The narratives that vanquished peoples have created of their

The narratives that vanquished peoples have created of their defeat have, according to Schivelbusch, fallen into several identifiable types. In one of these, the vanquished manage to (i) _______ the victor’s triumph as the result of some spurious advantage, the victors being truly inferior where it counts. Often the winners (ii) ________ this interpretation, worrying about the cultural or moral costs of their triumph and so giving some credence to the losers’ story.

Blank (i)

  1. construe
  2. anoint
  3. acknowledge

Blank (ii)

  1. take issue with
  2. disregard
  3. collude

So, you were trying to be a good test taker and practice for the GRE with PowerPrep online. Buuuut then you had some questions about the verbal section—specifically question 5 of Section 3 on Practice Test 1. Those text completion questions can be kind of tricky, especially those of the two-blank variety—but never fear, PrepScholar has got your back!

First, let’s read our sentence and look for any clues as to how our blanks relate to one another as well as the keywords in the passage. We’ll probably notice that this question is made up of three sentence even though there are only two blanks. The GRE doesn’t usually give us a lot of extra information on text completion questions, so it seems pretty likely that our sentence without a blank might still contain a clue.

In this case, the first sentence tells us that the narratives, or stories, that “vanquished peoples,” or people who are conquered by other groups, tell about their defeat can fall into a few categories. The next sentence contains our first blank, which it seems needs to contain a verb. We’re told that the vanquished manage to do something to the fact that the other side won as a fluke. It seems logical that the losers would want the winner’s victory to seem like a fluke, and that the victors are “truly inferior where it counts.” We might predict then that a verb like “describe” would work in our blank.

Now that we have an idea of what our blank should say, we can start looking at our answers. It’s important that we try to form our own idea of what would fit in the blank before looking at our answers. This way we won’t get caught up trying to test out answers to see if they work. Instead we can match an answer.

  1. Construe

To “construe” something is to interpret it a certain way. Like perhaps to interpret someone’s victory as a fluke? This may not perfectly match our prediction, but it does seem like it could fit into our blank, so we’ll keep A.

  1. Anoint

Hmm. For one thing, “anoint” is something we usually hear done to someone rather than someone’s victory. And to “anoint” someone or something is usually to smear oil on it in a traditional ceremony… that, just, does not make sense in our sentence. So we can eliminate B.

  1. Acknowledge

To “acknowledge” something is to recognize it as genuine or valid, but it doesn’t seem as though these people are recognizing their enemy’s victory as “valid.” We can eliminate C.

Alright, so we feel good about the first blank, what about the second? Well, the second blank is supposed to describe something that the “winners” do with “this interpretation.” We should definitely note that our blank is followed by a comma with a phrase that describes an action (“worrying…”). The action we put in our blank, then, needs to be what this whole phrase could describe. We are told that the “winners” will fear that their victory will come at a “cultural and moral cost” and so they allow the “losers’ story” to have some credibility. So, it sounds like they actually encourage “this interpretation” if they give it “credence.” Let’s see if any of our answers match.

  1. take issue with

Now, we might naturally assume that the winners wouldn’t really be cool with an interpretation of events that described them as “truly inferior,” but our sentence says that they give the story “credence,” which they wouldn’t do if they had a problem with it. This answer is a trap! It seems logical, but it isn’t actually supported by our sentence. We can eliminate D.

  1. disregard

It also might make logical sense for the winners to “disregard” or ignore the story the losers came up with—after all, they won, why should they listen to all that noise? But again, our sentence specifically says they give it “credence,” which they would have to acknowledge it to do. We can eliminate D.

  1. collude in

This doesn’t exactly match our prediction, but to “collude in” something means to take part in it (often in an underhanded way). Indeed, if the winners are giving the loser’s story credibility in order to keep them happy, then we might say that they are “colluding.” This answer may not be what we expected, but it’s definitely the best available choice. Let’s go with F!

Alright, let’s plug these answers into the sentence to double-check.

“The narratives that vanquished peoples have created of their defeat have, according to Schivelbusch, fallen into several identifiable types. In one of these, the vanquished manage to (i) construe the victor’s triumph as the result of some spurious advantage, the victors being truly inferior where it counts. Often the winners (ii) collude in this interpretation, worrying about the cultural or moral costs of their triumph and so giving some credence to the losers’ story.”

 

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