Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts : Cite Strong, Thorough Evidence to Support Textual Analysis and Inferences: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.9-10.1

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts

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All Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Reading: Literature

Passage adapted from Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1798)

There passed a weary time. Each throat
Was parched, and glazed each eye.
A weary time! a weary time!
How glazed each weary eye,
When looking westward, I beheld
A something in the sky.

At first it seemed a little speck,
And then it seemed a mist:
It moved and moved, and took at last
A certain shape, I wist.

A speck, a mist, a shape, I wist!
And still it neared and neared:
As if it dodged a water-sprite,
It plunged and tacked and veered.

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
We could not laugh nor wail;
Through utter drought all dumb we stood!
I bit my arm, I sucked the blood,
And cried, A sail! a sail!

With throats unslaked, with black lips baked,
Agape they heard me call:
Gramercy! they for joy did grin,
And all at once their breath drew in,
As they were drinking all.

See! see! (I cried) she tacks no more!
Hither to work us weal;
Without a breeze, without a tide,
She steadies with upright keel!

The western wave was all a-flame
The day was well nigh done!
Almost upon the western wave
Rested the broad bright Sun;
When that strange shape drove suddenly
Betwixt us and the Sun.

And straight the Sun was flecked with bars,
(Heaven's Mother send us grace!)
As if through a dungeon-grate he peered,
With broad and burning face.

Alas! (thought I, and my heart beat loud)
How fast she nears and nears!
Are those her sails that glance in the Sun,
Like restless gossameres!

Are those her ribs through which the Sun
Did peer, as through a grate?
And is that Woman all her crew?
Is that a DEATH? and are there two?
Is DEATH that woman's mate?

Her lips were red, her looks were free,
Her locks were yellow as gold:
Her skin was as white as leprosy,
The Night-Mare LIFE-IN-DEATH was she,
Who thicks man's blood with cold.

The naked hulk alongside came,
And the twain were casting dice;
"The game is done! I've won! I've won!"
Quoth she, and whistles thrice.

The Sun's rim dips; the stars rush out:
At one stride comes the dark;
With far-heard whisper, o'er the sea.
Off shot the spectre-bark.

Which of the given options is the best evidence for the claim that the narrator and his shipmates have been at sea for a long time?

Possible Answers:

The use of archaic diction

The repeated mentions of the sun's relative position in the sky

None of these

The repetition of "weary" in the opening stanzas 

Correct answer:

The repetition of "weary" in the opening stanzas 


This question asks you to find the best textual evidence in the passage to support the given claim that the narrator and his shipmates have been at sea for a long time.

Since the potential evidence is given to us as examples, let's start by checking out all of our options.

Firstly, the passage does, indeed, use archaic diction (archaic diction means old-fashioned language), but does archaic diction alone suggest that the seamen have been out a long time? Not really, within the fictional world of the poem old-fashioned language does nothing to suggest the amount of time that has passed for the characters.

The relative position of the sun in the sky is, indeed, a way to tell if time is passing, but there's not suggestion of the sun's relative position, meaning we don't see it start in one spot and move, which is how you tell time using the sun. Not to mention, the sun is obscured by the end of the passage.

So, having eliminated these options we're left with either "none of these" or "the repetition of 'weary'" as our options. Well, the very word "weary" suggests that enough time has passed for the sailors to have become extremely tired. The specific repletion of this word, which carries the implication of time passing, certainly acts as solid evidence to support the claim that a great deal of time has passed for the sailors at sea.

Example Question #1 : Reading: Literature

Adapted from John Keats' "Ode on a Grecian Urn" (1819)
Thou still unravish'd bride of quietness, 
       Thou foster-child of silence and slow time, 
Sylvan historian, who canst thus express 
       A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: 
What leaf-fring'd legend haunts about thy shape 
       Of deities or mortals, or of both, 
               In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? 
       What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? 
What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? 
               What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? 
Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard 
       Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; 
Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, 
       Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: 
Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave 
       Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; 
               Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, 
Though winning near the goal yet, do not grieve; 
       She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, 
               For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! 
Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed 
         Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; 
And, happy melodist, unwearied, 
         For ever piping songs for ever new; 
More happy love! more happy, happy love! 
         For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, 
                For ever panting, and for ever young; 
All breathing human passion far above, 
         That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, 
                A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. 
Who are these coming to the sacrifice? 
         To what green altar, O mysterious priest, 
Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, 
         And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? 
What little town by river or sea shore, 
         Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, 
                Is emptied of this folk, this pious morn? 
And, little town, thy streets for evermore 
         Will silent be; and not a soul to tell 
                Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. 
O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede 
         Of marble men and maidens overwrought, 
With forest branches and the trodden weed; 
         Thou, silent form, dost tease us out of thought 
As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! 
         When old age shall this generation waste, 
                Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe 
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, 
         "Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all 
                Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."

Which of the following is the best evidence to support the claim that the author uses an insistent tone throughout the text?

Possible Answers:

The heavy use of irony

The use of the second person

The heavy use of rhetorical questions

The heavy use of classical reference and analogy

Correct answer:

The heavy use of rhetorical questions


This is an evidence question; it starts with an assertion about the text's tone and then asks you to select, from the given options, the textual element that BEST supports the claim. The claim given in the answer choices, which you are being asked to support, its that the author's tone is "insistent." So, the first thing you need to establish is a clear understanding of what an "insistent tone" would actually entail. To "insist" on something is to ask for something repeatedly and forcefully. An insistent tone is one that presses a point.

So, looking at our options, the use of the second person and repeated rhetorical questions could all, in theory, signal an insistent tone in a text. The use of classical references (referring to Ancient Greek and Roman mythology and culture) has little to do with a tone of this kind. This poem is quite sincere, as opposed to ironic, and in either case irony has little to do with insistence.

Now, let's turn our attention to the actual passage: are repetition, rhetorical questions, and the second person all in use? "Thou" stands for "you," so there is direct address at play, and we see many, many rhetorical questions. The repetition of the question structure, and the density with which those questions are delivered in the first stanza of the text clearly form the best evidence of an insistent tone.

All Common Core: 10th Grade English Language Arts Resources

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