Closer Reading: The Stories Behind RC Passages and LR Questions – PrepTest 59, Section 4, Passage 3

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Manhattan Prep LSAT Blog - Closer Reading: The Stories Behind RC Passages and LR Questions - PrepTest59, Section 4, Passage 3 by Matt ShinnersLearning science has come a long way in recent years, and we’ve been learning with it. We incorporate the latest discoveries in learning science into our LSAT course to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of your prep. Want to see? Try the first session of any of our upcoming courses for free.


There’s some really interesting reading content on the LSAT that you won’t have the time to appreciate while dissecting logic. In this behind-the-scenes series, we’re taking the time to examine the stories behind RC passages and LR questions. Ever wonder what that art you’ve been reading looks like? What that science was really all about? We’ve got you covered.

This article is based on PrepTest 59, Section 4, Passage 3.

In the infamous RC passage about Japanese American sculptor Isamu Noguchi, testtakers were treated to the description of his (in?)famous sculpture of Buckminster Fuller. I’d imagine pretty much everyone has some fantastical image of what that looks like, but what could explain his journey to positive-light sculptures?

Buckminster Fuller Portrait by Isamu Noguchi

Isamu Noguchi’s Buckminster Fuller Portrait

After a tumultuous childhood, Isamu’s first major installment project was nothing other than the house that the 8-year-old lived in with his mother (a famous writer) and his half-sister (who would go on to pioneer the American Modern Dance movement).

While anyone who has done that passage knows of Noguchi’s apprenticeship under Constantin Brancusi (or, rather, his non-apprenticeship), his first work was done while working for Gutzon Borglum. You may not know him, but you know Mt. Rushmore, which is his claim to fame.

Receiving a Guggenheim Fellowship (despite not qualifying for being 3 years too young), Noguchi traveled to Paris, where our RC passage picks up. There, we learn that he met Fuller. What we don’t learn is that it was at a famous bohemian Greenwich Village restaurant frequented by all the famous artists of the time. So while ordering a sandwich, he stumbled onto an art project that would go on to frustrate thousands of future, prospective lawyers. The twists and turns of fate!

The last paragraph of the RC passage discusses how Noguchi wasn’t done innovating after the bust of Fuller, and they weren’t kidding. He went on to sculpt socially conscious installment pieces, playgrounds, and even tables. He fought against Japanese internment during WWII. He briefly flirted with the theater (sets and costumes for King Lear), and won the National Medal of the Arts. 📝


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Matt Shinners Manhattan Prep LSAT InstructorMatt Shinners is a Manhattan Prep instructor based in New York City. After receiving a degree in Biochemistry from Boston College, Matt scored a 180 on his LSAT and enrolled in Harvard Law School. There’s nothing that makes him happier than seeing his students receive the scores they want to get into the schools of their choice. Check out Matt’s upcoming LSAT courses here!

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