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Reading Between the Lines Practice Exercises (page 3)

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Updated on Aug 25, 2011

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Exercise 1

  1. c. The narrator tells us in the first paragraph that she and Andy "usually take diametrically opposite positions. If I say day, you can count on Andy to say night." (If you don't know what diametrically means, you should be able to determine its meaning from context.) The rest of the story shows how they have completely opposite views. Choice d is incorrect because Amy tells us that she "love[s] him like a brother." It is true that neither convinces the other (choice a) and that they're both stubborn (choice b), but neither of these are the reasons they fight.
  2. a. This is the best choice because the story is told by Amy, who is describing a personal experience. Choice b is incorrect because the story is in the present; it is not an historical event, and it is not told in the third person. The fact that the selection reveals a conflict (choice c) does not make the selection a personal narrative. The fact that the selection involves a policy decision that will affect the students (choice d) does not make the selection a personal narrative.
  3. a. Because Amy is narrating this story about her own experiences, we can eliminate the antagonist options, choices c and d. Choice b is incorrect because the author has already given enough details about Amy to make her a round, complex character who is likely to change throughout the story.
  4. c. This is the best choice because it accurately states Andy's position on the issue of a school dress code. Choice a is incorrect because nothing in the narrative suggests that how students dress reflects their parents' views. Choice b is incorrect because it reflects Amy's views about the dress code, not Andy's. Choice d is incorrect because it does not reflect Andy's reasons for objecting to a dress code.
  5. c. Like most fiction, this story is written to entertain the reader.
  6. d. At the end of the story, the reader does not know what the vote will be or what the principal will do, so we cannot effectively predict the outcome.
  7. d. The best clue to the meaning is that Andy "can't believe" that Amy "would be willing to give up [her] all-American teenage birthright" to dress the way she pleases. He may be angry (choice a), but this passage tells us that he also is horrified. Choice b is incorrect because he does not deny Amy's opinion; he argues with it directly, which also rules out choice c.
  8. a. This story is told in chronological order, from the PTA proposal to a day or so after the vote but before the announcement.
  9. b. Although Amy uses ridicule to make her point, she does have a good point to make: that we shouldn't let our clothes determine how we feel. She tells Andy she feels sorry for him because his ego "would be completely destroyed" if he had to wear a uniform. In other words, she's upset that he'd let a uniform affect his sense of self.

Exercise 2

  1. b. The narrator tells us in the third paragraph that "there were fourteen of us—I and my folks and eleven brothers—even after three children had died."
  2. d. The details in the passage suggest that everyone in the family has to work very hard just to get by ("My brothers used to kill themselves chopping and hoeing."). There's no suggestion of wealth or comfort, and there's a sense of helplessness about the deaths. This comes across in the words, "once diarrhea begins there's no salvation." However, it's reasonable to assume that there could have been salvation if the family had had the money to pay for medicine. In addition, it would be unlikely that a child would become dehydrated if he or she had proper nutrition. There's no evidence to suggest that the children contracted food poisoning (choice a), and the narrator tells us that she and her mother "would take care of the house," which suggests that they also took care of the little children, so choice b is incorrect. Paragraph 3 also describes how the father tried to save the sick children, so choice c is also incorrect.
  3. c. The problems the narrator faces include poverty, death from malnutrition, and disagreement with the priests. These problems are not caused by another character (choice a) or the narrator herself (choice b), and the narrator doesn't blame God (choice d) or anyone in particular. These issues are generally conflicts with human society.
  4. a. A short paragraph like this has the important effect of standing out for readers, so choice c is incorrect. Certainly she knows a lot about the topic, since she took tortillas to her brothers in the cornfields, so choice b is incorrect. It is possible that she doesn't like to talk about it, but this is not the best answer because the entire passage deals with difficult and sad issues, so (choice d) is also incorrect.
  5. c. This is the best conclusion to draw based on the evidence in the passage. Her family works in the cornfields, so we can conclude that they don't live in a large city (choice a) or even in a small town (choice b). These choices are also incorrect because they seem to have a lack of medical care, which would be more readily available in a city or town. Choice d is incorrect because there's no mention of mountains or valleys, and cornfields are not likely to be located in a mountainous area.
  6. b. The narrator expresses sympathy for her father's hard work in the fields, his battles with poverty, and the death of his children. She says her parents couldn't send her to school "Not because they didn't want to send me, but because we were so many at home." This statement shows that she doesn't blame her father for keeping her from school (choice a). She describes how her father tried to save the last dying child, so choice c must be incorrect. The priests, not her father, told her about heaven, so choice d must be incorrect.
  7. d. The word choice in the passage as well as its subject matter create a very sad tone.
  8. a. The passage suggests that she doesn't believe the priests anymore. She doesn't say that she doesn't believe in God anymore (choice d), but she does say that "That's what the priests used to say" and "We always believed that." Ending on this note suggests that they no longer have faith in what the priests used to tell them. She never says that she misses the children who died (choice b)—in fact, these children may have died before she was even born. Choice c is also incorrect because there's no evidence in the passage that she is very religious, only that she believed children went to heaven.
  9. c. It is true that she has a limited vocabulary (choice b), but that is not why she repeats died several times. Death is indeed part of life, but this story is about her life and her family's life, so choice a is not the best answer. There is no evidence that she is obsessed with the children who died (choice d). She does spend some time describing the manner of their deaths, but the description is matter-of-fact and does not make us feel that she misses the children. Rather, this tone makes us see the harsh reality of their lives.
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