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GRE - Reading Comprehension - Argument Evaluation - Vocabulary

In the late nineteenth century, numerous African American women's literary clubs

In the late nineteenth century, numerous African American women's literary clubs met regularly to discuss literary works. Although clubwomen often called their literary meetings "classes," their practices were radically different from those found in turn-of-the-century academic settings. For example, the culture of reading cultivated by these clubs de-emphasized one authoritative perspective on literary texts; instead, it encouraged women to determine for themselves the importance of the texts they read. For instance, a set of questions discussed by members reading Scott's Ivanhoe was sufficiently open-ended to suggest that there were no "right" answers. Rather, the questions were designed to emphasize the importance of careful reading, of individual interpretation, and of "being able to form and hold one's own opinion"

Q1. The passage suggests that members of the women's reading clubs would agree with which of the following about the reading of literary texts?

A) The clubs should be reading different literary texts from those being read in academic settings.

B) While the clubs should focus primarily on the reading of literary texts, they should consider nonliterary texts as well.

C) The reading practices that prevailed at the clubs are more suitable for some literary texts than for others.

D) Equally careful readings of a literary text can result in divergent interpretations of that text.

E) The lack of any authoritative perspective on a given literary text makes the reading of that text more difficult.


In the context in which it appears, "practices" most nearly means

A) rehearsals

B) regulations

C) attempts

D) procedures

E) preparations

This question asks us to choose an answer, based on our understanding of the passage. This is a short passage wherein we read about the reading practices of African American women of the 19th century. These women were a part of a literary club and their reading methods were quite different from the era they belonged to. Their methods of reading are supported by examples, including each women having her own individual perspective over the reading material instead of having one authoritative perspective. The questions posed in such clubs were open ended in nature. There were no right answers to these questions, the emphasis was on individual interpretation, forming and holding onto one's own opinion.

A1.  A) We do not have any evidence to show that the women wanted to read more of non-academic texts.

B) The passage does talk about women reading literary texts but there is no preference shown for any one type of text, hence we eliminate this answer as we have no evidence to support this claim.

C) The reading practices followed by the women is not dependent on the type of text they read but is a general style of reading practice that they followed.

D) Correct answer choice. The evidence is in lines 2-5, in both the examples of the text. Women of the 19th century did not believe in having one authoritative perspective over a text, rather each women forming her own perspective on the texts that they read is what made them stood apart. Also, the open ended questioning style encouraged women to form their own opinions.

E) There is no evidence to support this answer choice.


 A2. A) Rehearsals. It was a literary club but there were no rehearsals taking place  

B) Regulations. The club did not have any regulations as such

C) Attempts. The women were not attempting to do anything, rather doing it.

D) Procedures. Correct answer choice. Women were forming their own procedures of reading and interpretation

E) Preparations. There weres no preparations being made.