ACT Reading Apr. 2015 73G - Passage III

Questions 21-30 are based on the following passage.

HUMANITIES: Passage A is adapted from the essay "Truth in Personal Narrative" by Vivian Gornick (©2008 by University of Iowa Press). Passage B is adapted from the article "Fact and Fiction in A Moveable Feast" by Jacqueline Tavernier-Courbin
(©1984 by Hemingway Review).

Passage A by Vivian Gornick

Once, in Texas, I gave a reading from my memoir

Fierce Attachments. No sooner had I finished speaking

than a woman in the audience asked a question: "If I

come to New York, can I take a walk with your mama?"
5 I told her that, actually, she wouldn't want to take a

walk with my mother, it was the woman in the book she

wanted to walk with. They were not exactly the same

Shortly afterwards, I attended a party in New York

where, an hour into the evening, one of the guests
10 blurted out in a voice filled with disappointment, "Why,

you're nothing like the woman who wrote Fierce

Attachments!" At the end of the evening she cocked her

head at me and said, "Well, you 're something like her."

I understood perfectly. She had come expecting to have
15 dinner with the narrator of the book, not with me;

again, not exactly the same.

On both occasions, what was desired was the pres­-

ence of two people who existed only between the pages

of a book. In our actual persons, neither Mama nor I
20 could give satisfaction. We ourselves were just a rough

draft of the written characters. Moreover, these charac­-

ters could not live independent of the story which had

called them into life, as they existed for the sole pur­-

pose of serving that story. In the flesh, neither Mama
25 nor I were serving anything but the unaesthetic spill of

everyday thought and feeling that routinely floods us

all, only a select part of which, in this case, invoked the

principals in a tale of psychological embroilment that

had as its protagonist neither me nor my mother but
30 rather our "fierce attachment.

At the heart of my memoir lay a revelation: I could

not leave my mother because I had become my mother.

This complicated insight was my bit of wisdom, the

history I wanted badly to trace out. The context in
35 which the book is set-our life in the Bronx in the

1950s, alternating with walks taken in Manhattan in the

1980s-was the situation; the story was the insight.

What mattered most to me was not the literalness of the

situation, but the emotional truth of the story. What
40 actually happened is only raw material; what matters is

what the memoirist makes of what happened.

Memoirs belong to the category of literature, not

of journalism. It is a misunderstanding to read a

memoir as though the writer owes the reader the same
45 record of literal accuracy that is owed in newspaper

reporting or historical narrative. What is owed the

reader is the ability to persuade that the narrator is

trying, as honestly as possible, to get to the bottom of

the tale at hand.

Passage B by Jacqueline Tavernier-Courbin

50 The dividing line between fiction and autobiogra-

phy is often a very fine and shaky one, and Ernest

Hemingway's autobiography of the artist as a young

man is a case in point. As nearly all readers know,

Hemingway's fiction contains numerous autobiographi-
55 cal elements, and his protagonists are often conscious

projections and explorations of the self. At the same

time, Hemingway's openly autobiographical writings.

Green Hills of Africa and A Moveable Feast, are barely

more autobiographical than his fiction, and, in many
60 ways, just as fictional.

A Moveable Feast is particularly complex because

Hemingway was clearly conscious that it would be his

literary testament. Thus, in writing it, he dealt with

issues which had been important to him and he settled
65 old scores. Among the reasons which motivated his por­-

trayal of self and others were the need to justify him­-

self for he felt that he had been unfairly portrayed by

some of his contemporaries, the desire to present his

own version of personal relationships as well as the
70 desire to get back at people against whom he held a

grudge, the need to relive his youth in an idealized

fashion, and the wish to leave to the world a flattering

self-portrait. Thus, A Moveable Feast could hardly be

an objective portrayal of its author and his contempo-
75 raries, and the accuracy of the anecdotes becomes an

issue that can never be entirely resolved.

While it is impossible to verify everything

Hemingway wrote in A Moveable Feast, one might con­-

clude that he invented and lied relatively seldom about
80 pure facts. When he did so, it was usually in order to

reinforce the pattern he had created-i.e., a negative

portrayal of literary competitors and an idealized self­-

portrayal. He clearly overlooked a great deal of mate­-

rial, distorted some, and generally selected the episodes
85 so that they would show him as innocent, honest, dedi­-

cated, and thoroughly enjoying life. A Moveable Feast,

in fact, appears as a fascinating composite of relative

factual accuracy and clear dishonesty of intent.

Question 21 The main purpose of the first two paragraphs of Passage A (lines 1-16) is to
Question 22 Which of the following quotations from Passage A most directly relates to the party guest s disappointment upon meeting the author of Fierce Attachments ?
Question 23 According to Passage A, Gornick believes the heart of her memoir to be
Question 24 According to Passage A, Gornick believes that mem­oirs belong to the category of
Question 25 According to Passage B, the protagonists in Hemingway s fiction are often
Question 26 Based on Passage B, the question of accuracy in A Moveable Feast is particularly difficult because
Question 27 Which of the following statements best expresses the opinion the author of Passage B seems to have about A Moveable Feast ?
Question 28 Based on the passages, Gornick s and Hemingway s approaches to writing their memoirs are similar in that both writers
Question 29 Based on the passages, it can most reasonably be inferred that Gornick and Hemingway would agree that when it comes to a writer s responsibility to be truthful in a memoir
Question 30 Another author wrote the following about the role of truth in memoir A memoir is a story, not a history, and real life doesn t play out as a story. Which passage most closely echoes the view presented in this quotation?