AP English Language : Audience

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP English Language

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Example Questions

Example Question #72 : Author, Tone, And Intent

Adapted from “Civil Disobedience" by Henry David Thoreau (1848)

I heartily accept the motto,—“That government is best which governs least”; and I should like to see it acted up to more rapidly and systematically. Carried out, it finally amounts to this, which also I believe,—“That government is best which governs not at all”; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have. Government is at best but an expedient; but most governments are usually, and all governments are sometimes, inexpedient. The objections which have been brought against a standing army, and they are many and weighty, and deserve to pre­vail, may also at last be brought against a standing government. The standing army is only an arm of the standing government. The government itself, which is only the mode which the people have cho­sen to execute their will, is equally liable to be abused and perverted before the people can act through it. Witness the present Mexican war, the work of comparatively a few individuals using the standing government as their tool; for, in the outset, the people would not have consented to this measure. This American government—what is it but a tradition, though a recent one, endeavoring to transmit itself unimpaired to posterity, but each instant losing some of its integrity? It has not the vitality and force of a single living man; for a single man can bend it to his will. It is a sort of wooden gun to the people themselves. But it is not the less necessary for this; for the people must have some complicated machinery or other, and hear its din, to satisfy that idea of government which they have. Governments show thus how successfully men can be imposed on, even impose on themselves, for their own advantage. It is excellent, we must all allow. Yet this government never of itself furthered any enterprise, but by the alacrity with which it got out of its way. It does not keep the country free. It does not settle the West. It does not educate. The character inherent in the American people has done all that has been accomplished; and it would have done somewhat more, if the government had not sometimes got in its way. For government is an expedient by which men would fain succeed in letting one another alone; and, as has been said, when it is most expedient, the governed are most let alone by it. Trade and commerce, if they were not made of India rubber, would never manage to bounce over the obstacles which legislators are continually putting in their way; and, if one were to judge these men wholly by the effects of their actions, and not partly by their intentions, they would deserve to be classed and punished with those mischievous persons who put obstructions on the railroads.

But, to speak practically and as a citizen, unlike those who call themselves no-government men, I ask for, not at once no govern­ment, but at once a better government. Let every man make known what kind of government would command his respect, and that will be one step toward obtaining it.

The primary audience for this passage could be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

The general population of American citizens

Officials and leaders in the American government

Soldiers of a leadership rank

Religious leaders of all denominations

Correct answer:

The general population of American citizens

Explanation:

This passage as a whole encourages citizens to take appropriate civic action when they disagree with their government. Although Thoreau mentions the army, the intended audience is the group of average American citizens, not the minority of leaders in any particular sect of government or religion.

Example Question #2 : Audience

Adapted from the First Inaugural Address of Thomas Jefferson (March 4th, 1801)

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety.

But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

Who is the audience of Jefferson's address?

Possible Answers:

The party leaders in Congress

The leaders of the majority party

Those who are looking to overthrow the government

The voting public

Men and women of good will throughout the world

Correct answer:

The voting public

Explanation:

Clearly, this speech is intended to be a unifying speech. It is addressed to a public that has recently come through a difficult election cycle. Above all, it is concerned with addressing those who would have been involved in this process. He wishes for all the Republicans and Federalists of his time to know that they are truly united.

Example Question #1 : Audience

Adapted from the First Inaugural Address of Thomas Jefferson (March 4th, 1801)

During the contest of opinion through which we have passed, the animation of discussions and of exertions has sometimes worn an aspect which might impose on strangers unused to think freely and to speak and to write what they think; but this being now decided by the voice of the nation, announced according to the rules of the Constitution, all will, of course, arrange themselves under the will of the law, and unite in common efforts for the common good. All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.

Let us, then, fellow-citizens, unite with one heart and one mind. Let us restore to social intercourse that harmony and affection without which liberty and even life itself are but dreary things. And let us reflect that, having banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered, we have yet gained little if we countenance a political intolerance as despotic, as wicked, and capable of as bitter and bloody persecutions. During the throes and convulsions of the ancient world, during the agonizing spasms of infuriated man, seeking through blood and slaughter his long-lost liberty, it was not wonderful that the agitation of the billows should reach even this distant and peaceful shore; that this should be more felt and feared by some and less by others, and should divide opinions as to measures of safety.

But every difference of opinion is not a difference of principle. We have called by different names brethren of the same principle. We are all Republicans, we are all Federalists. If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it. I know, indeed, that some honest men fear that a republican government can not be strong, that this government is not strong enough; but would the honest patriot, in the full tide of successful experiment, abandon a government which has so far kept us free and firm on the theoretic and visionary fear that this government, the world's best hope, may by possibility want energy to preserve itself? I trust not. I believe this, on the contrary, the strongest government on earth. I believe it the only one where every man, at the call of the law, would fly to the standard of the law, and would meet invasions of the public order as his own personal concern. Sometimes it is said that man can not be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others? Or have we found angels in the forms of kings to govern him? Let history answer this question.

What can be inferred about certain parties in the audience based on the remarks made in the last paragraph?

Possible Answers:

Some are highly dissatisfied with the current governmental structure of the United States.

A number of people are vexed about issues of taxation.

Freedom of the press was under assault by Jefferson's predecessor.

Many people question the need for an army as well as a free press.

The country is in a riotous period of instability.

Correct answer:

Some are highly dissatisfied with the current governmental structure of the United States.

Explanation:

The best sentence clue for this question is "If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form . . ." This implies that there might well be some people who wish to destroy the government of the United States—i.e. to "dissolve" it. Therefore, we can surmise that some people in Jefferson's audience wish to replace the government of the United States with a new form of government.

Example Question #3 : Audience

Adapted from Reflections on the Revolution in France by Edmund Burke (1790)

In the famous statute called the Declaration of Right, the two houses utter not a syllable of “a right to frame a government for themselves.” You will see that their whole care was to secure the religion, laws, and liberties that had been long possessed and had been lately endangered. They state “in the first place” to do “as their ancestors in like cases have usually done for vindicating their ancient rights and liberties, to declare;”—and then they pray the king and queen, “that it may be declared and enacted, that all and singular the rights and liberties asserted and declared are the true ancient and indubitable rights and liberties of the people of this kingdom.”

You will observe that from the Magna Carta to the Declaration of Right, it has been the uniform policy of our constitution to claim and assert our liberties as an entailed inheritance derived to us from our forefathers and to be transmitted to our posterity; as an estate specially belonging to the people of this kingdom, without any reference whatever to any other more general or prior right. By this means, our constitution preserves a unity in so great a diversity of its parts. We have an inheritable crown; an inheritable peerage; and a House of Commons and a people inheriting privileges, franchises, and liberties from a long line of ancestors.

This policy appears to me to be the result of profound reflection, or rather the happy effect of following nature, which is wisdom without reflection and above it. A spirit of innovation is generally the result of a selfish temper and confined views. People will not look forward to posterity who never look backward to their ancestors. Besides, the people of England well know, that the idea of inheritance furnishes a sure principle of conservation, and a sure principle of transmission; without at all excluding a principle of improvement. It leaves acquisition free; but it secures what it acquires. Whatever advantages are obtained by a state proceeding on these maxims are locked fast as in a sort of family settlement, grasped as in a kind of mortmain forever. By a constitutional policy working after the pattern of nature, we receive, we hold, we transmit our government and our privileges in the same manner in which we enjoy and transmit our property and our lives. The institutions of policy, the goods of fortune, the gifts of providence, are handed down to us and from us in the same course and order. Our political system is placed in a just correspondence and symmetry with the mode of existence decreed to a permanent body composed of transitory parts; wherein the whole, at one time, is never old, or middle-aged, or young, but, in a condition of unchangeable constancy, moves on through the varied tenor of perpetual decay, fall, renovation, and progression. Thus, by preserving the method of nature in the conduct of the state, in what we improve, we are never wholly new; in what we retain, we are never wholly obsolete. By adhering in this manner and on those principles to our forefathers, we are guided not by the superstition of antiquarians, but by the spirit of philosophic analogy. In this choice of inheritance, we have given to our frame of polity the image of a relation in blood; binding up the constitution of our country with our dearest domestic ties; adopting our fundamental laws into the bosom of our family affections; keeping inseparable, and cherishing with the warmth of all their combined and mutually reflected charities, our state, our hearths, our sepulchers, and our altars.

Through the same plan of a conformity to nature in our artificial institutions and by calling in the aid of her unerring and powerful instincts to fortify the fallible and feeble contrivances of our reason, we have derived several other, and those no small benefits, from considering our liberties in the light of an inheritance. Always acting as if in the presence of canonized forefathers, the spirit of freedom, leading in itself to misrule and excess, is tempered with an awful gravity. This idea of a liberal descent inspires us with a sense of habitual, native dignity. By this means our liberty becomes a noble freedom. It carries an imposing and majestic aspect. It has a pedigree and illustrating ancestors. It has its bearings and its ensigns armorial. It has its gallery of portraits; its monumental inscriptions; its records, evidences, and titles. All your sophisters cannot produce anything better adapted to preserve a rational freedom than the course that we have pursued, who have chosen our nature rather than our speculations, our breasts rather than our inventions, for the great conservatories and magazines of our rights and privileges.

In this passage, Burke assumes his audience to be which of the following?

Possible Answers:

Loyal, politically aware British citizens

Conservative politicians

French citizens directly affected by the revolution

Committed revolutionaries

Liberal politicians

Correct answer:

Loyal, politically aware British citizens

Explanation:

In this passage, Burke assumes his audience to be loyal, politically aware British citizens. The best evidence of this is his use of the first person plural ("our") making clear the degree to which he assumes the common ground of Britishness (evidenced by his pointed focus on the political and cultural traditions of Britain, like the Magna Carta). Burke's assumes that his audience will share a knowledge of, and investment in, the political, social, and most importantly monarchical traditions of Britain.

While the political viewpoint Burke supports is quite conservative, the common ground he assumes with his audience is broad and more associated with the country at large. There is no indication in the passage that his assumed audience is made up of politicians, merely that they are politically aware.

Example Question #43 : Passage Wide Features Of Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from Giuseppe Mazzini's The Duties of Man (1860)

Your first Duties— first, at least, in importance— are, as I have told you, to Humanity. You are men before you are citizens or fathers. If you do not embrace the whole human family in your love, if you do not confess your faith in its unity— consequent on the unity of God— and in the brotherhood of the Peoples who are appointed to reduce that unity to fact— if wherever one of your fellowmen groans, wherever the dignity of human nature is violated by falsehood or tyranny, you are not prompt, being able, to succor that wretched one, or do not feel yourself called, being able, to fight for the purpose of relieving the deceived or oppressed— you disobey your law of life, or do not comprehend the religion which will bless the future.

But what can each of you, with his isolated powers, do for the moral improvement, for the progress of Humanity? You can, from time to time, give sterile expression to your belief; you may, on some rare occasion, perform an act of charity to a brother not belonging to your own land, no more. Now, charity is not the watchword of the future faith. The watchword of the future faith is association, fraternal cooperation towards a common aim, and this is as much superior to charity as the work of many uniting to raise with one accord a building for the habitation of all together would be superior to that which you would accomplish by raising a separate hut each for himself, and only helping one another by exchanging stones and bricks and mortar. But divided as you are in language tendencies, habits, and capacities, you cannot attempt this common work. The individual is too weak, and Humanity too vast… But God gave you this means when he gave you a Country, when, like a wise overseer of labour, who distributes the different parts of the work according to the capacity of the workmen, he divided Humanity into distinct groups upon the face of our globe, and thus planted the seeds of nations. Bad governments have disfigured the design of God, which you may see clearly marked out, as far, at least, as regards Europe, by the courses of the great river, by the lines of the lofty mountains, and by other geographical conditions; they have disfigured it by conquest, by greed, by jealously of the just sovereignty of others; disfigured it so much that to-day there is perhaps no nation except England and France whose confines correspond to this design.

They did not, and they do not, recognize any country except their own families and dynasties, the egoism of caste. But the divine design will infallibly be fulfilled. Natural divisions, the innate spontaneous tendencies of the people will replace the arbitrary divisions sanctioned by bad governments. The map of Europe will be remade. The Countries of the People will rise, defined by the voice of the free, upon the ruins of the Countries of Kings and privileged castes. Between these Countries there will be harmony and brotherhood. And then the work of Humanity for the general amelioration, for the discovery and application of the real law of life, carried on in association and distributed according to local capacities, will be accomplished by peaceful and progressive development; then each of you, strong in the affections and in the aid of many millions of men speaking the same language, endowed with the same tendencies, and educated by the same historic tradition, may hope by your personal effort to benefit the whole of Humanity. 

Which of the following is the likely audience of this passage?

Possible Answers:

Members of the working class who are dissatisfied with the status quo of government

Members of the social upper class hoping to understand the plight of the working class

Government representatives seeking methods for reforming politics

Members of multiple nations hoping to find additional avenues for diplomacy

Correct answer:

Members of the working class who are dissatisfied with the status quo of government

Explanation:

The likely audience of this passage is "members of the working class who are dissatisfied with the status quo of government," because of the author's focus on uniting "People" and "Humanity" and rebelling against tyranny and bad government. The reader has a good indication that the likely audience is working class (rather than upper class) because the author creates an "us" vs. "them" dichotomy (particularly in the final paragraph) between upper and lower classes. In addition, the author notes "the egoism of caste." Because the author anticipates current governments giving way to unity of the people, the audience is not members of government hoping for reform or members of multiple countries seeking diplomacy. Finally, the author does not indicate that the upper social class has any desire to understand the working class. 

Example Question #2 : Audience

Adapted from a book by Sui Sin Far (Edith Maude Eaton) (1909)

In this excerpt from an autobiographical essay, the author describes her experiences as growing up in Victorian England.

When I look back over the years I see myself, a little child of scarcely four years of age, walking in front of my nurse, in a green English lane, and listening to her tell another of her kind that my mother is Chinese. “Oh Lord!” exclaims the informed. She turns around and scans me curiously from head to foot. Then the two women whisper together. Though the word “Chinese” conveys very little meaning to my mind, I feel that they are talking about my father and mother and my heart swells with indignation. When we reach home I rush to my mother and try to tell her what I have heard. I am a young child. I fail to make myself intelligible. My mother does not understand, and when the nurse declares to her, “Little Miss Sui is a story-teller,” my mother slaps me. 

Many a long year has passed over my head since that day—the day on which I first learned I was something different and apart from other children, but though my mother has forgotten it, I have not. I see myself again, a few years older. I am playing with another child in a garden. A girl passes by outside the gate. “Mamie,” she cries to my companion. “I wouldn’t speak to Sui if I were you. Her mamma is Chinese.”

“I don’t care,” answers the little one beside me. And then to me, “Even if your mamma is Chinese, I like you better than I like Annie.”

“But I don’t like you,” I answer, turning my back on her. It is my first conscious lie.

I am at a children’s party, given by the wife of an Indian officer whose children were schoolfellows of mine. I am only six years of age, but have attended a private school for over a year, and have already learned that China is a heathen country, being civilized by England. However, for the time being, I am a merry romping child. There are quite a number of grown people present. One, a white-haired old man, has his attention called to me by the hostess. He adjusts his eyeglasses and surveys me critically. “Ah, indeed!” he exclaims. “Who would have thought it at first glance? Yet now I see the difference between her and other children. What a peculiar coloring! Her mother’s eyes and hair and her father’s features, I presume. Very interesting little creature!”

I had been called from play for the purpose of inspection. I do not return to it. For the rest of the evening I hide myself behind a hall door and refuse to show myself until it is time to go home.

The main purpose of this passage is to illustrate __________.

Possible Answers:

the growth of a writer

multiethnic tensions in the British Empire

the development of cultural awareness

the tactlessness of children

the emotional effects of prejudice

Correct answer:

the emotional effects of prejudice

Explanation:

The passage only briefly touches upon the British Empire, it does not discuss Sui's later career as a writer, and adults are just as tactless towards Sui as children. The passage does show the development of Sui's awareness; however, by the end of the passage, she still doesn't appear to have a strong understanding of English or of Chinese culture. She does gain an awareness that because she is of mixed ethnicity, she is "different and apart from other children," and she is clearly made unhappy by the way others treat her.

Example Question #6 : Context, Speaker, And Addressee: Prose

Adapted from A Modest Proposal by Jonathan Swift (1729)

The number of souls in this kingdom being usually reckoned one million and a half, of these I calculate there may be about two hundred thousand couple whose wives are breeders; from which number I subtract thirty thousand couples who are able to maintain their own children, although I apprehend there cannot be so many, under the present distresses of the kingdom; but this being granted, there will remain an hundred and seventy thousand breeders. I again subtract fifty thousand for those women who miscarry, or whose children die by accident or disease within the year. There only remains one hundred and twenty thousand children of poor parents annually born. The question therefore is, how this number shall be reared and provided for, which, as I have already said, under the present situation of affairs, is utterly impossible by all the methods hitherto proposed. For we can neither employ them in handicraft or agriculture; we neither build houses (I mean in the country) nor cultivate land: they can very seldom pick up a livelihood by stealing, till they arrive at six years old, except where they are of towardly parts, although I confess they learn the rudiments much earlier, during which time, they can however be properly looked upon only as probationers, as I have been informed by a principal gentleman in the county of Cavan, who protested to me that he never knew above one or two instances under the age of six, even in a part of the kingdom so renowned for the quickest proficiency in that art.

I am assured by our merchants, that a boy or a girl before twelve years old is no salable commodity; and even when they come to this age they will not yield above three pounds, or three pounds and half-a-crown at most on the exchange; which cannot turn to account either to the parents or kingdom, the charge of nutriment and rags having been at least four times that value.

I shall now therefore humbly propose my own thoughts, which I hope will not be liable to the least objection.

I have been assured by a very knowing American of my acquaintance in London, that a young healthy child well nursed is at a year old a most delicious, nourishing, and wholesome food, whether stewed, roasted, baked, or boiled; and I make no doubt that it will equally serve in a fricassee or a ragout.

I do therefore humbly offer it to public consideration that of the hundred and twenty thousand children already computed, twenty thousand may be reserved for breed, whereof only one-fourth part to be males; which is more than we allow to sheep, black cattle or swine; and my reason is, that these children are seldom the fruits of marriage, a circumstance not much regarded by our savages, therefore one male will be sufficient to serve four females. That the remaining hundred thousand may, at a year old, be offered in the sale to the persons of quality and fortune through the kingdom; always advising the mother to let them suck plentifully in the last month, so as to render them plump and fat for a good table. A child will make two dishes at an entertainment for friends; and when the family dines alone, the fore or hind quarter will make a reasonable dish, and seasoned with a little pepper or salt will be very good boiled on the fourth day, especially in winter.

I have reckoned upon a medium that a child just born will weigh 12 pounds, and in a solar year, if tolerably nursed, increaseth to 28 pounds.

I grant this food will be somewhat dear, and therefore very proper for landlords, who, as they have already devoured most of the parents, seem to have the best title to the children.

The primary audience for this passage would best be described as __________.

Possible Answers:

several prominent poets

directly addressing a small group of royals

implicitly addressing the ruling elites of England

a class of children

directly addressing a rich nation

Correct answer:

implicitly addressing the ruling elites of England

Explanation:

The audience for this passage is an impoverished nation. Swift directly addresses all of "this state," rather than a specific group of professionals, children, or leaders within that country. The author directly states that his essay is being "humbly offer[ed] [for] public consideration." The use of the term "public," coupled with the subject matter, suggests that the essay's intended audience is lower-income people from his own country. That being said, the implication of the essay is that this public is fundamentally powerless to address the issues discussed. Thus, given the Juvenalian tone of the satire the passage implicitly addresses those with the power to facilitate change.

Example Question #4 : Audience

Passage adapted from “Psychology and the Teaching Art” (1899) by William James

I say moreover that you make a great, a very great mistake, if you think that psychology, being the science of the mind's laws, is something from which you can deduce definite programmes and schemes and methods of instruction for immediate schoolroom use. Psychology is a science, and teaching is an art; and sciences never generate arts directly out of themselves. An intermediary inventive mind must make the application, by using its originality.

The science of logic never made a man reason rightly, and the science of ethics (if there be such a thing) never made a man behave rightly. The most such sciences can do is to help us to catch ourselves up and check ourselves, if we start to reason or to behave wrongly; and to criticise ourselves more articulately after we have made mistakes. A science only lays down lines within which the rules of the art must fall, laws which the follower of the art must not transgress; but what particular thing he shall positively do within those lines is left exclusively to his own genius. One genius will do his work well and succeed in one way, while another succeeds as well quite differently; yet neither will transgress the lines.

The art of teaching grew up in the schoolroom, out of inventiveness and sympathetic concrete observation. Even where (as in the case of Herbart) the advancer of the art was also a psychologist, the pedagogics and the psychology ran side by side, and the former was not derived in any sense from the latter. The two were congruent, but neither was subordinate. And so everywhere the teaching must agree with the psychology, but need not necessarily be the only kind of teaching that would so agree; for many diverse methods of teaching may equally well agree with psychological laws.

To know psychology, therefore, is absolutely no guarantee that we shall be good teachers. To advance to that result, we must have an additional endowment altogether, a happy tact and ingenuity to tell us what definite things to say and do when the pupil is before us. That ingenuity in meeting and pursuing the pupil, that tact for the concrete situation, though they are the alpha and omega of the teacher's art, are things to which psychology cannot help us in the least.

Which of the following is a likely attitude of James’s readership?

Possible Answers:

They think that teachers primarily fail because they do not know enough psychology.

They think that some psychology courses would help prepare better teachers.

They believe that psychologists are not good teachers.

They believe that teachers are not not good teachers.

They think that no teaching courses are necessary for educators.

Correct answer:

They think that teachers primarily fail because they do not know enough psychology.

Explanation:

Throughout this passage, the focus is that psychology does not necessarily provide adequate rules for guiding the task of teaching. This does not mean that it is not a help at all. In the second paragraph, James discusses how it can help in some general ways, but he definitely takes the stance that psychology is not the root and source of all the skills needed for being a good teacher.

Example Question #83 : Author, Tone, And Intent

Passage adapted from “The Place of Science in a Liberal Education” (1913) by Bertrand Russell

Our whole life is built about a certain number—not a very small number—of primary instincts and impulses. Only what is in some way connected with these instincts and impulses appears to us desirable or important; there is no faculty, whether "reason" or "virtue" or whatever it may be called, that can take our active life and our hopes and fears outside the region controlled by these first movers of all desire. Each of them is like a queen-bee, aided by a hive of workers gathering honey; but when the queen is gone the workers languish and die, and the cells remain empty of their expected sweetness.

So with each primary impulse in civilised man: it is surrounded and protected by a busy swarm of attendant derivative desires, which store up in its service whatever honey the surrounding world affords. But if the queen-impulse dies, the death-dealing influence, though retarded a little by habit, spreads slowly through all the subsidiary impulses, and a whole tract of life becomes inexplicably colourless. What was formerly full of zest, and so obviously worth doing that it raised no questions, has now grown dreary and purposeless: with a sense of disillusion we inquire the meaning of life, and decide, perhaps, that all is vanity. The search for an outside meaning that can compel an inner response must always be disappointed: all "meaning" must be at bottom related to our primary desires, and when they are extinct no miracle can restore to the world the value which they reflected upon it.

The purpose of education, therefore, cannot be to create any primary impulse which is lacking in the uneducated; the purpose can only be to enlarge the scope of those that human nature provides, by increasing the number and variety of attendant thoughts, and by showing where the most permanent satisfaction is to be found. Under the impulse of a Calvinistic horror of the "natural man," this obvious truth has been too often misconceived in the training of the young; "nature" has been falsely regarded as excluding all that is best in what is natural, and the endeavour to teach virtue has led to the production of stunted and contorted hypocrites instead of full-grown human beings. From such mistakes in education a better psychology or a kinder heart is beginning to preserve the present generation; we need, therefore, waste no more words on the theory that the purpose of education is to thwart or eradicate nature.

Which of the following can be inferred regarding the author’s audience?

Possible Answers:

They are mostly in agreement with him.

None of the others

They will agree with Russell's view of the most important human desires.

They may be apprehensive about his views on education.

They are disinterested in Russell's ideas.

Correct answer:

They may be apprehensive about his views on education.

Explanation:

The best sentence for answering this question is:

"Under the impulse of a Calvinistic horror of the "natural man," this obvious truth has been too often misconceived in the training of the young..."

The idea is that people apparently have a different idea about "nature" than does Russell. Indeed, Russell almost implicates himself as having once been part of this outlook, which leads to what he takes to be a misconception regarding education. The implication is that many may not see matters in exactly the same way that he does now—this matter is "too often" misunderstood (at least according to his estimation).

Example Question #3 : Audience

Passage adapted from The Profit of Religion (1917) by Upton Sinclair

Life is a process of expansion, of the unfoldment of new powers; driven by that inner impulse which the philosophers of Pragmatism call the élan vital. Whenever this impulse has its way, there is an emotion of joy; whenever it is balked, there is one of distress. So pleasure and pain are the guides of life, and the final goal is a condition of free and constantly accelerating growth, in which joy is enduring.

That man will ever reach such a state is more than we can say. It is a perfectly conceivable thing that tomorrow a comet may fall upon the earth and wipe out all man's labors. But on the other hand, it is a conceivable thing that man may someday learn to control the movements of comets, and even of starry systems. It seems certain that if he is given time, he will make himself master of the forces of his immediate environment—-

The untamed giants of nature shall bow down—-
The tides, the tempest and the lightning cease
From mockery and destruction, and be turned
Unto the making of the soul of man.

It is a conceivable thing that man may learn to create his food from the elements without the slow processes of agriculture; it is conceivable that he may master the bacteria which at present prey upon his body, and so put an end to death. It is certain that he will ascertain the laws of heredity, and create human qualities as he has created the spurs of the fighting-cock and the legs of the greyhound. He will find out what genius is, and the laws of its being, and the tests whereby it may be recognized. In the new science of psycho-analysis he has already begun the work of bringing an infinity of sub consciousness into the light of day; it may be that in the evidence of telepathy which the psychic researchers are accumulating, he is beginning to grope his way into a universal consciousness, which may come to include the joys and griefs of the inhabitants of Mars, and of the dark stars which the spectroscope and the telescope are disclosing.

All these are fascinating possibilities. What stands in the way of their realization? Ignorance and superstition, fear and submission, the old habits of rapine and hatred which man has brought with him from his animal past. These make him a slave, a victim of himself and of others; to root them out of the garden of the soul is the task of the modern thinker.

The new morality is thus a morality of freedom. It teaches that man is the master, or shall become so; that there is no law, save the law of his own being, no check upon his will save that which he himself imposes.

The new morality is a morality of joy. It teaches that true pleasure is the end of being, and the test of all righteousness.

The new morality is a morality of reason. It teaches that there is no authority above reason; no possibility of such authority, because if such were to appear, reason would have to judge it, and accept or reject it.

The new morality is a morality of development. It teaches that there can no more be an immutable law of conduct, than there can be an immutable position for the steering-wheel of an aeroplane. The business of the pilot of an aeroplane is to keep his machine aloft amid shifting currents of wind. The business of a moralist is to adjust life to a constantly changing environment. An action which was suicide yesterday becomes heroism today, and futility or hypocrisy tomorrow.

Which of the following best represents the author's intended audience?

Possible Answers:

Readers who are looking for a confirmation of the correctness of their religious teachings.

People who believe that a true sense of morality cannot be achieved and that people should only do and say what they believe to be right in a given moment.

Individuals who are seeking a foundation for morality that is not rooted in traditional religion.

Believers in the concept that there is only one "true" religion.

Followers of ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle.

Correct answer:

Individuals who are seeking a foundation for morality that is not rooted in traditional religion.

Explanation:

The author describes the "new morality," not one that is rooted in ancient philosophy or any particular organized religion. This leads to the natural conclusion that he is addressing open-minded individuals seeking morality outside of the conventional religious tenets. All of the other answers are either too specific in scope, or not accurate to the content of the passage.

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