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SAT Reading Practice: Paired Passages (Grades 11-12)

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SAT Reading Practice: Paired Passages

Passage 1 (Excerpt “Dreams” by Henri Bergson, 1914)
A dream is this. I perceive objects and there is nothing there. I see men; I seem to speak to them and I hear what they answer; there is no one there and I have not spoken. It is all as if real things and real persons were there, then on waking all has disappeared, both persons and things. How does this happen?

But, first, is it true that there is nothing there? I mean, is there not presented a certain sense material to our eyes, to our ears, to our touch, etc., during sleep as well as during waking?

Close the eyes and look attentively at what goes on in the field of our vision. Many persons questioned on this point would say that nothing goes on, that they see nothing. No wonder at this, for a certain amount of practice is necessary to be able to observe oneself satisfactorily. But just give the requisite effort of attention, and you will distinguish, little by little, many things. First, in general, a black background. Upon this black background occasionally brilliant points which come and go, rising and descending, slowly and sedately. More often, spots of many colors, sometimes very dull, sometimes, on the contrary, with certain people, so brilliant that reality cannot compare with it. These spots spread and shrink, changing form and color, constantly displacing one another. Sometimes the change is slow and gradual, sometimes again it is a whirlwind of vertiginous rapidity. Whence comes all this phantasmagoria? The physiologists and the psychologists have studied this play of colors. "Ocular spectra," "colored spots," "phosphenes," such are the names that they have given to the phenomenon. They explain it either by the slight modifications which occur ceaselessly in the retinal circulation, or by the pressure that the closed lid exerts upon the eyeball, causing a mechanical excitation of the optic nerve. But the explanation of the phenomenon and the name that is given to it matters little. It occurs universally and it constitutes—I may say at once—the principal material of which we shape our dreams, "such stuff as dreams are made on."

Thirty or forty years ago, M. Alfred Maury and, about the same time, M. d'Hervey, of St. Denis, had observed that at the moment of falling asleep these colored spots and moving forms consolidate, fix themselves, take on definite outlines, the outlines of the objects and of the persons which people our dreams. But this is an observation to be accepted with caution, since it emanates from psychologists already half asleep. More recently an American psychologist, Professor Ladd, of Yale, has devised a more rigorous method, but of difficult application, because it requires a sort of training. It consists in acquiring the habit on awakening in the morning of keeping the eyes closed and retaining for some minutes the dream that is fading from the field of vision and soon would doubtless have faded from that of memory. Then one sees the figures and objects of the dream melt away little by little into phosphenes, identifying themselves with the colored spots that the eye really perceives when the lids are closed. One reads, for example, a newspaper; that is the dream. One awakens and there remains of the newspaper, whose definite outlines are erased, only a white spot with black marks here and there; that is the reality. Or our dream takes us upon the open sea—round about us the ocean spreads its waves of yellowish gray with here and there a crown of white foam. On awakening, it is all lost in a great spot, half yellow and half gray, sown with brilliant points. The spot was there, the brilliant points were there. There was really presented to our perceptions, in sleep, a visual dust, and it was this dust which served for the fabrication of our dreams.

Passage 2 (Excerpt “Dream Psychology” by Sigmund Freud, 1920)
I shall therefore cite some examples of dreams which I have gathered from children.

A girl of nineteen months was made to go without food for a day because she had been sick in the morning, and, according to nurse, had made herself ill through eating strawberries. During the night, after her day of fasting, she was heard calling out her name during sleep, and adding: "Tawberry, eggs, pap." She is dreaming that she is eating, and selects out of her menu exactly what she supposes she will not get much of just now.

The same kind of dream about a forbidden dish was that of a little boy of twenty-two months. The day before he was told to offer his uncle a present of a small basket of cherries, of which the child was, of course, only allowed one to taste. He woke up with the joyful news: "Hermann eaten up all the cherries."

A girl of three and a half years had made during the day a sea trip which was too short for her, and she cried when she had to get out of the boat. The next morning her story was that during the night she had been on the sea, thus continuing the interrupted trip.

A boy of five and a half years was not at all pleased with his party during a walk in the Dachstein region. Whenever a new peak came into sight he asked if that were the Dachstein, and, finally, refused to accompany the party to the waterfall.His behavior was ascribed to fatigue; but a better explanation was forthcoming when the next morning he told his dream: he had ascended the Dachstein. Obviously he expected the ascent of the Dachstein to be the object of the excursion, and was vexed by not getting a glimpse of the mountain. The dream gave him what the day had withheld.

The dream of a girl of six was similar; her father had cut short the walk before reaching the promised objective on account of the lateness of the hour. On the way back she noticed a signpost giving the name of another place for excursions; her father promised to take her there also some other day. She greeted her father next day with the news that she had dreamt that her father had been with her to both places.

What is common in all these dreams is obvious. They completely satisfy wishes excited during the day which remain unrealized. They are simply and undisguisedly realizations of wishes.

The following child-dream, not quite understandable at first sight, is nothing else than a wish realized. On account of poliomyelitis a girl, not quite four years of age, was brought from the country into town, and remained over night with a childless aunt in a big—for her, naturally, huge—bed. The next morning she stated that she had dreamt that the bed was much too small for her, so that she could find no place in it. To explain this dream as a wish is easy when we remember that to be "big" is a frequently expressed wish of all children. The bigness of the bed reminded Miss Little-Would-be-Big only too forcibly of her smallness. This nasty situation became righted in her dream, and she grew so big that the bed now became too small for her.

Even when children's dreams are complicated and polished, their comprehension as a realization of desire is fairly evident.

A boy of eight dreamt that he was being driven with Achilles in a war-chariot, guided by Diomedes. The day before he was assiduously reading about great heroes. It is easy to show that he took these heroes as his models, and regretted that he was not living in those days.

From this short collection a further characteristic of the dreams of children is manifest—their connection with the life of the day. The desires which are realized in these dreams are left over from the day or, as a rule, the day previous, and the feeling has become intently emphasized and fixed during the day thoughts. Accidental and indifferent matters, or what must appear so to the child, find no acceptance in the contents of the dream.
In Passage 1, the author builds his argument in contrast to the assumption that
  1. dreams are wishes realized.
  2. psychologists know little about dreams.
  3. the eyes see differently when open and closed.
  4. humans see nothing when they close their eyes.
In Passage 1, the author's use of terms such as "octra spectra" and "colored spots" is primarily meant to describe
  1. what humans see when they close their eyes.
  2. how humans recognize colors as young children.
  3. how light moves through a prism.
  4. what droplets of rain look like on the eyelids.
In Passage 1, the author uses the term "visual dust" to describe
  1. the mental process of dreaming.
  2. how humans interpret their dreams.
  3. the inspiration for and composition of our dreams.
  4. particles of dust that land on humans' eyelids.
In Passage 2, the author uses the dreams of children to
  1. provide concrete examples of wish-fulfillment dreams.
  2. contrast children's dreams with adults' dreams.
  3. support the argument that trauma affects children's brains.
  4. introduce a revolutionary new sleep study.
In Passage 2, the word "undisguisedly" most nearly means:
  1. clearly
  2. lazily
  3. hungrily
  4. frequently
In Passage 2, the author most strongly suggests that
  1. children extend their learning process through their dreams.
  2. parents can discover their faults as children recall their dreams.
  3. adults have much more complex dreams than children.
  4. children's dreams are directly related to the day's activities.
Which choice best describes the contrast between Passage 1 and Passage 2?
  1. Passage 1 describes a process and Passage 2 describes the content.
  2. Passage 1 describes adults and Passage 2 describes children.
  3. Passage 1 discusses physiology and Passage 2 discusses psychology.
  4. Passage 1 discusses a theory and Passage 2 discusses hard evidence.
With which statement would the authors of Passage 1 and Passage 2 both disagree?
  1. When humans close their eyes, there is emptiness.
  2. Dreams are nothing more than a mixing of colors that humans interpret.
  3. Children are able to recall their dreams with surprising accuracy.
  4. In our dreams we can grasp the desires of our hearts.
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