In lines 18—25, the author uses the phrase "negative subtext" in reference to the critic's comment to claim that

Shiyi on May 19, 2019

Why is E correct?

Why is E correct?

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Shunhe on January 4, 2020

Hi @Shiyi-Zhang,

Thanks for asking! This question points us to lines 18-25 and asks us how the author uses the phrase "negative subtext" in reference to the critic's comment. Asking for the subtext is asking for what's implied, and the fact that it's negative means that it's something bad. What does the critic say in these lines? The critic lists off a number of factors, saying that if they were the sole requirements for great literature, the novel might be one of the masterpieces of this declining part of the twentieth century. Note that the critic doesn't come out and say that the novel IS one of the masterpieces; it says that IF those factors were the only ones to be considered, then it would be. We have to do some reading between the lines here to figure out that the critic is implying that those factors are NOT the only ones to be considered, and that the novel is NOT a masterpiece. This is what (E) tells us, and so (E) is the correct answer.

It's kind of like if one of your friends said McDonald's was the best food ever and you replied "Yeah, if price was all that mattered," implying that other factors (taste, nutritional value) are in play as well. Hope this helps!

Taiyou on June 24, 2020

Does that explanation of the answer choice reminding us that we have to take in the tone of the words into account when we are looking for the best answer choice?