Test: SAT Critical Reading

Adapted from Luxuries by George Ade (1922)

Right here, and nowhere else, except in two or three other new countries, poor people get in on the luxuries. Do you know of any one past the age of eight who never rode in a motor car? Countless millions in Europe regard the automobile as a rich man's luxury. It is a symbol of splendor which chases them off the roadways. They never dream of becoming acquainted with anything so huge and important. 

The farmer in France or Italy or Germany has no telephone in his house. Meat on the table means a family feast. The movie to him is a holiday treat and ice cream is a semi-annual jamboree. The daughter has never rocked around on high heels or hit herself in the nose with a powder rag. The son has never worn a snappy suit with the belt surrounding the lungs instead of the digestive organs.

Most of the human beings outside of this hemisphere line up as paupers. Invoice their holdings and you will find that the assets, per person, run up to about $8.75. The ordinary man we pass in the street carries probably $75 worth of merchandise. The guess is low rather than high, because we have to take into account a suit of clothes, a hat, a pair of shoes, various undergarments, buttons made of a precious metal, and possibly some expensive fillings in the teeth. If he had been born in Egypt or Ceylon or Burma or China or Japan or Africa he would be wearing clothes worth $1.80 and be thankful for them.

About sixty-five per cent of all the people in the world think they are getting along great when they are not starving to death. In these days of recession, when so many of us are curled up in mental anguish because we cannot frivolously spend money as we did in 1919, it may help if we reflect that, at least, each of us has a mattress at night, meals as usual, books to read, and some sort of entertainment in the next block.


What is the primary purpose of this passage?

To establish an experiment

To predict an outcome

To give perspective

To celebrate a stituation 

To refute an argument

1/13 questions


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