SSAT Middle Level Reading : Determining Authorial Attitude in Narrative Science Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for SSAT Middle Level Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Tone, Style, And Figurative Language In Science Passages

Adapted from Cassell’s Natural History by Francis Martin Duncan (1913)

The penguins are a group of birds inhabiting the southern ocean, for the most part passing their lives in the icy waters of the Antarctic seas. Like the ratitae, penguins have lost the power of flight, but the wings are modified into swimming organs and the birds lead an aquatic existence and are scarcely seen on land except in the breeding season. They are curious-looking creatures that appear to have no legs, as the limbs are encased in the skin of the body and the large flat feet are set so far back that the birds waddle along on land in an upright position in a very ridiculous manner, carrying their long narrow flippers held out as if they were arms. When swimming, penguins use their wings as paddles while the feet are used for steering.

Penguins are usually gregarious—in the sea, they swim together in schools, and on land, assemble in great numbers in their rookeries. They are very methodical in their ways, and on leaving the water, the birds always follow well-defined tracks leading to the rookeries, marching with much solemnity one behind the other in soldierly order. 

The largest species of penguins are the king penguin and the emperor penguin, the former being found in Kerguelen Land, the Falklands, and other southern islands, and the latter in Victoria Land and on the pack ice of the Antarctic seas. As they are unaccustomed from the isolation of their haunts to being hunted and persecuted by man, emperor penguins are remarkably fearless, and Antarctic explorers invading their territory have found themselves objects of curiosity rather than fear to the strange birds who followed them about as if they were much astonished at their appearance. 

The emperor penguin lays but a single egg and breeds during the intense cold and darkness of the Antarctic winter. To prevent contact with the frozen snow, the bird places its egg upon its flat webbed feet and crouches down upon it so that it is well covered with the feathers. In spite of this precaution, many eggs do not hatch and the mortality amongst the young chicks is very great.

Readers can tell from the way the author describes the appearance of penguins in the first paragraph that he thinks they are __________.

Possible Answers:

cute

funny-looking

confusing

helpless

bad-tempered

Correct answer:

funny-looking

Explanation:

Let’s look at how the author describes the appearance of penguins in the first paragraph:

“They are curious-looking creatures that appear to have no legs, as the limbs are encased in the skin of the body and the large flat feet are set so far back that the birds waddle along on land in an upright position in a very ridiculous manner, carrying their long narrow flippers held out as if they were arms.”

The author calls penguins “curious-looking creatures” and says that they waddle “in a very ridiculous manner,” so the best answer choice is that he thinks they are “funny-looking.” Nothing in his description supports any of the other conclusions.

Example Question #15 : Analyzing Tone, Style, And Figurative Language In Science Passages

Adapted from "How the Soil is Made" by Charles Darwin in Wonders of Earth, Sea, and Sky (1902, ed. Edward Singleton Holden)

Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose. In almost all humid countries they are extraordinarily numerous, and for their size possess great muscular power. In many parts of England a weight of more than ten tons (10,516 kilograms) of dry earth annually passes through their bodies and is brought to the surface on each acre of land, so that the whole superficial bed of vegetable mould passes through their bodies in the course of every few years. From the collapsing of the old burrows, the mold is in constant though slow movement, and the particles composing it are thus rubbed together. Thus the particles of earth, forming the superficial mold, are subjected to conditions eminently favorable for their decomposition and disintegration. This keeps the surface of the earth perfectly suited to the growth of an abundant array of fruits and vegetables.

Worms are poorly provided with sense-organs, for they cannot be said to see, although they can just distinguish between light and darkness; they are completely deaf, and have only a feeble power of smell; the sense of touch alone is well developed. They can, therefore, learn little about the outside world, and it is surprising that they should exhibit some skill in lining their burrows with their castings and with leaves, and in the case of some species in piling up their castings into tower-like constructions. But it is far more surprising that they should apparently exhibit some degree of intelligence instead of a mere blind, instinctive impulse, in their manner of plugging up the mouths of their burrows. They act in nearly the same manner as would a man, who had to close a cylindrical tube with different kinds of leaves, petioles, triangles of paper, etc., for they commonly seize such objects by their pointed ends. But with thin objects a certain number are drawn in by their broader ends. They do not act in the same unvarying manner in all cases, as do most of the lower animals.

The author’s attitude towards worms is primarily one of __________.

Possible Answers:

admonishment and criticism

reverence and worship

surprise and admiration

love and devotion

mockery and humiliation

Correct answer:

surprise and admiration

Explanation:

Throughout this passage, it is clear that the author “reveres” and “admires” worms. He talks at length about the crucial role they have played in human history and expresses great respect for their mental capacity when he says, “They do not act in the same unvarying manner in all cases, as do most of the lower animals.” He even compares the extent of their intelligence with the likely behavior of a man in a similar circumstance. It is probably going too far however to say that he “loves” or “worships” worms or that he shows “devotion” to them. What can be reasonably stated however is that he is “surprised” by the level of intelligence worms display. He says, “it is surprising that they should exhibit some skill in lining their burrows with their castings and with leaves, and in the case of some species in piling up their castings into tower-like constructions. But it is far more surprising that they should apparently exhibit some degree of intelligence instead of a mere blind, instinctive impulse.“ The word “surprising” is used twice in that excerpt alone. To provide further help, “admiration” means thinking something is impressive; “reverence” is deep respect; “admonishment” is saying something is wrong or punishment; “devotion” is deep commitment to something; “mockery” is making fun of something; and “humiliation” is deep embarrassment.

Example Question #2 : Authorial Attitude, Tone, And Purpose In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "How the Soil is Made" by Charles Darwin in Wonders of Earth, Sea, and Sky (1902, ed. Edward Singleton Holden)

Worms have played a more important part in the history of the world than most persons would at first suppose. In almost all humid countries they are extraordinarily numerous, and for their size possess great muscular power. In many parts of England a weight of more than ten tons (10,516 kilograms) of dry earth annually passes through their bodies and is brought to the surface on each acre of land, so that the whole superficial bed of vegetable mould passes through their bodies in the course of every few years. From the collapsing of the old burrows, the mold is in constant though slow movement, and the particles composing it are thus rubbed together. Thus the particles of earth, forming the superficial mold, are subjected to conditions eminently favorable for their decomposition and disintegration. This keeps the surface of the earth perfectly suited to the growth of an abundant array of fruits and vegetables.

Worms are poorly provided with sense-organs, for they cannot be said to see, although they can just distinguish between light and darkness; they are completely deaf, and have only a feeble power of smell; the sense of touch alone is well developed. They can, therefore, learn little about the outside world, and it is surprising that they should exhibit some skill in lining their burrows with their castings and with leaves, and in the case of some species in piling up their castings into tower-like constructions. But it is far more surprising that they should apparently exhibit some degree of intelligence instead of a mere blind, instinctive impulse, in their manner of plugging up the mouths of their burrows. They act in nearly the same manner as would a man, who had to close a cylindrical tube with different kinds of leaves, petioles, triangles of paper, etc., for they commonly seize such objects by their pointed ends. But with thin objects a certain number are drawn in by their broader ends. They do not act in the same unvarying manner in all cases, as do most of the lower animals.

What aspect of worms does the author of this passage seem to find most “surprising"?

Possible Answers:

That they are able to figure out where they are going without eyes

That they showcase such skill in lining and maintaining their burrows

That their importance in history is so often over-looked

That they have such limited sensory organs

That they are able to react and adapt to circumstance

Correct answer:

That they are able to react and adapt to circumstance

Explanation:

The author obviously finds it surprising that the importance of worms in history is so often over-looked. He also finds it surprising that they are able to showcase remarkable skill in lining and maintaining of their burrows. But, neither of these is the correct answer. The author says: “But it is far more surprising that they should apparently exhibit some degree of intelligence instead of a mere blind, instinctive impulse, in their manner of plugging up the mouths of their burrows.” The key phrase there, is, of course, “it is far more surprising.” The worms demonstrate an intelligence, an ability to “react and adapt to circumstance.” This is most surprising to the author.

Example Question #1 : Determining Authorial Attitude In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "The Greatest Sea-Wave Ever Known" by R. A. Proctor in Wonders of Earth, Sea, and Sky (1902, ed. Edward Singleton Holden)

It was at Arequipa, at the foot of the lofty volcanic mountain Misti, that the most terrible effects of the great earthquake were experienced. Within historic times, Misti has poured forth no lava streams, but that the volcano is not extinct is clearly evidenced by the fact that in 1542 an enormous mass of dust and ashes was vomited forth from its crater. On August 13th, 1868, Misti showed no signs of being disturbed. So far as the volcanic neighbor was concerned, the forty-four thousand inhabitants of Arequipa had no reason to anticipate the catastrophe which presently befell them.

At five minutes past five, an earthquake shock was experienced, which, though severe, seems to have worked little mischief. Half a minute later, however, a terrible noise was heard beneath the earth; a second shock more violent than the first was felt, and then began a swaying motion, gradually increasing in intensity. In the course of the first minute, this motion had become so violent that the inhabitants ran in terror out of their houses into the streets and squares. In the next two minutes, the swaying movement had so increased that the more lightly built houses were cast to the ground, and the flying people could scarcely keep their feet. "And now," says Von Tschudi, "there followed during two or three minutes a terrible scene. The swaying motion changed into fierce vertical upheaval. The subterranean roaring increased in the most terrifying manner; then were heard the heart-piercing shrieks of the wretched people, the bursting of walls, the crashing fall of houses and churches, while over all rolled thick clouds of a yellowish-black dust, which, had they been poured forth many minutes longer, would have suffocated thousands." Although the shocks had lasted but a few minutes, the whole town was destroyed. Not one building remained uninjured, and there were few that did not lie in shapeless heaps of ruins.

Which of the following best describes the attitude of the author toward the inhabitants of Arequipa?

Possible Answers:

The author is angry with certain citizens of Arequipa for not sounding the alarm soon enough for people to escape the disaster.

The author sees the inhabitants of Arequipa as helpless victims of a catastrophe that was entirely preventable.

The author thinks that the citizens of Arequipa should have moved the town to a different location, further from the volcano.

The author thinks that the earthquake that occurred at Arequipa isn't particularly notable for its intensity.

The author pities the inhabitants of Arequipa and doesn't think they could have possibly known to prepare for the disaster.

Correct answer:

The author pities the inhabitants of Arequipa and doesn't think they could have possibly known to prepare for the disaster.

Explanation:

Throughout the first paragraph, the author notes that there was no way for the inhabitants of Arequipa to avoid or prepare for the earthquake, saying that "the forty-four thousand inhabitants of Arequipa had no reason to anticipate the catastrophe which presently befell them." This allows us to ignore the answer choices "The author sees the inhabitants of Arequipa as helpless victims of a catastrophe that was entirely preventable," as the catastrophe was clearly not easily preventable, and "The author is angry with certain citizens of Arequipa for not sounding the alarm soon enough for people to escape the disaster," as no one in Arequipa could anticipate the disaster. We can also ignore the answer choice "The author thinks that the earthquake that occurred at Arequipa isn't particularly notable for its intensity" because he describes Arequipa as the location where "the most terrible effects of the great earthquake were experienced." Nowhere in the passage does the author suggest that "the citizens of Arequipa should have moved the town to a different location, further from the volcano." This leaves us with one answer, the correct one: "The author pities the inhabitants of Arequipa and doesn't think they could have possibly known to prepare for the disaster."

Example Question #2 : Determining Authorial Attitude In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "The Stars" by Sir Robert S. Ball in Wonders of Earth, Sea, and Sky (1902, ed. Edward Singleton Holden)

We are about to discuss one of the grandest truths in the whole of nature. We have had occasion to see that this sun of ours is a magnificent globe immensely larger than the greatest of its planets, while the greatest of these planets is immensely larger than this earth; but now we are to learn that our sun is, indeed, only a star not nearly so bright as many of those that shine over our heads every night. We are comparatively close to the sun, so that we are able to enjoy its beautiful light and cheering heat. Each of those other myriads of stars is a sun, and the splendor of those distant suns is often far greater than that of our own. We are, however, so enormously far from them that they appear dwindled down to insignificance.

To judge impartially between our sun or star and such a sun or star as Sirius, we should stand halfway between the two; it is impossible to make a fair estimate when we find ourselves situated close to one star and a million times as far from the other. After allowance is made for the imperfections of our point of view, we are enabled to realize the majestic truth that the sun is no more than a star, and that the other stars are no less than suns. This gives us an imposing idea of the extent and magnificence of the universe in which we are situated. Look up at the sky at night—you will see a host of stars; try to think that every one of them is itself a sun. It may be that those suns have planets circling round them, but it is hopeless for us to expect to see such planets. Were you standing on one of those stars and looking towards our system, you would not perceive the sun to be the brilliant and gorgeous object that we know so well. If you could see it at all, it would merely seem like a star, not nearly as bright as many of those you can see at night. Even if you had the biggest of telescopes to aid your vision, you could never discern from one of these bodies the planets which surround the sun; no astronomer in the stars could see Jupiter, even if his sight were a thousand times as powerful as any sight or telescope that we know. So minute an object as our Earth would, of course, be still more hopelessly beyond the possibility of vision.

The author’s attitude in this passage is primarily one of __________.

Possible Answers:

bewilderment

reflection

despondency

wonder

commiseration

Correct answer:

wonder

Explanation:

The author’s attitude is primarily one of “wonder” throughout this passage. This can be seen in phrases such as “We are about to discuss one of the grandest truths in the whole of nature.” The author's attitude is also reflected in the consistency of word choice he employs. Words such as “magnificent,” “immense,” “grandest,” and “majestic” reflect the author’s attitude towards his subject matter. You might reasonably say his attitude is one of “reflection,” for he does take time to consider his, and our, place within the universe; however, reflection takes a back seat to wonder in this passage. To provide further help, “bewilderment” means confusion; “commiseration” means expressing an understanding of someone’s sorrow or misfortune; and “despondency” means hopelessness.

Example Question #3 : Science Passages

Adapted from "Bats" by W. S. Dallas in A Book of Natural History (1902, ed. David Starr Jordan)

Like the owls, with which they share the dominion of the evening air, the bats have a perfectly noiseless flight; their activity is chiefly during the twilight, although some species are later, and in fact seem to keep up throughout the whole night. As they rest during the day, concealed usually in the most inaccessible places they can find, and are seen only upon the wing, their power of flight is their most striking peculiarity in the popular mind, and it is perhaps no great wonder that by many people, both in ancient and modern times, they have been regarded as birds. Nevertheless, their hairy bodies and leathery wings are so unlike anything that we ordinarily understand as pertaining to a bird, that opinion was apparently always divided, as to the true nature of these creatures—“a mouse with wings,” as Goldsmith called it once, according to James Boswell, is certainly a curious animal, and very difficult to classify so long as the would-be systematist has no particularly definite ideas to guide him. The likeness of the bat to a winged mouse has made itself felt in the name given to the creature in many languages, such as the “chauvesouris” of the French and the “flitter-mouse” of some parts of England, the latter being reproduced almost literally in German, Dutch, and Swedish, while the Danes called the bat a “flogenmues,” which has about the same meaning.

Throughout this passage the author primarily highlights the __________ nature of bats.

Possible Answers:

nocturnal

mysterious

calculating

abrasive

unruly

Correct answer:

mysterious

Explanation:

At various parts of this passage, the author highlights the “mysterious" nature of bats. Although he does briefly mention the “nocturnal” (sleeping during the day and being awake at night) nature of bats, as when he says “their activity is chiefly during the twilight, although some species are later, and in fact seem to keep up throughout the whole night," this is not the primary focus. Examples of the author highlight the “mysterious” nature of bats can be seen when he says, “As they rest during the day, concealed usually in the most inaccessible places they can find,“ and “their power of flight is their most striking peculiarity in the popular mind,“ and “Nevertheless, their hairy bodies and leathery wings are so unlike anything that we ordinarily understand as pertaining to a bird, that opinion was apparently always divided, as to the true nature of these creatures.”

Example Question #3 : Determining Authorial Attitude In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "Birds’ Nests" by John Burroughs in A Book of Natural History (1902, ed. David Starr Jordan)

How alert the birds are, even when absorbed in building their nests! In an open space in the woods, I see a pair of cedar-birds collecting moss from the top of a dead tree. Following the direction in which they fly, I soon discover the nest placed in the fork of a small soft-maple, which stands amid a thick growth of wild-cherry trees and young beeches. Carefully concealing myself beneath it, without any fear that the workmen will hit me with a chip or let fall a tool, I await the return of the busy pair. Presently I hear the well-known note, and the female sweeps down and settles unsuspectingly into the half-finished structure. Hardly have her wings rested, before her eye has penetrated my screen, and with a hurried movement of alarm, she darts away. In a moment, the male, with a tuft of wool in his beak (for there is a sheep pasture near), joins her, and the two reconnoitre the premises from the surrounding bushes. With their beaks still loaded, they move around with a frightened look, and refuse to approach the nest till I have moved off and lain down behind a log. Then one of them ventures to alight upon the nest, but, still suspecting all is not right, quickly darts away again. Then they both together come, and after much peeping and spying about, and apparently much anxious consultation, cautiously proceed to work. In less than half an hour, it would seem that wool enough has been brought to supply the whole family, real and prospective, with socks, if needles and fingers could be found fine enough to knit it up. In less than a week, the female has begun to deposit her eggs—four of them in as many days—white tinged with purple, with black spots on the larger end. After two weeks of incubation, the young are out.

The author’s tone and attitude in this passage are best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

respectful and impressed

reverential and awe-struck

educational and eloquent

debasing and cantankerous

creative and humorous

Correct answer:

respectful and impressed

Explanation:

The author’s tone and attitude towards the birds, and throughout the passage, are best described as “respectful and impressed.” He is clearly “impressed” by the behavior of the birds on multiple occasions, as is evidenced by “How alert the birds are, even when absorbed in building their nests!”; “I await the return of the busy pair”; and “Then one of them ventures to alight upon the nest, but, still suspecting all is not right, quickly darts away again.” Although “reverential and awe-struck” is quite similar in meaning to the correct answer choice, these two words reflect an intensity of emotion and word choice that is not really there. To provide further help, “humorous” means funny; “debasing” means bullying; “cantankerous” means grumpy; and “eloquent” means well-spoken.

Example Question #4 : Determining Authorial Attitude In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "Inhabitants of My Pool" by Arabella B. Buckley in Wonders of Earth, Sea, and Sky (1902, ed. Edward Singleton Holden)

The pool lies in a deep hollow among a group of rocks and boulders, close to the entrance of the cove, which can only be entered at low water; it does not measure more than two feet across, so that you can step over it, if you take care not to slip on the masses of green and brown seaweed growing over the rocks on its sides, as I have done many a time when collecting specimens for our saltwater aquarium. I find now the only way is to lie flat down on the rock, so that my hands and eyes are free to observe and handle, and then, bringing my eye down to the edge of the pool, to lift the seaweeds and let the sunlight enter into the chinks and crannies. In this way I can catch sight of many a small being either on the seaweed or the rocky ledges, and even creatures transparent as glass become visible by the thin outline gleaming in the sunlight. Then I pluck a piece of seaweed, or chip off a fragment of rock with a sharp-edged collecting knife, bringing away the specimen uninjured upon it, and place it carefully in its own separate bottle to be carried home alive and well.

Now though this little pool and I are old friends, I find new treasures in it almost every time I go, for it is almost as full of living things as the heavens are of stars, and the tide as it comes and goes brings many a mother there to find a safe home for her little ones, and many a waif and stray to seek shelter from the troubled life of the open ocean.

You will perhaps find it difficult to believe that in this rock-bound basin there can be millions of living creatures hidden away among the fine feathery weeds; yet so it is. Not that they are always the same. At one time it may be the home of myriads of infant crabs, not an eighth of an inch long, another of baby sea-urchins only visible to the naked eye as minute spots in the water, at another of young jelly-fish growing on their tiny stalks, and splitting off one by one as transparent bells to float away with the rising tide. Or it may be that the whelk has chosen this quiet nook to deposit her leathery eggs; or young barnacles, periwinkles, and limpets are growing up among the green and brown tangles, while the far-sailing velella and the stay-at-home sea-squirts, together with a variety of other sea-animals, find a nursery and shelter in their youth in this quiet harbor of rest.

And besides these casual visitors there are numberless creatures which have lived and multiplied there, ever since I first visited the pool. Tender red, olive-colored, and green seaweeds, stony corallines, and acorn-barnacles lining the floor, sea-anemones clinging to the sides, sponges tiny and many-colored hiding under the ledges, and limpets and mussels wedged in the cracks. These can be easily seen with the naked eye, but they are not the most numerous inhabitants; for these we must search with a magnifying glass, which will reveal to us wonderful fairy-forms, delicate crystal vases with tiny creatures in them whose transparent lashes make whirlpools in the water, living crystal bells so tiny that whole branches of them look only like a fringe of hair, jelly globes rising and falling in the water, patches of living jelly clinging to the rocky sides of the pool, and a hundred other forms, some so minute that you must examine the fine sand in which they lie under a powerful microscope before you can even guess that they are there.

The author’s attitude towards the rock pool can best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

interested

apathetic

enthusiastic

reserved

reluctant

Correct answer:

enthusiastic

Explanation:

The author’s attitude towards the rock pool could best be described as “enthusiastic.” This can be seen in excerpts such as “Now though this little pool and I are old friends, I find new treasures in it almost every time I go, for it is almost as full of living things as the heavens are of stars." Also, the author’s use of words like “wonderful” demonstrate her enthusiasm. Looking at the entire text supports this answer choice as well, as it is clear that the author visits the rock pool often and is deeply fascinated by what it contains. It might be reasonable to say that the author’s attitude is “interested,” but this is a more moderate word and does not really capture the author’s fascination and love for the rock pool as the word “enthusiastic” does. Certainly her attitude could not be described as “reluctant,” “reserved,” or “apathetic.”

Example Question #21 : Details

Adapted from "Some Strange Nurseries" by Grant Allen in A Book of Natural History (1902, ed. David Starr Jordan)

Many different types of animals employ one of two strategies in raising their young. Certain animals, called “r-strategists,” turn out thousands of eggs with reckless profusion, but they let them look after themselves, or be devoured by enemies, as chance will have it. Other animals, called “K-strategists,” take greater pain in the rearing and upbringing of the young. Large broods indicate an “r” life strategy; small broods imply a “K” life strategy and more care in the nurture and education of the offspring. R-strategists produce eggs wholesale, on the off chance that some two or three among them may perhaps survive an infant mortality of ninety-nine per cent, so as to replace their parents. K-strategists produce half a dozen young, or less, but bring a large proportion of these on an average up to years of discretion.

The author characterizes r-strategists as __________.

Possible Answers:

undeserving of research and study

uncaring and immature

aggressively protective

overly cautious

reliant on fortune

Correct answer:

reliant on fortune

Explanation:

The author primarily characterizes r-strategist animals as “reliant on fortune.” He says "R-strategists produce eggs wholesale, on the off chance that some two or three among them may perhaps survive an infant mortality of ninety-nine per cent, so as to replace their parents.” The use of the phrases “off-chance” and “may perhaps” suggest an over reliance on fortune. It seems unreasonable the author would go so far as to suggest certain animals are “undeserving” or “immature.” These words don’t really fit the stylistic expectations of a scientific or academic journal.

Example Question #5 : Determining Authorial Attitude In Narrative Science Passages

Adapted from "Birds’ Nests" by John Burroughs in A Book of Natural History (1902, ed. David Starr Jordan)

The rarest of all nests is that of the eagle, because the eagle is the rarest of all birds. Indeed, so seldom is the eagle seen, that its presence always seems accidental. It appears as if merely pausing on the way, while bound for some distant unknown region. One September, while a youth, I saw the ring-tailed eagle, an immense bird, the sight of which filled me with awe. It lingered about the hills for two days. Some young cattle, a two year-old colt, and half a dozen sheep were at pasture on a high ridge that led up to the mountain, and in plain view of the house. On the second day, this dusky monarch was seen flying about above them. Presently he began to hover over them, after the manner of a hawk watching for mice. He then with extended legs let himself slowly down upon them, actually grappling the backs of the young cattle, and frightening the creatures so that they rushed about the field in great consternation; and finally, as he grew bolder and more frequent in his descents, the whole herd broke over the fence, and came tearing down to the house “like mad.” It did not seem to be an assault with intent to kill, but was, perhaps, a stratagem resorted to in order to separate the herd and expose the lambs, which hugged the cattle very closely. When he occasionally alighted upon the oaks that stood near, the branch could be seen to sway and bend beneath him. Finally, as a rifleman started out in pursuit of him, he launched into the air, set his wings, and sailed away southward. A few years afterward, in January, another eagle passed through the same locality, alighting in a field near some dead animal, but tarried briefly.

The author’s attitude towards eagles is primarily one of __________.

Possible Answers:

loathing

respect and fear

love and adoration

reverence and awe

envy

Correct answer:

reverence and awe

Explanation:

The sentence that best captures the author’s attitude towards eagles is “One September, while a youth, I saw the ring-tailed eagle, an immense bird, the sight of which filled me with awe.” Here can clearly be seen the deep respect (“reverence”) and “awe” that the author feels for eagles. It is probably too far to say that the author feels “love and adoration,” and, although he does “respect” them, there is no indication he “fears” them. To provide some final help, “envy” means jealousy, and “loathing” means deep hatred.

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