about the very first monomyth, so he chose to focus his research on that.
  • C. Jermaine decided that religious figures were the best way to explore the monomyth concept.
  • D. Jermaine didn't quite understand the progression of the hero's journey.


  • B. hardships, challenges, and is triumphant.
  • C. hardships, challenges, and triumph.
  • D. hardships, challenges, and triumphs.


  • B. books. And Superman and Batman.
  • C. books, such as Superman and Batman.
  • D. books, as well as Superman and Batman


  • B. use of fire, in this story
  • C. use of fire. In this story
  • D. use of fire: in this story


  • B. not only in their structure but also in their symbolism.
  • C. not only in structure but also in its symbolism.
  • D. not only in each structure but also symbolism.

10. Which fact omitted from this paragraph would best support the author's claims?

  • A. A description of another world myth that involves stealing fire
  • B. The name of the website where Jermaine found this information
  • C. The importance of animal figures in myths
  • D. The location of the Kayapo Indians' homeland


  • B. prevalent
  • C. eminent
  • D. requisite