Language Quiz Level 9-12

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Language Quiz: Level 9-12

1 / 20

from Beowulf

From where he crouched at the king’s feet, Unferth, a son of Ecglaf’s, spoke
contrary words. Beowulf’s coming,
his sea-braving, made him sick with envy:

5 he could not brook or abide the fact
that anyone else alive under heaven might enjoy greater regard than he did: “Are you the Beowulf who took on Breca in a swimming match on the open sea,

10 risking the water just to prove that you could win? It was sheer vanity made you venture out
on the main deep. And no matter who tried,
friend or foe, to de ect the pair of you,

neither would back down: the sea-test obsessed you. 15 You waded in, embracing water,

taking its measure, mastering currents, riding on the swell. The ocean swayed, winter went wild in the waves, but you vied for seven nights; and then he outswam you,

20 came ashore the stronger contender.
He was cast up safe and sound one morning among the Heathoreams, then made his way to where he belonged in Bronding country, home again, sure of his ground

25 in strongroom and bawn. So Breca made good his boast upon you and was proved right.
No matter, therefore, how you may have fared in every bout and battle until now,

this time you’ll be worsted; no one has ever 30 outlasted an entire night against Grendel.”

Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s son, replied:
“Well, friend Unferth, you have had your say about Breca and me. But it was mostly beer

that was doing the talking. The truth is this:
35 when the going was heavy in those high waves,

I was the strongest swimmer of all.
We’d been children together and we grew up daring ourselves to outdo each other, boasting and urging each other to risk

40 our lives on the sea. And so it turned out. Each of us swam holding a sword,
a naked, hard-proofed blade for protection against the whale-beasts. But Breca could never move out farther or faster from me

45 than I could manage to move from him. Shoulder to shoulder, we struggled on
for ve nights, until the long ow
and pitch of the waves, the perishing cold, night falling and winds from the north

50 drove us apart. The deep boiled up
and its wallowing sent the sea-brutes wild.
My armour helped me to hold out;
my hard-ringed chain-mail, hand-forged and linked, a ne, close- tting ligree of gold,

55 kept me safe when some ocean creature pulled me to the bottom. Pinioned fast and swathed in its grip, I was granted one nal chance: my sword plunged

and the ordeal was over. Through my own hands, 60 the fury of battle had nished off the sea-beast.

“Time and again, foul things attacked me, lurking and stalking, but I lashed out, gave as good as I got with my sword. My esh was not for feasting on,

65 there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating over their banquet at the bottom of the sea. Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleeping
the sleep of the sword, they slopped and oated like the ocean’s leavings. From now on

70 sailors would be safe, the deep-sea raids
were over for good. Light came from the east, bright guarantee of God, and the waves
went quiet; I could see headlands
and buffeted cliffs. Often, for undaunted courage,

75 fate spares the man it has not already marked.

However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters. Such night-dangers
and hard ordeals I have never heard of
nor of a man more desolate in surging waves.

80 But worn out as I was, I survived,
came through with my life. The ocean lifted and laid me ashore, I landed safe
on the coast of Finland.

Now I cannot recall

85 any flight you entered, Unferth,

that bears comparison. I don’t boast when I say that neither you nor Breca were ever much celebrated for swordsmanship
or for facing danger on the eld of battle.

90 You killed your own kith and kin,
so for all your cleverness and quick tongue, you will suffer damnation in the depths of hell. The fact is, Unferth, if you were truly
as keen or courageous as you claim to be

95 Grendel would never have got away with such unchecked atrocity, attacks on your king, havoc in Heorot and horrors everywhere.
But he knows he need never be in dread

of your blade making a mizzle* of his blood
100 or of vengeance arriving ever from this quarter—

from the Victory-Shieldings, the shoulderers of the spear. He knows he can trample down you Danes
to his heart’s content, humiliate and murder
without fear of reprisal. But he will nd me different.

105 I will show him how Geats shape to kill
in the heat of battle. Then whoever wants to
may go bravely to mead, when morning light, scarfed in sun-dazzle, shines forth from the south and brings another daybreak to the world.”

 

* mizzle — a ne spray or mist

In lines 74 and 75, what reason does Beowulf give for his survival?

2 / 20

from Beowulf

From where he crouched at the king’s feet, Unferth, a son of Ecglaf’s, spoke
contrary words. Beowulf’s coming,
his sea-braving, made him sick with envy:

5 he could not brook or abide the fact
that anyone else alive under heaven might enjoy greater regard than he did: “Are you the Beowulf who took on Breca in a swimming match on the open sea,

10 risking the water just to prove that you could win? It was sheer vanity made you venture out
on the main deep. And no matter who tried,
friend or foe, to de ect the pair of you,

neither would back down: the sea-test obsessed you. 15 You waded in, embracing water,

taking its measure, mastering currents, riding on the swell. The ocean swayed, winter went wild in the waves, but you vied for seven nights; and then he outswam you,

20 came ashore the stronger contender.
He was cast up safe and sound one morning among the Heathoreams, then made his way to where he belonged in Bronding country, home again, sure of his ground

25 in strongroom and bawn. So Breca made good his boast upon you and was proved right.
No matter, therefore, how you may have fared in every bout and battle until now,

this time you’ll be worsted; no one has ever 30 outlasted an entire night against Grendel.”

Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s son, replied:
“Well, friend Unferth, you have had your say about Breca and me. But it was mostly beer

that was doing the talking. The truth is this:
35 when the going was heavy in those high waves,

I was the strongest swimmer of all.
We’d been children together and we grew up daring ourselves to outdo each other, boasting and urging each other to risk

40 our lives on the sea. And so it turned out. Each of us swam holding a sword,
a naked, hard-proofed blade for protection against the whale-beasts. But Breca could never move out farther or faster from me

45 than I could manage to move from him. Shoulder to shoulder, we struggled on
for ve nights, until the long ow
and pitch of the waves, the perishing cold, night falling and winds from the north

50 drove us apart. The deep boiled up
and its wallowing sent the sea-brutes wild.
My armour helped me to hold out;
my hard-ringed chain-mail, hand-forged and linked, a ne, close- tting ligree of gold,

55 kept me safe when some ocean creature pulled me to the bottom. Pinioned fast and swathed in its grip, I was granted one nal chance: my sword plunged

and the ordeal was over. Through my own hands, 60 the fury of battle had nished off the sea-beast.

“Time and again, foul things attacked me, lurking and stalking, but I lashed out, gave as good as I got with my sword. My esh was not for feasting on,

65 there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating over their banquet at the bottom of the sea. Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleeping
the sleep of the sword, they slopped and oated like the ocean’s leavings. From now on

70 sailors would be safe, the deep-sea raids
were over for good. Light came from the east, bright guarantee of God, and the waves
went quiet; I could see headlands
and buffeted cliffs. Often, for undaunted courage,

75 fate spares the man it has not already marked.

However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters. Such night-dangers
and hard ordeals I have never heard of
nor of a man more desolate in surging waves.

80 But worn out as I was, I survived,
came through with my life. The ocean lifted and laid me ashore, I landed safe
on the coast of Finland.

Now I cannot recall

85 any flight you entered, Unferth,

that bears comparison. I don’t boast when I say that neither you nor Breca were ever much celebrated for swordsmanship
or for facing danger on the eld of battle.

90 You killed your own kith and kin,
so for all your cleverness and quick tongue, you will suffer damnation in the depths of hell. The fact is, Unferth, if you were truly
as keen or courageous as you claim to be

95 Grendel would never have got away with such unchecked atrocity, attacks on your king, havoc in Heorot and horrors everywhere.
But he knows he need never be in dread

of your blade making a mizzle* of his blood
100 or of vengeance arriving ever from this quarter—

from the Victory-Shieldings, the shoulderers of the spear. He knows he can trample down you Danes
to his heart’s content, humiliate and murder
without fear of reprisal. But he will nd me different.

105 I will show him how Geats shape to kill
in the heat of battle. Then whoever wants to
may go bravely to mead, when morning light, scarfed in sun-dazzle, shines forth from the south and brings another daybreak to the world.”

 

* mizzle — a ne spray or mist

In lines 67-68, to what does “sleeping/the sleep of the sword” refer?

3 / 20

from Beowulf

From where he crouched at the king’s feet, Unferth, a son of Ecglaf’s, spoke
contrary words. Beowulf’s coming,
his sea-braving, made him sick with envy:

5 he could not brook or abide the fact
that anyone else alive under heaven might enjoy greater regard than he did: “Are you the Beowulf who took on Breca in a swimming match on the open sea,

10 risking the water just to prove that you could win? It was sheer vanity made you venture out
on the main deep. And no matter who tried,
friend or foe, to de ect the pair of you,

neither would back down: the sea-test obsessed you. 15 You waded in, embracing water,

taking its measure, mastering currents, riding on the swell. The ocean swayed, winter went wild in the waves, but you vied for seven nights; and then he outswam you,

20 came ashore the stronger contender.
He was cast up safe and sound one morning among the Heathoreams, then made his way to where he belonged in Bronding country, home again, sure of his ground

25 in strongroom and bawn. So Breca made good his boast upon you and was proved right.
No matter, therefore, how you may have fared in every bout and battle until now,

this time you’ll be worsted; no one has ever 30 outlasted an entire night against Grendel.”

Beowulf, Ecgtheow’s son, replied:
“Well, friend Unferth, you have had your say about Breca and me. But it was mostly beer

that was doing the talking. The truth is this:
35 when the going was heavy in those high waves,

I was the strongest swimmer of all.
We’d been children together and we grew up daring ourselves to outdo each other, boasting and urging each other to risk

40 our lives on the sea. And so it turned out. Each of us swam holding a sword,
a naked, hard-proofed blade for protection against the whale-beasts. But Breca could never move out farther or faster from me

45 than I could manage to move from him. Shoulder to shoulder, we struggled on
for ve nights, until the long ow
and pitch of the waves, the perishing cold, night falling and winds from the north

50 drove us apart. The deep boiled up
and its wallowing sent the sea-brutes wild.
My armour helped me to hold out;
my hard-ringed chain-mail, hand-forged and linked, a ne, close- tting ligree of gold,

55 kept me safe when some ocean creature pulled me to the bottom. Pinioned fast and swathed in its grip, I was granted one nal chance: my sword plunged

and the ordeal was over. Through my own hands, 60 the fury of battle had nished off the sea-beast.

“Time and again, foul things attacked me, lurking and stalking, but I lashed out, gave as good as I got with my sword. My esh was not for feasting on,

65 there would be no monsters gnawing and gloating over their banquet at the bottom of the sea. Instead, in the morning, mangled and sleeping
the sleep of the sword, they slopped and oated like the ocean’s leavings. From now on

70 sailors would be safe, the deep-sea raids
were over for good. Light came from the east, bright guarantee of God, and the waves
went quiet; I could see headlands
and buffeted cliffs. Often, for undaunted courage,

75 fate spares the man it has not already marked.

However it occurred, my sword had killed nine sea-monsters. Such night-dangers
and hard ordeals I have never heard of
nor of a man more desolate in surging waves.

80 But worn out as I was, I survived,
came through with my life. The ocean lifted and laid me ashore, I landed safe
on the coast of Finland.

Now I cannot recall

85 any flight you entered, Unferth,

that bears comparison. I don’t boast when I say that neither you nor Breca were ever much celebrated for swordsmanship
or for facing danger on the eld of battle.

90 You killed your own kith and kin,
so for all your cleverness and quick tongue, you will suffer damnation in the depths of hell. The fact is, Unferth, if you were truly
as keen or courageous as you claim to be

95 Grendel would never have got away with such unchecked atrocity, attacks on your king, havoc in Heorot and horrors everywhere.
But he knows he need never be in dread

of your blade making a mizzle* of his blood
100 or of vengeance arriving ever from this quarter—

from the Victory-Shieldings, the shoulderers of the spear. He knows he can trample down you Danes
to his heart’s content, humiliate and murder
without fear of reprisal. But he will nd me different.

105 I will show him how Geats shape to kill
in the heat of battle. Then whoever wants to
may go bravely to mead, when morning light, scarfed in sun-dazzle, shines forth from the south and brings another daybreak to the world.”

 

* mizzle — a ne spray or mist.

Based on lines 8–12, what does Unferth claim was the main reason Beowulf went out on the ocean?

4 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

Read the sentence from paragraph 8: “I deeply envied Bobby his self- control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick.” Based on the sentence, what does the word emulate mean?

5 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

What does paragraph 15 suggest about Bobby?

6 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

In paragraph 12, what does the description of the father’s reaction emphasize?

7 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

What is the main purpose of paragraph 10?

8 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

Based on paragraph 8, what is the main reason the narrator is intrigued with Bobby’s refusal to cry?

9 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

Based on paragraph 7, what happens as the rides in the truck continue?

10 / 20

from Bridge of Sighs

by Richard Russo

 

  1. There were no milk deliveries to residences on Saturdays, just to commercial businesses, and there were relatively few of these in the Borough. My father would nish his deliveries early, then swing by the house for Bobby Marconi and me so we could “surf the truck.” The empty metal milk crates were by then stacked and roped off against the side panels to prevent them from sliding and bouncing around when he turned corners. His careful stacking left most of the back empty, and Bobby and I would stand in the space created, our feet planted rmly on the ribbed oor, and pretend to surf, our arms out at our sides to keep our balance as the truck rattled along the wide Borough streets. I always surfed in the forward position, an advantage because you could see the turns coming. Bobby, as athletic in the milk truck as he was elsewhere, surfed more or less blind behind me. Not being able to see what was coming made the game that much more fun, he claimed, though I did help him by calling out “Left!” or “Sharp right!” when a turn approached. The idea was to make it through these turns without grabbing the empty milk crates for balance or the rail that ran the length of the truck, my father chortling appreciatively up front in the driver’s seat as we crashed about.
  2. Of course my father wasn’t supposed to take Bobby and me on his route, but the rules were lax and people did it all the time, was his thinking. There was no passenger seat, since there weren’t supposed to be any passengers, so if my father braked hard, there was nothing to stop Bobby and me but the metal dash. My father would try to grab us as we ew by, and he was good at it, but you never knew what his big st would grab hold of—an arm, your hair—and being saved from hitting the console sometimes hurt worse than colliding with it.
  3. “No, you ain’t gonna do no sur ng today,” he’d tell us rst thing each Saturday. “Bobby’s dad don’t want him doing that no more.” Mr. Marconi had made that pretty clear early on. Bobby had come home with a knot on his forehead, and his father had wanted to know why, so he’d explained how we always surfed the milk truck. It was fun, he said, and not really dangerous because my father never went fast. Which was true—you couldn’t go fast in a milk truck if you tried.
  4. But the next Saturday, when we pulled up in the truck, Mr. Marconi came out, too, and took my father aside. “Tell me about this sur ng,” he demanded, leaning toward him aggressively, his birthmark a bright purple. Lately, things had gotten a little easier between them, so much so that my father had remarked on it, even speculating that his neighbor had decided to bury the hatchet.
  5. My father explained to him how devoted we were to our sur ng on Saturday mornings, how we looked forward to it all week, how Mr. Marconi should hear how we laughed and shouted there in the back of the truck, how we hated it when he nally said that was enough. He said he was sorry about Bobby getting that lump on his noggin last week. “He don’t like to grab on till the last second,” he explained, which was true. It was Bobby’s fearlessness, his refusal to grab on to the rail or the stacked crates to keep from going ying, that had caused the injury. “Don’t worry,” my father assured him. “I keep a pretty good eye on ’em.”
  6. “You better had,” Mr. Marconi said. “Anything happens to my boy in that truck, you’re responsible.”
  7. So the following Saturday, the new rule was No Sur ng the Truck, but that made us miserable. There was no reason to be in the truck if we weren’t allowed to surf. “Just a little,” we pleaded. “Just ve minutes? Just around this one corner? Pleeeeeease?” And so it was that we wore my father down. Over time we went from No Sur ng to No Sur ng Till We’re Headed Back Home, thus limiting the amount of time for an injury to occur, to Be Careful, You Two, Because Bobby’s Dad Will Skin Me Alive If He Gets Hurt, and If He Don’t Your Mother Will, because, truth be told, she didn’t like the idea either.
  8. Why so much worry about us getting hurt? Well, because that’s what invariably happened. Otherwise, how would we know the game was over? Of course our injuries were not serious—a jammed nger, a skinned knee, usually—and most Saturdays we surfed until I cried, because Bobby, when he was injured, refused to cry, so my father didn’t know he’d been hurt and the fun could continue. I deeply envied Bobby his self-control and tried my best to emulate him, even as I suspected I’d never master the trick. Why he never cried was an even deeper mystery to me than why he never had to pay the bridge toll back when we lived on Berman Court. Every Saturday I’d tell myself that I wasn’t going to cry, but when the time came and I went crashing into the side of the truck, and my father, hearing the impact, turned around in his seat to check on us, my resolution would dissolve, not so much because of the pain as from his expression, which suggested that he knew I was hurt, that I couldn’t fool him anyway, so why try? And then the tears would just be there, brimming over, no holding them back.
  9. Still, before long we’d forgotten all about Mr. Marconi’s solemn warning, and why not? He had to know we were back at it. One or the other of us always got off the milk truck limping or rubbing an elbow, but we were also in high spirits, laughing and shouting and trying to get my father to promise we’d do it again next Saturday. Which wasn’t hard work, since he enjoyed the whole thing about as much as we did. He never talked about his own childhood, but according to my mother it couldn’t really be called a childhood at all, just an unrelenting series of chores, from sunrise to sunset, bleak and unending, which was why, she explained, he wasn’t anxious for me to have a paper route like Bobby or to be overburdened with responsibilities around the house. I was to keep my room clean and study when I was supposed to, but otherwise I was simply to be the sort of boy my father never had a chance to be. The pleasure he took in our joy when we surfed his milk truck was purely vicarious, and his grin was ear to ear.
  10. My own Saturday morning happiness was more complex. It’s true that I looked forward all week to our sur ng. As I said, it was about the only time Bobby and I got to spend together. But as the summer wore on I became troubled by the knowledge that part of me was waiting for, indeed looking forward to, my friend getting hurt. It had, of course, nothing to do with him and everything to do with my own cowardice and jealousy. The jealous part had to do, I think, with my understanding that Bobby’s bravery meant he was having more fun, something that my own cowardly bailing out had robbed me of. Each week I told myself I’d be braver, that this Saturday I wouldn’t reach out and hold on for safety. I’d surrender control and be ung about, laughing and full of joyous abandon. But every outing was the same as the last, and when the moment came, I grabbed on. Gradually, since wishing for courage didn’t work, I began wishing for something else entirely. I never wanted Bobby to be seriously injured, of course. That would have meant the end of everything. But I did wish that just once he’d be hurt bad enough to cry, which would lessen the gulf I perceived between him and me.
  11. And so our milk-truck sur ng ended the only way it could. I didn’t actually see Bobby break his wrist when he was ung against the side of the truck. I heard the bone snap, though. What saved me from suffering the same fate was my cowardice. I’d seen the curve coming and at the last second reached out and grabbed one of the tied-off milk crates. Bobby, taken by surprise, went ying.
  12. He must’ve known that his wrist was broken, because he went very pale, and when our eyes met and he saw my shock and fear, he immediately sat down with his back to the panel, cradling his hand in his lap against the truck’s vibrations. I think what my father heard wasn’t the terrible crack of Bobby’s wrist but only the silence that followed, and he immediately called back to us, wanting to know if we were all right. When Bobby refused to speak, I said that we were, but he knew better. If we weren’t whooping and hollering back there, something was wrong, and more seriously wrong than what happened every other Saturday morning. He didn’t just pull over and climb back into the dark interior of the truck, but instead got out, came around and threw the big rear doors wide open so the light could pour in. After one look at the angle of Bobby’s wrist, the blood drained out of my father’s face. While I expected him to get mad, he didn’t, and when he simply closed the doors again, got back into the truck and turned for home, it wasn’t Bobby but me who began to cry.
  13. Mr. Marconi was sitting on their upstairs front porch reading a magazine when we pulled up at the curb, and he seemed to know something had happened even before my father opened the rear doors of the truck. On the ride back from the Borough, Bobby had gotten sick, and the front of his shirt now glistened with vomit.
  14. When Mr. Marconi emerged from the house, my father began “It was an acci—” but Mr. Marconi held up his index nger, as if to say Wait a minute, except that he kept holding it there between them, which altered the meaning of the gesture completely. My father seemed to understand that he was being told to hold his tongue and, for the moment, at least, he held it. Mr. Marconi then reached up into the truck, lifted Bobby down and helped him into the station wagon. “I—” my father began again, but Mr. Marconi again held up that index nger and waited until my father backed up onto the terrace, allowing him to go around to the driver’s side and get in next to Bobby, who was by this time slumped against the door, having nally passed out from the pain.
  15. I was remembering what he’d said to me a few minutes before as we sat together in the back of the truck, everything quiet now aside from the rattling of the milk crates. “You didn’t call the turn.” He seemed less angry than curious, but it was an accusation just the same. I didn’t know what to say, though as soon as he spoke those words, I realized they were true.

What is the main purpose of paragraph 4?

11 / 20

Volar

by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

  1. At twelve I was an avid consumer of comic books—Supergirl being my favorite. I spent my allowance of a quarter a day on two twelve-cent comic books or a double issue for twenty- ve. I had a stack of Legion of Super Heroes and Supergirl comic books in my bedroom closet that was as tall as I. I had a recurring dream in those days: that I had long blond hair and could y. In my dream I climbed the stairs to the top of our apartment building as myself, but as I went up each ight, changes would be taking place. Step by step I would ll out: my legs would grow long, my arms harden into steel, and my hair would magically go straight and turn a golden color. . . . Supergirl had to be aerodynamic. Sleek and hard as a supersonic missile. Once on the roof, my parents safely asleep in their beds, I would get on tip-toe, arms outstretched in the position for ight and jump out my fty-story-high window into the black lake of the sky. From up there, over the rooftops, I could see everything, even beyond the few blocks of our barrio;1 with my X-ray vision I could look inside the homes of people who interested me. Once I saw our landlord, whom I knew my parents feared, sitting in a treasure-room dressed in an ermine coat and a large gold crown. He sat on the oor counting his dollar bills. I played a trick on him. Going up to his building’s chimney, I blew a little puff of my super-breath into his replace, scattering his stacks of money so that he had to start counting all over again. I could more or less program my Supergirl dreams in those days by focusing on the object of my current obsession. This way I “saw” into the private lives of my neighbors, my teachers, and in the last days of my childish fantasy and the beginning of adolescence, into the secret room of the boys I liked. In the mornings I’d wake up in my tiny bedroom with the incongruous—at least in our tiny apartment—white “princess” furniture my mother had chosen for me, and nd myself back in my body: my tight curls still clinging to my head, skinny arms and legs . . . unchanged.
  2. In the kitchen my mother and father would be talking softly over a café con leche.2 She would come “wake me” exactly forty- ve minutes after they had gotten up. It was their time together at the beginning of each day and even at an early age I could feel their disappointment if I interrupted them by getting up too early. So I would stay in my bed recalling my dreams of ight, perhaps planning my next ight. In the kitchen they would be discussing events in the barrio. Actually, he would be carrying that part of the conversation; when it was her turn to speak she would, more often than not, try shifting

the topic toward her desire to see her familia on the Island: How about a vacation in Puerto Rico together this year, Querido?3 We could rent a car, go to the beach. We could . . . And he would answer patiently, gently, Mi amor,4 do you know how much it would cost for the all of us to y there? It is not possible for me to take the time off . . . Mi vida,5 please understand. . . . And I knew that soon she would rise from the table. Not abruptly. She would light a cigarette and look out the kitchen window. The view was of a dismal alley that was littered with refuse thrown from windows. The space was too narrow for anyone larger than a skinny child to enter safely, so it was never cleaned. My mother would check the time on the clock over her sink, the one with a prayer for patience and grace written in Spanish. A birthday gift. She would see that it was time to wake me. She’d sigh deeply and say the same thing the view from her kitchen window always inspired her to say: Ay, si yo pudiera volar.6

 

3 Querido — dear
4 Mi amor — my love
5 Mi vida — my life, used as a term of endearment 6 Ay, si yo pudiera volar — Oh, if only I could fly.

What is the main effect of the author’s use of Spanish phrases in the essay?

12 / 20

Volar

by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

  1. At twelve I was an avid consumer of comic books—Supergirl being my favorite. I spent my allowance of a quarter a day on two twelve-cent comic books or a double issue for twenty- ve. I had a stack of Legion of Super Heroes and Supergirl comic books in my bedroom closet that was as tall as I. I had a recurring dream in those days: that I had long blond hair and could y. In my dream I climbed the stairs to the top of our apartment building as myself, but as I went up each ight, changes would be taking place. Step by step I would ll out: my legs would grow long, my arms harden into steel, and my hair would magically go straight and turn a golden color. . . . Supergirl had to be aerodynamic. Sleek and hard as a supersonic missile. Once on the roof, my parents safely asleep in their beds, I would get on tip-toe, arms outstretched in the position for ight and jump out my fty-story-high window into the black lake of the sky. From up there, over the rooftops, I could see everything, even beyond the few blocks of our barrio;1 with my X-ray vision I could look inside the homes of people who interested me. Once I saw our landlord, whom I knew my parents feared, sitting in a treasure-room dressed in an ermine coat and a large gold crown. He sat on the oor counting his dollar bills. I played a trick on him. Going up to his building’s chimney, I blew a little puff of my super-breath into his replace, scattering his stacks of money so that he had to start counting all over again. I could more or less program my Supergirl dreams in those days by focusing on the object of my current obsession. This way I “saw” into the private lives of my neighbors, my teachers, and in the last days of my childish fantasy and the beginning of adolescence, into the secret room of the boys I liked. In the mornings I’d wake up in my tiny bedroom with the incongruous—at least in our tiny apartment—white “princess” furniture my mother had chosen for me, and nd myself back in my body: my tight curls still clinging to my head, skinny arms and legs . . . unchanged.
  2. In the kitchen my mother and father would be talking softly over a café con leche.2 She would come “wake me” exactly forty- ve minutes after they had gotten up. It was their time together at the beginning of each day and even at an early age I could feel their disappointment if I interrupted them by getting up too early. So I would stay in my bed recalling my dreams of ight, perhaps planning my next ight. In the kitchen they would be discussing events in the barrio. Actually, he would be carrying that part of the conversation; when it was her turn to speak she would, more often than not, try shifting

the topic toward her desire to see her familia on the Island: How about a vacation in Puerto Rico together this year, Querido?3 We could rent a car, go to the beach. We could . . . And he would answer patiently, gently, Mi amor,4 do you know how much it would cost for the all of us to y there? It is not possible for me to take the time off . . . Mi vida,5 please understand. . . . And I knew that soon she would rise from the table. Not abruptly. She would light a cigarette and look out the kitchen window. The view was of a dismal alley that was littered with refuse thrown from windows. The space was too narrow for anyone larger than a skinny child to enter safely, so it was never cleaned. My mother would check the time on the clock over her sink, the one with a prayer for patience and grace written in Spanish. A birthday gift. She would see that it was time to wake me. She’d sigh deeply and say the same thing the view from her kitchen window always inspired her to say: Ay, si yo pudiera volar.6

 

3 Querido — dear
4 Mi amor — my love
5 Mi vida — my life, used as a term of endearment 6 Ay, si yo pudiera volar — Oh, if only I could fly.

Based on the essay, which characteristic best describes the author’s father?

13 / 20

Volar

by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

  1. At twelve I was an avid consumer of comic books—Supergirl being my favorite. I spent my allowance of a quarter a day on two twelve-cent comic books or a double issue for twenty- ve. I had a stack of Legion of Super Heroes and Supergirl comic books in my bedroom closet that was as tall as I. I had a recurring dream in those days: that I had long blond hair and could y. In my dream I climbed the stairs to the top of our apartment building as myself, but as I went up each ight, changes would be taking place. Step by step I would ll out: my legs would grow long, my arms harden into steel, and my hair would magically go straight and turn a golden color. . . . Supergirl had to be aerodynamic. Sleek and hard as a supersonic missile. Once on the roof, my parents safely asleep in their beds, I would get on tip-toe, arms outstretched in the position for ight and jump out my fty-story-high window into the black lake of the sky. From up there, over the rooftops, I could see everything, even beyond the few blocks of our barrio;1 with my X-ray vision I could look inside the homes of people who interested me. Once I saw our landlord, whom I knew my parents feared, sitting in a treasure-room dressed in an ermine coat and a large gold crown. He sat on the oor counting his dollar bills. I played a trick on him. Going up to his building’s chimney, I blew a little puff of my super-breath into his replace, scattering his stacks of money so that he had to start counting all over again. I could more or less program my Supergirl dreams in those days by focusing on the object of my current obsession. This way I “saw” into the private lives of my neighbors, my teachers, and in the last days of my childish fantasy and the beginning of adolescence, into the secret room of the boys I liked. In the mornings I’d wake up in my tiny bedroom with the incongruous—at least in our tiny apartment—white “princess” furniture my mother had chosen for me, and nd myself back in my body: my tight curls still clinging to my head, skinny arms and legs . . . unchanged.
  2. In the kitchen my mother and father would be talking softly over a café con leche.2 She would come “wake me” exactly forty- ve minutes after they had gotten up. It was their time together at the beginning of each day and even at an early age I could feel their disappointment if I interrupted them by getting up too early. So I would stay in my bed recalling my dreams of ight, perhaps planning my next ight. In the kitchen they would be discussing events in the barrio. Actually, he would be carrying that part of the conversation; when it was her turn to speak she would, more often than not, try shifting

the topic toward her desire to see her familia on the Island: How about a vacation in Puerto Rico together this year, Querido?3 We could rent a car, go to the beach. We could . . . And he would answer patiently, gently, Mi amor,4 do you know how much it would cost for the all of us to y there? It is not possible for me to take the time off . . . Mi vida,5 please understand. . . . And I knew that soon she would rise from the table. Not abruptly. She would light a cigarette and look out the kitchen window. The view was of a dismal alley that was littered with refuse thrown from windows. The space was too narrow for anyone larger than a skinny child to enter safely, so it was never cleaned. My mother would check the time on the clock over her sink, the one with a prayer for patience and grace written in Spanish. A birthday gift. She would see that it was time to wake me. She’d sigh deeply and say the same thing the view from her kitchen window always inspired her to say: Ay, si yo pudiera volar.6

 

3 Querido — dear
4 Mi amor — my love
5 Mi vida — my life, used as a term of endearment 6 Ay, si yo pudiera volar — Oh, if only I could fly

In paragraph 1, which specific action changes the author from a girl into a superhero?

14 / 20

Volar

by Judith Ortiz Cofer

 

  1. At twelve I was an avid consumer of comic books—Supergirl being my favorite. I spent my allowance of a quarter a day on two twelve-cent comic books or a double issue for twenty- ve. I had a stack of Legion of Super Heroes and Supergirl comic books in my bedroom closet that was as tall as I. I had a recurring dream in those days: that I had long blond hair and could y. In my dream I climbed the stairs to the top of our apartment building as myself, but as I went up each ight, changes would be taking place. Step by step I would ll out: my legs would grow long, my arms harden into steel, and my hair would magically go straight and turn a golden color. . . . Supergirl had to be aerodynamic. Sleek and hard as a supersonic missile. Once on the roof, my parents safely asleep in their beds, I would get on tip-toe, arms outstretched in the position for ight and jump out my fty-story-high window into the black lake of the sky. From up there, over the rooftops, I could see everything, even beyond the few blocks of our barrio;1 with my X-ray vision I could look inside the homes of people who interested me. Once I saw our landlord, whom I knew my parents feared, sitting in a treasure-room dressed in an ermine coat and a large gold crown. He sat on the oor counting his dollar bills. I played a trick on him. Going up to his building’s chimney, I blew a little puff of my super-breath into his replace, scattering his stacks of money so that he had to start counting all over again. I could more or less program my Supergirl dreams in those days by focusing on the object of my current obsession. This way I “saw” into the private lives of my neighbors, my teachers, and in the last days of my childish fantasy and the beginning of adolescence, into the secret room of the boys I liked. In the mornings I’d wake up in my tiny bedroom with the incongruous—at least in our tiny apartment—white “princess” furniture my mother had chosen for me, and nd myself back in my body: my tight curls still clinging to my head, skinny arms and legs . . . unchanged.
  2. In the kitchen my mother and father would be talking softly over a café con leche.2 She would come “wake me” exactly forty- ve minutes after they had gotten up. It was their time together at the beginning of each day and even at an early age I could feel their disappointment if I interrupted them by getting up too early. So I would stay in my bed recalling my dreams of ight, perhaps planning my next ight. In the kitchen they would be discussing events in the barrio. Actually, he would be carrying that part of the conversation; when it was her turn to speak she would, more often than not, try shifting

the topic toward her desire to see her familia on the Island: How about a vacation in Puerto Rico together this year, Querido?3 We could rent a car, go to the beach. We could . . . And he would answer patiently, gently, Mi amor,4 do you know how much it would cost for the all of us to y there? It is not possible for me to take the time off . . . Mi vida,5 please understand. . . . And I knew that soon she would rise from the table. Not abruptly. She would light a cigarette and look out the kitchen window. The view was of a dismal alley that was littered with refuse thrown from windows. The space was too narrow for anyone larger than a skinny child to enter safely, so it was never cleaned. My mother would check the time on the clock over her sink, the one with a prayer for patience and grace written in Spanish. A birthday gift. She would see that it was time to wake me. She’d sigh deeply and say the same thing the view from her kitchen window always inspired her to say: Ay, si yo pudiera volar.6

 

3 Querido — dear
4 Mi amor — my love
5 Mi vida — my life, used as a term of endearment 6 Ay, si yo pudiera volar — Oh, if only I could fly.

Read the sentence from paragraph 1: ” . . . I would get on tip-toe, arms outstretched in the position for flight and jump out my fifty-story-high window into the black lake of the sky.” the phrase “black lake of the sky” makes the sky seem

 

15 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

In paragraph 1, what does the information between the dashes provide?

16 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

Which of the following would be the best subtitle for the excerpt?

17 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

Which of the following additions to paragraph 4 would be most useful to the reader?

18 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

What is one of the main purposes of the statistics in paragraph 3?

19 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

In paragraph 3, what is the most likely reason the author states, “cables are the vines of the city?”

20 / 20

from RATS

by Robert Sullivan

  1. A rat is a rodent, the most common mammal in the world. Rattus norvegicus is one of the approximately four hundred different kinds of rodents, and it is known by many names, each of which describes a trait or a perceived trait or sometimes a habitat: the earth rat, the roving rat, the barn rat, the eld rat, the migratory rat, the house rat, the sewer rat, the water rat, the wharf rat, the alley rat, the gray rat, the brown rat, and the common rat. The average brown rat is large and stocky; it grows to be approximately sixteen inches long from its nose to its tail—the size of a large adult human male’s foot—and weighs about a pound, though brown rats have been measured by scientists and exterminators at twenty inches and up to two pounds. The brown rat is sometimes confused with the black rat, or Rattus rattus, which is smaller and once inhabited New York City and all of the cities of America but, since Rattus norvegicus pushed it out, is now relegated to a minor role. (The two species still survive alongside each other in some Southern coastal cities and on the West Coast, in places like Los Angeles, for example, where the black rat lives in attics and palm trees.) The black rat is always a very dark gray, almost black, and the brown rat is gray or brown, with a belly that can be light gray, yellow, or even a pure-seeming white. One spring, beneath the Brooklyn Bridge, I saw a red-haired brown rat that had been run over by a car. Both pet rats and laboratory rats are Rattus norvegicus, but they are not wild and therefore, I would emphasize, not the subject of this book. Sometimes pet rats are called fancy rats. But if anyone has picked up this book to learn about fancy rats, then they should put this book down right away; none of the rats mentioned herein are at all fancy.
  2. Rats are nocturnal, and out in the night the brown rat’s eyes are small and black and shiny; when a ashlight shines into them in the dark, the eyes of a rat light up like the eyes of a deer. Though it forages* in darkness, the brown rat has poor eyesight. It makes up for this with, rst of all, an excellent sense of smell. . . . They have an excellent sense of taste, detecting the most minute amounts of poison, down to one part per million. A brown rat has strong feet, the two front paws each equipped with four clawlike nails, the rear paws even longer and stronger. It can run and climb with squirrel-like agility. It is an excellent swimmer, surviving in rivers and bays, in sewer streams and toilet bowls.
  3. The brown rat’s teeth are yellow, the front two incisors being especially long and sharp, like buckteeth. When the brown rat bites, its front two teeth spread apart. When it gnaws, a ap of skin plugs the space behind its incisors. Hence, when the rat gnaws on indigestible materials—concrete or steel, for example—the shavings don’t go down the rat’s throat and kill it. Its incisors grow at a rate of ve inches per year. Rats always gnaw, and no one is certain why—there are few modern rat studies. It is sometimes erroneously stated that the rat gnaws solely to limit the length of its incisors, which would otherwise grow out of its head, but this is not the case: the incisors wear down naturally. In terms of hardness, the brown rat’s teeth are stronger than aluminum, copper, lead, and iron. They are comparable to steel. With the alligator-like structure of their jaws, rats can exert a biting pressure of up to seven thousand pounds per square inch. Rats, like mice, seem to be attracted to wires—to utility wires, computer wires, wires in vehicles, in addition to gas and water pipes. One rat expert theorizes that wires may be attractive to rats because of their resemblance to vines and the stalks of plants; cables are the vines of the city. By one estimate, 26 percent of all electric-cable breaks and 18 percent of all phone-cable disruptions are caused by rats. According to one study, as many as 25 percent of all res of unknown origin are rat-caused. Rats chew electrical cables. Sitting in a nest of tattered rags and newspapers, in the oorboards of an old tenement, a rat gnaws the head of a match—the lightning in the city forest.
  4. When it is not gnawing or feeding on trash, the brown rat digs. Anywhere there is dirt in a city, brown rats are likely to be digging—in parks, in owerbeds, in little dirt-poor backyards. They dig holes to enter buildings and to make nests. Rat nests can be in the oorboards of apartments, in the waste-stuffed corners of subway stations, in sewers, or beneath old furniture in basements. “Cluttered and unkempt alleyways in cities provide ideal rat habitat, especially those alleyways associated with food-serving establishments,” writes Robert Corrigan in Rodent Control, a pest control manual. “Alley rats can forage safely within the shadows created by the alleyway, as well as quickly retreat to the safety of cover in these narrow channels.” Often, rats burrow under concrete sidewalk slabs. Entrance to a typical under-the-sidewalk rat’s nest is gained through a two-inch-wide hole—their skeletons collapse and they can squeeze into a hole as small as three quarters of an inch wide, the average width of their skull. This tunnel then travels about a foot down to where it widens into a nest or den. The den is lined with soft debris, often shredded plastic garbage or shopping bags, but sometimes even grasses or plants; some rat nests have been found stuffed with the gnawed shavings of the wood-based, spring-loaded snap traps that are used in attempts to kill them. The back of the den then narrows into a long tunnel that opens up on another hole back on the street. This second hole is called a bolt hole; it is an emergency exit. A bolt hole is typically covered lightly with dirt or trash—camou age. Sometimes there are networks of burrows, which can stretch beneath a few concrete squares on a sidewalk, or a number of backyards, or even an entire city block—when Rattus norvegicus rst came to Selkirk, England, in 1776, there were so many burrows that people feared the town might sink. Rats can also nest in basements, sewers, manholes, abandoned pipes of any kind, oorboards, or any hole or depression. “Often,” Robert Corrigan writes, “‘city rats’ will live unbeknownst to people right beneath their feet.”

5. Rats also inhabit subways, as most people in New York City and any city with a subway system are well aware. Every once in a while, there are reports of rats boarding trains, but for the most part rats stay on the tracks—subway workers I have talked to refer to rats as “track rabbits.” People tend to think that the subways are lled with rats, but in fact rats are not everywhere in the system; they live in the subways according to the supply of discarded human food and sewer leaks. Sometimes, rats use the subway purely for nesting purposes; they nd ways through the walls of the subway stations leading from the tracks to the restaurants and stores on the street—the vibrations of subway trains tend to create rat-size cracks and holes. Many subway rats tend to live near stations that are themselves near fast-food restaurants. At the various subway stations near Herald Square, for example, people come down from the streets and throw the food that they have not eaten onto the tracks, along with newspapers and soda bottles and, I have noticed, thousands of no- longer-charged AA batteries, waiting to leak acid. The rats eat freely from the waste and sit at the side of the little streams of creamy brown sewery water that ows between the rails. They sip the water the way rats do, either with their front paws or by scooping it up with their incisors.

What does the end of paragraph 2 mainly emphasize about rats?

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