to the top

#14 - Professor: The most important function of epic poetry

Administrator
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 6670
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2011 4:19 pm
Points: 3,343

Complete Question Explanation

Must Be True. The correct answer choice is (B)

The professor explains that the most important function of epic poetry is to transmit the values by which a group of people is to live. The poetry transmits these values by embodying them in heroic figures, who are presented as role models, rather than through an explicit discussion of the values. Those who hear the poems imitate the role models the poems present, and this act of imitation gives meaning and direction to their lives.

The facts presented in the stimulus were:

    Fact: ..... the most important function of epic poetry is to transmit the values by which a group of people is to live

    Fact: ..... the transmission of values is not accomplished by explicit discussion of them

    Fact: ..... instead, the transmission of values is accomplished by their embodiment in heroic figures, who are ..... ..... ..... presented as role models

    Fact: ..... imitating those role models gives meaning and direction to the lives of those who hear the poems

In this Must Be True question, your prephrase is that a permissible inference from the facts is that the most important function of epic poetry is accomplished through the embodiment of certain values in heroic figures, rather than the explicit discussion of those values. This inference is supported by the stimulus, because the first fact identified the transmission of certain values as the most important function of epic poetry. The second and third facts, as outlined above, established that the values are transmitted by their embodiment in heroic figures, rather than through explicit discussion of them.

Answer choice (A): First, this answer choice is incorrect because the stimulus discussed “epic poetry,” and not “poetry” generally. Next, the stimulus explicitly stated that the “most important function of epic poetry is to transmit the values by which a group of people is to live,” not giving meaning and direction to the lives of those who hear or read the poetry.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. This answer choice presents the inference from the combination of the first and third facts as described above.

Answer choice (C): The facts of this stimulus were constrained to epic poetry. While it is the case that in epic poetry values are not discussed explicitly, there is insufficient information to infer that values are rarely, if ever, set forth explicitly in poetry as a whole.

Answer choice (D): This information is not supported by the stimulus, because it is unclear from the facts whether many groups of people hear epic poems. It was those who hear epic poems for whom the heroic figures serve as role models.

Answer choice (E): This answer choice is improperly restrictive. While it is true that the stimulus mentioned only epic poetry as a mechanism that gives meaning and direction to the lives of those who hear it, there is no evidence to support the inference that epic poetry is the only such mechanism.
15veries
LSAT Master
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Sun Sep 25, 2016 6:42 am
Points: 56

Why is A wrong? I thought from the first sentence and the last sentence we can reasonably infer this. (value=gives meaning and direction)
Adam Tyson
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 2587
Joined: Thu Apr 14, 2011 5:01 pm
Points: 2,401

That's a pretty attractive answer, 15, and one that made me hesitate, too. Here's the problem, though - it requires the very assumption that you made in your analysis.

Where in the argument does it tell us that values give meaning and direction? Couldn't those be completely different things? While it may be that those folks that imitate the heroes get meaning and direction out of that imitation, couldn't it also be that other folks do not imitate those heroes and yet still receive the values embodied in the poems?

The argument tells us that the most important function is to transmit the values. It takes a bit of a leap to get that it's therefore important to get people to imitate the heroes and thereby gain meaning and direction, and since this is a Must Be True question that relies on the facts found in the stimulus we must avoid making those sorts of leaps, even if they seem fairly reasonable.

One more reason to reject A is that B is better. In fact, that is the best reason to reject A, since we are required to pick the best answer, not just an answer that works. B is taken directly from the facts of the stimulus, connection one idea to the next to the next, proven by the stimulus. It's almost a direct quote from the stimulus, and for a Must Be True question, that's gold.

Avoid making those leaps, those assumptions, when analyzing Must Be True questions. Only go there if there is nothing better to choose from.

Thanks for the great question! This one really made me stop and think a bit!
Adam M. Tyson
PowerScore LSAT, GRE, ACT and SAT Instructor
Follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/LSATadam
Oakenshield
LSAT Apprentice
 
Posts: 19
Joined: Fri Jul 08, 2016 1:45 am
Points: 9

I think the flaw in A) is "poetry", which cannot be equated with "epic poetry" in the stimulus. A) might be too general.
Claire Horan
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 310
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 3:03 pm
Points: 237

Good job noticing this, Oakenshield!
mN2mmvf
LSAT Master
 
Posts: 113
Joined: Thu Jul 06, 2017 12:14 pm
Points: 112

Why is "poetry" too general? I would think that it's *more likely* to be correct by using the term "poetry" instead of "epic poetry," because MBT questions have a higher bar for correctness, and using the term "poetry" is a less strong claim.

I objected to (A) because it mentioned people "reading" the epic poetry, and the stimulus only discusses hearing them.
Jennifer Janowsky
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Sun Aug 20, 2017 11:58 pm
Points: 91

mN2mmvf,

Actually, the opposite is true. The stimulus claims that epic poems give meaning and direction. However, in ascribing that quality to poems in general, you are overstepping what the author has said. Although you are correct that MBT questions have a high bar for correctness, "poems" in general is actually less correct than "epic poems" would have been. For example, if the stimulus said that pitbull dogs are kind, it does not have to be the case that all dogs are kind.

It is interesting that you caught the "reading/hearing" differentiation, that is a very small detail!