The author of the passage would probably consider which of the

In Raisin in the Sun, Lorraine Hansberry does not reject integration or the economic and moral promise of the American dream; rather, she remains loyal to
this dream while looking, realistically, at its incomplete realization. Once we recognize this dual vision, we can accept the play’s ironic nuances as deliberate social commentaries by Hansberry rather than as the “unintentional” irony that Bigsby attributes to the work. Indeed, a curiously persistent refusal to credit Hansberry with a capacity for intentional irony has led some critics to interpret the play’s thematic conflicts as mere confusion, contradiction, or eclecticism. Isaacs, for example, cannot easily reconcile Hansberry’s intense concern for her race with her ideal of human reconciliation. But the play’s complex view of Black self-esteem and human solidarity as compatible is no more “contradictory” than Du Bois’ famous, well-considered ideal of ethnic self-awareness coexisting with human unity, or Fanon’s emphasis on an ideal internationalism that also accommodates national identities and roles.

The author of the passage would probably consider which of the following judgments to be most similar to the reasoning of the highlighted critics?

  1. The world is certainly flat; therefore, the person proposing to sail around it is unquestionably foolhardy.
  2. Radioactivity cannot be directly perceived; therefore, a scientist could not possibly control it in a laboratory.
  3. The painter of this picture could not intend it to be funny; therefore, its humor must result from a lack of skill.
  4. Traditional social mores are beneficial to culture; therefore, anyone who deviates from them acts destructively.
  5. Filmmakers who produce documentaries deal exclusively with facts; therefore, a filmmaker who reinterprets particular events is misleading us.

An important thing to keep in mind about the Reading Comprehension section of the GRE as we use PowerPrep online to study is that it is just that—reading comprehension. In other words, as difficult as it may seem, and it can be pretty tricky, the test makers will always give us all the information we need in the passage to answer the question, even when the question asks us about the author’s point of view, like question 7 of the second Verbal section on practice test 1.

Alright, first we want to isolate exactly what the question is asking us about. This question is nice in that it has highlighted a keyphrase in the passage; however, we should note that on the GRE there is no guarantee that we will find our answer in the same sentence as the highlighted portion. In this case, we’re specifically asked what the author might feel is a similar judgment to the judgment attributed to “some critics.” So, we have a couple steps we need to take immediately: first, to find what the “reasoning of the highlighted critics” was specifically, and second, to figure out if the author had any commentary on this reason.

” Indeed, a curiously persistent refusal to credit Hansberry with a capacity for intentional irony has led some critics to interpret the play’s thematic conflicts as mere confusion, contradiction, or eclecticism. Isaacs, for example, cannot easily reconcile Hansberry’s intense concern for her race with her ideal of human reconciliation. But the play’s complex view of Black self-esteem and human solidarity as compatible is no more “contradictory” than Du Bois’ famous, well-considered ideal of ethnic self-awareness coexisting with human unity, or Fanon’s emphasis on an ideal internationalism that also accommodates national identities and roles.”

Ok, so first, we found that the “critics” have interpreted the complexity of the play as confusion. Earlier in the sentence, we’re told that the reason for this is that they do not recognize Hansberry’s ability to create “intentional irony.” The next sentence gives us an example of one of these critics, Isaacs, who cannot reconcile, or bring into harmony, two themes in Hansberry’s work. The sentence after that shifts with the word “but,” which notes a contrast: the author herself asserts that the play’s complexities are not contradictory—at least not more than other seemingly paradoxical but ultimately understood historical points of view.

Ok, so boiling it down, the author believes that these critics are misinterpreting Hansberry’s work because they fail to recognize that she could be ironic. Looking at our answers, they all describe different situations not found in our passage. We want to find the answer that is similar to a group of critics deciding a place is contradictory or confused because they do not believe the playwright can be ironic.

  • The world is certainly flat; therefore, the person proposing to sail around it is unquestionably foolhardy.

Hmm. This is not an example of misinterpreting something—it’s actually an example of a clearly incorrect view being asserted and used as a reason to ridicule someone. Not cute and not similar. We can eliminate A.

  • Radioactivity cannot be directly perceived; therefore, a scientist could not possibly control it in a laboratory.

Hmm. This answer starts by saying something cannot be “perceived,” but that’s a fact rather than an inability. Then the second part describes an inability resulting from that fact. This does not fit the same pattern of misinterpreting something based on a perceived inability. We can eliminate B.

  • The painter of this picture could not intend it to be funny; therefore, its humor must result from a lack of skill.

This answer starts with the perceived intentions (or lack thereof) of an artist—already more similar than A or B. Also, because of this perceived lack of intention, the work is interpreted a specific way. This is the only answer so far that deals with interpretation, so let’s keep C.

  • Traditional social mores are beneficial to culture; therefore, anyone who deviates from them acts destructively.

D follows the pattern of making an assertion and then a conclusion based on that assertion, but again there’s no interpretation of anything based on a perceived inability or lack of intention. We can eliminate D.

  • Filmmakers who produce documentaries deal exclusively with facts; therefore, a filmmaker who reinterprets particular events is misleading us.

Hmm. Tricky. This one does discuss interpretation, but the second part is not an interpretation based on a perceived lack of intention in the first part. We can eliminate E.

C was the only answer that similarly drew a conclusion about an artist’s work based on a belief about the artist’s abilities or intentions, just as the critics assumed Hansberry’s work was a contradiction because they didn’t believe she could have intended to be ironic. C is correct.

 

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