ACT Reading Practice Test 61: Humanities - Tennessee Williams: Celebrated Southern Gothic Writer

DIRECTIONS: Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary.



1. The main purpose of the passage can best be described as an effort to:

A. explain how and why Tennessee Williams's life suited writing in the Southern Gothic style.
B. illustrate what the South was like at the time Tennessee Williams was writing his body of work.
C. discuss how Tennessee Williams's life changed during his youth and young adulthood.
D. describe the different elements of Southern Gothic style present in Tennessee Williams's works.

2. The author's attitude toward the subject of the passage can best be characterized as:

F. amused tolerance.
G. detached interest.
H. warm appreciation.
J. mild skepticism.

3. It can be reasonably inferred that the author believes Tennessee Williams's first great success came from a play published in:

A. 1911
B. 1948
C. 1955
D. 1958

4. According to the sixth paragraph (lines 55–66), compared to modern standards of medicine, the prefrontal lobotomy is described as:

F. more apt to produce symptom improvement, but at unacceptable risk to the patient.
G. more apt to cause discomfort to the patient, but in exchange for reduced mental anguish.
H. less apt to diminish schizophrenia, and likely to incapacitate the patient.
J. less apt to treat mental disease, but with very manageable side effects.

5. As described in the passage, the effect Tennessee's family had on him can best be summarized by which of the following statements?

A. His family's impact can be safely overlooked because many other authors with less traumatic pasts have written in the Southern Gothic style.
B. His family gave Tennessee his sense of melancholy, which faded in his prosperous later years.
C. His family problems directly influenced his decades of writing and left Tennessee conflicted and distraught.
D. The destruction of the Williams family caused Tennessee's plays to turn to darker themes that did not appeal well to audiences.

6. When the author states that Southern Gothic literature does not make "blatant accusations" (line 21), he most likely means that the genre avoids:

F. defending the abolition of slavery and other social reforms in the postbellum South.
G. explicitly stating who among the characters are racist or otherwise morally corrupted.
H. addressing any social problems in the South, preferring that the reader juxtapose his own opinion with the facts of the plot.
J. righteous characters who overtly decry bigoted behavior of other characters.

7. The passage indicates that Tennessee Williams's creative streak began because:

A. he was trapped in an abusive household where his only refuge was in the fantasies he wrote.
B. he was tortured by his sister's condition and took to writing as a way of searching for an explanation for her decline.
C. he was severely ill as a boy and his mother took care to engage him in creative pursuits when he could not be physically active.
D. he was inspired by the success of other family members and wished to capture the feeling in prose.

8. According to the author, the primary characteristic of the Southern Gothic genre is that it:

F. indirectly uses distant or malevolent characters to raise issues of social justice.
G. incorporates the haunting religious themes of traditional Gothic literature into 20th-century Southern society.
H. is the first American genre to be able to set aside the issue of slavery.
J. carefully avoids volatile characters, in spite of plots set in tumultuous time periods.

9. The author calls some of Tennessee Williams's characters embroiled in line 37 most likely because they:

A. exist in the sultry Southern climate at a time where dress was uncomfortably conservative.
B. seem doomed to create continual problems for themselves.
C. deal with daunting personal problems or overwhelming moral quandaries.
D. bear a larger-than-life aesthetic that makes their words and deeds uniquely impactful.

10. The social structure mentioned in line 9 most directly refers to what the author sees as:

F. the remnants of racism and inequality in Southern culture following the end of slavery.
G. the unspoken disparity between rich landowners and poor farmhands at the turn of the 20th century.
H. the uncommon compassion and hospitality for which the South has become famous.
J. the system of vigilante justice that arose as a consequence of inadequate policing following the Civil War.