SSAT Reading Question 259: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 259

1. The first paragraph of the passage establishes a mood of

  • A. awe and disbelief
  • B. desperate longing
  • C. uncontrolled outrage
  • D. cautious optimism

Correct Answer: A


A is correct. The constant repetition of "gone" and "wiped out" in lines 8-15 serves to emphasize the author’s inability to believe that such devastation could possibly occur. "San Francisco is gone … Its industrial section is wiped out. Its business section is wiped out. Its social and residential section is wiped out. The factories and warehouses, the great stores and newspaper buildings, the hotels and the palaces of the nabobs, are all gone." Choices B, D, and E are wrong because there are no words in the paragraph that support a mood of desperate longing, cautious optimism, or heartfelt pity. Choice C is possible; however, the mood of the paragraph is much closer to awe and disbelief than it is to uncontrolled outrage, so choice A is a better answer.

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