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With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary fig

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With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary fig  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 10 Aug 2019, 10:54
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 260, Date : 10-Aug-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


October 2008, Passage #3: Chinese Talk-story


This passage covers Maxine Hong Kingston and the literary antecedents of her writings in Chinese talk-stories. While the passage wasn’t overly absorbing, the eight questions were where the real difficulty appeared, and many students struggled between two or more answers on more than one occasion. Overall, after reading the passage, most students wanted nothing more to do with Kingston or her stories.


With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary figure, some critics have suggested that her works have been produced almost ex nihilo, saying that they lack a large traceable body of direct literary antecedents especially within the Chinese American heritage in which her work is embedded. But these critics, who have examined only the development of written texts, the most visible signs of a culture’s narrative production, have overlooked Kingston’s connection to the long Chinese tradition of a highly developed genre of song and spoken narrative known as “talk-story” (gong gu tsai).

Traditionally performed in the dialects of various ethnic enclaves, talk-story has been maintained within the confines of the family and has rarely surfaced into print. The tradition dates back to Sung dynasty (A.D.970–1279) storytellers in China, and in the United States it is continually revitalized by an overlapping sequence of immigration from China. Thus, Chinese immigrants to the U.S. had a fully established, sophisticated oral culture, already ancient and capable of producing masterpieces, by the time they began arriving in the early nineteenth century. This transplanted oral heritage simply embraced new subject matter or new forms of Western discourse, as in the case of Kingston’s adaptations written in English.

Kingston herself believes that as a literary artist she is one in a long line of performers shaping a recalcitrant history into talk-story form. She distinguishes her “thematic” storytelling memory processes, which sift and reconstruct the essential elements of personally remembered stories, from the memory processes of a print-oriented culture that emphasizes the retention of precise sequences of words. Nor does the entry of print into the storytelling process substantially change her notion of the character of oral tradition. For Kingston, “writer” is synonymous with “singer” or “performer” in the ancient sense of privileged keeper, transmitter, and creator of stories whose current stage of development can be frozen in print, but which continue to grow both around and from that frozen text.

Kingston’s participation in the tradition of talk-story is evidenced in her book China Men, which utilizes forms typical of that genre and common to most oral cultures including: a fixed “grammar” of repetitive themes; a spectrum of stock characters; symmetrical structures, including balanced oppositions (verbal or physical contests, antithetical characters, dialectical discourse such as question-answer forms and riddles); and repetition. In China Men, Kingston also succeeds in investing idiomatic English with the allusive texture and oral-aural qualities of the Chinese language, a language rich in aural and visual puns, making her work a written form of talk-story.


1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

(A) Despite some critics’ comments, Kingston’s writings have significant Chinese American antecedents, which can be found in the traditional oral narrative form known as talk-story.
(B) Analysis of Kingston’s writings, especially China Men, supports her belief that literary artists can be performers who continue to reconstruct their stories even after they have been frozen in print.
(C) An understanding of Kingston’s work and of Chinese American writers in general reveals that critics of ethnic literatures in the United States have been mistaken in examining only written texts.
(D) Throughout her writings Kingston uses techniques typical of the talk-story genre, especially the retention of certain aspects of Chinese speech in the written English text.
(E) The writings of Kingston have rekindled an interest in talk-story, which dates back to the Sung dynasty, and was extended to the United States with the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth century.



2 Which one of the following can be most reasonably inferred from the passage?

(A) In the last few years, written forms of talk-story have appeared in Chinese as often as they have in English.
(B) Until very recently, scholars have held that oral storytelling in Chinese ethnic enclaves was a unique oral tradition.
(C) Talk-story has developed in the United States through a process of combining Chinese, Chinese American, and other oral storytelling forms.
(D) Chinese American talk-story relies upon memory processes that do not emphasize the retention of precise sequences of words.
(E) The connection between certain aspects of Kingston’s work and talk-story is argued by some critics to be rather tenuous and questionable.



3. It can be inferred from the passage that the author uses the phrase “personally remembered stories” (Highlighted) primarily to refer to

(A) a literary genre of first-person storytelling
(B) a thematically organized personal narrative of one’s own past
(C) partially idiosyncratic memories of narratives
(D) the retention in memory of precise sequences of words
(E) easily identifiable thematic issues in literature



4. In which one of the following is the use of cotton fibers or cotton cloth most analogous to Kingston’s use of the English language as described in lines 42–46?

(A) Scraps of plain cotton cloth are used to create a multicolored quilt.
(B) The surface texture of woolen cloth is simulated in a piece of cotton cloth by a special process of weaving.
(C) Because of its texture, cotton cloth is used for a certain type of clothes for which linen is inappropriate.
(D) In making a piece of cloth, cotton fiber is substituted for linen because of the roughly similar texture of the two materials.
(E) Because of their somewhat similar textures, cotton and linen fibers are woven together in a piece of cloth to achieve a savings in price over a pure linen cloth.



5. The passage most clearly suggests that Kingston believes which one of the following about at least some of the stories contained in her writings?

(A) Since they are intimately tied to the nature of the Chinese language, they can be approximated, but not adequately expressed, in English.
(B) They should be thought of primarily as ethnic literature and evaluated accordingly by critics.
(C) They will likely be retold and altered to some extent in the process.
(D) Chinese American history is best chronicled by traditional talk-story.
(E) Their significance and beauty cannot be captured at all in written texts.



6. The author’s argument in the passage would be most weakened if which one of the following were true?

(A) Numerous writers in the United States have been influenced by oral traditions.
(B) Most Chinese American writers’ work is very different from Kingston’s.
(C) Native American storytellers use narrative devices similar to those used in talk-story.
(D) China Men is for the most part atypical of Kingston’s literary works.
(E) Literary critics generally appreciate the authenticity of Kingston’s work.



7. The author’s specific purpose in detailing typical talk-story forms (lines 36–42) is to

(A) show why Kingston’s book China Men establishes her as a major literary figure
(B) support the claim that Kingston’s use of typically oral techniques makes her work a part of the talk-story tradition
(C) dispute the critics’ view that Chinese American literature lacks literary antecedents
(D) argue for Kingston’s view that the literary artist is at best a “privileged keeper” of stories
(E) provide an alternative to certain critics’ view that Kingston’s work should be judged primarily as literature



8. Which one of the following most accurately identifies the attitude shown by the author in the passage toward talk-story?

(A) scholarly appreciation for its longstanding artistic sophistication
(B) mild disappointment that it has not distinguished itself from other oral traditions
(C) tentative approval of its resistance to critical evaluations
(D) clear respect for the diversity of its ancient sources and cultural derivations
(E) open admiration for the way it uses song to express narrative



  • Source: LSAT Official PrepTest 55 (October 2008)
  • Difficulty Level: 700

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Originally posted by jkolachi on 28 May 2017, 15:32.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 10 Aug 2019, 10:54, edited 5 times in total.
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Re: With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary fig  [#permalink]

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New post 07 Jun 2017, 18:38
2
jkolachi wrote:

October 2008, Passage #3: Chinese Talk-story


This passage covers Maxine Hong Kingston and the literary antecedents of her writings in Chinese talk-stories. While the passage wasn’t overly absorbing, the eight questions were where the real difficulty appeared, and many students struggled between two or more answers on more than one occasion. Overall, after reading the passage, most students wanted nothing more to do with Kingston or her stories.

With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary figure, some critics have suggested that her works have been produced almost ex nihilo, saying that they lack a large traceable body of direct literary antecedents especially within the Chinese American heritage in which her work is embedded. But these critics, who have examined only the development of written texts, the most visible signs of a culture’s narrative production, have overlooked Kingston’s connection to the long Chinese tradition of a highly developed genre of song and spoken narrative known as “talk-story” (gong gu tsai).
Traditionally performed in the dialects of various ethnic enclaves, talk-story has been maintained within the confines of the family and has rarely surfaced into print. The tradition dates back to Sung dynasty (A.D.970–1279) storytellers in China, and in the United States it is continually revitalized by an overlapping sequence of immigration from China. Thus, Chinese immigrants to the U.S. had a fully established, sophisticated oral culture, already ancient and capable of producing masterpieces, by the time they began arriving in the early nineteenth century. This transplanted oral heritage simply embraced new subject matter or new forms of Western discourse, as in the case of Kingston’s adaptations written in English.

Kingston herself believes that as a literary artist she is one in a long line of performers shaping a recalcitrant history into talk-story form. She distinguishes her “thematic” storytelling memory processes, which sift and reconstruct the essential elements of personally remembered stories, from the memory processes of a print-oriented culture that emphasizes the retention of precise sequences of words. Nor does the entry of print into the storytelling process substantially change her notion of the character of oral tradition. For Kingston, “writer” is synonymous with “singer” or “performer” in the ancient sense of privileged keeper, transmitter, and creator of stories whose current stage of development can be frozen in print, but which continue to grow both around and from that frozen text.

Kingston’s participation in the tradition of talk-story is evidenced in her book China Men, which utilizes forms typical of that genre and common to most oral cultures including: a fixed “grammar” of repetitive themes; a spectrum of stock characters; symmetrical structures, including balanced oppositions (verbal or physical contests, antithetical characters, dialectical discourse such as question-answer forms and riddles); and repetition. In China Men, Kingston also succeeds in investing idiomatic English with the allusive texture and oral-aural qualities of the Chinese language, a language rich in aural and visual puns, making her work a written form of talk-story.
1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

With these, I like to take a look back at passage structure/flow. Paragraph 1 introduces the idea that critics ding Maxine for having no real precedent in her story telling, and flirts with the idea that they are wrong. Paragraph 2 gives a description of the oral history. Paragraph 3 details Maxine's skill in changing oral history to written stories. Finally, paragraph 4 gives an example of one of Maxine's works that supports the author's conclusion that Maxine's stories are tied with oral stories.

(A) Despite some critics’ comments, Kingston’s writings have significant Chinese American antecedents, which can be found in the traditional oral narrative form known as talk-story. Spot on with the summary above, but let's keep going just in case...
(B) Analysis of Kingston’s writings, especially China Men, supports her belief that literary artists can be performers who continue to reconstruct their stories even after they have been frozen in print.Although this may be insinuated to be true (particularly from the descriptions of oral history in paragraph 2, it's not the main point. Stick to the idea put forth in paragraph one that Maxine's writings have a source.
(C) An understanding of Kingston’s work and of Chinese American writers in general reveals that critics of ethnic literatures in the United States have been mistaken in examining only written texts.The article never really touches on this point.
(D) Throughout her writings Kingston uses techniques typical of the talk-story genre, especially the retention of certain aspects of Chinese speech in the written English text. This goes against what is put forward in the first paragraph (that Maxine's work has no precedent)
(E) The writings of Kingston have rekindled an interest in talk-story, which dates back to the Sung dynasty, and was extended to the United States with the arrival of Chinese immigrants in the nineteenth century. The article doesn't touch on a revival in talk story




2 Which one of the following can be most reasonably inferred from the passage?
In inference questions, try to make the smallest jumps possible

(A) In the last few years, written forms of talk-story have appeared in Chinese as often as they have in English. Article never states the split between english vs chinese publishing
(B) Until very recently, scholars have held that oral storytelling in Chinese ethnic enclaves was a unique oral tradition. The article never insinuates that only Chinese individuals participated in oral storytelling, in fact it states that oral history is "Traditionally performed in the dialects of various ethnic enclaves"
(C) Talk-story has developed in the United States through a process of combining Chinese, Chinese American, and other oral storytelling forms. There was never talk of a conglomeration of different story telling methods in the passage
(D) Chinese American talk-story relies upon memory processes that do not emphasize the retention of precise sequences of words. Makes sense given paragraph 3's main idea that oral stories can be translated to more concrete/rigid written stories. This is probably the answer
(E) The connection between certain aspects of Kingston’s work and talk-story is argued by some critics to be rather tenuous and questionable. This point is not addressed




3. It can be inferred from the passage that the author uses the phrase “personally remembered stories” (line 32) primarily to refer to
"Personally Remembered" here describes how all these stories are in Maxine's head and her written accounts are her takes on the major themes she remembers
(A) a literary genre of first-person storytelling Although this is 1st person story telling, "personally remembered" doesn't add to this claim
(B) a thematically organized personal narrative of one’s own past The stories don't have to due with Maxine's past. They can be centuries old
(C) partially idiosyncratic memories of narratives Bingo. "Idiosyncratic" here is just the GMAT trying to throw people off. "Unique" might be an easier word. Anyway, the fact that "these stories are "personally remembered" coincides with the memories being unique (or idiosyncratic) memories of narratives
(D) the retention in memory of precise sequences of words This is the opposite of the gist given in the third paragraph
(E) easily identifiable thematic issues in literature This has nothing to do with "personally remembered stories"




4. In which one of the following is the use of cotton fibers or cotton cloth most analogous to Kingston’s use of the English language as described in lines 51–55?
I had trouble here and would like other people's input if possible. Was between B and D

(A) Scraps of plain cotton cloth are used to create a multicolored quilt. The oral stories are anything but "plain". They have a rich history
(B) The surface texture of woolen cloth is simulated in a piece of cotton cloth by a special process of weaving. This plays into the bit in the last paragraph that Maxine succeedes in " investing idiomatic English with the allusive texture"
(C) Because of its texture, cotton cloth is used for a certain type of clothes for which linen is inappropriate. This is meant to draw an allusion to Chinese over English wordings when Chinese is better. That's not mentioned anywhere.
(D) In making a piece of cloth, cotton fiber is substituted for linen because of the roughly similar texture of the two materials. I believe this is similar to B for the same reason, not sure why B is "better"
(E) Because of their somewhat similar textures, cotton and linen fibers are woven together in a piece of cloth to achieve a savings in price over a pure linen cloth.The whole savings part at the end really throws this out of scope




5. The passage most clearly suggests that Kingston believes which one of the following about at least some of the stories contained in her writings?

(A) Since they are intimately tied to the nature of the Chinese language, they can be approximated, but not adequately expressed, in English. NEver insinuated/addressed
(B) They should be thought of primarily as ethnic literature and evaluated accordingly by critics. Passage doesn't mention anything regarding what Kingston thinks about critics' takes
(C) They will likely be retold and altered to some extent in the process. This is it/. Paragraph three states that kingston "believes that as a literary artist she is one in a long line of performers shaping"
(D) Chinese American history is best chronicled by traditional talk-story. Nope. Story telling is just an aspect of some chinese cultures
(E) Their significance and beauty cannot be captured at all in written texts.It's never stated that the writings are inferior; rather, it is mentioned that kingston succeedes in "making her work a written form of talk-story."




6. The author’s argument in the passage would be most weakened if which one of the following were true?
(A) Numerous writers in the United States have been influenced by oral traditions. This has nothing to do woth the argument that Kingston's writings are/are not based on anything.
(B) Most Chinese American writers’ work is very different from Kingston’s. Would have no affect on if Kingston's work was based on story telling or not. All of the chinese writers elsewhere could be getting their writings from another source
(C) Native American storytellers use narrative devices similar to those used in talk-story. Same reason as A, out of scope
(D) China Men is for the most part atypical of Kingston’s literary works. THis would limit the author's argument as he/she can no longer point to China Man as a definitive example
(E) Literary critics generally appreciate the authenticity of Kingston’s work.The argument isn't if they appreciate her works, just if they have a source




7. The author’s specific purpose in detailing typical talk-story forms (lines 43–51) is to
I don't know which text this refers to, but am able to deduce anyway

(A) show why Kingston’s book China Men establishes her as a major literary figure It is never asserted that Kingston is a major literay figure
(B) support the claim that Kingston’s use of typically oral techniques makes her work a part of the talk-story tradition This could be assumed. Let's check the others just in case...
(C) dispute the critics’ view that Chinese American literature lacks literary antecedents Article is specific to Kingston's antecedents
(D) argue for Kingston’s view that the literary artist is at best a “privileged keeper” of stories This is just a statement Kingston made, not really a debate
(E) provide an alternative to certain critics’ view that Kingston’s work should be judged primarily as literature This idea isn't put forward in the article



8. Which one of the following most accurately identifies the attitude shown by the author in the passage toward talk-story?
(A) scholarly appreciation for its longstanding artistic sophistication Author appreciates talk story, and its roots. This is probably it
(B) mild disappointment that it has not distinguished itself from other oral traditions Author does not express disappointment
(C) tentative approval of its resistance to critical evaluations Author is not tentative in his/her support of talk-story
(D) clear respect for the diversity of its ancient sources and cultural derivations Author gives respect, but not much is given in terms of the diversity/cultural derivations. A is better.
(E) open admiration for the way it uses song to express narrativeThe only reference to song is really Maxine's description of a writer = singer.





Hey Guys/Girls, My input is in red above. The only one that I am struggling with is 4 (D vs B), but hopefully my other comments can help someone out.

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New post 09 Aug 2019, 21:59
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New post 11 Aug 2019, 01:43
Explanation


Discussion

The opening paragraph of this passage introduced the Topic through some critics’ view and the Scope through the author’s contentious response. The Topic is Maxine Hong Kingston’s work. The critics’ view is that it shows no influence from Chinese American heritage. The author’s response (and the introduction of the Scope) is introduced with the Contrast Keyword “but” (line 5). The author argues that the critics have “overlooked” (line 8) the influence of talk-story, a traditional Chinese oral literature style.

The long, final sentence of the first paragraph actually functions as the passage’s thesis statement, giving us the author’s Purpose and Main Idea at the outset: to argue against critics who deny Kingston’s inheritance of Chinese American heritage by showing how she used “talk-story.” The remainder of the passage offers support for this contention.

Paragraph 2 tells the story of talk-story. The author gives details of the genre’s origins in order to establish (as indicated by the Logic Keyword “thus” in line 16) that Chinese immigrants to the United States would have been familiar and comfortable with talk-story. Immigrants “simply” (line 20) applied the events of their new lives to this oral narrative style, and “the case of” Maxine Hong Kingston shows this process applied in writing.

We learn in Paragraph 3 that Kingston identifies herself as an inheritor of talk-story. This paragraph is anchored by Kingston’s contrast—signaled by the Contrast Keyword “distinguishes” in line 25—between the personal nature of memory in the oral tradition and the linear, sequential nature of memory in print cultures. The author supports this point with an example: Kingston continues to think of “writer” as a synonym of “singer” or “performer.”

In the final paragraph, the author details how one of Kingston’s books—China Men—exemplifies the passage’s thesis. The author cites four similarities between China Men and talk-story: fixed themes, stock characters, symmetrical structures, and repetition. It is all but inevitable that the testmakers will ask us a question or two about such a list. Additionally—the author uses the Continuation Keyword “also” in line 52 to indicate the function of what follows—the writing in China Men has an oral tradition “sound” to it.


1. Which one of the following most accurately states the main point of the passage?

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

An author may sum up the main point early or late in a passage.

While we are always prepared to tackle Global questions immediately after completing our passage Roadmap, we especially welcome them in cases where the author has stated the Main Idea explicitly. Here, the author gave us the main point as a thesis statement at the end of the first paragraph. Our paraphrase of that sentence provides the ideal prediction: The critics who say Kingston’s work shows no Chinese heritage are wrong because her work shows the influence of talkstory. The correct answer, (A), paraphrases this in only slightly different words.

(B) By eliding the dispute with the critics over the role (or lack thereof) of Chinese heritage in Kingston’s work, this answer is too narrow to reflect the passage’s main point. Kingston’s beliefs about authors are in the passage to support the author’s contention that she has inherited a Chinese literary tradition.

(C) The author could agree with this answer choice, but it distorts the main point expressed in the passage, which is that Kingston’s work shows the influence of a traditional genre, not that a new kind of literary analysis should be done.

(D) This answer goes wrong on two counts. First, it misses the dispute with the critics. Second, the word “especially” distorts the author’s reference to the retention of the texture and qualities of Chinese speech in China Men. This retention was one of several features that demonstrated the book’s affinity with talk-story, and not necessarily the most noteworthy.

(E) Here’s another answer that misses the author’s Purpose of rebutting the critics. The notion that Kingston’s writing has “rekindled interest” in talk-story is well outside the Scope of this passage.

Answer: A


2. Which one of the following can be most reasonably inferred from the passage?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

Here we have an Inference question with no clear referent reading clue in the stem. This is always an indication that the question could be time consuming and that we should consider coming back to it after getting the easier points from the passage. Usually, we would attack such a question by eliminating answers in conflict or outside the scope of the author’s Purpose and Main Idea. Unfortunately, that won’t get us terribly far here because the answer choices refer us back to details in the passage. The good news is that this means we can treat the answer choices as we would question stem Content Clues and research them in turn. This approach would establish (D) as the correct answer. (D) paraphrases Kingston’s distinction between the personal nature of memory in oral cultures and the linear, sequential memory of print cultures (lines 25–30). A good Roadmap would have a margin note on this important contrast.

(A) contains an irrelevant comparison. The only “written” talk-story we read about is in Kingston’s work.

(B) Here is a classic Faulty Use of Detail answer. Chinese ethnic enclaves are mentioned in Paragraph 2 as the location of talk-story’s origin, not to support any claim about that tradition’s uniqueness.

(C) This answer distorts Paragraph 2. Talk-story originated in China and came to the New World with Chinese immigrants. Kingston’s writing in English was influenced by the tradition. The paragraph says nothing about development through combination with other storytelling forms.

(E) This answer distorts Paragraph 1, where it seems more likely that the critics are simply unaware of (the author says they have “overlooked” the role of talk-story as an influence on Kingston’s writing.

Answer: D


3. It can be inferred from the passage that the author uses the phrase “personally remembered stories” (Highlighted) primarily to refer to

Difficulty Level: 750

Explanation

Question 3 has a particularly rich question stem. The main thrust of the question asks for the Purpose (“the author uses…to refer to”) of a quoted phrase (“‘personally remembered stories’”) and even gives us the line number for our research. The best test takers will also notice the word “inferred” near the beginning of the question and will say, “That means that the answer to this question follows ineluctably from what was written in the passage.” So, convoluted though the stem may be, our research should be very straightforward. We need to determine what the author used “personally remembered stories” to refer to and base that answer firmly on the passage text. A quick check of our Road map and margin notes tells us Kingston associated personal memory with oral traditions and distinguished it from the precise, sequential memory favored in print cultures. The correct answer must reflect this distinction as well. That leads us to choice (C). It’s unlikely we would have predicted the exact wording “partially idiosyncratic,” but it contrasts nicely with “precise sequences.”

(A) Distortion. Nowhere in the passage does the author say that talk-story is first-person narrative. Many oral stories are in the third person.

(B) This answer distorts the notion of personal memory by limiting it to “one’s own past,” where the context of the passage implies memories of other’s stories—indeed a whole tradition of them—as well.

(D) 180. This answer reflects exactly the opposite side of Kingston’s contrast.

(E) Out of Scope. The author makes no mention about how easily literary themes can be identified.

Answer: D


4. In which one of the following is the use of cotton fibers or cotton cloth most analogous to Kingston’s use of the English language as described in lines 42–46?

Difficulty Level: 750

Explanation

Whether we are in the Logical Reasoning or the Reading Comprehension section, we have to know what we are looking for in the correct answer of a Parallel Reasoning question before evaluating the answer choices. Our failure to have a prediction or a specific way of testing answer choices will lead us to confusion and inefficiency. In this question, then, good research is the most important step we can take. To paraphrase lines 42-46: in China Men, Kingston used written English in a special way to sound like a spoken Chinese talk-story. So, we must be looking for an answer that has cotton fabric being used in a special way to feel or appear like some other kind of cloth or fabric. That prediction should lead us right to (B).

(A) misses the idea of making the original material (English language, cotton cloth) appear to be like something else (spoken Chinese, woolen cloth).

(C)Lines 42-46 would have had to discuss how written English and spoken Chinese couldn’t be used in the same ways.

(D) misses the point of how the original material (written English, cotton cloth) needs to be used in a special way in order to appear like something else. This answer asserts that the original material and the substitute material are already similar.

(E) The first part of this answer is analogous to a book or story where the author goes back and forth between languages; the second part, about price savings, seems to miss the Scope of lines 42-46

Answer: B


5. The passage most clearly suggests that Kingston believes which one of the following about at least some of the stories contained in her writings?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

The phrase “the passage…suggests” tells us that this is an Inference question. But here, we are not asked to find an answer that the author is likely to agree with (although likely she would), but what Kingston would say about her own work. We hear Kingston’s opinions in Paragraph 3, and the focus of her self-evaluation is that she’s part of the talk-story tradition, elaborating the past (lines 24–25), creating work in the present (lines 34–38), and setting the stage for those who will build on the work she’s done (lines 35–36). Evaluating our answer choices, only (C) fits. (C) corresponds to Kingston’s last point—that others will “grow both around and from” her current work.

(A) In this passage, Kingston never expresses frustration about being unable to adequately perpetuate the traditionally Chinese talk-story genre in written English. She simply talks about herself as working within that tradition and her medium is the English novel.

(B) Kingston identifies herself with the talk-story tradition, but doesn’t go so far as to suggest that critics view her work through any specific ethnic lens.

(D) The Extreme language “best” doesn’t fit with Kingston’s self-analysis, which imposes no hierarchy on the ways to present history.

(E) Kingston works in written text.

Answer: C


6. The author’s argument in the passage would be most weakened if which one of the following were true?

Difficulty Level: 700

Explanation

When we’re asked to Strengthen or Weaken an argument (usually, but not always, the author’s) in Reading Comprehension, we usually cannot be as methodical as we would be in Logical Reasoning, where we can literally bracket the conclusion and pinpoint the relevant evidence. In Reading Comprehension, where arguments may be spread out over more than one paragraph, we need to paraphrase the conclusion (or main point) and remind ourselves of the evidence the author used. In this passage, the author’s conclusion is: Kingston’s work does reflect the Chinese American literary tradition. “Why do you say so?” we ask the author, “What’s your evidence?”

Our author would answer: Because her work adapts the talk-story genre as she herself says and as evinced in the book China Men. So, to be an effective weakener, the correct answer must either attack Kingston’s own self-evaluation (which doesn’t seem likely) or make China Men a poor example of her writing. If we attack the answer choices with that prediction, (D) is demonstrably the correct answer. (D) attacks the value of China Men as an exemplar of Kingston’s work.

(A) Out of Scope. Finding out that, say, Twain or Faulkner were inheritors of Irish or Appalachian oral traditions wouldn’t make Kingston any less an inheritor of the Chinese American tradition.

(B) If the fact in (B) were true, it would neither strengthen nor weaken the author’s argument. Work done within the same tradition can be quite different. Moreover, there could be other Chinese American authors who do not work within the Chinese American literary tradition while Kingston does.

(C) contains another irrelevant fact. Similarities between two different traditions in no way undermine the claim that a particular individual is working within one of them.

(E) This is a tricky answer. It would complicate our author’s position if the fact in (E) were that critics generally acknowledge that Kingston’s work reflects her connection to the Chinese American literary tradition. That would make us wonder, perhaps, why our author was writing in the first place. (E)’s vague statement that the critics “appreciate [Kingston’s] authenticity” however, doesn’t even rise to that level.

Answer: D


7. The author’s specific purpose in detailing typical talk-story forms (lines 36–42) is to

Difficulty Level: 650

Explanation

One of the great advantages of Logic Function questions is that the stem always includes a clear reference to the text—either a particular detail or a certain paragraph. The trick is to check the Road map to determine the author’s Purpose, which we can determine from the context of the reference or the Keywords surrounding it. In question 7, the reference asked about is tailor-made for the strategic reader. It calls our attention to the list of similarities between China Men and the talk-story genre. As we were initially Road mapping, we noted that this list is included to show how China Men exemplified the author’s thesis that Kingston did work within the Chinese American literary tradition. Using this prediction, we spot (B) as the correct answer. (B) is a bit wordy, but it boils down to saying that the features in China Men show Kingston as working within the talk-story tradition.

(A) According to the first two lines of the passage, critics already recognize Kingston as a major literary figure. The author has no reason to show this.

(C) This answer contains a clever distortion. The critics do not doubt the existence of a Chinese American literary tradition; they doubt that Kingston’s work shows her as working in it.

(D) Here’s a Faulty Use of Detail wrong answer. Kingston did, indeed, characterize writers as “privileged keeper[s]”, but proving that is not our author’s reason for giving us the list of similarities,

(E) This answer is filled with distortions. As far as we can tell, everyone considers Kingston’s work literature and no one is making recommendations for how it should be judged. The argument is over whether her work is recognizably influenced by the Chinese American literary tradition.

Answer: B


8. Which one of the following most accurately identifies the attitude shown by the author in the passage toward talk-story?

Difficulty Level: 750

Explanation

This question asks us to choose an answer that describes the author’s attitude toward talk-story. This might initially strike us as odd since the author uses few Opinion/Emphasis Keywords to describe talk-story (or anything else, for that matter). Near the end of the first paragraph, the author describes talk-story as a “highly developed genre” with a “long…tradition”. Beyond this, almost everything we learn about talk-story is dryly factual. In fact, this lack of opinion and emotion help us pinpoint (A) as the correct answer. “Scholarly appreciation” fits the author’s attitude toward talk-story perfectly and “longstanding artistic sophistication” fit the description.

(B) “Mild disappointment” misses the mark badly. Our author has nothing negative to say about talk-story.

(C) “Approval,” tentative or otherwise, distorts our author’s Purpose in introducing talk-story. No one in the passage is judging it as a genre.

(D) This answer tempts us with the word “respect,” which doesn’t seem particularly strong or opinionated. But, nothing in the passage indicates that the “diversity of…sources and cultural derivations” are the reasons for our author’s respect.

(E) “Open admiration” is too strong to find any support in the passage.

Answer: A


Hope it helps

Kanvi wrote:
please give official explanations to all questions

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With their recognition of Maxine Hong Kingston as a major literary fig   [#permalink] 11 Aug 2019, 01:43
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