When her grandmother’s health began to deteriorate in the fall of 1994, Mary would make the drive from Washington, DC to Winchester every few days.
She hated highway driving, finding it ugly and monotonous. She preferred to take meandering back roads to her grandmother’s hospital. When she drove through the rocky town of Harpers Ferry, the beauty of the rough waters churning at the intersection of the Shenandoah and Potomac rivers always captivated her.
Toward the end of her journey, Mary had to get on highway 81. It was here that she discovered a surprising bit of beauty during one of her trips. Along the median of the highway, there was a long stretch of wildflowers. They were thin and delicate and purple, and swayed in the wind as if whispering poems to each other.
The first time she saw the flowers, Mary was seized by an uncontrollable urge to pull over on the highway and yank a bunch from the soil. She carried them into her grandmother’s room when she arrived at the hospital and placed them in a water pitcher by her bed. For a moment her grandmother seemed more lucid than usual. She thanked Mary for the flowers, commented on their beauty and asked where she had gotten them. Mary was overjoyed by the ability of the flowers to wake something up inside her ailing grandmother.
Afterwards, Mary began carrying scissors in the car during her trips to visit her grandmother. She would quickly glide onto the shoulder, jump out of the car, and clip a bunch of flowers. Each time Mary placed the flowers in the pitcher, her grandmother’s eyes would light up and they would have a splendid conversation.
One morning in late October, Mary got a call that her grandmother had taken a turn for the worse. Mary was in such a hurry to get to her grandmother that she sped past her flower spot. She decided to turn around head several miles back, and cut a bunch. Mary arrived at the hospital to find her grandmother very weak and unresponsive. She placed flowers in the pitcher and sat down. She felt a squeeze on her fingers. It was the last conversation they had.
In the final paragraph, the author writes. “She felt a squeeze on her fingers. It was the last conversation they had.”
Which best describes what the author is trying to communicate in these sentences?
The history of the modern world is a record of highly varied activity, of incessant change, and of astonishing achievement. The lives of men have, during the last few centuries, increasingly diversified, their powers have greatly multiplied, their powers have greatly multiplied, their horizon been enormously enlarged. New interests have arisen in rich profusion to absorb attention and to provoke exertion. New aspirations and new emotions have come to move the soul of men. Amid all the bewildering phenomena, interest, in particular, has stood out in clear and growing pre-eminence, has expressed itself in a multitude of ways and with an emphasis more and more pronounced, namely, the determination of the race to gain a larger measure of freedom than it has ever known before, freedom in the life of the intellect and spirit, freedom in the realm of government and law, freedom in the sphere of economic and social relationship. A passion that has prevailed so widely, that has transformed the world so greatly, and is still transforming it, is one that surely merits study and abundantly rewards it, its operations constitute the very pith and marrow of modem history.
Not that this passion was unknown to the long ages that proceeded the modern periods. The ancient Hebrews, the ancient Greeks and Roman blazed the was leaving behind them a precious heritage of accomplishments and suggestions and the men who were responsible for the Renaissance of the fifteenth century and the Reformation of the sixteen century contributed their imperishable part to this slow and difficult emancipation of the human race. But it is in modern times the pace and vigour, the scope and sweep of this liberal movement have so increased unquestionably as to dominate the age, particularly the last three centuries that have registered great triumphs of spirit.
In what areas do you think have the powers of men greatly multiplied during the last few centuries?