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AP English Language and Composition
Multiple Choice -- February 5
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This passage is taken from a twentieth-century book.


The town sits in a vale between two rounded-off, thickly

wooded mountains. Hot mineral waters pour out of the mountainsides,

and the hills for miles around erupt with springs, some

of them famous and commercial, with bottled water for sale,

others trickling under rotten leaves in deep woods and known               (5)

only to the natives. From one spring the water gushes milky and

sulphurous. From another it comes forth laced with arsenic.

Here it will be heavy with the taste of rocky earth, there, as

sweet as rainwater. Each spring possesses its magical healing

properties and its devoted, believing imbibers. In 1541, on the               (10)

journey that proved to be his last, Hernando de Soto encountered

friendly tribes at these springs. For a thousand years before him

the mound-building Indians who lived in the Mississippi Valley

had come here to cure their rheumatism and activate their sluggish

bowels.                                                                                                 (15)

The main street of town, cutting from northeast to southwest,

is schizoid, lined on one side with plate-glass store fronts and on

the other with splendid white stucco bathhouses, each with its

noble portico and veranda, strung along the street like stones in

an old-fashioned necklace. All but one of the bathhouses are                  (20)

closed down now. At the head of the street, on a plateau, stands

the multistoried Arlington, a 1920’s resort hotel and a veritable

ducal palace in yellow sandstone. Opposite, fronted in mirrors

and glittering chrome, is what once was a gambling casino and

is now a wax museum. “The Southern Club,’’ it was called in the           (25)

days when the dice tumbled across the green baize and my father

waited for the results from Saratoga to come in over Western

Union. Lots of other horsebooks operated in that same neighborhood—

the White Front, the Kentucky Club—some in back

rooms and dives in which no respectable person would be seen.            (30)

But the Southern was another thing. Gamblers from Chicago

strolled in and out in their ice-cream suits and their two-tone

shoes and nothing smaller than a C-note in their pockets. Packards

pulled up to the door and let out wealthy men with showy

canes and women in silk suits and alligator pumps who owned               (35)

stables of thoroughbreds and next month would travel to

Churchill Downs. I saw this alien world in glimpses as Mother

and I sat at the curb in the green Chevrolet, waiting for the last

race at Belmont or Hialeah to be over so that my father could

figure the payoffs and come home to supper.                                         (40)

The other realm was the usual realm, Middletown, Everyplace.

Then it was frame houses, none very new. Now it is brick ranches

and splits, carports, inlaid nylon carpet, and draw-drapes. Now

the roads are lined with a pre-fab forest of Pizza Huts, Bonanzas,

ninety kinds of hamburger stand, and gas stations, some with                  (45)

an occasional Southern touch: a plaque, for example, that reads

“Serve-U-Sef.’’ In what I still remember as horse pasture now

stands a windowless high school—windowless—where classes

range up to one hundred, and the teacher may not be able to learn

everybody’s name. My old elementary school, a two-story brick           (50)

thing that threatened to fall down, had windows that reached to

the fourteen-foot ceiling. We kept them shut only from November

to February, for in this pleasant land the willows turn green and

the winds begin sweetening in March, and by April the iris and

jonquils bloom so thickly in every yard that you can smell them               (55)

on the schoolroom air. On an April afternoon, we listened to the

creek rushing through the schoolyard and thought mostly about


1. The passage as a whole is best described as

(A) a dramatic monologue

(B) a melodramatic episode

(C) an evocation of a place

(D) an objective historical commentary

(E) an allegorical fable


2. The speaker’s reference to Hernando de Soto’s visit to the springs in 1541

(lines 10-12) serves primarily to

(A) clarify the speaker’s attitude toward the springs

(B) exemplify the genuine benefits of the springs

(C) document the history of the springs

(D) specify the exact location of the springs

(E) describe the origin of beliefs in the springs’ magical properties


3. With which of the following pairs does the speaker illustrate what she means by

“schizoid’’ in line 17?

(A) “plate-glass store fronts’’ (line 17) and “splendid white stucco bathhouses’’

(line 18)

(B) “stones in an old-fashioned necklace’’ (lines 19-20) and “fronted in mirrors

and glittering chrome’’ (lines 23-24)

(C) “the multistoried Arlington’’ (line 22) and “‘The Southern Club’” (line 25)

(D) “once was a gambling casino’’ (line 24) and “now a wax museum’’ (line 25)

(E) “Chicago’’ (line 31) and “Churchill Downs’’ (line 37)


4. In describing the bathhouses and the Arlington hotel (lines 18-23), the speaker

emphasizes their

(A) isolation

(B) mysteriousness

(C) corruptness

(D) magnificence

(E) permanence


5. The sentence structure and diction of lines 28-37 (“Lots of other horsebooks . . .

travel to Churchill Downs’’) suggest that the scene is viewed by

(A) an impartial sociologist

(B) a fascinated bystander

(C) a cynical commentator

(D) an argumentative apologist

(E) a bemused visitor


6. The attitude of the speaker toward the gamblers from Chicago is primarily one of

(A) awe

(B) suspicion

(C) disapproval

(D) mockery

(E) indifference


7. The terms “Middletown, Everyplace’’ (line 41) are best interpreted as

(A) nicknames used by local residents for their town

(B) epithets referring to the homogeneity of American suburbs

(C) euphemisms for an area too sprawling to be called a town

(D) names that emphasize the town’s prominence as a cultural center

(E) evidence of the town’s location at the heart of varied activities


8. The speaker mentions the “‘Serve-U-Sef’’’ plaque (line 47) chiefly as an example of

(A) appealing wit

(B) churlish indifference

(C) attempted folksiness

(D) double entendre

(E) inimitable eccentricity


9. The speaker’s tone at the conclusion of the passage (lines 50-58) is primarily one


(A) poignant remorse

(B) self-deprecating humor

(C) feigned innocence

(D) lyrical nostalgia

(E) cautious ambivalence


10. Which of the following is most likely a deliberate exaggeration?

(A) “the water gushes milky and sulphurous’’ (lines 6-7)

(B) “For a thousand years before him’’ (line 12)

(C) “back rooms and dives in which no respectable person would be seen’’

(lines 29-30)

(D) “women in silk suits . . . who owned stables of thoroughbreds’’ (lines 35-36)

(E) “ninety kinds of hamburger stand’’ (line 45)


AP English -- Taryn Barber -- Largo High School -- 2006/2007