English: Reading Comprehension Set 12

Direction(1-5): Read the following passage and answer the questions that follows.

American culture changed forever in the latter part of the twentieth century with the advent of pop music. Before the 1950s music defined its own circles, but, at best, only shaded the frame of popular American culture. The birth of Rock and Roll forever changed that as larger and larger numbers of youth came, not only to identify with the music they were listening to, but to identify themselves by that music.

We use pop songs to create for ourselves a particular sort of self- definition, a particular place in society. The pleasure that a pop song produces is a pleasure of identification: in responding to a song, we are drawn into affective and emotional alliances with the performers and with the performers’ other fans. Thus music, like sport, is clearly a setting in which people directly experience community, feel an immediate bond with other people, and articulate a collective pride.

At the same time, because of its qualities of abstractness, pop music is an individualizing form. Songs have a looseness of reference that makes them immediately accessible. They are open to appropriation for personal use in a way that other popular cultural forms (television soap operas, for example) are not—the latter are tied into meanings which we may reject.

This interplay between personal absorption into music and the sense that it is, nevertheless, something public, is what makes music so important in the cultural placing of the individual. Music also gives us a way of managing the relationship between our public and private emotional lives. Popular love songs are important because they give shape and voice to emotions that otherwise cannot be expressed without embarrassment or incoherence. Our most revealing declarations of feeling are often expressed in banal or boring language and so our culture has a supply of pop songs that say these things for us in interesting and involving ways.

Popular music also shapes popular memory, and organizes our sense of time. Clearly one of the effects of all music, not just pop, is to focus our attention on the feeling of time, and intensify our experience of the present. One measure of good music is its “presence,” its ability to “stop” time, to make us feel we are living within a moment, with no memory or anxiety about what has come before us, what will come after. It is this use of time that makes popular music so important in the social organization of youth. We invest most in popular music when we are teenagers and young adults—music ties into a particular kind of emotional turbulence, when issues of individual identity and social place, the control of public and private feelings, are at a premium. What this suggests, though, is not that young people need music, but that “youth” itself is defined by music. Youth is experienced, that is, as an intense presence, through an impatience for time to pass and a regret that it is doing so, in a series of speeding, physically insistent moments that have nostalgia coded into them.

  1. The author’s primary purpose in this passage in discussing popular music is to:
    A) account for the importance of popular music in youth culture.
    B) contrast several sociological theories about popular music.
    C) compare popular music with other forms of popular culture.
    D) outline the social functions of popular music.
    E) describe how popular music originated
    View Answer
      Option D
    Explanation:What is the author‘s primary purpose in the passage? An easy one: the author wants to discuss the social functions of music.
                  
  2. While there are obviously many differences between the two, the author of the passage suggests that one similarity between popular and classical music is that both:
    A)  articulate a sense of community and collective pride.
    B) give shape to inexpressible emotions.
    C) emphasize the feeling of time.
    D) define particular age groups.
    E) are timeless in nature
    View Answer
      Option C
    Explanation:The author notes in para5 that ―one of the effects of all music, not just pop, is to focus our attention on the feeling of time, and intensify our experience of the present. Therefore, both pop music and classical music must focus attention on time, since this is a general quality of music. (C) says the same.
                  
  3. It can be inferred from the passage that the author’s attitude towards love songs in popular music is that of being:
    A) bored by the banality of their language.
    B)  embarrassed by their emotional incoherence.
    C) interested by their expressions of feeling.
    D)  unimpressed by their social function.
    E)  disgusted by their mushiness
    View Answer
      Option C
    Explanation: A question about the author’s tone, scan the answer choices and note that only (C)  is positive. Is the author’s tone positive? Go back to para4 to review: the author says that the love songs “give shape and voice to emotions that otherwise cannot be expressed without embarrassment or incoherence. The author also notes that the songs express feeling ―for us in interesting and involving ways. The author is positive, and therefore (C) is correct.
                  
  4. Regardless of what the purpose of the passage is as a whole, in the last paragraph, the author is predominantly concerned with:
    A)  defining the experience of youth.
    B) describing how popular music defines youth.
    C) speculating about the organization of youth movements.
    D) analyzing the relationship between music and time.
    E) describing the decline of popular music
    View Answer
      Option B
    Explanation: The author describes the third function of popular music, the organization of time, and its relevance to the definition of youth. (B) captures the author‘s focus on youth.
                  
  5. choose the most opposite word of turbulence as used in the passage:
    A)  tranquility
    B)  disturbance
    C)  bluster
    D)  frenzy
    E) fracas
    View Answer
      Option A
    Explanation: turbulence – agitation , tranquility – peace
                  

Direction(6-10): Read the following passage and answer the questions that follows.
Because we have so deeply interiorized writing, we find it difficult to consider writing to be an alien technology, as we commonly assume printing and the computer to be. Most people are surprised to learn that essentially the same objections commonly urged today against computers were urged by Plato in the Phaedrus, against writing.

Writing, Plato has Socrates say, is inhuman, pretending to establish outside the mind what in reality can be only in the mind. Secondly, Plato‘s Socrates urges, writing destroys memory. Those who use writing will become forgetful, relying on external resource for what they lack in internal resources. Thirdly, a written text is basically unresponsive, whereas real speech and thought always exist essentially in a context of give-and-take between real persons.

Without writing, words as such have no visual presence, even when the objects they represent are visual. Thus, for most literates, to think of words as totally disassociated from writing is psychologically threatening, for literates‘ sense of control over language is closely tied to the visual transformations of language. Writing makes ―words‖ appear similar to things because we think of words as the visible marks signalling words to decoders, and we have an inability to represent to our minds a heritage of verbally organized materials except as some variant of writing. A literate person, asked to think of the word ―nevertheless‖ will normally have some image of the spelled-out word and be quite unable to think of the word without adverting to the lettering. Thus the thought processes of functionally literate human beings do not grow out of simply natural powers but out of these powers as structured by the technology of writing.

Without writing, human consciousness cannot achieve its fuller potentials, cannot produce other beautiful and powerful creations. Literacy is absolutely necessary for the development not only of science, but also of history, philosophy, explicative understanding of literature and of any art, and indeed for the explanation of language (including oral speech) itself. Literate users of a grapholect such as standard English have access to vocabularies hundreds of times larger than any oral

language can manage. Thus, in many ways, writing heightens consciousness. Technology, properly interiorized, does not degrade human life but enhances it 

In the total absence of any writing, there is nothing outside the writer, no text, to enable him or her to produce the same line of thought again or even verify whether he has done so or not. In primary oral culture, to solve effectively the problem of retaining and retrieving carefully articulated thought, you have to do your thinking in mnemonic patterns, shaped for ready oral recurrence. A judge in an oral culture is often called upon to articulate sets of relevant proverbs out of which he can produce equitable decisions in the cases under formal litigation under him. The more sophisticated orally patterned thought is, the more it is likely to be marked by set expressions skilfully used. Among the ancient Greeks, Hesiod, who was intermediate between oral Homeric Greece and fully developed Greek literacy, delivered quasiphilosophic material in the formulaic verse forms from which he had emerged.

  1. In paragraph 5 of the passage, the author mentions Hesiod in order to:
    A) prove that oral poets were more creative than those who put their verses in written words.
    B)  show that some sophisticated expressions can be found among the pre- literate ancient Greeks
    C)demonstrate that a culture that is partially oral and partially literate forms the basis of an ideal society
    D) thinking in mnemonic patterns is an unsuccessful memory device.
    E) no sophisticated expressions could be found among the pre-literate
    View Answer
      Option B
    Explanation: (A): Distortion: The author suggests that oral poets relied more on ―set expressions skilfully used, but this doesn‘t mean that oral poets were more creative overall than those who wrote.
    (C)Opposite. Though Hesiod is described as the product of a culture midway between the oral and the written, the author never argues that this is the ideal society. (D) Opposite
    (E) Extreme language. The author never states this.
                  
  2. According to the author, an important difference between oral and literate cultures can be expressed in terms of:
    A) extensive versus limited reliance on memory.
    B) chaotic versus structured modes of thought.
    C) simple versus complex use of language.
    D) barbaric versus civilized forms of communication.
    E) presence and absence of books
    View Answer
      Option A
    Explanation: (A): The correct answer
    (B): Out of Scope. The author doesn‘t discuss chaotic thought in the passage, noting that thought in oral culture is highly structured.
    (C): Out of Scope. The author suggests that writing enables more complex thought,but suggests in para 5 that some oral language can be highly sophisticated and complex.
    (D): Out of Scope. The author only draws distinctions between level of advancement in thought; there‘s no suggestion that either type of communication is barbaric.
    (E): Not mentioned in the passage
                  
  3. The author refers to Plato in the first and second paragraphs. He brings the philosopher up primarily in order to:
    A)  provide an example of literate Greek philosophy.
    B)  suggest the possible disadvantages of writing.
    C) illustrate common misconceptions about writing.
    D) define the differences between writing and computer technology.
    E)  suggest possible benefits of writing
    View Answer
      Option B
    Explanation: The author says that ―essentially the same objections…were urged by Plato…against writing. The prediction is easy: Plato is used to introduce ancient objections to writing. (B) paraphrases this closely.
                  
  4. The passage is primarily concerned with
    A)  criticising those who speak against  ̳writing‘
    B)  emphasising the importance of writing
    C) assert that writing and consciousness are independent of each other
    D) documenting the negative effects of writing
    E) discussing how writing has influenced human consciousness
    View Answer
      Option E
    Explanation: (A): The passage is not concerned with criticising anyone
    (B): Close but not as clearly worded as option E
    (C): Opposite. The passage actually attempts to show the connection between writing and consciousness
    (D): The passage never discusses the negative effects of writing
                  
  5. Choose the most opposite  word of  explicative :
    A) illustrative  
    B)  informative
    C) amorphous
    D) exegetic
    E) clarifying
    View Answer
      Option C
    Explanation: explicative – explanatory
                  

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