LSAT Reading : Can't Be True in Humanities Passages

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Example Question #1 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Adapted from “The King of Spain” by Oscar Wilde in Selected Prose of Oscar Wilde (1914)

From a window in the palace the sad melancholy king watched them. Behind him stood his brother, Don Pedro of Aragon, who he hated, and his confessor, the Grand Inquisitor of Granada, sat by his side. Sadder even than usual was the king, for as he looked at the Infanta bowing with childish gravity to the assembling counters, or laughing behind her fan at the grim Duchess of Albuquerque who always accompanied her, he thought of the young queen, her mother, who but a short time before—so it seemed to him—had come from the gay country of France, and had withered away in the somber splendor of the Spanish court, dying just six months after the birth of her child, and before she had seen the almonds blossom twice in the orchard or plucked the second year’s fruit from the old gnarled fig-tree that stood in the center of the now grass-grown courtyard. So great had been his love for her that he had not suffered even the grave to hide her from him. She had been embalmed by a Moorish physician, who in return for this service had been granted his life, which for heresy and suspicion of magical practices had been already forfeited, men said, to the Holy Office, and her body was still lying on its tapestried bier in the black marble chapel of the Palace, just as the monks had borne her in on that windy March day nearly twelve years before. Once every month the king, wrapped in a dark cloak and with a muffled lantern in his hand, went in and knelt by her side calling out, “Mi reina! Mi reina!” and sometimes breaking through the formal etiquette that in Spain governs every separate action of life and sets limits even to the sorrow of a king, he would clutch at the pale jeweled hands in a wild agony of grief, and try to wake by his mad kisses the cold painted face.

Certainly he had loved her madly, and to the ruin, many thought, of his country, then at war with England for the possession of the empire of the New World. He had hardly ever permitted her to be out of his sight; for her, he had forgotten, or seemed to have forgotten, all grave affairs of State; and, with that terrible blindness that passion brings upon its servants, he had failed to notice that the elaborate ceremonies by which he sought to please her did but aggravate the strange malady from which she suffered. When she died he was, for a time, like one bereft of reason. Indeed, there is no doubt but that he would have formally abdicated and retired to the great Trappist monastery at Granada, of which he was already titular Prior, had he not been afraid to leave the little Infanta at the mercy of his brother, whose cruelty, even in Spain, was notorious, and who was suspected by many of having caused the queen’s death by means of a pair of poisoned gloves that he had presented to her on the occasion of her visiting his castle in Aragon. Even after the expiration of the three years of public mourning that he had ordained throughout his whole dominions by royal edict, he would never suffer his ministers to speak about any new alliance, and when the Emperor himself sent to him, and offered him the hand of the lovely Archduchess of Bohemia, his niece, in marriage, he bade the ambassadors tell their master that the king of Spain was already wedded to Sorrow, and that though she was a barren bride, he loved her better than Beauty; an answer that cost his crown the rich provinces of the Netherlands, which soon after, at the Emperor’s instigation, revolted against him under the leadership of some fanatics of the reformed church.

Which of these statements is contradicted by the passage?

Possible Answers:

The king and queen had a child together before she died.

The king was unwilling to remarry despite the obvious advantages a new alliance would bring to his kingdom.

The Moors were not generally welcomed into Spanish society.

The Spanish kingdom was involved in a protracted conflict with England over control of the New World.

The queen’s suffering was alleviated by the elaborate ceremonies of court.

Correct answer:

The queen’s suffering was alleviated by the elaborate ceremonies of court.

Explanation:

In the third paragraph, the author states, “[the king] had failed to notice that the elaborate ceremonies by which he sought to please [the queen] did but aggravate the strange malady from which she suffered.” This tells us that the queen’s suffering was worsened rather than alleviated by the elaborate ceremonies of court. It is obvious that the Spanish kingdom was involved in a conflict with England over control of the New World because the author states this at the beginning of the third paragraph. Likewise, we know that the king and queen had a child together before she died because the author mentions the king is watching their daughter play in the first paragraph. It can be inferred that the Moors were not generally welcomed in Spanish society because the only Moor mentioned in this passage is “granted his life” “in return for his services [to the king].” Finally, we know that the king was unwilling to remarry because the author mentions this at the end of the third paragraph.

Example Question #2 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Adapted from Volume 1 of History of Woman Suffrage by Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and Matilda Joslyn Gage (1887)

The prolonged slavery of woman is the darkest page in human history. A survey of the condition of humanity through those barbarous periods when physical force governed the world and when the motto "might makes right" was the law enables one to account for the origin of woman's subjection to man without referring the fact to the general inferiority of the sex or Nature's law. Writers on this question differ as to the cause of the universal degradation of woman in all periods and nations.

One of the greatest minds of the century has thrown a ray of light on this gloomy picture by tracing the origin of woman's slavery to the same principle of selfishness and love of power in man that has thus far dominated all weaker nations and classes. This brings hope of final emancipation, for as all nations and classes are gradually, one after another, asserting and maintaining their independence, the path is clear for woman to follow. The slavish instinct of an oppressed class has led her to toil patiently through the ages, giving all and asking little, cheerfully sharing with man all perils and privations by land and sea, that husband and sons might attain honor and success. Justice and freedom for herself is her latest and highest demand.

Another writer asserts that the tyranny of man over woman has its roots, after all, in his nobler feelings; his love, his chivalry, and his desire to protect woman in the barbarous periods of pillage, lust, and war. But wherever the roots may be traced, the results at this hour are equally disastrous to woman. Her best interests and happiness do not seem to have been consulted in the arrangements made for her protection. She has been bought and sold, caressed and crucified at the will and pleasure of her master. But if a chivalrous desire to protect woman has always been the mainspring of man's dominion over her, it should have prompted him to place in her hands the same weapons of defense he has found to be most effective against wrong and oppression.

It is often asserted that as woman has always been man's slave—subject—inferior—dependent, that under all forms of government and religion, slavery must be her normal condition. This might have some weight had not the vast majority of men also been enslaved for centuries to kings, popes, and orders of nobility, who, in the progress of civilization, have reached complete equality.

In an age when the wrongs of society are adjusted in the courts and at the ballot-box, material force yields to reason and majorities. Woman's steady march onward, and her growing desire for a broader outlook, prove that she has not reached her normal condition, and that society has not yet conceded all that is necessary for its attainment.

Why does the author believe that the argument of the underlined selection does not hold up?

Possible Answers:

It does not take into consideration the natural advantages of strength that men have over women.

It places too great an emphasis on history and does not consider the changes taking place in the present.

It does not account for the fact that women have not always been the slaves of men.

It ignores the fact that the vast majority of men have themselves spent most of history enslaved and are now free.

It does not take into consideration the fact that in a more barbarous time period, almost everyone was enslaved; otherwise, without the protection afforded, they were unlikely to survive.

Correct answer:

It ignores the fact that the vast majority of men have themselves spent most of history enslaved and are now free.

Explanation:

This question involves simple reading in context to discover the correct answer. The author states that “This might have some weight had not the vast majority of men also been enslaved for centuries to kings and popes, and orders of nobility, who, in the progress of civilization, have reached complete equality.” This tells us that the author believes it cannot be argued that woman’s natural state is to be enslaved to men because throughout history the vast majority of men have been enslaved to men.

Example Question #8 : Extrapolating From The Text In Humanities Passages

Adapted from Jack London’s The Road (1907)

Barring accidents, a good hobo, with youth and agility, can hold a train down despite all the efforts of the train-crew to "ditch" him—given, of course, night-time as an essential condition. When such a hobo, under such conditions, makes up his mind that he is going to hold her down, either he does hold her down, or chance trips him up. There is no legitimate way, short of murder, whereby the train-crew can ditch him. That train-crews have not stopped short of murder is a current belief in the tramp world. Not having had that particular experience in my tramp days I cannot vouch for it personally.

But this I have heard of the "bad" roads. When a tramp has "gone underneath," on the rods, and the train is in motion, there is apparently no way of dislodging him until the train stops. The tramp, snugly ensconced inside the truck, with the four wheels and all the framework around him, has the "cinch" on the crew—or so he thinks, until some day he rides the rods on a bad road. A bad road is usually one on which a short time previously one or several trainmen have been killed by tramps. Heaven pity the tramp who is caught "underneath" on such a road—for caught he is, though the train be going sixty miles an hour.

The "shack" (brakeman) takes a coupling-pin and a length of bell-cord to the platform in front of the truck in which the tramp is riding. The shack fastens the coupling-pin to the bell- cord, drops the former down between the platforms, and pays out the latter. The coupling-pin strikes the ties between the rails, rebounds against the bottom of the car, and again strikes the ties. The shack plays it back and forth, now to this side, now to the other, lets it out a bit and hauls it in a bit, giving his weapon opportunity for every variety of impact and rebound. Every blow of that flying coupling-pin is freighted with death, and at sixty miles an hour it beats a veritable tattoo of death. The next day the remains of that tramp are gathered up along the right of way, and a line in the local paper mentions the unknown man, undoubtedly a tramp, assumably drunk, who had probably fallen asleep on the track.

Given the information presented in the passage, which of the following statements cannot be true?

Possible Answers:

Train crews would often find hoboes traveling surreptitiously on trains.

Hoboes lived the kind of lifestyle that made them frequently break the law.

Train crews often had problems with hoboes that were rarely solved in an amicable manner.

In the era of the hobo lifestyle, hoboes and train crews got along quite well on long trips.

Hoboes would frequently ride on trains without the permission of the train crews.

Correct answer:

In the era of the hobo lifestyle, hoboes and train crews got along quite well on long trips.

Explanation:

The author describes, in rather precise detail, how a train crew would get rid of hoboes that were illegally and secretly riding underneath a train. What this indicates is that there was a great deal of tension between train crews and hoboes surreptitiously finding ways to evade the crew. This means that the only answer choice which cannot be true is that train crews and hoboes got along well.

Example Question #3 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Adapted from from Olympe De Gouge's Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen (1791).

Women, wake up; the tocsin of reason sounds throughout the universe; recognize your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and lies. The torch of truth has dispersed all the clouds of folly and usurpation. Enslaved man has multiplied his force and needs yours to break his chains. Having become free, he has become unjust toward his companion. Oh women! Women, when will you cease to be blind? What advantages have you gathered in the revolution? A scorn more marked, a disdain more conspicious. During the centuries of corruption you only reigned over the weakness of men. Your empire is destroyed; what is left to you then? Firm belief in the injustices of men. The reclaiming of your patrimony founded on the wise decrees of nature; why should you fear such a beautiful enterprise?

…Whatever the barriers set up against you, it is in your power to overcome them; you only have to want it. Let us pass now to the appalling account of what you have been in society; and since national education is an issue at this moment, let us see if our wise legislators will think sanely about the education of women.

Women have done more harm than good. Constraint and dissimulation have been their lot. What force has taken from them, ruse returned; they have had recourse to all the resources of their charms, and the most irreproachable man has not resisted them. Poison, the sword, women controlled everything; they ordered up crimes as much as virtues. For centuries, the French government, especially, depended on the nocturnal administration of women; officials kept no secrets from their indiscretion; ambassadorial posts, military commands, the ministry, the presidency [of a court], the papacy, the college of cardinals, in short everything that characterizes the folly of men, profane and sacred, has been submitted to the cupidity and ambition of this sex formerly considered despicable and respected, and since the revolution, respectable and despised…

Under the former regime, everyone was vicious, everyone guilty… A woman only had to be beautiful and amiable; when she possessed these two advantages, she saw a hundred fortunes at her feet… The most indecent woman could make herself respectable with gold; the commerce in women was a kind of industry amongst the highest classes, which henceforth will enjoy no more credit. If it still did, the revolution would be lost, and in the new situation we would still be corrupted. Can reason hide the fact that every other road to fortune is closed to a woman bought by a man, bought like a slave from the coasts of Africa? The difference between them is great; this is known. The slave [that is, the woman] commands her master, but if the master gives her her freedom without compensation and at an age when the slave has lost all her charms, what does this unfortunate woman become? The plaything of disdain; even the doors of charity are closed to her; she is poor and old, they say: why did she not know how to make her fortune?

According to the author, which of the following does not characterize the folly of men?

Possible Answers:

military commands

the Papacy

the French government 

ambassadorial posts

Correct answer:

the French government 

Explanation:

The author notes that "For centuries, the French government, especially, depended on the nocturnal administration of women; officials kept no secrets from their indiscretion; ambassadorial posts, military commands, the ministry, the presidency [of a court], the papacy, the college of cardinals, in short everything that characterizes the folly of men." In this sentence, the author lists "military commands," "ambassadorial posts," and "the papacy" as sources of the folly, but the author mentions the "French government" only in the context of being administered by women, not as characterizing the folly of men.

Example Question #4 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Adapted from from Olympe De Gouge's Declaration of the Rights of Women and the Female Citizen (1791).

Women, wake up; the tocsin of reason sounds throughout the universe; recognize your rights. The powerful empire of nature is no longer surrounded by prejudice, fanaticism, superstition, and lies. The torch of truth has dispersed all the clouds of folly and usurpation. Enslaved man has multiplied his force and needs yours to break his chains. Having become free, he has become unjust toward his companion. Oh women! Women, when will you cease to be blind? What advantages have you gathered in the revolution? A scorn more marked, a disdain more conspicious. During the centuries of corruption you only reigned over the weakness of men. Your empire is destroyed; what is left to you then? Firm belief in the injustices of men. The reclaiming of your patrimony founded on the wise decrees of nature; why should you fear such a beautiful enterprise?

…Whatever the barriers set up against you, it is in your power to overcome them; you only have to want it. Let us pass now to the appalling account of what you have been in society; and since national education is an issue at this moment, let us see if our wise legislators will think sanely about the education of women.

Women have done more harm than good. Constraint and dissimulation have been their lot. What force has taken from them, ruse returned; they have had recourse to all the resources of their charms, and the most irreproachable man has not resisted them. Poison, the sword, women controlled everything; they ordered up crimes as much as virtues. For centuries, the French government, especially, depended on the nocturnal administration of women; officials kept no secrets from their indiscretion; ambassadorial posts, military commands, the ministry, the presidency [of a court], the papacy, the college of cardinals, in short everything that characterizes the folly of men, profane and sacred, has been submitted to the cupidity and ambition of this sex formerly considered despicable and respected, and since the revolution, respectable and despised…

Under the former regime, everyone was vicious, everyone guilty… A woman only had to be beautiful and amiable; when she possessed these two advantages, she saw a hundred fortunes at her feet… The most indecent woman could make herself respectable with gold; the commerce in women was a kind of industry amongst the highest classes, which henceforth will enjoy no more credit. If it still did, the revolution would be lost, and in the new situation we would still be corrupted. Can reason hide the fact that every other road to fortune is closed to a woman bought by a man, bought like a slave from the coasts of Africa? The difference between them is great; this is known. The slave [that is, the woman] commands her master, but if the master gives her her freedom without compensation and at an age when the slave has lost all her charms, what does this unfortunate woman become? The plaything of disdain; even the doors of charity are closed to her; she is poor and old, they say: why did she not know how to make her fortune?

Which of the following does the author not indicate occurred during the "centuries of corruption?"

Possible Answers:

Everyone was vicious

National education was a major focus

Women reigned over the weaknesses of men

Government and social institutions were quietly administered by women

Correct answer:

National education was a major focus

Explanation:

The author, speaking after what she termed the "centuries of corruption," noted that, "national education is an issue at this moment, let us see if our wise legislators will think sanely about the education of women." The issue of national education is the only one of the answer choices that was described as being a present issue rather than a past issue occurring prior to the revolution. The other answer choices, including "women reigned over the weakness of men" (paragraph one), everyone was vicious (paragraph four), and women administered the French government (paragraph three) were all features of the country prior to the revolution (during the centuries of corruption), according to the author.

Example Question #5 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from John Stuart Mill's On Liberty (1859).

The object of this Essay is to assert one very simple principle, as entitled to govern absolutely the dealings of society with the individual in the way of compulsion and control, whether the means used be physical force in the form of legal penalties, or the moral coercion of public opinion. That principle is, that the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will be better for him to do so, because it will make him happier, because, in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise, or even right. These are good reasons for remonstrating with him, or reasoning with him, or persuading him, or entreating him, but not for compelling him, or visiting him with any evil in case he do otherwise. To justify that, the conduct from which it is desired to deter him must be calculated to produce evil to someone else.  The only part of the conduct of any one, for which he is amenable to society, is that which concerns others. In the part which merely concerns himself, his independence is, of right, absolute. Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign.

It is, perhaps hardly necessary to say that this doctrine is meant to apply only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties. We are not speaking of children, or of young persons below the age which the law may fix as that of manhood or womanhood. Those who are still in a state to require being taken care of by others, must be protected against their own actions as well as well as against external injury. For the same reason, we may leave out of consideration those backward states of society in which the race itself may be considered as in its nonage. The early difficulties in the way of spontaneous progress are so great, that there is seldom any choice of overcoming them; and a ruler full of the spirit of improvement is warranted in the use of any expedients that will attain an end, perhaps otherwise unattainable.  Despotism is a legitimate mode of government in dealing with barbarians, provided the end be their improvement, and the means justified by actually effecting that end. Liberty, as a principle, has no application to any state of things anterior to the time when mankind have become capable of being improved by free and equal discussion. Until then, there is nothing for them but implicit obedience… But as soon as mankind have attained the capacity of being guided to their own improvement by conviction or persuasion (a period long since reached in all nations with whom we need here concern ourselves), compulsion, either in the direct form or in that of pains and penalties for non-compliance, is no longer admissible as a means to their own good, and justifiable only for the security of others.

According to the logic of the passage, which of the following statements cannot be true?

Possible Answers:

A person's overall happiness can be increased if they are forcibly taken into a free society.

It is possible to convince a person through argumentation to value freedom.

An understanding of liberty is possible without full, mature control of one's mental faculties.

According to the logic of the passage, all of of these options can be true.

Correct answer:

A person's overall happiness can be increased if they are forcibly taken into a free society.

Explanation:

The author's advocation of "reasoning with" a person who is not free and the very existence of this passage in which advocates for the principle of liberty both demonstratte hat he views the convincing of a person of liberty's benefits through argumentation as possible. The second paragraph's discussion of this principle of convincing someone of liberty's value as applying "only to human beings in the maturity of their faculties" logcially implies that this mental maturity is a pre-requisite to a full understanding of liberty. The author also, however, asserts that a person "cannot rightfully be compelled" to live in a free society, or that society is, by definition, not free.

Example Question #6 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from Beethoven (1905) by George Alexander Fischer.

During the period of his work on the Mass, and for some time before, Beethoven's thoughts were occupied more or less with that stupendous work, the Ninth Symphony, sketches for which began to appear already in 1813, shortly after his meeting with Goethe. That Beethoven looked up to Goethe ever after as to a spiritual mentor, studying his works, absorbing his thought, is plain. In projecting this symphony he may very well have designed it as a counterpart to Faust, as has been suggested. Actually begun in 1817, it had to be laid aside before much had been accomplished on it, in favor of the Mass in D. This gave him plenty of time to mature his conception of the work; and this ripening process, covering a period of ten years from its first inception, was one of the factors which helped him achieve his wondrous result. His work on the Mass was a good preparation for the psychological problems expounded in the Symphony.

Here is a work so interwoven into Beethoven's very life and spirit, that the mention of his name at once calls to mind the Ninth Symphony. It is the work of the seer approaching the end of his life-drama, giving with photographic clearness a résumé of it. Here are revelations of the inner nature of a man who had delved deeply into the mysteries surrounding life, learning this lesson in its fullest significance, that no great spiritual height is ever attained without renunciation. The world must be left behind. Asking and getting but little from it, giving it of his best, counting as nothing its material advantages, realizing always that contact with it had for him but little joy, the separation from it was nevertheless a hard task. This mystery constantly confronted Beethoven, that, even when obeying the finer behests of his nature, peace was not readily attained thereby; often there was instead, an accession of unhappiness for the time being. Paradoxically peace was made the occasion for a struggle; it had to be wrested from life. No victory is such unless well fought for and dearly bought.

This eternal struggle with fate, this conflict forever raging in the heart, runs through all the Symphonies, but nowhere is it so strongly depicted as in this, his last. We have here in new picturing, humanity at bay, as in the recently completed Kyrie of the grand mass. The apparently uneven battle of the individual with fate,—the plight of the human being who finds himself a denizen of a world with which he is entirely out of harmony, who, wrought up to despair, finds life impossible yet fears to die,—is here portrayed in dramatic language. To Wagner the first movement pictured to him "the idea of the world in its most terrible of lights," something to recoil from. "Beethoven in the Ninth Symphony," he says, "leads us through the torment of the world relentlessly until the ode to joy is reached."

Great souls have always taught that the only relief for this Weltschmerz is through the power of love; that universal love alone can transform and redeem the world. This is the central teaching of Jesus, of Buddha, of all who have the welfare of humanity at heart. It was Beethoven's solution of the problem of existence. Through this magic power, sorrows are transmuted into gifts of peace and happiness. Beethoven loved his kind. Love for humanity, pity for its misfortunes, hope for its final deliverance, largely occupied his mind. With scarcely an exception Beethoven's works end happily. Among the sketches of the last movement of the Mass in D, he makes the memorandum, "Stärke der Gesinnungen des innern Friedens. Über alles ... Sieg." (Strengthen the conviction of inward peace. Above all—Victory). The effect of the Choral Finale is that of an outburst of joy at deliverance, a celebration of victory. It is as if Beethoven, with prophetic eye, had been able to pierce the future and foresee a golden age for humanity, an age where altruism was to bring about cessation from strife, and where happiness was to be general. Such happiness as is here celebrated in the Ode to Joy, can indeed, only exist in the world through altruism. Pity, that sentiment which allies man to the divine, comes first. From this proceeds love, and through these and by these only is happiness possible. This was the gist of Beethoven's thought. He had occupied himself much with sociological questions all his life, always taking the part of the oppressed.

Based on the information in the passage, which of the following statements cannot be true?

Possible Answers:

Beethoven's work was well respected by later generations of musicians and critics.

Beethoven's Ninth Symphony was a culmination of ideas and themes found in much of his previous work.

Beethoven was not very well acquainted with the prevailing philosophical movements of his era.

Beethoven's chief appeal to music lovers lies in the technical aspects of the symphonies he composed.

Beethoven sought to create symphonies which would be appreciated for their philosophical underpinnings as well as their musical achievements. 

Correct answer:

Beethoven's chief appeal to music lovers lies in the technical aspects of the symphonies he composed.

Explanation:

The passage focuses on Beethoven's use of philosophical and emotional concepts in the composition of his Ninth Symphony, especially the final section. This means that the author, and Richard Wagner, whose feelings on the work are used to bolster the argument, believes that the appeal of Beethoven's symphony lies in much more than just the technical aspects of the composition.

Example Question #7 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

"The Novel" by William Floyd (2015)

The first significant period of popularity for the novel was the mid eighteenth to the early nineteenth century. Scholars have often debated why extended prose narratives became the most significant form of writing for the public during this era. Certainly the availability of cheaper publishing tools meant books were more accessible to more people, and the time period was one of widespread reading in a number of ways, such as letters and pamphlets as well as books. Yet perhaps the most significant cause of the novel’s explosion into the center of popular culture might be that it best reflected the newfound interiority and privacy of eighteenth century Western Europe.

The Industrial Revolution brought changes to nearly every element of society, but significantly transformed home life. Increased social mobility meant that multigenerational families were becoming much less common and more people lived at home. The booming wealth brought by the Industrial Revolution also created more spacious domiciles for those who were still living with family, giving most members of society a chance to have individual spaces where someone could seek out some measure of solitude. The changing social mores of the era also meant that everyday conversation began to take on a subject matter and tone that was previously seen as inappropriate or scandalous. The day to day existence and average life experience of the typical person was radically different than that of the previous generation. Whereas before the Industrial Revolution the entire social structure of the world revolved around community, by the mid seventeenth century the individual became the center of the social universe.

All of these changes perfectly suited the strengths of the novel, particularly as it was written and consumed in the eighteenth century. Where a play has at its core a public performance and poetry was meant to be said aloud, the novel provides a focus on interior thoughts, psychology, and character development. For a world newly experiencing privacy and intimate space, the conversational style and philosophical musings of the novel matched the new reality that the novel reader was encountering. More significantly, the most popular novels, until about the twentieth century, were usually published in a serialized format. By getting the next installment each week or month, readers consumed novels in much the same manner as they read letters from home or snippets of news. Novels fit into the fabric of life during the Industrial Revolution because they were about interiority, individualism, and striving for something new.

Based on the information provided in the passage, which of the following statements cannot be true?

Possible Answers:

Novels were more exciting than plays because they were frequently performed in front of an audience.

Novels were only read by a small sliver of society during the Industrial Revolution.

Novels were not very popular before the Industrial Revolution.

Novels were always considered trifling pastimes that serious writers undertook only for economic reasons.

Novels were only written and read by women during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Correct answer:

Novels were only read by a small sliver of society during the Industrial Revolution.

Explanation:

As the passage is mostly about how the changes in society brought about by the Industrial Revolution created conditions that made the novel popular, there is a surprising lack of detail about specific novels, novelists, or writing techniques. Since the question is asked based on what is in the passage and nothing else, the correct answer will be related to what can be disputed with information provided by the author. The only choice that does so is "Novels were only read by a small sliver of society during the Industrial Revolution."

Example Question #8 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from Culture and Anarchy (1868) by Matthew Arnold.

The disparagers of culture make its motive curiosity; sometimes, indeed, they make its motive mere exclusiveness and vanity. The culture which is supposed to plume itself on a smattering of Greek and Latin is a culture which is begotten by nothing so intellectual as curiosity; it is valued either out of sheer vanity and ignorance, or else as an engine of social and class distinction, separating its holder, like a badge or title, from other people who have not got it. No serious man would call this culture, or attach any value to it, as culture, at all. To find the real ground for the very differing estimate which serious people will set upon culture, we must find some motive for culture in the terms of which may lie a real ambiguity; and such a motive the word curiosity gives us. I have before now pointed out that in English we do not, like the foreigners, use this word in a good sense as well as in a bad sense; with us the word is always used in a somewhat disapproving sense; a liberal and intelligent eagerness about the things of the mind may be meant by a foreigner when he speaks of curiosity, but with us the word always conveys a certain notion of frivolous and unedifying activity. In the Quarterly Review, some little time ago, was an estimate of the celebrated French critic, Monsieur Sainte-Beuve, and a very inadequate estimate it, in my judgment, was. And its inadequacy consisted chiefly in this: that in our English way it left out of sight the double sense really involved in the word curiosity, thinking enough was said to stamp Monsieur Sainte-Beuve with blame if it was said that he was impelled in his operations as a critic by curiosity, and omitting either to perceive that Monsieur Sainte-Beuve himself, and many other people with him, would consider that this was praiseworthy and not blameworthy, or to point out why it ought really to be accounted worthy of blame and not of praise. For as there is a curiosity about intellectual matters which is futile, and merely a disease, so there is certainly a curiosity,—a desire after the things of the mind simply for their own sakes and for the pleasure of seeing them as they are,—which is, in an intelligent being, natural and laudable. Nay, and the very desire to see things as they are implies a balance and regulation of mind which is not often attained without fruitful effort, and which is the very opposite of the blind and diseased impulse of mind which is what we mean to blame when we blame curiosity. Montesquieu says:—"The first motive which ought to impel us to study is the desire to augment the excellence of our nature, and to render an intelligent being yet more intelligent." This is the true ground to assign for the genuine scientific passion, however manifested, and for culture, viewed simply as a fruit of this passion; and it is a worthy ground, even though we let the term curiosity stand to describe it.

Which of the following statements cannot be true based on the information in the passage?

Possible Answers:

The role of curiosity in culture has often been ignored in favor of issues.

The issue of curiosity and its role in culture has been heavily debated by writers.

The Quarterly Review has published articles that reflect on issues surrounding culture.

English writers and French writers view aspects of culture in a largely similar manner.

French writers have particular views about what makes acceptable culture.

Correct answer:

English writers and French writers view aspects of culture in a largely similar manner.

Explanation:

The author specifically notes that English writers view the role of "curiosity" quite differently from those in other places. Then he specifically uses the reflection on a French writer, Monsieur Sainte-Beuve, as a key demonstration as to how these differences work out in practice. This indicates that it cannot be true that English and French writers view culture in a similar manner.

Example Question #9 : Can't Be True In Humanities Passages

Passage adapted from Rembrandt (1893) by Josef Israels.

While the world pays respectful tribute to Rembrandt the artist, it has been compelled to wait until comparatively recent years for some small measure of reliable information concerning Rembrandt the man. The sixteenth and seventeenth centuries seem to have been very little concerned with personalities. A man was judged by his work which appealed, if it were good enough, to an ever-increasing circle. There were no newspapers to record his doings and, if he chanced to be an artist, it was nobody's business to set down the details of his life. Sometimes a diarist chanced to pass by and to jot down a little gossip, quite unconscious of the fact that it would serve to stimulate generations yet unborn, but, for the most part, artists who did great work in a retiring fashion and were not honored by courts and princes as Rubens was, passed from the scene of their labors with all the details of their sojourn unrecorded.

Rembrandt was fated to suffer more than mere neglect, for he seems to have been a light-hearted, headstrong, extravagant man, with no capacity for business. He had not even the supreme quality, associated in doggerel with Dutchmen, of giving too little and asking too much. Consequently, when he died poor and enfeebled, in years when his collection of works of fine art had been sold at public auction for a fraction of its value, when his pictures had been seized for debt, and wife, mistress, children, and many friends had passed, little was said about him. It was only when the superlative quality of his art was recognized beyond a small circle of admirers that people began to gather up such fragments of biography as they could find.

Shakespeare has put into Mark Antony's mouth the statement that "the evil that men do lives after them," and this was very much the case with Rembrandt van Ryn. His first biographers seem to have no memory save for his undoubted recklessness, his extravagance, and his debts. They remembered that his pictures fetched very good prices, that his studio was besieged for some years by more sitters than it could accommodate, that he was honored with commissions from the ruling house, and that in short, he had every chance that would have led a good business man to prosperity and an old age removed from stress and strain. These facts seem to have aroused their ire. They have assailed his memory with invective that does not stop short at false statement. They have found in the greatest of all Dutch artists a ne'er-do-well who could not take advantage of his opportunities, who had the extravagance of a company promoter, an explosive temper and all the instincts that make for loose living.

Which of the following statements cannot be true based on the information provided in the passage?

Possible Answers:

Rembrandt van Ryn's work was largely held to be significant in the history of portraiture.

Rembrandt van Ryn worked in an environment that preferred court painters to portrait artists.

Rembrandt van Ryn was not very well regarded as an artist by his contemporaries.

Rembrandt van Ryn was a person who did not spend his money very wisely.

Rembrandt van Ryn was one of many significant Dutch painters in his own era.

Correct answer:

Rembrandt van Ryn was not very well regarded as an artist by his contemporaries.

Explanation:

The passage directly notes that Rembrandt often had more appointments than he could hold and would have been wealthy had he managed his money better. This indicates that he was extremely successful as an artist and must have been well considered by his contemporaries.

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