Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts : Cite Strong, Thorough Evidence to Support Textual Analysis and Inferences: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.1

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Example Question #1 : Cite Strong, Thorough Evidence To Support Textual Analysis And Inferences: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.1

Adapted from The Hypocrisy of American Slavery (1852) by Frederick Douglass

Fellow citizens, pardon me, and allow me to ask, why am I called upon to speak here today? What have I or those I represent to do with your national independence? Are the great principles of political freedom and of natural justice, embodied in that Declaration of Independence, extended to us? And am I, therefore, called upon to bring our humble offering to the national altar, and to confess the benefits, and express devout gratitude for the blessings resulting from your independence to us?

Would to God, both for your sakes and ours, that an affirmative answer could be truthfully returned to these questions. Then would my task be light and my burden easy and delightful. For who is there so cold that a nation's sympathy could not warm him? Who so obdurate and dead to the claims of gratitude that would not thankfully acknowledge such priceless benefits? Who so stolid and selfish that would not give his voice to swell the hallelujahs of a nation's jubilee, when the chains of servitude had been torn from his limbs? I am not that man. In a case like that, the dumb might eloquently speak, and the "lame man leap as an hart."

But such is not the state of the case. I say it with a sad sense of disparity between us. I am not included within the pale of this glorious anniversary! Your high independence only reveals the immeasurable distance between us. The blessings in which you this day rejoice are not enjoyed in common. The rich inheritance of justice, liberty, prosperity, and independence bequeathed by your fathers is shared by you, not by me. The sunlight that brought life and healing to you has brought stripes and death to me. This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. You may rejoice, I must mourn. To drag a man in fetters into the grand illuminated temple of liberty, and call upon him to join you in joyous anthems, were inhuman mockery and sacrilegious irony. Do you mean, citizens, to mock me, by asking me to speak today? If so, there is a parallel to your conduct. And let me warn you, that it is dangerous to copy the example of a nation (Babylon) whose crimes, towering up to heaven, were thrown down by the breath of the Almighty, burying that nation in irrecoverable ruin.

Fellow citizens, above your national, tumultuous joy, I hear the mournful wail of millions, whose chains, heavy and grievous yesterday, are today rendered more intolerable by the jubilant shouts that reach them. If I do forget, if I do not remember those bleeding children of sorrow this day, "may my right hand forget her cunning, and may my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth!" To forget them, to pass lightly over their wrongs and to chime in with the popular theme would be treason most scandalous and shocking, and would make me a reproach before God and the world.

My subject, then, fellow citizens, is "American Slavery." I shall see this day and its popular characteristics from the slave's point of view. Standing here, identified with the American bondman, making his wrongs mine, I do not hesitate to declare, with all my soul, that the character and conduct of this nation never looked blacker to me than on this Fourth of July.

What is the best evidence in the text to support the inference that the author is a former, rather than a current, slave?

Possible Answers:

The references to national independence

None of these

The use of the term "fellow citizens"

The invocation of a Judeo-Christian God

Correct answer:

The use of the term "fellow citizens"

Explanation:

This question asks you to identify the best textual evidence to support a specific claim about the author. First, let's establish whether or not the given options accurately reflect the text. If any answer references something that you cannot find in the body of the text then you can automatically eliminate that option. 

The text opens by addressing the audience as "Fellow citizens," so that answer is absolutely reflected in the text.

The second paragraph opens by invoking "God."

The passage is concerned with querying notions of "national independence," but is actively critical of this nation. It doesn't really reflect the tone of the passage, and doesn't really make that much sense when taken in conjunction with the claim made in the question. So, we can safely eliminate this option, even though it does reflect a subject referred to in the body of the text.

Throughout the passage, the author speaks as part of a collective of oppressed black slaves (note his reference to "your" (white citizens) and "ours" (black slaves)), but also opens by specifically figuring himself as a citizen. One cannot speak to one's "fellow citizens" if one is not a citizen. The invocation of "God" has no real bearing on the author's citizenship. So, the repeated use of "fellow citizens" is our best option, and is accurately reflected in the text.

Example Question #2 : Cite Strong, Thorough Evidence To Support Textual Analysis And Inferences: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.1

Adapted from "Walter Raleigh" by Wilbur F. Gordy (1917)

[Raleigh] therefore fitted out two vessels, which were to sail to the land north of Florida, then occupied by Spain, and bring back reports of the country. The captains of these vessels arrived in Pamlico Sound, and landed on an island, which they found rich in grapes and woods and abounding in deer and other game. The explorers received kind treatment from the Indians, two of whom accompanied the voyagers to England on their return. Queen Elizabeth was so pleased with the good reports from the new country that she called it Virginia in honor of herself—the Virgin Queen.

The next year, 1585, Raleigh sent out to Virginia seven vessels and one hundred colonists, under his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville, and Ralph Lane. They landed on Roanoke Island, and made a settlement there, but the colony was not prosperous. At the outset, by unwise and cruel treatment they made enemies of the natives. It is related that, an Indian having stolen a silver cup from one of the colonists, the Englishmen burned an entire village and ruined the corn belonging to its people. Such punishment was out of all proportion to the petty offence. It is not surprising, therefore, that from that time the settlers found the Indians unfriendly.

Very soon Grenville sailed back to England, leaving the colony in charge of Ralph Lane. The colonists instead of building houses and tilling the soil to supply food, were bent upon finding gold. Hence they listened with eager interest to a story that the Indians told of the Roanoke River. According to this story, the river flowed out of a fountain in a rock so near the ocean that in time of storm the waves dashed over into the fountain. The river, the Indians said, flowed near rich mines of gold and silver, in a country where there was a town with walls made of pearls. Lane and his followers foolishly started up the river in a vain search for this wonderful land. They encountered many difficulties, including hostile attacks by Indians, and suffered so much from lack of food that they had to eat the flesh of their own dogs.

The discovery of the tobacco plant introduced into England the custom of smoking, and a curious story is told of it in connection with Sir Walter Raleigh, who soon learned to smoke. One day his servant, who knew nothing of the new custom, came into his master’s room and found him smoking from a silver pipe. Believing Raleigh was on fire, the faithful servant hastily dashed a mug of ale at him to quench the flames and rescue him from death.

The wealth that lay hidden in the soil was yet undiscovered, and no one felt any enthusiasm over the new colony of Virginia. Most men would by this time have lost hope. But Raleigh was not daunted. Two years later he made a second attempt to plant a colony in the New World, this time sending over three ships, with a hundred and fifty settlers, including seventeen women. John White was appointed governor of the colony. These settlers had the forethought to carry with them farming implements to use in tilling the soil. When they landed on Roanoke Island they found no trace of the fifteen men left there two years before by Sir Richard Grenville. The new settlers had not been on the island long before they were in need of help from England, and begged Governor White to return home for provisions and more settlers. White at first refused to leave them, but finally consented. A warm interest in the feeble settlement and love for his little granddaughter, born soon after the settlers arrived, persuaded him to yield. This little girl, the first white girl born in America, was named after the new country, Virginia, her full name being Virginia Dare.

When Governor White left the settlement he expected to return immediately, but upon reaching England he found his countrymen greatly excited over the coming invasion of the much-dreaded “Spanish Armada.“ Everybody was astir, and Raleigh was aroused to his fullest energy in preparation to meet the hated foe.

But, notwithstanding this, he found time to fit out two small vessels for Governor White. Although they sailed, trouble with the Spaniards compelled their return to England, and not until two years later, when he Spanish Armada had been defeated, did Governor White sail again for Virginia, this time as a passenger in a West Indianan. He landed on Roanoke Island as before, but there remained of the settlement only some chests of books, some maps, and some firearms, all of which had been ruined by the Indians.

Upon bidding Governor White farewell, the colonists had agreed to carve on a tree the name of the place to which they would go if they should decide to leave Roanoke Island. They were also to carve above the name a cross if they were in serious trouble. Governor White found the word CROATOAN cut in capital letters on a large tree, but he found no cross. Before White could sail to Croatian, which was an island not far away, he had to return to England because the captain of the vessel, having encountered stormy weather, refused to sail further. What became of the lost colonists is still a mystery. It is possible, that the Indians either killed them or captured and enslaved them.

Raleigh sent out other expeditions in search of the lost colony, but without success. He had already spent a sum equal to more than a million dollars in trying to plant this colony, and now felt that he must give up all hope of accomplishing his purpose.

What is the best evidence to support the inference that the author does not support violent acts of colonization?

Possible Answers:

"Raleigh sent out other expeditions in search of the lost colony, but without success. He had already spent a sum equal to more than a million dollars in trying to plant this colony, and now felt that he must give up all hope of accomplishing his purpose."

"but the colony was not prosperous. At the outset, by unwise and cruel treatment they made enemies of the natives."

"The wealth that lay hidden in the soil was yet undiscovered, and no one felt any enthusiasm over the new colony of Virginia."

"but there remained of the settlement only some chests of books, some maps, and some firearms"

Correct answer:

"but the colony was not prosperous. At the outset, by unwise and cruel treatment they made enemies of the natives."

Explanation:

This question asks you to analyze a claim and to choose among presented options the best evidence to support the given claim. The best place to begin, then, is with the claim you are being asked to support with textual evidence. The question makes the inferential, but very likely correct, claim that the does not support violent acts of colonization. So, what's a violent act of colonization? Colonization is when representatives or explorers from a powerful nation move to a nation or region with less of an international presence and take over. Raleigh's actions in "settling" Virginia and displacing its indigenous inhabitants is a prime example of colonialism. A violent act of colonialism, then, is when specific acts of violence (like, for instance, "burn[ing] an entire village and ruin[ing] the corn belonging to the people") are undertaken in support of such a colonization.

The best evidence that the author does not support violent acts of colonization is when he specifically links the colony's lack of prosperousness to its "unwise and cruel treatment" of the indigenous persons of Virginia. Later in that paragraph he specifically acts violent acts, and the very language of this choice specifically figures the violent acts of colonization as cruel and stupid.

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