Here’s the answer to yesterday’s practice question, thanks for sending in all of your answers! 🙂
The resurgence of the women’s movement in the late 1960s led to the reevaluation of many authors by feminist literary critics. During the early phase of the resurgence, Nathaniel Hawthorne’s works received considerable attention from feminist critics, but that attention had waned by 1976.
Ironically, prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne demonstrated little of what we would now call feminist consciousness, yet prefeminist criticism strove to uncover antifeminist bias in Hawthorne’s works and may have precluded feminist critics from breaking any new ground. Prefeminist criticism argued that Hawthorne’s female characters did not portray the lives of real women of their era but were symbols of Hawthorne’s religious and moral values and projections of his sexual psychology.
Thus, prefeminist criticism foreshadowed the stance of feminist criticism that “women” in literature are usually not reliable descriptions of women in the real world but rather images that reflect the values of their creators.
The author’s primary purpose in the passage is:
- to compare and contrast prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne
- to describe the resurgence of interest by feminist critics in Hawthorne
- to describe prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne
- to describe feminist criticism of Hawthorne
- to describe the relationship of prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne
(E) is the credited response.
(E) is the best response because, neither too narrow nor too broad, it accurately captures the main purpose of the passage.
(A) is incorrect. The passage does briefly compare and contrast prefeminist and feminist criticism of Hawthorne. But the main purpose of the passage is to place feminist criticism of Hawthorne
within the context of the resurgence of feminism in the 1960s and to suggest that feminist critics stopped writing about Hawthorne because prefeminist critics had, ironically, already demonstrated that his portrayals of women did not accurately
reflect the women of his era.
(B) is incorrect. Although the passage does reference the resurgence of interest by feminist critics in Hawthorne, its main purpose is broader than a description of this resurgence.
(C) is incorrect. The passage does briefly describe prefeminist criticism of Hawthorne, but (C) is too narrow.
(D) is incorrect. (D) is similar to (C). The passage does briefly describe feminist criticism of Hawthorne, but (D) is too narrow.