ACT Reading Practice Test 79: LITERARY NARRATIVE

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.

LITERARY NARRATIVE: This passage is adapted from the novel Homeland by John Jakes (©1993 by John Jakes).

Joseph Emanuel Crown, owner of the Crown
Brewery of Chicago, was a worried man. Worried on
several counts, the most immediate being a civic
responsibility he was scheduled to discuss at an emer-
5gency meeting this Friday, the fourteenth of October; a
meeting he had requested.

Joe Crown seldom revealed inner anxieties, and
that was the case as he worked in his office this morn-
ing. He was a picture of steadiness, rectitude, prosper-
10ity. He wore a fine suit of medium gray enlivened by a
dark red four-in-hand tied under a high collar. Since the
day was not yet too warm, he kept his coat on.

Joe's hair was more silver than white. He washed
it daily, kept it shining. His eyes behind spectacles with
15silver wire frames were dark brown, rather large, and
alert. His mustache and imperial showed careful atten-
tion; he had an appointment at twelve for the weekly
trim. His hands were small but strong. He wasn't hand-
some, but he was commanding.

20Three principles ruled Joe Crown's business and
personal life, of which the most important was order. In
German, Ordnung. Without order, organization, some
rational plan, you had chaos.

The second principle was accuracy. Accuracy was
25mandatory in brewing, where timing and temperatures
were critical. But accuracy was also the keystone of any
business that made money instead of losing it. The pri-
mary tool for achieving accuracy was mathematics. Joe
Crown had a towering belief in the potency of correct
30information, and the absolute authority of numbers
which provided it.

In Germany, he'd learned his numbers before he
learned to read. Though a mediocre student in most
school subjects, at ciphering he was a prodigy. He
35could add a column of figures, or do calculations in his
head, with astonishing speed. In Cincinnati, his first
stop in America, he'd begged the owner of a Chinese
laundry to teach him to use an abacus. One of these
ancient counting devices could be found in his office,
40sitting on a low cabinet, within reach. Money measured
success; counting measured money.

Questions he asked of his employees often
involved numbers. "What is the exact temperature?"
"How large is the population in that market?" "How
45many barrels did we ship last week?" "What's the cost,
per square foot, of this expansion?"

As for his third principle, modernity, he believed
that, too, was crucial in business. Men who said the old
ways were the best ways were fools, doomed to fall
50behind and fail. Joe was always searching for the
newest methods to improve the brewery's product,
output, efficiency, cleanliness. He hadn't hesitated to
install expensive pasteurization equipment when he
opened his first small brewery in Chicago. He'd been
55among the first to invest heavily in refrigerated freight
cars. He insisted that modern machines be used in the
office. From his desk he could hear the pleasing ratchet
noise of a mechanical adding machine. This blended
with the clicking keys and pinging bell on the black
60iron typewriter used for correspondence by his chief
clerk, Stefan Zwick.

Originally Stefan had resisted Joe's suggestion
that he learn to operate a typewriter. "Sir, I respectfully
decline, a quill pen suits me perfectly."

65"But Stefan," Joe said to him in a friendly but firm
way, "I'm afraid it doesn't suit me, because it makes
Crown's look old-fashioned. However, I'll respect your
feelings. Please place a help wanted advertisement.
We'll hire one of those young women who specialize
70in using the machines. I believe they too are called

Zwick blanched. "A woman? In my office?"

"I'm sorry, Stefan, but you leave me no choice if
you won't learn to typewrite."

75Stefan Zwick learned to typewrite.

Every solid house or building was supported by a
strong foundation; and so there was a foundation on
which Joe Crown's three principles rested. It was not
unusual, or peculiar to him. It was the cheerful accep-
80tance, not to say worship, of hard work. Among other
artifacts, advertising sheets, flags and fading. brown
photographs of annual brewery picnics decorating his
office there was a small framed motto which his wife
had done colorfully in cross-stitch and put into a frame
85of gilded wood. Ohne Fleiss, kein Preis, it said. In
rough translation, this reminded you that without indus-
try there was no reward. From his desk Joe Crown
couldn't see the gold-framed motto; it hung on the wall
behind him, slightly to his right. But he didn't need to
90see it. Its truth was in him deeper than the marrow of
his bones. He was a German.

1. If a stereotype of Germans is that they are tidy, meticu-lous, and industrious, does the characterization of Crown in this passage reinforce or weaken this stereotype?

A. It firmly reinforces the stereotype.
B. It initially reinforces and subsequently weakens the stereotype.
C. It reinforces the meticulous aspect of the stereo-type but weakens the industrious aspect.
D. It weakens the stereotype in that Crown likes his surroundings tidy but expects others to do the tidy-ing up.

2. It can reasonably be inferred that in relation to the appointment referred to in the third paragraph (lines13-19), the meeting referred to in the first paragraph occurs:

F. on the same day.
G. several days earlier.
H. several days later.
J. several years later.

3. The passage's description of Zwick reveals that com-pared to Crown, he is:

A. equally fastidious about meeting a deadline.
B. less inclined to embrace new technology.
C. less afraid to state his preferences to his superiors.
D. more concerned with the company's public image.

4. The dialogue in line 72 reveals Zwick's:

F. indignation over Crown's proposed solution to the problem the two men are discussing.
G. panic over having a surprise visitor to his office.
H. excitement over meeting a new employee of Crown Brewery.
J. insensitivity to his recently hired female coworker.

5. At the time described in the passage's opening, what is Crown's most immediate preoccupation?

A. Whether he will be on time for his weekly trim
B. Whether to install expensive pasteurization equip-ment at his brewery
C. Zwick's impertinent behavior
D. A civic responsibility

6. The passage states that Crown was what kind of student?

F. Exceptionally gifted, especially in ciphering
G. Mediocre, except in ciphering
H. Successful when he applied himself, otherwise poor
J. Increasingly successful as he gained the use of counting aids

7. Based on the passage, which of the following ques-tions would be most characteristic of the kind Crown typically asked his employees?

A. Was your weekend a most pleasant one?
B. Have you had a chance to repair that old typewriter?
C. By what figure will our sales increase if we advertise in that publication?
D. Who among you has a better idea for how we can work well as a team?

8. At the time in which the passage is set, which of the following devices are still apparently being used in offices in the United States even as those same devices are, in Crown's view, becoming increasingly obsolete?

F. Typewriters
G. Mechanical adding machines
H. Quill pens
J. Abacuses

9. The metaphor the author uses to help describe Crown's three principles primarily draws upon imagery from what discipline?

A. Architecture
B. Business
C. Astronomy
D. Education

10. Which of the following is a detail from the passage that indicates the length of time Crown has been in the brewery business?

F. Some outdated refrigerators from when he first opened his business
G. A newly hung cross-stitched phrase framed and placed on his office wall
H. Photographs of annual company picnics decorating his office
J. A bell, the ringing of which has marked the start of his workday for the last twenty years