Reading Materials for TOEFL 2

Passage One

Romantic Music of the nineteenth century differed greatly from the classical music of the eighteenth century. Classical music was primarily concerned with strict form and style. Romantic  composers, however, wanted to express their feelings and thoughts through music. Their music was less structured than the music of classicists; its goal was to fill the listener with emotion, with thoughts of beauty, wonder, and nature, and with poetry.

Passage Two

In American colonies, Benjamin Franklin worked as a printer; from his work, he clearly understood how difficult and costly it was to make books. However, he and his friends really enjoyed reading and wanted to get hold of as many books as they could.

One of Franklin’s good ideas, and he had many good ideas,  was to set up a club where people could share their books. The 50 members who joined the club when it was started in 1732 donated books and also pooled their money to buy additional books. Anyone who wanted to could stop in and read the books, club members were also allowed to take the books home with them, provided they returned them on time. This ‘club’ became American’s first circulating library.

Passage Three

The Hopi are part of the Pueblo Indian culture. Today they live mostly in northeastern Arizons, at the edge of the Painted Desert. Something  that sets the Hopi culture off from other cultures is that it is in some senses a maternal than a paternal culture.                                                                                    The Hopi are divided into clans, or families, along maternal lines, and as a result a child becomes a member of the mother’s clan rather than the father’s. In addition, ownership of property, such as land and houses, passes from mother to daughter instead of from father to son, as it does in other Native American cultures. However, women do not have all the power in this culture. Societal authority still rests in the hands of men, but that authority does pass to men from their mothers.

(taken from TOEFL Longman)


Reading Comprehension Practice for TOEFL 2

The stylistic innovation in paining known as Impressionism began in the 1870s. The impressionists wanted to depict what they saw in nature, but they were inspired to portray fragmentary moments by the increasingly fast pace of modern life. They concentrated on the play of light over objects, people, and nature, breaking up seemingly solid surfaces, stressing vivid contrast between colors in sunlight and shade, and depiction reflected light in all of its possibilities. Unlike earlier artists,  they did not  want to observe the world from indoors. They abandoned the studio, painting in the open air and recording spontaneous Impressions of their subjects instead of making outside sketches and then moving doors to complete the work form memory.

Some of the Impressionists’ painting methods were affected by technological advances. For example, the shift from the studio to the open air was made possible in part by the advent of cheap rail travel, which permitted easy and quick access to the countryside or seashore, as well as by newly developed chemical dyes and oils that led to collapsible pain tubes, which enabled artists to finish their paintings on the spot.

Impressionism acquired its name not from supporters but from angry art lovers who felt threatened by the new painting. The term “Impressionism” was born in 1874, when a group of artists who had been working together organized an exhibition of their painting in order to draw public attention to their work. Reaction from the public and press was immediate, and derisive. Among the 165 paintings exhibited was one called Impression: Sunrise, by Claude Monet (1840-1926). Viewed through hostile eyes, Monet’s painting of a rising over a misty, watery scene seemed messy, slapdash, and an affront to good taste. Borrowing Monet’s title, art critics extended the term ‘Impressionism” to the entire. In response, Monet and his 29 fellow artists in the exhibit adopted the same bane as a badge of their unity, despite individual differences. From then until 1886 Impressionism had all the zeal of a ‘church’, as the painter Renoir put it. Monet was faithful to the Impressionist creed until  his death although many of the others moved on to new styles.


(TOEFL Practice Test by Alvina Kusuma, p. 42)