Standardized Abyss Contemplation

23. What is the significance of the window mentioned in Sentence 7?

A) Jeremy can see Jackson through the window.

B) The window is a metaphor for Jeremy’s outlook on life.

C) The window is an insignificant speck in a vast cosmos.

D) The glass in the window is broken, like Jeremy’s soul.

Sally stared blankly at the question. How on Earth should she know what the people who write standardized tests thought the significance of the window was? She doubted that the people who wrote the little snippets of text that were stuck into standardized tests even knew what the answers to these questions were supposed to be. With a sigh, she flipped back to the beginning of the story, hoping to find some inspiration.

Read the following excerpt from Jeremy Contemplates the Abyss by Bob Roberts, then answer the questions that follow.

(1) Jeremy drove himself home past the vast cornfields that filled the space between his friend Jeffery’s house and his own. (2) “Do the cornfields ever stop?” Jeremy asked himself. (3) “Maybe they just continue into infinity, and 99.9% of all matter in the universe is corn.” (4) This thought disturbed Jeremy greatly, and he responded to this feeling in the only logical way: he began to contemplate the abyss.

Rereading this part of the passage reminded Sally of her own experience with a seemingly endless cornfield. She’d been driving — or more accurately, her parents had been driving her — across somewhere in the middle of Iowa as part of a road trip with her friend Kassandra. Unlike Jeremy, this experience had not driven her to contemplate the abyss, though perhaps that was because she’d been too busy playing an increasingly unrewarding game of I Spy.

“I spy something green,” Kassandra had said.

“Uh…” Sally responded, looking out the window. “Is it corn?”

“Yeah,” Kassandra admitted. “Your turn.”

“I spy something blue,” Sally sighed after some contemplation forced her to conclude that she was running out of options.

“The sky,” Kassandra deadpanned immediately. “My go. I spy something… um… corny?”

“Is it that incredibly bad joke you just tried to make about the corn being corny?” Sally wondered.

Kassandra shook her head. “No, just the corn.”

“This isn’t a particularly varied game, you know,” Sally pointed out.

“Think of it like a standardized test,” Kassandra blurted out rather suddenly.

“Boring?” Sally suggested. “Not a good use of the school’s resources?”

“No, not those things! It’s like a standardized test because

When in doubt, pick C. For corn.

Taking her friend’s advice to heart, Sally quickly circled C and moved on to the next question.


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