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The Novel: Introspection to Escapism
Art is never 1 stagnant, nor is it meant to be. A poem written today looks and sounds vastly different from a poem by Shakespeare, and a modern symphony no longer resembles one by Beethoven. So it is with the novel, that still relatively young member of the literary family (many consider Don Quixote, published in 1605, to be the first). The novel is evolving to reflect the 2 changing world; for better or for worse.
3 A few quotations from acclaimed novelists of the past illustrate how 4 broadly the form was once regarded. G. K. Chesterton said, "A good novel tells us the truth about its hero; but a bad novel tells us the truth about its author." English writer Ford Madox Ford believed the novelist played an important role as a recorder of history. 5 Ford said of his friend Joseph Conrad, "We agreed that the novel is absolutely the only vehicle for the thought of our day."
It's not that over centuries writers of novels shed these ambitions; novels today still address complexities and intricate social dynamics. 6 However, in recent decades, especially the 2000s, popular novels and their film adaptations have driven the novel market in a broader direction. 7 Novels are considered just another entertainment medium, which are now available on digital devices, one that ought to enthrall its passive reader and relieve him or her of the stress and tedium of life. The difficulties, challenges, and triumphs of real life are less 8 often the subject of popular novels; instead, escapist tales of fantastical lands and escapades are more popular. 9
It is rare today for a novelist to attempt to ask "What does it mean?" Instead, 10 we strive to provide the reader with an answer to the question "What happens next?"
"Publishers, readers, booksellers, even critics," critic James Woods wrote, "acclaim the novel that one can deliciously sink into, forget oneself in, the novel that returns us to the innocence of childhood or the dream of the cartoon, the novel of a thousand confections and no unwanted significance. What becomes harder to find, and lonelier to defend, is the idea of 11 the novel as—in Ford Madox Ford's words—a 'medium of profoundly serious investigation into the human case.'''
3. Which choice most effectively establishes the main topic of the paragraph?
5. Which choice would improve the sentence?
9. Which detail would provide the best support for the ideas presented in the paragraph?
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