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Page 29 Viewpoint/Attitude drill

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Can you please explain why lines 1-4 are viewpoint neutral? I believe that the first statement is that of the author because he has used relative words such as "readily decipherable" and his works provide X, Y, and Z. Also, "his works provide..." could be facts, but in this context, I believe that they provide author's opinons.


Steve Stein
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Thanks for your question. "Readily decipherable" is just another way of saying "easy to understand."

Joyce's work is not super-easy to understand. Is that fact or opinion? In the end, it's not worth much debate. That drill is intended to help you focus on shifts in perspective that take place in RC passages, but thankfully no LSAT question will turn on whether those lines are viewpoint neutral or viewpoint-author.

So, "Joyce's work can be difficult to decipher" could be a correct answer choice, whether the question is "The information in the passage provides most support for which of the following?" or "With which one of the following statements would the author of the passage most likely agree?"

I hope that's helpful!

Steve Stein
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What about the next part of that sentence "and as a result his work provide... construction and meaning", is it considered a fact?

And what is the tone/attitude of the Irish Joyce scholar?

Claire Horan
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I tend to think of tone broadly in terms of positive, neutral, and negative. Then, within those three groupings, I could describe more specifically. So it isn't really about fact vs. opinion--clearly an analysis of an author's work is made up of opinions supported by fact. I would say the second part of the sentence "his works provide seemingly endless opportunity for speculation" is neither positive nor negative, but neutral.

As for your question, what is the tone/attitude of the Joyce scholar, you should be careful to distinguish attitude towards Joyce versus attitude towards "outlier academics." For determining the author's attitude towards the "outlier academics," you can compile a list of the tone words you see in this passage in order to answer that question, including "notoriety" and "questionable." Tone words help you realize that the author is critical of these other Joyce scholars.