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One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp

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One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post Updated on: 25 Aug 2019, 02:28
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New Project RC Butler 2019 - Practice 2 RC Passages Everyday
Passage # 3 New, Date : 02-FEB-2019
This post is a part of New Project RC Butler 2019. Click here for Details


Note: Question #1 is debatable, if you are convinced with the explanation available here then it is very good, Otherwise please ignore it.


One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself. On the contrary, serious biographers seek and welcome the unfamiliar, however troublesome to account for. Ron Chernow, the author of rich biographies of the American businessmen J.P. Morgan and John D. Rockefeller, remarks that biographers “like to stub their toes on hard, uncomfortable facts strewn in their paths.” Such encounters with the unaccountable are opportunities for breaking out and breaking through, in new directions, to fresh understanding.

One also often hears that biographers must like their subjects. That would of course rule out such vastly important subjects as Hitler or Stalin. In practice, the biographer must like the subject not as a person but as a subject. Some are good subjects for the author, some bad. And what makes one subject better than another for any particular biographer varies dramatically. Some of the reasons are purely practical. Does the subject need a biography? Are the materials available? How much time is needed? A biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine the choice. Great scientists are great subjects, but can one write about their achievements with insight and authority? Personal idiosyncrasies matter, too. Biographers tend to be attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits, whether they be ambition, cruelty, ingenuity, or any other characteristic that separates a potential subject from the multitudes.

In choosing a subject, the biographer’s main question should be, “Can an effective book be made out of this person’s life?” Day after day for years, the biographer will try to untangle chronology, compress relationships without distorting them, and keep the main narrative clear while carrying forward several intricate strands of the subject’s life. What pushes most biographers on in this endeavor is not necessarily affection for the subject but the feeling that they are writing a good book.

1. It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions about biographies?

A. Their main purpose is to inform readers about key aspects of the subjects’ personalities.
B. Only subjects who share traits with biographers make good subjects for biographies.
C. Compelling biographies cannot be written about ordinary citizens.
D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.
E. Practical considerations are most important in the selection of a subject for a biography.

2. The author is primarily concerned with

A. persuading biographers to change their methods
B. refuting some common beliefs about a particular literary genre
C. arguing against continued reform of a historical endeavor
D. refuting an outdated theory of a particular literary genre
E. describing the working methods of certain authors

3. The author mentions "Ron Chernow" most probably in order to

A. provide a counterexample to a general claim about biography
B. illustrate a questionable assertion regarding biography
C. establish a favorable comparison with an established biographer
D. underscore the importance of research in biography
E. challenge a new approach to biography



Difficulty Level: 700

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Originally posted by SajjadAhmad on 02 Feb 2019, 08:14.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 25 Aug 2019, 02:28, edited 1 time in total.
Updated - Complete topic (280).
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2019, 23:42
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1
3
For Q1, use POE :
zac123 dcwanderer30
1. It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions about biographies?
: This question is an open ended question. The entire passage talks about authors views on bios. SO we cannot zero in on specific places.

A. Their main purpose is to inform readers about key aspects of the subjects’ personalities.
-" What pushes most biographers on in this endeavor is not necessarily affection for the subject but the feeling that they are writing a gory tod book."
The word "pushes" means encourages . In the entire passage we are nowhere talking about WHY bios write bios. The author talks about pronaliy traits to tell us how conventional autobiographers CHOOSE THEIR SUBJECTS. This in no way talks about readers

B. Only subjects who share traits with biographers make good subjects for biographies.
- "only" tpo strong .... "share" is wrong...autobiographers prefer certain traits in subject. BUT this does not mean they "share" the peronality traits

C. Compelling biographies cannot be written about ordinary citizens.
-" Does the subject need a biography? Are the materials available? How much time is needed? "
If the ordinary citizen does need a biography then why not???

D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.
-"What pushes most biographers on in this endeavor is not necessarily affection for the subject but the feeling that they are writing a good book."
we can infer here that the biographers are concerned bout writing agood book. Now how is a book good? popular opinion is that a book which gains good audience is a good book. SO we can infer this. This may not be a conclusive argument but after POE only D remains !!

E. Practical considerations are most important in the selection of a subject for a biography.
-" what makes one subject better than another for any particular biographer varies dramatically. Some of the reasons are purely practical"
"most important" is unwarranted and unsupported !! the author tells us that "one of therrasons is practicality and not the most importnt reason"
General Discussion
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 02 Feb 2019, 22:45
1
1
2/3 correct, Time taken 5 mins.

1. It can be inferred that the author makes which of the following assumptions about biographies?

A. Their main purpose is to inform readers about key aspects of the subjects’ personalities.
B. Only subjects who share traits with biographers make good subjects for biographies.
C. Compelling biographies cannot be written about ordinary citizens.
D. The biographer’s credibility with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography.
E. Practical considerations are most important in the selection of a subject for a biography.

I got this wrong, OA is D

2. The author is primarily concerned with

A. persuading biographers to change their methods
No persuasion was done to change the biographers method. Tone was quite subtle.

B. refuting some common beliefs about a particular literary genre
This can be supported from the last paragraph, that why biography is written.
What does it try to achieve, and if it can change its methodology in some way.

C. arguing against continued reform of a historical endeavor
historical endeavor -> Nothing like this happened,

D. refuting an outdated theory of a particular literary genre
In the last para, the author has just suggested, not refuted

E. describing the working methods of certain authors
Only one author was mentioned in the 1st para, apart from that rest of the 2 paragraphs, just spoke about general terminologies

3. The author mentions Ron Chernow most probably in order to

A. provide a counterexample to a general claim about biography
B. illustrate a questionable assertion regarding biography
C. establish a favorable comparison with an established biographer
D. underscore the importance of research in biography
E. challenge a new approach to biography

My bottom 2 choices were A and E.

General claim was "One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biographer is always writing about himself."
But by reading this
On the contrary, serious biographers seek and welcome the unfamiliar, however troublesome to account for. Such encounters with the unaccountable are opportunities for breaking out and breaking through, in new directions, to fresh understanding.

I thought it to be an counterexample of the claim and marked A
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Quote which i can relate to.
Many of life's failures happen with people who do not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 03 Feb 2019, 04:48
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1
iPrasad wrote:
Can anyone pls help with the explanation for 1st question? How option D is the correct one?



for inference questions, sometimes tone of the answer choices helps eliminate wrong answer choices.

It is preferable to eliminate strong tone answer choices for inference questions.

In qn-1, except option-D, all other options have strong tone words such as - Main purpose, only , cannot, most important.

option-D has none of these strong tone words

Thanks
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 10:17
It took me 6 min 33 seconds. Got 3/3 correct.
Q-1 was a good question and AdityaHongunti has explained it well.

Let me know in case anyone needs help. I will be more than happy to help.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 04 Feb 2019, 19:02
5
OA to the first question is debatable. Please see Stacey's (One of Manhattan GMAT's staff member) response on this thread:

"Sorry for the delay - had to talk to our curriculum director for this response. I agree - I think D is too much of a stretch and is not sufficiently GMAT-like, and he had actually already flagged this one, too. We run statistical analyses on our questions as our students answer them and either re-write or discard questions that are not predictive enough (which means they have to hit a bunch of parameters that have to do with validity, consistency, etc.), and this one has recently come up as problematic. It's in the midst of being rewritten. "

https://www.manhattanprep.com/gmat/foru ... -t625.html
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 28 May 2019, 19:33
1
I got 2 of 3 correct (Took 10 mins :()
In ques 3, I was stuck between choice A and C. Though I chose A; can someone help me eliminating C?
In ques 1, though I could easily eliminate A, B and E (very strong choices for inference question). I was stuck between C and D. I chose C (though again a strong choice). But, in choice D: Can someone explain the meaning of "biographer's credibility with readers"?
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Nov 2019, 12:50
Nice one!
I found it quite tough... and I got the first question wrong...
The OA for Q1 is:
The question asks us to identify an assumption that the author makes about
biographies. The best approach to this question is simply to evaluate the choices
one-by-one. Since an assumption is an unstated piece of evidence that is necessary
to complete the logic of an argument, we are looking for an answer choice that
completes the logic of the passage.
(A) While the author mentions in the second paragraph that “biographers tend to be
attracted to subjects who display particular personality traits,” informing readers of
these traits is never implied to be the “main” purpose of biographies.
(B) In the first paragraph, the author writes that “serious biographers seek and
welcome the unfamiliar.” The author states in the second paragraph that “the
biographer must like the subject not as a person, but as a subject.” Thus, the author
probably disagrees with this answer choice.
(C) The author concludes in the third paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the
biographer’s main question should be, ‘Can an effective book be made out of this
person’s life?’” The author most likely believes the opposite of this answer choice:
that compelling biographies can be written about ordinary citizens.
(D) CORRECT. In the second paragraph, the author discusses the elements of a
good biography, stating that “a biographer’s knowledge and ability also determine
the choice” of subject. If the author did not assume that the biographer's credibility
with readers is a factor in the critical success of a biography, then this part of the
second paragraph would be meaningless.

(E) In the second paragraph, the author discusses the practical considerations a
biographer faces when selecting a subject, though such considerations are never
presented as “most” important. In addition, the author goes on to add in the third
paragraph that when choosing a subject, “the biographer’s main question should be,
‘Can an effective book be made out of this person’s life?’” An adequate answer to
this suggested question goes beyond practical considerations.

I found it quite vague... any thoughts?
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp  [#permalink]

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New post 17 Nov 2019, 16:42
Can anyone help me in deciphering this passage.
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Re: One often hears that biographies are autobiographies, that the biograp   [#permalink] 17 Nov 2019, 16:42
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