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“The Marginal World” by Rachel Carson
Selection Test A

Critical Reading Identify the letter of the choice that best answers the question.

1. What is Carson’s main reason for writing about nature in “The Marginal
A. to share the meaning and significance she sees in life
B. to inform her readers about the theory of evolution
C. to entertain her readers with stories about funny animals
D. to convince people to become nature conservationists

2. Which of the following is an effect of night falling on a Georgia beach as
described in “The Marginal World”?
A. Herons and sanderlings are shore birds.
B. Everything becomes totally silent and still.
C. The shore becomes a different and mysterious world.
D. Periwinkle snails climb out of the water to feed on the mangrove trees.

3. Carson states that the shore has a dual nature. What does she mean?
A. The shore is harsh, but beautiful.
B. The shore is both ancient and frightening.
C. The shore belongs to both the land and the sea.
D. The shore at night is very different from the shore during the day.

4. Which of the following is NOT a detail Carson uses to describe the pool in the
cave at low tide?
A. A starfish hangs from the ceiling and is reflected in the water below.
B. Hundreds of periwinkles browse the branches and roots of the trees.
C. The water is clear as glass and the bottom is carpeted with green sponge.
D. Pale pink hydroid Tubularia look like flowers hanging from the ceiling.

5. Which of the following words or phrases would Carson be LEAST likely to use to
describe the life forms of the shore?
A. tough
B. adaptable
C. sparse
D. beautiful

6. Carson describes a scene in which she sees a ghost crab on the beach at night.
What does she say surprises her about seeing the crab?
A. Ghost crabs do not usually come out at night.
B. The crab seems to be able to see in total darkness.
C. There is only one crab where there are usually hundreds.
D. She believes she understands the creature in its own world for the first time.

7. Carson describes a scene in which she sees horn shell snails winding through
the sand. She thinks of the flamingos that once fed on the snails. What effect
does this memory have on Carson?
A. She is glad the snails are safe from the flamingos.
B. She considers bringing a flock of flamingos back to the area.
C. She feels anger toward humans who caused the flamingos to leave the area.
D. She wishes she could have seen the flamingos as Audubon did.

8. Which of the following is NOT one of the three places that Carson describes in
“The Marginal World”?
A. a tidal pool in a cave
B. a rocky Pacific intertidal zone
C. a Georgia beach at night
D. mangrove mud flats on the Florida coast

9. Which of the following best states the author’s thesis in “The Marginal World”?
A. The beauty of nature makes people want to explore its mysteries.
B. The shore at night shows the realities of the world where land meets sea.
C. The mangrove islands are crowded with infinite varieties of life.
D. The pool in the cave is a magical and beautiful place.

10. Which of the following details best supports the author’s purpose in “The Marginal
A. The ghost crab is a symbol of life because it is small and delicate, but it
B. The hydroid Tubularia looks like a flower, but it is in fact an animal, not a plant.
C. Some forms of life on the shore are difficult for the casual observer to see.
D. Two willets call out to each other and sanderlings scurry across the beach.

11. In “The Marginal World,” why does Carson believe the shore is a particularly
appropriate place to observe the forces of evolution at work?
A. Time passes much more slowly at the shore.
B. She believes that life began at the edge of the sea.
C. There is more variety of life at the shore than anywhere else.
D. Other creatures do not evolve as quickly as shore creatures do.

Vocabulary and Grammar
12. A street that runs between two neighborhoods is an example of something that
is marginal. What is another example of something that is marginal?
A. a river that forms the boundary between two countries
B. the constantly changing trends in teen fashions
C. an important event in one’s life
D. a star in its solar system

13. Carson describes the life forms in the hidden tidal pool as _____________________
because they exist only until the sea returns to fill the little cave.
A. primeval
B. marginal
C. mutable
D. ephemeral

14. Identify the relative pronoun in the following sentence from “The Marginal
The little crab alone with the sea became a symbol that stood for life itself. . . .
A. alone
B. with
C. that
D. itself

15. Choose one of the creatures that Carson described in detail in “The Marginal
World,” such as the hydroid Tubularia, the ghost crab, or the mangrove periwinkle
snail. Write an essay in which you explain Carson’s purpose for describing this
creature in detail. Explain how her description of the creature supports one or more
of the points she is trying to make in “The Marginal World.”

16. Think of a place in nature that you have visited. In an essay, describe one interesting
plant or animal you saw there and explain what you thought about it. Use Carson’s
writing style to describe a scene in some detail and then explain the importance of
what you observed.

  • English -

    I'll be glad to check your answers.

  • English -


  • English -

    12. A
    13. D
    14. D

  • English -

    These answers are my answers, they might not be the correct answers though. Keep in mind...I might be wrong.

  • English -


  • English -

    Name three places creatures may live along the shore

  • English -

    What features might make the skimmer particularly adept catching fish

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