DIRECTIONS: This test includes four passages, each followed by ten questions. Read the passages and choose the best answer to each question. After you have selected your answer, fill in the corresponding bubble on your answer sheet. You should refer to the passages as often as necessary when answering the questions.
PASSAGE I PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from Joseph Conrad’s The Heart of Darkness © 1899.
The Nellie, a cruising ship, swung to her anchor without a flutter of the sails, and was at rest. The tide had come in, the wind was nearly calm, and being bound down the river, the only thing for the ship was
Line 5 to come to and wait for the turn of the tide. The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bow looking toward the sea. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical.
10 He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified. It was difficult to realize his work was not out there in the luminous estuary, but behind him, within the brooding gloom. Between us there was, as I have already said
15 somewhere, the bond of the sea. Besides holding our hearts together through long periods of separation, it had the effect of making us tolerant of each other’s stories—and even convictions. The Lawyer—the best of old fellows—had, because of his many years and
20 many virtues, the only cushion on deck, and was lying on the only rug. The Accountant had brought out already a box of dominoes, and was toying architecturally with the pieces. Marlow sat cross-legged, leaning against the mast. He had sunken cheeks, a
25 yellow complexion, a straight back, and, with his arms dropped, the palms of his hands outwards, resembled an idol. The Director, satisfied the anchor had good hold, made his way forward and sat down amongst us. We exchanged a few words lazily. Afterwards there
30 was silence on board the yacht. For some reason or another we did not begin that game of dominoes. We felt meditative, and fit for nothing but placid staring. “And this also,” said Marlow suddenly, “has been one of the dark places of the earth.” He was the only
35 man of us who still “followed the sea.” The worst that could be said of him was that he did not represent his class—always the same. In their unchanging surroundings, the foreign shores, the foreign faces glide past, veiled not by a sense of mystery but by a slightly
40 disdainful ignorance; for there is nothing mysterious to a seaman unless it be the sea itself, which is the mistress of his existence and as inscrutable as destiny. For the rest, after his hours of work, a casual stroll or a casual spree on shore suffices to unfold for him the
45 secret of a whole continent, and generally he finds the secret not worth knowing. The stories of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical, and to him the meaning of an episode was not
50 inside like a kernel but outside, enveloping the tale, which brought it out only as a glow brings out a haze, in the likeness of one of these misty halos that sometimes are made visible by the spectral illumination of moonshine.
55 His remark did not seem at all surprising. It was just like Marlow. It was accepted in silence. No one took the trouble to grunt even; and presently he said, very slow—“I was thinking of very old times, when the Romans first came here, nineteen hundred years
60 ago.” And at last, in its curved and imperceptible fall, the sun sank low, and from glowing white changed to a dull red without rays and without heat, as if about to go out suddenly, stricken to death by the touch of that gloom brooding over a crowd of men.
65 Marlow broke off. Flames glided in the river, small green flames, red flames, white flames, pursuing, overtaking, joining, crossing each other—then separating slowly or hastily. The traffic of the great city went on in the deepening night upon the sleepless river. We
70 looked on, waiting patiently—there was nothing else to do; but it was only after a long silence, when he said, in a hesitating voice, “I suppose you fellows remember I did once turn fresh-water sailor for a bit,” that we knew we were fated, before the ebb began to run, to
75 hear about one of Marlow’s inconclusive experiences.
The narrator’s point of view is that of:
The best answer is B. The passage takes place on a ship, the Nellie, and the narrator is one of the crew members. He uses words like “we” and “us” when referring to the crew, implying his membership to this group. The other answer choices are not supported by the passage.
It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that the crew most likely did not play dominoes because:
The best answer is F. Although the passage states, “for some reason or another we did not begin that game of dominoes,” it is reasonable to assume that it was because they were too tired from the use of the words “lazily” and “meditative.” The other answer choices are not supported by the passage.
Which of the following are explanations given by the narrator as to why the Lawyer used the ship’s only cushion?
I. He was very old.
II. He would not allow anyone else to use it.
III. He was greatly respected by the ship’s crew.
The best answer is C. The passage states that “the Lawyer ... had, because of his many years and many virtues, the only cushion on deck,” indicating that since he was the eldest crew member and had the other crew members’ respect, he was afforded the comfort of the cushion. The other answer choices are not supported by the passage.
As it is used in line 32 of the passage, the word placid most nearly means:
The best answer is F. The definition of “placid” is “not easily excited or upset; calm.” Since the men on the ship were feeling “meditative” and seemed not to have an abundance of energy, it makes sense that they simply wanted to sit calmly. The other answer choices are not supported by the context of the passage.
According to the passage, how was Marlow unlike typical seamen?
The best answer is D. In the fifth paragraph the narrator is describing how Marlow is unlike most sailors: “The yarns of seamen have a direct simplicity, the whole meaning of which lies within the shell of a cracked nut. But Marlow was not typical ... and to him the meaning of an episode was not inside like a kernel but outside ...” This is to say that typical sailors tell simple, uncomplicated tales, while Marlow tends to tell stories that are layered and complex. This best supports answer choice D.
It can be reasonably inferred from the passage that Marlow is about to tell a story:
The best answer is H. Since Marlow states that the episode which he is about to recount “seemed to somehow throw a light on everything about (him),” we can assume that this experience had a profound effect on him. The other answer choices are either not supported by the passage or are beyond the scope of the passage.
According to the passage, how did the men aboard the Nellie feel about the Director?
The best answer is A. The passage states that, “The Director of Companies was our captain and our host. We four affectionately watched his back as he stood in the bow looking toward the sea. On the whole river there was nothing that looked half so nautical. He resembled a pilot, which to a seaman is trustworthiness personified.” This best supports answer choice A.
The reaction of the narrator to Marlow’s story can be most accurately described as:
The best answer is G. There are clues in the passage to indicate that the narrator, as well as the other crew members, were not thrilled when Marlow began to speak. Marlow’s very first comment was “accepted in silence” and “no one took the trouble to grunt even.” In the next paragraph the narrator begins to realize that the crew was “fated, before the ebb began to run, to hear about one of Marlow’s inconclusive experiences.” Since resigned means “accepting that something can not be avoided” and tolerance means “patience,” making G the best answer.
According to the passage, which of the following was not an effect of the “bond of the sea” (line 15)?
In the third paragraph the passage states that the men’s mutual interest in the sea created a bond between them capable of “holding (their) hearts together through long periods of separation,” “making (them) tolerant of each other’s yarns,” and making them accepting of each other’s “convictions.” Answer choice A is not mentioned in the passage.
The main point of the second paragraph is:
The best answer is J. The passage states that the crewmen watched him “affectionately,” meaning “showing fondness or liking.” The captain is also described as “trustworthiness personified,” indicating that the other crew members have the utmost faith and trust in him. This best supports answer choice J.