Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts : Determine a Main Idea, Analyze Its Development via Details, and Objectively Summarize a Text: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.2

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Determine A Main Idea, Analyze Its Development Via Details, And Objectively Summarize A Text: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.2

Adapted from Lewis Carroll’s Symbolic Logic (1896)

“Classification,” or the formation of Classes, is a Mental Process, in which we imagine that we have put together, in a group, certain Things. Such a group is called a “Class.” This Process may be performed in three different ways, as follows:

(1) We may imagine that we have put together all Things. The Class so formed (i.e. the Class "Things") contains the whole Universe.

(2) We may think of the Class "Things," and may imagine that we have picked out from it all the Things which possess a certain Adjunct not possessed by the whole Class. This Adjunct is said to be “peculiar” to the Class so formed. In this case, the Class "Things" is called a “Genus” with regard to the Class so formed: the Class, so formed, is called a 'Species' of the Class "Things": and its peculiar Adjunct is called its “Differentia.”

As this Process is entirely Mental, we can perform it whether there is, or is not, an existing Thing which pos- sesses that Adjunct. If there is, the Class us said to be “Real;” if not, it is said to be “Unreal,” or “Imaginary.”

[For example, we may imagine that we have picked out, from the Class "Things," all the Things which possess the Adjunct "material, artificial, consisting of houses and street"; and we may thus form the Real Class "towns." Here we may regard "Things" as a Genus, "Towns" as a Species of Things, and "material, artificial, consisting of houses and streets" as its Differentia. Again, we may imagine that we have picked out all the Things which possess the Adjunct "weighing a ton, easily lifted by a baby"; and we may thus form the Imaginary Class "Things that weigh a ton and are easily lifted by a baby."]

(3) We may think of a certain Class, not the Class "Things," and may imagine that we have picked out from it all the Members of it which possess a certain Adjunct not possessed by the whole Class. This Adjunct is said to be “peculiar” to the smaller Class so formed. In this case, the Class thought of is called a “Genus” with regard to the smaller Class picked out from it: the smaller Class is called a “Species” of the larger: and its peculiar Adjunct is called its “Differentia.”

[For example, we may think of the Class "towns," and imagine that we have picked out from it all the towns which possess the Attribute "lit with gas"; and we may thus form the Real Class "towns lit with gas." Here may regard "Towns" as a Genus, "Towns lit with gas" as a Species of Towns, and "lit with gas" as its Differentia. If, in the above example, we were to alter "lit with gas" into "paved with gold," we should get the Imaginary Class "towns paved with gold."]

A Class, containing only one Member is called an “Individual.”

[For example, the Class "towns having four million inhabitants," which Class contains only one Member, viz. "London."]

Hence, any single Thing, which we can name so as to distinguish it from all other Things, may be regarded as a one-Member Class.

[Thus "London" may be regarded as the one-Member Class, picked out from the Class "towns," which has, as its Differentia, "having four million inhabitants."]

A Class, containing two or more Members, is sometimes regarded as one single Thing. When so regarded, it may possess an Adjunct which is not possessed by any Member of it taken separately.

[Thus, the Class "The soldiers of the Tenth Regiment," when regarded as one single Thing, may possess the Attribute "formed in square," which is not possessed by any Member of it taken separately.]

This text is best described as a(n) _________________.

Possible Answers:

introduction to some of the basic technical terminology of formal logic

satire of overly complex, jargon-filled academic discourse

general summary of some of the more advanced concepts of formal logic

None of these

Correct answer:

introduction to some of the basic technical terminology of formal logic

Explanation:

This question asks you to make an overall assessment of the text in order to summarize its purpose. The first thing to determine, with this or any text, is whether or not irony is a key element. In other words, is the text sincere in what it is saying. We can find no specific evidence, nor even any indication that it is intended as a satire, so we can quickly eliminate that option.

Analyzing our other choices, is the text a "general summary of the more advanced concepts of formal logic"? Well, to begin with, the passage spends most of it's time giving specific definitions and classifications, so it's not particularly general. Also, the concepts being defined and introduced are not advanced in the field, they are the very basic terms for the very most basic of things, "Things" themselves!

The continual definition of these elemental terms pushes us strongly towards the idea that this text is intended to function as "introduction," especially given the extreme depth the author gives to the definition of basic terminology.

Example Question #2 : Determine A Main Idea, Analyze Its Development Via Details, And Objectively Summarize A Text: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.2

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.

The fundamental claim of this passage is that ________________.

Possible Answers:

independence cannot be justly celebrated while people are being directly oppressed

that the Fourth of July should be abolished as a holiday

that all slaves should be freed

that America's independence is an immensely valuable commodity

Correct answer:

independence cannot be justly celebrated while people are being directly oppressed

Explanation:

This question asks you to make a determination of the FUNDAMENTAL claim of this passage. Now, what do we mean by fundamental, and how is this different from a "main" argument? The answer is that a "fundamental" claim will be more universally applicable than a main argument. The author's main argument is concerned with American slavery, this argument is based on a more fundamental claim about principles, that will be applicable to other situations. Think of it this way, the fundamental claim is foundation upon which the house of the argument is built. 

Only one of these options reflects such a non-specific, principle-based claim. Namely that "independence cannot be justly celebrated while people are being directly oppressed." In looking for fundamental claims, look for more general terms, like "independence" and "justly," rather than specific, situation specific terms like "America" or "Fourth of July."

Example Question #3 : Determine A Main Idea, Analyze Its Development Via Details, And Objectively Summarize A Text: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.2

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 , 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.

The main goal of this passage is __________________.

Possible Answers:

to advocate for Walter Raleigh as a great historical figure

to provide historical context and detail about the Spanish Armada's attempted invasion of Britain

to provide and exhaustive biographical sketch of Walter Raleigh

to provide historical context and detail about the settling of Virginia by Walter Raleigh

Correct answer:

to provide historical context and detail about the settling of Virginia by Walter Raleigh

Explanation:

This is a general question, and one that requires you to read and synthesize the text and provide an objective of the text's overall goal. Understanding and accurately assessing the rhetorical or aesthetic goals of a text is a key skill, especially when applied to informational texts.

When a question asks you for an overall summary, it's important to read the text and form your own opinion, but it can be especially helpful to look at the given answer options to narrow down your choices. So, let's assume you've done your own reading of the text and formed your own opinions of its goals and intentions and turn to the options.

Our first option claims that the main goal of this passage is "to provide and exhaustive biographical sketch of Walter Raleigh." There is certainly evidence to support this claim; Raleigh is a central figure in the text (it is even titled after him!). It is important, however, to comb through the wording of the option. An "exhaustive" biographical treatment of a person covers everything in detail, from birth to death. This passage is much more narrowly focused, covering exclusively a limited period of Raleigh's live when he was exploring and settling modern-day Virginia. Also, it's key to note that other historical events and detailed are covered outside of their direct relevance to Raleigh's life. We can safely eliminate this tempting offer.

Our second option asserts that the overall textual aim is "to provide historical context and detail about the Spanish Armada's attempted invasion of Britain," and this option we can dismiss a bit more easily than we did our first option. The Spanish Armada's invasion of England is, indeed, mentioned in the passage, but it is mentioned tangentially, as a distraction that drew Raleigh away from the primary focus, his exploration and settlement of Virginia.

The idea that the passage's primary aim is "to advocate for Walter Raleigh as a great historical figure" is questionable in that this is a historical passage that does make some claims (a number of them rightfully questioning Raleigh's morality), it is primarily historical in nature, as opposed to argumentative. If this passage were clearly advocating for a position you would be able to locate a clear thesis statement.

Given our statements about the other options, it should be clear by now that the primary goal of this passage is to provide historical context (for example, the geo-political situation of the time) and detail (such as the paragraph about the discovery of tobacco) about Raleigh's role in the settlement of Virginia as a colony of Britain.

All Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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