SAT OG 2016 Reading - Test 4 reading 1

Questions 1-10 are based on the following

This passage is adapted from MacDonald Harris, The Balloonist. © 2011 by The Estate of Donald Heiney .During the summer of 1897,the narrator of this story ,a fictional Swedish scientist, has set out for the North Pole in a hydrogen-powered balloon.

My emotions are complicated and not

readily verifiable. I feel a vast yearning that is

simultaneously a pleasure and a pain .I am certain
of the consummation of this yearning, but I don’t
5 know yet what form it will take, since I do not

understand quite what it is that the yearning desires.

For the first time there is borne in upon me the full

truth of what I myself said to the doctor only an hour

ago: that my motives in this undertaking are not
10 entirely clear. For years, for a lifetime, the machinery

of my destiny has worked in secret to prepare for this

oment; its clockwork has moved exactly toward

his time and place and no other. Rising slowly from

he earth that bore me and gave me sustenance, I am
15 carried helplessly toward an uninhabited and hostile,

or at best indifferent, part of the earth, littered with

the bones of explorers and the wrecks of ships, frozen

supply caches, messages scrawled with chilled fingers

and hidden in cairns that no eye will ever see.
20 Nobody has succeeded in this thing, and many have

died. Yet in freely willing this enterprise, in choosing

this moment and no other when the south wind

will carry me exactly northward at a velocity of

eight knots, I have converted the machinery of my
25 fate into the servant of my will. All this I understand,

as I understand each detail of the technique by which

this is carried out. What I don’t understand is why

I am so intent on going to this particular place. Who

wants the North Pole! What good is it ! Can you eat
30 it? Will it carry you from Gothenburg to Malmö like

a railway? The Danish ministers have declared from

their pulpits that participation in polar expeditions is

beneficial to the soul’s eternal well-being, or so I read

in a newspaper. It isn’t clear how this doctrine is to
35 be interpreted, except that the Pole is something

difficult or impossible to attain which must

nevertheless be sought for, because man is

condemned to seek out and know everything

whether or not the knowledge gives him pleasure. In
40 short, it is the same unthinking lust for knowledge

that drove our First Parents out of the garden.
And suppose you were to find it in spite of all, this

wonderful place that everybody is so anxious to stand

on! What would you find? Exactly nothing.
45 A point precisely identical to all the others in a

completely featureless wasteland stretching around it

for hundreds of miles. It is an abstraction, a

mathematical fiction. No one but a Swedish madman

could take the slightest interest in it. Here I am. The
50 wind is still from the south, bearing us steadily

northward at the speed of a trotting dog. Behind us,

perhaps forever, lie the Cities of Men with their

teacups and their brass bedsteads. I am going forth of

my own volition to join the ghosts of Bering and
55 poor Franklin, of frozen De Long and his men.

What I am on the brink of knowing, I now see, is not

an ephemeral mathematical spot but myself. The

doctor was right, even though I dislike him.

Fundamentally I am a dangerous madman, and what
60 I do is both a challenge to my egotism and a

surrender to it.

Question 1 Over the course of the passage ,the narrator’s attitude shifts from