XAT 2017 Question 14


Writing is both my vocation and my avocation: that’s all I do.

You may wonder why I should write a genealogy. Well, to begin with, my story is interesting. And, next, I am a mystery -more so than a tree or a sunset or even a flash of lightning. But, sadly, I am taken for granted by those who use me, as if I were a mere incident and without background. This supercilious attitude relegates me to the level of the commonplace. This is a species of the grievous error in which mankind cannot too long persist without peril. For, as a wise man, G. K. Chesterton, observed, “We are perishing for want of wonder, not for want of wonders.”

I, simple though I appear to be, merit your wonder and awe, a claim I shall attempt to prove. In fact, if you can understand me-no, that’s too much to ask of anyone - if you can become aware of the miraculousness that I symbolize, you can help save the freedom mankind is so unhappily losing. I have a profound lesson to teach. And I can teach this lesson better than an automobile or an airplane or a mechanical dishwasher because - well, because I am seemingly so simple.

Simple? Yet, not a single person on the face of this earth knows how to make me. This sounds fantastic, doesn’t it? Especially when you realize that there are about one and one-half billion of my kind produced in the U.S. each year.

Pick me up and look me over. What do you see? Not much meets the eye - there’s some wood, lacquer, the printed labeling, graphite lead, a bit of metal, and an eraser.

Question 14

A “supercilious attitude” in this passage implies:


The author states that he (pencil) is taken for granted since he is simple. The author states that a pencil is no less a wonder than many other things but its wonder is overlooked due to its simplicity and abundance. The author deems this attitude 'supercilious'. Therefore, option B is the right answer.

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