Now that I am trying to tell what I saw I am conscious of a thousand maddening limitations. Things seen by the inward sight, like those flashing visions which come as we drift into the blankness of sleep, are more vivid and meaningful to us in that form than when we have sought to weld them with reality. Set a pen to a dream, and the colour drains from it. The ink with which we write seems diluted with something holding too much of reality, and we find that after all we cannot delineate the incredible memory. It is as if our inward selves, released from the bonds of daytime and objectivity, revelled in prisoned emotions that are hastily stifled when we would translate them. In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue. Forgotten scenes, and lands more obscure than the golden world of childhood, spring into the sleeping mind to reign until awakening puts them to rout. Amid these may be attained something of the glory and contentment for which we yearn; some adumbration of sharp beauties suspected but not before revealed, which are to us as the Grail to holy spirits of the mediaeval world. To shape these things on the wheel of art, to seek to bring some faded trophy from that intangible realm of shadow and gossamer, requires equal skill and memory. For although dreams are in all of us, few hands may grasp their moth-wings without tearing them.
1. According to the author, which of the following is true of childhood memories?
(A) They are easier to recall than memories of dreamscapes.
(B) We feel contentment when they are shaped on the wheel of art.
(C) They contain emotions that are inaccessible from the waking state.
(D) They are more difficult to meld with reality than are dreams.
(E) Like dreams, they originate in the realm of shadow and gossamer.
(A) The phrase “according to the passage” suggests that the answer will be stated explicitly in the passage. The one mention of childhood occurs about halfway down the passage: “Forgotten scenes, and lands more obscure than the golden world of childhood, spring into the sleeping mind to reign until awakening puts them to rout.” Here, the “golden world of childhood” is being compared to the lands revealed in the dreamstate; the author believes that these “forgotten” dreamscapes are “more obscure” than the memories we hold of childhood. The same idea is expressed in choice (A): “They are easier to recall than memories of dreamscapes.” Choices (B) and (C) are true of dreams, but not of childhood memories. Choices (D) and (E) are unsupported by the passage. (A) is the best choice.
2. The author’s belief that man’s greatest creations lie in his “dreams and visions” is supported by which of the following ideas?
(A) His creations in dreams require no realtime or effort.
(B) His creations in dreams are like those of a child’s imagination.
(C) His creations in dreams are more fantastical than his real creations.
(D) His creations in dreams are not bridled by natural laws and conscious tendencies.
(E) His creations in dreams can be perceived by no one but himself.
(D) This question asks for information explicitly stated in the passage. Referring to the passage, we find the following sentence: “In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue.” The latter half of this sentence corresponds to choice (D): “His creations in dreams are not bridled by natural laws and conscious tendencies.” Choices (A), (B), and (E) offer unrelated information. Choice (C) is tempting because it seems like it could be used to support the author’s belief that man’s greatest creations lie in his dreams and visions; however, the question is asking for information explicitly stated in the passage, so (D) is the better choice. (D) is the best answer.
3. Which of the following statements would best maintain the meaning of the passage if it were to replace the last sentence?
(A) Most dreamers do not understand their own dreams.
(B) Few dreamers can trace the source of their dreams’ content.
(C) Most dreamers find it difficult to uphold their dreams’ essence through storytelling.
(D) Most dreamers can tell the differences between their dreams and their realities.
(E) All dreamers should appreciate the freedom their dreams permit them to have.
(C) This question asks you to analyze the final sentence and determine which answer choice is most consistent with it. Referring back to the passage, the author mentions that “few hands may grasp their moth-wings without tearing them,” which implies that it takes special effort and a keen memory to hold onto to one’s dreams, and that also most of the time their essence is inevitably lost in translation. Using moth-wings as a metaphor for dreams implies that they are delicate and fleeting. Choice (C) is the only answer that reflects the inherent difficulties the author feels dreamers are bound to have when thinking or telling their dreams. Choices (A) and (B) suggest that dreamers simply don’t understand their own dreams or cannot determine where their dreams came from, neither of which is supported by the passage. Choice (D) is making a distinction that is not related to the final sentence. (E) is too strong and is inconsistent with the meaning of the last sentence. (C) is the best choice.
4. Which of the following is mentioned in the passage as having greater meaning and brilliance in its original form?
(A) the inner self
(B) the indelible memory
(C) things seen by the inward sight
(D) the adumbration of beauty
(E) the golden world of childhood
(C) The phrase “is mentioned in the passage” suggests that this question is asking for information that is explicitly stated. Referring to the passage, we find choice (C), “things seen by the inward sight,” described as “more vivid and meaningful to us in that form than when we have sought to weld them with reality.” This is exactly what we are looking for. Since no other answer choice is accompanied with a description that so directly implies “having greater meaning and brilliance in its original form,”(C) is the best choice.
5. It can be inferred from the passage that the “thousand maddening limitations” referred to by the author do NOT include which of the following?
(A) the objectivity accompanying daytime hours
(B) the inability to translate dreams using the mediums available to the waking mind
(C) the sense of there being too much reality in the written word
(D) the flashing visions that come to us before sleep
(E) the difficulty of remembering a dream upon waking
(D) Every answer choice but one contributes to the author’s inability to “tell what he saw.” To answer the question, find the answer choice that is NOT one of these limiting factors. “The objectivity accompanying daylight hours” (Choice (A)) is a limiting factor because, according to the passage, in dreams our inner selves are “released from the bonds of daytime and objectivity.” Choice (B) is a main idea of the passage, and its role as a limiting factor is supported by the sentence that reads “In dreams and visions lie the greatest creations of man, for on them rests no yoke of line or hue.” This sentence implies that line and color (the mediums of translation) are not sufficient tools to capture the true nature of dreams. The author expresses his frustration with the limitations imposed by the perception of reality depicted in choice (C) when he claims that “the ink with which we write seems diluted with something holding too much of reality.” Choice (E) is a main idea of the passage. Only choice (D) is NOT a factor preventing the author from faithfully recording his dreams. The “flashing visions that come to us before sleep” are, rather, part of the dreaming process. (D) is the best answer.
6. Which of the following ideas is most central to the author’s vision?
(A) It is impossible to articulate the details of one’s dreams after waking.
(B) Dreams offer us greater access to our inner selves than do our waking lives.
(C) It is impossible to determine the true meaning of one’s dreams in hindsight.
(D) The beauty and complexity of the dreamstate cannot be expressed adequately outside of it.
(E) The dreamstate is simply more enjoyable than waking life.
(D) This is a main point question. In order to determine the idea that is most central to the author’s vision, articulate the main point and then find the answer choice that best summarizes it. The author emphasizes that the conscious telling of dreams misrepresents both their aesthetic and their structural qualities – an idea that most closely matches choice (D): “The beauty and complexity of the dreamstate cannot be adequately expressed outside of it.” Choices (A) and (C) are too strong. The author never says that it is impossible to remember the details of dreams (choice (A)), nor does he say that it is impossible to determine the true meaning of dreams after the fact (choice (C)). Choice (B) is a supporting point in the passage, but it is not the idea that is most central to the author’s vision. Choice (E) is unsupported by the passage. (D) is the correct choice.
7. The attitude of the author of the passage toward the dream itself is best described as one of
(C) This question asks you to infer the author’s attitude toward dreams. Phrases like “maddening limitations” suggest that the author is vexed (Choice (B)) by his inability to record his dreams, but his attitude toward dreams themselves is far more positive. His attitude is therefore not “ambivalent” (A) or “disdainful” (D). It would not be correct to say that he is baffled (E) by dreams, either, as he speaks with certainty about man’s relationship with his dreams. Rather, he discusses their power and beauty with “reverence” (C). (C) is the best answer.