ACT Reading Practice Test 83: 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 A Map of Home by Randa Jarrar (©2008 by Randa Jarrar).

I don't remember how I came to know this story,
and I don't know how I can possibly still remember it.
On August 2, the day I was born, my baba (father)
stood at the nurses' station of St. Elizabeth's Medical
5Center of Boston with a pen between his fingers and
filled out my birth certificate. He had raced down the
stairs seconds after my birth, as soon as the doctor had
assured him that I was all right. While filling out my
certificate, Baba realized that he didn't know my sex
10for sure but that didn't matter; he'd always known I
was a boy,had spoken to me as a boy while I was in
Mama, and as he approached the box that contained the
question, NAME OF CHILD, he wrote with a quivering
hand and in his best English cursive, Nidal (strife;
15struggle). It was not my grandfather's name, and Baba,
whose name is Waheed and who was known during his
childhood as Said, was the only son of the family, so
the onus of renaming a son after my grandfather fell
squarely upon his shoulders. It was an onus he brushed
20off his then-solid shoulders unceremoniously, like a
piece of lint or a flake of dandruff; these are analogies
my grandfather would the next day angrily pen in a
letter sent from Jenin to Boston.

When he'd filled out the entire form, Baba regally
25relayed it to the nurse, who he remembers was called
Rhonda. Then Baba, in flip-flops, turned around and
raced up the white-tiled hallway, bypassed the elevator,
ran up the three floors to the maternity ward, and burst
into the birthing room.

30"How is my queen?" said Baba, caressing my
mother's face.

"She's lovely," Mama said, thinking he meant me,
"and eight whole pounds, the buffalo! No wonder my
back was so ... " Baba's brow furrowed, and Mama
35couldn't finish her complaint, because, eager to correct
his mistake, Baba was already out the door and running
down the white-tiled hallway, past new mothers and
their red-faced babies, past hideous robes in uncalled-
for patterns, bypassing the elevator, and sliding down
40the banister of the staircase. He raced on, screaming for
Rhonda, where is Rhonda, help me, Rhonda, an outcry
that provided the staff with three weeks' worth of

Rhonda emerged with the birth certificate in hand,
45and Baba, who is not usually known for laziness,
grabbed a pen and added at the end of my name a
heavy, reflexive, feminizing, possessive, cursive "I."

Moments later, Mama, who had just been informed
of my nom de guerre, got out of bed and walked us to
50the elevator, the entire time ignoring my baba, who was
screaming, "Nidali is a beautiful name, so unique, come
on Ruz, don't be so rash, you mustn't be walking, you
need to rest!"

Mama must not have fought long, or who knows:
55maybe she went to the nurses' station and talked to
Rhonda, and maybe Rhonda told her that the birth cer-
tificate was already sent out-that Mama would have to
go to the office of the City of Boston clerk and see the
registrar of vital statistics, where they keep the birth
60and death certificates-and maybe Mama, who is the
most superstitious of all humans (even more than Baba,
and to that she'll attest) shuddered at the thought of
taking me, a newborn, through the heat and the Boston
traffic to a place where, she must've imagined, people
65went to fill out death certificates, and she must've fur-
ther imagined that going on such a trip, to such a place,
would surely bring about my death-because I still
have my name.

Whenever I imagined Baba running out just after
70my birth and sliding through the hallways like a movie
star, I knew he must have embellished .Baba liked to do
that: tell stories that were impossible but true all at
once, especially if those stories made him look like a
rock star. This is because he used to be a writer and was
75now an architect. Our little apartment was filled with
blueprints and plastic models of houses instead of note-
books and poetry: a reality that filled him with great
sadness. So Baba put that sadness into these stories.

Mama liked to expose him when he told such sto-
80ries; she was his paparazzo, his story-cop. This was
because she was the true rock star: a musician who no
longer played music. Our house was filled with Baba's
blueprints and plastic models of houses and with my
schoolwork and toys and dolls and a hundred half pairs
85of socks instead of a piano: a reality that filled her with
great sadness.

I knew from the beginning that home meant
embellishing, and that's why I loved school. Teachers
were there, they taught us facts based on reality.

1. The point of view from which the passage is told is best described as that of:

A. a first person narrator who re-creates a story about her parents and the birth of their first chlid,events which happended before the narrator was born.
B. a first person narrator who offers insight into characters' thoughts and relates actions mainly from a time she was too young to remember.
C. an omniscient third person narrator who relates the thoughts and actions of several chracters.
D. a limited third person narrator who relates events most closely from the perspective of Nidali.

2. The narrator mentions a piece of lint and a flake of danddruff primarily to :

F. imply that the narrator's grandfather didn't value family traditions.
G. provide examples of movements Baba made while filling out the birth certificate.
H. emphasize the importance of naming the baby after the baby's grandfather.
J. illustrate the casual way in which the narrator's father ignored a tradition

3. Based on the passage, Mama's reaction to learning the name Baba gave the baby can best be described as:

A. disapproval followed by resignation.
B. annoyance followed by amusement.
C. embarrassment followed by outrage.
D. shock followed by resentment.

4. The sequence of actions described in the seventh para-graph (lines 54-68) can best be characterized as:

F. Baba's exaggerated account of Mama's trip to the office of the City of Boston clerk.
G. a scenario the narrator imagines could have happened.
H. the story of how Nidali got her name from Mama's point of view.
J. a memory that the narrator shares to reveal more about her personality

5. The narrator concludes that Mama didn't go to the office of the City of Boston clerk based on the fact that:

A. Baba believed it would be unlucky to change a baby's name at that point.
B. going there would've required taking the baby out in a severe winter storm.
C. Mama had a tendency to change her mind quickly.
D. the narrator still has the name Nidali.

6. In line 78, the phrase these stories most nearly refers to:

F. the conflicting stories about the origins of Nidali's name.
G. Baba's notebooks and poetry.
H. the embellished tales Baba liked to tell.
J. the narrator's accounts of her family's time in Boston

7. According to the passage, which of the following emo-tions do Baba and Mama share regarding their profes-sional lives?

A. Pride
B. Anxiety
C. Sadness
D. Contentment

8. Of the following characters, which one does the narra-tor describe as the most superstitious?

F. Mama
G. Baba
H. Nidali
J. Rhonda

9. The narrator most strongly suggests that Mama does which of the following when Baba tells stories?

A. Yawns and rolls her eyes in mock boredom
B. Goes about her business and ignores him
C. Chimes in with exaggerations and white lies
D. Corrects him about the accuracy of details

10. In the passage, the narrator makes which of the follow-ing distinctions?

F. Home is a place of embellished stories, whereas school is a place of facts and reality.
G. Mama is a true rock star, whereas Baba is an ama-teur musician.
H. Being an architect made Baba happy, whereas being a writer made him miserable.
J. Writing requires great imagination, whereas play-ing music requires great skill.