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

We cannot travel outside our neighbourhood without passports. We must wear the same plain clothes. We must exchange our houses every ten years. We cannot avoid labour. We all go to bed at the same time . . . We have religious freedom, but we cannot deny that the soul dies with the body, since ‘but for the fear of punishment, they would have nothing but contempt for the laws and customs of society'. . . . In More’s time, for much of the population, given the plenty and security on offer, such restraints would not have seemed overly unreasonable. For modern readers, however, Utopia appears to rely upon relentless transparency, the repression of variety, and the curtailment of privacy. Utopia provides security: but at what price? In both its external and internal relations, indeed, it seems perilously dystopian.

Such a conclusion might be fortified by examining selectively the tradition which follows More on these points. This often portrays societies where . . . 'it would be almost impossible for man to be depraved, or wicked'. . . . This is achieved both through institutions and mores, which underpin the common life. . . . The passions are regulated and inequalities of wealth and distinction are minimized. Needs, vanity, and emulation are restrained, often by prizing equality and holding riches in contempt. The desire for public power is curbed. Marriage and sexual intercourse are often controlled: in Tommaso Campanella’s The City of the Sun (1623), the first great literary utopia after More’s, relations are forbidden to men before the age of twenty-one and women before nineteen. Communal child-rearing is normal; for Campanella, this commences at age two. Greater simplicity of life, ‘living according to nature’, is often a result: the desire for simplicity and purity are closely related. People become more alike in appearance, opinion, and outlook than they often have been. Unity, order, and homogeneity thus prevail at the cost of individuality and diversity. This model, as J. C. Davis demonstrates, dominated early modern utopianism. . . . And utopian homogeneity remains a familiar theme well into the twentieth century.

Given these considerations, it is not unreasonable to take as our starting point here the hypothesis that utopia and dystopia evidently share more in common than is often supposed. Indeed, they might be twins, the progeny of the same parents. Insofar as this proves to be the case, my linkage of both here will be uncomfortably close for some readers. Yet we should not mistake this argument for the assertion that all utopias are, or tend to produce, dystopias. Those who defend this proposition will find that their association here is not nearly close enough. For we have only to acknowledge the existence of thousands of successful intentional communities in which a cooperative ethos predominates and where harmony without coercion is the rule to set aside such an assertion. Here the individual’s submersion in the group is consensual (though this concept is not unproblematic). It results not in enslavement but voluntary submission to group norms. Harmony is achieved without . . . harming others.

Question 3

Which sequence of words below best captures the narrative of the passage?


The passage begins by portraying a utopian society. The author then discusses the difference in perspective concerning the underlying elements of such a society. A disagreement originates about the perception of security - while the people part of the utopia might find the shackles on their freedom to be reasonable, modern readers perceive this as suppression of heterogeneity and violation of privacy. This is presented with the intention to direct attention towards the tradeoff that exists between security and certain other essential variables. It additionally puts the spotlight on the thin line that exists between a utopia and a dystopia. The author then cites other works in literary history that depict a utopian setting along with certain key attributes that one might stumble upon in such narratives. Homogeneity comes across as a prominent idea  (a set of beliefs are considered acceptable, and the masses are expected to conform to the same). Towards the end of the discussion, the author reiterates the thin film that separates a utopia from a dystopia. He adds that while many individuals might be tempted to use these two ideas interchangeably, this shouldn't be the case. According to the author, the assertion that "all utopias are, or tend to produce, dystopias" is fallacious. He presents justification concerning the same: there are many utopian settings wherein conformity to doctrines or sacrifice of individuality is intentional - the person voluntarily submits to the group's norms for the greater good. This resonates with the term intentional community stated in the options. Option A aptly captures these principal themes. 

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