GRE Verbal : Analyzing Point of View, Assumptions, and Bias in Single-Answer Questions

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for GRE Verbal

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Science-fiction and Society by Will Floyd

Science-fiction and fantasy novels are often seen as pure escapism; however, many authors use the fantasy or futuristic aspects of their work to comment on contemporary problems. Normally this is done by having things that seem quite familiar to a reader, but giving them small twists rooted in the author’s fabricated world. Subjects like racism are often hard for certain writers to analyze without causing an uproar among certain readers. By subverting the prejudice to being directed against a space alien, a completely unfamiliar being, a science fiction author can reinterpret why humans possess hatred for other groups. This can take the form of prejudice against things that people in reality are not normally prejudiced against. These analyses show the erratic and arbitrary nature of racism.

Fantasy books can offer a similar level of surprise for readers who think they know what the usual course of events would be in the regular world. By making the fantasy the focus of what's occurring in the narrative, love stories, war stories, and simple tales of overcoming obstacles can become pleasantly mystifying. Fantasy authors can create interesting takes on basic morality by simply injecting a small amount of magic into an old tale. Black-and-white approaches to good and evil seem much less trite and hackneyed when set in a fantastical, magical world. The ability for an audience to get lost in a magical world changes the expectations of the reader. Often, the threat of destruction in a beloved fantasy world will seem a darker occurrence than the threat to the world in which they live. This attachment to a created world allows science fiction and fantasy authors to discuss serious issues in a different manner to authors in other genres.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

science fiction and fantasy can tackle weighty subjects

science fiction and fantasy genres are light reading that are pure pleasure

science fiction and fantasy authors are most succesful when they somewhat relate to the real world

science fiction and fantasy readers appreciate the created worlds the authors establish more than the real world

an author's fabricated world is key to both science fiction and fantasy as genres

Correct answer:

science fiction and fantasy genres are light reading that are pure pleasure

Explanation:

The author absolutely supports science fiction and fantasy's ability to deal with the weighty issues of the real world.  This is, in fact, the central argument of the passage.  The author even criticizes the idea that the genres are "pure escapism." Therefore, the author would not agree that the "genres are light reading that are pure pleasure."

Example Question #2 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

History and Myth by Will Floyd

Popular ideas about historical characters are often quite fallacious. In reality, Napoleon Bonaparte was not short, but a perfectly average size for his time. Paul Revere did not make a solo midnight ride to warn the colonial militia that the British were coming. Figures like Robin Hood, Johnny Appleseed, and John Henry have such little actual information about their lives that scholars wonder if they even existed. Despite scholarly concern and arguments, these popular characters and myths continue to form a large part of the common historical imagination.

Recently, some historians have begun to study the myths and legends. No matter how whimsical or ungrounded the stories are, the legends hold a key to how people interpret history. Colleagues seeking to rebut such study have derided those scholars who are analyzing myths. The more skeptical historians accuse the historians who analyze myths and legends as promoting conspiracy theories and providing cover to people with fringe beliefs.  In response, the scholars studying the apocryphal stories claim that they are actually helping to dispel such marginal ideas. By understanding why odd stories and fables get constructed, these new historians say, society is better able to stop new ones from being made. If a historian’s role is to understand the past to navigate the future better, then understanding how myths and legends develop will create a better way to having fewer arise.

The author's view of conspiracy theories is that __________.

Possible Answers:

they are the foundation for all good historical research

they provide a valuable service in keeping people aware of what really happened

they are based on misinformation and wrong facts

not many people believe them

they are not appropriate to be studied by historians

Correct answer:

they are based on misinformation and wrong facts

Explanation:

The author mentions "conspiracy theories" once, and notes that they are held by people with "fringe beliefs." Additionally, the author mentions that "skeptical historians" accuse historians studying "myths and legends" promote "conspiracy theories." This shows that the author views conspiracy theories as "based on misinformation and wrong facts."

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

A Short History of the Electric Guitar, by Will Floyd

Any modern musical performance is almost impossible to countenance without the presence of an electric guitar. Most of the time it is a solid-body electric guitar, and while they seem ubiquitous and obvious now, that was not always the case. First invented in the early 1930s, the first electric guitar simply amplified existing guitars. No one thought of it as a new instrument, but merely a way to put a microphone inside of the guitar. Through the use of electronic pickups that went straight to an amplifier, the sound of the guitar could be broadcast over loud jazz bands with drums and horns. At the time, most everyone believed an electric guitar still had to look like an acoustic guitar, and all models featured a hollow body acoustic shape that would resonate with the sound of the guitar strings. In all actuality, the only necessity for an electric guitar is an electric pickup to capture their small vibrations. An electric guitar does not, and never did, need a space to resonate the sound of the strings. Instead, it could be a simple block, with the fret-board, strings, and a pick up attached to a piece of lumber. This method is exactly what the famous guitar player and maker Les Paul did with his “Log,” but Les Paul's “Log” revealed some of the biases against a solid-body guitar. While the guitar was just one solid piece of wood, Paul would attach two wings to it that made the guitar look like a hollow body.

Despite Les Paul’s innovations, few manufacturers made a marketable solid-body guitar. Rickenbacker and Bigsby were both companies that made limited productions of solid-body electric guitars. Leo Fender was the first luthier to make a popular, mass-market electric solid-body guitar. Leo Fender started his career by working on radios and other small electronic devices, but developed an interest in building guitars. Immediately after World War II, big bands were considered antiquated, and small honky-tonk and boogie-woogie combos wanted cheaper, sturdier, and better intonated guitars, that they could play faster and louder. Leo Fender obliged with his Esquire guitar. Looking completely unlike any guitar made before, and being extremely thin, with no resonating panels, Fender’s guitar was revolutionary. While Fender continued to tweak it through the years, one thing remains the same: the general shape of the guitar. Renamed first the Broadcaster, then the more famous Telecaster, the silhouette of Fender’s Esquire is still a popular choice among musicians today.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

Leo Fender was a brilliant marketer who never built a quality electric solid body guitar

the widespread popularity of the electric solid body guitar needed many innovations to be realized

the electric solid body guitar was always going to be manufactured, no matter who worked on manufacturing them

the electric solid body guitar never achieved the same prestige or popularity of the hollow body guitar

the developments by Leo Fender were counterproductive to the development of the electric solid body guitar

Correct answer:

the widespread popularity of the electric solid body guitar needed many innovations to be realized

Explanation:

The author's main point is that the popular electric solid body guitar needed many developments to gain its popularity, and in particular the author celebrates the work of Leo Fender. With this in mind, the only answer choice featuring a sentence the author would agree with is "the widespread popularity of the electric solid-body guitar needed many innovations to be realized."

Example Question #3 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

A Short History of the Electric Guitar, by Will Floyd

Any modern musical performance is almost impossible to countenance without the presence of an electric guitar. Most of the time it is a solid-body electric guitar, and while they seem ubiquitous and obvious now, that was not always the case. First invented in the early 1930s, the first electric guitar simply amplified existing guitars. No one thought of it as a new instrument, but merely a way to put a microphone inside of the guitar. Through the use of electronic pickups that went straight to an amplifier, the sound of the guitar could be broadcast over loud jazz bands with drums and horns. At the time, most everyone believed an electric guitar still had to look like an acoustic guitar, and all models featured a hollow body acoustic shape that would resonate with the sound of the guitar strings. In all actuality, the only necessity for an electric guitar is an electric pickup to capture their small vibrations. An electric guitar does not, and never did, need a space to resonate the sound of the strings. Instead, it could be a simple block, with the fret-board, strings, and a pick up attached to a piece of lumber. This method is exactly what the famous guitar player and maker Les Paul did with his “Log,” but Les Paul's “Log” revealed some of the biases against a solid-body guitar. While the guitar was just one solid piece of wood, Paul would attach two wings to it that made the guitar look like a hollow body.

Despite Les Paul’s innovations, few manufacturers made a marketable solid-body guitar. Rickenbacker and Bigsby were both companies that made limited productions of solid-body electric guitars. Leo Fender was the first luthier to make a popular, mass-market electric solid-body guitar. Leo Fender started his career by working on radios and other small electronic devices, but developed an interest in building guitars. Immediately after World War II, big bands were considered antiquated, and small honky-tonk and boogie-woogie combos wanted cheaper, sturdier, and better intonated guitars, that they could play faster and louder. Leo Fender obliged with his Esquire guitar. Looking completely unlike any guitar made before, and being extremely thin, with no resonating panels, Fender’s guitar was revolutionary. While Fender continued to tweak it through the years, one thing remains the same: the general shape of the guitar. Renamed first the Broadcaster, then the more famous Telecaster, the silhouette of Fender’s Esquire is still a popular choice among musicians today.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

Les Paul was an innovator in guitar construction

Leo Fender was a simple hack who never deserved the success he received

Bigsby and Rickenbacker were two companies that sought innovations in guitar manufacturing

Leo Fender had success because he was a great marketer as well as manufacturer

Leo Fender was an innovator in guitar construction

Correct answer:

Leo Fender was a simple hack who never deserved the success he received

Explanation:

Above all, the author argues for the importance of Leo Fender, and his ability to manufacture and market a new electric solid body guitar that achieved widespread popularity; therefore, the correct answer will be the one that does not indicate such a positive outlook, and is "Leo Fender was a simple hack who never deserved the success he received."

Example Question #5 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Baseball, Then and Now, by Will Floyd

The twenty-first-century baseball fan would hardly recognize the nineteenth-century version of the national pastime. The massive stadiums, pristine uniforms, and even most articles of equipment integral to the modern game were all unfamiliar to players in the late-nineteenth-century.

The current number of balls and strikes that each batter is allowed was not settled until the 1890s. Fielding gloves were not utilized until the 1880s. Players could even call for a high or low pitch as recently as 1900. The biggest misconception about nineteenth-century baseball from a modern point-of-view is assuming all pitching was done the way it is now. In fact, until 1893 pitchers operated out of a box a mere 45 feet away. The short distance was no problem, as the original rules for pitching required an underhand motion. As athletes have done for centuries, pitchers of the nineteenth century figured out ways to throw harder and circumvent the rules. Eventually, pitchers were taking a running start from 45 feet away and throwing overhand. Baseball players and administrators quickly realized that such pitching was a safety hazard at 45 feet, and it creates a tedious game in which no one could score. Baseball pushed the pitcher back to sixty feet and six inches, introduced the pitcher’s mound, and the slab the pitcher must be rooted to, pushing baseball closer to its modern form. These changes in baseball’s early years made the game the treasured sport it is today.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

nineteenth-century baseball underwent many unnecessary rule changes

the massive stadiums baseball is played in ruin the game

baseball players should never wear pristine uniforms

modern baseball fans do not need to bother studying baseball's history

modern baseball fans could learn a great deal by studying nineteenth-century baseball

Correct answer:

modern baseball fans could learn a great deal by studying nineteenth-century baseball

Explanation:

The author discusses nineteenth-century baseball in order to show how baseball got where it is now, and what it means for the modern baseball fan. This indicates the author believes the modern baseball fan can understand much more about the game from studying the nineteenth-century version of the game.

Example Question #4 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Baseball, Then and Now, by Will Floyd

The twenty-first-century baseball fan would hardly recognize the nineteenth-century version of the national pastime. The massive stadiums, pristine uniforms, and even most articles of equipment integral to the modern game were all unfamiliar to players in the late-nineteenth-century.

The current number of balls and strikes that each batter is allowed was not settled until the 1890s. Fielding gloves were not utilized until the 1880s. Players could even call for a high or low pitch as recently as 1900. The biggest misconception about nineteenth-century baseball from a modern point-of-view is assuming all pitching was done the way it is now. In fact, until 1893 pitchers operated out of a box a mere 45 feet away. The short distance was no problem, as the original rules for pitching required an underhand motion. As athletes have done for centuries, pitchers of the nineteenth century figured out ways to throw harder and circumvent the rules. Eventually, pitchers were taking a running start from 45 feet away and throwing overhand. Baseball players and administrators quickly realized that such pitching was a safety hazard at 45 feet, and it creates a tedious game in which no one could score. Baseball pushed the pitcher back to sixty feet and six inches, introduced the pitcher’s mound, and the slab the pitcher must be rooted to, pushing baseball closer to its modern form. These changes in baseball’s early years made the game the treasured sport it is today.

The author would NOT agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

nineteenth-century baseball was a worthless game

nineteenth-century baseball needed to figure out its rules to continue to prosper

nineteenth-century baseball would be a very odd thing to see for a modern baseball fan

throwing overhand from 45 feet and getting a running start is a dangerous way to pitch

nineteenth-century baseball and modern baseball are extremely different games

Correct answer:

nineteenth-century baseball was a worthless game

Explanation:

The author largely celebrates nineteenth-century baseball and its various attempts to change the rules to make a better game. This means the correct answer will most likely have a negative view of nineteenth-century baseball. The best choice is "nineteenth-century baseball was a worthless game."

Example Question #5 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Fact and Representation by Will Floyd

Professional wrestling is frequently criticized because of its unreality. For the wrestlers, promoters, and fans who love professional wrestling, the very fact that professional wrestling is “fake” is central to their love of wrestling. This love finds its home in the concept of “kayfabe.” Kayfabe is the fabricated world of wrestling, covering every element of its storytelling, from the outlandish characters to bitter feuds, even to the specific politics about which wrestler will become champion.

Throughout the twentieth century, kayfabe was a closely guarded secret held only by those who were in the know about a wrestling company. Wrestlers could not appear out of character at any moment they were in public, for fear this revelation would give away the secrets of the wrestling promotion. A good guy wrestler could never even socialize with a bad guy wrestler, for fear that fans would see enemies together. While still quite fake, this strict adherence to the created world issued an air of believability for wrestling’s biggest fans. In recent years, wrestling’s curtain of believability has been torn apart, as the internet has allowed many personal details about wrestlers to come to light. Nonetheless, many wrestling fans still only refer to their heroes by their created names, understanding them through their invented personalities.

The author would agree with the statement that __________

Possible Answers:

kayfabe is only appreciated by wrestling fans not clever enough to understand they are being deceived.

kayfabe is the key element of professional wrestling's appeal.

professional wrestling is a silly enterprise that should no longer exist.

kayfabe has been completely and utterly destroyed by the internet

professional wrestlers are liars who never let anyone know their real names or histories.

Correct answer:

kayfabe is the key element of professional wrestling's appeal.

Explanation:

The author repeatedly praises the concept of "kayfabe" and the role it plays in professional wrestling. The correct answer choice will need to reflect this positive approach from the author. Of the choices, only "kayfabe is the key element of professional wrestling's appeal" is the only one with such a tone.

Example Question #6 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

Adapted from "Ramblings in Cheapside" by Samuel Butler (1890)

Walking the other day in Cheapside I saw some turtles in Mr. Sweeting’s window, and was tempted to stay and look at them. As I did so I was struck not more by the defenses with which they were hedged about, than by the fatuousness of trying to hedge that in at all which, if hedged thoroughly, must die of its own defensefulness. The holes for the head and feet through which the turtle leaks out, as it were, on to the exterior world, and through which it again absorbs the exterior world into itself—"catching on” through them to things that are thus both turtle and not turtle at one and the same time—these holes stultify the armor, and show it to have been designed by a creature with more of faithfulness to a fixed idea, and hence one-sidedness, than of that quick sense of relative importance and their changes, which is the main factor of good living.

The turtle obviously had no sense of proportion; it differed so widely from myself that I could not comprehend it; and as this word occurred to me, it occurred also that until my body comprehended its body in a physical material sense, neither would my mind be able to comprehend its mind with any thoroughness. For unity of mind can only be consummated by unity of body; everything, therefore, must be in some respects both knave and fool to all that which has not eaten it, or by which it has not been eaten. As long as the turtle was in the window and I in the street outside, there was no chance of our comprehending one another.

The passage assumes all EXCEPT which of the following?

Possible Answers:

The reader has an understanding of how stores operate.

None of the other answers.

The reader understands how a turtle can hide in its shell.

The reader has never encountered a turtle.

The reader has looked through a store window before.

Correct answer:

The reader has never encountered a turtle.

Explanation:

The opening sentence makes passing reference to stores and shop windows, indicating the reader should understand these concepts. Also, while turtles, or at least a turtle, are described in great detail, the general conversation assumes a great deal of knowledge about turtles.

Example Question #7 : Analyzing Point Of View, Assumptions, And Bias In Single Answer Questions

"Developments in Understanding Ancient Greek Art" by Will Floyd

Most people imagine stark white temples and plain marble statues as the ideal of ancient Greek art. Nothing could be further from the truth, as the ancient Greeks lavished their statues, sculptures, and buildings with bright colors. The common misconception of plainly adorned Hellenic art can be blamed on the ancient Greeks’ biggest proponents in history. Enlightenment-era classicists eagerly visited ancient ruins in the eighteenth century and saw artifacts that had been weathered to plain white stone through decades of neglect. By the time nineteenth-century archaeologists found proof that the Parthenon and images of the Gods were meant to be in vivid hues, eminent scholars in Europe refused to countenance that pure white marble was not antiquity’s aesthetic paradigm. Widespread acknowledgement of the ancient Greeks’ adoration of bright colors only came in the late twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as scientific tests proved ancient statuary and buildings had once been covered in polychrome paint.

The author would agree with the statement that __________.

Possible Answers:

the ancient Greeks were derivative artists

ancient Greek art has no value to the modern world

ancient Greek art was not popular in its own time

the ancient Greeks had a particular aesthetic sense

polychrome paint is an unnecessary element of Greek art

Correct answer:

the ancient Greeks had a particular aesthetic sense

Explanation:

The entire passage is about a debate regarding how ancient Greeks made and saw their own art. To have such a debate demonstrates that ancient Greeks had a particular aesthetic sense, and that they usually stick to it.

Example Question #292 : Comprehension

Adapted from Seven Discourses Delivered in the Royal Academy By the President by Joshua Reynolds (1778)

All the objects which are exhibited to our view by nature, upon close examination will be found to have their blemishes and defects. The most beautiful forms have something about them like weakness, minuteness, or imperfection. But it is not every eye that perceives these blemishes. It must be an eye long used to the contemplation and comparison of these forms—and which, by a long habit of observing what any set of objects of the same kind have in common, that alone can acquire the power of discerning what each wants in particular. This long laborious comparison should be the first study of the painter who aims at the greatest style. By this means, he acquires a just idea of beautiful forms; he corrects nature by herself, her imperfect state by her more perfect. His eye being enabled to distinguish the accidental deficiencies, excrescences, and deformities of things from their general figures, he makes out an abstract idea of their forms more perfect than any one original—and what may seem a paradox, he learns to design naturally by drawing his figures unlike to any one object. This idea of the perfect state of nature, which the artist calls the ideal beauty, is the great leading principle by which works of genius are conducted. By this, Phidias acquired his fame. He wrought upon a sober principle what has so much excited the enthusiasm of the world—and by this method you, who have courage to tread the same path, may acquire equal reputation.

The author's view of artistic ability is best described as __________.

Possible Answers:

only worthwhile for the the naturally gifted to study

able to be improved through study

useless to humanity

unable to replicate objects in nature

equal in all who possess it

Correct answer:

able to be improved through study

Explanation:

The entire passage is essentially a piece of advice to artists, regarding the study of objects in nature. Above all, the passage is predicated on the notion that artistic ability can and should be improved through careful study.

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