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Why is the answer to this E instead of A? According to the following quote from the passage, " an artful use of diction and a rhythm and sonority that allow him to capture the atmosphere typical of the English ballad form of past centuries" doesn't this match the latter part of answer choice A as well as the first part matching the following, " Believing poetry should consist of "lofty thoughts beautifully expressed," Cullen preferred controlled poetic forms. He used European forms such as sonnets and devices such as quatrains, couplets, and conventional rhyme," which demonstrates careful attention to conventions?
 Jeremy Press
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Hi frk215,

Part of the problem with answer choice A lies in the specificity of the historical reference. How could we know specifically that Cullen conceived of poetry as a way to recreate the atmosphere, specifically, of sixteenth-century English poetry? The passage's reference to "past centuries" isn't specific enough to support such an inference. A potentially greater problem with the reference you're using, though, is that when the passage states that his techniques "allow him to capture the atmosphere typical of the English ballad form of past centuries," it's referring to the opinion of "ome literary critics" and not necessarily Cullen himself. This is what the critics thought Cullen's poetry allowed him to do. But is it what Cullen thought he was doing? We're not sure.

In fact, later on, the same paragraph says that Cullen saw himself as using his work (and its techniques) to "reflect[] his identity as an African American." And in the last paragraph, we get more explicit information on Cullen's intent in his work, exploring existential concerns, where we're told that Cullen "imagines the death and resurrection of a rural African American," and that "Cullen's thoughts on race were subsumed within what he conceived of as broader and more urgent questions about the suffering and redemption of the soul." Those existential concerns fit much better with the ending of answer choice E, and its reference to "feelings about the inevitability of death."

I hope this helps!

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