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Comprehension Skills Package - Some questions on Authorial Intention

1. YJC Prelim 2004 To preen, for a woman, can never be just a pleasure. It is also a duty. It is her work. If a woman does real work and even if she has clambered up to a leading position in politics, law, medicine, business, or whatever she is always under pressure to confess that she still works at being attractive. But in so far as she is keeping up as one of the Fair Sex, she brings under suspicion her very capacity to be objective, professional, authoritative, thoughtful. Damned if they do women are. And damned if they dont. Damned if they do women are. And damned if they dont (lines 53-54) (i) Infer from these 2 sentences, what the writers point is. [2+1]

ii) What are the authors tone and attitude expressed here?

[1]

2. TPJC Prelim 2004 The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is half a century old, but there are still objections to the concept of human rights which its defenders need to acknowledge honestly, the better to refute them. a) Explain in your own words as far as possible, why the author uses the word honestly in line 3. [1]

The first objection is that there is no universal culture, therefore there are no universal human rights. Then there is the usual North/South argument. Developing countries cannot afford human rights since the tasks of nation-building and economic development are still unfinished. Many also object to specific rights which they say reflect Western cultural bias: the right, for instance, to political pluralism or the rights of women. In addition, some religious leaders argue that human rights can only be acceptable if they are founded on transcendent values of their faith, sanctioned by God. The Universal Declaration claims no such heritage and a draft reference to the Creator was consciously left out of the final text. b) Why do you think any reference to the Creator was consciously left out (line 12) of the Declaration? [1]

When one hears of the unsuitability or ethnocentricism of human rights, what are the unstated assumptions? What exactly are these human rights that someone in a developing country can easily do without? Not the right to life, I hope. Freedom from torture? The right not to be enslaved, not to be physically assaulted, not to be arbitrarily arrested, imprisoned or executed? No one actually advocates in so many words the abridgement of any of these rights. Tolerance and mercy have always and in all cultures been ideals of government rule and human behaviour. Objections to the applicability of international human-rights standards have all-too-frequently been voiced by authoritarian rulers and power lites to rationalize their violations of human rights violations which serve primarily, if not solely, to sustain them in power. c) The author raises several questions in the last paragraph of the passage. What is his intention? [2] + [1]

Answers on Authorial Intention 1. YJC Prelim 2004 Damned if they do women are. And damned if they dont (lines 53-54) (ii) Infer from these 2 sentences, what the writers point is. [2+1] Lifted Re-expressed To preen, for a woman, can never be When women make the effort to beautify just a pleasure. It is also a duty. It is themselves / pretty themselves/look good, they her work. are criticised harshly for their efforts. (1) If students give a response that is a paraphrase of textual information, award mark e.g., Women are not allowed to view grooming as something done for their own gratification. They are expected to also view it as an obligation. If a woman does real work and even However, when women do not make the effort to if she has clambered up to a leading beautify themselves/pretty themselves/look good position in politics, law, medicine, or let themselves go in terms of their looks, they business, or whatever she is always are also criticised harshly for doing so. (1) under pressure to confess that she In other words, it is never a win-win situation for still works at being attractive. women. (1) If students give a response that is a paraphrase of textual information, award mark e.g., Even women in positions of authority have to concede that looking good remains a priority. ii) What are the authors tone and attitude expressed here? [1] But in so far as she is keeping up as Writers attitude: she disapproves of the social one of the Fair Sex, she brings under pressures that women have to endure over their suspicion her very capacity to be appearance. (1/2) objective, professional, authoritative, thoughtful. Damned if they do women are. And Writers tone: agitated, frustrated, indignant, damned if they dont. irate, miffed, resentful, worked-up, (1/2) 2. TPJC Prelim 2004 a) Explain in your own words as far as possible, why the author uses the word honestly in line 3. [1] To show that in the past, objections were not adequately considered [] and that now these objections have to be considered frankly/ truthfully/ candidly [] b) Why do you think any reference to the Creator was consciously left out (line 12) of the Declaration? [1] To pre-empt any specific religious connotations [] since the Declaration is supposed to be applicable to all [] c) The author raises several questions in the last paragraph of the passage. What is his intention? [2] + [1] To show that human rights are applicable to all/ basic necessity. [1] And that one cannot justify objections to the concept [1] To promote consideration or debate [1]