ACT Reading OG Test 2 - Passage I

Questions 1-10 are based on the following passage.


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-
5 ency 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-
10 ity. He wore a fine suit of medium gray errlivened 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
15 silver 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.
20 Three 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
25 mandatory 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
30 information, 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
35 could 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
40 sitting 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
45 many 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
50 behind 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 pasteurizatron equipment when he

opened his first small brewery in Chicago. He'd been
55 among 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
60 iron 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
70 in using the machines. I believe they too are called

typewriters."
Zwick blanched. "A woman? In my office?"
"I'm sorry, Stefan, but you leave me no choice if

you won't learn to typewrite."
Stefan Zwick learned to typewrite.
75 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-
80 tance, 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
85 of 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
90 see it. Its truth was in him deeper than the marrow of

his bones. He was a German.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
Question 1 If a stereotype of Germans is that they are tidy, meticu­lous, and industrious, does the characterization of Crown in this passage reinforce or weaken this stereotype?