Critical Reading>Select an Answer
My young pupils entered the apartment, with their two younger sisters. Master Tom Bloomfield was a well-grown boy of seven, with a somewhat wiry frame, flaxen hair, blue eyes, small turned-up nose, and fair complexion. Mary Ann was a tall girl too, somewhat dark like her mother, but with a round full face and a high colour in her cheeks. The second sister was Fanny, a very pretty little girl; Mrs. Bloomfield assured me she was a remarkably gentle child, and required encouragement: she had not learned anything yet; but in a few days, she would be four years old, and then she might take her first lesson in the alphabet, and be promoted to the schoolroom. The remaining one was Harriet, a little broad, fat, merry, playful thing of scarcely two, that I coveted more than all the rest -- but with her I had nothing to do.
I talked to my little pupils as well as I could, and tried to render myself agreeable; but with little success I fear, for their mother's presence kept me under an unpleasant restraint. They, however, were remarkably free from shyness. They seemed bold, lively children, and I hoped I should soon be on friendly terms with them -- the little boy especially, of whom I had heard such a favourable character from his mamma. In Mary Ann there was a certain affected simper, and a craving for notice, that I was sorry to observe. But her brother claimed all my attention to himself; he stood bolt upright between me and the fire, with his hands behind his back, talking away like an orator, occasionally interrupting his discourse with a sharp reproof to his sisters when they made too much noise.
"Oh, Tom, what a darling you are!" exclaimed his mother. "Come and kiss dear mamma; and then won't you show Miss Grey your schoolroom, and your nice new books?"
"I won't kiss you, mamma; but I will show Miss Grey my schoolroom, and my new books."
"And my schoolroom, and my new books, Tom," said Mary Ann. "They're mine too."
"They're mine," replied he decisively.
What is the main effect of the words "orator" and "discourse" in the passage?
A. They emphasize that Tom takes a position of authority in the situation.
B. They suggest that Tom frequently expresses disdain toward his sisters' opinions.
C. They reveal that the narrator finds Tom's personality more impressive than his intelligence.
D. They underscore the narrator's belief that Tom has mastered public speaking.
Choice A is the best answer. After stating that Tom "claimed all her attention," the narrator says that Tom "stood bolt upright... talking away like an orator, occasionally interrupting his discourse with a sharp reproof to his sisters when they made too much noise." In this context, the words "orator" and "discourse" -- words associated with lecturing and speaking formally -- mainly emphasize that Tom is taking a position of authority, speaking to Miss Grey as if he is a teacher and expressing disapproval of his sisters' behavior as if they are his students.