All Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts Resources
Example Question #2 : Reading: Literature
Passage adapted from Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift (1726)
About four hours after we began our journey, I awaked by a very ridiculous accident; for the carriage being stopped a while, to adjust something that was out of order, two or three of the young natives had the curiosity to see how I looked when I was asleep; they climbed up into the engine, and advancing very softly to my face, one of them, an officer in the guards, put the sharp end of his half–pike a good way up into my left nostril, which tickled my nose like a straw, and made me sneeze violently; whereupon they stole off unperceived, and it was three weeks before I knew the cause of my waking so suddenly. We made a long march the remaining part of the day, and, rested at night with five hundred guards on each side of me, half with torches, and half with bows and arrows, ready to shoot me if I should offer to stir. The next morning at sun–rise we continued our march, and arrived within two hundred yards of the city gates about noon. The emperor, and all his court, came out to meet us; but his great officers would by no means suffer his majesty to endanger his person by mounting on my body.
At the place where the carriage stopped there stood an ancient temple, esteemed to be the largest in the whole kingdom; which, having been polluted some years before by an unnatural murder, was, according to the zeal of those people, looked upon as profane, and therefore had been applied to common use, and all the ornaments and furniture carried away. In this edifice it was determined I should lodge. The great gate fronting to the north was about four feet high, and almost two feet wide, through which I could easily creep. On each side of the gate was a small window, not above six inches from the ground: into that on the left side, the king's smith conveyed fourscore and eleven chains, like those that hang to a lady's watch in Europe, and almost as large, which were locked to my left leg with six–and–thirty padlocks. Over against this temple, on the other side of the great highway, at twenty feet distance, there was a turret at least five feet high. Here the emperor ascended, with many principal lords of his court, to have an opportunity of viewing me, as I was told, for I could not see them. It was reckoned that above a hundred thousand inhabitants came out of the town upon the same errand; and, in spite of my guards, I believe there could not be fewer than ten thousand at several times, who mounted my body by the help of ladders. But a proclamation was soon issued, to forbid it upon pain of death. When the workmen found it was impossible for me to break loose, they cut all the strings that bound me; whereupon I rose up, with as melancholy a disposition as ever I had in my life. But the noise and astonishment of the people, at seeing me rise and walk, are not to be expressed. The chains that held my left leg were about two yards long, and gave me not only the liberty of walking backwards and forwards in a semicircle, but, being fixed within four inches of the gate, allowed me to creep in, and lie at my full length in the temple.
When I found myself on my feet, I looked about me, and must confess I never beheld a more entertaining prospect. The country around appeared like a continued garden, and the enclosed fields, which were generally forty feet square, resembled so many beds of flowers. These fields were intermingled with woods of half a stang, and the tallest trees, as I could judge, appeared to be seven feet high. I viewed the town on my left hand, which looked like the painted scene of a city in a theatre.
I had been for some hours extremely pressed by the necessities of nature; which was no wonder, it being almost two days since I had last disburdened myself. I was under great difficulties between urgency and shame. The best expedient I could think of, was to creep into my house, which I accordingly did; and shutting the gate after me, I went as far as the length of my chain would suffer, and discharged my body of that uneasy load. But this was the only time I was ever guilty of so uncleanly an action; for which I cannot but hope the candid reader will give some allowance, after he has maturely and impartially considered my case, and the distress I was in. From this time my constant practice was, as soon as I rose, to perform that business in open air, at the full extent of my chain; and due care was taken every morning before company came, that the offensive matter should be carried off in wheel–barrows, by two servants appointed for that purpose. I would not have dwelt so long upon a circumstance that, perhaps, at first sight, may appear not very momentous, if I had not thought it necessary to justify my character, in point of cleanliness, to the world; which, I am told, some of my maligners have been pleased, upon this and other occasions, to call in question.
What is the purpose of the bolded and underlined section of the text?
To provide a metaphor for the narrator's captivity
To highlight the narrator's unfamiliar perspective using visual details
To provide a justification for the narrator's claims in the first paragraph
To highlight the narrator's exalted status in the community
To highlight the narrator's unfamiliar perspective using visual details
Here, you're being asked to analyze a highlighted paragraph of the text, and being asked to account not only for the purpose of that text, but also the manner in which it attempts to fulfill that purpose.
The best thing to do in order to answer this question is to read the paragraph over again very carefully, and decide for yourself what is happening, and what noteworthy narrative or literary techniques are being used. So, the main thing you should notice in this sentence is that it is descriptive, and that this description is rendered from the narrator's perspective. Thus, the nature and description of the visual details with which we are presented are both revealing of the setting and the narrator's relationship to that setting. The key here is the underlying thread of new-ness and wonder the narrator brings to his surroundings, suggested by word choice and phrase choices like: "I never beheld a more entertaining prospect." The long description of the town from the narrator's perspective serves to highlight his foreigners in the environment.
Example Question #4 : Reading: Literature
Which of the following rhetorical tools appears in the first stanza of the poem?
None of these
In reading passages and analyzing them, it extremely important to be aware of and capable of identifying then rhetorical tools that the author chooses to use in order to make their point. Remember, even non-informational texts like works of poetry or fiction will have a central point they are trying to make, and will employ the tools of rhetoric to make them.
First, let's start by making sure that we understand each of the given terms and if all of those terms are: A) real terms, and if they are B) applicable or logical terms for this text. After we've done this, we can then read the passage carefully, searching our remaining answer options in the text itself.
A "syllogism" is a structured logical argument in which a larger truth is logically applied to a particular situation. An example of a syllogism is as follows: "All Canadians are attractive. I am a Canadian, therefore I am attractive." So, is there any reason, in theory, that a syllogism could not be a major tool used in this passage? No, there isn't, we'll have to look through the passage to see if there are any syllogisms and how major a role they play if they are present.
An "analogy" is a comparison between two things, generally made in order to reveal a fundamental structural similarity. For instance, I could use an analogy about dogs who, having lived in one household their whole lives, are transplanted to a new home as an analogy for my experience as a Canadian relocating to the United States. Again, there is no reason to believe, out of hand, that this structure could not be a major one in the passage.
"Rhetorical questions" are questions whose intention is to make a point or support an argument, rather than to gain information or answers from the addressee. An example of this would be asking a child if it was nice of them to knock over a planter after the child had just done so. Here, you're trying to make the point that their actions were, in fact, not nice, you're not earnestly asking if vandalism is a kind gesture.
Right away, having read the passage you should have noted the abundant use of question marks in the first stanza of this poem; the last four lines all end in questions, and two of those lines contain two questions each! Now, are these questions sincere or are they rhetorical? (See what I did there?) Are we supposed to think that the speaker is really just asking us "what men or gods are these? What maidens loth?...What wild ecstasy?" or is he merely trying to convey a sense of wonder and curiosity by using this rhetorical tool?
The pure abundance of questions and their fairly straightforward rhetorical function makes "rhetorical questions" a safe (and correct) choice, even before you re-read the passage and see that the other options do not appear!