Reading Comprehension Worksheet: 10 Answers

Critical Reading of a Frederick Douglass Speech

Stop! If you've come to this page before completing the Reading Comprehension Worksheet 10 "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" then head back there and complete the questions first.

Once you've finished, then check out the answers to the questions below. Remember, each question deals with what is stated or implied in the text.

Answers:

1. The crowd to whom Frederick Douglass was speaking would most likely describe his tone as:

A. Endearing and motivational

B. Passionately accusatory

C. Justifiably angry

D. Concerned and factual

E. Docile but inspirational 

The correct choice is B. Looking at the title, you have to realize that Frederick Douglass, a freed slave, was speaking to a crowd of mostly white, free people in New York in 1852. From the language he used, we know that no one would consider his tone to be docile or endearing so that rules out Choices E and A. Choice D is also a little bit too calm for the speech Douglass delivered. So, that leaves us Choices B and C. The only reason C is incorrect is the word "justifiably." We have no idea whether or not the crowd would believe his anger justified. During that time frame, you could argue that many, probably, would not. You CAN argue, however, that he was passionate and accusatory of the United States in general, and even someone from the 1850s with a dissimilar viewpoint would have felt that passion, so Choice B is the best answer.

Back to the passage

2. Which statement best summarizes the main idea of Frederick Douglass' speech?

A. Throughout the world, America shows the most revolting barbarity and shameless hypocrisy for its usage of slavery.

B. The Fourth of July is a day that reveals to the American slave the injustice and cruelty of his or her lack of freedom.

C. Gross inequalities exist throughout the United States of America, and Independence Day serves to highlight them.

D. Enslaving people robs them of their essential humanity, which is a God-given right.

E. The Fourth of July should not be celebrated by some Americans if it cannot be celebrated by everyone.

The correct choice is B. Choice A is too narrow; America's barbarism as it relates to the rest of the world is only really described in a couple of sentences in the text. Choice C is much too broad. "Gross inequalities" could describe inequalities between races, sexes, ages, religions, political viewpoints, etc. It needs to be more specific to be correct. Choice D is too narrow, and Choice E is not really alluded to in the passage. That means that Choice B is the correct answer.

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3. What does Douglass state he does NOT need to prove to the audience?

A. That the popularity of slavery would diminish with their help.

B. That slaves can do the same amount of work as free men.

C. That slaves are men.

D. That slavery is divine.

E. That comparing slaves to animals is wrong.

The correct choice is C. This is a tricky question because Douglass asks a lot of questions, states he doesn't need to answer them, and then answers them anyway. He never mentions Choice A, so that's out. He also never states Choice B, although he lists various jobs that slaves all do. He argues the opposite of Choice D, and although he mentions that animals are different from slaves, he never says that he doesn't need to prove that the comparison is incorrect. He does, however, say that he doesn't need to prove that slaves are men because laws have already proved it. Therefore, Choice C is the best answer.

Back to the passage

4. Based on the passage, all of the following were reasons Douglass said he would not argue against slavery EXCEPT: 

A. The time for such arguments has passed.

B. It would make him appear ridiculous.

C. It would insult the audience's understanding.

D. He has better employment for his time and strength.

E. He has too much pride to offer such things.

The correct choice is E. Sometimes, you'll need to answer questions directly from the passage like this. Here, it's a simple matter of finding the information. The only answer choice not stated in the passage directly is Choice E. Everything else is mentioned verbatim.

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5. Douglass mentions that there are 72 crimes in Virginia that will subject a black man to death while there are only two that will do the same for a white man in order to:

A. Prove that by the state's own laws, slaves should be considered people.

B. Display the gross inequities between free men and slaves.

C. Relay facts to the audience that they may not already know.

D. A and B only.

E. A, B, and C.

The correct choice is E. Douglass' usage of this fact serves multiple purposes. Yes, the main point of the paragraph in which the fact was expressed was that because of the law, a slave is proved to be a person, but Douglass threw that statistic in for other reasons, too. He also enlightens the audience to a horrendous tidbit of Virginia law that they may not know: a slave could be killed for 72 different offenses, whereas a white man could for only two. This not only displays the gross inequities between the free men and slaves, but it also offers support for the main point of his essay: the Fourth of July is not Independence Day for everyone.