The following passage comes from the short story “I am Born” by Sena Naslund (2000). Here the narrator describes how she acquired her nickname.
- Tink! Tink!
- I seem to hear my brother calling
- me. It is Paul’s voice, the voice of
- my twin brother.
- His voice reaches the place where I
- sit waiting. I am in the middle of the
- seven concrete steps that stretch
- between home and the sidewalk
- where the world begins. I am six
- years old, it is summer in
- Birmingham, and I am writing with
- a wedge of gray stone on the
- concrete. I form pictures on the
- steps – a whale, a star. The gravel
- twists in my fingers, and I scrape
- my knuckle. When I suck my hurt,
- I am tantalized by the texture of
- the grit. I pick up the gravel and
- turn it so that a new point will
- engage the concrete.
- He wants me. But first I must
- explain about my name, my
- odd nickname: Tink.
- It was a gray December day, Mama
- later told me; and she wondered
- aloud to Paul and me, sitting in our
- wooden high chairs. She went to the
- window and wondered aloud if it
- would snow. “I t’ink so,” I said.
- I remember the sudden swirl, the
- view out the window—a gray
- forsythia bush, tangled on itself like
- a pile of coat hangers. She had
- pulled me out of the high chair to
- waltz me around the room. My
- mother was delighted that my
- sentence reported my own private
- mental activity. Paul squalled
- She plunked me back in the chair,
- dashed to the piano, and played
- Chopin’s “Winter Wind Etude”
- for us. Both Paul and I loved the
- “Winter Wind”; when we could
- talk better, we compared our
- responses and found that I loved
- the fierce chromatics that come
- tumbling down the keyboard,
- while he loved the stirring melody
- that cuts clearly through all the
- chromatic swirling. My mother
- played so passionately. Though
- confined to our high chairs, Paul
- and I swirled our arms around our
- heads and fluttered our fingers.
- Surely the weather gods would
- hear her playing and bring us
- essence of winter.
- Mother’s hair was long and black—
- she was descended from the
- Spanish who were shipwrecked
- in Ireland, made the best of it
- and produced “black” Irish—and
- she wore her hair in a coronet
- over her head. She with her black
- hair and white arms seemed to
- dovetail with the upright black
- piano and the black-and-white
- I heard this tale of my first
- sentence many times when I was
- growing up and told it often to
- explain my odd nickname.
- One of my earliest friends had
- asked if “Tink” were short for
- “Stink.” You do smell bad, she had
- said. Only when I was a young adult
- did it occur to me to ask my mother
- if it did, in fact, snow on that
- December day.
- “No,” she said.
- Why had no one warned me that my
- first syntactically complete sentence
- had been an error in judgment?
- Why didn’t I consider the real
- context for my thoughts, that this
- was Birmingham, the Deep South,
- and that the chance of it snowing
- was very slim—maybe once every
- four or five years?
- Tink, I have something, I can hear
- my brother saying. It still makes my
- heart beat fast for someone I love to
- arouse my curiosity that way:
- I have something.
- Paul came up the steps fist forward:
- I guessed a four-leaf clover?
- a nickel? grass?
- He opened his hand. It was empty.
- “Not fair, you stinker,” I said.
- “Can’t you see?” he asked.
- I looked from the palm of his hand
- to his face. He was triumphant.
- “Air,” he said. “I’m holding air.
- It’s very valuable. You couldn’t
- live without it.”
- I thought disdainfully,
- “Neither could you.” But I said
- humbly, “Hey, you’re right.”
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The events narrated in the passage are told from the perspective of:CorrectIncorrect
The narrator indicates that her and brother’s responses to “Winter Wind” (line 45) differed in that:CorrectIncorrect
In paragraph 7 (lines 31-40) the narrator indicates that her mother was happy because:CorrectIncorrect
According to the passage, the narrator’s nickname was based on:CorrectIncorrect
As it is used in line 39 of the reading, squalled most nearly means:CorrectIncorrect
The narrator states that it most likely would not have snowed on the day she received her nickname because:CorrectIncorrect
In the eighth paragraph, it is reasonable to infer that the “essence of winter” (line 59) refers to:CorrectIncorrect
It is reasonable to infer that when the narrator says that the Spaniards shipwrecked in Ireland “made the best of it” (line 63) she means that they:CorrectIncorrect
The narrator responds to the sight of her brother’s empty hand by:CorrectIncorrect
In context of the passage, when the narrator states that her “first syntactically complete sentence had been an error in judgment”, (lines 84-85) she most nearly means that:CorrectIncorrect