ACT Reading : Drawing Inferences from Prose Fiction Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #93 : Content Of Literary Fiction Passages

Adapted from Jacob's Room by Virginia Woolf (1922)

True, there's no harm in crying for one's husband, and the tombstone, though plain, was a solid piece of work, and on summer's days when the widow brought her boys to stand there one felt kindly towards her. Hats were raised higher than usual; wives tugged their husbands' arms. Seabrook lay six foot beneath, dead these many years; enclosed in three shells; the crevices sealed with lead, so that, had earth and wood been glass, doubtless his very face lay visible beneath, the face of a young man whiskered, shapely, who had gone out duck-shooting and refused to change his boots.

"Merchant of this city," the tombstone said; though why Betty Flanders had chosen so to call him when, as many still remembered, he had only sat behind an office window for three months, and before that had broken horses, ridden to hounds, farmed a few fields, and run a little wild—well, she had to call him something. An example for the boys.

Had he, then, been nothing? An unanswerable question, since even if it weren't the habit of the undertaker to close the eyes, the light so soon goes out of them. At first, part of herself; now one of a company, he had merged in the grass, the sloping hillside, the thousand white stones, some slanting, others upright, the decayed wreaths, the crosses of green tin, the narrow yellow paths, and the lilacs that drooped in April, with a scent like that of an invalid's bedroom, over the churchyard wall. Seabrook was now all that; and when, with her skirt hitched up, feeding the chickens, she heard the bell for service or funeral, that was Seabrook's voice—the voice of the dead.

The rooster had been known to fly on her shoulder and peck her neck, so that now she carried a stick or took one of the children with her when she went to feed the fowls.

"Wouldn't you like my knife, mother?" said Archer.

Sounding at the same moment as the bell, her son's voice mixed life and death inextricably, exhilaratingly.

"What a big knife for a small boy!" she said. She took it to please him. Then the rooster flew out of the hen-house, and, shouting to Archer to shut the door into the kitchen garden, Mrs. Flanders set her meal down, clucked for the hens, went bustling about the orchard, and was seen from over the way by Mrs. Cranch, who, beating her mat against the wall, held it for a moment suspended while she observed to Mrs. Page next door that Mrs. Flanders was in the orchard with the chickens.

Mrs. Page, Mrs. Cranch, and Mrs. Garfit could see Mrs. Flanders in the orchard because the orchard was a piece of Dods Hill enclosed; and Dods Hill dominated the village. No words can exaggerate the importance of Dods Hill. It was the earth; the world against the sky; the horizon of how many glances can best be computed by those who have lived all their lives in the same village, only leaving it once to fight in the Crimea, like old George Garfit, leaning over his garden gate smoking his pipe. The progress of the sun was measured by it; the tint of the day laid against it to be judged.

"Now she's going up the hill with little John," said Mrs. Cranch to Mrs. Garfit, shaking her mat for the last time, and bustling indoors. Opening the orchard gate, Mrs. Flanders walked to the top of Dods Hill, holding John by the hand. Archer and Jacob ran in front or lagged behind; but they were in the Roman fortress when she came there, and shouting out what ships were to be seen in the bay. For there was a magnificent view—moors behind, sea in front, and the whole of Scarborough from one end to the other laid out flat like a puzzle. Mrs. Flanders, who was growing stout, sat down in the fortress and looked about her.

Which of the following statements about the treatment of Mrs. Flanders by the villagers is supported by the passage?

Possible Answers:

She is ostracised by the villagers.

She is hated by the men.

She is envied by the women.

She is feared by most.

She is pitied by the villagers.

Correct answer:

She is pitied by the villagers.

Explanation:

From the information the passage gives, we can infer that Mrs. Flanders was widowed with young children; this would be cause for pity. In addition to this, in the first paragraph, we are told that: “one felt kindly towards her. Hats were raised higher than usual; wives tugged their husbands' arms.” This description illustrates the pity shown to her by the villagers.

Example Question #41 : Drawing Inferences From Prose Fiction Passages

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

The point of view from which the passage is told can best be described as that of __________.

Possible Answers:

a child

a family friend

None of the other answers

a detached observer

an engaged observer

Correct answer:

None of the other answers

Explanation:

The word "observer" suggests the passage is told in the third-person. There is no suggestion that the narrator is still a child. The passage is told from a first-person perspective of an involved and informed narrator.

Example Question #42 : Drawing Inferences From Prose Fiction Passages

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

The third paragraph suggests that which of the following is false?

Possible Answers:

The father would capitulate when at a disadvantage.

Dr. Grose was a good chess-player.

The father showed an inclination towards music.

The father was always delicate when showing affection.

The father was sympathetic to the narrator's sensitive ears.

Correct answer:

Dr. Grose was a good chess-player.

Explanation:

The paragraph does not say whether Dr. Grose is good at chess, only that he would play harder when near defeat.

Example Question #43 : Drawing Inferences From Prose Fiction Passages

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that which of the following is true?

Possible Answers:

The household was not a joyful place.

The narrator's father was a widower.

The narrator has mostly fond memories of his father.

The narrator did not like it when his father shaved.

The narrator's family had few friends.

Correct answer:

The narrator has mostly fond memories of his father.

Explanation:

There is no mention of a mother figure; however, there is no evidence to suggest that the father is a widower. The passage infers a sense of nostalgia by seeming to imply that the author's father was attentive ("he taught me to play chess") and entertaining ("he [played music so softly so as not to] jar even my too sensitive ear").

Example Question #44 : Drawing Inferences From Prose Fiction Passages

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

Based on the passage, the primary purpose for the father's pursuits, in the opinion of the narrator, was to __________.

Possible Answers:

earn an income for the family

keep the narrator entertained 

make the narrator's father a Man of Kent

provide self-satisfaction for a man who had no recourse to work

outline the interests of the family

Correct answer:

provide self-satisfaction for a man who had no recourse to work

Explanation:

The primary purpose for the father's writing was to keep him quiet and contented, as his inheritance gave him no reason to pursue an occupation.

Example Question #45 : Drawing Inferences From Prose Fiction Passages

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

Which of the following statements about chess is supported by the passage?

Possible Answers:

It is a difficult game.

It solidifies friendships.

It is a boring game.

None of the other answers

It serves to show strengths and flaws in character.

Correct answer:

It serves to show strengths and flaws in character.

Explanation:

The game of chess highlights the father's lack of ability to persevere in his pursuits when they become tasking. None of the other statements are fully supported.

Example Question #1172 : Act Reading

Adapted from a work by Walter de la Mare (1922)

My father was then a rather corpulent man, with a high-colored face, and he wore large spectacles. His time was his own, for we were comfortably off on an income derived from a half-share in the small fortune amassed by my grandfather and his partner in a paper mill. He might have been a more successful, though not perhaps a happier, man if he had done more work and planned to do less. But he only so far followed his hereditary occupation as to expend large quantities of its best "handmade" in the composition of a monograph: The History of Paper Making. This entailed a vast accumulation of books and much solitude. I fancy, too, he believed in the policy of sleeping on one's first thoughts.

Since he was engaged at the same time on similar compilations with the Hop and the Cherry for theme, he made indifferent progress in all three. His papers, alas, were afterwards sold with his books, so I have no notion of what became of them or of their value. I can only hope that their purchaser has since won an easy distinction. These pursuits, if they achieved little else but the keeping of "the man of the house" quiet and contented, proved my father, at any rate, to be a loyal and enthusiastic Man of Kent; and I have seen to it that a fine Morello cherry-tree blossoms, fruits, and flourishes over his grave.

My father was something of a musician too, and could pizzicato so softly on his muted fiddle as not to jar even my too sensitive ear. He taught me to play chess on a little board with pygmy men, but he was apt to lose interest in the game when it went against him. Whereas it was then that our old friend, Dr. Grose, played his hardest. As my father's hands were rather clumsy in make, he took pains to be gentle and adroit with me. But even after shaving, his embrace was more of a discipline than a pleasure—a fact that may partly account for my own undemonstrativeness in this direction.

The second paragraph establishes all of the following EXCEPT __________.

Possible Answers:

the narrator's father was writing three works simultaneously

the lost works were valuable

the narrator's father was preoccupied with his work

the narrator's father was happy in his pursuits

the narrator's father is presently deceased

Correct answer:

the lost works were valuable

Explanation:

While the paragraph suggests the works may have been of use to someone, there is no assertion that they were valuable. Instead the author expresses that he has no idea what “became of them or of their value.”

Example Question #3 : Extrapolating From The Text In Literary Fiction Passages

Adapted from The Life and Adventures of Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe (1719)

I was now, in the months of November and December, expecting my crop of barley and rice. The ground I had manured and dug up for them was not great; for, as I observed, my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck, for I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season. But now my crop promised very well, when on a sudden I found I was in danger of losing it all again by enemies of several sorts, which it was scarcely possible to keep from it; as, first, the goats, and wild creatures which I called hares, who, tasting the sweetness of the blade, lay in it night and day, as soon as it came up, and eat it so close, that it could get no time to shoot up into stalk.

This I saw no remedy for but by making an enclosure about it with a hedge; which I did with a great deal of toil, and the more, because it required speed. However, as my arable land was but small, suited to my crop, I got it totally well fenced in about three weeks’ time; and shooting some of the creatures in the daytime, I set my dog to guard it in the night, tying him up to a stake at the gate, where he would stand and bark all night long; so in a little time the enemies forsook the place, and the corn grew very strong and well, and began to ripen apace.

But as the beasts ruined me before, while my corn was in the blade, so the birds were as likely to ruin me now, when it was in the ear; for, going along by the place to see how it throve, I saw my little crop surrounded with fowls, of I know not how many sorts, who stood, as it were, watching till I should be gone. I immediately let fly among them, for I always had my gun with me. I had no sooner shot, but there rose up a little cloud of fowls, which I had not seen at all, from among the corn itself.

This touched me sensibly, for I foresaw that in a few days they would devour all my hopes; that I should be starved, and never be able to raise a crop at all; and what to do I could not tell; however, I resolved not to lose my corn, if possible, though I should watch it night and day. In the first place, I went among it to see what damage was already done, and found they had spoiled a good deal of it; but that as it was yet too green for them, the loss was not so great but that the remainder was likely to be a good crop if it could be saved.

I stayed by it to load my gun, and then coming away, I could easily see the thieves sitting upon all the trees about me, as if they only waited till I was gone away, and the event proved it to be so; for as I walked off, as if I was gone, I was no sooner out of their sight than they dropped down one by one into the corn again. I was so provoked, that I could not have patience to stay till more came on, knowing that every grain that they ate now was, as it might be said, a peck-loaf to me in the consequence; but coming up to the hedge, I fired again, and killed three of them. This was what I wished for; so I took them up, and served them as we serve notorious thieves in England—hanged them in chains, for a terror to others. It is impossible to imagine that this should have such an effect as it had, for the fowls would not only not come at the corn, but, in short, they forsook all that part of the island, and I could never see a bird near the place as long as my scarecrows hung there. This I was very glad of, you may be sure, and about the latter end of December, which was our second harvest of the year, I reaped my corn.

It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that __________.

Possible Answers:

the man had found the dog on the island

there were many different types of birds on the island

the man had a limited supply of seed

the man had an unlimited supply of ammunition

the birds were not afraid of the man

Correct answer:

the man had a limited supply of seed

Explanation:

The narrator says in the first paragraph that “my seed of each was not above the quantity of half a peck, for I had lost one whole crop by sowing in the dry season,” so we can infer that he has a limited supply of seed. We can also infer from all his efforts to save the crops from the ravages of the animals that he needed this crop to succeed because he had a limited supply of seed.

Example Question #171 : Content Of Literary Fiction Passages

Adapted from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (1839)

There was a great bustle in Bishopsgate Street Within, as they drew up, and (it being a windy day) half-a-dozen men were tacking across the road under a press of paper, bearing gigantic announcements that a Public Meeting would be held at one o'clock precisely, to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning Parliament in favour of the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company, capital five millions, in five hundred thousand shares of ten pounds each; which sums were duly set forth in fat black figures of considerable size. Mr. Bonney elbowed his way briskly upstairs, receiving in his progress many low bows from the waiters who stood on the landings to show the way; and, followed by Mr. Nickleby, dived into a suite of apartments behind the great public room: in the second of which was a business-looking table, and several business-looking people.

"Hear!" cried a gentleman with a double chin, as Mr. Bonney presented himself. "Chair, gentlemen, chair!"

The new-comers were received with universal approbation, and Mr. Bonney bustled up to the top of the table, took off his hat, ran his fingers through his hair, and knocked a hackney-coachman's knock on the table with a little hammer: whereat several gentlemen cried "Hear!" and nodded slightly to each other, as much as to say what spirited conduct that was. Just at this moment, a waiter, feverish with agitation, tore into the room, and throwing the door open with a crash, shouted "Sir Matthew Pupker!"

The committee stood up and clapped their hands for joy, and while they were clapping them, in came Sir Matthew Pupker, attended by two live members of Parliament, one Irish and one Scotch, all smiling and bowing, and looking so pleasant that it seemed a perfect marvel how any man could have the heart to vote against them. Sir Matthew Pupker especially, who had a little round head with a flaxen wig on the top of it, fell into such a paroxysm of bows, that the wig threatened to be jerked off, every instant. When these symptoms had in some degree subsided, the gentlemen who were on speaking terms with Sir Matthew Pupker, or the two other members, crowded round them in three little groups, near one or other of which the gentlemen who were NOT on speaking terms with Sir Matthew Pupker or the two other members, stood lingering, and smiling, and rubbing their hands, in the desperate hope of something turning up which might bring them into notice. All this time, Sir Matthew Pupker and the two other members were relating to their separate circles what the intentions of government were, about taking up the bill; with a full account of what the government had said in a whisper the last time they dined with it, and how the government had been observed to wink when it said so; from which premises they were at no loss to draw the conclusion, that if the government had one object more at heart than another, that one object was the welfare and advantage of the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.

Meanwhile, and pending the arrangement of the proceedings, and a fair division of the speechifying, the public in the large room were eyeing, by turns, the empty platform, and the ladies in the Music Gallery. In these amusements the greater portion of them had been occupied for a couple of hours before, and as the most agreeable diversions pall upon the taste on a too protracted enjoyment of them, the sterner spirits now began to hammer the floor with their boot-heels, and to express their dissatisfaction by various hoots and cries. These vocal exertions, emanating from the people who had been there longest, naturally proceeded from those who were nearest to the platform and furthest from the policemen in attendance, who having no great mind to fight their way through the crowd, but entertaining nevertheless a praiseworthy desire to do something to quell the disturbance, immediately began to drag forth, by the coat tails and collars, all the quiet people near the door; at the same time dealing out various smart and tingling blows with their truncheons, after the manner of that ingenious actor, Mr. Punch: whose brilliant example, both in the fashion of his weapons and their use, this branch of the executive occasionally follows.

Several very exciting skirmishes were in progress, when a loud shout attracted the attention even of the belligerents, and then there poured on to the platform, from a door at the side, a long line of gentlemen with their hats off, all looking behind them, and uttering vociferous cheers; the cause whereof was sufficiently explained when Sir Matthew Pupker and the two other real members of Parliament came to the front, amidst deafening shouts, and testified to each other in dumb motions that they had never seen such a glorious sight as that, in the whole course of their public career.

It can reasonably be inferred from the passage that __________.

Possible Answers:

The members of parliament were not nice to look at.

It is too loud to hear Sir Pupker speaking. 

The men do not want to be at the meeting.

The policemen have been bribed.

None of these answers

Correct answer:

It is too loud to hear Sir Pupker speaking. 

Explanation:

We know that it was too loud to hear Sir Pupker speaking from what is stated at the end of the passage: “Amidst deafening shouts, and testified to each other in dumb motions that they had never seen such a glorious sight as that, in the whole course of their public career.” The key words are “deafening,” “dumb,” and “motions”, which tell us that it is so loud that the only way for the members of Parliament to communicate is through their body language.

Example Question #31 : Locating Details In Literary Fiction Passages

Adapted from Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens (1839)

There was a great bustle in Bishopsgate Street Within, as they drew up, and (it being a windy day) half-a-dozen men were tacking across the road under a press of paper, bearing gigantic announcements that a Public Meeting would be held at one o'clock precisely, to take into consideration the propriety of petitioning Parliament in favour of the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company, capital five millions, in five hundred thousand shares of ten pounds each; which sums were duly set forth in fat black figures of considerable size. Mr. Bonney elbowed his way briskly upstairs, receiving in his progress many low bows from the waiters who stood on the landings to show the way; and, followed by Mr. Nickleby, dived into a suite of apartments behind the great public room: in the second of which was a business-looking table, and several business-looking people.

"Hear!" cried a gentleman with a double chin, as Mr. Bonney presented himself. "Chair, gentlemen, chair!"

The new-comers were received with universal approbation, and Mr. Bonney bustled up to the top of the table, took off his hat, ran his fingers through his hair, and knocked a hackney-coachman's knock on the table with a little hammer: whereat several gentlemen cried "Hear!" and nodded slightly to each other, as much as to say what spirited conduct that was. Just at this moment, a waiter, feverish with agitation, tore into the room, and throwing the door open with a crash, shouted "Sir Matthew Pupker!"

The committee stood up and clapped their hands for joy, and while they were clapping them, in came Sir Matthew Pupker, attended by two live members of Parliament, one Irish and one Scotch, all smiling and bowing, and looking so pleasant that it seemed a perfect marvel how any man could have the heart to vote against them. Sir Matthew Pupker especially, who had a little round head with a flaxen wig on the top of it, fell into such a paroxysm of bows, that the wig threatened to be jerked off, every instant. When these symptoms had in some degree subsided, the gentlemen who were on speaking terms with Sir Matthew Pupker, or the two other members, crowded round them in three little groups, near one or other of which the gentlemen who were NOT on speaking terms with Sir Matthew Pupker or the two other members, stood lingering, and smiling, and rubbing their hands, in the desperate hope of something turning up which might bring them into notice. All this time, Sir Matthew Pupker and the two other members were relating to their separate circles what the intentions of government were, about taking up the bill; with a full account of what the government had said in a whisper the last time they dined with it, and how the government had been observed to wink when it said so; from which premises they were at no loss to draw the conclusion, that if the government had one object more at heart than another, that one object was the welfare and advantage of the United Metropolitan Improved Hot Muffin and Crumpet Baking and Punctual Delivery Company.

Meanwhile, and pending the arrangement of the proceedings, and a fair division of the speechifying, the public in the large room were eyeing, by turns, the empty platform, and the ladies in the Music Gallery. In these amusements the greater portion of them had been occupied for a couple of hours before, and as the most agreeable diversions pall upon the taste on a too protracted enjoyment of them, the sterner spirits now began to hammer the floor with their boot-heels, and to express their dissatisfaction by various hoots and cries. These vocal exertions, emanating from the people who had been there longest, naturally proceeded from those who were nearest to the platform and furthest from the policemen in attendance, who having no great mind to fight their way through the crowd, but entertaining nevertheless a praiseworthy desire to do something to quell the disturbance, immediately began to drag forth, by the coat tails and collars, all the quiet people near the door; at the same time dealing out various smart and tingling blows with their truncheons, after the manner of that ingenious actor, Mr. Punch: whose brilliant example, both in the fashion of his weapons and their use, this branch of the executive occasionally follows.

Several very exciting skirmishes were in progress, when a loud shout attracted the attention even of the belligerents, and then there poured on to the platform, from a door at the side, a long line of gentlemen with their hats off, all looking behind them, and uttering vociferous cheers; the cause whereof was sufficiently explained when Sir Matthew Pupker and the two other real members of Parliament came to the front, amidst deafening shouts, and testified to each other in dumb motions that they had never seen such a glorious sight as that, in the whole course of their public career.

Which of the following statements about the committee is supported by the passage?

Possible Answers:

They are anarchists.

They wear wigs.

They are all in favor of the members of Parliament.

They are, in part, self-centred. 

They form three groups in the room when the members of parliament arrive.

Correct answer:

They are, in part, self-centred. 

Explanation:

We cannot say if the committee members are anarchists or not. But we know they form four groups in the room with the members of parliament: one around the Scottish member, one around the Irish member, one around Sir Pupker, and one which does not stand around the members at all. “[The committee] crowded round them in three little groups, near one or other of which the gentlemen who were NOT on speaking terms with Sir Matthew Pupker or the two other members, stood lingering.” We do know, however, that some of the members are self-centred, as they wait for an opportunity “of something turning up which might bring them into notice.”

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