3 I used to love to drift along the pale-yellow cornfields, looking for the damp spots one sometimes found at their edges, where the smartweed soon turned a rich copper color and the narrow brown leaves hung curled like cocoons about the swollen joints of the stem. Sometimes I went south to visit our German neighbors and to admire their catalpa grove, or to see the big elm tree that grew up out of a deep crack in the earth and had a hawk's nest in its branches. Trees were so rare in that country, and they had to make such a hard fight to grow, that we used to feel anxious about them, and visit them as if they were persons. It must have been the scarcity of detail in that tawny landscape that made detail so precious.
In the last two sentences of section 3, how does the author stylistically evoke a feeling of compassion for the few trees present in the landscape?
A) by comparing trees to sick or struggling people
B) by describing the sunflower roads as the roads of freedom
C) by detailing how much Antonia loved the trees of her landscape
D) by describing the way in which rattlesnakes prey upon prairie dogs and owls
But, after all, we felt, winged things who would live like that must be rather degraded creatures.
Based upon its context, what is the BEST meaning for the word degraded in this sentence?
A) bright, colorful, and dynamic
B) given a lower grade point average
C) denied a chance to improve one's grade
D) at a lower, less dignified status or level