Joseph Emanuel Crown, owner of the Crown Brewery of Chicago, was a worried man

LITERARY NARRATIVE: This passage is adapted from the novel Homeland by John Jakes.

Joseph Emanuel Crown, owner of the Crown Brewery of Chicago, was a worried man. Worried on several counts, the most immediate being a civic responsibility he was scheduled to discuss at an emergency meeting this Friday, the fourteenth of October; a meeting he had requested.

Joe Crown seldom revealed inner anxieties, and that was the case as he worked in his office this morning. He was a picture of steadiness, rectitude, prosperity. He wore a fine suit of medium gray enlivened by a dark red four-in-hand tied under a high collar. Since the day was not yet too warm, he kept his coat on.

Joe’s hair was more silver than white. He washed it daily, kept it shining. His eyes behind spectacles with silver wire frames were dark brown, rather large, and alert. His mustache and imperial showed careful attention; he had an appointment at twelve for the weekly trim. His hands were small but strong. He wasn’t handsome, but he was commanding.

Three principles ruled Joe Crown’s business and personal life, of which the most important was order. In German, Ordnung. Without order, organization, some rational plan, you had chaos.

The second principle was accuracy. Accuracy was mandatory in brewing, where timing and temperatures were critical. But accuracy was also the keystone of any business that made money instead of losing it. The primary tool for achieving accuracy was mathematics. Joe Crown had a towering belief in the potency of correct information, and the absolute authority of numbers which provided it.

In Germany, he’d learned his numbers before he learned to read. Though a mediocre student in most school subjects, at ciphering he was a prodigy. He could add a column of figures, or do calculations in his head, with astonishing speed. In Cincinnati, his first stop in America, he’d begged the owner of a Chinese laundry to teach him to use an abacus. One of these ancient counting devices could be found in his office, sitting on a low cabinet, within reach. Money measured success; counting measured money. 

Questions he asked of his employees often involved numbers. “What is the exact temperature?” “How large is the population in that market?” “How many barrels did we ship last week?” “What’s the cost, per square foot, of this expansion?”

As for his third principle, modernity, he believed that, too, was crucial in business. Men who said the old ways were the best ways were fools, doomed to fall behind and fail. Joe was always searching for the newest methods to improve the brewery’s product, output, efficiency, cleanliness. He hadn’t hesitated to install expensive pasteurization equipment when he opened his first small brewery in Chicago. He’d been among the first to invest heavily in refrigerated freight cars. He insisted that modern machines be used in the office. From his desk he could hear the pleasing ratchet noise of a mechanical adding machine. This blended with the clicking keys and pinging bell on the black iron typewriter used for correspondence by his chief clerk, Stefan Zwick.

Originally Stefan had resisted Joe’s suggestion that he learn to operate a typewriter. “Sir, I respectfully decline, a quill pen suits me perfectly.”

“But Stefan,” Joe said to him in a friendly but firm way, “I’m afraid it doesn’t suit me, because it makes Crown’s look old-fashioned. However, I’ll respect your feelings. Please place a help wanted advertisement. We’ll hire one of those young women who specialize in using the machines. I believe they too are called typewriters.”

Zwick blanched. “A woman? In my office?”

“I’m sorry, Stefan, but you leave me no choice if you won’t learn to typewrite.”

Stefan Zwick learned to typewrite.

Every solid house or building was supported by a strong foundation; and so there was a foundation on which Joe Crown’s three principles rested. It was not unusual, or peculiar to him. It was the cheerful acceptance, not to say worship, of hard work. Among other  artifacts, advertising sheets, flags and fading brown photographs of annual brewery picnics decorating his office there was a small framed motto which his wife had done colorfully in cross-stitch and put into a frame of gilded wood. Ohne Fleiss, kein Preis, it said. In rough translation, this reminded you that without industry there was no reward. From his desk Joe Crown couldn’t see the gold-framed motto; it hung on the wall behind him, slightly to his right. But he didn’t need to see it. Its truth was in him deeper than the marrow of his bones. He was a German.

1. If a stereotype of Germans is that they are tidy, meticulous, and industrious, does the characterization of Crown in this passage reinforce or weaken this stereotype?

A. It firmly reinforces the stereotype.
B. It initially reinforces and subsequently weakens the stereotype.
C. It reinforces the meticulous aspect of the stereotype but weakens the industrious aspect.
D. It weakens the stereotype in that Crown likes his surroundings tidy but expects others to do the tidying up.

2. It can reasonably be inferred that in relation to the appointment referred to in the third paragraph (lines 13-19), the meeting referred to in the first paragraph occurs:

F. on the same day.
G. several days earlier.
H. several days later.
J. several years later.

3. The passage’s description of Zwick reveals that compared to Crown, he is:

A. equally fastidious about meeting a deadline.
B. less inclined to embrace new technology.
C. less afraid to state his preferences to his superiors.
D. more concerned with the company’s public image.

4. The dialogue in line 72 reveals Zwick’s:

F. indignation over Crown’s proposed solution to the problem the two men are discussing.
G. panic over having a surprise visitor to his office.
H. excitement over meeting a new employee of Crown Brewery.
J. insensitivity to his recently hired female coworker.

5. At the time described in the passage’s opening, what is Crown’s most immediate preoccupation?

A. Whether he will be on time for his weekly trim
B. Whether to install expensive pasteurization equipment at his brewery
C. Zwick’s impertinent behavior
D. A civic responsibility

6. The passage states that Crown was what kind of student?

F. Exceptionally gifted, especially in ciphering
G. Mediocre, except in ciphering
H. Successful when he applied himself, otherwise poor
J. Increasingly successful as he gained the use of counting aids

7. Based on the passage, which of the following questions would be most characteristic of the kind Crown typically asked his employees?

A. “Was your weekend a most pleasant one?”
B. “Have you had a chance to repair that old typewriter?”
C. “By what figure will our sales increase if we advertise in that publication?”
D. “Who among you has a better idea for how we can work well as a team?”

8. At the time in which the passage is set, which of the following devices are still apparently being used in offices in the United States even as those same devices are, in Crown’s view, becoming increasingly obsolete?

F. Typewriters
G. Mechanical adding machines
H. Quill pens
J. Abacuses

9. The metaphor the author uses to help describe Crown’s three principles primarily draws upon imagery from what discipline?

A. Architecture
B. Business
C. Astronomy
D. Education

10. Which of the following is a detail from the passage that indicates the length of time Crown has been in the brewery business?

F. Some outdated refrigerators from when he first opened his business
G. A newly hung cross-stitched phrase framed and placed on his office wall
H. Photographs of annual company picnics decorating his office
J. A bell, the ringing of which has marked the start of his workday for the last twenty years


1. The best answer is A because throughout the passage Crown is explicitly characterized as industrious and fastidious; his life and business are described as being ruled by the three tenets of order, accuracy, and modernity, all of which are grounded in his reverence for hard work. This description and characterization firmly reinforce the stereotype that Germans are tidy, meticulous, and industrious.

2. The best answer is H because it can most reasonably be inferred that the “appointment at twelve” referred to in line 17 would occur that day, whereas the “emergency meeting” referred to in lines 4–5 is scheduled to take place “this Friday”, indicating that the meeting would happen in the near future.

3. The best answer is B because lines 47–57 describe the principle of modernity to which Crown unwaveringly subscribes, giving examples of how quickly he embraces new technology. Zwick, however, is reluctant to move from using an old-fashioned quill pen to a modern typewriter (lines 62–64), learning to typewrite only when he is compelled to.

4. The best answer is F because when Zwick is said to have “blanched”, it is in response to Crown’s proposal that a woman be hired as a typewriter if Zwick refuses to learn typewriting. Zwick’s indignation is expressed in the rest of line 72: “A woman? In my office?”

5. The best answer is D because lines 2–5 clearly state that Crown’s “most immediate” worry was a “civic responsibility” that he would soon be discussing at a meeting.

6. The best answer is G because the passage states that Crown was “a mediocre student in most school subjects” but that “at ciphering he was a prodigy”.

7. The best answer is C because the passage characterizes Crown in lines 42-46 as prone to asking questions of his employees that would elicit a specific answer, likely one that involved numbers. The question about sales figures in C best fits these characteristics.

8. The best answer is H because the passage describes Crown as subscribing to the principle of modernity, and his exchange with Zwick in lines 62–74 most nearly suggests that quill pens were the status quo in offices in the United States at the time the passage was set, though more advanced technology was beginning to become available. To Crown, who wanted his business to use the “newest methods” (line 51) of technology, such as typewriters and mechanical adding machines, these quill pens seemed “old-fashioned” (line 67).

9. The best answer is A because the metaphor used in the passage to describe Crown’s three principles primarily includes language about building, which is a fundamental part of architecture as a discipline. Line 26 describes Crown’s second principle of accuracy as a “keystone,” and lines 76–78 compare Crown’s three principles to a “solid house or building” that is “supported by a strong foundation”: Crown’s attitude toward hard work.

10. The best answer is H because the passage describes the photographs of annual brewery picnics decorating Crown’s office as “fading” and “brown” (line 81), indicating that they have hung on the wall of his office (and thus that Crown has been in the brewery business) for a length of time.