Reading Comprehension Previous Year Questions (CAT) - Set 0004


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    Previous years`s CAT questions: Reading Comprehension

    Post your solutions as reply to respective questions below.


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    Question 1

    (CAT 2004)

    The painter is now free to paint anything he chooses. There are scarcely any forbidden subjects, and today everybody is prepared to admit that a painting of some fruit can be as important as a painting of a hero dying. The Impressionists did as much as anybody to win this previously unheard-of freedom for the artist. Yet, by the next generation, painters began to abandon the subject altogether, and began to paint abstract pictures. Today the majority of pictures painted are abstract.

    Is there a connection between these two developments? Has art gone abstract because the artist is embarrassed by his freedom? Is it that, because he is free to paint anything, he doesn't know what to paint? Apologists for abstract art often talk of it as the art of maximum freedom. But could this be the freedom of the desert island? It would take too long to answer these questions properly. I believe there is a connection. Many things have encouraged the development of abstract art. Among them has been the artists' wish to avoid the difficulties of finding subjects when all subjects are equally possible.

    I raise the matter now because I want to draw attention to the fact that the painter's choice of a subject is a far more complicated question than it would at first seem. A subject does not start with what is put in front of the easel or with something which the painter happens to remember. A subject starts with the painter deciding he would like to paint such-and-such because for some reason or other he finds it meaningful. A subject begins when the artist selects something for special mention. (What makes it special or meaningful may seem to the artist to be purely visual—its colours or its form.) When the subject has been selected, the function of the painting itself is to communicate and justify the significance of that selection.

    It is often said today that subject matter is unimportant. But this is only a reaction against the excessively literary and moralistic interpretation of subject matter in the nineteenth century. In truth the subject is literally the beginning and end of a painting. The painting begins with a selection (I will paint this and not everything else in the world); it is finished when that selection is justified (now you can see all that I saw and felt in this and how it is more than merely itself).

    Thus, for a painting to succeed it is essential that the painter and his public agree about what is significant. The subject may have a personal meaning for the painter or individual spectator; but there must also be the possibility of their agreement on its general meaning. It is at this point that the culture of the society and period in question precedes the artist and his art. Renaissance art would have meant nothing to the Aztecs—and vice versa. If, to some extent, a few intellectuals can appreciate them both today it is because their culture is an historical one: its inspiration is history and therefore it can include within itself, in principle if not in every particular, all known developments to date.

    When a culture is secure and certain of its values, it presents its artists with subjects. The general agreement about what is significant is so well established that the significance of a particular subject accrues and becomes traditional. This is true, for instance, of reeds and water in China, of the nude body in Renaissance, of the animal in Africa. Furthermore, in such cultures the artist is unlikely to be a free agent: he will be employed for the sake of particular subjects, and the problem, as we have just described it, will not occur to him.

    When a culture is in a state of disintegration or transition the freedom of the artist increases—but the question of subject matter becomes problematic for him: he, himself, has to choose for society. This was at the basis of all the increasing crises in European art during the nineteenth century. It is too often forgotten how many of the art scandals of that time were provoked by the choice of subject (Gericault, Courbet, Daumier, Degas, Lautrec, Van Gogh, etc.). By the end of the nineteenth century there were, roughly speaking, two ways in which the painter could meet this challenge of deciding what to paint and so choosing for society. Either he identified himself with the people and so allowed their lives to dictate his subjects to him; or he had to find his subjects within himself as painter. By people I mean everybody except the bourgeoisie. Many painters did of course work for the bourgeoisie according to their copy-book of approved subjects, but all of them, filling the Salon and the Royal Academy year after year, are now forgotten, buried under the hypocrisy of those they served so sincerely.

    1. When a culture is insecure, the painter chooses his subject on the basis of:

    a. The prevalent style in the society of his time.
    b. Its meaningfulness to the painter.
    c. What is put in front of the easel.
    d. Past experience and memory of the painter.

    2. In the sentence, "I believe there is a connection" (second paragraph), what two developments is the author referring to?

    a. Painters using a dying hero and using a fruit as a subject of painting.
    b. Growing success of painters and an increase in abstract forms.
    c. Artists gaining freedom to choose subjects and abandoning subject’s altogether.
    d. Rise of Impressionists and an increase in abstract forms.

    3. Which of the following is NOT necessarily among the attributes needed for a painter to succeed:

    a. The painter and his public agree on what is significant.
    b. The painting is able to communicate and justify the significance of its subject selection.
    c. The subject has a personal meaning for the painter.
    d. The painting of subjects is inspired by historical developments.

    4. In the context of the passage, which of the following statements would NOT be true?

    a. Painters decided subjects based on what they remembered from their own lives.
    b. Painters of reeds and water in China faced no serious problem of choosing a subject.
    c. The choice of subject was a source of scandals in nineteenth century European art.
    d. Agreement on the general meaning of a painting is influenced by culture and historical context.

    5. Which of the following views is taken by the author?

    a. The more insecure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
    b. The more secure a culture, the greater the freedom of the artist.
    c. The more secure a culture, more difficult the choice of subject.
    d. The more insecure a culture, the less significant the choice of the subject.


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    Answer: 1. B 2. C 3. C 4. A 5. A


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    Question 2

    (CAT 2004)

    Throughout human history the leading causes of death have been infection and trauma. Modern medicine has scored significant victories against both, and the major causes of ill health and death are now the chronic degenerative diseases, such as coronary artery disease, arthritis, osteoporosis, Alzheimer's, macular degeneration, cataract and cancer. These have a long latency period before symptoms appear and a diagnosis is made. It follows that the majority of apparently healthy people are pre-ill.

    But are these conditions inevitably degenerative? A truly preventive medicine that focused on the pre-ill, analysing the metabolic errors which lead to clinical illness, might be able to correct them before the first symptom. Genetic risk factors are known for all the chronic degenerative diseases, and are important to the individuals who possess them. At the population level, however, migration studies confirm that these illnesses are linked for the most part to lifestyle factors— exercise, smoking and nutrition. Nutrition is the easiest of these to change, and the most versatile tool for affecting the metabolic changes needed to tilt the balance away from disease.

    Many national surveys reveal that malnutrition is common in developed countries. This is not the calorie and/or micronutrient deficiency associated with developing nations (Type A malnutrition); but multiple micronutrient depletion, usually combined with calorific balance or excess (Type B malnutrition). The incidence and severity of Type B malnutrition will be shown to be worse if newer micronutrient groups such as the essential fatty acids, xanthophylls and flavonoids are included in the surveys. Commonly ingested levels of these micronutrients seem to be far too low in many developed countries.

    There is now considerable evidence that Type B malnutrition is a major cause of chronic degenerative diseases. If this is the case, then it is logical to treat such diseases not with drugs but with multiple micronutrient repletion, or "pharmaco-nutrition'. This can take the form of pills and capsules— 'nutraceuticals', or food formats known as 'functional foods'. This approach has been neglected hitherto because it is relatively unprofitable for drug companies—the products are hard to patent—and it is a strategy which does not sit easily with modern medical interventionism. Over the last 100 years, the drug industry has invested huge sums in developing a range of subtle and powerful drugs to treat the many diseases we are subject to. Medical training is couched in pharmaceutical terms and this approach has provided us with an exceptional range of therapeutic tools in the treatment of disease and in acute medical emergencies. However, the pharmaceutical model has also created an unhealthy dependency culture, in which relatively few of us accept responsibility for maintaining our own health. Instead, we have handed over this responsibility to health professionals who know very little about health maintenance, or disease prevention.

    One problem for supporters of this argument is lack of the right kind of hard evidence. We have a wealth of epidemiological data linking dietary factors to health profiles / disease risks, and a great deal of information on mechanism: how food factors interact with our biochemistry. But almost all intervention studies with micronutrients, with the notable exception of the omega 3 fatty acids, have so far produced conflicting or negative results. In other words, our science appears to have no predictive value. Does this invalidate the science? Or are we simply asking the wrong questions?

    Based on pharmaceutical thinking, most intervention studies have attempted to measure the impact of a single micronutrient on the incidence of disease. The classical approach says that if you give a compound formula to test subjects and obtain positive results, you cannot know which ingredient is exerting the benefit, so you must test each ingredient individually. But in the field of nutrition, this does not work. Each intervention on its own will hardly make enough difference to be measured. The best therapeutic response must therefore combine micronutrients to normalise our internal physiology. So do we need to analyse each individual's nutritional status and then tailor a formula specifically for him or her? While we do not have the resources to analyse millions of individual cases, there is no need to do so. The vast majority of people are consuming suboptimal amounts of most micronutrients, and most of the micronutrients concerned are very safe. Accordingly, a comprehensive and universal program of micronutrient support is probably the most costeffective and safest way of improving the general health of the nation.

    1. Type-B malnutrition is a serious concern in developed countries because

    a. developing countries mainly suffer from Type-A malnutrition.
    b. it is a major contributor to illness and death.
    c. pharmaceutical companies are not producing drugs to treat this condition.
    d. national surveys on malnutrition do not include newer micronutrient groups.

    2. Why are a large number of apparently healthy people deemed pre-ill?

    a. They may have chronic degenerative diseases.
    b. They do not know their own genetic risk factors which predispose them to diseases.
    c. They suffer from Type-B malnutrition.
    d. There is a lengthy latency period associated with chronically degenerative diseases.

    3. The author recommends micronutrient-repletion for large-scale treatment of chronic degenerative diseases because

    a. it is relatively easy to manage.
    b. micronutrient deficiency is the cause of these diseases.
    c. it can overcome genetic risk factors.
    d. it can compensate for other lifestyle factors.

    4. Tailoring micronutrient-based treatment plans to suit individual deficiency profiles is not necessary because

    a. it very likely to give inconsistent or negative results.
    b. it is a classic pharmaceutical approach not suited to micronutrients.
    c. most people are consuming suboptimal amounts of safe-to-consume micronutrients.
    d. it is not cost effective to do so.


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    Answer: 1. B 2. A 3. B 4. C


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    Question 3

    (CAT 2004)

    Fifty feet away three male lions lay by the road. They didn't appear to have a hair on their heads. Noting the colour of their noses (leonine noses darken as they age, from pink to black), Craig estimated that they were six years old- young adults. "This is wonderful!" he said, after staring at them for several moments. "This is what we came to see. They really are mane less." Craig, a professor at the University of Minnesota, is arguably the leading expert on the majestic Serengeti lion, whose head is mantled in long, thick hair. He and Peyton West, a doctoral student who has been working with him in Tanzania, had never seen the Tsavo lions that live some 200 miles east of the Serengeti. The scientists had partly suspected that the maneless males were adolescents mistaken for adults by amateur observers. Now they knew better.

    The Tsavo research expedition was mostly Peyton's show. She had spent several years in Tanzania, compiling the data she needed to answer a question that ought to have been answered long ago: Why do lions have manes? It's the only cat, wild or domestic, that displays such ornamentation. In Tsavo she was attacking the riddle from the opposite angle. Why do its lions not have manes? (Some "mane less" lions in Tsavo East do have partial manes, but they rarely attain the regal glory of the Serengeti lions'.) Does environmental adaptation account for the trait? Are the lions of Tsavo, as some people believe, a distinct subspecies of their Serengeti cousins?

    The Serengeti lions have been under continuous observation for more than 35 years, beginning with George Schaller's pioneering work in the 1960s. But the lions in Tsavo, Kenya's oldest and largest protected ecosystem, have hardly been studied. Consequently, legends have grown up around them. Not only do they look different, according to the myths, they behave differently, displaying greater cunning and aggressiveness. "Remember too," Kenya: The Rough Guide warns, "Tsavo's lions have a reputation of ferocity." Their fearsome image became well-known in 1898, when two males stalled construction of what is now Kenya railways by allegedly killing and eating 135 Indian and African labourers. A British Army officer in charge of building a railroad bridge over the Tsavo River, Lt. Col. J. H. Patterson, spent nine months pursuing the pair before he brought them to bay and killed them. Stuffed and mounted, they now glare at visitors to the Field Museum in Chicago. Patterson's account of the leonine reign of terror, The Man-Eaters of Tsavo, was an international best-seller when published in 1907. Still in print, the book has made Tsavo's lions notorious. That annoys some scientists. "People don't want to give up on mythology,” Dennis King told me one day. The zoologist has been working in Tsavo off and on for four years. "I am so sick of this man-eater business. Patterson made a helluva lot of money off that story, but Tsavo's lions are no more likely to turn man-eater than lions from elsewhere."

    But tales of their savagery and wiliness don't all come from sensationalist authors looking to make a buck. Tsavo lions are generally larger than lions elsewhere, enabling them to take down the predominant prey animal in Tsavo, the Cape buffalo, one of the strongest, most aggressive animals of Earth. The buffalo don't give up easily: They often kill or severel  injure an attacking lion, and a wounded lion might be more likely to turn to cattle and humans for food. And other prey is less abundant in Tsavo than in other traditional lion haunts. A hungry lion is more likely to attack humans. Safari guides and Kenya Wildlife Service rangers tell of lions attacking Land Rovers, raiding camps, stalking tourists. Tsavo is a tough neighbourhood, they say, and it breeds tougher lions.

    But are they really tougher? And if so, is there any connection between their mane lessness and their ferocity? An intriguing hypothesis was advanced two years ago by Gnoske and Peterhans: Tsavo lions may be similar to the unmanned cave lions of the Pleistocene. The Serengeti variety is among the most evolved of the species— the latest model, so to speak— while certain morphological differences in Tsavo lions (bigger bodies, smaller skulls, and maybe
    even lack of a mane) suggest that they are closer to the primitive ancestor of all lions. Craig and Peyton had serious doubts about this idea, but admitted that Tsavo lions pose a mystery to science.

    1. The book Man-Eaters of Tsavo annoys some scientists because

    a. it revealed that Tsavo lions are ferocious.
    b. Patterson made a helluva lot of money from the book by sensationalism.
    c. it perpetuated the bad name Tsavo lions had.
    d. it narrated how two male Tsavo lions were killed.

    2. According to the passage, which of the following has NOT contributed to the popular image of Tsavo lions as savage creatures?

    a. Tsavo lions have been observed to bring down one of the strongest and most aggressive animals- the Cape buffalo.
    b. In contrast to the situation in traditional lion haunts, scarcity of non-buffalo prey in the Tsavo makes the Tsavo lions more aggressive.
    c. The Tsavo lion is considered to be less evolved than the Serengeti variety.
    d. Tsavo lions have been observed to attack vehicles as well as humans.

    3. The sentence which concludes the first paragraph, "Now they knew better", implies that:

    a. The two scientists were struck by wonder on seeing mane less lions for the first time.
    b. Though Craig was an expert on the Serengeti lion, now he also knew about the Tsavo lions.
    c. Earlier, Craig and West thought that amateur observers had been mistaken.
    d.Craig was now able to confirm that darkening of the noses as lions aged applied to Tsavo
    lions as well.

    4. Which of the following, if true, would weaken the hypothesis advanced by Gnoske and Peterhans most?

    a. Craig and Peyton develop even more serious doubts about the idea that Tsavo lions are primitive.
    b. The maneless Tsavo East lions are shown to be closer to the cave lions.
    c. Pleistocene cave lions are shown to be far less violent than believed.
    d. The morphological variations in body and skull size between the cave and Tsavo lions are found to be insignificant.

     


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    Answer: 1. C 2. C 3. C 4. C


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    Question 4

    (CAT 2004)

    The viability of the multinational corporate system depends upon the degree to which people will tolerate the unevenness it creates. It is well to remember that the 'New Imperialism' which began after 1870 in a spirit of Capitalism Triumphant, soon became seriously troubled and after 1914 was characterized by war, depression, breakdown of the international economic system and war again, rather than Free Trade, Pax Britannica and Material Improvement. A major reason was Britain's inability to cope with the by-products of its own rapid accumulation of capital; i.e., a class-conscious labour force at home; a middle class in the hinterland; and rival centres of capital on the Continent and in America. Britain's policy tended to be atavistic and defensive rather than progressive— more concerned with warding off new threats than creating new areas of expansion. Ironically, Edwardian England revived the paraphernalia of the landed aristocracy it had just destroyed. Instead of embarking on a 'big push' to develop the vast hinterland of the Empire, colonial administrators often adopted policies to arrest the development of either a native capitalist class or a native proletariat which could overthrow them.

    As time went on, the centre had to devote an increasing share of government activity to military and other unproductive expenditures; they had to rely on alliances with an inefficient class of landlords, officials and soldiers in the hinterland to maintain stability at the cost of development. A great part of the surplus extracted from the population was thus wasted locally.

    The New Mercantilism (as the Multinational Corporate System of special alliances and privileges,
    aid and tariff concessions is sometimes called) faces similar problems of internal and external division. The centre is troubled: excluded groups revolt and even some of the affluent are dissatisfied with the roles. Nationalistic rivalry between major capitalist countries remains an important divisive factor. Finally, there is the threat presented by the middle classes and the excluded groups of the underdeveloped countries. The national middle classes in the underdeveloped countries came to power when the centre weakened but could not, through their policy of import substitution manufacturing, establish a viable basis for sustained growth. They now face a foreign exchange crisis and an unemployment (or population) crisis— the first indicating their inability to function in the international economy and the second indicating their alienation from the people they are supposed to lead. In the immediate future, these national middle classes will gain a new lease of life as they take advantage of the spaces created by the rivalry between American and non-American oligopolists striving to establish global market positions.

    The native capitalists will again become the champions of national independence as they bargain with multinational corporations. But the conflict at this level is more apparent than real, for in the end the fervent nationalism of the middle class asks only for promotion within the corporate structure and not for a break with that structure. In the last analysis their power derives from the metropolis and they cannot easily afford to challenge the international system. They do not command the loyalty of their own population and cannot really compete with the large, powerful, aggregate capitals from the centre. They are prisoners of the taste patterns and consumption standards set at the centre.

    The main threat comes from the excluded groups. It is not unusual in underdeveloped countries for the top 5 per cent to obtain between 30 and 40 per cent of the total national income, and for the top one-third to obtain anywhere from 60 to 70 per cent. At most, onethird of the population can be said to benefit in some sense from the dualistic growth that characterizes development in the hinterland. The remaining twothirds, who together get only one-third of the income, are outsiders, not because they do not contribute to the economy, but because they do not share in the benefits. They provide a source of cheap labour which helps keep exports-to the developed world at a low price and which has financed the urban-biased growth of recent years. In fact, it is difficult to see how the system in most underdeveloped countries could survive without cheap labour since removing it (e.g. diverting it to public works projects as is done in socialist countries) would raise consumption costs to capitalists and professional elites.

    1. The author is in a position to draw parallels between New Imperialism and New Mercantilism because

    a. both originated in the developed Western capitalist countries.
    b. New Mercantilism was a logical sequel to New Imperialism.
    c. they create the same set of outputs- a labour force, middle classes and rival centres of capital.
    d. both have comparable uneven and divisive effects.

    2.  According to the author, the British policy during the 'New Imperialism' period tended to be defensive because

    a. it was unable to deal with the fallouts of a sharp increase in capital.
    b. its cumulative capital had undesirable sideeffects.
    c. its policies favoured developing the vast hinterland.
    d. it prevented the growth of a set-up which could have been capitalistic in nature.

    3. In the sentence, "They are prisoners of the taste patterns and consumption standards set at the centre." (fourth paragraph), what is the meaning of 'centre'?

    a. National government
    b. Native capitalists
    c. New capitalists
    d. None of the above

    4. Under New Mercantilism, the fervent nationalism of the native middle classes does not create conflict with the multinational corporations because they (the middle classes)

    a. negotiate with the multinational corporations.
    b. are dependent on the international system for their continued prosperity
    c. are not in a position to challenge the status quo.
    d. do not enjoy popular support.


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    Answer: 1. D 2. A 3. D 4. C


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    Question 5

    (CAT 2003 - Retest)

    The endless struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art. The Greek artists were unaware of it. They were spiritual materialists, never denying the importance of the body and ever seeing in the body a spiritual significance. Mysticism on the whole was alien to the Greeks, thinkers as they were. Thought and mysticism never go well together and there is little symbolism in Greek art. Athena was not a symbol of wisdom but an embodiment of it and her statues were beautiful grave women, whose seriousness might mark them as wise, but who were marked in no other way. The Apollo Belvedere is not a symbol of the sun, nor the Versailles Artemis of the moon. There could be nothing less akin to the ways of symbolism than their beautiful, normal humanity. Nor did decoration really interest the Greeks. In all their art they were preoccupied with what they wanted to express, not with ways of expressing it, and lovely expression, merely as lovely expression, did not appeal to them at all.

    Greek art is intellectual art, the art of men who were clear and lucid thinkers, and it is therefore plain art. Artists than whom the world has never seen greater, men endowed with the spirit's best gift, found their natural method of expression in the simplicity and clarity which are the endowment of the unclouded reason. “Nothing in excess,” the Greek axiom of art is the dictum of men who would brush aside all obscuring, entangling superfluity, and see clearly: plainly, unadorned, what they wished to express. Structure belongs in an especial degree to the province of the mind in art, and architectonics was pre-eminently a mark of the Greek. The power that made a unified whole of the trilogy of a Greek tragedy, that envisioned the sure, precise, decisive scheme of the Greek statue, found its most conspicuous expression in Greek architecture. The Greek temple is the creation, par excellence, of mind and spirit in equilibrium.

    A Hindu temple is a conglomeration of adornment. The lines of the building are completely hidden by the decorations. Sculptured figures and ornaments crowd its surface, stand out from it in thick masses, and break it up into a bewildering series of irregular tiers. It is not a unity but a collection, rich, confused. It looks like something not planned but built this way and that as the ornament required. The conviction underlying it can be perceived: each bit of the exquisitely wrought detail had a mystical meaning and the temple’s exterior was important only as a means for the artist to inscribe thereon the symbols of the truth. It is decoration, not architecture. Again, the gigantic temples of Egypt, those massive immensities of granite which look as if only the power that moves in the earthquake were mighty enough to bring them into existence, are something other than the creation of geometry balanced by beauty. The science and the spirit are there, but what is there most of all is force, inhuman force, calm but tremendous, overwhelming. It reduces to nothingness all that belongs to man. He is annihilated. The Egyptian architects were possessed by the consciousness of the awful, irresistible domination of the ways of nature; they had no thought to give to the insignificant atom that was man.

    Greek architecture of the great age is the expression of men who were, first of all, intellectual artists, kept firmly within the visible world by their mind, but, only second to that, lovers of the human world. The Greek temple is the perfect expression of the pure intellect illumined by the spirit. No other great buildings anywhere approach its simplicity. In the Parthenon straight columns rise to plain capitals; a pediment is sculptured in bold, relief; there is nothing more. And yet-here is the Greek miracle-this absolute simplicity of structure is alone in majesty of beauty among all the temples and cathedrals and palaces of the world. Majestic but human truly Greek! No superhuman force as in Egypt; no strange supernatural shapes as in India; the Parthenon is the home of humanity! At ease, calm, ordered, sure of itself and the world. The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength. They set their temples on the summit of a hill overlooking the wide sea, outlined against the circle of the sky. They would build what was more beautiful than hill and sea and sky and greater than all these. It matters not at all if the temple is large or small; one never thinks of the size. It matters not how much it is in ruins. A few white columns dominate the lofty height at Sunion as securely as the great mass of the Parthenon dominates all the sweep of sea and land around Athens. To the Greek architect man was the master of the world. His mind could understand its laws; his spirit could discover its beauty.

    1. From the passage, which of the following combinations can be inferred to be correct?

    a. Hindu temple - power of nature
    b. Parthenon - simplicity
    c. Egyptian temple - mysticism
    d. Greek temple - symbolism

    2. Which of the following is NOT a characteristic of Greek architecture, according to the passage?

    a. A lack of excess.
    b. Simplicity of form.
    c. Expression of intellect.
    d. Mystic spirituality.

    3. According to the passage, what conception of man can be inferred from Egyptian architecture?

    a. Man is the centre of creation.
    b. Egyptian temples save man from inhuman forces.
    c. Temples celebrate man’s victory over nature.
    d. Man is inconsequential before the tremendous force of nature.

    4. According to the passage, which of the following best explains why there is little symbolism in Greek art?

    a. The Greeks focused on thought rather than mysticism.
    b. The struggle between the flesh and the spirit found an end in Greek art.
    c. Greek artists were spiritual materialists.
    d. Greek statues were embodiments rather than symbols of qualities.

    5. “The Greeks flung a challenge to nature in the fullness of their joyous strength.” Which of the following best captures the ‘challenge’ that is being referred to?

    a. To build a monument matching the background colours of the sky and the sea.
    b. To build a monument bigger than nature’s creations.
    c. To build monuments that were more appealing to the mind and spirit than nature’s creations.
    d. To build a small but architecturally perfect monument.


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    Answer: 1. B 2. D 3. D 4. A 5. C


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