Which one of the following statements most accurately expresses the main point of the passage?

mfujii on April 25, 2020

Please explain answer

Hi, can someone explain why E is the correct answer? And why B and D are incorrect? Thank you!

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SamA on May 5, 2020

Hello @mfujiii,

Good question, I think this is a challenging passage. First, let's discuss B and D.

B. It is true that the author discusses both topics mentioned here. However, does the author ever suggest that these manipulations of culture are "essentially no different?" This is a very strong statement, so we would need clear support for it. On the contrary, the passage demonstrates that these purposes are very different. On one side, recently liberated nations are trying to reclaim their identity from before their colonization. On the other side, European powers use the local culture to validate their own authority over a colony. We can conclude that these attempts to manipulate culture are quite different.

D. My most important piece of advice on main point questions is this: "Consider not only what is in the answer choice, but also what is left out." There are lots of wrong answers that are technically correct, but do not encapsulate the main point. D is a good example. It may very well be true. Most colonized societies have regained independence. Imperial attitudes of superiority still remain. But is this the main point of the passage as a whole? It leaves out the whole first paragraph, the example of Queen Victoria in England, and the conclusion in the last paragraph.

Let's talk about the right answer.
E is a broader option that the two wrong answers I wrote about. It fits all of the examples presented in the passage, as well as the statements at the beginning and end of the passage. The author's introduction states that we often alter and influence culture and history in order to fit our national identities. The passage ends with the conclusion: "Far from being unitary, monolithic, or autonomous, cultures actually include more 'foreign' elements than they consciously exclude." All of the examples given were meant to support this conclusion. Answer choice E paraphrases it closely, which make it the correct answer.