Reading, 31

You are going to read an extract from an autobiography. For questions 7-14, choose the answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text.

The war was the most peaceful period of my life. The window of my bedroom faced southeast. My mother had curtained it, but that had small effect. I always woke with the first light and, with all the responsibilities of the previous day melted, feeling myself rather like the sun, ready to shine and feel joy. Life never seemed so simple and clear and full of possibilities as then. I put my feet out from under the clothes – I called them Mrs Left and Mrs Right – and invented dramatic situations for them in which they discussed the problems of the day. At least Mrs Right did; she easily showed her feelings, but I hadn’t the same control of Mrs Left, so she mostly contented herself with nodding agreement.

They discussed what Mother and I should do during the day, what Santa Claus should give a fellow for Christmas, and what steps should be taken to brighten the home. There was that little matter of the baby, for instance. Mother and I could never agree about that. Ours was the only house in the neighbourhood without a new baby, and Mother said we couldn’t afford one till Father came back from the war because they cost seventeen and six. That showed how foolish she was. The Geneys up the road had a baby, and everyone knew they couldn’t afford seventeen and six. It was probably a cheap baby, and Mother wanted something really good, but I felt she was too hard to please. The Geneys’ baby would have done us fine.

Having settled my plans for the day, I got up, put a chair under my window, and lifted the frame high enough to stick out my head. The window overlooked the front gardens of the homes behind ours, and beyond these it looked over a deep valley to the tall, red-brick houses up the opposite hillside, which were all still in shadow, while those at our side of the valley were all lit up, though with long strange shadows that made them seem unfamiliar; stiff and painted.

After that I went into Mother’s room and climbed into the big bed. She woke and I began to tell her of my schemes. By this time, though I never seem to have noticed it, I was freezing in my nightshirt, and I warmed up as I talked until, the last frost melted, I fell asleep beside her and woke again only when I heard her below in the kitchen, making the breakfast.

7 The time the author spent as a child during the war was

A sad and frightening.

B happy and calm.

C peaceful and puzzling.

D violent and shocking.

8 When he woke up in the morning, he

A would call on Mrs Left and Mrs Right.

B would open up the curtains.

C would play with his feet.

D would agree with Mrs Left.

9 How did the writer and his mother feel about having a baby?

A They weren’t able to agree.

B They sometimes agreed.

C They often agreed.

D They always agreed.

10 Why was the writer upset with his mother?

A He could not understand her.

B She was poor.

C She was not very intelligent.

D She did not love him enough.

11 The writer believed

A that Santa Claus really existed.

B that his father would never come home from the war.

C that they were poorer than the Geneys.

D that one could buy a baby.

12 The houses on his side of the valley were lit up because

A they were facing the sun.

B they were still all in shadow.

C they had all turned their lights on.

D they had odd shadows that made them look strange.

13 What was his mother’s bed like?

A freezing

B uncomfortable 

C small

D warm

14 What did the writer feel then that he does not feel now?

A That everything is possible.

B That war is ugly.

C That his mother loves him deeply.

D That life is complicated.

Check your answers here


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