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One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came

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One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Mar 2017, 18:28
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Question 1
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based on 227 sessions

30% (01:19) correct 70% (01:22) wrong

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One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came in 1782 with the publication of Letters From An American Farmer. In it, a French settler observed that Americans tended to demonstrate a higher level of personal initiative and self-reliance than Europeans and generally had little regard for social rank.

This viewpoint of the American character is steeped in the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment, and the typical American quickly became typecast throughout Europe as an emancipated, enlightened individual, taking from his surroundings the necessary social and material resources to ensure his happiness. This idealized portrait of the American citizen corresponded nicely with the concept of a rational, self-interested individual put forth by Adam Smith and other political economists. The American personality was the Economic personality, most comfortable in the world of free markets, of trade and hard work.

To the Europeans, Benjamin Franklin—or at least their mythologized conception of Franklin—best represented the American character. Here, according to the Europeans, was both the embodiment of Enlightenment principles, scientist, inventor, statesman, philosopher, and economist, and the symbol of the American spirit, rational, enterprising, and pragmatic. Franklin was viewed with such admiration by the Europeans that a virtual cult of personality arose around him.

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. comment on the origin and nature of a national personality type
B. demonstrate why Benjamin Franklin was so admired by the French
C. argue that the idea of an American character is a myth
D. recount the historical and philosophical contributions of Americans in Europe
E. provide a psychological profile of a specific individual



2. The passage suggests which of the following about the Europeans?

A. Europeans lacked personal initiative and self-reliance.
B. Europeans admired Americans because of the American’s rational, self-interested nature.
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality.
D. Europeans placed a high value on the works of Adam Smith and other political economists.
E. To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did.



3. As it is presented in the passage, which of the following best exemplifies the American personality?

A. An aristocrat who diligently keeps abreast of all the fashionable new trends in society.
B. A pious, hardworking farmer who takes care of his family and remains humble.
C. A cunning statesman who uses his knowledge of human nature to manipulate friends and foes.
D. An absent minded inventor whose brilliant discoveries are counter balanced by his lack of common sense.
E. A self-made man whose efforts help him create a successful shipping company.



Source: McGraw-Hill's GMAT

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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 21:00

+1 kudos to the posts containing answer explanations of all questions


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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 23:00
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para 1: obsv. by french that self reliance >than Europe
Para 2: character traits of american nationals and perception of the EU
para 3:B frank mentioned as example to show the extent

Q1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. comment on the origin and nature of a national personality type-- correct
B. demonstrate why Benjamin Franklin was so admired by the French: too narrow only-- last para
C. argue that the idea of an American character is a myth---author never argue
D. recount the historical and philosophical contributions of Americans in Europe-----no contributions mentioned
E. provide a psychological profile of a specific individual--------no specific profile is being talked in entire passage apart from last para

2. The passage suggests which of the following about the Europeans?

A. Europeans lacked personal initiative and self-reliance.----------180
B. Europeans admired Americans because of the American’s rational, self-interested nature.-------hold
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality.-------hold
D. Europeans placed a high value on the works of Adam Smith and other political economists.------too narrow
E. To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did-----very bold and extreme

between B and C we cant say if idealized portrait is matching then the EU admire the same . no mention of admiration is written .
therefore reading the second paragraph we get C is the correct answer(also gmat tip the option with light words is the answer). so C

3. As it is presented in the passage, which of the following best exemplifies the American personality?

A. An aristocrat who diligently keeps abreast of all the fashionable new trends in society.
B. A pious, hardworking farmer who takes care of his family and remains humble.
C. A cunning statesman who uses his knowledge of human nature to manipulate friends and foes.
D. An absent minded inventor whose brilliant discoveries are counter balanced by his lack of common sense.
E. A self-made man whose efforts help him create a successful shipping company
we need a choice that talks about personal initiative and self reliant: only E comes in line
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 23 Sep 2018, 23:02
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AsadAbu wrote:
One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came in 1782 with the publication of Letters From An American Farmer. In it, a French settler observed that Americans tended to demonstrate a higher level of personal initiative and self-reliance than Europeans and generally had little regard for social rank.

This viewpoint of the American character is steeped in the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment, and the typical American quickly became typecast throughout Europe as an emancipated, enlightened individual, taking from his surroundings the necessary social and material resources to ensure his happiness. This idealized portrait of the American citizen corresponded nicely with the concept of a rational, self-interested individual put forth by Adam Smith and other political economists. The American personality was the Economic personality, most comfortable in the world of free markets, of trade and hard work.

To the Europeans, Benjamin Franklin—or at least their mythologized conception of Franklin—best represented the American character. Here, according to the Europeans, was both the embodiment of Enlightenment principles, scientist, inventor, statesman, philosopher, and economist, and the symbol of the American spirit, rational, enterprising, and pragmatic. Franklin was viewed with such admiration by the Europeans that a virtual cult of personality arose around him.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. comment on the origin and nature of a national personality type
B. demonstrate why Benjamin Franklin was so admired by the French
C. argue that the idea of an American character is a myth
D. recount the historical and philosophical contributions of Americans in Europe
E. provide a psychological profile of a specific individual



2. The passage suggests which of the following about the Europeans?

A. Europeans lacked personal initiative and self-reliance.
B. Europeans admired Americans because of the American’s rational, self-interested nature.
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality.
D. Europeans placed a high value on the works of Adam Smith and other political economists.
E. To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did.



3. As it is presented in the passage, which of the following best exemplifies the American personality?

A. An aristocrat who diligently keeps abreast of all the fashionable new trends in society.
B. A pious, hardworking farmer who takes care of his family and remains humble.
C. A cunning statesman who uses his knowledge of human nature to manipulate friends and foes.
D. An absent minded inventor whose brilliant discoveries are counter balanced by his lack of common sense.
E. A self-made man whose efforts help him create a successful shipping company.



Source: McGraw-Hill's GMAT





Alas an intriguing social science passage.
Mental Map:
1/2. Defining the American Charc.>>Adam Smith n Other ppl>> PI-SR(more thn Europeans)-less regard for social rank. more characteristics(personality was....hardwork)
3.Europeans amid view(mythologized conception) of Benj.F



1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. comment on the origin and nature of a national personality type . Yes the author describing how the perception of AC came into being. Keep it
B. demonstrate why Benjamin Franklin was so admired by the French. partial last line only by European. OUT
C. argue that the idea of an American character is a myth. Not Implied or stated. OUT
D. recount the historical and philosophical contributions of Americans in Europe . No contributions to Europeans. OUT
E. provide a psychological profile of a specific individual. Specific individual, NO : OUT


2. The passage suggests which of the following about the Europeans?

A. Europeans lacked personal initiative and self-reliance. (You Can Infer from the 1st para that Eu lacked those char, but it a stated view french settler Not all the Eu Ppl view.) Keep It.
B. Europeans admired Americans because of the American’s rational, self-interested nature. Partially correct already stated other char missing. No
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality. Yes in suggest question we need to read btw lines..view(mythologized conception) by all Eu Ppl. Better than 1
D. Europeans placed a high value on the works of Adam Smith and other political economists. No comparison stated. OUT
E. To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did. To Strong and Not mentioned .OUT

Guys One more thing just wanna share the experience for Infer or Suggest questions:
if in exam you are short of time and saw a infer or suggest RC question the best option would be , a vague answer that is not going to substantially confirm any facts. need to look out for may ,might, be possible , could bla bla.. which tells the reader about the possibility for an correct answer option.
In C,
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality. Yes in suggest question we need to read btw lines..view(mythologized conception) by all Eu Ppl. Better than 1


3. As it is presented in the passage, which of the following best exemplifies the American personality?

Look for the answer match : rational, self-interested,Economic personality, most comfortable in the world of free markets, of trade and hard work.

A. An aristocrat who diligently keeps abreast of all the fashionable new trends in society.OUT
B. A pious, hardworking farmer who takes care of his family and remains humble.OUT
C. A cunning statesman who uses his knowledge of human nature to manipulate friends and foes.OUT
D. An absent minded inventor whose brilliant discoveries are counter balanced by his lack of common sense.OUT
E. A self-made man whose efforts help him create a successful shipping company. BEST hardwork, EP,Market..
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Sep 2018, 05:53
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I am not satisfied with the answer for 2nd question. I have marked E and I dont feel C is the right answer.

Thanks in advance!
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One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 25 Sep 2018, 04:34
My thoughts:

1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

A. comment on the origin and nature of a national personality type
--> They do talk about the origin of the American character, and its traits in every paragraph. Correct, but remember to find 4 wrong answers before deciding
B. demonstrate why Benjamin Franklin was so admired by the French
--> Franklin is only mentioned in the last paragraph, as an example, this cannot be the primary purpose of the passage.
C. argue that the idea of an American character is a myth
--> Nowhere is the idea of an American character described as a myth
D. recount the historical and philosophical contributions of Americans in Europe
--> Completely out of scope
E. provide a psychological profile of a specific individual
--> Way out of scope


2. The passage suggests which of the following about the Europeans?

A. Europeans lacked personal initiative and self-reliance.
--> Although the passage did say that Americans tended to demonstrate a higher level of personal initiative and self-reliance, it never said that Europeans lacked it.
B. Europeans admired Americans because of the American’s rational, self-interested nature.
--> Tricky because in the last paragraph Europeans' conception of Franklin was admired, and he was described as best representing the American character. Even though it did not say this explicitly, I would keep this answer until I find a better answer
C. The European conception of the American character might not entirely conform to reality.
--> Keywords are key in this one. From the passage: "This idealized portrait of the American citizen...". When something is idealized, it is usually too good to be true. From the question: "...might not entirely conform to reality". An idealized portait of something might not be as described. This is Correct
D. Europeans placed a high value on the works of Adam Smith and other political economists.
--> The passage only mentioned Adam Smith once and mentioned nothing about the value of his work.
E. To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did.
--> Franklin "best represented the American character". Seems to me there are a lot of comparable individuals.


3. As it is presented in the passage, which of the following best exemplifies the American personality?

A. An aristocrat who diligently keeps abreast of all the fashionable new trends in society.
--> The Americans had their own way of making businesses, no copycats/trendfollowers.
B. A pious, hardworking farmer who takes care of his family and remains humble.
--> It says nothing about family relations or the Americans' humbleness.
C. A cunning statesman who uses his knowledge of human nature to manipulate friends and foes.
--> Free markets, trade and hard work. No manipulative characteristics or suspicious activity were mentioned.
D. An absent minded inventor whose brilliant discoveries are counter balanced by his lack of common sense.
--> They describe the American personality as an economic personality, not an oldschool scale of imbalances
E. A self-made man whose efforts help him create a successful shipping company.
--> Trade, free markets, hard work. All three are checked off and it is Correct
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2018, 02:12
All correct and took around 5 minutes to solve; second one took ~2.5 minutes alone. :|
Second question was the trickiest for me and the other two were pretty straight forward.
Tempted towards E for Q2, but the sentence "no individual better...." was just too extreme to select.
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Nov 2018, 02:19
sm86 wrote:
I am not satisfied with the answer for 2nd question. I have marked E and I dont feel C is the right answer.

Thanks in advance!


no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did
It may seem like Benjamin F. embodied the idea etc., but having NO ONE else who could better do it is too extreme unless it's specifically mentioned in the passage.
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 11 Nov 2018, 22:50
GMATNinja ... please explain Q2

option E-"To the Europeans, no individual better embodied the ideas of the Enlightenment than Benjamin Franklin did."

"To the Europeans, Benjamin Franklin—or at least their mythologized conception of Franklin—best represented the American character. "

if he is the best , then this would mean that no one is better than him... others are saying that this is oo extreme . But the passage itself is providing us with such strong words... and "best" is necessarily better than "better" ... then how is this too extreme?? please explain me with a sound reasoning.
The rejection based on " it is too extreme" doesnt clear my doubt because there is a strong remark "best "
also it is said "to the europeans : both in the passage and in the ans choice" ...so the scope is strictly limited to euros.
please explain
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 12 Nov 2018, 01:48
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Hi AdityaHongunti

Happy to help. You're right, we do have "permission" from the passage to say that Benjamin Franklin is the best representation/embodiment of something ... but what exactly does the passage say he is the best of? The passage says he is the best representation of the American character. However, E says that he is the best representation of the ideas of the Enlightenment.
We have to recognize that these are two different things. The passage tells us that the European viewpoint of the American character is "steeped in the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment." In other words, the way that Europeans saw the typical American spirit was heavily influenced by the Enlightenment. However, that does not mean that the American character is the same thing as the Enlightenment.

Thus, we can't say that Franklin is the best representation of the Enlightenment ... because the American character and the Enlightenment are two different things. One is influenced by the other, but they are not interchangeable.

Does this help? Please let us know.
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 19 Nov 2018, 19:22
jennpt wrote:
Hi AdityaHongunti

Happy to help. You're right, we do have "permission" from the passage to say that Benjamin Franklin is the best representation/embodiment of something ... but what exactly does the passage say he is the best of? The passage says he is the best representation of the American character. However, E says that he is the best representation of the ideas of the Enlightenment.
We have to recognize that these are two different things. The passage tells us that the European viewpoint of the American character is "steeped in the philosophical tradition of the Enlightenment." In other words, the way that Europeans saw the typical American spirit was heavily influenced by the Enlightenment. However, that does not mean that the American character is the same thing as the Enlightenment.

Thus, we can't say that Franklin is the best representation of the Enlightenment ... because the American character and the Enlightenment are two different things. One is influenced by the other, but they are not interchangeable.

Does this help? Please let us know.


jennpt

Thanks for explaining option E.
Can you help me in connecting the option C to the paragraph.
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came  [#permalink]

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New post 24 Nov 2018, 15:19
Hi warrior1991

Sure. We're looking for evidence that the European vision of the Americans might not be 100% realistic, and we find it in a few places:

Quote:
This idealized portrait of the American citizen

"Idealized" indicates that they've got a picture in their minds that is more perfect than the reality.

Quote:
To the Europeans, Benjamin Franklin—or at least their mythologized conception of Franklin—best represented the American character.

"Mythologized conception" also gives us evidence that they see him as larger than life, in a way that wouldn't reflect a real man who likely has flaws along with his virtues.

Does this help? Let us know.
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Re: One of the first indications of a distinctive American character came &nbs [#permalink] 24 Nov 2018, 15:19
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