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When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural

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When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural  [#permalink]

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New post 08 Feb 2020, 07:07
Question 1
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

based on 42 sessions

48% (03:19) correct 52% (03:17) wrong

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Question 2
00:00
A
B
C
D
E

based on 37 sessions

22% (01:24) correct 78% (00:59) wrong

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Question 3
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E

based on 38 sessions

42% (01:28) correct 58% (01:34) wrong

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When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural independence from Europe in his “American Scholar” address, he was actually articulating the transcendental assumptions of Jefferson’s political independence. In the ideal new world envisioned by Emerson, America’s becoming a perfect democracy of free and self-reliant individuals was within reach. Bringing Emerson’s metaphysics down to earth, Henry David Thoreau’s Walden (1854) asserted that one can live without encumbrances. Emerson wanted to visualize Thoreau as the ideal scholar in action that he had called for in the “American Scholar.” In the end, however, Emerson regretted Thoreau’s too-private individualism, which failed to signal the vibrant revolution in national consciousness that Emerson had prophesied. For Emerson, what Thoreau lacked, Walt Whitman embodied in full. On reading Leaves of Grass (1855), Emerson saw in Whitman the “prophet of democracy” whom he had sought. Other American Renaissance writers were less optimistic than Emerson and Whitman about the fulfillment of the democratic ideal. In The Scarlet Letter (1850), Nathaniel Hawthorne concluded that antinomianism such as the “heroics” displayed by Hester Prynne leads to moral anarchy; and Herman Melville, who saw in his story of Pierre (1852) a metaphor for the misguided assumptions of democratic idealism, declared the transcendentalist dream unrealizable. Ironically, the literary vigor with which both Hawthorne and Melville explored the ideal showed their deep sympathy with it even as they dramatized its delusions.

Spoiler: :: OA
C

1. The author of the passage seeks primarily to

(A) explore the impact of the American Renaissance writers on the literature of the late 18th Century.
(B) illustrate how American literature of the mid-18th century differed in form from European literature of the same time period.
(C) identify two schools of thought among American Renaissance writers regarding the democratic ideal.
(D) point out how Emerson’s democratic idealism was mirrored by the works of the American Renaissance writers.
(E) explain why the writers of the American Renaissance believed that an ideal world was forming in America.


Spoiler: :: OA
E

2. Based on the passage’s information, it can be inferred that Emerson might be characterized as any of the following EXCEPT

(A) a transcendentalist.
(B) an American Renaissance writer.
(C) a public speaker.
(D) a would-be prophet.
(E) a political pragmatist.


Spoiler: :: OA
D

3. With which of the following statements about Melville and Hawthorne would the author most likely agree?

(A) Both men were disillusioned transcendentalists.
(B) Hawthorne sympathized with the transcendental dream more so than Melville.
(C) They agreed as to what the transcendentalist dream would ultimately lead to.
(D) Both men believed the idealists to be misguided.
(E) Hawthorne politicized the transcendental ideal, whereas Melville personalized it.



Source: Master GMAT

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Re: When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Feb 2020, 20:44
I could not eliminate C and E in the 2nd question. Could you help me with a solution?
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Re: When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural  [#permalink]

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New post 16 Feb 2020, 22:27
2
1. The author of the passage seeks primarily to

The passage talks largely about Emerson's "transcendental ideal" ie; a spiritually (philosophically) ideal scenario of democracy in the US made up of "free and self-reliant individuals". Subsequently, the passage talks about a couple of authors (Thoreau, Whitman) who appeared to agree with this philosophy to varying degrees, and other authors (Hawthorne, Melville) who did not believe this to be achievable. The passage concludes by stating that even the pessimistic authors sympathized with this ideology.

(A) explore the impact of the American Renaissance writers on the literature of the late 18th Century. The passage does not address literature as a whole, but only those works dealing with a specific topic. Eliminate.

(B) illustrate how American literature of the mid-18th century differed in form from European literature of the same time period. The passage does not talk about European literature. Eliminate.

(C) identify two schools of thought among American Renaissance writers regarding the democratic ideal. Correct. Consistent with above.

(D) point out how Emerson’s democratic idealism was mirrored by the works of the American Renaissance writers. The passage also talks in detail about those writers who did not mirror Emerson's ideas. Eliminate.

(E) explain why the writers of the American Renaissance believed that an ideal world was forming in America. The passage also talks in detail about those writers who did not believe this. Eliminate.

2. Based on the passage’s information, it can be inferred that Emerson might be characterized as any of the following EXCEPT

(A) a transcendentalist. He espoused the transcendental implications of America's political independence (first sentence). Eliminate.

(B) an American Renaissance writer. He wrote "American Scholar". Eliminate.

(C) a public speaker. The passage states: "Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural independence...". He was, in all probability, a public speaker. Eliminate.

(D) a would-be prophet. The passage states: "In the ideal new world envisioned by Emerson, America’s becoming a perfect democracy of free and self-reliant individuals was within reach." Emerson is seen here making forward looking predictions, or what can be characterized as a "prophecy". Eliminate.

(E) a political pragmatist. Correct. The passage makes clear that Emerson believed in an "ideal" scenario, thereby making it hard to characterize him as a "pragmatist"

3. With which of the following statements about Melville and Hawthorne would the author most likely agree?

Both Melville and Hawthorne did not believe that the "ideal democracy" as envisaged by Emerson was close at hand or achievable. But both of them sympathized, or supported/agreed, with the concept as such.

(A) Both men were disillusioned transcendentalists. We don't know if they were ever transcendentalists. Eliminate.

(B) Hawthorne sympathized with the transcendental dream more so than Melville. We cannot say for sure whether one sympathized more than the other. Eliminate.

(C) They agreed as to what the transcendentalist dream would ultimately lead to. Hawthorne thought it would lead to "moral anarchy" whereas Melville thought it "unrealizable". These are different results. Eliminate.

(D) Both men believed the idealists to be misguided. Correct. Both believed that democratic idealism is not an objective worth pursuing.

(E) Hawthorne politicized the transcendental ideal, whereas Melville personalized it. The passage makes no such claim. Eliminate.

Hope this helps.
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Re: When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural   [#permalink] 16 Feb 2020, 22:27

When Ralph Waldo Emerson pronounced America’s declaration of cultural

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