Tip #18 to Get a Top SAT Critical Reading Score
Remember from Skill 13 that as you read each passage, you are keeping in mind, "What is the main idea and what is the author's attitude?" In this Skill you will become an attitude master. An author's attitude is expressed through choice of words and punctuation. For example, what is the attitude expressed in each of the following?
- Politicians have once again overlooked the need for improvement in the infrastructure.
- Overworked politicians cannot be expected to foresee every need of their community.
Attitude toward politicians: disapproval
Attitude toward politicians: compassion, forgiveness
- Will Farrell is one funny guy.
- You're such a "funny" guy.
Attitude toward Will Farrell: admiration, appreciation
Attitude: criticism, sarcasm
Remember to answer attitude questions based on evidence in the passage, not your own attitude toward the subject or outside knowledge. If you need help, try rereading the first and last lines of each paragraph. Often, these lines convey the author's attitude.
The SAT favors mellow attitudes. An extreme answer with all-out hatred or complete unqualified worship is not usually correct. Usually the answer is more moderate. If fact, the correct answer often has moderate words such as "moderate," "tempered," "qualified," "veiled," "relative," "somewhat," or "generally."
The following is a monologue delivered in a 1998 movie. The speaker is about to scatter the ashes of his friend. (Courtesy of Universal Studios Licensing LLLP.)
Donny was a good bowler, and a good man. He was one of us. He was a man who loved the outdoors . . . and bowling, and as a surfer he explored the beaches of Southern California, from La Jolla to Leo Carrillo and . . . up to . . . Pismo. He died, like so many young men of his generation, he died before his time. In your wisdom, Lord, you took him, as you took so many bright, flowering young men at Khe Sanh, at Langdok, at Hill 364.1 These young men gave their lives. And so would Donny. Donny, who loved bowling. And so, Theodore Donald Karabotsos, in accordance with what we think your dying wishes might well have been, we commit your final mortal remains to the bosom of the Pacific Ocean, which you loved so well. Good night, sweet prince.
- In this passage, the speaker's attitude toward Donny is primarily one of
- mournful eulogy
- unbiased detachment
- clear hostility
- elated nostalgia
- friendly regret
- The speaker's attitude toward bowling can best be described as
- earnest puzzlement
- In context, the tone of lines 7 to 10 ("In your wisdom . . . Hill 364.") is best described as
- The speaker's tone in the last two sentences is best described as
- (Skill 14) In line 9, "bright" most nearly means
- (Skill 14) In context, "bosom" (line 15) most nearly means
- (Skill 16) The reference in lines 9 and 10 to Khe Sanh and Langdok suggests
- Donny will be buried at Hill 364
- Donny died in combat
- the speaker misses these places
- the speaker also lost friends at these places
- bowling is like war
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