Common Core: 12th Grade English Language Arts : Analyze multiple interpretations of a work: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.11-12.7

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All Common Core: 12th Grade English Language Arts Resources

2 Diagnostic Tests 36 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept

Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Analyze Multiple Interpretations Of A Work: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Rl.11 12.7

Adapted from Walt Whitman's "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry" in Leaves of Grass (1855)

1

Flood-tide below me! I see you face to face!
Clouds of the west—sun there half an hour high—I see you also face to face.

Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes, how curious you are to me!
On the ferry-boats the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home, are more curious to me than you suppose,
And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose.

2

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things at all hours of the day,
The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme, myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated yet part of the scheme,
The similitudes of the past and those of the future,
The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings, on the walk in the street and the passage over the river,
The current rushing so swiftly and swimming with me far away,
The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them,
The certainty of others, the life, love, sight, hearing of others. 

Others will enter the gates of the ferry and cross from shore to shore,
Others will watch the run of the flood-tide,
Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east,
Others will see the islands large and small;
Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high,
A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,
Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring-in of the flood-tide, the falling-back to the sea of the ebb-tide. 

3

It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not,
I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence,
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt,
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd,
Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d,
Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood yet was hurried,
Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships and the thick-stemm’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d.

I too many and many a time cross’d the river of old,
Watched the Twelfth-month sea-gulls, saw them high in the air floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,
Saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies and left the rest in strong shadow,
Saw the slow-wheeling circles and the gradual edging toward the south,
Saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,
Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams . . .

Which of the following statements most closely reflects the overriding theme of this work?

Possible Answers:

Experience is intensely personal and informed by one’s own history

Connecting with nature is more important than connecting with other people

Aesthetic appreciation precludes interpersonal connection

Personal experiences can be meaningfully shared across time, space, and generations

Correct answer:

Personal experiences can be meaningfully shared across time, space, and generations

Explanation:

This question asks you to choose from four possible interpretations of the main theme of the work. The best way to solve this kind of question is to have read and decided on what you think the main, most powerful and overriding theme of the text is yourself, and then check your interpretation against the presented options.

Repeatedly, the speaker expresses his conviction that shared experience connects people across time and distance. This might be most clear in the lines that begin the third stanza: "It avails not, time nor place—distance avails not, / I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence." While nature and aesthetic appreciation are heavily emphasized, the main (and directly) stated point that experience is universal supersedes these elements. This theme is also directly reinforced by the structure and form of the text, the direct address "you" seeks to directly include the reader, and especially readers from "so many generations hence."

All Common Core: 12th Grade English Language Arts Resources

2 Diagnostic Tests 36 Practice Tests Question of the Day Flashcards Learn by Concept
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