Common Core: 6th Grade English Language Arts : Reading to Determine Author's Point of View

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Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

Adapted from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) (1876)

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.

He began to think of the fun he had planned for this day, and his sorrows multiplied. Soon the boys would come tripping along on all sorts of delicious expeditions, and they would make a world of fun of him for having to work—the very thought of it burnt him like fire. At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration.

He took up his brush and went tranquilly to work. Ben Rogers hove in sight presently—the very boy, of all boys, whose ridicule he had been dreading. Ben’s gait was the hop-skip-and-jump—proof enough that his heart was light and his anticipations high. He was eating an apple, and giving a long, melodious whoop, at intervals, followed by a deep-toned ding-dong-dong, ding-dong-dong, for he was personating a steamboat. As he drew near, he slackened speed, took the middle of the street, leaned far over to star-board and rounded to ponderously and with laborious pomp and circumstance—for he was personating the Big Missouri, and considered himself to be drawing nine feet of water. He was boat and captain and engine-bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on his own hurricane-deck giving the orders and executing them:

“Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!” The headway ran almost out, and he drew up slowly toward the sidewalk.

Tom went on whitewashing—paid no attention to the steamboat. Ben stared a moment and then said: “Hi-yiYou’re up a stump, ain’t you!”

No answer. Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist, then he gave his brush another gentle sweep and surveyed the result, as before. Ben ranged up alongside of him. Tom’s mouth watered for the apple, but he stuck to his work. Ben said:

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say—I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work—wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No—no—I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence—right here on the street, you know—but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

“No—is that so? Oh come, now—lemme, just try. Only just a little—I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

“Ben, I’d like to; but Aunt Polly—well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn’t let Sid. Now don’t you see how I’m fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it—”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say—I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

“Well, here—No, Ben, now don’t. I’m afeard—”

“I’ll give you all of it!”

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash. By the time Ben was tired, Tom had traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite, in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with—and so on, and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar—but no dog—the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash.

He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while—plenty of company—and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

When Tom asks Ben “Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”, what can we infer his motives are?

Possible Answers:

Tom is asking about fence-painting so Ben will keep talking to him while he paints the entire fence.

Tom is asking the question rhetorically to make fence-painting look like a special, rare event.

Tom asks this question to try to convince himself that fence-painting is a fun task.

Tom asks this question because he hopes Ben will go ask someone else if he or she will help Tom paint the fence.

Tom is asking Ben this question because he does not know the answer.

Correct answer:

Tom is asking the question rhetorically to make fence-painting look like a special, rare event.

Explanation:

To figure out Tom's motives in asking "Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?", we need to consider the scene that leads up to this statement as well as its effects. The preceding part of the scene demonstrates how Tom has to whitewash a fence on Saturday and doesn't want to work. He gets a great (but ambiguous!) idea about how to get out of work. Then, Ben comes along, pretending to be a steamboat and trying to make fun of Tom for having to work. In talking with Ben, Tom suggests that whitewashing the fence isn't work and that he enjoys it. It's at this point that Tom asks the question in question:

(Ben) “Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

(Tom) “Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

What happens next?

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Aha—by portraying his work in such a positive light, Tom switches Ben's perspective on it and makes it seem like a special activity. It's after this switch in perspective that Tom is able to get Ben to give him his apple for the privilege of getting to do his work for him. Based on this evidence, we can infer that Tom's great idea is to convince someone else (Ben) to whitewash the fence for him, and that he asked the question to make fence-painting look fun and exciting. The story supports this idea because after the question, the narrator immediately says, "That put the thing in a new light." The correct answer is "Tom is asking the question rhetorically to make fence-painting look like a special, rare event."

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

Adapted from The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain (Samuel Clemens) (1876)

Saturday morning was come, and all the summer world was bright and fresh, and brimming with life. Tom appeared on the sidewalk with a bucket of whitewash and a long-handled brush. He surveyed the fence, and all gladness left him and a deep melancholy settled down upon his spirit. Thirty yards of board fence nine feet high. Life to him seemed hollow, and existence but a burden. Sighing, he dipped his brush and passed it along the topmost plank; repeated the operation; did it again; compared the insignificant whitewashed streak with the far-reaching continent of unwhitewashed fence, and sat down on a tree-box discouraged.

He began to think of the fun he had planned for this day, and his sorrows multiplied. Soon the boys would come tripping along on all sorts of delicious expeditions, and they would make a world of fun of him for having to work—the very thought of it burnt him like fire. At this dark and hopeless moment an inspiration burst upon him! Nothing less than a great, magnificent inspiration.

He took up his brush and went tranquilly to work. Ben Rogers hove in sight presently—the very boy, of all boys, whose ridicule he had been dreading. Ben’s gait was the hop-skip-and-jump—proof enough that his heart was light and his anticipations high. He was eating an apple, and giving a long, melodious whoop, at intervals, followed by a deep-toned ding-dong-dong, ding-dong-dong, for he was personating a steamboat. As he drew near, he slackened speed, took the middle of the street, leaned far over to star-board and rounded to ponderously and with laborious pomp and circumstance—for he was personating the Big Missouri, and considered himself to be drawing nine feet of water. He was boat and captain and engine-bells combined, so he had to imagine himself standing on his own hurricane-deck giving the orders and executing them:

“Stop her, sir! Ting-a-ling-ling!” The headway ran almost out, and he drew up slowly toward the sidewalk.

Tom went on whitewashing—paid no attention to the steamboat. Ben stared a moment and then said: “Hi-yiYou’re up a stump, ain’t you!”

No answer. Tom surveyed his last touch with the eye of an artist, then he gave his brush another gentle sweep and surveyed the result, as before. Ben ranged up alongside of him. Tom’s mouth watered for the apple, but he stuck to his work. Ben said:

“Hello, old chap, you got to work, hey?”

Tom wheeled suddenly and said:

“Why, it’s you, Ben! I warn’t noticing.”

“Say—I’m going in a-swimming, I am. Don’t you wish you could? But of course you’d druther work—wouldn’t you? Course you would!”

Tom contemplated the boy a bit, and said:

“What do you call work?”

“Why, ain’t that work?”

Tom resumed his whitewashing, and answered carelessly:

“Well, maybe it is, and maybe it ain’t. All I know, is, it suits Tom Sawyer.”

“Oh come, now, you don’t mean to let on that you like it?”

The brush continued to move.

“Like it? Well, I don’t see why I oughtn’t to like it. Does a boy get a chance to whitewash a fence every day?”

That put the thing in a new light. Ben stopped nibbling his apple. Tom swept his brush daintily back and forth—stepped back to note the effect—added a touch here and there—criticized the effect again—Ben watching every move and getting more and more interested, more and more absorbed. Presently he said:

“Say, Tom, let me whitewash a little.”

Tom considered, was about to consent; but he altered his mind:

“No—no—I reckon it wouldn’t hardly do, Ben. You see, Aunt Polly’s awful particular about this fence—right here on the street, you know—but if it was the back fence I wouldn’t mind and she wouldn’t. Yes, she’s awful particular about this fence; it’s got to be done very careful; I reckon there ain’t one boy in a thousand, maybe two thousand, that can do it the way it’s got to be done.”

“No—is that so? Oh come, now—lemme, just try. Only just a little—I’d let you, if you was me, Tom.”

“Ben, I’d like to; but Aunt Polly—well, Jim wanted to do it, but she wouldn’t let him; Sid wanted to do it, and she wouldn’t let Sid. Now don’t you see how I’m fixed? If you was to tackle this fence and anything was to happen to it—”

“Oh, shucks, I’ll be just as careful. Now lemme try. Say—I’ll give you the core of my apple.”

“Well, here—No, Ben, now don’t. I’m afeard—”

“I’ll give you all of it!”

Tom gave up the brush with reluctance in his face, but alacrity in his heart. And while the late steamer Big Missouri worked and sweated in the sun, the retired artist sat on a barrel in the shade close by, dangled his legs, munched his apple, and planned the slaughter of more innocents. There was no lack of material; boys happened along every little while; they came to jeer, but remained to whitewash. By the time Ben was tired, Tom had traded the next chance to Billy Fisher for a kite, in good repair; and when he played out, Johnny Miller bought in for a dead rat and a string to swing it with—and so on, and so on, hour after hour. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. And when the middle of the afternoon came, from being a poor poverty-stricken boy in the morning, Tom was literally rolling in wealth. He had besides the things before mentioned, twelve marbles, a piece of blue bottle-glass to look through, a spool cannon, a key that wouldn't unlock anything, a fragment of chalk, a glass stopper of a decanter, a tin soldier, a couple of tadpoles, six fire-crackers, a kitten with only one eye, a brass door-knob, a dog-collar—but no dog—the handle of a knife, four pieces of orange-peel, and a dilapidated old window sash.

He had had a nice, good, idle time all the while—plenty of company—and the fence had three coats of whitewash on it! If he hadn’t run out of whitewash he would have bankrupted every boy in the village.

Which of the following best describes the dialogue in this scene?

Possible Answers:

Switching dramatically from formal and fancy to informal and casual

Using lots of foreign words borrowed from other languages

Switching dramatically from informal and casual to formal and fancy

Formal and fancy

Casual and informal

Correct answer:

Casual and informal

Explanation:

The dialogue in this scene is the conversation that Tom and Ben have, not the surrounding descriptions: the descriptions are the narrator's prose, to which this question is not referring. How do Tom and Ben talk to each other? The language they use is not very formal or fancy: it uses a lot of nonstandard English like “warn’t,” “druther,” “aint,” and "afeard." This is consistent throughout the whole passage: at no point do they characters shift to speaking in a notably different, more formal style. Their conversation is consistently casual throughout. Thus, the best answer is "casual and informal."

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

Adapted from “The Open Window” in Beasts and Super-Beasts by H. H. Munro (Saki) (1914)

"My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel," said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen. "In the meantime you must try and put up with me."

Framton Nuttel endeavored to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing.

"I know how it will be," his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat. "You will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice."

Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction, came into the "nice" division.

"Do you know many of the people round here?" asked the niece, when she judged that they had had sufficient silent communion.

"Hardly a soul," said Framton. "My sister was staying here, at the rectory, you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here."

He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret.

"Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?" pursued the self-possessed young lady.

"Only her name and address," admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An undefinable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation.

"Her great tragedy happened just three years ago," said the child. "That would be since your sister's time."

"Her tragedy?" asked Framton; somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.

"You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon," said the niece, indicating a large French window that opened on to a lawn.

"It is quite warm for the time of the year," said Framton, "but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy?"

"Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day's shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor to their favorite snipe-shooting ground they were all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it." Here the child's voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. "Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back someday, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing 'Bertie, why do you bound?' as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, sometimes on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window—"

She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.

"I hope Vera has been amusing you?" she said.

"She has been very interesting," said Framton.

"I hope you don't mind the open window," said Mrs. Sappleton briskly. "My husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They've been out for snipe in the marshes today, so they'll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you menfolk, isn't it?"

She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic, he was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.

"The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, an absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise," announced Framton, who labored under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one's ailments and infirmities, their cause and cure. "On the matter of diet they are not so much in agreement," he continued.

"No?" said Mrs. Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last moment. Then she suddenly brightened into alert attention—but not to what Framton was saying.

"Here they are at last!" she cried. "Just in time for tea, and don't they look as if they were muddy up to the eyes!"

Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with a dazed horror in her eyes. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.

In the deepening twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window, they all carried guns under their arms, and one of them was additionally burdened with a white coat hung over his shoulders. A tired brown spaniel kept close at their heels. Noiselessly they neared the house, and then a hoarse young voice chanted out of the dusk: "I said, Bertie, why do you bound?"

Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat; the hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision.

"Here we are, my dear," said the bearer of the white mackintosh, coming in through the window. "Fairly muddy, but most of it's dry. Who was that who bolted out as we came up?"

"A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel," said Mrs. Sappleton. "Could only talk about his illnesses, and dashed off without a word of goodbye or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost."

"I expect it was the spaniel," said the niece calmly. "He told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges by a pack of pariah dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make anyone lose their nerve."

Romance at short notice was her speciality. 

In the context of the whole story, what is the most likely reason that Mrs. Sappleton’s niece asks, “Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?” in the underlined paragraph?

Possible Answers:

To decide whether she wants to keep talking to him

To figure out if he is interested in going hunting with Mrs. Sappleton’s husband and brothers

To figure out if she can get him to believe a made-up story about her aunt

To figure out if he knows about the tragedy that her aunt went through

To try to figure out what he is afraid of

Correct answer:

To figure out if she can get him to believe a made-up story about her aunt

Explanation:

Consider what happens in the whole story: Mr. Framton is left with the niece before Mrs. Sapplton, her aunt, arrives. The two talk about why Mr. Nuttel is visiting. Then, the niece tells him a horror story about Mrs. Sappleton's family members going hunting and never coming back, and saying that's why her aunt always leaves the window open. (This is essentially a ghost story.) Mr. Nuttel believes this. Mrs. Sappleton arrives and talks about the open window as if her family members have just gone hunting. This unnerves Mr. Nuttel. The hunting party comes back and the niece looks scared. Mr. Nuttel, thinking he's seeing ghosts, runs away. The niece makes up a story about Mr. Nuttel to explain why he ran away.

Where in that sequence of events does this line appear? At the beginning of the story, when Mr. Nuttel and the niece are talking, but before the niece has told him the scary story about the hunting party. Why might she ask, “Then you know practically nothing about my aunt?” This is before she has made up the scary story. If she can establish that Mr. Nuttel knows nothing about her aunt, she knows that he will be more likely to believe any story she tells him about her aunt and the open window. This is the correct answer: we can infer that the niece asks this question "to figure out if she can get [Mr. Nuttel] to believe a made-up story about her aunt."

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

"The Ruby-throated Hummingbird"

Geographical Range and Migration

The Ruby-throated Hummingbird is the sole representative of the hummingbird family in eastern North America. It is only a summer visitor in Canada and throughout the greater part of its range in the United States, excepting the southern portions of the Florida peninsula, where it winters to some extent. The majority of these birds migrate south, though, spending the winter in some of the Caribbean islands, while others pass through eastern Mexico into Central America. It usually arrives along our southern border in the latter part of March, rarely reaching the more northern States before the middle of May. It usually goes south again about the latter part of September, the males preceding the females, I believe, in both migrations. 

 

Appearance and Behavior

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have iridescent green feathers on their backs and white feathers on their bellies. The male birds have a patch of red feathers on their throats, from which the species derives its name. Both male and female Ruby-throated Hummingbirds have relatively short tails and beaks and lack any crest of feathers on their heads.

Ruby-throated Hummingbirds’ flight is extremely swift, and the rapid motions of its wings in passing back and forth from one cluster of flowers to another causes a humming or buzzing sound, from which the numerous members of this family derive their name of hummingbirds. Notwithstanding the very small size of most of our hummers, they are all extremely pugnacious, especially the males, and are constantly quarreling and chasing each other, as well as other birds, some of which are many times larger than themselves. Mr. Manly Hardy writes me that he once saw a male Ruby-throat chase a Robin out of his garden. They are rarely seen entirely at rest for any length of time, and, when not busy preening its feathers, they dart about from one place to another. Although such a small, tiny creature, it is full of energy, and never seems to tire.

They seem to be especially partial to anything red. Mr. Manly Hardy writes: "I was once camping on one of the many islands along the coast of Maine during a dense fog, which had held us prisoners for several days, as it was so thick that we could not find our way. We had been living on lobsters, and lots of their red shells lay near the fire in front of our tent, when suddenly a Hummer came out of the fog and darted down at the shells, moving from one to another, seemingly loath to leave them.”

 

What Do They Eat?

There appears to be considerable difference of opinion among various observers regarding the nature of the Ruby-throated Hummingbird’s food. Some contend that it consists principally of nectar sipped from flowers, as well as the sweet sap of certain trees. Others, myself included, believe that they subsist mainly on minute insects and small spiders, the latter forming quite an important article of food with them. Mr. Edwin H. Eames, of Bridgeport, Connecticut, mentions finding sixteen young spiders of uniform size in the throat of a young Hummingbird which was about two days old.

Mr. W. N. Clute, of Binghamton, New York, writes: "The swamp thistle, which blooms in August, seems to have great attractions for the Ruby-throated Hummingbirds. I have seen more than a hundred birds about these plants in the course of an hour. Since it has been stated that the bee gets pollen but not honey from the thistle, it would appear that these birds visit these flowers for insects. There is scarcely a flower that contains so many minute insects as a thistle head. Examine one with a lens and it will be found to contain many insects that can hardly be seen with the unaided eye, and if the Ruby-throat eats insects at all, these are the ones it would take; and because the larger ones remained the observer might conclude that none were eaten.” I could quote considerable more testimony showing that the Hummingbirds live to a great extent on minute spiders and insects, but consider it unnecessary.

That our Hummingbirds live to some extent on the sap of certain trees is undoubtedly true, but that they could exist for any length of time on such food alone is very questionable. They are particularly fond of the sap of the sugar maple, and only slightly less so of that of a few other species of trees. They are also fond of the nectar secreted in many flowers. While stationed at the former cavalry depot at St. Louis, Missouri, in 1873-74, I occupied a set of quarters that were completely overrun with large trumpet vines. When these were in bloom, the place fairly swarmed with Ruby-throats. They were exceedingly inquisitive, and often poised themselves before an open window and looked in my rooms full of curiosity, their bright little eyes sparkling like black beads. I have caught several, while busily engaged sipping nectar in these large, showy flowers, by simply placing my hand over them, and while so imprisoned they never moved, and feigned death, but as soon as I opened my hand they were off like a flash. 

 

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Passage adapted from "Ruby-throated Hummingbird" from Issue 3 of Life Histories of North American Birds, From the Parrots to the Grackles, with Special Reference to Their Breeding Habits and Eggs by Charles Bendire (1895)

Image adapted from Giltsch, Adolf, Lithographer, and Ernst Haeckel. Trochilidae. - Kolibris. [Leipzig und Wien: Verlag des Bibliographischen Instituts, 1904] Image. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <https://www.loc.gov/item/2015648985>.

 

The author thinks that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds __________.

Possible Answers:

eat nectar and sap as well as large beetles, and that the nectar and sap are more important to their diet

eat nectar and sap as well as small bugs and small spiders, and that the spiders are more important to their diet

eat nectar and sap as well as large beetles, and that the large beetles are more important to their diet

eat nectar and sap only

eat nectar and sap as well as small bugs and small spiders, and that the nectar and sap are more important to their diet

Correct answer:

eat nectar and sap as well as small bugs and small spiders, and that the spiders are more important to their diet

Explanation:

To figure out what the author thinks Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat, we should look in the section of the passage titled "What Do They Eat?" The author begins this section by explaining that people have come to different conclusions about what these birds eat. The author says:

Some contend that it consists principally of nectar sipped from flowers, as well as the sweet sap of certain trees. Others, myself included, believe that they subsist mainly on minute insects and small spiders, the latter forming quite an important article of food with them.

Did you catch that important phrase, "myself included"? By this, the author indicates that this is the group into which he falls. Which group is that? The group that thinks that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds eat mosty small insects and spiders. In addition, the author adds, "the latter forming quite an important article of food with them." What does "the latter" refer to? "The latter" means the second of two things thing just presented. The list that was just presented was "small insects and spiders." So, in this passage, "the latter" refers to small spiders, and the author thinks that these form an important part of the diets of Ruby-throated hummingbirds.

Later in the passage, the author writes,

That our Hummingbirds live to some extent on the sap of certain trees is undoubtedly true, but that they could exist for any length of time on such food alone is very questionable. They are particularly fond of the sap of the sugar maple, and only slightly less so of that of a few other species of trees. They are also fond of the nectar secreted in many flowers.

This tells us that the author thinks that they eat sap and flower nectar, but that this isn't their main form of food.

We can now answer the question correctly! The author thinks that Ruby-throated Hummingbirds "eat nectar and sap as well as small bugs and small spiders, and that the spiders are more important to their diet."

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

Adapted from “Theodore Roosevelt the Rancher.” National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior, n.d. Web. 1 July 2016. <https://www.nps.gov/thro/learn/historyculture/theodore-roosevelt-the-rancher.htm>.

Theodore Roosevelt originally came to Dakota Territory in 1883 to hunt bison. The locals showed little interest in helping this eastern tenderfoot. The promise of quick cash, however, convinced Joe Ferris—a 25-year-old Canadian living in the Badlands—to act as Roosevelt's hunting guide.

Through terrible weather and awful luck, Roosevelt showed a determination which surprised his exasperated hunting guide. Finding a bison proved difficult; most of the herds had been slaughtered in recent years by commercial hunters. When they were not sleeping outdoors, Roosevelt and Ferris used the small ranch cabin of Gregor Lang as a base camp. Evenings at Lang's ranch saw an exhausted Ferris falling asleep to conversations between Roosevelt and their host. Spirited debates on politics gave way to discussions about ranching, and Roosevelt became interested in raising cattle in the Badlands.

Cattle ranching in Dakota was a boom business in the 1880s. With the northern plains recently devoid of bison, cattle were being driven north from Texas to feed on the nutritious grasses. The Northern Pacific Railroad offered a quick route to eastern markets without long drives that reduced the quality of the meat. Entrepreneurs like the Marquis de Morès were bringing money and infrastructure to the region. The opportunity struck Roosevelt as a sound business opportunity.

With Roosevelt's interest sparked, he entered into business with his guide's brother, Sylvane Ferris, and Bill Merrifield, another Dakota cattleman. Roosevelt put down an initial investment of $14,000—significantly more than his annual salary. Roosevelt returned to New York with instructions for Ferris and Merrifield to build the Maltese Cross Cabin. His investment was not purely for business; Roosevelt saw it as a chance to immerse himself in a western lifestyle he had long romanticized.

The purpose of this passage is __________.

Possible Answers:

to describe how Theodore Roosevelt came to invest in a cattle ranch in the western U.S.

to describe the culture of the western U.S. during Roosevelt’s era

to talk about the financial investments that Roosevelt made throughout his life

to explain Theodore Roosevelt’s motivation for hunting bison in the western U.S.

to describe the ranch on which Roosevelt lived during his time in the West

Correct answer:

to describe how Theodore Roosevelt came to invest in a cattle ranch in the western U.S.

Explanation:

This biography begins by describing how Theodore Roosevelt's traveled to the Dakota Territories to hunt bison. It then explains how he became interested in owning part of a cattle ranch, and some of his motivations behind this decision. While the passage discusses how hunting bison brought Roosevelt to the Dakota Territories, it does not "explain [his] motivation for hunting bison in the western U.S." because it never talks about why he wanted to hunt bison. The answer choices "to describe the culture of the western U.S. during Roosevelt’s era" and "to talk about the financial investments that Roosevelt made throughout his life" are both incorrect as they are each too broad. The passage doesn't talk about the culture of the entire western U.S. during Roosevelt's era and it only talks about one financial investment that he made. While it mentions the ranch on which Roosevelt stayed, the purpose of the passage is not "to describe the ranch on which Roosevelt lived during his time in the West." The best answer is that the point of the passage is "to describe how Theodore Roosevelt came to invest in a cattle ranch in the western U.S." This captures the passage's main subject matter: Roosevelt's arrival in the Dakota Territories, his interest in owning a cattle ranch, and his motivations for investing in one.

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people. The future of YES, however, is now at risk.

One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Though no one has claimed that any of the recipients of YES funds have been undeserving, several families have brought lawsuits claiming that their requests for funding were rejected because of the families’ high levels of income.

Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. The rules state that the business plan must be created by the youth and that any profits in excess of $1,000 be placed in a bank account. The rules say that the money can only be used for education, investment in the business, and little else. There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories. A 14-year-old girl in Texas used the knowledge and funding she received through the program to connect with a distributor who now carries her line of custom-designed cell phone covers. Two brothers in Alaska have developed an online travel service for young people vacationing with their families. Both of these businesses are doing well and earning money. Unfortunately, these and other successes have received little media coverage. This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

What is the author’s point of view about Young Enterprise Services (YES)?

Possible Answers:

The author’s point of view is mainly negative and alludes to the program needing major work. The author believes that there isn’t much hope for it to continue on.

The author does not provide any evidence or language that would lead readers to a specific point of view.

The author views the program in a positive manner and does not seem to recognize that there are issues that need to be addressed.

The author recognizes there are challenges facing a program that has otherwise been successful. The author feels that the program’s tarnished image can be changed.

Correct answer:

The author recognizes there are challenges facing a program that has otherwise been successful. The author feels that the program’s tarnished image can be changed.

Explanation:

The text is written where both the positive and negative aspects of the program are acknowledged so there is a neutrality to the point of view. The author does lean in the optimistic direction when he or she interjects personal feelings.

Example Question #1 : Craft And Structure

Young Enterprise Services (YES) is a program created to encourage entrepreneurship in 14- to 18-year-olds who have already shown a clear ability for starting businesses. The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people. The future of YES, however, is now at risk.

One complaint is that the funds that YES distributes have disproportionately gone to young people from low-income families. Though no one has claimed that any of the recipients of YES funds have been undeserving, several families have brought lawsuits claiming that their requests for funding were rejected because of the families’ high levels of income.

Another challenge has been the task of making sure that a young person, not his or her family, is receiving the funding. The rules state that the business plan must be created by the youth and that any profits in excess of $1,000 be placed in a bank account. The rules say that the money can only be used for education, investment in the business, and little else. There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

On the other hand, YES has had some real success stories. A 14-year-old girl in Texas used the knowledge and funding she received through the program to connect with a distributor who now carries her line of custom-designed cell phone covers. Two brothers in Alaska have developed an online travel service for young people vacationing with their families. Both of these businesses are doing well and earning money. Unfortunately, these and other successes have received little media coverage. This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

What personal opinion does the author interject into the story that alludes to his or her point of view?

Possible Answers:

There have been cases of parents or even a neighbor using the money for their business.

The program started in 2002, has provided loans, grants, and counseling—in the form of workshops and individual meetings with entrepreneurs—to over 7500 young people.

A 14-year-old girl in Texas used the knowledge and funding she received through the program to connect with a distributor who now carries her line of custom-designed cell phone covers.

This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

Correct answer:

This is a shame, but one that can be fixed.

Explanation:

The author includes this personal opinion in the last paragraph of the passage. The rest of the answer choices are facts where this alludes to the author’s point of view about the program. He or she believes that the program can fix the image it has and mentions beforehand the need for more positive press coverage.

Example Question #1 : Reading To Determine Author's Point Of View

When I was seven, my father brought home from a business trip a wooden boomerang painted with images of the Australian flag. All summer long I carried that gift with me. I was fascinated by this piece of a continent completely on the other side of the world. Despite promises that if I threw it would immediately return, I had no intention of throwing it, only carrying and admiring it. What if it became stuck in a tree or carried away by a stiff wind? There would go my connection to the magical land of kangaroos, barrier reefs, and untold other pieces of wonder.

As I walk the shores of Bondi Beach or watch the tourists purchase kangaroo-themed apparel in my adopted hometown of Sydney, I often think back to that boomerang and the world to which it opened my eyes. As an airline pilot, I am fortunate to live out my childhood dream – inspired by that boomerang – of exploring faraway lands. Whenever I do, I bring home a trinket for my young daughter such that she might be similarly struck by wanderlust.

How does the author’s word choice develop the narrator’s point of view?

Possible Answers:

The author uses emotional language related to memories and travel to develop the narrator’s point of view.

The author’s word choice allows readers to understand that the narrator’s point of view towards Australia changes over time.

The author uses words with a negative connotation to develop the narrator’s point of view regarding his/her childhood.

The author’s word choices do not develop the narrator’s point of view.

Correct answer:

The author uses emotional language related to memories and travel to develop the narrator’s point of view.

Explanation:

The author uses words such as: fascinated, connection, wonder, inspired, and wanderlust to make a connection with emotions and memories to allude to the point of view of the narrator. The language is powerful and personal to the narrator so readers can better understand where the narrator is coming from.

Example Question #51 : Reading

When I was seven, my father brought home from a business trip a wooden boomerang painted with images of the Australian flag. All summer long I carried that gift with me. I was fascinated by this piece of a continent completely on the other side of the world. Despite promises that if I threw it would immediately return, I had no intention of throwing it, only carrying and admiring it. What if it became stuck in a tree or carried away by a stiff wind? There would go my connection to the magical land of kangaroos, barrier reefs, and untold other pieces of wonder.

As I walk the shores of Bondi Beach or watch the tourists purchase kangaroo-themed apparel in my adopted hometown of Sydney, I often think back to that boomerang and the world to which it opened my eyes. As an airline pilot, I am fortunate to live out my childhood dream – inspired by that boomerang – of exploring faraway lands. Whenever I do, I bring home a trinket for my young daughter such that she might be similarly struck by wanderlust.

From whose point of view is the text written?

Possible Answers:

This text is written from the third-person point of view.

This text is written from the second-person point of view.

The text is written from the first-person point of view.

It is not able to be determined from whose point of view the text is written.

Correct answer:

The text is written from the first-person point of view.

Explanation:

A first-person narrator is a character in the piece. The first-person narrator is only giving us his or her perspective. In this passage, the narrator uses I and my which are first-person pronouns.

Example Question #1 : Craft And Structure

Nearly all the workers of the Lowell textile mills of Massachusetts were unmarried daughters from farm families. Some of the workers were as young as 10. Many people in the 1820s were upset by the idea of working females. The company provided well-kept dormitories for the women to live in. The meals were decent and church attendance was mandatory. Compared to other factories of the time, the Lowell mills were clean and safe. There was even a journal, The Lowell Offering, which contained poems and other material written by the workers, and which became known beyond New England. Ironically, it was at the Lowell mills that dissatisfaction with working conditions brought about the first organization of working women.

The work was difficult. When wages were cut, the workers organized the Factory Girls Association. 15,000 women decided to “turn out,” or walk off the job. The Offering, meant as a pleasant creative outlet, gave the women a voice that could be heard elsewhere in the country, and even in Europe. However, the ability of women to demand changes was limited. The women could not go for long without wages with which to support themselves and families. This same limitation hampered the effectiveness of the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA), organized in 1844.

No specific changes can be directly credited to the Lowell workers, but their legacy is unquestionable. The LFLRA’s founder, Sarah Bagley, became a national figure, speaking before the Massachusetts House of Representatives. When the New England Labor Reform League was formed, three of the eight board members were women. Other mill workers took note of the Lowell strikes and were successful in getting better pay, shorter hours, and safer working conditions. Even some existing child labor laws can be traced back to efforts first set in motion by the Lowell mills women.

What is the author’s point of view about the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA)?

Possible Answers:

The author’s point of view about the Lowell Female Labor Reform Association (LFLRA) is that the women were one of the greatest labor reform groups in history and made a large number of direct changes to the work industry.

The author’s point of view is mainly negative and alludes to the women’s association not accomplishing very much in labor reform.

The author recognizes the challenges the women faced and credits their actions for having inspired long-lasting changes.

The author does not provide any evidence or language that would lead readers to a specific point of view.

Correct answer:

The author recognizes the challenges the women faced and credits their actions for having inspired long-lasting changes.

Explanation:

The author describes the successes that the LFLRA made as well as the effect their movement had on other reform groups and areas of labor reform. He or she notes that there were no direct changes but powerful influence.

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