Postby jiang on Mon Apr 13, 2015 2:04 pm

Dear Prof.,
Please read the following:
Nature has endowed some animals with cunning, as a compensation for strength withheld; but it has provoked the malice of all others, as if avengers of public wrong. In the nobler kinds, where strength could be afforded, her races are loyal to truth, as truth is the foundation of the social state. Beasts that make no truce with man, do not break faith with each other. Tis said that the wolf, who makes a cache of his prey, and brings his fellows with him to the spot, if, on digging, it is not found, is instantly and unresistingly torn in pieces. English veracity seems to result on a sounder animal structure, as if they could afford it.

The second paragraph compares the English to __________
a. animals with cunning b. avengers of public wrong
c. the nobler kinds of animals d. wolves to be torn in pieces
The key is b. But I think c is correct because the example of wolf indicate if a wolf lies it is doomed to die. Is that right?

Looking forward to hearing from you.
Thank you in advance.

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Re: comprehension

Postby prof on Tue Apr 14, 2015 7:32 pm

The key to the answer seems to be the words 'as if they could afford it'.

What the author seems to be saying - though with a text this archaic,the meaning is a bit unclear - is that the English would like to be considered as 'the nobler kinds of animals' - if they could afford this. However the 'as' suggests that the English can't afford to act quite as 'nobly' as the wolves, because they cannot afford to execute such extreme punishments.

Therefore the English default to the standard of 'all others' who resent cunning in animals which are not strong.

At least, that is how I understand the text, but it is not an easy one to comprehend.
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