Sometimes one reads a poem and believes that the poem expresses contradictory ideas, even if it is a great poem. So i...

Matt on November 24, 2014

Assumption help

I am having difficulty understanding why E is the correct answer. Please assist!

3 Replies

Melody on December 3, 2014

Here we have a strengthen with necessary premise question. Remember that a premise is necessary for a conclusion if the falsity of the premise guarantees or brings about the falsity of the conclusion. First we check to see if the answer choice strengthens the passage, and then, if it doesstrengthen, we negate the answer choice to see if its negation makes the argument fall apart. If the answer choice does both those things then it is our correct answer.

Conclusion: it is wrong to think that the meaning of a poem is whatever the author intends to communicate to the reader by means of the poem.

Why? Sometimes one reads a poem and believes that the poem expresses contradictory ideas, even if it is a great poem. And we are told that no one who is writing a great poem intends to communicate contradictory ideas.

Ultimately, the reasoning is that because readers fin that the poem expresses contradictory ideas, and no one writes a poem intending to communicate contradictory ideas, then the meaning of a poem is not in whatever the author intends to communicate to the reader by means of the poem.

Answer choice (E) states: "If a reader believes that a poem expresses a particular idea, then that idea is part of the meaning of the poem."

Does answer choice (E) strengthen the argument? Yes.

The evidence given to us is that readers believe that certain poems express contradictory ideas. Since no one who is writing a great poem intends to communicate contradictory ideas, it would strengthen the conclusion that it is wrong to think that the meaning of a poem is whatever the author intends to communicate to the reader by means of poem because answer choice (E) states that when a reader believes that a poem expresses a particular idea, that idea is part of the meaning of the poem--so the contradictory ideas that the reader has perceived, according to answer choice (E), is a part of the meaning of the poem. Thus, the conclusion is strengthened.

Negation: If a reader believes that a poem expresses a particular idea, then that idea is not necessarily part of the meaning of the poem.

Does this negation make the argument fall apart? Yes.

This means that regardless of what a reader believes, i.e. even if sometimes readers believe that poems express contradictory ideas, those ideas are not necessarily part of the meaning of the poem. Therefore, it no longer necessarily stands that it is wrong to think that the meaning of a poem is whatever the author intends to communicate to the reader by means of the poem, since now, even if a reader believes that a poem expresses contradictory ideas, those ideas do not necessarily have to be a part of the meaning of the poem.

Hope that helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.

Timur on February 4, 2015

In negating (D), "anyone" would not turn into "not everyone" correct?
Additionally, would the negation of (C) become "...if they do not agree about what the author of the poem intended the poem to mean...[then] readers will agree about the meaning of a poem"? Sorry for the lengthy question.

Melody on February 5, 2015

Remember, "anyone" is the same as "all." Answer choice (D) means: "All people reading a great poem can discern every idea that the author intended to express in the poem." So, the correct negation would be: "Not all people reading a great poem can discern every idea that the author intended to express in the poem."

To negate a Sufficient & Necessary statement, you have to show the sufficient condition without the necessary condition. So, the negation of (C) is: Even if they agree about what the author of the poem intended the poem to mean, readers can still agree about the meaning of a poem.

Hope that helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.