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GRE - Reading Comprehension

Main Idea and Structure-Based (more)

Polygamy in Africa has been a popular topic for social research over the past half-century; it has been analyzed by many distinguished minds and in various well-publicized works. In 1961, when Remi Clignet published his book many wives, many powers, he was not alone in sharing the view that in africa co-wives may be perceived as direct and indirect sources of increased income and prestige. For instance, some observers argued that polygamous marriages are more able than monogamous marriages to produce many children, who can legitimately be seen as a form of wealth as well as of “this-world” immortality connected to the transmission of family names (as opposed to “other-world” immortality in an afterlife). Moreover, polygamy is rooted in and sanctioned by many ancient traditions, both cultural and religious; therefore, some assert that polygamy can provide a stabilizing function within societies frequently under stress from both internal and external forces.
By the 1970s, such arguments had become crystallized and popular. Many other
African scholars who wrote on the subject became the new champions of this philosophy. For example, in 1983, John Mbiti proclaimed that polygamy is an accepted and respectable institution serving many useful social purposes. Similarly, G.K. Nukunya, in his paper “polygamy as a symbol of status,” reiterated Mbiti's idea that a plurality of wives is a legitimate sign of affluence and power in African society.
However, the colonial missionary voice provided consistent opposition to polygamy by viewing the practice as unethical and destructive of family life. While the missionaries propagated this view citing the authority of the bible, they were convinced that
Africans had to be coerced into partaking in the vision of monogamy understood by the western culture. The missionary viewpoint even included, in some instances, dictating immediate divorce in the case of newly converted men who had already contracted polygamous marriages. Unfortunately, both the missionary voice and the scholarly voice did not consider the views of African women important. Although there was some awareness that women regarded polygamy as both a curse and a blessing, the distanced, albeit scientific, perspective of an outside observer predominated both on the pulpit and in scholarly writings.
Contemporary research in the social sciences has begun to focus on the protagonist's voice in the study of culture, recognizing that the views and experiences of those who take part in a given reality ought to receive close examination. This privileging of the protagonist seems appropriate, particularly given that women in
Africa have often used literary productions, which feature protagonists and other “actors” undergoing ordeals and otherwise taking active part in real life, to comment on marriage, family, and gender relations.


Which of the following best describes the main purpose of the passage above?

(A) To discuss scholarly works that view polygamy as a sign of prestige, respect, and affluence in the African society
(B) To trace the origins of the missionary opposition to African polygamy
(C) To argue for imposing restrictions on polygamy in the African society
(D) To explore the reasons for women's acceptance of polygamy
(E) To discuss multiple perspectives on African polygamy and contrast them with contemporary research

I think the answer is E .The passage does not only speak about the scholarly perspective or the missionary perspective... those are only portions of the main passage, so A & B cannot be the answers. Women of Africa considered polygamy both as a curse and a blessing so D cannot be the answer as it mentions that women accepted polygamy and as such there were no reasons mentioned too. The passage definitely mentions reasons about why polygamy was considered to be useful to some scholars but the main passage is not dealing with the argument. It is merely showing us the different perspectives and how we failed to record the perspective of the main protagonist- the women of Africa. So E should be the answer.

Class Schedule/ (more)

According to a recent email the class will be held at 5:00 am, yet in my account it says the class will be held at 6:30amand in the LIVE class information, it says the class will be held at 8:30 am. Which is it?


Please tell your email address and the class you want to attend, we will send you the time. The differences you see could be because of your time zone mentioned incorrectly. Please let us know your time zone, so that you see the time correctly in future.

The LIVE classes scheduling (more)

I have signed up for LIVE classes but the program has the wrong time zone for me. As a result,for the scheduled class yesterday, I was told it would be held at 7:30am but it was held at 5:30am. And I missed the class. How can this be corrected? I am scheduled for another class tomorrow.


Katherine Weaver

Hi Katherine, The Live classes and the webinar timings displayed in your QS- LEAP account is according to the time zone that you must have selected while browsing through the tutor page. I suggest you log-in to your QS- LEAP account, go to live classes and check the time zone that is being displayed currently on your system. If it is in sync with the time zone that you are following, then you shouldn't be facing this issue. But if the time zone is not the same as what you are following, then you will have to convert the time zone displayed on the account to the time zone that you are following by using google. I hope this helps you. Write back to me if you need any further clarification. Best, Sonam Dubey

The more definitions a given noun has, the more valuable is each one. (more)

The more definitions a given noun has, the more valuable is each one. Multiple definitions, each subtly different from all the others, convey multiple shades of meaning. They expand the uses of the word; language is enriched, thought is widened, and interpretations increase or dilate to fill the potentialities of association. The very impossibility of absoluteness in the definition of certain nouns adds to the levels of
connotation they may reach. The inner life of a writer often says more than most readers can know; the mind of a reader can discover truths that go beyond the intent or perhaps even the comprehension of the writer. And all of it finds expression because a word can mean many things.

Q1. In the context in which it appears, “shades” (line 2) most nearly means

A. reminders
B. nuances
C. obscurities
D. coverings
E. degrees

Q2. The passage suggests that a writer’s use of nouns that have multiple definitions can have which of the following effects on the relationship between writer and reader?

A. It can encourage the reader to consider how the writer’s life might have influenced the work.
B. It can cause the reader to become frustrated with the writer’s failure to distinguish between subtle shades of meaning.
C. It can allow the reader to discern in a work certain meanings that the writer did not foresee.
D. It allows the writer to provide the reader with clues beyond the word itself in order to avoid ambiguity.
E. It allows the writer to present unfamiliar ideas to the reader more efficiently.

A1. In the passage, the line says 'convey multiple shades of meaning. This suggests that the words manage to convey small details of the noun having multiple definitions. Out of the answer choices B, nuances, a subtle difference in meaning, exactly conveys this meaning.