The writings of Oscar Wilde, the 19th-century British author, exemplify the beliefs of the Decadent school of writing, which emphasized art over nature and adhered to the tenet "art for art's sake." Wilde's novel The Picture of Dorian Gray depicts a young man who agrees to sell his soul in return for eternal youth.
Which of the following, if true, is LEAST helpful in explaining how The Picture of Dorian Gray exemplifies the beliefs of the Decadent school of writing?
A. Like Dorian Gray, many of the Decadent authors experimented with drugs and led harmfully indulgent lifestyles. B. The protagonist achieves eternal youth by having his portrait age instead of himself. C. A character in the novel suggests that the only ends worth pursuing are beauty and sensory fulfillment. D. Other writers in the Decadent school hoped to free art from the constraints of an industrialized society. E. In the novel, Dorian Gray is highly influenced by a book written by another famous Decadent writer, J.K. Huysmans.
(D) This question asks you to find the answer choice that is LEAST helpful in explaining how The Picture of Dorian Gray exemplifies the beliefs of the Decadent school of writing. We are told two things about the Decadent school: (1) they emphasized art over nature, and (2) they adhered to the tenet "art for art's sake."
Choice (B) shows how the novel incorporates the first of these premises: by using art (a portrait of himself), the protagonist is able to transcend the usual bounds of nature.
Choice (C) shows how the novel illustrates the second of these characteristics - that is, by way of a character's proposal that beauty and sensory fulfillment are the only worthy ends. (If this is the case, then art should be pursued for art's sake.)
Choices (B) and (C) can therefore be eliminated, since we are looking for the answer choice that is least helpful in explaining how the novel exemplifies the beliefs of the Decadent school of writing.
Choices (A) and (E) strengthen the link between the novel and the Decadent school by showing how the protagonist behaves similarly to Choice (A), and is how the protagonist behaves similarly to the Decadent writers, and was influenced by a figure of the Decadent school. Although drug use is not mentioned in the passage, by mentioning it in an answer choice as a similarity it strengthens the link.
Choice (D) is the only answer choice that does not help to explain how The Picture of Dorian Gray exemplifies the beliefs of the Decadent school of writing. An unconnected fact about other writers in the Decadent school does not help us to understand how this particular novel exemplifies their beliefs. Choice (D) is the best answer. ---------- Hi,
I just thought I would clarify a mistake in the first sentence. Oscar Wilde was in fact Irish, born in Dublin in the 19th-century.
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