GED Language Arts (RLA) : Summary

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GED Language Arts (RLA)

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Main Idea

Adapted from "Review of Wyandotté, or The Hutted Knoll" by Edgar Allan Poe (1843)

The most obvious and most unaccountable faults of The Hutted Knoll are those which appertain to the style—to the mere grammatical construction; for, in other and more important particulars of style, Mr. Cooper, of late days, has made a very manifest improvement. His sentences, however, are arranged with an awkwardness so remarkable as to be matter of absolute astonishment, when we consider the education of the author and his long and continual practice with the pen. In minute descriptions of localities, any verbal inaccuracy or confusion becomes a source of vexation and misunderstanding, detracting very much from the pleasure of perusal; and in these inaccuracies Wyandotté abounds. Although, for instance, we carefully read and reread that portion of the narrative that details the situation of the Knoll, and the construction of the buildings and walls about it, we were forced to proceed with the story without any exact or definite impressions upon the subject. Similar difficulties, from similar causes, occur passim throughout the book. For example, at page 41, vol. I:

“The man gazed at the house with a fierce intentness that sometimes glared, in a manner that had got to be, in its ordinary aspects, dull.”  This it is utterly impossible to comprehend. We presume, however, the intention is to say that although the man’s ordinary manner (of gazing) had “got to be” dull, he occasionally gazed with an intentness that glared, and that he did so in the instance in question. The “got to be” is atrocious, the whole sentence no less so.

Here, at page 9, vol. I, is something excessively vague: “Of the latter character is the face of most of that region that lies in the angle formed by the junction of the Mohawk with the Hudson,” etc. etc. The Mohawk, joining the Hudson, forms two angles, of course—an acute and an obtuse one; and, without farther explanation, it is difficult to say which is intended.

At page 55, vol. I., we read: “The captain, owing to his English education, had avoided straight lines, and formal paths, giving to the little spot the improvement on nature which is a consequence of embellishing her works without destroying them. On each side of this lawn was an orchard, thrifty and young, and that were already beginning to show signs of putting forth their blossoms.”  Here we are tautologically informed that improvement is a consequence of embellishment, and supererogatorily told that the rule holds good only where the embellishment is not accompanied by destruction. Upon the “each orchard were" it is needless to comment.

Poe says that the biggest problem with Cooper's description of the Knoll is __________.

Possible Answers:

the description of the Knoll is too complex

Cooper spends too much time in the novel describing it

after many re-readings, the reader still can't get a mental picture of it

the reader has too clear a picture of what the Knoll looks like

Correct answer:

after many re-readings, the reader still can't get a mental picture of it


Poe suggests that even after multiple readings, it's hard for the reader to get a sense of what the Knoll really looks like.

Example Question #1 : Summary

Read the passage and answer the question below.

Dear Congressman Phillips,

I urge you to reconsider your closure of the shipyard. I'm a medical practitioner in the area, so I meet many of the men and women employed by the facility. Many of these people are living paycheck to paycheck, unable to afford regular medical care; any gap in their employment could be devastating. If you must see it economically, consider the tremendous cost to the taxpayers when these people must rely on public programs for assistance. I ask you to please keep this shipyard open.

Very truly yours, . . .


How would you summarize this passage?

Possible Answers:

The author wants the senator to visit the shipyard to see how efficiently it is running.

The author argues that shipyard workers don't make enough money.

The author wants shipyard workers to go on strike.

The author argues that closing the shipyard would result in mass unemployment that would burden public programs because these workers cannot afford to lose work. 

The author argues that shipyard workers shouldn't use public assistance programs because it's hard on the economy. 

Correct answer:

The author argues that closing the shipyard would result in mass unemployment that would burden public programs because these workers cannot afford to lose work. 


The summary should state that the author is asserting a point, or arguing for something, in this case for keeping a shipyard open because it's a massive source of jobs for the area.

Example Question #1 : Evidence And Argument

The isolation of every human soul and the necessity of self-dependence must give each individual the right to choose his own surroundings. The strongest reason for giving woman all the opportunities for higher education, for the full development of her faculties, her forces of mind and body; for giving her the most enlarged freedom of thought and action; a complete emancipation from all forms of bondage, of custom, dependence, superstition; from all the crippling influences of fear--is the solitude and personal responsibility of her own individual life. The strongest reason why we ask for woman a voice in the government under which she lives; in the religion she is asked to believe; equality in social life, where she is the chief factor; a place in the trades and professions, where she may earn her bread, is because of her birthright to self sovereignty; because, as an individual, she must rely on herself.

To throw obstacles in the way of a complete education is like putting out the eyes; to deny the rights of property is like cutting off the hands. To refuse political equality is to rob the ostracized of all self-respect, of credit in the market place, of recompense in the world of work, of a voice in choosing those who make and administer the law, a choice in the jury before whom they are tried, and in the judge who decides their punishment. Shakespeare's play of Titus and Andronicus contains a terrible satire on woman's position in the nineteenth century--"Rude men seized the king's daughter, cut out her tongue, cut off her hands, and then bade her go call for water and wash her hands." What a picture of woman's position! Robbed of her natural rights, handicapped by law and custom at every turn, yet compelled to fight her own battles, and in the emergencies of life to fall back on herself for protection.


What is the inherent cause-and-effect argument presented in this passage?

Possible Answers:

Denying women their basic human rights forces them to go to extreme measures to obtain them

Denying women their basic human rights leaves them unable to achieve their full potential as human beings

Allowing women their basic human rights will have no discernable affect on most societies

Allowing women their basic human rights would result in tremendous upheaval in most societies

Correct answer:

Denying women their basic human rights leaves them unable to achieve their full potential as human beings


Stanton clearly states that women are forced to achieve the same level of self-dependence as men, but are handicapped by a lack of access to basic rights. They are thus at an extreme disadvantage in achieving a sense of self-fulfillment.

Passage adapted from The Solitude of Self by Elizabeth Cady Stanton (1892)

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