An indescribable oppression,which
seemed to generate in some unfamiliar part
ofher consciousness,filled her whole being
with a vague anguish.It was like a shadow,
like a mist passing across her soul’s summer
day.It was strange and unfamiliar;it was a
mood.She did not sit there inwardly
upbraiding her husband,lamenting at Fate,
which had directed her footsteps to the path
which they had taken.She was just having a
good cry all to herself.The mosquitoes suc-
ceeded in dispelling a mood which might
have held her there in the darkness halfa
The following morning Mr.Pontellier
was up in good time to take the carriage
which was to convey him to the steamer at
the wharf.He was returning to the city to
his business,and they would not see him
again at the Island till the coming Saturday.
He had regained his composure,which
seemed to have been somewhat impaired
the night before.He was eager to be gone,as
he looked forward to a lively week in the
Following are four sample questions about this passage.In
the actual test,as many as thirteen questions may appear
with a passage ofthis length.
You may be asked to interpret information presented
throughout the passage and to evaluate the effect ofthe lan-
guage used by the author.
6. The narrator would most likely describe Mr.
Pontellier’s conduct during the evening as
(B) justifiably impatient
(C)passionate and irrational
(D)patronizing and self-centered
(E) concerned and gentle
This question asks you to consider a large portion ofthe
passage and to make an inference about the narrator’s view
of“Mr.Pontellier’s conduct during the evening.”To answer
such a question,you should look carefully at the particular
words used and details mentioned in the passage.In the
first paragraph,Mr.Pontellier awakens his wife after his
“night out”;he seems not to notice or care that she had
been sound asleep.In lines 38-47,the narrator describes
Mr.Pontellier speaking to his wife in a superior and con-
descending manner about “a mother’s place”in caring for
children and about how hard he works at “his brokerage
(A) and (E) are not correct because the narrator
does not depict Mr.Pontellier’s words and actions
during the evening as “generous”or “gentle.”
SAT Preparation Booklet
sure that they were resting comfortably.The
result ofhis investigation was far from
satisfactory.He turned and shifted the
youngsters about in bed.One ofthem began
to kick and talk about a basket full ofcrabs.
Mr.Pontellier returned to his wife with
the information that Raoul had a high fever
and needed looking after.Then he lit his
cigar and went and sat near the open door
to smoke it.
Mrs.Pontellier was quite sure Raoul had
no fever.He had gone to bed perfectly well,
she said,and nothing had ailed him all day.
Mr.Pontellier was too well acquainted with
fever symptoms to be mistaken.He assured
her the child was burning with fever at that
moment in the next room.
He reproached his wife with her inatten-
tion,her habitual neglect ofthe children.If
it was not a mother’s place to look after chil-
dren,whose on earth was it? He himselfhad
his hands full with his brokerage business.
He could not be in two places at once;mak-
ing a living for his family on the street,and
staying home to see that no harm befell
them.He talked in a monotonous,insistent
Mrs.Pontellier sprang out ofbed and
went into the next room.She soon came
back and sat on the edge ofthe bed,leaning
her head down on the pillow.She said noth-
ing,and refused to answer her husband
when he questioned her.When his cigar was
smoked out he went to bed,and in halfa
minute was fast asleep.
Mrs.Pontellier was by that time thor-
oughly awake.She began to cry a little,and
wiped her eyes on the sleeve ofher night-
gown.She went out on the porch,where she
sat down in the wicker chair and began to
rock gently to and fro.
It was then past midnight.The cottages
were all dark.There was no sound abroad
except the hooting ofan old owl and the
everlasting voice ofthe sea,that broke like a
mournful lullaby upon the night.
The tears came so fast to Mrs.Pontellier’s
eyes that the damp sleeve ofher nightgown
no longer served to dry them.She went on
crying there,not caring any longer to dry
her face,her eyes,her arms.She could not
have told why she was crying.Such experi-
ences as the foregoing were not uncommon
in her married life.They seemed never
before to have weighed much against the
abundance ofher husband’s kindness and a
uniform devotion which had come to be
tacit and self-understood.