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How to use the sample reading test
- Read the passage and answer the questions.
- You may go back and look at the passage as often as you want.
- You can check your work with the
Sample Passage 1 - Humanities
When I'm in New York but feeling lonely for Wyoming I look
for the western movie aids in the subway. But the men I see in those
posters with their stern, humorless looks remind me of no one I know in the
east. In our earnestness to romanticize the cowboy we've ironically
disesteemed his true character. If he's "strong and silent" it's
because there's probably no one to talk to. If he "rides away into
the sunset" it's because he's been on horseback since four in the morning
moving cattle and he's trying, fifteen hours later, to get home to his
family. If he's "argued individualist" he's also part of a team:
ranch work is teamwork and even the glorified open-range cowboys of the 1880s
rode up and down the Chisholm Trail in the company of twenty or thirty other
riders. It's not toughness but "toughing it out" that
counts. In other words, this macho, cultural artifact the cowboy has
become is simply a man who possesses resilience, and an instinct for
survival. "Cowboys are just like a pile of rocks-everything happens
to them. They get climbed on, kicked, rained and snowed on, and scuffed up
by the wind." Their job is "just to take it," one old-timer
Adapted from Gretel Ehrlich, The Solace of Open Spaces. ©
1985 by Gretel Ehrilch
1. According to the passage, cowboys are probably "strong and
- Their work leaves them no time for conversation.
- They have been cautioned not to complain.
- There is no one nearby to listen to them.
- Their work makes them too tired to talk.
2. For which of the following statements does the passage give
apparently contradictory evidence?
- The cowboy's work takes endurance.
- Cowboys work alone.
- Cowboys are adequately paid.
- The cowboy's image has become romanticized in American culture.
- Cowboys think of themselves as humorless.
3. A subway can best be described as:
- A bus route through town.
- An underground train.
- A pedestrians right-of-way.
- An exit ramp.
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