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Worked example: Literature passage, part 2

Video transcript

- [Instructor] Now that we've read the passage, let's see if we can answer the questions. In the context of the passage, the author's use of the phrase "her light step flying to keep time with his long stride," lines four to five, is primarily meant to convey the idea that. So that's right over here, lines four to five. So "her light step flying to keep time "with his long stride." So remember, this is "Mattie Silver had lived "under Ethan's roof for a year, and from early morning "till they met at supper he had frequent chances "of seeing her; but no moments in her company "were comparable to those when." So he's talking about a really good time. "When her arm and his, and her light step "flying to keep time with his long stride, "they walked back through the night to the farm." So you kind of imagine he's this guy, and his long strides, and he's not used to being kind of connected to people and being happy around people, but then there's her, and her light step flying to keep time with his. So you imagine this person, and they're kind of having this enthusiastic and spirited conversations, and we read the whole passage about nature and science and feeling this connection. So yeah, this first choice, Ethan and Mattie share a powerful enthusiasm, that looks like what's being described. I mean, in fact, as we read on, we realize that that's at least what Ethan at the time thought was going on. B, Mattie strives to match the speed at which Ethan works. Well, no, that would be the case if they were saying he has this long stride and she was having trouble, and the whole passage was about her having trouble doing all the work in the house that she wants him to do and all that, but that's not what it's about. The whole passage is about this powerful enthusiasm, and it really starts from these early lines, where we're talking about, you know, this is the time that he liked being around her and this connection, and her light steps flying to keep time with his long stride. They're having fun, the spirited, passionate conversations in the night. Mattie and Ethan playfully compete with each other. Compete? Well, no. The spirit of competition doesn't really play out here. In fact, most of what he kind of talks about, he likes being like this teacher or professorial figure, this father figure kind of, that likes to awaken her appreciation of the planet. So it doesn't really seem like a competitive, or even a playfully competitive, relationship. It's really he is the teacher. At least, he thinks he's the teacher, and she's the students who's appreciating him and nature. Ethan walks at a pace that frustrates Mattie. Well, no, nothing in the passage makes us think that, or at least in the beginning, that Mattie somehow got frustrated by Ethan. It sounds like, at least over in those times, when he's reminiscing about it, that he believes that she's really enjoying all of this. So I'd definitely go with A. Let's go to the next question. The description in the first paragraph indicates that what Ethan values most about Mattie is her fitness for farm labor? No, in fact, he says right over here, "She don't look much on housework." So it's not gonna be that. Vivacious youth? That's possible. I mean, she is this kind of youthful spirit that's entered his life. Receptive nature, freedom from worry. So the receptive nature is interesting too, because it talks in the whole passage about how open she is about learning about the stars and about geology and whatever else. Well, let's just see. But "she don't look much on housework, "but she ain't a fretter anyhow." But then they say, "But it was not only "that the coming to his house of a bit of hopeful young life "was like lighting of a fire on a cold hearth." So he's saying it wasn't only, essentially, her vivacious youth. "The girl was more than the bright serviceable creature he had thought her. "She had an eye to see and an ear to hear; "he could show her things and tell her things "and taste the bliss of feeling "that all he imparted left long reverberations "and echoes he could wake at will." So this is, it starts off saying, look. It didn't look like she was necessarily the most impressive person to look at from a labor point of view, and sure, she had vivacious youth, but that wasn't it. The really powerful thing about her was "she had an eye see and an ear to hear: "he could show her things and tell her things, "and taste the bliss of feeling that all he imparted "left long reverberations and echoes he could wake at will." So it really is about the receptive nature. She was open to these things that he wanted to teach her, and she was, at least he thought, excited about these things. Question four, which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question? Well, actually, I would, let's see, I think I highlighted them. She had, "the girl was more than the bright serviceable "creature he had thought her. "She had an eye to see and ear to hear: "he could show her things and tell her things." So, let's see. Which of these are that? This is like line 15, through 16, 17, 18. That's actually, I happened to highlight those exact lines. I like to do these, as you can tell, in real time, so that I'm experiencing it as you would experience it, but luckily, I literally, but anyway, you get the point. This is the line. These are the lines that say that she was receptive. "She had an eye to see and a ear to hear; "he could show her things and tell her things." So definitely go with that. The author includes the descriptions of the sunset, the clouds, and the hemlock shadows. Hemlock is a type of plant. So the shadows of the plant, since we're in nature. So lines 41 to 43. So let's go down to line 41, line 41, 43. And I'll start reading literally. "And there were other sensations, "less definable but more exquisite." More exquisite. So before, he's talking about kind of the science of the stars and being able to think about what's in the fossil record and all of that. But then they're saying, "And there were other sensations, "less definable but more exquisite, "which drew them together with the shock of silent joy: "the cold red of sunset behind the winter hills, "the flight of cloud-flocks over slopes of golden stubble, "or the intensely blue shadows of hemlock on sunlit snow. "When she said to him once: "'It looks just as if it was painted.'" So this is just kind of that incredible, I mean, I feel, maybe I should have hung out with Ethan Frome, but when you're in nature, there's this indescribable feeling of how it just connects with you, the beauty of it all. So this is what they're describing over here when we're talking about the sunset, the clouds, the hemlock shadows. So it suggests the peacefulness of the natural world? Uh, yeah, well. Emphasize the acuteness of two characters' sensations? Yeah, I like that, because he's talking about him, in the past as we read, that he was wondering, is he the only that feels so strongly about nature and the beauty of the natural world? But at the time, he said, I think I found someone in this Mattie who connects with this sensation, who understands it. Foreshadowing the decline of the fortunes of two characters. No, this isn't that. This is about their connection. Offer a sense of how fleeting time can be. No, this was about both of them, him feeling this very basic passion for everything around him, this almost indescribable thing, and her connecting with it. And when she says, "It looks just as if it were painted," he feels that she had just perfectly described what he was feeling, these sensations. So I definitely would go with B.