Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus offers an examination

Question

Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus offers an examination not only of how difficult it is to reconcile reason, will, and passion together in any art form, but also a skillfully navigated exploration of the major concerns of modernism.

Option A
Option B
Option C
Option D
Option E

(This question is from Official Guide. Therefore, because of copyrights, the complete question cannot be copied here. The question can be accessed at GMAT Club)

Solution

Sentence Analysis

  • Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus offers an examination (Main Subject: Doctor Faustus (Name of the novel); Main Verb: offers)
    • not only of how difficult it is to reconcile reason, will, and passion together in any art form, (First element of the list. Noun clause – ‘how difficult…form’ – Subject: ‘to reconcile… form’; Verb: is)
    • but also a skillfully navigated exploration of the major concerns of modernism. (Second element of the list)

The sentence seems to say that this novel does two things:

  1. Offers an examination of the difficulties of reconciling three things
  2. Explores the major concerns of modernism.

The sentence has a deterministic parallelism issue. Replacing the list with the individual elements, we get:

  1. Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus offers an examination of how difficult it is to reconcile reason, will, and passion together in any art form. (This part makes sense)
  2. Thomas Mann’s novel Doctor Faustus offers an examination a skillfully navigated exploration of the major concerns of modernism. (This part doesn’t make sense)

Besides, the use of ‘together’ is redundant since ‘reconcile’ already includes this sense.

Option Analysis

(A) Incorrect. For the reasons mentioned above.

(B) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. The problem of the original sentence.
  2. In this context, “examination of” is the correct idiom. Also, “examination about” is used very rarely in any context.
  3. The use of ‘and’ after ‘not only’ is incorrect.

(C) Incorrect. The use of ‘and’ after ‘not only’ is incorrect.

(D) Incorrect. For the following reasons:

  1. 2nd problem of option B.
  2. Here, ‘difficulty of’ needs to be used since we want to indicate the lack of ease in reconciling. ‘difficulty with reconciling’ means ‘a problem with reconciling’. This doesn’t seem to be the intended meaning.
  3. The use of ‘together’ is redundant since ‘reconcile’ already includes this sense.

(E) Correct. The option corrects both the problems in the original sentence. “Not only…but also” and “Not only…but” both are correct idioms and mean the same.

If you have any doubts regarding any part of this solution, please feel free to ask in the comments section.

About Chiranjeev Singh

An Alumnus of IIM Ahmedabad and with scores of 780 (2017) and 770 (2013) on GMAT and 99.98%ile on CAT, Chiranjeev is one of the most qualified GMAT tutors in India. Chiranjeev has earlier served as Director of Curriculum at e-GMAT. Chiranjeev has been helping students ace GMAT since 2012. He follows a concept-based methodology to teaching GMAT and is very committed to student success. You may contact him for any private GMAT tutoring needs at CJ@GMATwithCJ.com. He conducts online sessions for students across the world.

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