Source: Revised GRE PDF 1st Ed. Section 3: Verbal; #13 (p. 55)

1

The sentence “If serfs … estate” (lines 10-11) has which

The sentence “If serfs … estate” (lines 10-11) has which of the following functions in the passage? According to the conventional view, serfdom in nineteenth-century Russia inhibited economic growth. In this view Russian peasants’ status as serfs kept them poor through burdensome taxes in cash, in labor, and in kind; through restrictions on mobility; and through various forms of coercion. Melton, however, argues that serfdom was perfectly compatible with economic growth, because many Russian serfs were able to get around landlords’ rules and regulations. If serfs could pay for passports, they were usually granted permission to leave the estate. If they could pay the fine, they could establish a separate household; and if they had the resources, they could hire laborers to cultivate the communal lands, while they themselves engaged in trade or worked as migrant laborers in cities. Blank: It provides support for an argument presented in the preceding sentence., It provides evidence that helps undermine a view introduced in the first sentence., It raises a question that the succeeding sentence will resolve.

2 Explanations

1

Mihir Gada

How is B correct?
One might be able to pay for passport and still have his economic growth inhibited. It does not say that it costs a lot for passport. Besides, one could have money saved or inherited through which I can pay for my passport and still have my economic growth inhibited. It hardly seems to refute the idea in the first sentence.

Nov 17, 2015 • Comment

Adam

Hi Nihir,

So, first, note that (B) states "a view *introduced* in the first sentence."

What is this view? It is that serfdom in Russia limited the economic growth of peasants, because their status as serfs kept them poor -- they had more taxes, etc, but also because they had *restrictions on mobility.* So, the argument here is that "restriction on mobility" leads to being limited in economic growth.

Now look at the sentence in question:

"If serfs could pay for passports, they were usually granted permission to leave the estate."

This shows that in fact, serfs were not restricted in their mobility as long as they could pay for a passport. Therefore, in contrast to the argument *introduced* in the first sentence, serfs *could* move off of the estate. Therefore they were not necessarily limited in economic growth by a lack of mobility.

You wrote: "Besides, one could have money saved or inherited through which I can pay for my passport and still have my economic growth inhibited."

Note that the answer choice doesn't say that this sentence "refutes" the idea presented in the first sentence. It just says it "provides evidence that helps undermine a view..." So we have a little more breathing room here. Sure, maybe some serfs had passports and still remained poor. That's okay -- the answer choice isn't saying that this completely refutes the idea presented here. It just says it provides evidence that *helps* to weaken this view.

Nov 19, 2015 • Reply

anik alam

it undermines the second sentence not the first sentence. if you consider the 1st sentence a single entity then then B could not be the ans, I think the test writer should more cautious about the writing of the test,B actually undermines the second sentence not the first one

Nov 3, 2017 • Reply

Adam

Hi Anik,

Please see my comment above (B) states that the view is "introduced" in the first sentence, not that it is contained entirely in the first sentence. This is a key point.

Nov 9, 2017 • Reply

2

Gravatar Chris Lele, Magoosh Tutor

Sep 26, 2012 • Comment

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