SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 237: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 237

3. Many ------ of the style of the paintings exemplified by Marcel Duchamp's work focused on Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase as the -------- of what they detested about the modern art.

A. critics… epitome
B. proponents… realization
C. advocates… embodiment
D. debunkers… rejection
E. belittler… reversal

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. "Critics" are people who express judgments about the merits and faults of something, and "epitome" means something that is perfectly representative of an entire type. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many critics of the style of painting exemplified by Marcel Duchamp’s work focused on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase as the epitome of what they detested about modern art." People who judge painting styles often pick out one particular painting as the best representative of a style they dislike. Such a selection makes it easier for them to illustrate the faults they identify in a certain painting style.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. "Proponents" are people who support something, and "realization" in this context means the actualization of plans or ideals. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many proponents of the style of painting exemplified by Marcel Duchamp’s work focused on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase as the realization of what they detested about modern art." People who supported the style of painting of which Duchamp's work was an example would normally be the least likely to detest one of Duchamp's works of art. In any case, it is odd to say that something is the "realization of a detested quality." A realization is typically the accomplishment of a desired goal or ideal, not the attainment of qualities that are strongly disliked.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Advocates" are people who promote or support a certain position, and "embodiment" means an ideal example. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many advocates of the style of painting exemplified by Marcel Duchamp’s work focused on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase as the embodiment of what they detested about modern art." People who promote a certain painter's style of painting would no longer be considered advocates if they chose to concentrate their attention on one of the painter's works that they intensely disliked.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Debunkers" are people who expose the falseness of something, and "rejection" means a refusal to accept. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many debunkers of the style of painting exemplified by Marcel Duchamp’s work focused on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase as the rejection of what they detested about modern art." People who want to show something false or wrong in a style of art of which Duchamp's art was a perfect example would not be acting consistently if they focused on one of that painter's works as the rejection of something they detested. If such people really wanted to debunk, they should focus on ways that Duchamp's work tried or claimed to be something that it is not.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Belittlers" are individuals who try to make other people think less of something, and "reversal" means turning in the opposite direction. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Many belittlers of the style of painting exemplified by Marcel Duchamp’s work focused on Duchamp’s Nude Descending a Staircase as the reversal of what they detested about modern art." If a certain group of people really wanted to make others think less of Duchamp's art, they would not focus on a work that moves in a direction opposite to one they dislike. Rather, they would focus on works that do the type of thing they wish to criticize.

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