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Which of the following best describes the relation of the first paragraph to the passage as a whole?
The first paragraph does not present a concept. It contains geographical and historical facts.
The first paragraph does not raise a problem. It describes an historical situation.
However, the content of the passage may lead us to believe that there might be a problem or a conflict stemming from the information provided in the first paragraph (perhaps between the tribes).
This is precisely the reason we do not focus on content - it distracts us from the fact that there is no problem or issue mentioned in the first paragraph. It merely provides information on the subject matter.
The first passage does not suggest a course of action. If that were the case, the author would suggest something, advocate a method, or provide information supporting one option over another.
Also, the remaining paragraphs do not explore positive/negative consequences, but rather describe a historical reality.
The first paragraph is, both in this case and usually, an introduction to the rest of the passage not just the second paragraph.
The first paragraph describes the balance of forces that resided in the area known today as Joshua Tree National Park and the later paragraphs describe the individual tribes that competed in this region.