SAT OG 2016 Reading - Test 1 reading 4

Questions 32-41 are based on the following

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

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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Question 32 The main purpose of the passage is to