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I don't understand why E is wrong while A is correct?

I thought A was wrong because the article talked about more than one of Woody Allen's films that expresses the theme of the neurotic and narcissistic artist. Am I missing something here?

 David Boyle
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ChicaRosa wrote:I don't understand why E is wrong while A is correct?

I thought A was wrong because the article talked about more than one of Woody Allen's films that expresses the theme of the neurotic and narcissistic artist. Am I missing something here?


Hello ChicaRosa,

The passage says that there were various films on that theme, and that "Deconstructing Harry" was the most vigorous with that theme, basically. So answer A is correct.
Answer E is almost an opposite answer, in that it says good things about narcissism (!), e.g., that it can help artists make better work.

Hope this helps,
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I chose B. Even after reviewing the passage and looking up all the words I didn’t understand, (fodder, fobbing, peevish, solipsism)... I still think B is a better answer. This passage REALLY confused me. My understanding of it was that in most, if not all of Allen’s films, there are people who say or want to be artists, but really they are just emitting their “life struggles” and these people are not good artists, but in the end they are happier people than artists who are actually good at being artistic; those people who are good artistically are neurotic and narcissistic.

This was my understanding of this passage. ESPECIALLY because of the fact that the passage brings up numerous of Allen’s films, I thought AC A couldn’t be the correct answer.

Please set me straight. I am super lost in this passage.

Also, any help with passages like this? I go from getting -8/-9 (which is IDEAL for me) to -14... It happens so often and I am clueless how to fix it. Was this just a difficult passage for me or is it on the harder side?

 Jeremy Press
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Hi gmsanch3,

The reason answer choice A is correct relates to the passage's overall construction.

Look at the end of the first paragraph, where the author states a kind of thesis about Deconstructing Harry: "Deconstructing Harry may be the most unequivocally peevish of Allen's depictions of artists, but it is less a new direction for Allen than a concentrated reprise of a theme present throughout his career." The underlined statement is a point the author uses the remaining paragraphs to prove.

The second paragraph immediately gives an example of how the theme of Deconstructing Harry was present in another one of Allen's films, Stardust Memories. See how it begins with "For instance..."? That's telling us the author means to use the paragraph to illustrate the fact that this theme is a persistent one in Allen's films.

The third paragraph stays on the same subject, giving us another example of the same film theme of the miserable narcissistic artist (from the film Manhattan).

The last paragraph is actually related to the above thesis as well, though by negative contrast. See how the author begins with the phrase, "It is also significant that..." Significant to what? Significant to the only idea that the author has tried to defend so far (that Allen's films all reprise the same theme that Deconstructing Harry had). It's true that the last paragraph talks about the unartistic, but the point of talking about them is to show how consistent the theme of the miserable artist is throughout Allen's film output. The happy unartistic folks are a kind of negative illustration.

By tracing how each paragraph relates to the prior one, we can see the author's main point: to argue how consistent the Deconstructing Harry theme was throughout Allen's film career. This is best represented by answer choice A.

The problem with answer choice B is that it focuses on the message that Allen's films are sending. It might be reasonable to infer from the passage that the films are sending such a message. But that's not the author's main point, particularly because the first three paragraphs of the passage don't ever refer to the "message" Allen's films are sending (they don't contrast the happy unartistic with the unhappy artistic folks) and are in fact defending a different idea (the one stated at the end of the first paragraph).

The key to this passage is to start looking for the author's viewpoint immediately. That viewpoint is found by paying attention to argument style language. Notice the "because" in the second-last sentence of the first paragraph, which indicates the author wants to give a reason supporting a point important to the author. That point is that Deconstructing Harry is "emblematic of Allen's career." This idea that Deconstructing Harry shows what Allen focused on throughout his career is reiterated in the last sentence of the first paragraph. Once you see how important it is for the author to state and give reasons for this idea, it's easier to see how the remaining paragraphs continue to give argumentative supports to it (example, for instances, that back up the idea). Then you've got the main point!

I hope this helps!

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