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Can someone help explain to me why A is correct and not E? From my perspective, the passage never says that certain qualities (those of men) are detrimental, just that they can no longer be the society's primary qualities and that women need to have an equal role in society from here on out. That perspective lead me to answer E, since if women are inevitably going to become more and more essential in society, than those qualities that they possess will be too.
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Hi, mttsuddarth,

For a Must Be True question such as this, we need to choose an answer for which there is direct support in the passage. Often for questions such as this, you must combine ideas in two or more statements to form a valid inference. The general rules of LR Must Be True questions are applicable here.

Let's discuss each answer choice:
  • A) This is the credited response. Notice right off the bat how the strength of the language used—"some social conditions"—qualifies the rest of the statement. This kind of nuance is attractive in a Must Be True answer choice. Which social conditions upon which society depended might now be detrimental? The "male traits" (line 51) could work. In this statement, the author asserts that Gilman believed such traits essential for the development of complex society in the past. However, in the preceding statement in lines 46-49, the author states that a central goal of Gilman's would be "the abandonment of gender specific work roles." If you put these two statements together, you have excellent evidence that Gilman does in fact wish to abandon these "male traits." Thus, this is a valid inference.

    B) This answer choice is far too restrictive. There is no evidence that coordinated efforts are the only way to achieve genuine social evolution.

    C) There is no evidence re the difficulty of "eradicating" gender specific work roles.

    D) This directly contradicts the passage. There is evidence to suggest that Gilman in fact was deeply invested in the ethical implications of Social Darwinism, in her view as a positive force for social progress.

    E) This answer choice is too strongly worded. There is not adequate evidence in the passage that continuation of the process of social evolution will lead inevitably to these outcomes. Further, this answer choice misstates the causal relationship implicit in the passage. The "cooperation" and "nurturance" are, in Gilman's view, means towards the end of future progress. They are the cause of future progress, not its effect.
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This question is still confusing me. On BR I switched from A to E. I thought both were correct, so in all honesty I chose E, since I thought LSAC would place their trap answer towards the beginning of the choices rather than the end for the final answer, for those who were running out of time (ie myself). I thought E was correct because the last sentence of the passage seemed to use conditional reasoning in the form of "required." I diagrammed it as Future progress :arrow: restoration of gender balance (including cooperation and nurturance). I saw E as Social evolution (future progress) :arrow: inclusion of more cooperation and nurturance.
 Robert Carroll
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This question illustrates the need to distinguish Conditional from Causal reasoning very carefully. The last sentence of the passage does involve a conditional. Answer choice (E) is a statement about causation. That already makes me very suspicious of answer choice (E), because conditionality and cause-and-effect are different. In this particular case, I think I can prove why answer choice (E) is wrong by focusing on that last sentence of the passage.

The last sentence claims that Gilman believes that future progress requires the restoration of a certain type of balance. If we're looking at things from Gilman's perspective, then, that balance has to happen before progress can be made. If you look at answer choice (E), it's saying that social evolution will lead to cooperation and nurturance - elements included in that "balance" in the last sentence. But the last sentence said that the balance is required for progress. If you're evaluating answer choice (E) as saying that social evolution = progress, and cooperation + nurturance = restoration of balance, then answer choice (E) is saying that progress produces balance. That actually conflicts with the last sentence! The last sentence entails the balance can't come later than progress, because balance is required for progress; answer choice (E) says that progress makes the balance happen.

Note I'm not saying that every translation (like social evolution = progress) I made above is correct. I'm saying instead that even if you tried to relate the last sentence of the passage and answer choice (E) to each other by making such translations, you will get an answer that claims the opposite of the order of events claimed in the passage. So this tells you that, even if you're trying to twist the answer to fit the passage, it still conflicts with it - proving decisively that it's not correct.

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How can you know that when the author suggests a shift in social conditions that the conditions are "detrimental"? I thought the wording on this was too strong and didn't match the force with with the author suggested the shift. Is it because the passage mentions that it's required for social progress so without it, the continuity could be detrimental?
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lawlandmem wrote:How can you know that when the author suggests a shift in social conditions that the conditions are "detrimental"? I thought the wording on this was too strong and didn't match the force with with the author suggested the shift. Is it because the passage mentions that it's required for social progress so without it, the continuity could be detrimental?
I'll try answering. I think you might be interpreting A as saying male assertiveness is detrimental to society which indeed would be too strong. Rather, A is saying male assertiveness is detrimental to social EVOLUTION, that is, change in society. Gilman is advocating for changing the status quo where women are forced into predetermined roles based on their gender. Gilman wants women to occupy a more egalitarian position in society because she believes the social conditions that require male assertiveness no longer apply. Women occupying more equal roles in society requires society to stop prioritizing male assertiveness and welcome female equality. Essentially, male assertiveness needs to get out of the way to make room for more gender-equal roles. So if society continues to prioritize male assertiveness, it will hamper social progress.
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Yes, the above comment does a good job of explaining Gilman's views on the ethical side of the spectrum, and I'll just comment here to say that these "implication" questions really require you to read between the lines at what the essential point the author or the subject's perspective is attempting to make. Thus, correct answers are generally going to be non-specific and typically universal in their scope, especially those questions that require extrapolation. As we look at that last paragraph, the author states that "Gillman believed... such arrangements were necessary for evolution," but that "[f]uture required the restoration of a balance..."

So here, we see a change in what the author views is "necessary" or "required" of society for progress, before it was a gender-based hierarchical and in the future it will be a more balanced relationship. Given this change in what is required, and given that the change involves shifting from one form to what is essentially its opposite or opposing, the implication is that the conditions required for progress will sometimes differ to such an extent that the form necessary at one point in history will be detrimental (because it is in opposition, standing as an opposite of) to the form required at another point in history.

Let me know if you have further questions on this.

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