GRE - Reading Comprehension
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 otherAfrican 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 thatAfricans 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 inAfrica 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.
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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
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.
Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Aust (more)
Experts have differed about where the genus Varanus (monitor lizards) originated. Because most existing species live in Australia, early researchers concluded that Varanus originated in Australia and subsequently island hopped westward along the Indo-Australian archipelago. Herpetologist Robert Mertens later argued that Varanus probably originated in the archipelago. Chromosomal analysis has since supported Mertens’ contention, and in addition, (6) geologic evidence points to a collision between the archipelago and the Australian landmass after Varanus evolved—a fact that could account for the genus’ present distribution.
A related puzzle for scientists is the present distribution of Varanus’ largest surviving species, the Komodo dragon. These carnivores live only on four small islands in the archipelago where, scientists note, the prey base is too small to support mammalian carnivores. But the Komodo dragon has recently been shown to manage body temperature much more efficiently than do mammalian carnivores, enabling it to survive on about a tenth of the food energy required by a mammalian carnivore of comparable size
Q1. It can be inferred from the passage that the geographical distribution of the Komodo dragon is
A. currently less restricted than it was at the time researchers first began investigating the origins of the genus Varanus
B. currently more restricted than it was at the time researchers first began investigating the origins of the genus Varanus
C. less restricted than is the distribution of the genus Varanus as a whole
D. more restricted than is the distribution of the genus Varanus as a whole
E. viewed as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that the genus Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
Q2. Which of the following elements in the debate over the origin of Varanus is NOT provided in the passage?
A. The evidence that led Mertens to argue that Varanus originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
B. The evidence that led early researchers to argue that Varanus originated in Australia
C. A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to the Indo-Australian archipelago if it had originated in Australia
D. A possible explanation of how Varanus might have spread to Australia if it had originated in the Indo-Australian archipelago
E. An indication of the general present-day distribution of Varanus species between Australia and the Indo-Australian archipelago
Q3. It can be inferred that which of the following is true of the “geologic evidence” (line 6)?
A. It was first noted by Mertens as evidence in favor of his theory about the origins of Varanus.
B. It cannot rule out either one of the theories about the origins of Varanus discussed in the passage.
C. It accounts for the present distribution of the Komodo dragon.
D. It has led to renewed interest in the debate over the origins of Varanus.
E. It confirms the conclusions reached by early researchers concerning the origins of Varanus.
A1. The geographical distribution of the Komodo dragon is compared to the genus of Varanus. According to the passage, the genus Varanus are distributed in Australia and Indo-Australian archipelago. While the Komodo are distributed on four small islands of the archipelago. This indicates that the distribution of Komoda is more restricted compared to genus Varanus as a whole. This is answer choice D.