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For the poet Philips Whitely, who was brought to colonial

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For the poet Philips Whitely, who was brought to colonial [#permalink] New post 01 Oct 2009, 10:04
For the poet Philips Whitely, who was brought to colonial New England as a slave in 1761, the formal literary code of eighteenth-century English was thrice removed: by the initial barrier of the unfamiliar English language, by the discrepancy between spoken and literary forms of English, and by the African tradition of oral rather than written verbal art . Wheatley transcended these barriers-she learned the English language and English literary forms so quickly and well that she was composing good poetry in English within a few years of her arrival in New England.
Wheatley's experience exemplifies the meeting of oral and written literary cultures. The aesthetic principles of the African oral tradition were preserved in America by folk artists in work songs dancing, field hollers, religious music, the use of the drum, and, after the drum was forbidden, in the perpetuation of drum effects in song. African languages and the functions of language in African societies not only contributed to the emergence of a distinctive Black English but also exerted demonstrable effects on the manner in which other Americans spoke English. Given her African heritage and her facility with English and the conventions of English poetry, Wheatley's work had the potential to apply the ideas of a written literature to an oral literary tradition in the creation of an African American literary language.
But this was a potential that her poetry unfortunately did not exploit. The standards of eighteenth-century English poetry, which itself reflected little of the American language, led Wheatley to develop a notion of poetry as a closed system, derived from imitation of earlier written works. No place existed for the rough-and-ready Americanized English she heard in the streets, for the English spoken by Black people, or for Africanisms. The conventions of eighteenth-century neoclassical poetry ruled out casual talk; her choice and feelings had to be generalized according to rules of poetic diction and characterization; the particulars of her African past, if they were to be dealt with at all, had to be subordinated to the reigning conventions. African poetry did not count as poetry in her new situation , and African aesthetic canons were irrelevant to the new context because no linguistic or social framework existed to reinforce them. Wheatley adopted a foreign language and a foreign literary tradition; they were not extensions of her past experience, but replacements.
Thus limited by the eighteenth-century English literary code, Wheatley's poetry contributed little to the development of a distinctive African American literary language. Yet by the standards of the literary conventions in which she chose to work, Wheatley's poetry is undeniably accomplished, and she is justly celebrated as the first Black American poet.


1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
(A) Folk artists employed more principles of African oral tradition in their works than did Phillis Wheatley in her poetry.
(B) Although Phillis Wheatley had to overcome significant barriers in learning English, she mastered the literary conventions of eighteen-century English as well as African aesthetic canons.
(C) Phillis Wheatley's poetry did not fulfill the potential inherent in her experience but did represent a significant accomplishment.
(D) The evolution of a distinctive African American literary language can be traced from the creations of African American folk artists to the poetry of Phillis Wheatley.

(E) Phillis Wheatley joined with African American folk artists in preserving the principles of the African oral tradition.
2. The approach to poetry taken by a modern-day Italian immigrant in America would be most analogous to Phillis Wheatley's approach, as it is described in the passage, if the immigrant
(A) translated Italian literary forms into the American idiom.
(B) combined Italian and American literary traditions into a new form of poetic expression
(C) contributed to the development of a distinctive Italian American literary style
(D) defined artistic expression in terms of eighteenth-century Italian poetic conventions
(E) adopted the language and forms of modern American poetry

3. According to the passage, African languages had a notable influence on
(A) the religious music of colonists in New England
(B) the folk art of colonists in New England
(C) formal written English
(D) American speech patterns
(E) eighteen-century aesthetic principles

4. By a "closed system" of poetry (line34-35), the author most probably means poetry that
(A) cannot be written by those who are not raised knowing its conventions
(B) has little influence on the way language is actually spoken
(C) substitutes its own conventions for the aesthetic principles of the past
(D) does not admit the use of street language and casual talk
(E) is ultimately rejected because its conventions leave little room for further development

5. According to the passage, the standards of eighteenth century English poetry permitted Wheatley to include which one of the following in her poetry?
(A) generalized feelings
(B) Americanized English
(C) themes from folk art
(D) casual talk
(E) Black speech

6. Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the author's argument concerning the role that Wheatley played in the evolution of an African American literary language?
(A) Wheatley's poetry was admired in England for its faithfulness to the conventions of neoclassical poetry.
(B) Wheatley compiled a history in English of her family's experiences in Africa and America
(C) The language barriers that Wheatley overcame were eventually transcended by all who were brought from Africa as slaves.
(D) Several modern African American poets acknowledge the importance of Wheatley's poetry to American literature
(E) Scholars trace themes and expressions in African American poetry back to the poetry of Wheatley.

7. It can be inferred that the author of the passage would most probably have praised Phillis Wheatley's poetry more if it had
(A) affected the manner in which slaves and freed Black people spoke English
(B) defined African American artistic expression in terms of earlier works
(C) adopted the standards of eighteenth-century English poetry
(D) combined elements of the English literary tradition with those of the African oral tradition
(E)focused on the barriers that written English literary forms presented to Black artists

8. Which one of the following most accurately characterizes the author's attitude with respect to Phillis Wheatley's literary accomplishments?
(A) enthusiastic advocacy
(B) qualified admiration
(C) dispassionate impartiality
(D) detached ambivalence
(E) perfunctory dismissal
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Re: Wheatley's contribution...from an old LSAT material [#permalink] New post 03 Oct 2009, 11:16
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Re: Wheatley's contribution...from an old LSAT material [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2009, 08:31
9 minutes

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Re: Wheatley's contribution...from an old LSAT material [#permalink] New post 25 Oct 2009, 11:56
1. Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?
(A) Folk artists employed more principles of African oral tradition in their works than did Phillis Wheatley in her poetry.
FOLK ARTISTS ARE NOT BEIN TALKED ABOUT..OUT
(B) Although Phillis Wheatley had to overcome significant barriers in learning English, she mastered the literary conventions of eighteen-century English as well as African aesthetic canons.
HER MASTERY IS JUST A PART OF THE PASSAGE NOT THE CENTRAL MEANING..OUT
(C) Phillis Wheatley's poetry did not fulfill the potential inherent in her experience but did represent a significant accomplishment.
CORRECT..TALKS ABOUT BOTH THE SALIENT FEATURE AND THE SHORTCOMINGS
(D) The evolution of a distinctive African American literary language can be traced from the creations of African American folk artists to the poetry of Phillis Wheatley.
THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT PHILIS COULDNOT ACHIEVE..OUT
(E) Phillis Wheatley joined with African American folk artists in preserving the principles of the African oral tradition.
SHE NEVER JOINED ANY SUCH ARTISTS..OUT

2. The approach to poetry taken by a modern-day Italian immigrant in America would be most analogous to Phillis Wheatley's approach, as it is described in the passage, if the immigrant
(A) translated Italian literary forms into the American idiom.
THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVOR WHCIH SHE FAILED TO ACHIVE..OUT
(B) combined Italian and American literary traditions into a new form of poetic expression
THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVOR WHCIH SHE FAILED TO ACHIVE..OUT
(C) contributed to the development of a distinctive Italian American literary style
THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVOR WHCIH SHE FAILED TO ACHIVE..OUT
(D) defined artistic expression in terms of eighteenth-century Italian poetic conventions
THIS IS A SUCCESSFUL ENDEAVOR WHCIH SHE FAILED TO ACHIVE..OUT
(E) adopted the language and forms of modern American poetry
SHE GOT LOST IN THE EXISTING CULTURAL SETTING...CORRECT

3. According to the passage, African languages had a notable influence on
"African languages and the functions of language in African societies not only contributed to the emergence
of a distinctive Black English but also exerted demonstrable effects on the manner in which other Americans
spoke English"
(A) the religious music of colonists in New England
DOESNOT FIT TO THE ABOVE..OUT
(B) the folk art of colonists in New England
DOESNOT FIT TO THE ABOVE..OUT
(C) formal written English
DOESNOT FIT TO THE ABOVE..OUT
(D) American speech patterns
FITS "AMERICAN SPOKEN ENGLISH"..CORRECT
(E) eighteen-century aesthetic principles
DOESNOT FIT TO THE ABOVE..OUT

4. By a "closed system" of poetry (line34-35), the author most probably means poetry that
"No place existed for the rough-and-ready Americanized English she heard in the streets"
(A) cannot be written by those who are not raised knowing its conventions
IT IS NOT ABOUT ABILITY,RATHER ABOUT SPACE AND FREEDOM..OUT
(B) has little influence on the way language is actually spoken
WAY IT IS SPOKEN IS NOT BEING TALKED ABOUT..SCOPE AND SPACE FOR FURTHER INCLUSION IS BEING TALKED ABT..OUT
(C) substitutes its own conventions for the aesthetic principles of the past
"SUBSTITUTING" WOULD NOT HAVE MADE IT "CLOSED" RATHER IT WOULD HAVE MADE IT "OPEN"...OUT
(D) does not admit the use of street language and casual talk
CONFERS TO HE ABOVE ATTACHED TEXT..CORRECT
(E) is ultimately rejected because its conventions leave little room for further development
"LITTLE ROOM FOR FURTHER DEV" IS CORRECT BT "ULTIMATELY REJECTED" IS NOT..OUT

5. According to the passage, the standards of eighteenth century English poetry permitted Wheatley to include which one of the following in her poetry?
"her choice and feelings had to be generalized according to rules of poetic diction "
(A) generalized feelings
CORRECT...SEE ATTACHED TEXT
(B) Americanized English
OUT
(C) themes from folk art
OUT
(D) casual talk
OUT
(E) Black speech
OUT

6. Which one of the following, if true, would most weaken the author's argument concerning the role that Wheatley played in the evolution of an African American literary language?
(A) Wheatley's poetry was admired in England for its faithfulness to the conventions of neoclassical poetry.
AFRICAN AMERICAN POETRY IS UNDER QUESTION..NEOCLASSICAL ISNT..OUT
(B) Wheatley compiled a history in English of her family's experiences in Africa and America
HER EXPERIENCES DONOT MATTER,HER POETIC WORKS DID..OUT
(C) The language barriers that Wheatley overcame were eventually transcended by all who were brought from Africa as slaves.
"OVERCOMING LANG BARRIERS" DOESNOT WEAKEN AUTHOR'S ARG THAT WEATLEY COULD NOT MAKE A MARK IN AFRO-AMERICAN LITERATURE..OUT
(D) Several modern African American poets acknowledge the importance of Wheatley's poetry to American literature
"AMERICAN LTRATURE" COULD HAVE BEEN HELPED BY WEATLY'S WORK BUT DOESNT WEAKEN AUTHOR'S CLAIM..OUT
(E) Scholars trace themes and expressions in African American poetry back to the poetry of Wheatley.
THIS WEAKENS AUTHORS CLAIM THAT HIS WORK DIDNOT HAVE MUCH IIMPACT ON AFR-AMER POETRY..CORRECT

7. It can be inferred that the author of the passage would most probably have praised Phillis Wheatley's poetry more if it had
(A) affected the manner in which slaves and freed Black people spoke English
CONTRIBUTION TO AFRO-AMERI LITERATURE IS CORRECT,ANYTHING ELSE IS OUT
(B) defined African American artistic expression in terms of earlier works
"ARTISTIC EXPRESSION" IS SUSPECT...WILL KEEP IT FOR NOW
(C) adopted the standards of eighteenth-century English poetry
CONTRIBUTION TO AFRO-AMERI LITERATURE IS CORRECT,ANYTHING ELSE IS OUT
(D) combined elements of the English literary tradition with those of the African oral tradition
THIS LOOKS BETTER THAN B..CORRECT
(E)focused on the barriers that written English literary forms presented to Black artists
CONTRIBUTION TO AFRO-AMERI LITERATURE IS CORRECT,ANYTHING ELSE IS OUT

8. Which one of the following most accurately characterizes the author's attitude with respect to Phillis Wheatley's literary accomplishments?
(A) enthusiastic advocacy
NOT ENTHU AT ALL..OUT
(B) qualified admiration
CORRECT
(C) dispassionate impartiality
IMPARTIAL ..YES...DISPASSIONATE..NO
(D) detached ambivalence
NOT DETACHED..OUT
(E) perfunctory dismissal
NOT AT ALL..OUT
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Re: Wheatley's contribution...from an old LSAT material [#permalink] New post 02 Nov 2009, 18:13
My answers are similar to those of most of you guys. I also got 2E and 7D, but that was just a guess.
Could you explain how you came up with these answers?
Thanks.
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Re: Wheatley's contribution...from an old LSAT material   [#permalink] 02 Nov 2009, 18:13
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