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This question group is public and is used in 153 tests.

Author: szeiger
No. Questions: 6
Created: Jun 16, 2014
Last Modified: 8 years ago

The Humble Couple

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A lady in a faded gingham dress and her husband, dressed in a homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston, and walked timidly without an appointment into the president's outer office. The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods, country hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn't even deserve to be in Cambridge. She frowned. "We want to see the president", the man said softly. "He'll be busy all day," the secretary snapped. "We'll wait," the lady replied.

For hours, the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple would finally become discouraged and go away. They didn't. And the secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted to do.

"Maybe if they just see you for a few minutes, they'll leave," she told him. And he sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance obviously didn't have the time to spend with them, but he detested gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office. The president, stern-faced with dignity, strutted toward the couple.

The lady told him, "We had a son that attended Harvard for one year. He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed. And my husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus". The president wasn't touched - he was shocked. "Madam," he said gruffly, "We can't put up a statue for every person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery".

"Oh, no," the lady explained quickly, "We don't want to erect a statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard."

The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress and homespun suit, then exclaimed, "A building! Do you have any earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical plant at Harvard".

For a moment the lady was silent. The president was pleased. He could get rid of them now.

And the lady turned to her husband and said quietly, "Is that all it costs to start a University? Why don't we just start our own?" Her husband nodded. The President's face wilted in confusion and bewilderment. And Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford walked away, traveling to Palo Alto, California where they established the University that bears their name, a memorial to a son that Harvard no longer cared about.
Grade 9 Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions CCSS: CCRA.R.2, RL.9-10.2
A.
What can you infer was the author's intended theme?
  1. Money Matters
  2. Never be to quick to judge by appearances
  3. Harvard only cared what someone looks like
  4. It is more important to use your money wisely
Grade 9 Author's Purpose CCSS: CCRA.R.3, RI.9-10.3
B.
In the beginning of the passage, why does the author describe the clothing the people wore?
  1. To help provide the irony at the end
  2. To get readers to make a judgement about the characters
  3. To show that the characters had no money
  4. Both a and b
Grade 9 Making Inferences and Drawing Conclusions CCSS: CCRA.R.6, RI.9-10.6
Grade 9 Short Stories (Fiction)
F.
Why did the president of the university look down upon the couple?
  1. He thought they were going to cause problems because they looked dangerous.
  2. He didn't think they were important enough to talk to because they looked poor.
  3. He had punished their son and felt they were to blame for the trouble he caused.
  4. He knew them from where he grew up and was trying to avoid them.