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Although I can see why answer choice D is correct, I am confused as to why answer choice A is incorrect. The author says that women memoirists defined themselves as conforming to socially prescribed roles. Is it too much to assume that the male memoirists depict them this way? With all the discussion about fact-checking I thought that there was enough evidence to assume they would. I can also see how this could be out of scope though. Thank you for your time.
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Thanks for your question!

On the RC questions that ask about what can be "reasonably inferred" from the passage, you won't have to actually make much of an inferential jump. You should look instead for a line in the passage that directly supports an answer choice.

Here, we are given a number of reasons why members of the upper class were more likely to publish memoirs than members of the lower class (only half of French citizens at this time could read, and only the upper class could write easily). It's fair to extend these facts about the French population as a whole -- that primarily only upper-class French citizens could publish memoirs -- to a subset of the French population (male memoir writers). It's really not much of an inferential jump to reach answer choice (D) based on these facts.

For answer choice (A), we have conflicting data points about whether the women's memoirs depicted women in socially prescribed roles. On one hand, we have one scholar's statement that "women memoirists of this period defined themselves in relationship to their sex -- conforming to socially prescribed feminine roles." However, we also have examples in lines 40-55 of women who defied socially prescribed roles and instead took on traditionally masculine roles (acting as defense attorneys, soldiers, and political activists).

Since we have conflicting information how women are depicted in women's memoirs, it's not a safe bet to assume that the memoirs written by men would depict women in traditional roles. Although there is some information that could support this inferential leap, it's a bigger jump in reasoning than you should be making in a RC question.

I hope this clears things up. :) Good luck!

Athena Dalton
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I eliminated D, because I do not think the passage provides adequate support for D. The passage states that, at the time of the revolution, only half the population could read and only the upper class could write easily. However, it also states that "Most of the memoirs were published decades after the Revolution". We do not know any information about the French population decades after the Revolution, so I do not see how D can be reasonably inferred.
 Jeremy Press
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Hi dbrowning,

It's a good question, and a very good observation about the content of paragraph 1!

The passage actually puts a more specific time reference to the "decades after" that you've appropriately noted, stating that most of the memoirs were published during the restored monarchy that came to power in 1815. Now it's true that we're not going to be asked to know exactly how long that monarchy lasted, but judging by the year of its beginning, would it be reasonable to infer that in a 26 year span (from the beginning of the Revolution to the beginning of the 1815 monarchy) the literary capabilities of the relative societal classes in France had not changed dramatically? I think so.

Going a little bit further, if we hold answer choice D to the evidentiary standard you've held it to, we run into a bit of trouble on this question, because every other answer has to be eliminated for having even less evidentiary support in the passage than answer choice D.

This is a good example of the "most strongly supported" (i.e., "most reasonably be inferred") form of Must Be True question, where we're asked to find an answer that, while we may not be 100% certain about it based on the passage, we're much more certain about it than any of the other answers.

I hope this helps!

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Thanks for the response Jeremy. I chose A on my original take, although I knew, even at the time, that it required a large assumption as well. My concern with this particular question is that I have seen the reasoning I gave for rejecting D used plenty of times by the LSAT writers to generate incorrect answers (ie. we are given information about a specific time and one of the incorrect answers applies that same information to an earlier or later time). Should I approach MSS questions at a "higher level" than I perhaps would approach other questions?
 Adam Tyson
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If by a "higher level" you mean more flexible and less mechanical, dbrowning, I would say yes. MSS questions are "soft" MBT questions, with greater flexibility and greater reliance on inferential leaps rather than strict textual support. Think of them most like Strengthen questions, where the stimulus strengthens the correct answer but need not prove it. MBT are more like Justify questions, which have a higher standard of proof.


I think we have strict textual support here.

The author uses the stats about who could read and write to explain the unrepresentative group of female writers. "a proportion that might be attributed solely to privilege." If those stats support that claim about the women, it can reasonably be inferred that it would support the same claim about the men.

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