SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 297: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 297

3. Critics say that autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet ------- his own role in the life of his brother.

A. censures
B. exacerbates
C. explores
D. duplicates
E. delineates

Correct Answer: A

Explanation:

Explanation for Correct Answer A :

Choice (A) is correct. To "censure" means to criticize severely. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, "Critics say that the autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet censures his own role in the life of his brother." The phrase "and yet" indicates that the missing term contrasts with "celebrates." To "censure" or severely criticize, does contrast with the idea of celebration.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer B :

Choice (B) is incorrect. To "exacerbate" means to make worse. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, "Critics say that the autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet exacerbates his own role in the life of his brother." It is unclear how an autobiographical work might "exacerbate" the role the author plays in his brother's life.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. To "explore" in this context means to analyze. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, "Critics say that the autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet explores his own role in the life of his brother." Since Brothers and Keepers celebrates the role Wideman plays in the life of his brother, it can be assumed that the work already "explores," or studies, that relationship.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. To "duplicate" means to make a copy. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, "Critics say that the autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet duplicates his own role in the life of his brother." An autobiography narrates one's life experiences, but it would be incorrect to say that such a work "duplicates" Wideman's role as a brother.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. To "delineate" means to outline the details. If one were to insert this term into the text, the sentence would read, "Critics say that the autobiographical work Brothers and Keepers by John Edgar Wideman is surprising in that it celebrates and yet delineates his own role in the life of his brother." An autobiography is a descriptive work, so critics should not be surprised to find that Brothers and Keepers "delineates," or outlines the details of Wideman's personal relationships.

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