Education

Sample Altered Passages

June 12, 2002 1 min read

Here is a sample of entries, with their alterations, that have appeared on the New York regents’ English examination. Deleted or altered text is in bold.

Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird:

“Whoa-they’re not getting married after all! She’s gay! And you had no idea!.”

B.B. King’s autobiography, Blues All Around Me:

“As a child, I stuttered. What was inside couldn’t get out. I’m still not real fluent. I don’t know a lot of good words. If I were wrongfully accused of a crime, I’d have a tough time explaining my innocence. I’d stammer and stumble and choke up until the judge would throw me in jail. Words aren’t my friends. Music is. Sounds, notes, rhythms. I talk through music.”

Frank Conroy’s memoir, Stop-Time:

Original: “‘Let’s go swimming. I know a rock pit back in the woods. It’s got an island in the middle.’'Okay. I’ll have to get my bathing suit.’'Hell, you don’t need a suit. There’s nobody around.’”

Regents: “‘Heck, you don’t need a suit. There’s nobody around.’”

Ernesto Galarza’s memoir, Barrio Boy:

Original: “Almost tiptoeing across the office, I maneuvered myself to keep my mother between me and the gringo lady.”

Regents: “Almost tiptoeing across the office, I maneuvered myself to keep my mother between me and the American lady.”

Elie Wiesel’s essay “What Really Makes Us Free":

“Man, who was created in God’s image, wants to be free as God is free: free to choose between good and evil, love and vengeance, life and death.”

Margaret A. Whitney’s essay “Playing to Win":

Original: “I tried too hard today, she says. I feel like I’m going to puke.”

Regents: “I tried too hard today, she says. I feel sick.”