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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti

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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 61, Date : 03-MAR-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, abolitionist, naturalist, and leading transcendentalist. He is best known for his book Walden, a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings, and his essay Resistance to Civil Government (also known as Civil Disobedience), an argument for disobedience in an unjust state.

Thoreau’s Civil Disobedience is considered by many to be the most important political document of the 19th century. Thoreau's philosophy of civil disobedience later influenced the political thoughts and actions of such notable figures as Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, and Martin Luther King, Jr. Thoreau is even sometimes cited as an anarchist. Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government —"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"— the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

In one analysis of Civil Disobedience, Richard Drinnon partly blames Thoreau for the ambiguity, noting that Thoreau's "sly satire, his liking for wide margins for his writing, and his fondness for paradox provided ammunition for widely divergent interpretations of Civil Disobedience.” Regardless of whether Thoreau intended to create this ambiguity, it cannot be denied that this work has influenced the political thoughts of both anarchists and those committed to improving and changing government through civil disobedience.
Q1. The author uses the bolded quotation in order to:

A. contradict the notion that he is an anarchist.
B. highlight one interpretation of Thoreau's essay.
C. support the quotation that follows.
D. suggest that Thoreau was purposefully vague.
E. suggest that Henry David was an anarchist.

To answer this correctly, you must carefully read and analyze the section with the two quotations. While many people will pick (A) on this question, the quote is not being used to contradict this notion. It is used to show that while this portion might indicate he is for improving government, you must read the second quote to make a complete interpretation. The quote is used to show how people could interpret Thoreau’s views in several ways, and thus it is correct to say that it is used to “highlight one interpretation of his essay” – that he was for better government. For (C), the purpose is not to support the quotation that follows, but rather show how people could interpret each portion in different ways. For (D) the quote is not used to show that he was purposefully vague (there is no evidence for that), but rather to show how people might have several interpretations. Lastly, for (E), that quote by itself suggests that he might be for better government, and thus not an anarchist. Also, even when you consider the second part of the quote, the author uses it not to make this suggestion, but rather to highlight how people could make different interpretations


Q2. The view that Thoreau may have indeed been an anarchist depends on which of the following assumptions?

A. No other texts of Thoreau directly contradict this view.
B. Not all of Thoreau’s texts support this view
C. Other analyses of Civil Disobedience support this view.
D. All of Thoreau’s texts support this view.
E. Thoreau was not involved in some local politics.

As you will sometimes see in Reading Comp, this is a pure Critical Reasoning assumption question referencing one conclusion in the passage (that he might be an anarchist). As you do in CR, use the strategies that you have learned to attack that type of question. As is the case with many assumption style questions, many of the answer choices are presented negatively so you should use the assumption-negation technique. If you negate the correct answer in this assumption question, it should directly contradict the idea that he may be an anarchist:
(A) negated says “Other texts of Thoreau directly contradict this view” and this clearly contradicts the conclusion so it is the correct answer. (B) negated says “All of Thoreau’s text support this view” This supports the conclusion so is NOT the correct answer. (C) negated means that there “were not other analyses which support the view.” While this might seem to contradict it, the lack of other pieces of support does not itself weaken the conclusion. (D) negated this means that “Not all of Thoreau’s texts support this view” This is not important as some of the other ones might be about other topics so this is also incorrect. (E) negated this means that “Thoreau was involved in some local politics” While some might think this contradicts the notion that he was an anarchist, you have no idea what the politics were about (maybe the politics of anarchy???). Correct answer is (A).


Q3. The primary purpose of this passage is to:

A. suggest that Henry David Thoreau was an anarchist.
B. discuss two important works of Henry David Thoreau.
C. highlight the importance of a particular essay.
D. question the current analysis of Thoreau’s work.
E. discuss Thoreau’s importance as a political philosopher.

For (A), the passage does not suggest that he was an anarchist. It simply discusses that some people have used Thoreau’s language in Civil Disobedience to support that viewpoint. For (B), while two important works of Thoreau are mentioned, only Civil Disobedience is discussed in the passage. (C) is perfect as the passage exists to discuss Civil Disobedience and highlight its importance as a document in the field of political philosophy. For (D), the passage discusses some analysis of Thoreau’s work, but this is not the primary purpose of the passage and the passage does not question that analysis. For (E) the passage is about this one particular document of Thoreau, not Thoreau’s larger role as a political philosopher. The scope is wrong and the focus of the passage is the document, not Thoreau himself. Answer is (C).


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Originally posted by Skyline393 on 03 Mar 2019, 02:12.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 21 Sep 2019, 08:22, edited 5 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (596).
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 02:40
Q1-
The bold portion seeks to highlight what Thoreau meant by civil disobedience, hence B is the answer.

Q2-
Since it is an assumption question, answer will not be in the passage. Let us analyse options-
A-Seems correct (but do not mark for now in case there is a better option later on)
B-it is wrong since it does the opposite of what the question is asking.
C-Irrelevant
D-Seems correct
E-Irrelevant

Cannot decide between A & D, but since have to pick one, I would go with A since D is a bit extreme

Q3-
Again let us analyse options
A & B are definitely wrong, so are D & E
Only C remains.
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 21:09
Skyline393

Please post OE for Question 2

Thanks!
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Mar 2019, 21:35
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gmat1393 wrote:
Skyline393

Please post OE for Question 2

Thanks!


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OE for all questions are in the Spoiler :)
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2019, 18:26
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VeritasKarishma

Why the answer for question 1 cannot be C??


Quote:
Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government —"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"— the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."


From above lines , I inferred two things:-

1.Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government
2. the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism

There is a quote after statement 2 "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

So isn't the bold quotation supporting the quotation that follows??

Please help.
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2019, 22:07
warrior1991 wrote:
VeritasKarishma

Why the answer for question 1 cannot be C??


Quote:
Though Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government —"I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government"— the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism: "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."


From above lines , I inferred two things:-

1.Civil Disobedience seems to call for improving rather than abolishing government
2. the direction of this improvement points toward anarchism

There is a quote after statement 2 "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

So isn't the bold quotation supporting the quotation that follows??

Please help.


The quote in bold is "I ask for, not at once no government, but at once a better government."

The quote that follows is "That government is best which governs not at all; and when men are prepared for it, that will be the kind of government which they will have."

These are somewhat different interpretations. The first quote says " I ask not for no govt" but the second says "That govt is best which doesn't govern". Hence the first quote does not support the second quote.
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Re: Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2019, 22:05
would someone like to question 2 ?
please explain why c is incorrect while a is correct ?
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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti  [#permalink]

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New post 22 Sep 2019, 22:23
Official Explanation


Q2. The view that Thoreau may have indeed been an anarchist depends on which of the following assumptions?

Difficulty Level: 700-750

Explanation

As you will sometimes see in Reading Comp, this is a pure Critical Reasoning assumption question referencing one conclusion in the passage (that he might be an anarchist). As you do in CR, use the strategies that you have learned to attack that type of question. As is the case with many assumption style questions, many of the answer choices are presented negatively so you should use the assumption-negation technique. If you negate the correct answer in this assumption question, it should directly contradict the idea that he may be an anarchist:

(A) negated says “Other texts of Thoreau directly contradict this view” and this clearly contradicts the conclusion so it is the correct answer.

(B) negated says “All of Thoreau’s text support this view” This supports the conclusion so is NOT the correct answer.

(C) negated means that there “were not other analyses which support the view.” While this might seem to contradict it, the lack of other pieces of support does not itself weaken the conclusion.

(D) negated this means that “Not all of Thoreau’s texts support this view” This is not important as some of the other ones might be about other topics so this is also incorrect.

(E) negated this means that “Thoreau was involved in some local politics” While some might think this contradicts the notion that he was an anarchist, you have no idea what the politics were about (maybe the politics of anarchy???).

Correct answer is (A).


Hope it helps

dharam44 wrote:
would someone like to question 2 ?
please explain why c is incorrect while a is correct ?

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Henry David Thoreau was an American author, poet, philosopher, aboliti   [#permalink] 22 Sep 2019, 22:23
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