Questions 1-15. Read the following passage carefully before you choose your answers.
(The following essay by a British writer was first published in 1900.)
We may talk about our troubles to those persons who can give us direct help, but even in this case we ought as much as possible to come to a provisional conclusion before consultation; to be perfectly clear to ourselves within our own limits. Some people have a foolish trick of applying for aid before they have done anything whatever to aid themselves, and in fact try to talk themselves into perspicuity. The only way in which they can think is by talking, and their speech consequently is not the expression of opinion already and carefully formed, but the manufacture of it.
We may also tell our troubles to those who are suffering if we can lessen their own. It may be a very great relief to them to know that others have passed through trials equal to theirs and have survived. There are obscure, nervous diseases, hypochondriac fancies, almost uncontrollable impulses, which terrify by their apparent singularity. If we could believe that they are common, the worst of the fear would vanish.
But, as a rule, we should be very careful for our own sake not to speak much about what distresses us. Expression is apt to carry with it exaggeration, and this exaggerated form becomes henceforth that under which we represent our miseries to ourselves, so that they are thereby increased. By reserve, on the other hand, they are diminished, for we attach less importance to that which it was not worth while to mention. Secrecy, in fact, may be our salvation.
It is injurious to be always treated as if something were the matter with us. It is health-giving to be dealt with as if we were healthy, and the man who imagines his wits are failing becomes stronger and sounder by being entrusted with a difficult problem than by all the assurances of a doctor.
They are poor creatures who are always craving for pity. If we are sick, let us prefer conversation upon any subject rather than upon ourselves. Let it turn on matters that lie outside the dark chamber, upon the last new discovery, or the last new idea. So shall we seem still to be linked to the living world. By perpetually asking for sympathy an end is put to real friendship. The friend is afraid to intrude anything which has no direct reference to the patient’s condition lest it should be thought irrelevant. No love even can long endure without complaint, silent it may be, against an invalid who is entirely self-centered; and what an agony it is to know that we are tended simply as a duty by those who are nearest to us, and that they will really be relieved when we have departed! From this torture we may be saved if we early apprentice ourselves to the art of self-suppression and sternly apply the gag to eloquence upon our own woes. Nobody who really cares for us will mind waiting on us even to the long-delayed last hour if we endure in fortitude.
There is no harm in confronting our disorders or misfortunes. On the contrary, the attempt is wholesome. Much of what we dread is really due to indistinctness of outline. If we have the courage to say to ourselves, What is this thing, then? let the worst come to the worst, and what then? we shall frequently find that after all it is not so terrible. What we have to do is to subdue tremulous, nervous, insane fright. Fright is often prior to an object; that is to say, the fright comes first and something is invented or discovered to account for it. There are certain states of body and mind which are productive of objectless fright, and the most ridiculous thing in the world is able to provoke it to activity. It is perhaps not too much to say that any calamity the moment it is apprehended by the reason alone loses nearly all its power to disturb and unfix us. The conclusions which are so alarming are not those of the reason, but, to use Spinoza’s words, of the “affects.”
1. The author most likely assumes which of the following about his audience?
(A) It has had little experience of emotional pain.
(B) It is interested in learning how to deal with personal problems.
(C) It is overly concerned with keeping up appearances.
(D) Its views are vehemently opposed to his own.
(E) It is indifferent to the effect of its actions on others.
2. The author implies that the speech of “Some people” (line 5) is likely to be
(A) polite and refined
(B) imaginative and original
(C) ill-considered and impetuous
(D) frivolous and tiresome
(E) awkward and inarticulate
3. In the first paragraph, the author draws a distinction between
(A) reserve and deceit
(B) thinking and speaking
(C) recollecting and suppressing
(D) reason and emotion
(E) knowledge and opinion
4. In the second paragraph, the author suggests that one way to lessen the suffering of others is to get them to believe that their troubles are
(A) largely self-created
(B) likely to be short-lived
(C) not unique to them
(D) not without cause
(E) not likely to return
(This question counts for one-third of the total essay section score.)
How do we decide which texts to preserve, read, or study? Some texts are considered important because of the identity of their authors, the gravity of their subjects, or their influences on society. However, there are other types of writing done by ordinary people under ordinary circumstances. A piece of “everyday writing” might be a diary entry of a farmer in the nineteenth century, a postcard written to a family member at the beginning of the twentieth century, or even a text message written to a friend in the early twenty-first century.
The following six sources either discuss or are examples of everyday writing. Carefully read these sources, including the introductory information for each source. Then synthesize information from at least three of the sources and incorporate it into a coherent, well-written argument in which you develop a position on the value, if any, of preserving, reading, or studying everyday writing.
Your argument should be the focus of your essay. Use the sources to develop your argument and explain the reasoning for it. Avoid merely summarizing the sources. Indicate clearly which sources you are drawing from, whether through direct quotation, paraphrase, or summary. You may cite the sources as Source A, Source B, etc., or by using the descriptions in parentheses.
Source A (Hewitt)
Source B (Stafford)
Source C (Postcard)
Source D (Gross)
Source E (Barton)
Source F (Goldsborough)