CAT 2020 Reading Comprehension Solution 11

[PASSAGE]

Direction for Reading Comprehension: The pass ages given here are followed by some questions that have four answer choices; read the passage carefully and pick the option whose answer best aligns with the passage

Mode of transportation affects the travel experience and thus can produce new types of travel writing and perhaps even new “identities.” Modes of transportation determine the types and duration of social encounters; affect the organization and passage of space and time; . . . and also affect perception and knowledge—how and what the traveler comes to know and write about. The completion of the first U.S. transcontinental highway during the 1920s . . . for example, inaugurated a new genre of travel literature about the United States—the automotive or road narrative. Such narratives highlight the experiences of mostly male protagonists “discovering themselves” on their journeys, emphasizing the independence of road travel and the value of rural folk traditions.

Travel writing’s relationship to empire building— as a type of “colonialist discourse”—has drawn the most attention from academicians. Close connections have been observed between European (and American) political, economic, and administrative goals for the colonies and their manifestations in the cultural practice of writing travel books. Travel writers’ descriptions of foreign places have been analysed as attempts to validate, promote, or challenge the ideologies and practices of colonial or imperial domination and expansion. Mary Louise Pratt’s study of the genres and conventions of 18th- and 19th-century exploration narratives about South America and Africa (e.g., the “monarch of all I survey” trope) offered ways of thinking about travel writing as embedded within relations of power between metropole and periphery, as did Edward Said’s theories of representation and cultural imperialism. Particularly Said’s book, Orientalism, helped scholars understand ways in which representations of people in travel texts were intimately bound up with notions of self, in this case, that the Occident defined itself through essentialist, ethnocentric, and racist representations of the Orient. Said’s work became a model for demonstrating cultural forms of imperialism in travel texts, showing how the political, economic, or administrative fact of dominance relies on legitimating discourses such as those articulated through travel writing. . . .

Feminist geographers’ studies of travel writing challenge the masculinist history of geography by questioning who and what are relevant subjects of geographic study and, indeed, what counts as geographic knowledge itself. Such questions are worked through ideological constructs that posit men as explorers and women as travelers—or, conversely, men as travelers and women as tied to the home. Studies of Victorian women who were professional travel writers, tourists, wives of colonial administrators, and other (mostly) elite women who wrote narratives about their experiences abroad during the 19th century have been particularly revealing. From a “liberal” feminist perspective, travel presented one means toward female liberation for middle- and upper-class Victorian women. Many studies from the 1970s onward demonstrated the ways in which women’s gendered identities were negotiated differently “at home” than they were “away,” thereby showing women’s self-development through travel. The more recent poststructural turn in studies of Victorian travel writing has focused attention on women’s diverse and fragmented identities as they narrated their travel experiences, emphasizing women’s sense of themselves as women in new locations, but only as they worked through their ties to nation, class, whiteness, and colonial and imperial power structures.


Question: 1

According to the passage, Said’s book, “Orientalism”:

  1. illustrated how narrow minded and racist westerners were.
  2. demonstrated how cultural imperialism was used to justify colonial domination.
  3. explained the difference between the representation of people and the actual fact.
  4. argued that cultural imperialism was more significant than colonial domination.
Option: 2
Solution:

This is a slightly challenging question. To find the right answer, we have to read the entire second paragraph. The author towards the end says “Said’s work became a model for demonstrating cultural forms of imperialism in travel texts... legitimating discourses such as those articulated through travel writing” ...to legitimise something means to give approval to something or justify something.  Thus choice 2 is the right option, without a shade of doubt. Option 4 goes out because colonial domination and cultural imperialism seem to be one and the same thing. For the other choices we don’t see any significant evidence.


Question: 2

From the passage, it can be inferred that scholars argue that Victorian women experienced self-development through their travels because:

  1. their identity was redefined when they were away from home.
  2. they were from the progressive middle- and upper-classes of society.
  3. they were on a quest to discover their diverse identities.
  4. they developed a feminist perspective of the world.
Option: 1
Solution:

This question is specifically about how Victorian women experienced self-development through their travels. The answer to this question can be found in the last few sentences of the last paragraph. The second last sentence of the last paragraph says that “...many studies demonstrated the ways in which women’s gendered identities were negotiated differently “at home” than they were “away”, thereby showing women’s self-development through travel. Thus without the slightest doubt we can mark 1 as the right choice


Question: 3

American travel literature of the 1920s:

  1. developed the male protagonists’ desire for independence.
  2. presented travellers’ discovery of their identity as different from others.
  3. celebrated the freedom that travel gives.
  4. showed participation in local traditions.
Option: 3
Solution:

This is a slightly tricky question. There are a few close choices, but by elimination we can arrive at the right choice. We have to answer for American literature of the 1920s. Option 1 goes out because it did not develop the desire for male protagonist’s desire for independence. Instead it expressed their sense of independence they experienced through travel. Thus instead of developing the desire, it celebrated the freedom that travel gives, making choice 3 the right answer. There is no reference for discovering a sense of identity different from others. Option 4 goes out because though there was emphasis on value of rural folk traditions, it doesn’t mean that they participated in it. They could have appreciated the value of rural folk traditions simply by observing those traditions from a distance or by indirectly studying about them. Choice 4 is not as directly stated as option 3 is


Question: 4

From the passage, we can infer that feminist scholars’ understanding of the experiences of Victorian women travellers is influenced by all of the following EXCEPT scholars':

  1. perspective that they bring to their research.
  2. knowledge of class tensions in Victorian society.
  3. awareness of gender issues in Victorian society.
  4. awareness of the ways in which identity is formed.
Option: 2
Solution:

This is a challenging question and demands careful reading of the last paragraph. The question wants us to pick a choice that would not have influenced feminist scholars' understanding of the experiences of Victorian women. Choice 1 goes out because what is given in the choice did influence. The passage says “from a liberal feminist perspective...”, suggesting that there was a liberal perspective brought in by the feminists. Remember we have to mark for the choice that did not influence the feminists. Option 3 goes out because gender issues can be derived from the fact that there were ideological constructs that posited men as explorers and women tied to home. So there were gender issues. Thus 3 can be ruled out. The fact that “poststructural turn in studies of Victorian travel writing has focussed attention on women’s diverse and fragmented identities”, suggests that feminists were aware of the ways in which identity was formed. Without being aware of that they would not be able to understand the gendered identities of Victorian women. For option 2 we have the least amount of evidence. The Victorian women were indeed tied to their class, but that doesn’t mean that the feminists had knowledge of class tensions in Victorian society


Question: 5

From the passage, we can infer that travel writing is most similar to:

  1. feminist writing.
  2. historical fiction.
  3. political journalism.
  4. autobiographical writing.
Option: 4
Solution:

This is the easiest of all questions. The question wants us to answer for travel writing in general. Travel writing, from what is discussed in the passage, is very close to autobiographical writing. There is sense of independence, sense of self development through travel, sense of new identity...all these point towards personal experiences. Thus 4 is the best choice.


CAT 2020 RC passage with solution