BB2 Critical Reading Question

<p>I was going over my test answers when I found a mistake that I can't rationalize no matter how hard I try. Last resort: this forum.</p>

<p>Note that this is the second edition of the blue book, the 2nd practice test that's not in the first edition (which is why I couldn't consult the consolidated list)</p>

<p>Page 480, Question 2, Practice test 2</p>

<p>The paragraph in lines 53-55 ("But I...else") suggests that, for the narrator, being considered Hispanic represents</p>

<p>(A) the end of childhood as she has known it
(B) the loss of her former identity
(C) a restriction to be overcome
(D) an opportunity for self-redefinition
(E) an unavoidable result of emigration.</p>

<p>Some context, in case you want a crack at it without the whole passage:</p>

<p>She bit her lower lip. "I guess so," she finally said. "It has to do with being from a Spanish country, I mean, you or your parents, like, even if you don't speak Spanish, you're Hispanic, you know?" She looked at me uncertainly. I nodded and returned her rope.</p>

<p>(Line 53-55) But I didn't know. I'd always been Puerto Rican and it hadn't occurred to me that in Brooklyn I'd be considered someone else.</p>

<p>I put choice (E). The answer was choice (B).</p>

<p>Thanks in advance.</p>

<p>The narrator's original sense of identity was that anybody who speaks Spanish is Hispanic. But in Brooklyn, since it is a diverse place, the general idea is that as long as your parents are Hispanic (which in turn means you simply seem Hispanic), you are Hispanic. Before the narrator emigrated, whether someone spoke Spanish or not was a significant distinction. I, not having read the passage, assume that she came from a place where virtually everyone was Hispanic, so the distinction had to be more specific--like it had to be in what language you speak or in what country you came from. In Brooklyn, whether people are Hispanic, non-Hispanic white, etc. is the distinction since there are so many different ethnic groups. This basically means her former identity (her original sense of origin) has been undermined and, to some degree, lost.</p>

<p>Knowing this, "an unavoidable result of emigration" is a little too general and off-topic to represent what she has gone through. In your mind you might view what the narrator has gone through to be unavoidable, but that is not the focus of the story or lines 53-55. Presumably, the story never emphasizes the fact that she couldn't have avoided this. Therefore, the paragraph does not suggest such a representation, even if it is true or plausible.</p>

<p>Remember to keep it as simple as possible and look for direct matches in the text.</p>

<p>What if you'd rephrase (Line 53-55) as "I always thought of myself as being Puerto Rican. Now in Brooklyn I am considered Hispanic."</p>

<p>What does this means? She lost something. She has a new identity.</p>

<p>Now, what are the choices:</p>

<p>(A) the end of childhood as she has known it XX
(B) the loss of her former identity YY
(C) a restriction to be overcome XX
(D) an opportunity for self-redefinition Y
(E) an unavoidable result of emigration. XX</p>

<p>XX = not mentioned at all in text</p>

<p>YY = prior identity and changes are directly mentioned</p>

<p>Y = possible but opportunity is something positive. The context here is negative. So this is not a good choice, especially since there is a better one.</p>

<p>A summary of the story is this:</p>

<p>The narrator goes outside in Brooklyn and meets a girl. The girl asks, are you hispanic? The narrator replies no, and this starts a conversation on the meaning of being hispanic.</p>

<p>The reason why I put E was because being considered Hispanic was an unavoidable thing that occurred because she emigrated to Brooklyn. B seems like a good answer too, but during the test I thought that the loss of identity (as the who you are and where you come from) wasn't lost because she was considered Hispanic.</p>

<p>I googled my excerpt and found the full text online. I'll copy and paste it on an edit to my first post.
EDIT: can't edit first post.</p>

<p>New York was darker than I expected, and, in spite of the cleansing rain, dirtier. Used to the sensual curves of rural Puerto Rico, my eyes had to adjust to the regular, aggressive two-dimensionality of Brooklyn. Raindrops pounded the hard streets, captured the dim silver glow of street lamps, bounced against sidewalks in glistening sparks, then disappeared, like tiny ephemeral jewels, into the darkness. Mami and Tata teased that I was disillusioned because the streets were not paved with gold. But I had no such vision of New York. I was disappointed by the darkness and fixed my hopes on the promise of light deep within the sparkling raindrops.</p>

<p>Two days later, I leaned against the wall of our apartment building on McKibbin Street wondering where New York ended and the rest of the world began. It was hard to tell. There was no horizon in Brooklyn. Everywhere I looked, my eyes met a vertical maze of gray and brown straight-edged buildings with sharp corners and deep shadows. Every few blocks there was a cement playground surrounded by chain-link fence. And in between, weedy lots mounded with garbage and rusting cars.</p>

<p>A girl came out of the building next door, a jump rope in her hand. She appraised me shyly; I pretended to ignore her. She stepped on the rope, stretched the ends overhead as if to measure their length, and then began to skip, slowly, grunting each time she came down on the sidewalk. Swish splat grunt swish, she turned her back to me; swish splat grunt swish, she faced me again and smiled. I smiled back, and she hopped over.</p>

<p>"?T? eres hispana?" she asked, as she whirled the rope in lazy arcs.</p>

<p>"No, I'm Puerto Rican."</p>

<p>"Same thing. Puerto Rican, Hispanic. That's what we are here." She skipped a tight circle, stopped abruptly, and shoved the rope in my direction. "Want a turn?"</p>

<p>"Sure." I hopped on one leg, then the other. "So, if you're Puerto Rican, they call you Hispanic?"</p>

<p>"Yeah. Anybody who speaks Spanish."</p>

<p>I jumped a circle, as she had done, but faster. "You mean, if you speak Spanish, you're Hispanic?"</p>

<p>"Well, yeah. No . . . I mean your parents have to be Puerto Rican or Cuban or something."</p>

<p>I whirled the rope to the right, then the left, like a boxer. "Okay, your parents are Cuban, let's say, and you're born here, but you don't speak Spanish. Are you Hispanic?"</p>

<p>She bit her lower lip. "I guess so," she finally said. "It has to do with being from a Spanish country. I mean, you or your parents, like, even if you don't speak Spanish, you're Hispanic, you know?" She looked at me uncertainly. I nodded and returned her rope.</p>

<p>But I didn't know. I'd always been Puerto Rican, and it hadn't occurred to me that in Brooklyn I'd be someone else.</p>

<p>Later, I asked. "Are we Hispanics, Mami?"</p>

<p>"Yes, because we speak Spanish."</p>

<p>"But a girl said you don't have to speak the language to be Hispanic."</p>

<p>She scrunched her eyes. "What girl? Where did you meet a girl?"</p>

<p>"Outside. She lives in the next building."</p>

<p>"Who said you could go out to the sidewalk? This isn't Puerto Rico. Algo te puede suceder."</p>

<p>"Something could happen to you" was a variety of dangers outside the locked doors of our apartment. I could be mugged. I could be dragged into any of the dark, abandoned buildings on the way to or from school and be raped and murdered. I could be accosted by gang members into whose turf I strayed. I could be seduced by men who preyed on unchaperoned girls too willing to talk to strangers. I listened to Mami's lecture with downcast eyes and the necessary, respectful expression of humility. But inside, I quaked. Two days in New York, and I'd already become someone else. It wasn't hard to imagine that greater dangers lay ahead.</p>

Your saying with these questions, it is always better to look directly at the quoted lines and derive an answer from that rather than from the story itself? To me I make the following statement, "When she moved to Brooklyn, she became considered Hispanic, because of the different ethnic characterizations in New York.</p>

<p>Of course, your right, but I just want to broaden my understanding.</p>

<p>The answers do not have to be at the EXACT lines, but the answers to line questions are somewhere in the passage, and often directly reproduced. </p>

<p>In this case, the correct answer is actually provided twice. In lines 53 to 55, and at the end ... "Two days in New York, and I'd already become someone else."</p>

<p>This is a perfect match for (B) the loss of her former identity. </p>

<p>Please note that there is no mention of emigration anywhere in the passage. Overthinking and too much inference are your two worst enemies.</p>