hero image
Section 2: Assessment Process

Sample Question 2 for Reading

Directions: Read the passage and then choose the best answer to the question. Answer the question on the basis of what is stated or implied in the passage.

In 2010, talk show host Oprah Winfrey and novelist Jonathan Franzen kissed and made up after a nine-year feud. In 2001, Franzen was disinvited from appearing on Winfrey’s TV show to pitch his novel The Corrections after he made it clear that he was unhappy about the book’s being chosen for the Oprah Book Club. Describing his work as “in the high-art literary tradition,” Franzen said he didn’t want to be associated with the Club, which he accused of occasionally choosing “schmaltzy, one-dimensional” novels. But Winfrey is apparently able to forgive and forget: she chose Franzen’s next novel, Freedom, for her book club and said of it, “Now you haven’t heard me say this word often, but this book is a masterpiece.”

The passage implies that Franzen’s criticism of the Oprah Book Club was motivated primarily by:


Choice (A) is correct. The author of the passage states that Franzen refers to his own work as belonging to a “high-art literary tradition” and to Oprah’s book club choices as being “schmaltzy,” or overly sentimental, and “one-dimensional.” These details suggest that Franzen felt that his own book is of higher quality than other books chosen for the book club. In other words, Franzen’s criticism of the Oprah Book Club was motivated by his pride, or his sense of self-importance. Choices (B) and (C) are incorrect because there is no indication in the passage that Franzen felt any anger or was trying to be insensitive. Choice (D) is incorrect because there is no indication that Franzen’s comments about Oprah’s choices were ignorant or uninformed.