Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts : Analyze How Particular Sections of the Text Develop the Author’s Ideas: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.9-10.5

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Example Question #1 : Analyze How Particular Sections Of The Text Develop The Author’s Ideas: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.5

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

The underlined sentence serves what function in the passage's overall argument?

Possible Answers:

It presents evidence that Germany did in fact attempt to adhere to neutral conditions, presenting the country's actions in a positive light.

It emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully, establishing a baseline against which the the author then contrasts the country's recent actions.

It makes a claim about Germany's actions the author spends the next paragraph supporting with evidence and examples.

It allows the author to interject his unsupported personal opinion before returning to a presentation of just the facts.

It qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events.

Correct answer:

It qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events.

Explanation:

Let's first take a look at the sentence to which the question is referring.

The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

This is the last sentence of paragraph two. Because part of its function is to transition between paragraph two and paragraph three, let's consider it in this particular context. In paragraph two, the author discusses the old policy of the Imperial German government to give allow certain actions on the parts of the ships it attacked—"passenger boats should not be sunk," "due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might sek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted," etc. These are the "precautions" to which the indicated sentence is referring. In the indicated sentence, the author calls these "meager and haphazard enough," and he mentions "distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business." This makes Germany look like they weren't doing a very good job of adhering to these precautions. The author concludes the sentence after the conjunction "but" by stating " a certain degree of restraint was observed." In the first sentence of the next paragraph, the author sharply contrasts the new policy against the old one: "The new policy has swept every restriction aside." So, in summary, the author discusses the old considerations Germany gave ships, claims that the country didn't do a good job of adhering to those considerations, admits that they were still somewhat enforced, and then claims that the new policy sweeps the considerations aside entirely.

Which answer choice best encapsulates this? The author doesn't present his personal opinion, but sticks to presenting an interpretation of the facts as a general interpretation, so "It allows the author to interject his unsupported personal opinion before returning to a presentation of just the facts" isn't the best answer. "It presents evidence that Germany did in fact attempt to adhere to neutral conditions, presenting the country's actions in a positive light" opposes what we learn in the indicated sentence, which does not present the country's actions in positive light, so this answer choice isn't correct either. "It makes a claim about Germany's actions the author spends the next paragraph supporting with evidence and examples" doesn't reflect the structure of the passage accurately, so it isn't the correct answer choice either. "It emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully, establishing a baseline against which the the author then contrasts the country's recent actions" is close to correct as it mentions that the author contrasts the country's recent actions against its previous ones; however, the sentence emphasizes that Germany did not very strictly adhere to the considerations it was said to offer other ships, so we can't accurately say that the sentence "emphasizes that Germany initially attempted to defend itself peacefully." 

The best answer choice is that the indicated sentence "qualifies Germany's adherence to neutrality before introducing the point that they have abandoned their neutral position, creating a timeline of increasingly negative events." This accurately represents the progression in the passage from a discussion of Germany's policy of offering certain considerations to ships it might sink to discussion of how it barely offered those considerations to a claim that its more recent actions have swept aside such considerations entirely.

Example Question #2 : Analyze How Particular Sections Of The Text Develop The Author’s Ideas: Ccss.Ela Literacy.Ri.9 10.5

Passage 2: Adapted from Woodrow Wilson’s “War Message to Congress” ("Address of The President of the United States Delivered at a Joint Session of The Two Houses of Congress") (April 2, 1917)

On the third of February last I officially laid before you the extraordinary announcement of the Imperial German Government that on and after the first day of February it was its purpose to put aside all restraints of law or of humanity and use its submarines to sink every vessel that sought to approach either the ports of Great Britain and Ireland or the western coasts of Europe or any of the ports controlled by the enemies of Germany within the Mediterranean. 

That had seemed to be the object of the German submarine warfare earlier in the war, but since April of last year, the Imperial Government had somewhat restrained the commanders of its undersea craft in conformity with its promise then given to us that passenger boats should not be sunk and that due warning would be given to all other vessels which its submarines might seek to destroy when no resistance was offered or escape attempted, and care taken that their crews were given at least a fair chance to save their lives in their open boats. The precautions taken were meager and haphazard enough, as was proved in distressing instance after instance in the progress of the cruel business, but a certain degree of restraint was observed. 

The new policy has swept every restriction aside. Vessels of every kind, whatever their flag, their character, their cargo, their destination, their errand, have been ruthlessly sent to the bottom: without warning and without thought of help or mercy for those on board, the vessels of friendly neutrals along with those of belligerents. Even hospital ships and ships carrying relief to the sorely bereaved and stricken people of Belgium, though the latter were provided with safe conduct through the proscribed areas by the German Government itself and were distinguished by unmistakable marks of identity, have been sunk with the same reckless lack of compassion or of principle.

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices. [International maritime law] the German Government has swept aside under the plea of retaliation and necessity and because it had no weapons which it could use at sea except these which it is impossible to employ as it is employing them without throwing to the winds all scruples of humanity or of respect for the understandings that were supposed to underlie the intercourse of the world. I am not now thinking of the loss of property involved, immense and serious as that is, but only of the wanton and wholesale destruction of the lives of noncombatants, men, women, and children, engaged in pursuits which have always, even in the darkest periods of modern history, been deemed innocent and legitimate. Property can be paid for; the lives of peaceful and innocent people cannot be. The present German submarine warfare against commerce is a warfare against mankind.

It is a war against all nations. American ships have been sunk, American lives taken, in ways which it has stirred us very deeply to learn of, but the ships and people of other neutral and friendly nations have been sunk and overwhelmed in the waters in the same way. There has been no discrimination. The challenge is to all mankind. Each nation must decide for itself how it will meet it. The choice we make for ourselves must be made with a moderation of counsel and a temperateness of judgment befitting our character and our motives as a nation. We must put excited feeling away. Our motive will not be revenge or the victorious assertion of the physical might of the nation, but only the vindication of right, of human right, of which we are only a single champion.

Between __________, the passage switches from a narrative mode of relating events to an analytical mode, wherein the author reflects on those events.

Possible Answers:

Paragraphs 3 and 4

Paragraphs 2 and 3

Paragraphs 4 and 5

Paragraphs 1 and 2

Correct answer:

Paragraphs 3 and 4

Explanation:

In order to correctly answer this question, you have to understand what the question means by "narrative mode" and "analytical mode." In the narrative mode, it says, the passage is relating events. In the analytical mode, the passage consists of the author reflecting on the events that have been related. The question specifically asks you to pinpoint the location of the shift between these two modes.

In the first three paragraphs, the passage consists of the author relating events. The author describes a series of actions of the Imperial German government. At the start of the fourth paragraph, there is a notable shift:

I was for a little while unable to believe that such things would in fact be done by any government that had hitherto subscribed to humane practices.

This signals that from this point on in the passage, the author is presenting his own opinion on the events that he previous related. The correct answer is that the transition from a narrative mode to an analytical mode occurs between Paragraphs 3 and 4.

All Common Core: 9th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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