LSAT Reading : Analyzing Humanities Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Questions

Example Question #61 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from Deeds of a Great Railway by G. R. S. Darroch (1920)

August 4th, 1914, was not fated after all, as we know, to be a day of disaster. That it was not so is perhaps attributable in the main to two causes. "Miraculous" is the manner in which escape from disaster has been described; but the miracle was performed primarily and essentially by the loss of those "many thousands of brave men whose sacrifice we deplore, while we regard their splendid gallantry and self-devotion with unstinted admiration and gratitude." A secondary, but by no means inconsiderable, cause contributory to the successful working of the miracle lay in the fact that we did possess the "order," the "certainty," in regard to moving that part of the army detailed for home defense, and of the six divisions of which the original Expeditionary Force was composed, and which were flung across the Channel to assist in stemming the initial German onrush. And it is with regard to this "order," this "certainty," and the attendant successful working of the railways that the ensuing pages are concerned.

We have already traced in some degree of detail the antecedents of the Railway Executive Committee, that body of distinguished civilian railway experts, who, from the time that the government assumed, under provisions of the Act of 1871, nominal control of the railways, became, and throughout the war remained, responsible to the government for the maintenance and the efficient working of the entire railway systems of the British Isles; and in order to acquire some insight into the amazing and complex detail involved in this efficient working, we cannot very well do better than probe a few of the more salient facts concerning the London and North-Western Railway, which, on the outbreak of hostilities, and appropriately enough, was deputed to act as the "Secretary" Company to the Western and Eastern Commands and afterwards to the Central Force.

In a report dated October 1st, 1914, Mr. L. W. Horne, secretary to the "Secretary" Company to the Commands previously mentioned, describes the measures that were adopted both prior to and during mobilization, in conformity with the War Office program.

Owing to the "very drastic alterations in the mobilization time tables" made by the War Office, a staff was specially appointed to deal with the matter, and as a result of herculean efforts, "on mobilization being ordered, not only was our scheme complete, but time tables and sheets numbering many thousands were ready for immediate issue."

Special troop trains were "signaled by a special code of 4-4-4 beats," this code signifying "precedence over all other trains," ordinary passenger service being curtailed as occasion demanded. Seven hundred and fifty-one special trains were required for the "large quantities of stores, equipment, etc.," and "in order to ensure that such consignments should be worked forward without delay," it was agreed that "they should be given 'Perishable transit.'"

As will doubtless be within the memory of most of us, on August 3rd, 1914, Sir Edward Grey was in a position to inform the House that "the mobilization of the Fleet has taken place.” The credit for the promptitude of this precautionary measure was in due course claimed by Mr. Winston Churchill, and resulted shortly afterwards in the resignation from his post as a Lord Commissioner of the Admiralty of Prince Louis of Battenberg, eldest son of Prince Alexander of Hesse, Germany. The message spontaneously addressed by His Majesty the King to Admiral Sir John Jellicoe ran, "I send you, and through you to the officers and men of the Fleets . . . the assurance of my confidence that under your direction they will revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy, and prove once again the sure shield of Britain." To enable officers and men to "revive and renew the old glories of the Royal Navy," coal, not canvas, was needed, this entailing the provision forthwith of six hundred and fifty-one special trains for the conveyance of approximately 150,000 tons of Admiralty coal from the South Wales collieries to certain points on the East Coast.

The author most likely refers to coal in the underlined sentence in order to do what?

Possible Answers:

To show where the coal was coming from

To show the need for extra coal

To show that coal had to be used instead of oil as importing fuel by ship was dangerous

To show that trains were not just needed for troops

To show that all parts of the country were involved in the war effort

Correct answer:

To show that trains were not just needed for troops

Explanation:

The author writes, “coal, not canvas, was needed, this entailing the provision forthwith of six hundred and fifty-one special trains for the conveyance of approximately 150,000 tons of Admiralty coal from the South Wales collieries to certain points on the East Coast.” Here, he is referring to coal in order to show that trains were needed by the military for more purposes than just assisting with troop movement. While some of the other answers could be considered as correct, you must answer based on the main crux of the passage, which is the railways.

Example Question #62 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals by David Hume (1777)

We may observe that, in displaying the praises of any humane, beneficent man, there is one circumstance that never fails to be amply insisted on, namely, the happiness and satisfaction derived to society from his intercourse and good offices. To his parents, we are apt to say, he endears himself by his pious attachment and duteous care still more than by the connections of nature. His children never feel his authority but when employed for their advantage. With him, the ties of love are consolidated by beneficence and friendship. The ties of friendship approach, in a fond observance of each obliging office, to those of love and inclination. His domestics and dependents have in him a sure resource and no longer dread the power of fortune but so far as she exercises it over him. From him the hungry receive food, the naked clothing, the ignorant and slothful skill and industry. Like the sun, an inferior minister of providence he cheers, invigorates, and sustains the surrounding world.

If confined to private life, the sphere of his activity is narrower, but his influence is all benign and gentle. If exalted into a higher station, mankind and posterity reap the fruit of his labors.

As these topics of praise never fail to be employed, and with success, where we would inspire esteem for any one, may it not thence be concluded that the utility resulting from the social virtues forms at least a PART of their merit, and is one source of that approbation and regard so universally paid to them?

When we recommend even an animal or a plant as USEFUL and BENEFICIAL, we give it an applause and recommendation suited to its nature. As, on the other hand, reflection on the baneful influence of any of these inferior beings always inspires us with the sentiment of aversion. The eye is pleased with the prospect of corn fields and loaded vineyards, horses grazing, and flocks pasturing, but flies the view of briars and brambles, affording shelter to wolves and serpents.

A machine, a piece of furniture, a vestment, a house well contrived for use and convenience, is so far beautiful, and is contemplated with pleasure and approbation. An experienced eye is here sensible to many excellencies, which escape persons ignorant and uninstructed.

Can anything stronger be said in praise of a profession, such as merchandize or manufacture, than to observe the advantages which it procures to society? And is not a monk and inquisitor enraged when we treat his order as useless or pernicious to mankind?

The historian exults in displaying the benefit arising from his labors. The writer of romance alleviates or denies the bad consequences ascribed to his manner of composition.

In general, what praise is implied in the simple epithet USEFUL! What reproach in the contrary!

Your Gods, says Cicero [De Nat. Deor. lib. i.], in opposition to the Epicureans, cannot justly claim any worship or adoration, with whatever imaginary perfections you may suppose them endowed. They are totally useless and inactive. Even the Egyptians, whom you so much ridicule, never consecrated any animal but on account of its utility.

The skeptics assert [Sext. Emp. adrersus Math. lib. viii.], though absurdly, that the origin of all religious worship was derived from the utility of inanimate objects, as the sun and moon, to the support the well-being of mankind. This is also the common reason assigned by historians, for the deification of eminent heroes and legislators [Diod. Sic. passim.].

To plant a tree, to cultivate a field, to beget children—meritorious acts, according to the religion of Zoroaster.

In all determinations of morality, this circumstance of public utility is ever principally in view; and wherever disputes arise, either in philosophy or common life, concerning the bounds of duty, the question cannot, by any means, be decided with greater certainty than by ascertaining, on any side, the true interests of mankind. If any false opinion, embraced from appearances, has been found to prevail, as soon as farther experience and sounder reasoning have given us more just notions of human affairs, we retract our first sentiment, and adjust anew the boundaries of moral good and evil.

Giving alms to common beggars is naturally praised because it seems to carry relief to the distressed and indigent, but when we observe the encouragement thence arising to idleness and debauchery, we regard that species of charity rather as a weakness than a virtue.

The author most likely refers to Cicero in order to __________.

Possible Answers:

include an assertion only tangentially related to his overall argument

demonstrate his knowledge of Cicero

show that the issue of utility is a contemporary one

divide sentiment about the subjects of Romans and Egyptians

root a sense of utility in historical arguments about religion and morality

Correct answer:

root a sense of utility in historical arguments about religion and morality

Explanation:

By mentioning Cicero, the author is most likely basing the idea of utility in historical arguments. He talks about the Romans and Egyptians as a base for his argument, which then carries on to Zoroastrians. He is using the reference to Cicero to show that the idea of religious morality being in line with utility has been ever present, which provides validation for his argument.

Example Question #63 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle (1843)

How true, for example, is that other old Fable of the Sphinx, who sat by the wayside, propounding her riddle to the passengers, which if they could not answer she destroyed them! Such a Sphinx is this Life of ours, to all men and societies of men. Nature, like the Sphinx, is of womanly celestial loveliness and tenderness; the face and bosom of a goddess, but ending in claws and the body of a lioness. There is in her a celestial beauty,— which means celestial order, pliancy to wisdom; but there is also a darkness, a ferocity, fatality, which are infernal. And does she not propound her riddles to us? Of each man she asks daily, in mild voice, yet with a terrible significance, “Do you know the meaning of this Day? What can you do Today, or wisely attempt to do?” Nature, Universe, Destiny, Existence, howsoever we name this grand unnameable Fact in the midst of which we live and struggle, is as a heavenly bride to the wise and brave, to them who can discern her behests and do them; a destroying fiend to them who cannot.

With Nations it is as with individuals: Can they rede the riddle of Destiny? This English Nation, will it get to know the meaning of its strange new Today? Is there sense enough extant, discoverable anywhere or anyhow, in our united twenty-seven million heads to discern the same; valor enough in our twenty-seven million hearts to dare and do the bidding thereof? It will be seen!

The secret of gold Midas, which he with his long ears never could discover, was that he had offended the Supreme Powers—that he had parted company with the eternal inner Facts of this Universe, and followed the transient outer Appearances thereof. Properly it is the secret of all unhappy men and unhappy nations. Had they known Nature's right truth, Nature's right truth would have made them free; but they have forgotten the right Inner True, and taken up with the Outer Sham-true. They answer the Sphinx's question wrong.

Foolish men imagine that because judgment for an evil thing is delayed, there is no justice, but an accidental one, here below. Judgment for an evil thing is many times delayed some day or two, some century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death! In the center of the world-whirlwind, verily now as in the oldest days, dwells and speaks a god. The great soul of the world is just. O brother, can it be needful now at this late epoch of experience to remind thee of such a fact; which all manner of old Pagan Romans, Scythians, and heathen Greeks, and indeed more or less all men, have managed at one time to see into; nay which thou thyself, till redtape philosophy strangled the inner life of thee, hadst once some inkling of: that there is justice here below, and even, at bottom, that there is nothing else but justice! Forget that, thou hast forgotten all. Success will never more attend thee: how can it now? Thou hast the whole Universe against thee.

Which of the following is most likely the author's reason for listing some ancient civilizations in the fourth paragraph?

Possible Answers:

To show that they too had a god at the center of their worlds who would judge only the most foolish.

To criticize them as foolish people, who, like the person being addressed in the paragraph, were mistaken in their beliefs.

To outline the author's belief that they were mistaken in their religious idolatry.

To show that they believed judgement for their wrongs was delayed so justice was only accidental to them.

To elaborate on the fact that, despite their beliefs that the author thinks are inaccurate, they understood the natural system of justice.

Correct answer:

To elaborate on the fact that, despite their beliefs that the author thinks are inaccurate, they understood the natural system of justice.

Explanation:

The mention of ancient civilizations in the passage is mainly to argue against those who the author deems “foolish men.” The author is attempting to draw a comparison between those who ignore what he sees as divine order in the world and those who, despite their potentially mistaken beliefs, knew that there was a divine judgement of their actions. The key point in the answer is the capitalization of the word “Nature”; a capitalization of this kind in writing usually suggests links to “God” or “the Divine.”

Example Question #64 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from Past and Present by Thomas Carlyle (1843)

How true, for example, is that other old Fable of the Sphinx, who sat by the wayside, propounding her riddle to the passengers, which if they could not answer she destroyed them! Such a Sphinx is this Life of ours, to all men and societies of men. Nature, like the Sphinx, is of womanly celestial loveliness and tenderness; the face and bosom of a goddess, but ending in claws and the body of a lioness. There is in her a celestial beauty,— which means celestial order, pliancy to wisdom; but there is also a darkness, a ferocity, fatality, which are infernal. And does she not propound her riddles to us? Of each man she asks daily, in mild voice, yet with a terrible significance, “Do you know the meaning of this Day? What can you do Today, or wisely attempt to do?” Nature, Universe, Destiny, Existence, howsoever we name this grand unnameable Fact in the midst of which we live and struggle, is as a heavenly bride to the wise and brave, to them who can discern her behests and do them; a destroying fiend to them who cannot.

With Nations it is as with individuals: Can they rede the riddle of Destiny? This English Nation, will it get to know the meaning of its strange new Today? Is there sense enough extant, discoverable anywhere or anyhow, in our united twenty-seven million heads to discern the same; valor enough in our twenty-seven million hearts to dare and do the bidding thereof? It will be seen!

The secret of gold Midas, which he with his long ears never could discover, was that he had offended the Supreme Powers—that he had parted company with the eternal inner Facts of this Universe, and followed the transient outer Appearances thereof. Properly it is the secret of all unhappy men and unhappy nations. Had they known Nature's right truth, Nature's right truth would have made them free; but they have forgotten the right Inner True, and taken up with the Outer Sham-true. They answer the Sphinx's question wrong.

Foolish men imagine that because judgment for an evil thing is delayed, there is no justice, but an accidental one, here below. Judgment for an evil thing is many times delayed some day or two, some century or two, but it is sure as life, it is sure as death! In the center of the world-whirlwind, verily now as in the oldest days, dwells and speaks a god. The great soul of the world is just. O brother, can it be needful now at this late epoch of experience to remind thee of such a fact; which all manner of old Pagan Romans, Scythians, and heathen Greeks, and indeed more or less all men, have managed at one time to see into; nay which thou thyself, till redtape philosophy strangled the inner life of thee, hadst once some inkling of: that there is justice here below, and even, at bottom, that there is nothing else but justice! Forget that, thou hast forgotten all. Success will never more attend thee: how can it now? Thou hast the whole Universe against thee.

Which of the following purposes does the author's description of Nature in the underlined selection serve?

Possible Answers:

To include an image that, in its argumentative context, supports the advancement of women's rights

To introduce the concept of Nature as being able to either harm or help one based on one's ability to comprehend it

To begin outlining the commonalities found between ancient Egyptian culture and the English culture of the author's day

To introduce a figurative representation of his opponents' arguments

To cast the image of the Nature in a negative light

Correct answer:

To introduce the concept of Nature as being able to either harm or help one based on one's ability to comprehend it

Explanation:

The author compares Nature to the Sphinx and in elaborating upon this comparison, draws numerous binary divisions: in the first sentence, the Sphinx's body, half woman and half lion, is contrasted, while in the second sentence, Nature's "celestial beauty" of each is compared to her opposing quality of "a darkness, a ferocity, fatality, which are infernal." At the end of the paragraph, the author notes that Nature "is as a heavenly bride and conquest to the wise and brave, to them who can discern her behests and do them; a destroying fiend to them who cannot." So, the contrasting descriptions of Nature found earlier in the paragraph in the underlined selection serves to introduce Nature as a combination of opposites, and thus as able to help or hinder one based on one's ability to comprehend it.

Example Question #65 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson in The Oxford Book of American Essays (1914)

It is natural to believe in great men. If the companions of our childhood should turn out to be heroes, and their condition regal, it would not surprise us. All mythology opens with demigods, and the circumstance is high and poetic; that is, their genius is paramount. In the legends of the Gautama, the first men ate the earth, and found it deliciously sweet.

Nature seems to exist for the excellent. The world is upheld by the veracity of good men: they make the earth wholesome. They who lived with them found life glad and nutritious. Life is sweet and tolerable only in our belief in such society, and actually or ideally we manage to live with superiors. We call our children and our lands by their names. Their names are wrought into the verbs of language, their works and effigies are in our houses, and every circumstance of the day recalls an anecdote of them.

The search after the great is the dream of youth and the most serious occupation of manhood. We travel into foreign parts to find his works—if possible, to get a glimpse of him. But we are put off with fortune instead. You say the English are practical; the Germans are hospitable; in Valencia the climate is delicious; and in the hills of the Sacramento there is gold for the gathering. Yes, but I do not travel to find comfortable, rich, and hospitable people, or clear sky, or ingots that cost too much. But if there were any magnet that would point to the countries and houses where are the persons who are intrinsically rich and powerful, I would sell all, and buy it, and put myself on the road today.

The people go with us on their credit. The knowledge that in the city is a man who invented the railroad raises the credit of all the citizens. But enormous populations, if they be beggars, are disgusting, like moving cheese, like hills of ants or of fleas—the more, the worse.

Our religion is the love and cherishing of these patrons. The gods of fable are the shining moments of great men. We run all our vessels into one mould. Our colossal theologies of Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam, are the necessary and structural action of the human mind. The student of history is like a man going into a warehouse to buy clothes or carpets. He fancies he has a new article. If he goes to the factory, he shall find that his new stuff still repeats the scrolls and rosettes which are found on the interior walls of the pyramids of Thebes. Our theism is the purification of the human mind. Man can paint, or make, or think nothing but man. He believes that the great material elements had their origin from his thought. And our philosophy finds one essence collected or distributed.

Other men are lenses through which we read our own minds. I count him a great man who inhabits a higher sphere of thought, into which other men rise with labor and difficulty; he has but to open his eyes to see things in a true light, and in large relations, whilst they must make painful corrections and keep a vigilant eye on many sources of error. His service to us is of like sort. It costs a beautiful person no exertion to paint his or her image on our eyes; yet how splendid is that benefit! It costs no more for a wise soul to convey his quality to other men. And everyone can do his best thing easiest. He is great who is what he is from nature, and who never reminds us of others.

The author most likely refers to the Gautama in order to do what?

Possible Answers:

To highlight his previous point on genius

To show that the first men were geniuses

To root his argument in culture

To point out the ridiculous nature of past beliefs

To offer a new interpretation of the story of the Gautama

Correct answer:

To highlight his previous point on genius

Explanation:

The author mentions the Gautama in order to emphasize his point about greatness in society made in the previous sentence, as we can see here: “All mythology opens with demigods, and the circumstance is high and poetic; that is, their genius is paramount. In the legends of the Gautama, the first men ate the earth, and found it deliciously sweet.” Whether we interpret the eating of dirt to be genius or an example of the need for greatness to lead us from our foolishness, it is obvious that this is an emphasis of the author's argument. We could also see this is clearly the right answer by eliminating the other answers based on the fact that they are not justified by the text.

Example Question #66 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from The Monk by Matthew Lewis (1796)

The monks having attended their abbot to the door of his cell, he dismissed them with an air of conscious superiority in which humility's semblance combated with the reality of pride. He was no sooner alone, than he gave free loose to the indulgence of his vanity. When he remembered the enthusiasm that his discourse had excited, pride told him loudly that he was superior to the rest of his fellow-creatures.

“Who,” thought he; “Who but myself has passed the ordeal of youth, yet sees no single stain upon his conscience? Who else has subdued the violence of strong passions and an impetuous temperament, and submitted even from the dawn of life to voluntary retirement? I seek for such a man in vain. I see no one but myself possessed of such resolution. Religion cannot boast Ambrosio's equal! How powerful an effect did my discourse produce upon its auditors! How they loaded me with benedictions, and pronounced me the sole uncorrupted stalwart of the church! What then now is left for me to do? Nothing, but to watch as carefully over the conduct of my brothers as I have hitherto watched over my own. Yet hold! May I not be tempted from those paths which till now I have pursued without one moment's wandering? I must now abandon the solitude of my retreat; the fairest and noblest dames of Madrid continually present themselves at the abbey, and will use no other confessor. Should I meet some lovely female in that world that I am constrained to enter, lovely . . . as you, Madonna . . . !”

As he said this, he fixed his eyes upon a picture of the Virgin, which was suspended opposite to him. This for two years had been the object of his increasing wonder and adoration. He paused, and gazed upon it with delight.

“What beauty in that countenance!” He continued after a silence of some minutes. “Oh! If such a creature existed, and existed but for me! Gracious God, should I then resist the temptation? Should I not barter for a single embrace the reward of my sufferings for thirty years? Should I not abandon . . . Fool that I am! Whither do I suffer my admiration of this picture to hurry me? Away, impure ideas! Let me remember that woman is forever lost to me. Never was mortal formed so perfect as this picture. But even did such exist, the trial might be too mighty for a common virtue, but Ambrosio's is proof against temptation. Temptation, did I say? To me it would be none. It is not the woman's beauty that fills me with such enthusiasm; it is the painter's skill that I admire, it is the divinity that I adore! Are not the passions dead in my bosom? Have I not freed myself from the frailty of mankind? Fear not, Ambrosio! Take confidence in the strength of your virtue.”

Here his reverie was interrupted by three soft knocks at the door of his cell. With difficulty did the abbot awake from his delirium. The knocking was repeated.

“Who is there?” said Ambrosio at length.

“It is only Rosario,” replied a gentle voice.

“Enter! Enter, my son!”

The door was immediately opened, and Rosario appeared with a small basket in his hand.

Rosario was a young novice belonging to the monastery, who in three months intended to make his profession. A sort of mystery enveloped this youth, which rendered him at once an object of interest and curiosity.

Which one of the following statements describes an example of the function accorded to the painting in the passage?

Possible Answers:

A religious idol whose purpose has changed from an image of purity to a reminder of impurity over the course of two years

The instrument in the destruction of a reluctant man

An image that was misconstrued by the painter and is bringing adverse affects due to this error

The destruction of a religious image by a man who resents its presence and purpose

An image of an important biblical figure that is misinterpreted by everyone who sees it

Correct answer:

A religious idol whose purpose has changed from an image of purity to a reminder of impurity over the course of two years

Explanation:

To say this is “the instrument in the destruction of a reluctant man” would be to presume too much from the text. Likewise, we cannot say that Ambrosio resents the image or that he destroys it with his passions. We also cannot say the image was misconstrued by the painter as the painter is not mentioned; granted, you could argue that the image was misconstrued in that it invokes the wrong sensations in the people who view it, but this could be interpreted as the fault of the painter or the onlooker. We can say that the statement "A religious idol whose purpose has changed from an image of purity to a reminder of impurity over the course of two years" is correct because not only does it contain factual information in the form of years, but it also shows the intentional juxtaposition of the Virgin and the desired image.

Example Question #1 : Evaluating Evidence And Examples

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

Change is a law of life, and the development of society a natural growth. Although to this law we owe the discoveries of unknown worlds, the inventions of machinery, swifter modes of travel, and clearer ideas as to the value of human life and thought, yet each successive change has met with the most determined opposition. Fortunately, progress is not the result of pre-arranged plans of individuals, but is born of a fortuitous combination of circumstances that compel certain results, overcoming the natural inertia of mankind. There is a certain enjoyment in habitual sluggishness; in rising each morning with the same ideas as the night before; in retiring each night with the thoughts of the morning. This inertia of mind and body has ever held the multitude in chains. Thousands have thus surrendered their most sacred rights of conscience. In all periods of human development, thinking has been punished as a crime, which is reason sufficient to account for the general passive resignation of the masses to their conditions and environments.

Again, "subjection to the powers that be" has been the lesson of both church and state, throttling science, checking invention, crushing free thought, persecuting and torturing those who have dared to speak or act outside of established authority. Anathemas and the stake have upheld the church, banishment and the scaffold the throne, and the freedom of mankind has ever been sacrificed to the idea of protection. So entirely has the human will been enslaved in all classes of society in the past, that monarchs have humbled themselves to popes, nations have knelt at the feet of monarchs, and individuals have sold themselves to others under the subtle promise of "protection"—a word that simply means release from all responsibility, all use of one's own faculties—a word that has ever blinded people to its true significance. Under authority and this false promise of "protection," certain beliefs have been inculcated, certain crimes invented, in order to intimidate the masses. Hence, the church made free thought the worst of sins, and the spirit of inquiry the worst of blasphemies; while the state proclaimed her temporal power of divine origin, and all rebellion high treason alike to God and the king, to be speedily and severely punished. In this union of church and state mankind touched the lowest depth of degradation.

All these influences fell with crushing weight on woman; more sensitive, helpless, and imaginative, she suffered a thousand fears and wrongs where man did one. Lecky, in his "History of Rationalism in Europe," shows that the vast majority of the victims of fanaticism and witchcraft, burned, drowned, and tortured, were women. Society, including our systems of jurisprudence, civil and political theories, trade, commerce, education, religion, friendships, and family life, have all been framed on the sole idea of man's rights. Hence, he takes upon himself the responsibility of directing and controlling the powers of woman, under that all-sufficient excuse of tyranny, "divine right."

The people who demand authority for every thought and action, who look to others for wisdom and protection, are those who perpetuate tyranny. The thinkers and actors who find their authority within, are those who inaugurate freedom. Obedience to outside authority to which woman has everywhere been trained, has not only dwarfed her capacity, but made her a retarding force in civilization, recognized at last by statesmen as a dangerous element to free institutions. Hence, in the scientific education of woman, in the training of her faculties to independent thought and logical reasoning, lies the hope of the future.

The author uses the work of Lecky to reinforce which part of her argument?

Possible Answers:

That women were afforded significantly less respect in Medieval Europe and were often associated with heresy and demonic behavior

That the treatment of women in Medieval Europe is representative of the manner in which man has always tried to control woman

That there is no such thing as religious truth, and religion is simply a tool to control the masses and keep women subjugated

That women are incapable of protecting themselves from the evils of mankind without the combined efforts of every woman working together

That women have suffered far more than men as a result of religious persecution and religion’s desire to undermine the growth of the masses

Correct answer:

That women have suffered far more than men as a result of religious persecution and religion’s desire to undermine the growth of the masses

Explanation:

In the paragraph before she references Lecky, the author discusses the negative impact organized religion has had on the role of women in society. In addition, prior to mentioning Lecky's work, the author states, “All these influences fell with crushing weight on woman; more sensitive, helpless, and imaginative, she suffered a thousand fears and wrongs where man did one.” Then, when discussing Lecky's work, the author says “Lecky, in his History of Rationalism in Europe, shows that the vast majority of the victims of fanaticism and witchcraft, burned, drowned, and tortured, were women.” The author thus uses Lecky to reinforce her argument that women have suffered far more than men as a result of religious persecution.

Example Question #67 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from English Literature: Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World by William J. Long (1909)

Coleridge left Cambridge in 1794 without taking his degree, and presently we find him with the youthful Southey—a kindred spirit who had been fired to wild enthusiasm by the French Revolution—founding his famous Pantisocracy for the regeneration of human society. "The Fall of Robespierre," a poem composed by the two enthusiasts, is full of the new revolutionary spirit. The Pantisocracy was to be an ideal community that combined farming and literature; work was to be limited to two hours each day. Moreover, each member of the community was to marry a good woman and take her with him. The two poets obeyed the latter injunction first, marrying two sisters, and then found that they had no money to pay even their traveling expenses to the new utopia.

During all the rest of his career a tragic weakness of will takes possession of Coleridge, making it impossible for him, with all his genius and learning, to hold himself steadily to any one work or purpose. He studied in Germany; worked as a private secretary, till the drudgery wore upon his free spirit; then he went to Rome and remained for two years, lost in study. Later he started The Friend, a paper devoted to truth and liberty; lectured on poetry and the fine arts to enraptured audiences in London, until his frequent failures to meet his engagements scattered his hearers; was offered an excellent position and a half interest (amounting to some £2000) in the Morning Post and The Courier, but declined it, saying "that I would not give up the country and the lazy reading of old folios for two thousand times two thousand pounds—in short, that beyond £350 a year I considered money a real evil.” His family, meanwhile, was almost entirely neglected; he lived apart, following his own way. Needing money, he was on the point of becoming a Unitarian minister, when a small pension from two friends enabled him to live for a few years without regular employment.

A terrible shadow in Coleridge's life was the apparent cause of most of his dejection. In early life he suffered from neuralgia, and to ease the pain began to use opiates. The result on such a temperament was almost inevitable. He became a slave to the drug habit; his naturally weak will lost all its directing and sustaining force, until, after fifteen years of pain and struggle and despair, he gave up and put himself in charge of a physician, one Mr. Gillman of Highgate. Carlyle, who visited him at this time, calls him "a king of men," but records that "he gave you the idea of a life that had been full of sufferings, a life heavy-laden, half-vanquished."

The shadow is dark indeed; but there are gleams of sunshine that occasionally break through the clouds. One of these is his association with Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, out of which came the famous Lyrical Ballads of 1798. Another was his loyal devotion to poetry for its own sake. With the exception of his tragedy Remorse, for which he was paid £400, he received almost nothing for his poetry. Indeed, he seems not to have desired it; for he says: "Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward; it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude, and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me." One can better understand his exquisite verse after such a declaration. A third ray of sunlight came from the admiration of his contemporaries; for though he wrote comparatively little, he was by his talents and learning a leader among literary men. Wordsworth says of him that, though other men of the age had done some wonderful things, Coleridge was the only wonderful man he had ever known. Of his conversation it is recorded: "Throughout a long-drawn summer's day would this man talk to you in low, equable but clear and musical tones, concerning things human and divine; marshaling all history, harmonizing all experiment, probing the depths of your consciousness, and revealing visions of glory and terror to the imagination."

Which of the following is most likely the reason why the author refers to Coleridge's rejection of a beneficial position?

Possible Answers:

To show he was stubborn

To show he was not reliant on money

To show he had little sense of gratitude

To show his high sense of moral duty

To give an example of his weak will

Correct answer:

To give an example of his weak will

Explanation:

The paragraph in which the reference appears states that “During all the rest of his career a tragic weakness of will takes possession of Coleridge.” The paragraph then lists examples of Coleridge's weak will, including his decision to remain in a lazy state of reading “ancient folios” over a good position with a steady income. Granted, it shows us some other things about Coleridge's personality, but the author is using it as an example of his lack of commitment.

Example Question #68 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from English Literature: Its History and Its Significance for the Life of the English Speaking World by William J. Long (1909)

Coleridge left Cambridge in 1794 without taking his degree, and presently we find him with the youthful Southey—a kindred spirit who had been fired to wild enthusiasm by the French Revolution—founding his famous Pantisocracy for the regeneration of human society. "The Fall of Robespierre," a poem composed by the two enthusiasts, is full of the new revolutionary spirit. The Pantisocracy was to be an ideal community that combined farming and literature; work was to be limited to two hours each day. Moreover, each member of the community was to marry a good woman and take her with him. The two poets obeyed the latter injunction first, marrying two sisters, and then found that they had no money to pay even their traveling expenses to the new utopia.

During all the rest of his career a tragic weakness of will takes possession of Coleridge, making it impossible for him, with all his genius and learning, to hold himself steadily to any one work or purpose. He studied in Germany; worked as a private secretary, till the drudgery wore upon his free spirit; then he went to Rome and remained for two years, lost in study. Later he started The Friend, a paper devoted to truth and liberty; lectured on poetry and the fine arts to enraptured audiences in London, until his frequent failures to meet his engagements scattered his hearers; was offered an excellent position and a half interest (amounting to some £2000) in the Morning Post and The Courier, but declined it, saying "that I would not give up the country and the lazy reading of old folios for two thousand times two thousand pounds—in short, that beyond £350 a year I considered money a real evil.” His family, meanwhile, was almost entirely neglected; he lived apart, following his own way. Needing money, he was on the point of becoming a Unitarian minister, when a small pension from two friends enabled him to live for a few years without regular employment.

A terrible shadow in Coleridge's life was the apparent cause of most of his dejection. In early life he suffered from neuralgia, and to ease the pain began to use opiates. The result on such a temperament was almost inevitable. He became a slave to the drug habit; his naturally weak will lost all its directing and sustaining force, until, after fifteen years of pain and struggle and despair, he gave up and put himself in charge of a physician, one Mr. Gillman of Highgate. Carlyle, who visited him at this time, calls him "a king of men," but records that "he gave you the idea of a life that had been full of sufferings, a life heavy-laden, half-vanquished."

The shadow is dark indeed; but there are gleams of sunshine that occasionally break through the clouds. One of these is his association with Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy, out of which came the famous Lyrical Ballads of 1798. Another was his loyal devotion to poetry for its own sake. With the exception of his tragedy Remorse, for which he was paid £400, he received almost nothing for his poetry. Indeed, he seems not to have desired it; for he says: "Poetry has been to me its own exceeding great reward; it has soothed my afflictions; it has multiplied and refined my enjoyments; it has endeared solitude, and it has given me the habit of wishing to discover the good and the beautiful in all that meets and surrounds me." One can better understand his exquisite verse after such a declaration. A third ray of sunlight came from the admiration of his contemporaries; for though he wrote comparatively little, he was by his talents and learning a leader among literary men. Wordsworth says of him that, though other men of the age had done some wonderful things, Coleridge was the only wonderful man he had ever known. Of his conversation it is recorded: "Throughout a long-drawn summer's day would this man talk to you in low, equable but clear and musical tones, concerning things human and divine; marshaling all history, harmonizing all experiment, probing the depths of your consciousness, and revealing visions of glory and terror to the imagination."

The author most likely lists some of the early endeavors of Coleridge in the first paragraph primarily __________.

Possible Answers:

to show his early demeanor in order to compare it to his later demeanor

to show he was weak-willed

to prove he was given to excess

to show that he was a diligent student

to criticize him for his conduct

Correct answer:

to show his early demeanor in order to compare it to his later demeanor

Explanation:

We cannot say the author wants to show Coleridge is weak-willed as there are signs that he meant to carry through with some of his projects. The author also later gives a partial reason for Coleridge's being weak-willed, which was his addiction to opiates. This he paints as a result and perhaps a cause of the continuation of a weak will. The author does in part compare Coleridge's early life to his later life in showing that from the start he was a “dreamer” and that he composed poetry early on.

Example Question #69 : Tone, Structure, And Purpose Of Humanities Passages

Adapted from a text by Benjamin Franklin in The Oxford Book of American Essays (1914)

I received my dear friend’s two letters, one for Wednesday and one for Saturday. This is again Wednesday. I do not deserve one for today, because I have not answered the former. But, indolent as I am, and averse to writing, the fear of having no more of your pleasing epistles, if I do not contribute to the correspondence, obliges me to take up my pen.

I am charmed with your description of Paradise, and with your plan of living there; and I approve much of your conclusion, that, in the meantime, we should draw all the good we can from this world. In my opinion we might all draw more good from it than we do, and suffer less evil, if we would take care not to give too much for whistles. For to me it seems that most of the unhappy people we meet with are become so by neglect of that caution.

You ask what I mean? You love stories, and will excuse my telling one of myself.

When I was a child of seven years old, my friends, on a holiday, filled my pocket with coppers. I went directly to a shop where they sold toys for children, and being charmed with the sound of a whistle that I met by the way in the hands of another boy, I voluntarily offered and gave all my money for one. I then came home, and went whistling all over the house, much pleased with my whistle, but disturbing all the family. My brothers, sisters, and cousins, understanding the bargain I had made, told me I had given four times as much for it as it was worth, put me in mind what good things I might have bought with the rest of the money, and laughed at me so much for my folly that I cried with vexation, and the reflection gave me more chagrin than the whistle gave me pleasure.

This, however, was afterwards of use to me, the impression continuing on my mind, so that often, when I was tempted to buy some unnecessary thing, I said to myself, Don’t give too much for the whistle, and I saved my money.

As I grew up, came into the world, and observed the actions of men, I thought I met with many, very many, who gave too much for the whistle.

When I saw one too ambitious of court favor, sacrificing his time in attendance on levees, his repose, his liberty, his virtue, and perhaps his friends, to attain it, I have said to myself, This man gives too much for his whistle.

If I knew a miser, who gave up every kind of comfortable living, all the pleasure of doing good to others, all the esteem of his fellow-citizens, and the joys of benevolent friendship, for the sake of accumulating wealth, Poor man, said I, you pay too much for your whistle.

When I met with a man of pleasure, sacrificing every laudable improvement of the mind, or of his fortune, to mere corporeal sensations, and ruining his health in their pursuit, Mistaken man, said I, you are providing pain for yourself, instead of pleasure; you give too much for your whistle.

When I see a beautiful sweet-tempered girl married to an ill-natured brute of a husband, What a pity, say I, that she should pay so much for a whistle!

In short, I conceive that great part of the miseries of mankind are brought upon them by the false estimates they have made of the value of things, and by their giving too much for their whistles.

Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, when I consider that, with all this wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, for example, the apples of King John, which happily are not to be bought; for if they were put to sale by auction, I might very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find that I had once more given too much for the whistle.

The author most likely refers to the apples of King John in the last paragraph in order to do what?

Possible Answers:

To show the reader that he understands greed

To describe the effects of material possessions on him

To show that even he is not exempt from his rule

To show his weakness for the finer things in life

To outline the things he wants from life

Correct answer:

To show that even he is not exempt from his rule

Explanation:

The author mentions the "apples of King John" in the last paragraph and says, “Yet I ought to have charity for these unhappy people, when I consider that, with all this wisdom of which I am boasting, there are certain things in the world so tempting, for example, the apples of King John, which happily are not to be bought; for if they were put to sale by auction, I might very easily be led to ruin myself in the purchase, and find that I had once more given too much for the whistle.” In this excerpt, the author is demonstrating that even he at times isn't exempt from his own rule. While the excerpt also shows his weakness for the finer things and his understanding of greed, or the effects of material possessions, it is primarily there to show he is as human as his examples.

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