過去這個週末學生考了 2016 年 12 月的 ACT 考試。如果這是你最後一次考 ACT，恭喜你完成了一個艱難的任務！
我們整理了 2016 年 12 月 ACT 考試當中的 4 篇閱讀文章，幫助學生準備未來的考試。
首先，讀這些文章。你覺得他們讀起來很簡單還是很難？裡面有沒有很多生字，尤其是那些會影響你理解整篇文章的生字？如果有的話，雖然你可能是在美國讀書或讀國際學校、也知道 “如何讀跟寫英文”，但你還沒有足夠的生字基礎讓你 “達到下一個階段” （也就是大學的階段）。查一下這一些字，然後把它們背起來。這些生字不見得會在下一個 ACT 考試中出現，但是透過真正的 ACT 閱讀文章去認識及學習這些生字可以大大的減低考試中出現不會的生字的機率。
在我們的 Ivy-Way Reading Workbook（Ivy-Way 閱讀技巧書）的第一章節裡，我們教學生在閱讀文章之前要先讀文章最上面的開頭介紹。雖然你的 ACT 考試不會剛好考這幾篇文章，但你還是可以透過這些文章找到它們的來源，然後從來源閱讀更多相關的文章。閱讀更多來自這些地方的文章會幫助你習慣閱讀這種風格的文章。
所有 2016 年 12 月 ACT 考試閱讀文章
Passage A Is adapted from an essay by Marita Golden. Passage B is adapted from an essay by Larry L. King. Both essays are from the book Three Minutes or Less: Life Lessons from America’s Greatest Writers (©2000 by The PEN/Faulkner Foundation).
Writers are always headed or looking for home.
Home is the first Sentence, questing into the craggy
terrain of imagination. Home is the final sentence,
polished, perfected, nailed down. I am an American writer,
and so my sense of place is fluid. ever shifting. The
spaciousness of this land reigns and pushes against the
borders of self-censorship and hesitation. I have
claimed at one point or other everyplace as my home.
Like their creator, my fictional characters reject
the notion of life lived on automatic pilot. The most
important people in my books see life as a flame,
something that when lived properly bristles and squirms,
even as it glows. In the autobiography Migrations of the
Heart, the heroine, who just happened to be me, came
of age in Washington, D.C., and began the process of
becoming an adult person everywhere else. If you sell
your first piece of writing in Manhattan, give birth to
your only child in Lagos, experience Paris in the spring
with someone you love, and return to Washington after
thirteen years of self-imposed exile to write the Washington
novel nobody else had (and you thought you
never would), tickets, visas, lingua franca will all
become irrelevant. When all places fingerprint the soul.
which grasp is judged to be the strongest? In my novel
A Woman’s Place, one woman leaves America to join a
liberation struggle in Africa. In Long Distance Life.
Naomi Johnson flees 1930s North Carolina and comes
up south to Washington, D.C., to find and make her
way. Thirty years later her daughter returns to that com-
plex. unpredictable geography and is sculpted like some
unexpected work of art by the civil-rights movement.
I am a Washington writer, who keeps one bag in
the closet packed, just in case. I am an American. who
knows the true color of the nation’s culture and its
heart, a stubborn, wrenching, rainbow. I am Africa’s
yearning stepchild, unforgotten, misunderstood,
necessary. Writers are always headed or looking for home.
The best of us embrace and rename it when we get there.
If you live long enough, and I have, your sense of
place or your place becomes illusionary. In a changing
world, our special places are not exempt. The rural
Texas where l grew up in the 1930s and 1940s simply
does not exist anymore. It exists only in memory or on
pages or stages where a few of us have attempted to
lock it in against the ravages of time. And it is, of
course, a losing battle. Attempting to rhyme my work
of an earlier Texas, with the realities of today’s urban-
tangle Texas. I sometimes feel that I am writing about
My friend Larry McMurtry a few years ago stirred
up a Texas tornado with an essay in which he charged
that Texas writers stubbornly insist on writing of old
Texas. the Texas of myth and legend, while shirking our
responsibilities to write of the complexities of modern
Texas. Hardly had the anguished cries of the wounded
faded away on the Texas wind, until Mr. McMurtry
himself delivered a novel called Lonesome Dove. A
cracking good yarn, if a bit long on cowboy myths and
frontier legends. And decidedly short of skyscraper
observations or solutions to urban riddles. But not only
did Larry McMurtry have a perfect right to change his
mind, I’m delighted that he did.
I spent my formative years in Texas, my first seventeen
years. before random relocation arranged by the
U.S. Army. Uncle Sam sent me to Queens. I must
admit. Queens failed to grow on me. But from it I dis-
covered Manhattan, which did grow on me, and I vowed
to return to Manhattan. And one day did. But before
that, in 1954, at the age of twenty-five. I came to
Washington, D.C., to work in Congress.
New York and Washington offered themselves as
measuring sticks against the only world I had previously
known. They permitted me to look at my natural habitat
with fresh eyes and even spurred me to leave my
native place. I have now tarried here in what I call the
misty East for almost forty years. This has sometimes
led to a confusion of place. I strangely feel like a Texan
in New York and Washington, but when I return home
to Texas, I feel like a New Yorker or a Washingtonian.
So if my native place has been guilty of change, then so
have I. Yet when I set out to write there is little of
ambivalence. The story speaks patterns. and values that
pop out are from an earlier time and of my original
place. I fancy myself a guide to the recent past. In an
age when the past seems not much value, I think that is
not a bad function for the writer.
This passage is adapted from the article “Management Secrets of the Grateful Dead” by Joshua Green (©2010 by The Atlantic Monthly Group)
Since the 1970s, the Grateful Dead has invited
academic examination. Musicologists showed interest,
although the band’s sprawling repertoire and tendency
to improvise posed a significant challenge. Engineers
studied the band’s sophisticated sound system, radical
at the time but widely emulated today. Other disciplines
have also found relevant elements of the band’s history
and cultural impact to be worth examining.
Oddly enough, the Dead’s influence on the business
world may turn out to be a significant part of its
legacy. Without intending to—while intending, in fact,
to do just the opposite—the band pioneered ideas and
practices that were subsequently embraced by corporate
America. One was to focus intensely on its most loyal
fans. It established a telephone hotline to alert them to
its touring schedule ahead of any public announcement,
reserved for them some of the best seats in the house,
and capped the price of tickets, which the band distributed
through its own mail-order house. If you lived in
New York and wanted to see a show in Seattle, you
didn’t have to travel there to get tickets—and you could
get really good tickets, without even camping out. “The
Dead were masters of creating and delivering superior
customer value,” Barry Barnes, a business professor at
Nova Southeastern University, in Florida, told me.
Treating customers well may sound like common sense.
But it represented a break from the top-down ethos of
many organizations in the 1960s and 1970s. Only in the
1980s, faced with competition from Japan, did American
CEOs and management theorists widely adopt a
As Barnes and other scholars note, the musicians
who constituted the Dead were anything but naive
about their business. They incorporated early on and
established a board of directors (with a rotating CEO
position) consisting of the band, road crew, and other
members of the Dead organization. They founded a
profitable merchandising division and, peace and love
notwithstanding, did not hesitate to sue those who violated
their copyrights. But they weren’t greedy, and
they adapted well. They famously permitted fans to
tape their shows, ceding a major revenue source in
potential record sales. According to Barnes, the decision
was not entirely selfless: it reflected a shrewd
assessment that tape sharing would widen their
audience, a ban would be unenforceable, and anyone
inclined to tape a show would probably spend money
elsewhere, such as on merchandise or tickets. The Dead
became one of the most profitable bands of all time.
It’s precisely this flexibility that Barnes believes
holds the greatest lesson for business—he calls it
“strategic improvisation.” It isn’t hard to spot a few of
its recent applications. Giving something away and
earning money on the periphery is becoming the blueprint
for more and more companies doing business on the Internet.
Today, everybody is intensely interested in understanding
how communities form across distances, because that’s
what happens online.
Much of the talk about “Internet business models”
presupposes that they are blindingly new and different.
But the connection between the Internet and the Dead’s
business model was made years ago by the band’s lyricist,
John Perry Barlow, who became an Internet guru.
In 1994, Barlow posited that in the information economy,
“the best way to raise demand for your product is
to give it away.” As Barlow explained to me: “What
people today are beginning to realize is what became
obvious to us back then—the important correlation is
the one between familiarity and value, not scarcity and
value. Adam Smith taught that the scarcer you make
something, the more valuable it becomes. In the physical
world, that works beautifully. But we couldn’t regulate
[taping at] our shows, and you can’t online. The
Internet doesn’t behave that way. But here’s the thing:
if I give my song away to 20 people, and they give it to
20 people, pretty soon everybody knows me, and my
value as a creator is dramatically enhanced. That was
the value proposition with the Dead.” The Dead thrived
for decades, in good times and bad. In a recession,
Barnes says, strategic improvisation is more important
than ever. “If you’re going to survive an economic
downturn, you better be able to turn on a dime,” he
says. “The Dead were exemplars.” It can be only a
matter of time until Management Secrets of the Grateful
Dead or some similar title is flying off the shelves of
airport bookstores everywhere.
This passage is adapted from the article “Out of Rembrandt’s Shadow” by Matthew Gurewitsch (©2009 by Smithsonian Institution).
Telescopes trained on the night sky, astronomers
observe the phenomenon of the binary star, which
appears to the naked eye to be a single star but consists
in fact of two, orbiting a common center of gravity.
Sometimes, one star in the pair can so outshine the
other that its companion may be detected only by the
way its movement periodically alters the brightness of
the greater one.
The binary stars we recognize in the firmament of
art tend to be of equal brilliance: Raphael and
Michelangelo, van Gogh and Gauguin, Picasso and
Matisse. But the special case of an “invisible” companion
is not unknown. Consider Jan Lievens, born in
Leiden in western Holland on October 24, 1607, just
15 months after the birth of Rembrandt van Rijn,
another Leiden native.
While the two were alive, admirers spoke of them
in the same breath, and the comparisons were not
always in Rembrandt’s favor. After their deaths,
Lievens dropped out of sigh—for centuries. Though
the artists took quite different paths, their biographies
show many parallels. Both served apprenticeships in
Amsterdam with the same master, returned to that city
later in life and died there in their 60s. They knew each
other, may have shared a studio in Leiden early on,
definitely shared models and indeed modeled for each
other. They painted on panels cut from the same oak
tree, which suggests they made joint purchases of art
supplies from the same vendor. They later showed the
same unusual predilection for drawing on paper
imported from the Far East.
The work the two produced in their early 20s in
Leiden was not always easy to tell apart, and as time
went on, many a superior Lievens was misattributed to
Rembrandt. Quality aside, there are many reasons why
one artist’s star shines while another’s fades. It mat-
tered that Rembrandt spent virtually his entire career in
one place, cultivating a single, highly personal style,
whereas Lievens moved around, absorbing many different
influences. Equally important, Rembrandt lent him
self to the role of the lonely genius, a figure dear to the
Romantics, whose preferences would shape the tastes
of generations to come.
While Lievens’ name will be new to many, his
work may not be. The sumptuous biblical spectacular
The Feast of Esther, for instance, was last sold, in 1952,
as an early Rembrandt, and was long identified as such
in 20th-century textbooks. It is one of more than
130 works featured in the current tour of the international
retrospective “Jan Lievens: A Dutch Master Rediscovered.”
The artworks, in so many genres, are hardly the
works of an also-ran. “We’ve always seen Lievens
through the bright light of Rembrandt, as a pale reflection,”
says Arthur K. Wheelock Jr., curator of northern
Baroque paintings at the National Gallery. “This show
lets you embrace Lievens from beginning to end, to
understand that this man has his own trajectory and that
he wasn’t always in the gravity pull of Rembrandt.”
Wheelock has been particularly struck by the muscular-
ity and boldness of Lievens, which is in marked con-
trast to most Dutch painting of the time. “The approach
is much rougher, much more aggressive,” he says.
“Lievens was not a shy guy with paint. He manipulates
it, he scratches it. He gives it a really physical
Lievens painted The Feast of Esther around 1625,
about the time Rembrandt returned to Leiden. It is
approximately four and a half by five and a half feet,
with figures shown three—quarter length, close to the
picture plane. (At that time, Rembrandt favored smaller
formats.) At the luminous center of the composition, a
pale Queen Esther points an accusing finger at Haman,
the royal councilor. Her husband, the Persian King
Ahasuerus, shares her light, his craggy face set off by a
snowy turban and a mantle of gold brocade. Seen from
behind, in shadowy profile, Haman is silhouetted
against shimmering white drapery, his right hand flying
up in dismay.
Silks, satins and brocades, elegant plumes and
gemstones—details like these give Lievens ample scope
to show off his flashy handling of his medium. Not for
him the fastidious, enamel-smooth surfaces of the
Leiden Fijnschilders—”fine painters,” in whose meticulously
rendered oils every brush stroke disappeared.
Lievens reveled in the thickness of the paint and the
way it could be shaped and scratched and swirled with
a brush, even with the sharp end of a handle. This tac-
tile quality is one of Rembrandt’s hallmarks as well;
there are now those who think he picked it up from Lievens.
This passage is adapted from the article “Call of the Leviathan” by Eric Wagner (©2011 by Smithsonian Institution).
In 1839, in the first scientific treatise on the sperm
whale, Thomas Beale, a surgeon aboard a whaler, wrote
that it was “one of the most noiseless of marine ani-
mals.” While they do not sing elaborate songs, like
humpbacks or belugas, in fact they are not silent.
Whalers in the 1800s spoke of hearing loud knocking,
almost like hammering on a ship’s hull, whenever
sperm whales were present. Only in 1957 did two scientists
from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
confirm the sailors’ observations. Aboard a research
vessel, the Atlantis, they approached five sperm whales,
shut off the ship’s motors and listened with an under-
water receiver. At first, they assumed the “muffled,
smashing noise” they heard came from somewhere on
the ship. Then they determined the sounds were coming
from the whales.
Biologists now believe that the sperm whale’s
massive head functions like a powerful telegraph
machine, emitting pulses of sound in distinct patterns.
At the front of the head are the spermaceti organ, a
cavity that contains the bulk of the whale’s spermaceti,
and a mass of oil-saturated fatty tissue. Two long nasal
passages branch away from the bony nares of the skull,
twining around the spermaceti organ and the fatty
tissue. The left nasal passage runs directly to the blowhole
at the top of the whale’s head. But the other twists
and turns, flattens and broadens, forming a number of
air-filled sacs capable of reflecting sound. Near the
front of the head sit a pair of clappers called “monkey lips.”
Sound generation is a complex process. To make
its clicking sounds, a whale forces air through the right
nasal passage to the monkey lips, which clap shut. The
resulting click! bounces off one air-filled sac and travels
back through the spermaceti organ to another sac
nestled against the skull. From there, the click is sent
forward, through the fatty tissue, and amplified out into
the watery world. Sperm whales may be able to manipulate
the shape of both the spermaceti organ and the
fatty tissue, possibly allowing them to aim their clicks.
Biologist Dr. Hal Whitehead has identified four
patterns of clicks. The most common clicks are used for
long-range sonar. So-called “creaks” sound like a
squeaky door and are used at close range when prey
capture is imminent. “Slow clicks” are made only by
large males, but no one knows precisely what they
signify. (“Probably something to do with mating,”
Whitehead guesses.) Finally, “codas” are distinct patterns
of clicks most often heard when whales are socializing.
Codas are of particular interest. Whitehead has
found that different groups of sperm whales, called
vocal clans, consistently use different sets; the repertoire
of codas the clan uses is its dialect. Vocal clans
can be huge—thousands of individuals spread out over
thousands of miles of ocean. Clan members are not necessarily
related. Rather, many smaller, durable matrilineal units
make up clans, and different clans have their own specific ways of behaving.
A recent study in Animal Behaviour took the
specialization of codas a step further. Not only do clans
use different codas, the authors argued, but the codas
differ slightly among individuals. They could be, in
effect, unique identifiers: names.
Whitehead cautions that a full understanding of
codas is still a long way off. Even so, he believes the
differences represent cultural variants among the clans.
“Think of culture as information that is transmitted
socially between groups,” he says. “You can make predictions
about where it will arise: in complex societies,
richly modulated, among individuals that form self-
contained communities.” That sounds to him a lot like
sperm whale society.
But most of a sperm whale’s clicking, if not most
of its life, is devoted to one thing: finding food. And in
the Sea of Cortez, the focus of its attention is Dosidicus
gigas, the jumbo squid.
The most celebrated natural antagonism between
sperm whales and squid almost certainly involves the
jumbo squid’s larger cousin, the giant squid, a species
that grows to 65 feet long. The relationship between
sperm whales and squid is pretty dramatic. A single
sperm whale can eat more than one ton of squid per
day. They do eat giant squid on occasion, but most of
what whales pursue is relatively small and over
matched. With their clicks, sperm whales can detect a
squid less than a foot long more than a mile away, and
schools of squid from even farther away. But the way
that sperm whales find squid was until recently a puzzle.