Read the following passage from Heywood Broun’s The Fifty-First Dragon to answer questions 6-10.
OF all the pupils at the knight school Gawaine le Coeur-Hardy was among the least promising. He was tall and sturdy, but his instructors soon discovered that he lacked spirit. He would hide in the woods when the jousting class was called, although his companions and members of the faculty sought to appeal to his better nature by shouting to him to come out and break his neck like a man. Even when they told him that the lances were padded, the horses no more than ponies and the field unusually soft for late autumn, Gawaine refused to grow enthusiastic. The Headmaster and the Assistant Professor of Pleasaunce were discussing the case one spring afternoon and the Assistant Professor could see no remedy but expulsion.
“No,” said the Headmaster, as he looked out at the purple hills which ringed the school, “I think I’ll train him to slay dragons.”
“He might be killed,” objected the Assistant Professor.
“So he might,” replied the Headmaster brightly, but he added, more soberly, “we must consider the greater good. We are responsible for the formation of this lad’s character.”
“Are the dragons particularly bad this year?” interrupted the Assistant Professor. This was characteristic. He always seemed restive when the head of the school began to talk ethics and the ideals of the institution.
“I’ve never known them worse,” replied the Headmaster. “Up in the hills to the south last week they killed a number of peasants, two cows and a prize pig. And if this dry spell holds there’s no telling when they may start a forest fire simply by breathing around indiscriminately.”
“Would any refund on the tuition fee be necessary in case of an accident to young Coeur-Hardy?”
“No,” the principal answered, judicially, “that’s all covered in the contract. But as a matter of fact he won’t be killed. Before I send him up in the hills I’m going to give him a magic word.”
“That’s a good idea,” said the Professor. “Sometimes they work wonders.”
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1. What is the best way to describe Gawaine’s character?
- Fearless and excitable
- Careless and frigid
- Spiritual and careful
- Cowardly and apathetic
2. What is the meaning of “his better nature”?
- An increased sense of honesty
- A man’s ignoble ideas
- A desire for propriety
- A man’s nobler instincts
3. How does the Headmaster put the professor at ease about Gawaine?
- He tells him that Gawaine will only fight small dragons.
- He assures him that Gawaine’s contract has not expired.
- He talks to him about the animals that have been killed by the dragons.
- He mentions that Gawaine will be given a magic word.
4. What would be a good question for the Headmaster to consider?
- Will Gawaine try hard to fight the dragons?
- Will Gawaine want to learn about fighting dragons?
- Will the professor let Gawaine learn about dragons?
- Will the professor teach Gawaine to fight the dragons?
5. Suppose that Gawaine’s parents have him removed from the school. Would the Headmaster still want Gawaine to learn to fight dragons?
- No, he would be happy with the tuition payment.
- No, he would think that Gawaine would eventually return.
- Yes, because Gawaine is naturally very tall and strong.
- Yes, because Gawaine will get a special word for protection.
1. D: Gawaine is said to be tall and sturdy, but would run away and hide at the smallest sign of trouble.
2. D: “His better nature” is a common way of talking about a person’s deeper character.
3. D: Letter A is not mentioned in the text, and the other choices do not directly answer the question.
4. B: Considering Gawaine’s character, this is the only choice that makes sense because it is well known that Gawaine is cowardly and the professor doesn’t seem to know much about dragons.
5. A: This can be inferred from the text: “Would any refund on the tuition fee be necessary in case of an accident to young Coeur-Hardy?” “No,” the principal answered, judicially, “that’s all covered in the contract.”
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by Enoch Morrison | Last Updated: January 9, 2019