ACT Reading Dec. 2015 72E - Passage I

Questions 1-10 are based on the following passage.

PROSE FICTION: This passage is adapted from the novel Homecoming: A Novel by Bernhard Schllnk (©2006 by Bernhard Schlink).

Once the supper table was cleared, the dishes

washed, and the flowers in the garden watered. my

grandparents would set to work on the Novels for Your

Reading Pleasure and Entertainment series. They
5 worked at the dining table, pulling the ceiling lamp

down and reading and editing the manuscripts, the page

proofs, and the bound galleys. Sometimes they did

some writing as well: they insisted that each volume

conclude with a brief didactic essay, and when none
10 was forthcoming they supplied it themselves. They

wrote about the importance of toothbrushing, the battle

against snoring, the principles of beekeeping, the his-

­tory of the postal system. They also rewrote passages in

the novels when they found them awkward, unbeliev-
15 able, or immodest or when they felt they could make a

better point. The publisher gave them a free band.

When I was old enough to stay up after the black­-

bird bad finisbed its song, I was allowed to sit with

them. The light of the lamp just above the table, the
20 dark of the room surrounding it-I loved it. I would

read or learn a poem or write a letter to my mother or

an entry in my summer diary. Whenever I interrupted

my grandparents to ask a question, I got a friendly

answer. I was afraid though to ask too many: I could
25 sense their concentration. The remarks they exchanged

were sparse. and my questions sounded garrulous. So I

read, wrote, and studied in silence. From time to time I

lifted my bead cautiously, so as not to be noticed. and

observed them: Grandfather. his dark eyes now riveted
30 on the work before him, now gazing out, lost. into the

distance, and Grandmother, who did everything with a

light touch, reading with a smile and making correc-

tions with a quick and easy band. Yet the work must

have been much harder on her than on him: while he
35 cared only for history books and had a neutral,objec-

tive relationship to the novels they dealt with, she loved

literature, fiction as well as verse, and had a sure feel-

­ing for it; she must have suffered from having to spend

so much time on such banal texts.

40 I was not allowed to read them. If I grew curious

when they talked about one or another novel, I was told

in no uncertain terms I was not to read it: there was a

better novel or a better novella on the subject by

Conrad Ferdinand Meyer or Gottfried Keller or another
45 classic Swiss writer. Grandmother would then.get up

and bring me the better book.

When they gave me the extra copies of the bound

galleys to take home as scrap paper. they made a point

of reminding me not to read them. They would not have
50 given them to me at all bad paper not been so expensive

at the time and my mother's income so low. Everything

I did not have to hand in to the teacher I wrote on the

back of the bound galleys: Latin, Greek, and English

vocabulary words, first drafts of compositions, plot
55 summaries, descriptions of famous paintings, world

capitals, rivers and mountains, important dates, and

notes to classmates a few desks away. I liked the thick

pads of thick paper, and because I was a good boy I

refrained from reading the printed sides of the pages for
60 years.

During the first few summers my grandparents

found the life I was leading with them too isolated. and

tried to bring me into contact with children my own

age. They knew their neighbors and by talking to a
65 number of families arranged for me to be invited to

birthday parties, outings, and visits to the local swim-

ming pool. Since it took a lot of doing and they did it

out of love, I did not dare resist, but I was always

happy when the event was over and I could return to
70 them. Friendships might have grown out of these con-

tacts bad we seen one another more often. but the Swiss

children's summer holidays began soon after I arrived.

and they would disperse, returning only shortly before

my departure.

75 So I spent my summer holidays without playmates

my own age; I spent them taking the same walks to the

lake and hikes through a ravine, around a pond, and up

a hill with a view of the lake and the Alps; I spent them

going on the same excursions to the Rapperswill
80 fortress, Ufenau Island. the cathedral, the museums

These hikes and excursions were as much a part of the

summer as harvesting apples, berries, lettuce, and veg­-

etables. hoeing beds. weeding, snipping wilted flowers,

trimming hedges, mowing grass, tending the compost
85 keeping the watering can filled, and doing the watering.

just as these operations recurred naturally, so the recur-

­rence of the other activities struck me as natural. The

never-changing evenings at the table under the lamp

thus belonged to the natural rhythm of summer.

Question 1 It can most reasonably be inferred from the passage that the narrator felt that the summers with his grandparents were