SAT Sentence Completion Practice Question 44: Answer and Explanation

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Question: 44

14. Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, ------- rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is ------- and more life-affirming.

A. silent . . quieter
B. savage . . calmer
C. passionate . . fiercer
D. controlled . . angry
E. angry . . crushing

Correct Answer: B

Explanation:

Skill: Understanding the content, form, and function of sentences

Explanation for Correct Answer B :

Choice (B) is correct. "Savage" means wild or violent. "Calmer" means quieter or more peaceful. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, savage rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is calmer and more life-affirming." The term "whereas" indicates that an opposition exists between the two missing terms. Writing that conveys "electrifying, savage rage" certainly contrasts with "calmer" fiction.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer A :

Choice (A) is incorrect. "Silent" means without sound and "quieter" means calmer or less loud. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, silent rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is quieter and more life-affirming." While it is unlikely that "silent rage" would also be described as "bristling" and "electrifying," it is illogical to claim that one writer's fiction can be "quieter" than another author's "silent" work.

Explanation for Incorrect Answer C :

Choice (C) is incorrect. "Passionate" means fiery and intense. "Fiercer" means more violent and intense. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, passionate rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is fiercer and more life-affirming." The second missing term must help describe writing that is life-affirming. So, while Rhys's rage may be "passionate," it makes little sense to claim that Brookner's work is both "fiercer" and "life-affirming."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer D :

Choice (D) is incorrect. "Controlled" means restrained. "Angry" means mad. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, controlled rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is angry and more life-affirming." It is somewhat contradictory to describe "life-affirming" writing as "angry."

Explanation for Incorrect Answer E :

Choice (E) is incorrect. "Vibrant" means bright and lively. "Crushing" means severely oppressive. If one were to insert these terms into the text, the sentence would read "Whereas Jean Rhys's work bristles with an electrifying, vibrant rage against all humanity, Anita Brookner's fiction is crushing and more life-affirming." While Rhys's work might be characterized as "vibrant" because it is "electrifying," it is illogical to describe Brookner's life-affirming fiction as "crushing," or oppressive.

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