GED Language Arts (RLA) : Inferences About Passage Ideas and Meanings

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Question #1 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

Adapted from As You Like It by William Shakespeare (1623)

 

[This is a monologue by the character Jacques]

 

All the world's a stage,

And all the men and women merely players;

They have their exits and their entrances;

And one man in his time plays many parts,

His acts being seven ages. At first the infant,

Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms;

Then the whining school-boy, with his satchel

And shining morning face, creeping like a snail

Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,

Sighing like a furnace, with a woeful ballad

Made to his mistress' eyebrow. Then a soldier,

Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,

Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel,

Seeking the bubble reputation

Even in the cannon's mouth. And then the justice,

In fair round belly with good capon lin'd,

With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,

Full of wise saws and modern instances;

And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts

Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon,

With spectacles on nose and pouch on side,

His youthful hose, well sav'd, a world too wide

For his shrunk shank; and his big manly voice,

Turning again toward childish treble, pipes

And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,

That ends this strange eventful history,

Is second childishness and mere oblivion;

Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

What is meant by the underlined selection, "with a woeful ballad, made to his mistress' eyebrow"?

Possible Answers:

The lover praises—with a certain melancholy—the beauties of the feminine eye.

The lover is overcome with the shape of the female eyebrow and can only sigh to think that he will never have such beauty himself.

The lover is formally complicit in adultery, having a mistress to whom he sighs.

The lover's emotions are dependent upon the whims and affections of his lover.

The depression of the lover is completely his own fault because of his misapplied attention to the eyebrows of his mistress.

Correct answer:

The lover's emotions are dependent upon the whims and affections of his lover.

Explanation:

The lover is said to "sign like a furnace," implying that he is sighing in love. His ballad may be an actual song, but it may well be the "ballad" of his words of praise for his lover. He is woeful, however, because his praise depends on her affection—whether or not she will lift her eyebrow in approval. This period of life is presented as an image of the swooning love of youth, which often fluctuates, all depending on the current whims of the lover.

Example Question #2 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

Adapted from "May Day" in Tales of the Jazz Age by F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922)

At nine o'clock on the morning of the first of May, 1919, a young man spoke to the room clerk at the Biltmore Hotel, asking if Mr. Philip Dean were registered there, and if so, could he be connected with Mr. Dean's rooms. The inquirer was dressed in a well-cut, shabby suit. He was small, slender, and darkly handsome; his eyes were framed above with unusually long eyelashes and below with the blue semicircle of ill health, this latter effect heightened by an unnatural glow which colored his face like a low, incessant fever.

Mr. Dean was staying there. The young man was directed to a telephone at the side.

After a second his connection was made; a sleepy voice hello'd from somewhere above.

"Mr. Dean?"—this very eagerly—"it's Gordon, Phil. It's Gordon Sterrett. I'm down-stairs. I heard you were in New York and I had a hunch you'd be here."

The sleepy voice became gradually enthusiastic. Well, how was Gordy, old boy! Well, he certainly was surprised and tickled! Would Gordy come right up, for Pete's sake!

A few minutes later Philip Dean, dressed in blue silk pajamas, opened his door and the two young men greeted each other with a half-embarrassed exuberance. They were both about twenty-four, Yale graduates of the year before the war; but there the resemblance stopped abruptly. Dean was blond, ruddy, and rugged under his thin pajamas. Everything about him radiated fitness and bodily comfort. He smiled frequently, showing large and prominent teeth.

"I was going to look you up," he cried enthusiastically. "I'm taking a couple of weeks off. If you'll sit down a sec I'll be right with you. Going to take a shower."

As he vanished into the bathroom his visitor's dark eyes roved nervously around the room, resting for a moment on a great English travelling bag in the corner and on a family of thick silk shirts littered on the chairs amid impressive neckties and soft woollen socks.

Gordon rose and, picking up one of the shirts, gave it a minute examination. It was of very heavy silk, yellow, with a pale blue stripe—and there were nearly a dozen of them. He stared involuntarily at his own shirt-cuffs—they were ragged and linty at the edges and soiled to a faint gray. Dropping the silk shirt, he held his coat-sleeves down and worked the frayed shirt-cuffs up till they were out of sight. Then he went to the mirror and looked at himself with listless, unhappy interest. His tie, of former glory, was faded and thumb-creased—it served no longer to hide the jagged buttonholes of his collar. He thought, quite without amusement, that only three years before he had received a scattering vote in the senior elections at college for being the best-dressed man in his class.

Which of the following statements about Philip Dean is supported by the passage?

Possible Answers:

He is uncaring towards Gordon.

He works at the hotel.

He has a fever.

He is condescending.

He can afford to sleep late. 

Correct answer:

He can afford to sleep late. 

Explanation:

It is nine in the morning and the two other characters we have been introduced to are awake whilst Philip is in his pajamas. We can infer that he  was probably sleeping before he answered the phone because his voice is described as "sleepy" in the third paragraph. If he can afford to sleep late, we can assume that he probably does not work and that he is wealthy.

Example Question #3 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

Adapted from "Review of Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll" by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

The most obvious and most unaccountable faults of The Hutted Knoll are those which appertain to the style—to the mere grammatical construction; for, in other and more important particulars of style, Mr. Cooper, of late days, has made a very manifest improvement. His sentences, however, are arranged with an awkwardness so remarkable as to be matter of absolute astonishment, when we consider the education of the author and his long and continual practice with the pen. In minute descriptions of localities, any verbal inaccuracy or confusion becomes a source of vexation and misunderstanding, detracting very much from the pleasure of perusal; and in these inaccuracies Wyandotté abounds. Although, for instance, we carefully read and reread that portion of the narrative that details the situation of the Knoll, and the construction of the buildings and walls about it, we were forced to proceed with the story without any exact or definite impressions upon the subject. Similar difficulties, from similar causes, occur passim throughout the book. For example, at page 41, vol. I:

“The man gazed at the house with a fierce intentness that sometimes glared, in a manner that had got to be, in its ordinary aspects, dull.”  This it is utterly impossible to comprehend. We presume, however, the intention is to say that although the man’s ordinary manner (of gazing) had “got to be” dull, he occasionally gazed with an intentness that glared, and that he did so in the instance in question. The “got to be” is atrocious, the whole sentence no less so.

Here, at page 9, vol. I, is something excessively vague: “Of the latter character is the face of most of that region that lies in the angle formed by the junction of the Mohawk with the Hudson,” etc. etc. The Mohawk, joining the Hudson, forms two angles, of course—an acute and an obtuse one; and, without farther explanation, it is difficult to say which is intended.

At page 55, vol. I., we read: “The captain, owing to his English education, had avoided straight lines, and formal paths, giving to the little spot the improvement on nature which is a consequence of embellishing her works without destroying them. On each side of this lawn was an orchard, thrifty and young, and that were already beginning to show signs of putting forth their blossoms.”  Here we are tautologically informed that improvement is a consequence of embellishment, and supererogatorily told that the rule holds good only where the embellishment is not accompanied by destruction. Upon the “each orchard were" it is needless to comment.

What can we infer about Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll from this passage?

Possible Answers:

It is a book that spans multiple volumes.

It is a work that has been translated from another language.

It is Cooper's first novel.

It is a book that takes place entirely in a city.

Correct answer:

It is a book that spans multiple volumes.

Explanation:

The only answer choice that we can infer about Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll from the passage is that it is a book that spans multiple volumes. Whenever Poe cites a particular sentence or excerpt, he gives the location of that quotation in the book, and he always includes "vol. I" in these citations. From this, we can infer that Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll must span at least two volumes, or Poe would not need to specify that he is taking his quotations from the first volume of the book.

Example Question #4 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

For [Dorian’s] wonderful beauty that had so fascinated Basil Hallward, and many others besides him, seemed never to leave him. Even those who had heard the most evil things against him—and from time to time strange rumours about his mode of life crept through London and became the chatter of the clubs—could not believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him. He had always the look of one who had kept himself unspotted from the world. Men who talked grossly became silent when Dorian Gray entered the room. There was something in the purity of his face that rebuked them. His mere presence seemed to recall to them the memory of the innocence that they had tarnished. They wondered how one so charming and graceful as he was could have escaped the stain of an age that was at once sordid and sensual.

Often, on returning home from one of those mysterious and prolonged absences that gave rise to such strange conjecture among those who were his friends, or thought that they were so, he himself would creep upstairs to the locked room, open the door with the key that never left him now, and stand, with a mirror, in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him, looking now at the evil and aging face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that laughed back at him from the polished glass. The very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his sense of pleasure. He grew more and more enamoured of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul. He would examine with minute care, and sometimes with a monstrous and terrible delight, the hideous lines that seared the wrinkling forehead or crawled around the heavy sensual mouth, wondering sometimes which were the more horrible, the signs of sin or the signs of age. He would place his white hands beside the coarse bloated hands of the picture, and smile. He mocked the misshapen body and the failing limbs.

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

To which “sharpness of contrast” does the passage refer?

Possible Answers:

That between innocence and corruption

That between Dorian Gray and his portrait

That between sin and salvation

That between the evening and the morning

Correct answer:

That between Dorian Gray and his portrait

Explanation:

“That between Dorian Gray and his portrait” is the correct answer. The story line of Dorian Gray has to do with a man (Dorian) who does not age or suffer any physical manifestations of a life lived to excess, because a “magical” (for lack of a better word) portrait ages and suffers for him. While the passage does not explicitly say just that (it would be a much shorter book if it did!) it quite clearly leads in that direction. Indeed, the passage notes that the “face on the canvas” was “evil and aging” while the face in the mirror (Dorian’s “actual” face) was “fair [and] young.”

Example Question #5 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

For [Dorian’s] wonderful beauty that had so fascinated Basil Hallward, and many others besides him, seemed never to leave him. Even those who had heard the most evil things against him—and from time to time strange rumours about his mode of life crept through London and became the chatter of the clubs—could not believe anything to his dishonour when they saw him. He had always the look of one who had kept himself unspotted from the world. Men who talked grossly became silent when Dorian Gray entered the room. There was something in the purity of his face that rebuked them. His mere presence seemed to recall to them the memory of the innocence that they had tarnished. They wondered how one so charming and graceful as he was could have escaped the stain of an age that was at once sordid and sensual.

Often, on returning home from one of those mysterious and prolonged absences that gave rise to such strange conjecture among those who were his friends, or thought that they were so, he himself would creep upstairs to the locked room, open the door with the key that never left him now, and stand, with a mirror, in front of the portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of him, looking now at the evil and aging face on the canvas, and now at the fair young face that laughed back at him from the polished glass. The very sharpness of the contrast used to quicken his sense of pleasure. He grew more and more enamoured of his own beauty, more and more interested in the corruption of his own soul. He would examine with minute care, and sometimes with a monstrous and terrible delight, the hideous lines that seared the wrinkling forehead or crawled around the heavy sensual mouth, wondering sometimes which were the more horrible, the signs of sin or the signs of age. He would place his white hands beside the coarse bloated hands of the picture, and smile. He mocked the misshapen body and the failing limbs.

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

“Looking now at the  . . . face on the canvas and the fair young face that laughed back at him” leads to what main inference about the relationship between Dorian Gray and the picture?

Possible Answers:

Dorian is suffering the ravages of time while the picture remains timeless

The picture is an adequate representation of what Dorian should look like

The picture is aging while Dorian is not

Two of these answers are correct

Correct answer:

The picture is aging while Dorian is not

Explanation:

“Two of these answers are correct” is the correct answer. Both “the picture is aging . . .” and “the picture is an adequate representation of . . .” are correct. The story line of Dorian Gray has to do with a man (Dorian) who does not age or suffer any physical manifestations of a life lived to excess, because a “magical” (for lack of a better word) portrait ages and suffers for him. The passage directly leads to this inference: first, the passage notes the “portrait that Basil Hallward had painted of [Dorian]”; the passage goes on to say that the face on the canvas was “evil and aging” while Dorian’s face was “fair and young”; the passage concludes by noting how Dorian would place his “white hands” next to the “coarse bloated hands of the picture.” Thus, the picture is “evil and aging” with “coarse bloated hands,” while Dorian is “fair [and] young” with “white” hands.

Example Question #6 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

It was rumoured of him once that he [Dorian Gray] was about to join the Roman Catholic communion, and certainly the Roman ritual had always a great attraction for him. The daily sacrifice, more awful really than all the sacrifices of the antique world, stirred him as much by its superb rejection of the evidence of the senses as by the primitive simplicity of its elements and the eternal pathos of the human tragedy that it sought to symbolize. He loved to kneel down on the cold marble pavement and watch the priest, in his stiff flowered dalmatic, slowly and with white hands moving aside the veil of the tabernacle, or raising aloft the jewelled, lantern-shaped monstrance with that pallid wafer that at times, one would fain think, is indeed the "panis caelestis," the bread of angels, or, robed in the garments of the Passion of Christ, breaking the Host into the chalice and smiting his breast for his sins. The fuming censers that the grave boys, in their lace and scarlet, tossed into the air like great gilt flowers had their subtle fascination for him. As he passed out, he used to look with wonder at the black confessionals and long to sit in the dim shadow of one of them and listen to men and women whispering through the worn grating the true story of their lives.

 

But he never fell into the error of arresting his intellectual development by any formal acceptance of creed or system, or of mistaking, for a house in which to live, an inn that is but suitable for the sojourn of a night, or for a few hours of a night in which there are no stars and the moon is in travail. Mysticism, with its marvellous power of making common things strange to us, and the subtle antinomianism that always seems to accompany it, moved him for a season; and for a season he inclined to the materialistic doctrines of the Darwinismus movement in Germany, and found a curious pleasure in tracing the thoughts and passions of men to some pearly cell in the brain, or some white nerve in the body, delighting in the conception of the absolute dependence of the spirit on certain physical conditions, morbid or healthy, normal or diseased. Yet, as has been said of him before, no theory of life seemed to him to be of any importance compared with life itself. He felt keenly conscious of how barren all intellectual speculation is when separated from action and experiment. He knew that the senses, no less than the soul, have their spiritual mysteries to reveal.

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What does the underlined passage above mean?

Possible Answers:

That Dorian would rather stay in a house rather than an inn

That Dorian never stays in inns when he travels

That, while Dorian was fascinated by the Catholic Church, he viewed it as an idle fancy rather than an appropriate occupation

That Catholicism is like a house

Correct answer:

That, while Dorian was fascinated by the Catholic Church, he viewed it as an idle fancy rather than an appropriate occupation

Explanation:

“That, while Dorian was fascinated by the Catholic Church . . .” is the correct answer. Wilde’s analogy is an interesting turn of phrase, and one that might easily ensnare a careless reader. At any rate, Wilde is analogizing between places to rest and intellectual pursuits. Essentially, Wilde is saying that, while Dorian was intellectually interested in the Catholic Church, he wasn’t interested enough to join it—similar to how a traveler may stay at an inn but would not live there.

Example Question #7 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

My dear boy," said Lord Henry, smiling, "anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there. That is the reason why people who live out of town are so absolutely uncivilized. Civilization is not by any means an easy thing to attain to. There are only two ways by which man can reach it. One is by being cultured, the other by being corrupt. Country people have no opportunity of being either, so they stagnate."

"Culture and corruption," echoed Dorian. "I have known something of both. It seems terrible to me now that they should ever be found together. For I have a new ideal, Harry. I am going to alter. I think I have altered."

"You have not yet told me what your good action was. Or did you say you had done more than one?" asked his companion as he spilled into his plate a little crimson pyramid of seeded strawberries and, through a perforated, shell-shaped spoon, snowed white sugar upon them.

"I can tell you, Harry. It is not a story I could tell to any one else. I spared somebody. It sounds vain, but you understand what I mean. She was quite beautiful and wonderfully like Sibyl Vane. I think it was that which first attracted me to her. You remember Sibyl, don't you? How long ago that seems! Well, Hetty was not one of our own class, of course. She was simply a girl in a village. But I really loved her. I am quite sure that I loved her. All during this wonderful May that we have been having, I used to run down and see her two or three times a week. Yesterday she met me in a little orchard. The apple-blossoms kept tumbling down on her hair, and she was laughing. We were to have gone away together this morning at dawn. Suddenly I determined to leave her as flowerlike as I had found her."

"I should think the novelty of the emotion must have given you a thrill of real pleasure, Dorian," interrupted Lord Henry. "But I can finish your idyll for you. You gave her good advice and broke her heart. That was the beginning of your reformation."

"Harry, you are horrible! You mustn't say these dreadful things. Hetty's heart is not broken. Of course, she cried and all that. But there is no disgrace upon her. She can live, like Perdita, in her garden of mint and marigold."

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

To which “emotion” is Lord Henry referring?

Possible Answers:

Lord Henry’s fraternal love for Dorian

Lord Henry’s habit of eating too much sugar

Dorian’s determination to leave Hetty as he found her

Dorian’s newfound fascination with Perdita

Correct answer:

Dorian’s determination to leave Hetty as he found her

Explanation:

“Dorian’s determination to leave Hetty as he found her” is the correct answer. This is a relatively simple question, although it’s arguable that the word “emotion” is somewhat misplaced in this sentence. At any rate, Lord Henry is clearly referring to Dorian’s experience of “sparing” Hetty by using the word “emotion.”

Example Question #8 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

It was a lovely night, so warm that he threw his coat over his arm and did not even put his silk scarf round his throat. As he strolled home, smoking his cigarette, two young men in evening dress passed him. He heard one of them whisper to the other, "That is Dorian Gray." He remembered how pleased he used to be when he was pointed out, or stared at, or talked about. He was tired of hearing his own name now. Half the charm of the little village where he had been so often lately was that no one knew who he was. He had often told the girl whom he had lured to love him that he was poor, and she had believed him. He had told her once that he was wicked, and she had laughed at him and answered that wicked people were always very old and very ugly. What a laugh she had!—just like a thrush singing. And how pretty she had been in her cotton dresses and her large hats! She [Hetty] knew nothing, but she had everything that he had lost.

 

When he reached home, he found his servant waiting up for him. He sent him to bed, and threw himself down on the sofa in the library, and began to think over some of the things that Lord Henry had said to him.

 

Was it really true that one could never change? He felt a wild longing for the unstained purity of his boyhood—his rose-white boyhood, as Lord Henry had once called it. He knew that he had tarnished himself, filled his mind with corruption and given horror to his fancy; that he had been an evil influence to others, and had experienced a terrible joy in being so; and that of the lives that had crossed his own, it had been the fairest and the most full of promise that he had brought to shame. But was it all irretrievable? Was there no hope for him?

 

Ah! in what a monstrous moment of pride and passion he had prayed that the portrait should bear the burden of his days, and he keep the unsullied splendour of eternal youth! All his failure had been due to that. Better for him that each sin of his life had brought its sure swift penalty along with it. There was purification in punishment. Not "Forgive us our sins" but "Smite us for our iniquities" should be the prayer of man to a most just God.

Passage adapted from Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray (1890)

What is the most likely inference drawn from “there was purification in punishment”?

Possible Answers:

Dorian agrees with Lord Henry’s reasoning about experiences

Dorian would rather all of his “sins” were forgiven

 Dorian thinks that Lord Henry should be punished

 Dorian begins to regret that he has not been punished for his “sins”

Correct answer:

 Dorian begins to regret that he has not been punished for his “sins”

Explanation:

“Dorian begins to regret that he has not been punished for his sins” is the correct answer. This is a relatively difficult question, but the answer makes sense contextually. A little backstory would cast even greater light on the answer. This information, while helpful, is not necessary to understand why the answer is correct. Briefly, The Picture of Dorian Gray is about a man, Dorian Gray, who sits for a portrait, and who (basically) wishes that he would remain as ageless as the portrait. His “wish” is granted in the sense that he ceases to age, and his body does not show any external signs of the “sins” of his life (i.e. it’s not bloated from gluttony, etc). Instead, the painting ages and suffers the external signs of sin for him. This passage is from the part of the novel where Dorian begins to regret his ability to withstand the ravages of time.

Here, even without that background knowledge, the answer makes sense. The passage says that Dorian believes his life would be “better” if he had been punished for his sins; that a “just” God would “smite us for our iniquities.” 

Example Question #9 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

"Alas, sir, in the most unexpected manner. After a long talk with the harbor-master, Captain Leclere left Naples greatly disturbed in mind. In twenty-four hours he was attacked by a fever, and died three days afterwards. We performed the usual burial service, and he is at his rest, sewn up in his hammock with a thirty-six pound shot at his head and his heels, off El Giglio island. We bring to his widow his sword and cross of honor. It was worth while, truly," added the young man with a melancholy smile, "to make war against the English for ten years, and to die in his bed at last, like everybody else."

"Why, you see, Edmond," replied the owner, who appeared more comforted at every moment, "we are all mortal, and the old must make way for the young. If not, why, there would be no promotion; and since you assure me that the cargo—"

"Is all safe and sound, M. Morrel, take my word for it; and I advise you not to take 25,000 francs for the profits of the voyage."

Then, as they were just passing the Round Tower, the young man shouted: "Stand by there to lower the topsails and jib; brail up the spanker!"

The order was executed as promptly as it would have been on board a man-of-war.

"Let go—and clue up!" At this last command all the sails were lowered, and the vessel moved almost imperceptibly onwards.

"Now, if you will come on board, M. Morrel," said Dantes, observing the owner's impatience, "here is your supercargo, M. Danglars, coming out of his cabin, who will furnish you with every particular. As for me, I must look after the anchoring, and dress the ship in mourning."

The owner did not wait for a second invitation. He seized a rope which Dantes flung to him, and with an activity that would have done credit to a sailor, climbed up the side of the ship, while the young man, going to his task, left the conversation to Danglars, who now came towards the owner. He was a man of twenty-five or twenty-six years of age, of unprepossessing countenance, obsequious to his superiors, insolent to his subordinates; and this, in addition to his position as responsible agent on board, which is always obnoxious to the sailors, made him as much disliked by the crew as Edmond Dantes was beloved by them.

Passage adapted from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

What does the underlined sentence mean?

Possible Answers:

None of these

The sailors refused to bury their captain

The sailors “buried” their captain at sea; that is, he was sewn into a shroud, weighted with lead shot, and thrown overboard

The sailors threw their captain onto land after he was dead, and sailed off

Correct answer:

The sailors “buried” their captain at sea; that is, he was sewn into a shroud, weighted with lead shot, and thrown overboard

Explanation:

“The sailors ‘buried’ their captain at sea; that is, he was sewn into a shroud, weighted with lead shot, and thrown overboard” is the correct answer. This is a relatively difficult question, although made slightly easier by context clues and the answer choices presented. This question tests your ability to piece together a meaning of an unknown phrase from context clues. “Burial” at sea used to be a relatively common occurrence—that is, whenever a member of the crew died, the remainder would (sometimes) sew him up, weight the body so that it did not float, and then throw it overboard. Here, that is exactly what happened in this passage—the clues about weighting him with lead shot should have given it away (there is no need to weigh down a dead body buried on land).

Example Question #10 : Inferences About Passage Ideas And Meanings

"God forgive me," said the young man, "for rejoicing at happiness derived from the misery of others, but, Heaven knows, I did not seek this good fortune; it has happened, and I really cannot pretend to lament it. The good Captain Leclere is dead, father, and it is probable that, with the aid of M. Morrel, I shall have his place. Do you understand, father? Only imagine me a captain at twenty, with a hundred louis pay, and a share in the profits! Is this not more than a poor sailor like me could have hoped for?"

"Yes, my dear boy," replied the old man, "it is very fortunate."

"Well, then, with the first money I touch, I mean you to have a small house, with a garden in which to plant clematis, nasturtiums, and honeysuckle. But what ails you, father? Are you not well?"

"'Tis nothing, nothing; it will soon pass away"—and as he said so the old man's strength failed him, and he fell backwards.

"Come, come," said the young man, "a glass of wine, father, will revive you. Where do you keep your wine?"

"No, no; thanks. You need not look for it; I do not want it," said the old man.

"Yes, yes, father, tell me where it is," and he opened two or three cupboards.

"It is no use," said the old man, "there is no wine."

"What, no wine?" said Dantes, turning pale, and looking alternately at the hollow cheeks of the old man and the empty cupboards. "What, no wine? Have you wanted money, father?"

"I want nothing now that I have you," said the old man.

"Yet," stammered Dantes, wiping the perspiration from his brow,—"yet I gave you two hundred francs when I left, three months ago."

"Yes, yes, Edmond, that is true, but you forgot at that time a little debt to our neighbor, Caderousse. He reminded me of it, telling me if I did not pay for you, he would be paid by M. Morrel; and so, you see, lest he might do you an injury"—

"Well?"

"Why, I paid him."

"But," cried Dantes, "it was a hundred and forty francs I owed Caderousse."

"Yes," stammered the old man.

"And you paid him out of the two hundred francs I left you?"

The old man nodded.

"So that you have lived for three months on sixty francs," muttered Edmond.

"You know how little I require," said the old man.

"Heaven pardon me," cried Edmond, falling on his knees before his father.

"What are you doing?"

"You have wounded me to the heart."

"Never mind it, for I see you once more," said the old man; "and now it's all over—everything is all right again."

To what “good fortune” is Dantes referring?

Possible Answers:

The death of his father

The death of Captain Leclere

The fall of M. Morell

The hatred of Danglars

Correct answer:

The death of Captain Leclere

Explanation:

“The death of Captain Leclere” is the correct answer. This is a relatively simple question as the passage goes on to state that “Captain Leclere is dead.” It’s quite clear from the passage that Dantes is referring to the good Captain’s death as “good fortune,” because Dantes now has a chance at being the captain of the ship.

Passage adapted from Alexandre Dumas' The Count of Monte Cristo (1844)

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