Reading comprehension practice questions set 3


Duration : 12 minutes 

Read the passage and answer the questions that follow

Read the passage and answer the questions that follow

In its strict use by literary critics, the term epic or heroic poem is applied to a work that meets at least the following criteria: it is a long narrative poem on a great and serious subject, related in an elevated style, and centered on a heroic or quasi-divine figure on whose actions depend the fate of a tribe, a nation, or the human race. The “traditional epics” (also called “primary epics” or “folk epics”) were shaped by a literary artist from historical and legendary materials, which had developed in the oral traditions of his nation during a period of expansion and warfare. To this group are ascribed the Iliad and Odyssey of the Greek Homer, and the Anglo-Saxon epic Beowulf. Sophisticated craftsmen in deliberate imitation of the traditional form composed the “literary” or “secondary” epics. Of this kind is Virgil’s poem The Aeneid, which later served as the chief model for Milton’s literary epic Paradise Lost; and Paradise Lost in turn became a model for Keats’s fragmentary epic Hyperion, as well as for Blake’s several epics, or “prophetic books” (the Four Zoas, Milton, Jerusalem) which undertook to translate into Blake’s own mythic terms the biblical design and materials which had served as Miltons subject matter.


Aristotle ranked the epic as second only to tragedy, and by Renaissance critics as the highest genre of all. The literary epic is certainly the most ambitious of poetic types, making immense demands on a poet’s knowledge, invention, and skill to sustain the scope, grandeur, and variety of a poem that tends to encompass the world of its day and a large portion of its learning. Despite numerous attempts over nearly three thousand years, we possess no more than a half dozen epic poems of indubitable greatness. Literary epics are highly conventional poems, which commonly share the features, derived ultimately from the traditional epics of homer.

Why, according to the author, are the secondary epics similar to the primary epics?

According to the author, what was the subject matter of Milton’s poems?

Aristotle ranked which of the following forms of literature as the highest genre of all?

Passage 2:

Free trade is always a hard sell. In all of social science, the proposition that comes closest to being scientific, in terms of being theoretically provable and true in real life, is that a society benefits from allowing its citizens to buy what they wish - even from foreigners. But people resist this conclusion, sometimes violently, as in Seattle last week. Why?


A couple of reasons; first, the principle of free trade may be true, but it’s not obviously true. In fact, it’s counter intuitive. If a factory shuts down because of a flood of cheap foreign products, how is that good? If middle class Americans find themselves competing with foreigners being paid practically nothing and living in squalor, how can this send Americans’ standard of living up and not down? Students of economics are led step by step through layers of reasoning until the moment they see the light. Skeptics think that the whole routine is like induction into a religious cult and that free trade is more like an article of religious faith than a sound policy recommendation. These skeptics are wrong, but their skepticism is understandable.


The other reason it’s hard to sell free trade is that any given example tends to benefit a lot of people in small ways that are hard to identify and tends to harm a few people a lot in ways that are vividly evident. When that factory shuts down, the unemployed workers know they’ve suffered a loss, and they know why. And it’s a big enough loss to stir them politically. It will affect their vote at least, if not cause them to march in the streets.


By contrast, budget - conscious cloth shoppers (maybe those same workers) who are able to save a few bucks on a new sweater are not likely to realize they are enjoying a bargain as a result of global trade or to take to the streets to defend their cheap sweater. Or suppose the U.S. slaps a tariff on foreign sweaters and the foreign country retaliates by raising a tariff on something we’re selling them - the people who would lose their jobs aren’t even identifiable for sure, though for sure they exist. Likewise the people who lose jobs because shoppers, who have to pay more for, have less money to spend on other things.


It’s by considering all these things - the risk of loosing your job one way minus the risk of loosing it another, the extra money you make if your industry is shielded from foreign competition minus the extra money you pay for goods and services that are protected - that you reach the conclusion that on average, free trade benefits us all. Yes, there are various economic theories about circumstances in which all this may not be true, but their authors win prizes precisely because the circumstances are unusual. In general, the numbers work irrespective of what policies other countries follow. They just get worse if one country’s trade restrictions lead other countries to impose more of the same. Trouble is, who’s got the time for that entire math?

The term “skeptics” in this passage refers to

Which of the following is a problem of Free Trade?

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