Questions 7-19 are based on the following passage.
The following passage is from a 1979 essay by a Native American writer.
An understanding of any national literature depends very much on an awareness of the larger cultural context. Without some knowledge of language, of history, of inflection, of the position of the storyteller within the group, without a hint of the social roles played by males and females in the culture, without a sense of the society's humor or priorities—without such knowledge, how can we, as reader or listener, penetrate to the core of meaning in an expression of art?
The difficulty of gaining access to the literature of a different culture may be illustrated by an exemplary folktale (in translation) from the Tanaina (Athabaskan) culture of south-central Alaska. It would typically be told to a general audience within the society, including the full range of ages from young children to grandparents; it would be recounted with gesticulation and exaggeration by a performance specialist. It would be expected to have different meanings to the various categories of listeners— instructive, entertaining, reinforcing, or all three. Here is a brief version of the story:
"Once upon a time there was a porcupine woman who decided to do some hunting .on the far side of the river. She went to the bank, where she met a beaver.
'Hello,' she said to him. T need to do some hunting over there. Will you ride me across on your back?'
'I'd be glad to,' replied the beaver. 'Hop on.' So the porcupine woman climbed on his back, and he started swimming for the other side. When he had almost made it, the porcupine woman said, 'Oh my! I've forgotten to bring my sack. I'll need to go back to the other bank and get it.'
'All right.' said the beaver, and swam back. He was panting while the porcupine woman went to get her sack.
'Okay,' she said. 'Let's go.' So they started across again. The beaver was swimming much more slowly. When they had practically reached the other side, she said, 'Oh my! I've forgotten to bring my needle. We'll have to go back and get it.'
This time the beaver didn't say anything—he didn't have enough breath! But he turned around and pulled them back to the shore and nearly passed out while she got her needle.
'Hurry up, now." the porcupine woman said as she climbed back on his back. He could hardly keep his nose above water, but he had almost made it to the far bank again when she said, 'Oh my! I've forgotten my staff. We'll have to . . . .'
Before she had finished her sentence the beaver had flipped over in the water and dragged himself onto the bank, where he lay half dead. The porcupine woman managed to make the shore too, and climbed up onto a bear path. When she had caught her breath, she turned on the beaver and quilted him to death."
The Tanaina live in an environment that could euphemistically be described as "difficult." Survival, especially in the wild, is always precarious. Further, they were, in the precontact period, a nonlilcratc people. Oral communication was therefore the method of cultural transmission, legal understanding, and meaningful communication. It is also necessary lo know that a "staff." as mentioned in the story, fund ions as both a walking stick and a weapon, and that in the Tanaina symbol system, porcupines were supposed to be rather ponderous, dull-witted creatures, and beavers were thought to be energetic and industrious but overly spontaneous and erratic.
For the reader armed with these data, the story becomes more accessible as a lesson in contract law, with several additional minor themes. A culturally attuned listener would notice, for instance, that when the porcupine woman proposed passage to the beaver, he agreed without any stipulations or clarifications of the terms. He gave a basically open-ended agreement—made a contract—and hence the porcupine woman was perfectly within her rights both in demanding that he return three times and in quilting him to death when he reneged.
The story is not. however, without its moral for the porcupine women of this world. Her stated aim is to go hunting, and yet she sets out without the three essentials of that endeavor: a sack in which to carry home her game, a needle with which to sew up the intestines, and, most important, an implement with which to hunt and defend herself. True, she had an open-ended contract, but where does she wind up at the conclusion of the story? Sitting, exhausted, quills used up, weaponless, and not only on the wrong side of the river from her home but on a bear path! The hunter is about to become the hunted, and all because of her own improvidence.
7. In the opening paragraph, the author assumes that the "meaning" (line 8) is
(A) culturally determined
(B) intensely personal
(C) essentially moralistic
(D) permanently inscrutable
(E) uniquely artistic
8. In the context of the passage, which "expression of art" (line 9) would be the most difficult to interpret?
(A) A contemporary play written by a prolific play wright
(B) A fable from a nonliterate society with which anthropologists are very familiar
(C) A single text produced by a previously unknown society
(D) A sitcom from the early days of television
(E) A single myth from an ancient culture with a well-documented mythological structure
9. How does the author respond to the question posed in lines 3-9?
(A) By proposing an innovative strategy
(B) By confirming the futility of such analysis
(C) By describing a personal experience with the problem
(D) By illustrating his point within a particular context
(E) By documenting a traditional approach to the problem
10. The author discusses Tanaina culture from the perspective of
(A) a concerned parent
(B) a bewildered visitor
(C) a performance artist
(D) an informed outsider
(E) an indignant reader
11. The sentence in which "difficult" appears (lines 54-55) indicates that the author considers the word to be
(A) an exaggeration
(B) an estimate
(C) an understatement
(D) a contradiction
(E) a preconception
12. In relation to the passage, the statements in lines 59-65 serve a function most similar to which of the following items?
(A) A menu in a restaurant
(B) The key or legend to a map
(C) A department store directory
(D) The outline of a term paper
(E) An illustration of a fairytale
13. The author's analysis of the folktale offers which insight into Tanaina beliefs?
(A) A fanciful story is most suitable for an audience of children.
(B) A verbal exchange can establish a binding contract.
(C) A person who behaves impulsively is most often sincere.
(D) A shared task should be divided fairly between two people.
(E) A painstaking plan may nonetheless fail to anticipate all problems.
14. The "porcupine women of this world" (lines 76-77) are best described as people who
(A) plan inadequately for their own needs
(B) postpone necessary work in favor of leisure
(C) depend heavily upon help from their close friends
(D) return repeatedly to their favorite places
(E) flee quickly from any laborious task
15. The final paragraph (lines 76-87) suggests that the bear path mentioned in lines 51-52 is significant because it
(A) foreshadows the arrival of a benevolent character from Tanaina folklore
(B) suggests an alarming alternative to crossing the river
(C) marks the boundary of the beaver's natural surroundings
(D) explains the porcupine woman's fear of unfamiliar territory
(E) poses a new peril for the porcupine woman
16. In lines 83-87, the description of the porcupine woman emphasizes the discrepancy between her
(A) social position and her private feelings
(B) physical wealth and her moral poverty
(C) hostile action and her ultimate gratitude
(D) original goal and her actual situation
(E) grandiose ambition and her real moods
17. As a commentary on legal relations, the folktale is best described as
(A) an example of traditional practices
(B) an outline for social behavior
(C) a warning about ill-conceived assent
(D) a criticism of obsolete custom
(E) a parody of actual situation
18. The author's attitude toward the Tanaina folktale is best described as
(A) excitement at an unexpected discovery
(B) admiration of the storyteller's performance
(C) appreciation of the folktale as a means of communicating values
(D) enthusiasm for the Tanaina culture's concept of legality
(E) enjoyment of the comical aspects of the folktale
19. Which statement is most consistent with the author's argument?
(A) Translating a literary text requires formal lin¬guistic training
(B) Tales transmitted by a nonliterate society elude transcription in later eras.
(C) Listening to a skilled storyteller is more instructive than entertaining.
(D) Simple enjoyment of a tale is incompatible with scholarly analysis.
(E) To read a text is not necessarily to understand it.