This passage is adapted from William Maxwell, The Folded Leaf. ©1959 by William Maxwell. Originally published in 1945.
The Alcazar Restaurant was on Sheridan Road
near Devon Avenue. It was long and narrow, with
tables for two along the walls and tables for four
down the middle. The decoration was art moderne,
5 except for the series of murals depicting the four
seasons, and the sick ferns in the front window.
Lymie sat down at the second table from the cash
register, and ordered his dinner. The history book,
which he propped against the catsup and the glass
10 sugar bowl, had been used by others before him.
Blank pages front and back were filled in with maps,
drawings, dates, comic cartoons, and organs of the
body; also with names and messages no longer clear
and never absolutely legible. On nearly every other
15 page there was some marginal notation, either in ink
or in very hard pencil. And unless someone had
upset a glass of water, the marks on page 177 were
While Lymie read about the Peace of Paris, signed
20 on the thirtieth of May, 1814, between France and
the Allied powers, his right hand managed again and
again to bring food up to his mouth. Sometimes he
chewed, sometimes he swallowed whole the food that
he had no idea he was eating. The Congress of
25 Vienna met, with some allowance for delays, early in
November of the same year, and all the powers
engaged in the war on either side sent
plenipotentiaries. It was by far the most splendid and
important assembly ever convoked to discuss and
30 determine the affairs of Europe. The Emperor of
Russia, the King of Prussia, the Kings of Bavaria,
Denmark, and Wurttemberg, all were present in
person at the court of the Emperor Francis I in the
Austrian capital. When Lymie put down his fork and
35 began to count them off, one by one, on the fingers
of his left hand, the waitress, whose name was Irma,
thought he was through eating and tried to take his
plate away. He stopped her. Prince Metternich (his
right thumb) presided over the Congress, and
40 Prince Talleyrand (the index finger) represented
A party of four, two men and two women, came
into the restaurant, all talking at once, and took
possession of the center table nearest Lymie.
45 The women had shingled hair and short tight skirts
which exposed the underside of their knees when
they sat down. One of the women had the face of a
young boy but disguised by one trick or another
(rouge, lipstick, powder, wet bangs plastered against
50 the high forehead, and a pair of long pendent
earrings) to look like a woman of thirty-five, which
as a matter of fact she was. The men were older. They
laughed more than there seemed any occasion for,
while they were deciding between soup and shrimp
55 cocktail, and their laughter was too loud. But it was
the women’s voices, the terrible not quite sober pitch
of the women’s voices which caused Lymie to skim
over two whole pages without knowing what was on
them. Fortunately he realized this and went back.
60 Otherwise he might never have known about the
secret treaty concluded between England, France,
and Austria, when the pretensions of Prussia and
Russia, acting in concert, seemed to threaten a
renewal of the attack. The results of the Congress
65 were stated clearly at the bottom of page 67 and at
the top of page 68, but before Lymie got halfway
through them, a coat that he recognized as his
father’s was hung on the hook next to his chair.
Lymie closed the book and said, “I didn’t think you
70 were coming.”
Time is probably no more unkind to sporting
characters than it is to other people, but physical
decay unsustained by respectability is somehow more
noticeable. Mr. Peters’ hair was turning gray and his
75 scalp showed through on top. He had lost weight
also; he no longer filled out his clothes the way he
used to. His color was poor, and the flower had
disappeared from his buttonhole. In its place was an
American Legion button.
80 Apparently he himself was not aware that there
had been any change. He straightened his tie
self-consciously and when Irma handed him a menu,
he gestured with it so that the two women at the next
table would notice the diamond ring on the fourth
85 finger of his right hand. Both of these things, and
also the fact that his hands showed signs of the
manicurist, one can blame on the young man who
had his picture taken with a derby hat on the back of
his head, and also sitting with a girl in the curve of
90 the moon. The young man had never for one second
deserted Mr. Peters. He was always there, tugging at
Mr. Peters’ elbow, making him do things that were
not becoming in a man of forty-five.
Over the course of the passage, the primary focus shifts from
Choice D is the best answer. The passage begins with the main character, Lymie, sitting in a restaurant and reading a history book. The first paragraph describes the book in front of him (“Blank pages front and back were filled in with maps, drawings, dates, comic cartoons, and organs of the body,” lines 11- 13). The second paragraph reveals what Lymie is reading about (the Peace of Paris and the Congress of Vienna) and suggests his intense concentration on the book (“sometimes he swallowed whole the food that he had no idea he was eating,” lines 23-24). In the third paragraph, the focus of the passage shifts to a description and discussion of others in the restaurant, namely “A party of four, two men and two women . . . ” (lines 42-43).
Choice A is incorrect because the passage does not provide observations made by other characters, only offering Lymie’s and the narrator’s observations. Choice B is incorrect because the beginning of the passage focuses on Lymie as he reads by himself and the end of the passage focuses on the arrival of Lymie’s father, with whom Lymie’s relationship seems somewhat strained. Choice C is incorrect because the setting is described in the beginning of the first paragraph but is never the main focus of the passage.
The main purpose of the first paragraph is to
Choice C is the best answer. The main purpose of the first paragraph is to establish the passage’s setting by describing a place and an object. The place is the Alcazar Restaurant, which is described as being “long and narrow” and decorated with “art moderne,” murals, and plants (lines 2-6), and the object is the history book Lymie is reading.
Choice A is incorrect because rather than establishing what Lymie does every night, the first paragraph describes what Lymie is doing on one night. Choice B is incorrect because nothing in the first paragraph indicates when the passage takes place, as the details provided (such as the restaurant and the book) are not specific to one era. Choice D is incorrect because nothing in the first paragraph clearly foreshadows a later event.
It can reasonably be inferred that Irma, the waitress, thinks Lymie is “through eating” (line 37) because
Choice C is the best answer. The passage states that “when Lymie put down his fork and began to count . . . the waitress, whose name was Irma, thought he was through eating and tried to take his plate away” (lines 34-38). It is reasonable to assume that Irma thinks Lymie is finished eating because he is no longer holding his fork. Choice A is incorrect because Lymie has already been reading his book while eating for some time before Irma thinks he is finished eating. Choice B is incorrect because the passage doesn’t state that Lymie’s plate is empty, and the fact that Lymie stops Irma from taking his plate suggests that it is not empty. Choice D is incorrect because the passage gives no indication that Lymie asks Irma to clear the table.
Lymie’s primary impression of the “party of four” (line 42) is that they
Choice A is the best answer. The passage makes it clear that Lymie finds the party of four who enter the restaurant to be loud and bothersome, as their entrance means he is no longer able to concentrate on his book: “They laughed more than there seemed any occasion for . . . and their laughter was too loud. But it was the women’s voices . . . which caused Lymie to skim over two whole pages without knowing what was on them” (lines 52-59).
Choices B, C, and D are incorrect because lines 55-59 make clear that Lymie is annoyed by the party of four, not that he finds their presence refreshing (choice B), thinks they resemble the people he is reading about (choice C), or thinks they represent glamour and youth (choice D).
Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?
Choice C is the best answer. The previous question asks about Lymie’s impression of the party of four who enter the restaurant, with the correct answer being that he finds them noisy and distracting. This is supported in lines 55-59: “But it was the women’s voices, the terrible not quite sober pitch of the women’s voices, which caused Lymie to skim over two whole pages without knowing what was on them.”
Choices A, B, and D are incorrect because the lines cited do not support the answer to the previous question about Lymie’s impression of the party of four who enter the restaurant. Rather than showing that Lymie finds the group of strangers noisy and distracting, the lines simply describe how two of the four people look (choices A and B) and indicate what Lymie does when his father joins him in the restaurant (choice D).
The narrator indicates that Lymie finally closes the history book because
Choice A is the best answer. In the passage, Lymie closes his book only after “a coat that he recognized as his father’s was hung on the hook next to his chair” (lines 67-68). It is Lymie’s father’s arrival that causes him to close the book.
Choices B, C, and D are incorrect because lines 67-70 of the passage clearly establish that Lymie closes his book because his father has arrived, not that he does so because the party of four is too loud (choice B), because he has finished reading a section of the book (choice C), or because he is getting ready to leave (choice D).
The primary impression created by the narrator’s description of Mr. Peters in lines 74-79 is that he is
Choice D is the best answer. In lines 74-79, the narrator describes Mr. Peters as “gray” and balding, noting that he has “lost weight” and his color is “poor.” This description suggests Mr. Peters is aging and losing strength and vigor.
Choices A, B, and C are incorrect because the description of Mr. Peters in lines 74-79 suggests he is a person who is wan and losing vitality, not someone who is healthy and in good shape (choice A), angry and intimidating (choice B), or emotionally anxious (choice C).
The main idea of the last paragraph is that Mr. Peters
Choice B is the best answer. In the last paragraph of the passage, Mr. Peters is described as being unaware “that there had been any change” in his appearance since he was younger (lines 80-81). Later in the paragraph, the passage states that “the young man” Mr. Peters once was “had never for one second deserted” him (lines 90-91). The main idea of the last paragraph is that Mr. Peters still thinks of himself as young, or at least acts as if he is a younger version of himself.
Choice A is incorrect because Mr. Peters is spending time with Lymie, his son, and there is no indication that he generally does not spend time with his family. Choice C is incorrect because although there are brief mentions of a diamond ring and manicured fingers, the paragraph focuses on Mr. Peters’s overall appearance, not on his awareness of status symbols. Choice D is incorrect because the last paragraph clearly states that Mr. Peters is “not aware that there had been any change” and thinks of himself as young.
Which choice best supports the conclusion that Mr. Peters wants to attract attention?
Choice B is the best answer. In lines 81-85, Mr. Peters is described as having “straightened his tie selfconsciously” and gestured with a menu “so that the two women at the next table would notice the diamond ring on the fourth finger of his right hand.” Mr. Peters’s actions are those of someone who wants to attract attention and be noticed.
Choices A, C, and D are incorrect because the lines cited do not support the idea Mr. Peters wants to attract attention to himself. Choices A and C address Mr. Peters’s view of himself. Choice D indicates that Mr. Peters’s view of himself affects his behavior but does not reveal that he acts in a way meant to draw attention.
As used in line 93, “becoming” most nearly means
Choice B is the best answer. The last sentence of the passage states that Mr. Peters’s mischaracterization of himself makes him act in ways that are not “becoming” for a man of his age. In this context, “becoming” suggests behavior that is appropriate or fitting.
Choices A, C, and D are incorrect because in the context of describing one’s behavior, “becoming” means appropriate or fitting, not becoming known (choice A), becoming more advanced (choice C), or simply occurring (choice D).