GRE Reading Comprehension

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Source: Kaplan

The design and architecture of Monticello reflects many of Thomas Jefferson's personal philosophies. For example, Jefferson, like many of the founding fathers, held strongly that the presidency was not equivalent to the role of a king, and in deliberate design, the size and scope of Monticello resembles more of a functional agrarian building rather than a showcase estate. The entranceway in Monticello is significantly more modest and cozy than the typical reception halls of the European monarchies. However, Jefferson himself was prone to excess, and many elements within the design, such as the large dome, serve little to no practical purpose. The tight, curving staircases in the entranceway had a strict width to reflect his republican ethos, even though it often rendered the stairs impractical. During Jefferson's life, Monticello was constantly under construction. Jefferson spent into his penury to improve it, perhaps revising his original ideas as his optimism grew and his finances dwindled.

Question List: 1 2

The central point of the passage is to

  • A explain how Monticello reflect the agrarian philosophy of people like the founding fathers.
  • B provide evidence for the claim that Monticello's design was deliberate and organized, unlike many of the buildings constructed in Jefferson's day.
  • C reveal similarities between Jefferson's philosophies and modern architectural trends.
  • D illustrate how a president's personal property can reveal a great deal about the quality of the presidency.
  • E draw parallels between Jefferson's ideas and the elements of design employed in his personal estate.

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