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#24972
Complete Question Explanation

Assumption. The correct answer choice is (B)

This stimulus argues that it is unfair to criticize Colette’s novels for being indifferent to important moral problems. It supports this conclusion by stating that each of her novels involves a major emotional crisis, which usually raises important moral questions. This appears to be a strong argument. How could her novels be indifferent to important moral problems if they are raising important moral questions?

As an Assumption question, we know we are looking for the answer choice that is necessary for the conclusion to follow. Likely the answer will in some way connect raising a moral question with being more than indifferent to that question.

Answer choice (A): This answer choice is incorrect as it focuses on the critics of Colette’s work rather than the conclusion of the argument. This answer choice is here to tempt students to pick an answer choice simply because it sounds politically correct by supporting the female author. The substance of the answer choice does not actually provide the necessary link between raising moral questions and caring about moral questions.

Answer choice (B): This is the correct answer choice. To test this answer choice, we can use the Assumption Negation technique. The negated form of the answer choice is “A novel that poetically condenses a major emotional crisis does have to be indifferent to the important moral questions raised by that crisis.” This would weaken the argument by stating that Colette’s novels have to be indifferent to the moral problems raised. Therefore, since the negated form of the answer choice weakens the argument, this must be the correct answer choice.

Answer choice (C): The stimulus does not argue that the criticism of Colette’s work is unfair because her novels are inherently deserving of praise, but rather that the criticism is unfair because it was incorrect.

Answer choice (D): The issue of vividness is unrelated to the ultimate conclusion of the argument, so this answer choice does not impact the argument.

Answer choice (E): The argument is focused on what Colette’s novels actually do, not what Colette’s purpose was in writing. In Assumption questions, it is important to check that the answer choice will have a clear impact on the conclusion. If it is ever not clear, you can utilize the Assumption Negation technique as in answer choice (B).
 akanshalsat
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#49376
(PT. 64, pp.84)

Hello!! I still do not understand why E is wrong.. What are the exact markers which make E a not so attractive answer in this type of assumption question?
 Vaidehi Joshi
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#53461
I find that the Assumption Negation Test works really well for testing an answer choice that looks otherwise tempting.
Remember, this test works in the following steps:
Step 1: negate the answer choice
step 2: ask yourself whether this negated statement, if true, makes impossible the conclusion. if it does, then it's your answer choice! if it still allows for the conclusion to be true, it's not the right answer choice.

Applying the Negation Test to (E), we get: "Colette’s purpose in poetically condensing emotional crises in the lives of characters in her novels was NOT to explore some of the important moral questions of her time."
Well, does the fact that her PURPOSE was not to explore these moral questions mean that she didn't, in the end, explore such moral questions, or be indifferent to them? Not necessarily! It needn't have been her purpose! She could have easily done it as an unintended consequence (and, if you think about it, many writers do this. They don't have as their purpose to explore a moral question, but end up doing so over the course of their literature). Even if it wasn't her purpose, it doesn't make impossible the conclusion (=critic's chair is unfair, i.e., that her novels are indifferent to important moral questions). (E) thus FAILS the Assumption Negation Test.

Whereas, if we applied this test to (B), the negated form would be "a novel that poetically condenses a major emotional crisis does have to be indifferent to the important moral questions raised by that crisis,” which would weaken the argument by stating that Colette’s novels have to be indifferent to the moral problems raised--and therefore, this would not protect Colette from the critics' complaint that her novels are indifferent to important moral questions, which in turn would not make their charges "unfair" (remember, this is the conclusion of the stimulus as a whole).
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 Nsaramouni
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#82735
Hello,

Is it possible to get a diagram for this problem? I am confused by the question/answer choice.

I did in fact choose E, which I now see was incorrect. However, I am having trouble visualizing/understanding why B is an inherent assumption

:)
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 KelseyWoods
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#82801
Hi Nsaramouni!

The argument in this stimulus does not rely on conditional reasoning and so it is not an argument that we would diagram. For Assumption questions, identify the conclusion, identify the premises, and ask yourself what else must be true for that conclusion to follow from those premises. Often, this means simply looking for a missing link between the premise and the conclusion or eliminating a potential weakness in the argument.

Premise: Each of Colette's novels is a poetic condensation of a major emotional crisis which almost invariably raises important moral questions.
Conclusion: It is unfair to criticize Colette’s novels for being indifferent to important moral problems

Answer choice (B) links the premise to the conclusion. We know that Colette's novels each involve the poetic condensation of a major emotional crisis. If novels that poetically condense a major emotional crisis do not have to be indifferent to the important moral questions raised by that crisis, then that means that it is unfair to criticize Colette's novels for being indifferent to important moral problems.

The Assumption Negation Technique described in the explanation above for answer choice (B) is also a really useful way for making sure that the answer choice you've chosen is truly necessary for the argument. If the answer choice is necessary, then when you negate it, it will attack the argument. If you negate an answer choice and it does not attack the argument, then it is not an assumption of the argument.

Hope this helps!

Best,
Kelsey

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