CAT 2022 Question Paper (Slot 1) - VARC Question 11


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 11

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


The passage underlines that the concept of the Undead, or creatures that are not quite alive or dead, has always been a part of human folklore. In ancient times, the Undead were ill-defined and vague, but as human societies became more sophisticated, the Undead took on more definite shapes and were often associated with supernatural powers, such as the ability to transform, drink blood, and influence human minds. The Undead have also been connected to the practice of magic, and in more recent times, specific names such as werewolf, vampire, and ghoul have become associated with the concept of the Undead. These names are often used to strike fear into the hearts of ordinary humans. The passage suggests that the Undead have evolved and developed over time, and as human societies have advanced, the Undead have become more defined and have gained more specific attributes. Overall, the passage discusses the long-standing presence of the Undead in human folklore and the evolution of their portrayal in various cultures. Option B aptly captures the above idea. 

Option A is incorrect since the passage does not mention the transition from primitive thinking to the Age of Enlightenment. Option C is also inaccurate as the author does not emphasize the failure of human beings "to fully comprehend their environment" [not the focus]. Option D is not a complete description of the passage since it only mentions one aspect of the passage rather than the overall theme of the evolution of the concept of the Undead.

Hence, Option B is the correct choice.

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