GED Language Arts (RLA) : Evaluating Evidence Effectiveness

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #5 : Using Evidence

Adapted from Julius Caesar by William Shakespeare, III.ii.82-117 (1599)

 

[This is a speech by Mark Antony]

 

Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears!

I come to bury Caesar, not to praise him.

The evil that men do lives after them,

The good is oft interred with their bones;

So let it be with Caesar. The noble Brutus

Hath told you Caesar was ambitious;

If it were so, it was a grievous fault,

And grievously hath Caesar answer'd it.

Here, under leave of Brutus and the rest-

For Brutus is an honorable man;

So are they all, all honorable men-

Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral.

He was my friend, faithful and just to me;

But Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

He hath brought many captives home to Rome,

Whose ransoms did the general coffers fill.

Did this in Caesar seem ambitious?

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff:

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And Brutus is an honorable man.

You all did see that on the Lupercal [a public festival]

I thrice presented him a kingly crown,

Which he did thrice refuse. Was this ambition?

Yet Brutus says he was ambitious,

And sure he is an honorable man.

I speak not to disprove what Brutus spoke,

But here I am to speak what I do know.

You all did love him once, not without cause;

What cause withholds you then to mourn for him?

O judgment, thou art fled to brutish beasts,

And men have lost their reason. Bear with me;

My heart is in the coffin there with Caesar,

And I must pause till it come back to me.

Why is the underlined selection not necessarily a good argument?

Possible Answers:

Caesar could have refused the crown merely to please the crowd.

Caesar was arrogant to accept the crown.

Mark Antony had incited the crowd not to allow Caesar to accept the crown.

The Lupercal was a false feast, based upon myths and unhelpful for any political ruler.

Caesar should not have accepted the crown, for it showed true ambition.

Correct answer:

Caesar could have refused the crown merely to please the crowd.

Explanation:

The first thing to do is to interpret what Mark Antony is stating here. He is saying that he presented Caesar with a crown three times at the Lupercal feast. Three times ("thrice") Caesar apparently refused to take it. Mark Antony is implying that this shows that he was not ambitious. However, it could well have been the case that he did not take the crown precisely because he wanted to seem unambitious so that he could appeal to the people. Mark Antony's argument here is charged with rhetoric, but that does not diminish its weakness. We must be aware of such uses of language so as not to be tricked. Matters just cannot be seen as being that simple.

Example Question #21 : Content

Adapted from “Solitary Death, make me thine own” in Underneath the Bough: A Book of Verses by Michael Field (pseudonym of Katherine Bradley and Edith Cooper) (1893)

 

Solitary Death, make me thine own,

And let us wander the bare fields together;

          Yea, thou and I alone

Roving in unembittered unison forever.

 

I will not harry thy treasure-graves,

I do not ask thy still hands a lover;

            My heart within me craves

To travel till we twain Time’s wilderness discover.

 

To sojourn with thee my soul was bred,

And I, the courtly sights of life refusing,

            To the wide shadows fled,

And mused upon thee often as I fell a-musing.

 

Escaped from chaos, thy mother Night,

In her maiden breast a burthen that awed her,

           By cavern waters white

Drew thee her first-born, her unfathered off-spring toward her.

 

On dewey plats, near twilight dingle,

She oft, to still thee from men’s sobs and curses

           In thine ears a-tingle,

Pours her cool charms, her weird, reviving chaunt rehearses.

 

Though mortals menace thee or elude,

And from thy confines break in swift transgression.

            Thou for thyself art sued

Of me, I claim thy cloudy purlieus my possession.

 

To a long freshwater, where the sea

Stirs the silver flux of the reeds and willows,

            Come thou, and beckon me

To lie in the lull of the sand-sequestered billows:

 

Then take the life I have called my own

And to the liquid universe deliver;

            Loosening my spirit’s zone,

Wrap round me as thy limbs the wind, the light, the river.

The use of the underlined and bolded term “Solitary” at the opening of the poem serves which of the following purposes?

Possible Answers:

The use of “solitary” at the opening of the poem situates the narrator as a lonely person so in need of companionship that she is willing to court even death.

Figuring personified “Death” as solitary at the opening of the poem situates death as a negative and limiting force.

The use of “solitary” at the opening of the poem sets the tone for the rest of the poem, which is concerned with the grief and loneliness that often follows a death.

Figuring personified “Death” as solitary at the opening of the poem adds emotional resonance to the speaker's address to Death advocating for them to be companions.

Characterizing Death as “solitary” at the opening of the poem suggests the fundamental, unbridgeable gap between abstract concepts and mortal beings.

Correct answer:

Figuring personified “Death” as solitary at the opening of the poem adds emotional resonance to the speaker's address to Death advocating for them to be companions.

Explanation:

Opening the poem with personified “Death” as a solitary figure adds emotional resonance and purchase to the speaker’s subsequent plea to Death for them to be companions. This way, the closing image of Death embracing the speaker completes an emotional journey; Death started the poem alone and ends in an embrace. This change can be seem as mutually beneficial and supportive, rather than the speaker simply using Death or vice-versa. 

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