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Not Just Another Russian

In 1828, baby Leo was born into the rich and powerful Tolstoy family of Central Russia. He would grow up to write two of the greatest novels in the history of literature and inspire social reform that would make an impact on the world. Not just another Russian author, Leo Tolstoy was a teacher, a philosopher, and the grandfather of non-violent revolution.

Tolstoy was an unsettled young man. He was a poor student who left his university when he could find no meaning in his studies. He joined the army but could not endure the violence and soon left that as well. By this time, Tolstoy was being noticed as a writer but he still felt unfulfilled. It was during this time that Tolstoy wrote his most famous books, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. In them, Tolstoy offered a new kind of fiction to Russian readers. He described events and characters so detailed and convincing that they blurred the line between the imaginary and real life. In Tolstoy's version, it was not great leaders that moved history, but the common people. His work has been called, "not art, but a piece of life."

Tolstoy suffered a mid-life crisis after writing Anna Karenina. Giving up his fortune to live among the peasants, he decided he must find the meaning of life or else kill himself. What he found came from the core of his Christian faith—universal love and passive resistance to evil. Gandhi later adopted this message in his campaign to free India. Martin Luther King, Jr. did the same in his fight for racial equality in America. The effects of passive resistance can still be felt today. Tolstoy was a gifted writer, but it was his revolutionary ideas that changed the course of history and the world in which we live.

     
  1. According to the article, which of the following is most true about Leo Tolstoy?
       
    (A) He always valued his peasant upbringing.
    (B) His teachers thought he was very smart.
    (C) He was satisfied with his life after people began noticing his work.
    (D)

He struggled to find meaning throughout his life.

       
  2. What was special about Tolstoy's style of writing?
       
    (A) He was the first author to address the issue of war.
    (B) He described important events that really happened.
    (C)

The characters in his books were very true to life.

    (D) He wrote about the great leaders who changed history.
       
  3. Tolstoy considered killing himself because he ______.
       
    (A)

had not yet found the meaning of life

    (B) was traumatized by his time in the army
    (C) lost his inspiration for writing
    (D) lost faith in universal love
       
  4. How are Ghandi and Tolstoy alike?
       
    (A) Tolstoy adopted Ghandi's message and wrote about it in his books.
    (B) Tolstoy and Ghandi studied together at the university.
    (C) Ghandi helped Tolstoy find the meaning of life.
    (D)

Ghandi used Tolstoy's ideas in his struggle to free India.

       
      unsettled   tending to change
           
      core   the basic and most important part of something
           
      gifted   having special ability in a particular subject or activity
           
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  Answers : 1) D    2) C    3) A    4) D
 
 
 
 
 

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Comprehension 1

 

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