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I need help in being fully convinced that D) is incorrect.

The question asks which principle as applied in Passage A would Passage B find not applicable. I understood this to mean a point of disagreement between A & B.

A) I eliminated because it's not addressed by Passage B at all.
B), C) and E) are all point of agreement.

Which left me with D) Successful lying requires one to be subtle + convincing. Passage B paragraph 4 supports the idea that autobiography should tell a convincing tale, but since it doesn't address subtlety, I thought this was an incomplete statement and hence an inapplicable point.

In retrospect, I do see that not applicable = irrelevant, thus A) is correct. But by that same line of reasoning, I'm still not convinced that D) isn't 100% applicable either. Could someone help me?
 Christen Hammock
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Hi Kiki!

I think the key here is addressing the question from the perspective of Passage B's author. You're right that the process of elimination here is similar to a Point of Disagreement question, but this question is a little more complex than a simple disagreement! The real question here is which of the following principles would NOT provide a good way to assess autobiography.

The key distinction here is in the authors' definitions of "lying." Passage A treats lying as a departure from strict, objective, factual accuracy in historical fiction that makes the story more understandable to a modern reader. Passage B, on the other hand, approaches the distinction between lying and mistakes in a fuzzier way. Passage B's discussion of "false memories" around Line 45 illustrates this well. A false memory (which Passage B's author treats as a powerful way to create "emotional truth") would likely be characterized as a "mistake" by the author of Passage A, since it's unintentional. In other words, strict, objective accuracy just isn't important in writing an autobiography.

It's not that Passage B's author disagrees with Passage A's author about the difference between lies and mistakes. It's that Passage B approaches the concept of lying so differently that the distinction between lies and mistakes is not applicable at all!

Answer Choice (D), on the other hand, is applicable to both historical fiction and autobiography. You're right that Passage B explicitly refers to an author being "convincing" between Lines 50-55, but the reference to subtlety is, well, a bit more subtle! For example, the idea that autobiography "dances" between fact and fiction support the statement that autobiography requires subtlety.
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Hi there,
I picked A on the basis of 1. the first line of passage B which says “As a writer...astonished at how UNRELIABLE memory is. And EVEN WHEN I KNOW a memory is incorrect...” which I interpreted to mean while there are times I will know I’m remembering a memory that is false, there are also times when I might falsely remember a memory but not even know it; in such cases author A would say that’s a mistake, not a lie (for a lie is intentional/constructive) and thus unforgivable (B doesn’t say this).
2. As well, I guess I chose A based on the overall tone of passage B. While he argues that lying is unethical and he is unhappy about it, he nonetheless qualifies that it’s okay because his readers expectations (they don’t necessarily expect facts at the expense of a good story). I never once got the feeling of anything being “unforgivable,” besides maybe NOT including a false memory if it’s emotionally powerful, which he thinks just might be more misleading.

Is this good support for this question or is there a line/argument in passage B that better supports answer A?
Thanks in advance!
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Can you please specifically point out how passage B's author would hold that mistakes are NOT unforgivable?
 Rachael Wilkenfeld
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Hi Ken and Meno,

You are both reasonably asking about Passage B, and that author's view toward lying/mistakes. For historical fiction, Passage A tells us that there are purposeful lies to drive the story, and mistakes that are made in the history. However, autobiographies don't seem to have the same possibility for mistakes. The first paragraph of Passage B suggests that even when the memory is false, there is an emotional truth to it. That is, it's not a mistake in remembering the past, but a different way of interpreting the feelings attached to that memory. The author wouldn't then think the mistake is unforgivable, but instead it is expressing a different part of the same history--the emotion instead of the facts.

Ken I think you are right on track! Way to go.

Hope that helps!

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