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Teacher Tips and Answers

Reading and Writing Nonfiction Assessment II

Closely read the following articles and answer the questions afterward. Then you will need to analyze a prompt about these models and respond by writing an insightful essay.

Closely read and respond to source 1.

Read and/or listen to the following text, focusing on the topic, purpose, and main points. Answer the questions afterward. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Listen to "Excerpt from "Citizenship in a Republic";

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Source 1

Excerpt from "Citizenship in a Republic"

by Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt

Teddy Roosevelt (United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division)

Former United States President Theodore Roosevelt delivered this speech on April 23, 1910, at the University of Paris.

1  . . . Let the man of learning, the man of lettered leisure, beware of that queer and cheap temptation to pose to himself and to others as a cynic, as the man who has outgrown emotions and beliefs, the man to whom good and evil are as one. The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twisted pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities—all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The role is easy; there is none easier, save only the role of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

2 It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat. Shame on the man of cultivated taste who permits refinement to develop into fastidiousness that unfits him for doing the rough work of a workaday world. Among the free peoples who govern themselves there is but a small field of usefulness open for the men of cloistered life who shrink from contact with their fellows. Still less room is there for those who deride of slight what is done by those who actually bear the brunt of the day; nor yet for those others who always profess that they would like to take action, if only the conditions of life were not exactly what they actually are. The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder. Well for these men if they succeed; well also, though not so well, if they fail, given only that they have nobly ventured, and have put forth all their heart and strength. It is war-worn Hotspur, spent with hard fighting, he of the many errors and valiant end, over whose memory we love to linger, not over the memory of the young lord who “but for the vile guns would have been a valiant soldier.” . . .

3 Let those who have, keep, let those who have not, strive to attain, a high standard of cultivation and scholarship. Yet let us remember that these stand second to certain other things. There is need of a sound body, and even more of a sound mind. But above mind and above body stands character—the sum of those qualities which we mean when we speak of a man’s force and courage, of his good faith and sense of honor. I believe in exercise for the body, always provided that we keep in mind that physical development is a means and not an end. I believe, of course, in giving to all the people a good education. But the education must contain much besides book-learning in order to be really good. We must ever remember that no keenness and subtleness of intellect, no polish, no cleverness, in any way make up for the lack of the great solid qualities. Self restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution—these are the qualities which mark a masterful people. Without them no people can control itself, or save itself from being controlled from the outside. I speak to brilliant assemblage; I speak in a great university which represents the flower of the highest intellectual development; I pay all homage to intellect and to elaborate and specialized training of the intellect; and yet I know I shall have the assent of all of you present when I add that more important still are the commonplace, every-day qualities and virtues.

4 Such ordinary, every-day qualities include the will and the power to work, to fight at need, and to have plenty of healthy children. The need that the average man shall work is so obvious as hardly to warrant insistence. There are a few people in every country so born that they can lead lives of leisure. These fill a useful function if they make it evident that leisure does not mean idleness; for some of the most valuable work needed by civilization is essentially non-remunerative in its character, and of course the people who do this work should in large part be drawn from those to whom remuneration is an object of indifference. But the average man must earn his own livelihood. He should be trained to do so, and he should be trained to feel that he occupies a contemptible position if he does not do so; that he is not an object of envy if he is idle, at whichever end of the social scale he stands, but an object of contempt, an object of derision.

5 In the next place, the good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises. There are well-meaning philosophers who declaim against the unrighteousness of war. They are right only if they lay all their emphasis upon the unrighteousness. War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity. But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war. The choice must ever be in favor of righteousness, and this is whether the alternative be peace or whether the alternative be war. The question must not be merely, Is there to be peace or war? The question must be, Is it right to prevail? Are the great laws of righteousness once more to be fulfilled? And the answer from a strong and virile people must be “Yes,” whatever the cost. Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong. . . .

  1. Which statement best describes the speech's thesis?

    A. Intellectuals are tepid souls who know "nothing of greatness and generous emotion."

    B. Doers such as Teddy Roosevelt should never be criticized by people who do nothing.

    C. The only people of value are those who fight in wars.

    D. Intellectual pursuits are secondary to pragmatic action, and strong character.

    D. Intellectual pursuits are secondary to pragmatic action and strong character.

  2. Which quotation best expresses Roosevelt's view of a sound character?

    A. "The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood."

    B. "Self restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution"

    B. "Self restraint, self mastery, common sense, the power of accepting individual responsibility and yet of acting in conjunction with others, courage and resolution"

    C. "There is need of a sound body, and even more of a sound mind."

    D. "[T]he good man should be both a strong and a brave man; that is, he should be able to fight, he should be able to serve his country as a soldier, if the need arises."

  3. In the first paragraph, use context clues to select the best definition of “affection of contempt for the achievements of others.”

    A. Pretending to hate what others accomplish

    A. Pretending to hate what others accomplish

    B. Fondness for disliking what others accomplish

    C. Sneering facial expression of dismissal

    D. Aloofness about pragmatic solutions

  4. In the second paragraph, use context clues to select the best definition of "cloistered."

    A. Monastic

    B. Sheltered, kept safe from the world

    B. Sheltered, kept safe from the world

    C. Gathered together in a central place

    D. Academic

  5. In the third paragraph, what is Roosevelt referring to when he says, "Let those who have, keep, let those who have not, strive to attain"?

    A. Worldly possessions

    B. Land

    C. Meaningful employment

    D. Learning

    D. Learning

  6. In the fourth paragraph, what does Roosevelt mean by "those to whom remuneration is an object of indifference"?

    A. People who do not need money

    A. People who do not need money

    B. People who are selfless

    C. People who do not care about mathematics

    D. People who judge by character instead of appearance

  7. In the fourth paragraph, what does Roosevelt consider to be "an object of contempt, an object of derision"?

    A. Those who do not fight in war

    B. Intellectual criticism

    C. Those who do not earn their own livelihood

    C. Those who do not earn their own livelihood

    D. War

  8. In the fifth paragraph, which quotation best encapsulates Roosevelt's view of war.

    A. "War is a dreadful thing, and unjust war is a crime against humanity."

    B. "But it is such a crime because it is unjust, not because it is a war."

    C. "And the answer from a strong and virile people must be 'Yes,' whatever the cost."

    D. "Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong."

    D. "Every honorable effort should always be made to avoid war, just as every honorable effort should always be made by the individual in private life to keep out of a brawl, to keep out of trouble; but no self-respecting individual, no self-respecting nation, can or ought to submit to wrong."

  9. What best describes the purpose of this speech?

    A. To explain the character traits of good citizens

    A. To explain the character traits of good citizens

    B. To inspire academics to take action

    C. To silence critics

    D. To warn against too much education

  10. Which quotation would be the best alternate title for this selection?

    A. "Intellectual Aloofness"

    B. "Cold and Timid Souls"

    C. "The Man in the Arena"

    C. "The Man in the Arena"

    D. "Is It Right to Prevail?"

Closely read and respond to source 2.

Read and/or listen to the following text, focusing on the topic, purpose, and main points. Answer the questions afterward. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Listen to "Source 2: Ain't I a Woman

Hide audio

Source 2

Ain't I a Woman?

by Sojourner Truth

Spring Migration

Sojourner Truth (United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division)

Former slave Sojourner Truth delivered this speech at the 1851 Women’s Rights Convention in Akron, Ohio.

1 Well, children, where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter. I think that 'twixt the negroes of the South and the women at the North, all talking about rights, the white men will be in a fix pretty soon. But what's all this here talking about?

2 That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain't I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man—when I could get it—and bear the lash as well! And ain't I a woman? I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain't I a woman?

3 Then they talk about this thing in the head; what's this they call it? [member of audience whispers, "intellect"] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or negroes' rights? If my cup won't hold but a pint, and yours holds a quart, wouldn't you be mean not to let me have my little half measure full?

4 If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again! And now they is asking to do it, the men better let them.

5 Obliged to you for hearing me, and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say.

  1. Which best sums up the thesis of this speech?

    A. Slavery is wrong for many reasons, including grueling work, whipping, and separation of families.

    B. Women can do as much as men and should have equal rights, and black Americans can do as much as white Americans and should have equal rights.

    B. Women can do as much as men and should have equal rights, and black Americans can do as much as white Americans and should have equal rights.

    C. White men will be in a fix soon.

    D. Intellect is not the basis for human rights.

  2. In the first paragraph, infer the best explanation for the first sentence: "Where there is so much racket there must be something out of kilter."

    A. The machine of state is broken down.

    B. The tennis ball has gone out of bounds.

    C. The fabric of the kilt is unraveling.

    D. All this clamor means that something is seriously wrong.

    D. All this clamor means that something is seriously wrong.

  3. What is the best paraphrase of Truth's argument in the first three sentences of the second paragraph.

    A. That man says women require special treatment, but I do not, and I am a woman.

    A. That man says women require special treatment, but I do not, and I am a woman.

    B. That man gives women special treatment, and I want him to give me special treatment, too.

    C. That man has a double standard when it comes to race.

    D. That man has never met a true woman in his life.

  4. What is the meaning of "no man can head me" in the second paragraph.

    A. No man can guide me.

    B. No man can outperform me.

    B. No man can outperform me.

    C. No man can marry me.

    D. No man is smarter than I.

  5. In the second paragraph, infer why Truth continually repeats "Ain't I a woman?"

    A. She is showing that women can do anything men can do.

    B. She is redefining what the delegates think of as a woman.

    C. She is repeatedly challenging the audience's thinking with a powerful question.

    D. She is doing all of the above.

    D. She is doing all of the above.

  6. Infer the best reason for the last two sentences in the second paragraph.

    A. Truth is showing that bearing and losing children requires a grit that men do not have.

    A. Truth is showing that bearing and losing children requires a grit that men do not have.

    B. Truth is trying to get the audience to empathize with her plight.

    C. Truth is asking the audience to help her find her children.

    D. Truth is demonstrating the comfort of religion in an unjust society.

  7. Which statement below best sums up the third paragraph?

    A. Truth seeks only a "pint" full of rights rather than a "quart" full of rights.

    B. People should be judged by their intelligence instead of their race.

    C. Rights do not depend on intellect or education.

    C. Rights do not depend on intellect or education.

    D. Women are just as intelligent as men.

  8. In the fourth paragraph, infer what Truth means by saying, "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!"

    A. Eve was strong just like Truth, and we should all be as strong as Eve.

    B. Eve was the true rebel, and we should be rebels as well.

    C. Eve single-handedly brought injustice into the world, so all of us women together are strong enough to remove injustice from the world.

    C. Eve single-handedly brought injustice into the world, so all of us women together are strong enough to remove injustice from the world.

    D. Strong women like Eve make the world go around.

  9. In the fifth paragraph, infer the best definition for the phrase "Obliged to you."

    A Grateful to you

    A. Grateful to you

    B. Legally bound to you

    C. Apologetic to you

    D. Submissive to you

  10. Which statement below best sums up the similarities between Source 2 and Source 1.

    A. Both speeches were delivered by famous American politicians.

    B. Both speeches focused on human rights.

    C. Both speeches dealt with the horrors of slavery.

    D. Both speeches focused on hard work and moral character in the face of adversity.

    D. Both speeches focused on hard work and moral character in the face of adversity.

Writing an Essay for Assessment II

Some tests ask you to write an essay response to articles you have closely read. The following activity will help you practice.

Analyze and respond to an essay prompt.

Read the following prompt, analyze it using the PAST questions, and write an essay response. Make a copy of this Google doc or download a Word template.

Teddy Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" focuses on manly virtues of hard work and fighting when necessary. Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" demonstrates that those are womanly virtues as well. One speech was given by a white male ex-president and the other by a black female ex-slave. These two speeches intertwine in many other interesting ways. Write an essay that summarizes each speech and draws interesting connections between them. Use evidence from the speeches and draw examples from history or current events.

          Teddy Roosevelt's "Citizenship in a Republic" and Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman" are two great American speeches that seem worlds apart. One came from an empowered white man, providing a top-down view of character traits needed by citizens. The other came from a disenfranchised black woman, arguing from the bottom up that she deserved the rights of citizenship. One advocated the manly virtues that, in part, propelled the world powers into the War to End All Wars. The other called for equal rights for black Americans, a cause that led directly to the Civil War. Both speeches eloquently captured the spirit of their time. Though these two speakers could not seem more different, both speeches extolled the virtues and defended the rights of hard-working citizens of strong character.

          The excerpt from "Citizenship in a Republic" outlines the so-called manly virtues of hard work and willingness to fight for what is right. Roosevelt begins by warning his audience of academics at the University of Paris to avoid the temptation of becoming intellectual cynics, sitting idly by and criticizing men of action. Though Roosevelt values intellect and scholarship, these come second to pragmatic action in both work and war. Citizens should have sound minds and sound bodies but also—and most importantly—sound character. They should have honor, grit, and dedication to defending the right. Roosevelt argues that the strength of the nation is nothing more than the strength of its citizens, and he calls his listeners to get "in the arena," to dare great things as Roosevelt himself had done on San Juan Hill and in the White House.

          Sojourner Truth's speech, "Ain't I a Woman," argues that women can do as much or more than men and deserve equal rights with men. She says she is as strong as any man, can plough and plant and bear the lash, and can eat as much as any man. She goes beyond that, pointing out that she has borne thirteen children—something no man could do—and has borne a mother's grief at seeing most of them sold away into slavery. She makes these arguments to counter those who say that women are the weaker sex, but then she pivots to indicate that rights should not be based on strength or intellect but instead innate human worth and dignity. And if "the white men" don't give women and black people the rights they demand, those same people are more than strong enough to take those rights for themselves.

          Roosevelt's description of the "man in the arena" actually fits Sojourner Truth to a T. Her "face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; [she] strives valiantly; [she] errs, [she] comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but [she] does actually strive to do the deeds; [she] knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; [she] spends [herself] in a worthy cause; . . . [her] place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." Indeed, when Truth rebuts "That man over there" who says that women need special treatment and therefore are weaker, she is responding to one of those sneering intellectual critics that Roosevelt so despises. Roosevelt celebrates manliness, and Truth celebrates womanliness. If they had lived at the same time, Truth could at least have held her own in a fight with Roosevelt, and quite likely would have pinned him two rounds out of three. She had exactly the moral character, soundness of mind and body, and scrappy willingness to work and fight that Roosevelt so praised.

          Though Truth delivered her speech to the Women's Rights Convention in 1851, by 1910 when Roosevelt delivered his speech, women still had not secured the right to vote. Though emancipation had come to slaves and the thirteenth amendment ended slavery, women's suffrage was still a decade away, and to this day, an equal rights amendment has not been added to the Constitution. After Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington, the Civil Rights Act legally ended segregation and a host of other forms of racial discrimination, but the Women's March on Washington in 2017 still hasn't legally ended a host of sexual discriminations. Crusaders like Truth and King are exactly the tenacious, fearless, honor-driven citizens that Roosevelt said were critical to a strong nation.

          Roosevelt's fight for the right continues to this day. Protesters for Black Lives Matter, women's rights, LGBTQ rights, and a host of other honorable causes still challenge the United States to eradicate injustice. These brave protesters appeal to the country to live up to the dream that "all [people] are created equal," and they do so by nonviolently calling on what Lincoln described as "the better angels of our nature." Critics who stand on the sidelines and sneer at these reformers do not deserve to be credited, but rather the women and men in the arena who know the "great devotions," who put forth "all their heart and strength," and who "quell the storm and ride the thunder." Sojourner Truth certainly did.

This lesson is a part of the Practice Test for Reading and Writing Nonfiction unit.

Click the title to view more information about this unit and a full list of lessons that are included.

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