Literary critic: There is little of social significance in contemporary novels, for readers cannot enter the internal...

Ryan on October 12 at 04:18PM

Why is E correct? Why is B incorrect?

Thanks

3 Replies

on November 10 at 01:13AM

I would like to know as well. Why E and not B. Could someone explain this, please? Thanks a lot!

Shunhe on December 26 at 06:24PM

Hi @Ryan-Mahabir and @lerondagates,

(E) is correct because if novels have social significance only to the extent they allow readers to enter the internal world of the novelist's mind, and readers can't enter that world unless they experience it from the moral perspective of the novel's characters, then novels can't be that socially significant. This is true because of the last sentence of the stimulus, which essentially tells us that readers can't get that moral perspective because when characters make moral transgressions, those transgressions are viewers as sensationalistic spectacles rather than taken at face value.

If we wanted to diagram this with conditional logic, we would have:

P1) ~Experience world from the moral perspective of the novel's characters - > readers cannot enter the internal world of the novelist's mind. (Recall that X unless Y can be diagrammed as ~Y - > X)

P2) ~Experience world from the moral perspective of the novel's characters.

C) There is little of social significance in contemporary novels.

What (E) tells us is the following:

P) Novel has social significance - > Allows readers to enter the internal world of novelist's mind.

We can take the contrapositive of this to get:

~Allow readers to enter the internal world - > ~Novel has social significance.

And so we can make the link

~Experience world from moral perspective of characters - > Readers cannot enter internal world - > Novel has little social significance.

And since we are given the beginning of the link by the last sentence of the stimulus, given (E), we can then infer the rest.

(B), on the other hand, is incorrect because it equates "empathizing with a victim of injustice" to "experiencing a world from the moral perspective of the novel's characters." Empathizing occurs when we understand the feelings of these characters, but it does not entail that we view the world from their moral perspective. Also, even if those sensationalistic spectacles were avoided, we wouldn't necessarily have some other source of experiencing the world from the moral perspective of the characters, which we need in order to infer the rest. Hope this helps!

Daniel on May 16 at 12:02AM

Thanks for explaining! Could you please provide additional context as to how premise 2 shows that contemporary novels do not allow the reader to experience the world from the moral perspective of the novel’s characters? Just because the purpose of these sensationalistic spectacles is not to be seen as injustices, doesn’t actually mean that readers can’t still experience the world from the moral perspective of the novel’s characters…i.e. purpose doesn’t necessarily determine possible outcome. Also, what about other scenes besides these specific spectacle scenes? Might they still allow the reader to experience the world from the moral perspective of the novel's characters?