SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 229: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 229

10. In Jamaica Kincaid's novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine ------- her employer's world, critically examining its assumptions and values.

A. idealizes
B. avoids
C. beautifies
D. scrutinizes
E. excludes

Correct Answer: D

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer D :

Choice (D) is correct. “Scrutinize” means to examine very closely. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “In Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine scrutinizes her employers’ world, critically examining its assumptions and values.” A writer who critically examines the assumptions and values of something is by definition scrutinizing it.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. “Idealize” means to show something as more nearly perfect than is true. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “In Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine idealizes her employers’ world, critically examining its assumptions and values.” Someone who actually does critically examine the assumptions and values of a part of society cannot be said to be idealizing society. When something is critically examined, the examination is likely to reveal problems of some sort. Even if the examination uncovered no flaws, the resulting positive evaluation would properly be called realistic, not idealistic.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. “Avoid” means to stay away from. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “In Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine avoids her employers’ world, critically examining its assumptions and values.” It is almost impossible to critically examine the assumptions and values of a part of society while trying to stay far away from that society.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. “Beautify” means to make something look good. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “In Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine beautifies her employers’ world, critically examining its assumptions and values.” When someone critically examines the assumptions and values of a social system, the result almost never makes the system look worse than before, but even if the examination revealed no flaws, a truly critical examination cannot reasonably be called a beautification because the examination does not itself cause the thing to look good.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. “Exclude” in this context means to refuse to consider. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read “In Jamaica Kincaid’s novel Lucy, the West Indian heroine excludes her employers’ world, critically examining its assumptions and values.” It is simply not possible to refuse to consider something while at the same time examining its assumptions and values.

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