This skill is deciding what the passage is about and whether or not a certain detail is directly related to that topic.
Determine if any of the following sentences are irrelevant to the topic of the paragraph:
 The peculiar way time passes in the novel, though, does eventually seem to take on a certain pattern: futile circles.  Emphasized by the fact that almost every character in the novel has at least one other character with the same name, events seem to happen again and again.  To modify the old cliché, even random history repeats itself.  The novel, too, shares the characters' insights on religious beliefs and how they view life and death.  The characters put forth great effort (even to the waste of their lives) in pursuit of alchemy, hidden routes, cures for illness, or whatever else obsesses their minds; but all of these attempts end in frustration, failure, and futility.  Any effort or time invested by Marquez’s characters, in fact, yields no return.  They always come back to where they started, unable to better their situation at all.  Marquez gives his characters the added frustration of lucidity.  They are aware of their fated failures and the fact that they cannot progress.
ANSWER: Sentence four is irrelevant. The paragraph is clearly about the use of time in the novel to indicate the futility of the characters' actions and lives. Sentence 4 is about the fact that the novel shares information on the characters' religious beliefs.