A somewhat disquieting phenomenon of age is that with it may come the hardening not only of arteries, but normal sensibilities, and reactions to environment. The channels through which life is wont to ebb and flow through our consciousness tend to become blocked and barred, one by one; our apprehension grows dulled, our old responses cease to appear. It is as though Nature was pulling down the blinds, extinguishing the candles and bidding us go to sleep. Indifference creeps, like a fog, over our perceptions and we feel that any effort of will-power against the growing murk is not worth the trouble of making. No sense of annoyance or vexation arises from our situation; we surrender without protest. We are called to relinquish, but lack any further impulse to acquire, or even retain what once we valued. All further effort is denied. We experience no desire to welcome good news, or inclination to lament bad. We drowse mentally; our sluggush thoughts have little coherence; they operate without precision, just as our sluggish bodies do the same, because their formet controlling muscles, quick eyes and active brains have ceased to do our will. Should we see some time-worn bluebottle warming itself in an autumnal gleam of sunshine and waiting for the first frost to pinch it off, we recognise a brother and may feel disposed to sit down beside it and compare notes.
To make such an admission as this is, of course, to feel shame, if we have enough energy left to feel anything. Apathy, if not pathological, is an utterly odious and ignoble emotion. It removes us from our inherited state of being a human being; it reduces us to the lowest vegetable orders of creation and should be resisted with might and main. The moment that symptoms are recognised, means must be discovered to nip them in the bud. Prevention is better and often easier than cure. Our supreme danger is to be unarmed against such a crisis. We need some abiding passion, which possesses vitality beyond the reach of apathy to destroy, and can be trusted to keep us alive and alert until we die, for to perish of apathy would be a disgraceful end. There are at this moment people a century old who still possess a panacea and mental tonic against this incubus, and they find it by concentrating thought upon and preserving interest inother people. Properly applied this proves a strong incentive, and, if it should fail you, then at least attempt to revive a little interest in yourself. Self must be a very poor substitute for somebody else, and if you can find nobody more worthy of attention than yourself, so much the worse for you; but even your own twopenny-halfpenny affairs will serve to keep your percipience alive should you pay intelligent attention to them.
In my own case concentration upon others is mostly ended by the accident of their decease; indeed, though yet living, some there are who have chosen to become dead to me; but I still find human material wherewith to oppose the impassivity and indifference of apathy. I try to quicken my ancient curiosities and wrestle with the extraordinary problems that socialism raises. I still pursue my business and attempt to make things, though the results serve no better purpose thah to pass time and keep me out of harm's way.
(a) (i) Make a summary, in not more than 80 words, of the first paragraph. Use your own words as much as possible. (15 marks)
(ii) Explain in about 30 words of your own why the supreme danger is to be unarmed aganst apathy. (5 marks)
(iii) Why should the writer recognise the bluebottle as a brother? (5 marks)
(b) Give one word or short phrase of the same meaning as, and grammatically equivilanet to, each of the following words as used in this passage :-
phenomenon, apprehension, relinquish, sluggish, pathological, odious, panacea, incentive, percipience, impassivity.
(c) Explain what, if anything, the writer gains by using figurative instead of plain language in each of the following phrases:-
(i) Nature was pulling down the blinds
(ii) the growing murk
(iii) we drowse mentally
(iv) to nip them in the bud
(v) your own twopenny-halfpenny affairs.
(d) Select from the passage one clause of each of the following kinds, writing out each in full and stating its function :-
(i) Adverbial clause of condition
(ii) noun clause as object
(iii) adverbial clause of reason
(iv) adjectival clause
(v) adverbial clause of comparison
(e) (i) Discuss fully but concisely the significance of the following sentence:-
"We need some abiding passion, which possesses vitality beyond the reach of apathy to destroy".
(ii) What do you think the writer means by his statement that apathy "removes us from our inherited status of being a human being"?
(b) The kind of town you would like to live in.
(c) A locked gate.
(d) The right to be different.
(e) Amateur theatricals.
(f) The effects of progress on the life of the countryside.
(g) The fascination of a circus or a fair.
(a) Describe the way in which either an astronomical reflecting telescope or a jet engine works.
(b) Describe carefully the sequence of operations in the washing and ironing of a cotton blouse and a rayon and wool skirt.
(c) Describe your preparations to go on a camping holiday.
(d) Give an account of the preparation and maintenance of a lawn which you are growing from seed.
(e) Mr. S. Jones, 14 Elm grove, Anton, Barsetshire, has answered a brief newspaper advertisement in which you offered your house for sale. Write to him giving a description of the house and its amenities.
(f) Describe either how you laid a new kitchen or bathroom floor with plastic or lino tiles, or, how you cooked lunch and prepared a tray for a patient on a light diet.
|Back to the 50's||Home Page|