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CAT 2022 Reading Comprehension Solution 01


The passage below is accompanied by a set of questions. Choose the best answer to each question.

Stories concerning the Undead have always been with us. From out of the primal darkness of Mankind's earliest years, come whispers of eerie creatures, not quite alive (or alive in a way which we can understand), yet not quite dead either. These may have been ancient and primitive deities who dwelt deep in the surrounding forests and in remote places, or simply those deceased who refused to remain in their tombs and who wandered about the countryside, physically tormenting and frightening those who were still alive. Mostly they were ill-defined-strange sounds in the night beyond the comforting glow of the fire, or a shape, half-glimpsed in the twilight along the edge of an encampment. They were vague and indistinct, but they were always there with the power to terrify and disturb. They had the power to touch the minds of our early ancestors and to fill them with dread. Such fear formed the basis of the earliest tales although the source and exact nature of such terrors still remained very vague.

And as Mankind became more sophisticated, leaving the gloom of their caves and forming themselves into recognizable communities-towns, cities, whole cultures-so the Undead travelled with them, inhabiting their folklore just as they had in former times. Now they began to take on more definite shapes. They became walking cadavers; the physical embodiment of former deities and things which had existed alongside Man since the Creation. Some still remained vague and ill-defined but, as Mankind strove to explain the horror which it felt towards them, such creatures emerged more readily into the light.

In order to confirm their abnormal status, many of the Undead were often accorded attributes, which defied the natural order of things-the power to transform themselves into other shapes, the ability to sustain themselves by drinking human blood, and the ability to influence human minds across a distance. Such powers-described as supernatural-only [lent] an added dimension to the terror that humans felt regarding them.

And it was only natural, too, that the Undead should become connected with the practice of magic. From very early times, Shamans and witchdoctors had claimed at least some power and control over the spirits of departed ancestors, and this has continued down into more " civilized" times. Formerly, the invisible spirits and forces that thronged around men's earliest encampments, had spoken " through" the tribal Shamans but now, as entities in their own right, they were subject to magical control and could be physically summoned by a competent sorcerer. However, the relationship between the magician and an Undead creature was often a very tenuous and uncertain one. Some sorcerers might have even become Undead entities once they died, but they might also have been susceptible to the powers of other magicians when they did.

From the Middle Ages and into the Age of Enlightenment, theories of the Undead continued to grow and develop. Their names became more familiar-werewolf, vampire, ghoul-each one certain to strike fear into the hearts of ordinary humans.

Question: 1

All of the following statements, if false, could be seen as being in accordance with the passage, EXCEPT:

  1. the transition from the Middle Ages to the Age of Enlightenment saw new theories of the Undead.

  2. the Undead remained vague and ill-defined, even as Mankind strove to understand the horror they inspired.

  3. the relationship between Shamans and the Undead was believed to be a strong and stable one.

  4. the growing sophistication of Mankind meant that humans stopped believing in the Undead.

Option: 1
For our convenience, we need to reword this question. All of the following, if false, could be seen as being in accordance with the passage=All of the following, if true, could be seen as contradicting the ideas given in the passage. So, first, we should pick the choices that are contradicting the arguments given in the passage. But since it is an except question, the right answer will be the one that is not contradicting the passage. The passage says “…this has continued down into more “civilized” times”. This statement contradicts 4. The second last paragraph contradicts option 3. Option 1 is correct, as can be seen from the first sentence of the last paragraph. The second part of option 2 seems to be a little incorrect ‘the source and exact nature of the terror remained vague’ is what the passage says. It means mankind understood the horror they inspired but they were not clear about the source and the nature of that horror. Options 1 and 2 both seem to be correct as per the passage, though there is some distortion in the way option 2 is worded. It is for this reason option 1 has been given as the right answer.

Question: 2

Which one of the following observations is a valid conclusion to draw from the statement, " From out of the primal darkness of Mankind's earliest years, come whispers of eerie creatures, not quite alive (or alive in a way which we can understand), yet not quite dead either." ?

  1. Mankind's primal years were marked by creatures alive with eerie whispers, but seen only in the darkness.

  2. We can understand the lives of the eerie creatures in Mankind's early years through their whispers in the darkness.

  3. Mankind's early years were marked by a belief in the existence of eerie creatures that were neither quite alive nor dead.

  4. Long ago, eerie creatures used to whisper in the primal darkness that they were not quite dead.

Option: 3
The quoted statement does not say that literally there were eerie creatures… it is the belief of mankind that is being highlighted in the quoted text. From primal darkness means from remote past something has been passed down to you. What that thing can be? It is only beliefs and stories that are passed down from generation to generation. It is not that literally there were such creatures. It is for this reason options 1, 2, and 4 go out. 3 is the best choice.

Question: 3

Which one of the following statements best describes what the passage is about?

  1. The passage describes the failure of human beings to fully comprehend their environment.

  2. The writer discusses the transition from primitive thinking to the Age of Enlightenment.

  3. The passage discusses the evolution of theories of the Undead from primitive thinking to the Age of Enlightenment.

  4. The writer describes the ways in which the Undead come to be associated with Shamans and the practice of magic.

Option: 3
This is a very easy question to answer. By using the word ‘shamans’, option 4 becomes too specific and misses the broader idea of the passage. It goes out. Option 3 looks good because theories of the undead is the chief concern of the passage and this evolution has been discussed, keeping the time reference from the ancient past to the age of Enlightenment. Option 2 does not even mention the word ‘undead’, instead of that it uses the word ‘primitive thinking’. ‘comprehending their environment’, a phrase in option 1, is completely out of context, too broad and fails to capture the keyword ‘theories of the undead’.

Question: 4

" In order to confirm their abnormal status, many of the Undead were often accorded attributes, which defied the natural order of things . . ." Which one of the following best expresses the claim made in this statement?

  1. The Undead are deified in nature's order by giving them divine attributes.

  2. Human beings conceptualise the Undead as possessing abnormal features.

  3. According the Undead an abnormal status is to reject the natural order of things.

  4. The natural attributes of the Undead are rendered abnormal by changing their status.

Option: 2
Option 3 and 4 can be an implication but not a claim that the statement is trying to make. A claim means something that you find to be true though you may not have very strong evidence in support that of that claim. Option 1 looks good but by using the word ‘divine’ it makes the claim very specific. The passage nowhere says that the undead were accorded attributes of divine beings. It could have been either divine or terrifying. Both the possibilities are there. But since they defied the natural order of things, they were abnormal (either divine or terrifying). Thus, option 2 is correct and the best choice.

CAT 2022 RC passage with solution

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