DISCUSSION: Refer to lines 40-41: Arnold believed that the middles classes were most concerned with respectability.
Respectability, noun: the state or quality of being proper, correct, and socially acceptable. (Source: Oxford Dictionary)
To fully understand how art made one respectable, you need to refer back to lines 11-15. There, the author discusses one reason for commissioning art: it may reflect well on your sense of taste.
That’s respectability! The LSAT increasingly tests your ability to put two and two together and notice when different words refer to the same idea.
So patrons often commissioned art to make themselves look like they had good taste. The right answer expresses this as “a desire to establish a reputation as a patron of the arts”, which is roughly synonymous with having good taste.
You might quibble with these equivalencies. To which I have two replies:
- It’s a very fair and reasonable interpretation. Increasingly, the LSAT expects you to use common sense and judgement.
- The question just says “suggests” and “most likely”. So there’s plenty of wiggle room.
The interpretation above doesn’t have to be the only interpretation. It just has to be plausible, which it is. You will lose points if you have a rigid and over-literal approach to word choice.
- Arnold thought the middle classes were philistines. And belief in the importance of the arts is considered a positive quality. So Arnold wouldn’t have thought the middle classes believed this.
- The aristocracy and the middle classes had different reasons for supporting arts, but Arnold never suggests they were enemies who opposed each others’ reasons.
- A tempting answer. But profitable only has two senses: i. financial gain, ii. beneficial.
“Respectability” is something different. You might do something that harms you in order to keep up respectability. E.g. Going into debt to buy fancy clothing and expensive art.
You might argue that respectability is a benefit, but E is a much better answer.
- Same as A. Arnold despised the philistine middle classes, and liked art. So he wouldn’t have thought the middle class cared about high-quality art.
- CORRECT. Indeed. Patrons of the arts are generally respected, and the middle class cared about respectability (lines 40-41). For more justification, see the analysis above.
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