In the context of the passage as a whole, “address” is closest in

In early-twentieth-century England, it was fashionable to claim that only a completely “new style of writing” could address a world undergoing unprecedented transformation— just as one literary critic recently claimed that only the new “aesthetic of exploratory excess” can address a world undergoing… well, you know. Yet in early-twentieth-century England, T. S. Eliot, a man fascinated by the “presence” of the past, wrote the most innovative poetry of his time. The lesson for today’s literary community seems obvious: a reorientation toward tradition would benefit writers no less than readers. But if our writers and critics indeed respect the novel’s rich tradition (as they claim to), then why do they disdain the urge to tell an exciting story?

In the context of the passage as a whole, “address” is closest in meaning to

  1. reveal
  2. belie
  3. speak to
  4. direct attention toward
  5. attempt to remediate

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. Word in context questions, like question 16 of the second Verbal section on practice test 1, are a key example of why the answer MUST come from the context.

Alright, our approach to this should actually be fairly similar to our approach to a text completion question. Before we look at the answers, we should examine the context and predict what might be a good answer.

“In early-twentieth-century England, it was fashionable to claim that only a completely “new style of writing” could address a world undergoing unprecedented transformation— just as one literary critic recently claimed that only the new “aesthetic of exploratory excess” can address a world undergoing… well, you know.”

The word “address” in the passage, in both instances, is meant to express some way that a style of writing might relate to its contemporary world. Later on in the passage, we learn that T. S. Eliot was not a man concerned with a “new” style of writing and yet was able to produce “innovative” poetry. The passage continues claiming that Eliot’s is an example of how a “reorientation toward tradition” would be beneficial to both writers and readers, or, we can infer would allow writers to “address” their readers. So it seems that to “address” the world, or readers, has something to do with connecting with the world. We might predict, then, that our answer should be similar to “connect with.” Let’s check out these answers.

  • reveal

To “reveal,” or disclose/unveil something doesn’t match our prediction. Also, if we put it into the sentence, it wouldn’t really be clear how writing would “reveal” the contemporary world. We can eliminate A.

  • belie

If we aren’t familiar with this word, we should skip this answer and come back to it. However, if we’ve been studying vocab with PrepScholar, we likely know that “belie” means to prove wrong or, alternatively, betray. Neither of these definitions matches our prediction or would work in the context of our sentence, so we can eliminate B.

  • speak to

Aha! This answer is similar to our prediction “connect with,” and in the context of the sentence, writing that “could speak to a world” would make sense. We should keep answer C.

  • direct attention toward

Hmm. This could be a meaning of “address,” but it doesn’t match our prediction, and it isn’t really clear how writing would “direct attention toward” the world that it is trying to engage with. We can eliminate D.

  • attempt to remediate

“Remediate” seems related to “remediate” or “remedy” and, indeed, to “remediate” something is to correct it. Again, this could be a definition of “address,” but it seems like a bit of a lofty goal for writing to correct the world, and we have no evidence later in our passage that writing is meant to correct anything. We can eliminate E.

A good way to test these questions is to fill our choice into the sentence to make sure that it doesn’t change the meaning of the sentence:

“In early-twentieth-century England, it was fashionable to claim that only a completely “new style of writing” could speak to a world undergoing unprecedented transformation— just as one literary critic recently claimed that only the new “aesthetic of exploratory excess” can speak to a world undergoing… well, you know.”

Indeed, this sentence retains it’s meaning, so we know that C was the correct choice.

 

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