June 2012 LSAT Section 1 Question 16
The author's discussion in the first paragraph proceeds in which one of the following ways?
Victoria on June 2, 2019Hello @Shiyi-Zhang,
Each of the answer choices provides three sequential descriptions of how the first paragraph of the author's discussion proceeds.
Let's start by going through the paragraph.
The author begins by talking about the relationship between music and literature. They then connect this to African American musical and literary traditions. The author concludes the first paragraph of their discussion by commenting that, while many African American writers have used musicians and music as theme and metaphor in writing, none had drawn upon a musical genre as the structuring principle for an entire novel until Toni Morrison's novel Jazz.
We can see from our breakdown of the first paragraph above that B is the correct answer. The author begins by making a general remark about two art forms. This general remark claims that music and literature (the two art forms) have not coexisted without intruding on each other's terrains. The author then makes a similar observation about a particular artistic tradition by commenting on the relationships between music and literature in the African American artistic tradition. Finally, the author makes a specific comment about a particular work that exemplifies the prior remarks by commenting on Toni Morrison's pioneering use of musical genre as the structuring principle for her novel Jazz.
All three steps outlined in answer choice C are incorrect in describing how the author proceeds throughout the paragraph.
The first step reads: "a description of a common claim about two art forms." While the author does discuss two art forms - music and literature - we do not know whether they claim they are making is common or widely-believed. They are simply making a general remark on the relationship between the two without connecting this remark to the work or beliefs of others.
The second step reads: "some specific evidence that supports that claim." The claim that is referred to here is that music and literature have not coexisted without intruding on one another as demonstrated by writing often aspiring to the condition of music. The "evidence" referred to here is the example of the African American tradition. However, it is not evidence in the strictest sense; it is an example of an artistic tradition which exemplifies the relationships between literature and music. While it does support the author's claim that there is a relationship between literature and music, it is neither placed in the paragraph to do so nor does it comment on writing aspiring to the condition of music, thereby failing to fully support the author's claims.
Finally, the third step reads: "an inference regarding a particular individual to whom that claim applies." Firstly, the reference to Toni Morrison is not an inference. We do not have to infer that there is a relationship between literature and music in Morrison's novel Jazz, as she used the musical genre as the structuring principle for her novel. Additionally, the claim made at the beginning of the paragraph does not directly apply to the statements made about Morrison. This example is used to demonstrate a pioneer who impacted the relationships between music and literature found in the African American artistic tradition and to set up the remainder of the passage.
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Ravi on June 3, 2019@Shiyi-Zhang,
Happy to help. Let's look at (C) and (B).
(C) says, "from a description of a common claim about two art forms,
to some specific evidence that supports that claim, to an inference
regarding a particular individual to whom that claim applies"
(C) begins nicely, but it has a big flaw. The passage's author does
not offer specific evidence to support the assertion that literature
aspires to be like music. Rather, the author instead claims that the
relationship between literature and music is especially prevalent in
the African American artistic tradition. Additionally, the author is
not making an inference about Toni Morrison; rather, the author makes
a claim regarding how music is mimicked in one of Morrison's works,
and she supports this assertion in the following paragraphs. Thus, we
can get rid of (C).
(B) says, "from a general remark about two art forms, to a similar
observation about a particular artistic tradition, to a specific
comment about a particular work that exemplifies the prior remarks"
The passage's author begins with a general statement in her first
paragraph, and she narrows her focus down before eventually arriving
at her conclusion. The beginning paragraph starts with a claim about
how literature frequently attempts to mimic music (lines 1-6). After
this, the author provides a more detailed account of how the
relationship between music and literature is particularly apparent in
the African American artistic tradition (lines 6-10). Wrapping up the
paragraph, the author presents her conclusion, which states that in
Toni Morrison's novel Jazz, the relationship between music and
literature is carried out in the way that Morrison uses jazz as a
structuring principle for the whole novel (lines 13-16). In looking at
(B), it does a great job in describing how the first paragraph
proceeds, as it says it starts from a general remark about a
relationship between music and literature, moves to a similar
observation about the African American artistic tradition, and finally
wraps up by making a specific comment about Jazz that exemplifies the
relationship between music and literature. Thus, (B) is the correct
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