Literature and Literacy Criticism Critical Reading Practice Exercises Set 1 (page 2)

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Updated on Sep 27, 2011


  1. b.   The we go to school, so the reference must be to school-aged children. In addition, the passage contrasts the we's with the respectable boys and the rich ones (lines 2–3), so the we's are neither wealthy nor respected.
  2. a.   The author and his classmates go to school through lanes and back streets (line 1) to avoid the students who go to school dressed in warm and respectable clothing. He also states in lines 15–16 that they are ashamed of the way we look, implying that they are poorly dressed.
  3. d.   The boys would get into fights if the rich boys were to utter derogatory words or pass remarks.
  4. c.   While the quote here does show how the author's school masters talked, it has a more important function: to show that his school masters reinforced the class system by telling the author and his classmates to stay in their place and not challenge the existing class structure.
  5. e.   The author "knows," based only on the fact of which school the boys attend, what they will be when they grow up—the respectable boys will have the administrative jobs (lines 5–6) while the rich boys will run the government, run the world (lines 11–12). The author and those in his socio-economic class will be laborers (lines 12–14). The author emphasizes the certainty of this knowledge with the repetition of the phrase we know and the sentence We know that (line 15). Thus he demonstrates that their future was already set based upon their socio-economic standing.
  6. a.   Lines 6-7 reveal that there are two rooms and lines 9–10 describe the truck delivering furniture downstairs.
  7. b.   Lines 1–5 state that after Pauline became pregnant, Cholly had acted like the early days of their marriage when he would ask if she were tired or wanted him to bring her something from the store. This statement suggests that Cholly had not done that for a while, and therefore had begun to neglect Pauline.
  8. e.   Although there is a state of ease (line 5) in the relationship between Pauline and Cholly, there is intense loneliness for Pauline. There may be less tension in this state of ease, but there does not appear to be more intimacy, because the loneliness prevails. We can infer that back home she was living with her family, not Cholly, and that Pauline would expect her husband to fulfill her need for companionship.
  9. a.   At the end of the passage, Pauline rediscovers her dreams of romance. Line 14 tells us she succumbed to her earlier dreams, and the following sentence tells us what whose dreams were about: romantic love.
  10. c.   Because the narrator states that romantic love and physical beauty are probably the most destructive ideas in the history of human thought (lines 15–16) because they both originated in envy, thrived in insecurity, and ended in disillusion, and because these are the two ideas Pauline was introduced to in the theater, we can infer that she will only become more unhappy as a result of going to the movies.
  11. e.   Lines 4–5 refer to the reservation jukebox, and line 12 refers to the reservation as well. If Thomas, Chess, and Checkers live on a reservation, they are most likely Native American.
  12. c.   Because their song is one of mourning, c is the most logical choice. In addition, the context clue Samuel was still alive, but tells us that the song is traditionally reserved for the dead.
  13. c.   To sing a mourning song for someone who is still alive suggests that that person's life is mournful—full of grief, sadness, or sorrow.
  14. b.   In line 9, the narrator states that Thomas wanted his tears to be individual, not tribal, suggesting too that he felt his father deserved to be mourned as an individual.
  15. e.   The author is speaking figuratively here—the BIA does not literally collect and ferment Indian tears and return them to the reservation in beer and Pepsi cans.
  16. c.   In line 23, the narrator states that Thomas wanted the songs, the stories, to save everybody. The paragraph tells readers how many songs Thomas knew but how something seemed to be missing (e.g., he never sang them correctly); how Thomas wanted to play the guitar but how his guitar only sounded like a guitar (lines 22–23). He wanted his songs to do more, to rescue others.
  17. d.   In lines 15–17, Doc Burton emphasizes change. He tells Mac that nothing stops and that as soon as an idea (such as the cause) is put into effect, it [the idea] would start changing right away. Then he specifically states that once a commune is established, the same gradual flux will continue. Thus, the cause itself is in flux and is always changing.
  18. b.   The several references to communes suggest that the cause is communism, and this is made clear in line 31, when Mac says Revolution and communism will cure social injustice.
  19. a.   In lines 21–25, Doc Burton describes his desire to see the whole picture, to look at the whole thing. He tells Mac he doesn't want to judge the cause as good or bad so that he doesn't limit his vision. Thus, he is best described as an objective observer.
  20. d.   In the first part of his analogy, Doc Burton says that infections are a reaction to a wound—the wound is the first battleground (line 40). Without a wound, there is no place for the infection to fester. The strikes, then, are like the infection in that they are a reaction to a wound (social injustice).
  21. a.   By comparing an individual in a group to a cell within the body (line 50), Doc Burton emphasizes the idea that the individual is really not an individual at all but rather part of a whole.
  22. c.   In lines 59–62, Doc Burton argues that the group doesn't care about the standard or cause it has created because the group simply wants to move, to fight. Individuals such as Mac, however, believe in a cause (or at least think they do).
  23. a.   Doc Burton seems to feel quite strongly that group-man simply wants to move, to fight, without needing a real cause—in fact, he states that the group uses the cause simply to reassure the brains of individual men (lines 61–62).
  24. b.   Doc Burton knows how deeply Mac believes in the cause and knows that if he outright says the group doesn't really believe in the cause that Mac would not listen. Thus he says "It might be like this," emphasizing the possibility. Still Mac reacts hotly.

For more practice on literature and literacy critical reading questions, review:

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