ACT Reading : Determining Context-Dependent Meanings of Phrases and Clauses in Social Science or History Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for ACT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #2 : Context Dependent Meaning Of Phrases Or Sentences In Social Science / History Passages

Adapted from Harvard University Address by Booker T. Washington (1896)

Why you have called me from the Black Belt of the South, from among my humble people, to share in the honors of this occasion, is not for me to explain; and yet it may not be inappropriate for me to suggest that it seems to me that one of the most vital questions that touch our American life, is how to bring the strong, wealthy and learned into helpful touch with the poorest, most ignorant, and humble and at the same time, make the one appreciate the vitalizing, strengthening influence of the other.

How shall we make the mansions on Beacon street feel and see the need of the spirits in the lowliest cabin in the Alabama cotton fields or the Louisiana sugar bottoms? This problem Harvard University is solving, not by bringing itself down, but by bringing the masses up.

If through me, an humble representative, seven millions of my people in the South might be permitted to send a message to Harvard — Harvard that offered up on death's altar, young Shaw, and Russell, and Lowell and scores of others, that we might have a free and united country, that message would be: Tell them that the sacrifice was not in vain. Tell them that by the way of the shop, the field, the skilled hand, habits of thrift and economy, by way of industrial school and college, we are coming.

We are crawling up, working up, yea, bursting up. Often through oppression, unjust discrimination and prejudice, but through them all we are coming up, and with proper habits, intelligence and property, there is no power on earth that can permanently stay our progress.

Which of these statements most nearly reflects the author’s belief in the “the vitalizing, strengthening influence of the other?”

Possible Answers:

The knowledge of the rich can benefit the poor greatly.

The wealthy are distinct from the poor for a good reason.

The wealthy and poor can learn from one another.

It is impossible to understand the relationship between poverty and intelligence.

The perspective of the poor is necessary for the continued advancement of American society.

Correct answer:

The wealthy and poor can learn from one another.

Explanation:

Three of these answer choices reflect the opinion of the author. However, only one summarizes the statements made by the author at the close of the introduction. The author states that both the wealthy and the poor can benefit greatly from increased contact and that they would both be “vitalized” and “strengthened” by the experience. The answer choices “the knowledge of the rich can benefit the poor greatly” and “the perspective of the poor is necessary for the continued advancement of American society” are both correct, but only in part. The best answer is that “the wealthy and poor can learn from one another.”

Example Question #323 : Social Sciences / History

Adapted from The War Message (1917) by Woodrow Wilson

On the third of February 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.

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 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 the humane practices of civilized nations. International law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world. The German Government has swept this 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.

What does the author most nearly mean when he describes the seas as “the free highways of the world?”

Possible Answers:

that all nations and peoples have equal right to trade on the ocean

that oceanic venture always contains an element of danger, particularly during World War One

that operating a ship is no more dangerous than driving a car

that World War One has reinforced the security and freedom of the seas

that the American navy has a duty to control the aggressive behavior of other navies

Correct answer:

that all nations and peoples have equal right to trade on the ocean

Explanation:

The author references the “free highways of the world” to contrast the approach of American, and other allied nations, to trading rights on the seas with the approach of the German high command. The author says that “international law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world.” The author means that all nations and people have equal right to trade on the ocean, according to international law.

Example Question #21 : Determining Context Dependent Meanings Of Phrases And Clauses In Social Science Or History Passages

Adapted from The War Message (1917) by Woodrow Wilson

On the third of February 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.

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 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 the humane practices of civilized nations. International law had its origin in the attempt to set up some law which would be respected and observed upon the seas, where no nation had right of dominion and where lay the free highways of the world. The German Government has swept this 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.

When the author says “we must put excited feeling away” he is most nearly suggesting that __________.

Possible Answers:

the American government cannot afford to encourage war with Germany if it is against the will of the American people

the German government has deliberately sought to foster feelings of anxious excitement for war among the American population

America needs to enter the war with a surety of purpose

only calm and sober minded individuals should be allowed to contribute to the war effort

it is wrong to harbor feelings of joy or excitement about warfare

Correct answer:

America needs to enter the war with a surety of purpose

Explanation:

The author uses the word “excited” to caution against entering the war for the wrong reasons or without proper consideration. The author suggests that Americans must make a sober-minded decision and enter the war with a surety of purpose. This answer choice is supported by the author’s preceding statement that “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.”

Example Question #11 : Understanding The Content Of Social Science Passages

Adapted from “Introductory Remarks” in The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud (trans. 1913)

In attempting to discuss the interpretation of dreams, I do not believe that I have overstepped the bounds of neuropathological interest. For, when investigated psychologically, the dream proves to be the first link in a chain of abnormal psychic structures whose other links—the hysterical phobia, the obsession, and the delusion—must interest the physician for practical reasons. The dream can lay no claim to a corresponding practical significance; however, its theoretical value is very great, and one who cannot explain the origin of the content of dreams will strive in vain to understand phobias, obsessive and delusional ideas, and likewise their therapeutic importance.

While this relationship makes our subject important, it is responsible also for the deficiencies in this work. The surfaces of fracture, which will be frequently discussed, correspond to many points of contact where the problem of dream formation informs more comprehensive problems of psychopathology which cannot be discussed here. These larger issues will be elaborated upon in the future.

Peculiarities in the material I have used to elucidate the interpretation of dreams have rendered this publication difficult. The work itself will demonstrate why all dreams related in scientific literature or collected by others had to remain useless for my purpose. In choosing my examples, I had to limit myself to considering my own dreams and those of my patients who were under psychoanalytic treatment. I was restrained from utilizing material derived from my patients' dreams by the fact that during their treatment, the dream processes were subjected to an undesirable complication—the intermixture of neurotic characters. On the other hand, in discussing my own dreams, I was obliged to expose more of the intimacies of my psychic life than I should like, more so than generally falls to the task of an author who is not a poet but an investigator of nature. This was painful, but unavoidable; I had to put up with the inevitable in order to demonstrate the truth of my psychological results at all. To be sure, I disguised some of my indiscretions through omissions and substitutions, though I feel that these detract from the value of the examples in which they appear. I can only express the hope that the reader of this work, putting himself in my difficult position, will show patience, and also that anyone inclined to take offense at any of the reported dreams will concede freedom of thought at least to the dream life.

When he uses the underlined phrase “the inevitable,” the author is referring to __________.

Possible Answers:

the fact that he had to publish some of his own dreams, which made him uncomfortable

the gradual loss of detail in what one can remember about a dream

the idea that all dreams contain significant meaning

the scorn of many important psychologists upon his publication of his work on dreams

the discomfort that everyone feels when discussing dreams with other people

Correct answer:

the fact that he had to publish some of his own dreams, which made him uncomfortable

Explanation:

The author uses the phrase “the inevitable” in the third paragraph when he states, “This was painful, but unavoidable; I had to put up with the inevitable in order to demonstrate the truth of my psychological results at all.” But what is he actually discussing at this point? To figure this out, we need to consider the preceding sentence: “On the other hand, in discussing my own dreams, I was obliged to expose more of the intimacies of my psychic life than I should like, more so than generally falls to the task of an author who is not a poet but an investigator of nature.” From this, we can correctly say that in this context, “the inevitable” refers to “the fact that [the author] had to relate some of his own dreams in his work, which made him uncomfortable.”

Example Question #21 : Determining Context Dependent Meanings Of Phrases And Clauses In Social Science Or History Passages

Adapted from Women’s Political Future by Frances E. W. Harper (1893)

The world has need of all the spiritual aid that woman can give for the social advancement and moral development of the human race. The tendency of the present age, with its restlessness, religious upheavals, failures, blunders, and crimes, is toward broader freedom, an increase of knowledge, the emancipation of thought, and recognition of the brotherhood of man; in this movement woman, as the companion of man, must be an equal. So close is the bond between man and woman that you cannot raise one without lifting the other. The world cannot move without woman's sharing in the movement, and to help give a right impetus to that movement is woman's highest privilege.

If the fifteenth century discovered America to the Old World, the nineteenth is discovering woman to herself. Not the opportunity of discovering new worlds, but that of filling this old world with fairer and higher aims than the greed of gold and the lust of power, is hers. Through weary, wasting years men have destroyed, dashed in pieces, and overthrown, but today we stand on the threshold of woman's era, and woman's work is grandly constructive. In her hand are possibilities whose use or abuse must tell upon the political life of the nation, and send their influence for good or evil across the track of unborn ages.

In the context of the first paragraph, what does the author believe is the “tendency of the present age”?

Possible Answers:

Religious accord

Political stability

Recognition of universal equality

Male subservience

Female empowerment

Correct answer:

Recognition of universal equality

Explanation:

The author states that the tendency of the present age is “toward broader freedom” and “recognition of the brotherhood of man.” The idea of the importance of female empowerment is mentioned often throughout the passage and is a central point; however, the author expressly states that the tendency of the present age is towards a universal acceptance, not simply an acceptance of women.

Example Question #61 : Social Science / History Passages

While the Gutenberg press was perhaps one of the greatest inventions of all time, we should not let its importance blind us to other very important events in the history of linguistic development. Granted, the efficiency of printing allowed for the dissemination of much learning in Europe. Still, such printing was not unique to Europe, and even in the scope of world history, there are several events that are equally as miraculous regarding the transmission of knowledge.

For instance, most people overlook the amazing nature of the first time that human beings communicated with spoken language. Perhaps there were simple signs by which these early humans could indicate their needs to each other. However, when the first event of person-to-person speech occurred, it was far more marvelous than simple practical communication. Such speech was like a sharing of ideas. When true speech happened, people were able to communicate knowledge to each other, freeing it from its isolation in one lonely person. By means of such speech, knowledge could be orally transmitted from generation to generation, thus preserving wisdom in a way that is completely impossible without speech.

Of course, such spoken tradition is very fragile, relying on memories and stories that are passed down from generation to generation. For this reason, the invention of writing is extremely important. In contrast to the spoken word, the written word can continue to exist and be useful so long as it can be read intelligently. Likewise, much more can be recorded than ever could be remembered by someone with the best of memories. Indeed, once these records are written, copies can be sent to anyone who is able to read the language in question. Likewise, it can be translated into written copies to be read by others. For these (as well as many other reasons) the invention of writing was a very significant event in history, greatly expanding the possibilities for the exchange of knowledge.

Thus, the printing press is quite important, but it is part of a larger story. Like both spoken and written communication, it allows human beings to communicate knowledge not only to each other but also across multiple generations. Often, we think of the press merely in its ability to provide a great number of books in a short period of time. However, when considered as a chapter in this longer tale, it likewise appears as the means by which humanity is able to conquer time by allowing the knowledge of today to live for multiple generations.

What is meant by the boldfaced clause, “Of course, such spoken tradition is very fragile”?

Possible Answers:

The spoken word is a pitiful thing, not very impressive to modern man.

The spoken word is a very weak thing, flimsy at best.

Such a spoken tradition is easily interrupted or destroyed.

The spoken word can convey meanings only in a weak manner.

The spoken word is fracturable like glass.

Correct answer:

Such a spoken tradition is easily interrupted or destroyed.

Explanation:

Although this metaphor can likely be discerned by its immediate context, the next several sentences should help you to understand its meaning more clearly. The paragraph goes on to discuss how the written word can continue to exist, implying that when it is merely spoken it is less likely to have such continuance. Because it relies on memories and stories, the spoken word is much more easily interrupted in its passing on. If a local "story teller" dies, it is possible that the spoken history—important though it might be—will suddenly be gone forever. This makes it very "fragile," that is, very vulnerable and easily destroyed.

Example Question #1 : Finding Context Dependent Meanings Of Phrases In Argumentative Social Science Passages

While the Gutenberg press was perhaps one of the greatest inventions of all time, we should not let its importance blind us to other very important events in the history of linguistic development. Granted, the efficiency of printing allowed for the dissemination of much learning in Europe. Still, such printing was not unique to Europe, and even in the scope of world history, there are several events that are equally as miraculous regarding the transmission of knowledge.

For instance, most people overlook the amazing nature of the first time that human beings communicated with spoken language. Perhaps there were simple signs by which these early humans could indicate their needs to each other. However, when the first event of person-to-person speech occurred, it was far more marvelous than simple practical communication. Such speech was like a sharing of ideas. When true speech happened, people were able to communicate knowledge to each other, freeing it from its isolation in one lonely person. By means of such speech, knowledge could be orally transmitted from generation to generation, thus preserving wisdom in a way that is completely impossible without speech.

Of course, such spoken tradition is very fragile, relying on memories and stories that are passed down from generation to generation. For this reason, the invention of writing is extremely important. In contrast to the spoken word, the written word can continue to exist and be useful so long as it can be read intelligently. Likewise, much more can be recorded than ever could be remembered by someone with the best of memories. Indeed, once these records are written, copies can be sent to anyone who is able to read the language in question. Likewise, it can be translated into written copies to be read by others. For these (as well as many other reasons) the invention of writing was a very significant event in history, greatly expanding the possibilities for the exchange of knowledge.

Thus, the printing press is quite important, but it is part of a larger story. Like both spoken and written communication, it allows human beings to communicate knowledge not only to each other but also across multiple generations. Often, we think of the press merely in its ability to provide a great number of books in a short period of time. However, when considered as a chapter in this longer tale, it likewise appears as the means by which humanity is able to conquer time by allowing the knowledge of today to live for multiple generations.

What is meant by the boldfaced expression “a chapter in this longer tale”?

Possible Answers:

A printed version of a former handwritten book

An interesting subspecies of history

A leaf of paper within a large tome

A part of a larger context

A selection from a history book

Correct answer:

A part of a larger context

Explanation:

This paragraph opens by stating that the printing press is "part of a larger story." This metaphor is then explained when the passage states that the printing press is like spoken and written communication in that it permits information to be shared from generation to generation. This is contrasted with the common idea of the importance of the printing press, namely that it allows for the printing of many books in a short period of time. Then, in the sentence in question, it is reconsidered "in the broader context" of speech and writing.

Example Question #21 : Determining Context Dependent Meanings Of Phrases And Clauses In Social Science Or History Passages

Adapted from Common Sense by Thomas Paine (1776)

Society in every state is a blessing, but government even in its best state is but a necessary evil, in its worst state an intolerable one; for when we suffer, or are exposed to the same miseries heightened by reflecting that we furnish the means by which we suffer. Government, like dress, is the badge of lost innocence; the palaces of kings are built on the ruins of the bowers of paradise. For were the impulses of conscience clear, uniform, and irresistibly obeyed, man would need no other lawgiver; but that not being the case, he finds it necessary to surrender up a part of his property to furnish means for the protection of the rest; and this he is induced to do by the same prudence that in every other case advises him out of two evils to choose the least. WHEREFORE, security being the true design and end of government, it unanswerably follows that whatever FORM thereof appears most likely to ensure it to us, with the least expense and greatest benefit, is preferable to all others. 

In order to gain a clear and just idea of the design and end of government, let us suppose a small number of persons settled in some sequestered part of the Earth, unconnected with the rest; they will then represent the first peopling of any country, or of the world. In this state of natural liberty, society will be their first thought. A thousand motives will excite them thereto, the strength of one man is so unequal to his wants, and his mind so unfitted for perpetual solitude, that he is soon obliged to seek assistance and relief of another, who in his turn requires the same. Four or five united would be able to raise a tolerable dwelling in the midst of a wilderness, but ONE man might labor out the common period of life without accomplishing any thing; when he had felled his timber he could not remove it, nor erect it after it was removed; hunger in the mean time would urge him from his work, and every different want call him a different way.

Which of the following best restates what is meant by the underlined phrase “security being the true design and end of government”?

Possible Answers:

the government, providing inadequate security

security having increased because of the government

the government having been designed solely for security

the government’s aim being security

the government making security necessary

Correct answer:

the government’s aim being security

Explanation:

Rearranging the indicated excerpt is a good first step towards accurately paraphrasing it: “the true design and end of government being security.” Here, “design and end” mean the same thing as “aim,” so the author is saying, “the government’s aim being security.” 

Example Question #1 : Analyzing Meaning, Purpose, And Effect Of Specified Text In Mixed Passages

Adapted from The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith (1776)

The greatest improvements in the productive powers of labor, and the greater part of the skill, dexterity, and judgment with which it is anywhere directed or applied, seem to have been the effects of the division of labor. The effects of the division of labor, in the general business of society, will be more easily understood by considering in what manner it operates in some particular manufactures. It is commonly supposed to be carried furthest in some very trifling ones; not perhaps that it really is carried further in them than in others of more importance, but in those trifling manufactures that are destined to supply the small wants of but a small number of people, the whole number of workmen must necessarily be small; and those employed in every different branch of the work can often be collected into the same workhouse, and placed at once under the view of the spectator.

In those great manufactures, on the contrary, which are destined to supply the great wants of the great body of the people, every different branch of the work employs so great a number of workmen that it is impossible to collect them all into the same workhouse. We can seldom see more, at one time, than those employed in one single branch. Though in such manufactures, therefore, the work may really be divided into a much greater number of parts, than in those of a more trifling nature, the division is not near so obvious, and has accordingly been much less observed.

To take an example, therefore, from a very trifling manufacture, but one in which the division of labor has been very often taken notice of: the trade of a pin-maker. A workman not educated to this business (which the division of labor has rendered a distinct trade), nor acquainted with the use of the machinery employed in it (to the invention of which the same division of labor has probably given occasion), could scarce, perhaps, with his utmost industry, make one pin in a day, and certainly could not make twenty. But in the way in which this business is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewise peculiar trades. One man draws out the wire; another straights it; a third cuts it; a fourth points it; a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head; to make the head requires two or three distinct operations; to put it on is a peculiar business; to whiten the pins is another; it is even a trade by itself to put them into the paper; and the important business of making a pin is, in this manner, divided into about eighteen distinct operations, which, in some manufactories, are all performed by distinct hands, though in others the same man will sometimes perform two or three of them.

In every other art and manufacture, the effects of the division of labour are similar to what they are in this very trifling one; though, in many of them, the labour can neither be so much subdivided, nor reduced to so great a simplicity of operation. The division of labour, however, so far as it can be introduced, occasions, in every art, a proportionable increase of the productive powers of labour. The separation of different trades and employments from one another, seems to have taken place, in consequence of this advantage.

By “peculiar trades” in the underlined sentence, the author means __________.

Possible Answers:

Strange exchanges

Singular deals

Necessary professions

Weird jobs

Unique tasks

Correct answer:

Unique tasks

Explanation:

The author uses the phrase “peculiar trades” in the third paragraph, stating, “But in the way in which this business [of pin-making] is now carried on, not only the whole work is a peculiar trade, but it is divided into a number of branches, of which the greater part are likewise peculiar trades.” This may not appear to narrow down your answer choices much at all, as “peculiar” can mean strange, weird, singular, or unique. It cannot mean “necessary,” so we can ignore that answer choice. At this point, you need to consider the context around the sentence in which the phrase is used. Before the sentence quoted earlier, the author writes, “One man draws out the wire; another straights it; a third cuts it; a fourth points it; a fifth grinds it at the top for receiving the head . . .” In doing so, he is listing out the specific, unique tasks involved in making pins on a large scale. Based on this context, we can tell that “peculiar trades” must mean “unique tasks” in the context of the passage.

Example Question #22 : Determining Context Dependent Meanings Of Phrases And Clauses In Social Science Or History Passages

Adapted from Maria Montessori's Dr. Montessori's Own Handbook (1914).

Recent years have seen a remarkable improvement in the conditions of child life. In all civilized countries, but especially in England, statistics show a decrease in infant mortality.

Related to this decrease in mortality a corresponding improvement is to be seen in the physical development of children; they are physically finer and more vigorous. It has been the diffusion, the popularization of science, which has brought about such notable advantages. Mothers have learned to welcome the dictates of modern hygiene and to put them into practice in bringing up their children. Many new social institutions have sprung up and have been perfected with the object of assisting children and protecting them during the period of physical growth.

In this way what is practically a new race is coming into being, a race more highly developed, finer and more robust; a race which will be capable of offering resistance to insidious disease.

What has science done to effect this? Science has suggested for us certain very simple rules by which the child has been restored as nearly as possible to conditions of a natural life, and an order and a guiding law have been given to the functions of the body. For example, it is science which suggested maternal feeding, the abolition of swaddling clothes, baths, life in the open air, exercise, simple short clothing, quiet and plenty of sleep. Rules were also laid down for the measurement of food adapting it rationally to the physiological needs of the child’s life.

Yet with all this, science made no contribution that was entirely new. Mothers had always nursed their children, children had always been clothed, they had breathed and eaten before.

The point is, that the same physical acts which, performed blindly and without order, led to disease and death, when ordered rationally were the means of giving strength and life.

The great progress made may perhaps deceive us into thinking that everything possible has been done for children.

We have only to weigh the matter carefully, however, to reflect: Are our children only those healthy little bodies which to-day are growing and developing so vigorously under our eyes? Is their destiny fulfilled in the production of beautiful human bodies?

In that case there would be little difference between their lot and that of the animals which we raise that we may have good meat or beasts of burden.

Man’s destiny is evidently other than this, and the care due to the child covers a field wider than that which is considered by physical hygiene. The mother who has given her child his bath and sent him in his perambulator to the park has not fulfilled the mission of the “mother of humanity.” The hen which gathers her chickens together, and the cat which licks her kittens and lavishes on them such tender care, differ in no wise from the human mother in the services they render.

No, the human mother if reduced to such limits devotes herself in vain, feels that a higher aspiration has been stifled within her. She is yet the mother of man.

Children must grow not only in the body but in the spirit, and the mother longs to follow the mysterious spiritual journey of the beloved one who to-morrow will be the intelligent, divine creation, man.

Science evidently has not finished its progress. On the contrary, it has scarcely taken the first step in advance, for it has hitherto stopped at the welfare of the body. It must continue, however, to advance; on the same positive lines along which it has improved the health and saved the physical life of the children, it is bound in the future to benefit and to reenforce their inner life, which is the real human life. On the same positive lines science will proceed to direct the development of the intelligence, of character, and of those latent creative forces which lie hidden in the marvelous embryo of man’s spirit.

When the author states, "The mother who has given her child his bath and sent him in his perambulator to the park has not fulfilled the mission of the “mother of humanity," she most closely means that __________.

Possible Answers:

mothers who focus on only the physical health of their children are failing to fulfill their children's true potential, as well as their own

in addition to caring for children, mothers should focus on developing their own lives and careers so that they are not confined to the home

mothers who spend too much time taking care of their own children are neglecting their wider duties to society at large

the spiritual concept of the "mother of humanity" impels us all to act with kindness and indulgence to our children

mothers who send their children away from the home for activities are not showing necessary dedication to their family

Correct answer:

mothers who focus on only the physical health of their children are failing to fulfill their children's true potential, as well as their own

Explanation:

Montessori states that "the care due to the child covers a field wider than that which is considered by physical hygiene." She also says "the human mother if reduced to such limits devotes herself in vain, feels that a higher aspiration has been stifled within her." This suggests that she believes being "reduced to such limits" as only taking care of children's physical hygiene does not fulfill mothers' or children's potential as human beings. The best answer choice is "Mothers who focus on only the physical health of their children are failing to fulfill their children's true potential as well as their own."

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