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Passage-Based Reading

(Note: Passages on the PSAT/NMSQT are between 450 and 850 words long.)

This passage is an excerpt from a work published in 2000 by a Chinese American writer.

Line    In kindergarten, I learned the Pledge of Allegiance.
Or rather, I learned to imitate it. The words spilled
out of my mouth in one long jumble, all slurred and
sloppy. I'd stand tall and put my right hand over my
5 heart, mumbling proudly. Even then, I understood
that "'Merica" was my home-and that I was an
American.

Still, a flicker of doubt was ever present. If
10 I were truly American, why did the other American
people around me seem so sure I was foreign?

By the time I was a teenager, I imagined that I was
a "dual citizen" of both the United States and China.
15 I had no idea what dual citizenship involved, or
if it was even possible. No matter, I would be a
citizen of the world. This was my fantasy.

When I got to college, I decided to learn more about
20 "where I came from" by taking classes in Asian
history. I even studied Mandarin Chinese. This had
the paradoxical effect of making me question
my Chinese-ness. Other students, and even the
teachers, expected me to spout perfectly
25 accented Chinese. Instead I stumbled along as
badly as the other American students next to
me. Still my fantasy persisted; I thought I
might "go back" to China, a place
I had never been.
30
President Richard Nixon's historic trip to China
in February 1972 made a visit seem possible
for me. That summer, China cracked open the
"bamboo curtain" that separated it from the
35 West, allowing a small group of Chinese
American students to visit the country
as a goodwill gesture to the United States.
I desperately wanted to be one of them, and
I put together a research proposal that got
40 the support of my professors. With a special
fellowship, I joined the group and became
one of the first Americans, after Nixon,
to enter "Red" China.

45 In China I fit right in with the multitude.
In the cities of Shanghai and Suzhou, where
my parents were from, I saw my features
everywhere. After years of not looking
"American" to the "Americans" and not
50 looking Chinese enough for the Cantonese
who made up the majority of Chinese
Americans, I suddenly found my face on
every passerby. It was a revelation of
sameness that I had never experienced at
55 home. The feelings didn't last long.

While in China, I visited my mother's
eldest sister; they hadn't seen each
other since 1949, the year of the
60 Communist revolution in China, when
my mother left with their middle sister
on the last boat out of Shanghai. Using
my elementary Chinese, I struggled to
communicate with Auntie Li. My vocabulary
65 was too limited and my idealism too thick
to comprehend my family's suffering from
the Cultural Revolution,* still very much
in progress. But girlish fun transcended
language as my older cousins took me by
70 the hand and dressed me in a khaki Mao
suit, braiding my long hair in pigtails,
just like the other young, unmarried
Chinese women.

75 All decked out like a freshly minted Red
Guard in my new do, I passed for a local.
Real Chinese stopped me on the street, to
ask for directions, to ask where I got my
tennis shoes, to complain about the long
80 bus queues, to say any number of things
to me. As soon as I opened my mouth to
reply, my clumsy American accent infected
the little Chinese I knew. My questioners
knew immediately that I was a foreigner,
85 a Westerner, an American, maybe even a
spy-and they ran from me as fast as they
could. I had an epiphany common to Asian
Americans who visit their ancestral
homelands. I realized that I didn't fit
90 into Chinese society, that I could never
be accepted there. If I didn't know it,
the Chinese did: I belonged in America,
not China.

The author most likely cites the information in lines 75 - 81 ("All . . . to me") in order to

(A)  suggest her preference for staying in China

(B)  point out her industriousness

(C)  demonstrate her acceptance of people who differed from her

(D)  illustrate the degree to which she appeared to be Chinese

(E)  show her deep appreciation of Chinese culture