Which one of the following best expresses the main idea of the passage?

Carlos on August 28, 2018


I dont understand this questions


Julie on August 26, 2019

For me, the last paragraph is what I used to determine the answer, especially when the author says that although her poetry had little contribution to the African American literary language, her poetry was still undeniably accomplished.

Could an instructor weigh in on my comment and help us further? Thanks in advance!

Jonathan on March 9, 2021

any update on these questions please?

Naryan on January 12 at 05:16PM

Hi @carlosjaramillo36, @Julie-V, @Jonathan,

As with all Reading Comprehension questions, the best way to get to the answer is to understand the passage. As I'm going through I'm asking myself "Why did the author sit down to write this?" "What are they trying to tell me?"

When I read this, the focus is clearly on this writer. The author is totally impressed with how quickly she was able to pick up english (5-15), and believes Wheatley is overall an amazing person with an amazing story. However, the author thinks despite all she achieved, Wheatley's poems kinda fell short, since she wasn't really able to use her own "voice" in the way that Africans developed their own dialect of english (50-60) So despite all her triumphs, the author believes that Wheatley's poems failed to become all they could be.

Now, let's look at the answers.

A: Ok...sure, maybe they did. That's definitely not what the author is trying to get across, though. Answering A would be like listening to a 3 hour lecture on "How Solar Panels can Stop Climate Change", then coming out and saying "That lecture was about how solar panels need sunlight." You're not wrong...but you've missed what the speaker is trying to get across.

B: Same as A. Sure, of course she did. Again, though, we're looking for something that says "Wheatley was impressive, but ultimately didn't live up to her full potential." This isn't it.

C: Yes, exactly! This is totally what the author is trying to tell us. This is the story they want to tell. An impressive black woman overcame so many obstacles and was amazing at the English language, but ultimately her poetry didn't achieve everything it could have. At this point you should choose C and move on, but for education's sake let's look at D and E.

D: I'm not even convinced this is true. D is insinuating that Wheatley is part of the development of African English, when the author explicitly says she failed to even incorporate African English into her poems. This is exactly the author's point - Wheatley FAILS to be what D describes her as.

E: Again, did she? It sounds like the author is upset with Wheatley because she DIDN'T do what E describes. Her poems could have helped progress African English, she could have started a whole trend of African English in poetry, but she didn't. That's why the author is disappointed—because she failed to use her position to help preserve African oral tradition.

If you have any more questions don't hesitate to ask!