All HiSET: Language Arts - Reading Resources
Example Question #1 : Distinguishing Between Facts, Observations, Assumptions, And Conclusions
Passage adapted from The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (1900)
It is easy to demonstrate that dreams often have the character of blatant wish-fullfillments; so much so that one wonders why the language of dreams was not understood long ago. For instance, there is a dream that I can experience at will, experimentally, as it were. When I eat sardines, olives, or other strongly salted foods in the evening, I am awakened in the night by thirst. But the awaking is always preceded by a dream with the same content: I gulp the water down; and it tastes delicious to me as only a cool drink can when one is dying of thirst; and then I wake up and really have to drink. The cause of this simple dream is the thirst which I feel when I awaken. This feeling causes the desire to drink, and the dream shows me this desire fulfilled. It thereby serves a function which I can easily guess. I am a good sleeper, unaccustomed to being awakened by any need. If I can slake my thirst by dreaming that I am drinking, I don't need to wake up in order to be satisfied. Thus this is a convenience dream. The dream is substituted for action, as so often in life.
Recently this same dream occurred in a somewhat modified form. I had become thirsty even before sleeping and drained the glass of water which was standing on the nightstand next to my bed. A few hours later during the night I had a new attack of thirst which was more inconvenient. In order to get some water I would have had to get up and take the glass standing on my wife's nightstand. I dreamed therefore that my wife gave me a drink out of a vessel. This vessel was an Etruscan funerary urn which I had brought back from a trip to Italy and had since given away. However, the water in it tasted so salty (plainly because of the ashes) that I had to wake up. It is easy to see how neatly this dream arranged matters; since it its only aim was wish-fulfillment, it could be completely egotistical. A love of convenience is not really compatible with consideration for others. The introduction of the funerary urn is probably another wish-fulfillment; I was sorry that I didn't own the vessel any more--just as the water glass beside my wife was inaccessible. The urn also fit the growing salty taste which I knew would force me to wake up.
The bolded and underlined statement is best described as a/an ________________.
An assumption is a statement that is accepted as true where no proof is given, and Freud doesn't elaborate on how he knows for certain that ashes are the source of the saltiness.
A fact is a statement that is verifiably true, while there is no way to completely verify this statement.
An observation is a statement made based on something the viewer has seen or noticed, and that does not really apply here.
A synthesis is a process of combining ideas to form something new, such as a theory or new system of belief.