SAT OG 2016 Reading - Test 1 reading 4

Questions 32-41 are based on the following passage.

This passage is adapted from Virginia Woolf, Three Guineas. ©1938 by Harcourt, Inc. Here, Woolf considers the situation of women in English society.

Close at hand is a bridge over the River Thames,
an admirable vantage ground for us to make a
survey. The river flows beneath; barges pass, laden
with timber, bursting with corn; there on one side are
5 the domes and spires of the city; on the other,
Westminster and the Houses of Parliament. It is a
place to stand on by the hour, dreaming. But not
now. Now we are pressed for time. Now we are here
to consider facts; now we must fix our eyes upon the
10 procession—the procession of the sons of educated
men.
There they go, our brothers who have been
educated at public schools and universities,
mounting those steps, passing in and out of those
15 doors, ascending those pulpits, preaching, teaching,
administering justice, practicing medicine,
transacting business, making money. It is a solemn
sight always—a procession, like a caravanserai
crossing a desert. . . . But now, for the past twenty
20 years or so, it is no longer a sight merely, a
photograph, or fresco scrawled upon the walls of
time, at which we can look with merely an esthetic
appreciation. For there, trapesing along at the tail
end of the procession, we go ourselves. And that
25 makes a difference. We who have looked so long at
the pageant in books, or from a curtained window
watched educated men leaving the house at about
nine-thirty to go to an office, returning to the house
at about six-thirty from an office,need look passively
30 no longer. We too can leave the house, can mount
those steps, pass in and out of those doors,... make
money, administer justice. . . . We who now agitate
these humble pens may in another century or two
speak from a pulpit. Nobody will dare contradict us
35 then; we shall be the mouthpieces of the divine
spirit—a solemn thought, is it not? Who can say
whether, as time goes on, we may not dress in
military uniform, with gold lace on our breasts,
swords at our sides, and something like the old
40 family coal-scuttle on our heads, save that that
venerable object was never decorated with plumes of
white horsehair. You laugh—indeed the shadow of
the private house still makes those dresses look a
little queer. We have worn private clothes so
45 long. . . . But we have not come here to laugh, or to
talk of fashions—men’s and women’s. We are here,
on the bridge, to ask ourselves certain questions.
And they are very important questions; and we have
very little time in which to answer them. The
50 questions that we have to ask and to answer about
that procession during this moment of transition are
so important that they may well change the lives of
all men and women for ever. For we have to ask
ourselves, here and now, do we wish to join that
55 procession, or don’t we? On what terms shall we join
that procession? Above all, where is it leading us, the
procession of educated men? The moment is short; it
may last five years; ten years, or perhaps only a
matter of a few months longer.... But, you will
60 object, you have no time to think; you have your
battles to fight, your rent to pay, your bazaars to
organize. That excuse shall not serve you, Madam.
As you know from your own experience, and there
are facts that prove it, the daughters of educated men
65 have always done their thinking from hand to
mouth; not under green lamps at study tables in the
cloisters of secluded colleges. They have thought
while they stirred the pot, while they rocked the
cradle. It was thus that they won us the right to our
70 brand-new sixpence. It falls to us now to go on
thinking; how are we to spend that sixpence? Think
we must. Let us think in offices; in omnibuses; while
we are standing in the crowd watching Coronations
and Lord Mayor’s Shows; let us think . . . in the
75 gallery of the House of Commons; in the Law Courts;
let us think at baptisms and marriages and funerals.
Let us never cease from thinking—what is this
“civilization” in which we find ourselves? What are
these ceremonies and why should we take part in
80 them? What are these professions and why
should we make money out of them? Where in
short is it leading us, the procession of
the sons of educated men?

 
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