GCE ‘A’ Levels 2004 Choices

Question 1

‘narrow uniform lives…diversity is the new conformity’ (lines 6-7) Explain the contrast the writer is making here and in what way it is contradictory.

Explain = ?
What does ‘it’ refer to?

Contrast: Compared to the past where choices are
limited/living conditions were rigid and homogeneous,
the present offers varied opportunities.

Contradictory: It is contradictory as the contrast is
Illusory, as people are still leading similar lives– now
similar in being different. / They are really the same

Question 2

What does the author intend you to understand by the three dots at the end of the 1st paragraph?

A PROCESS is continuing…
A chain reaction…

The 3 dots are used to illustrate that
the cycle of consumption is repeated…

“We want to choose for ourselves and this demand stimulates invention and production, which increases employment and wealth, which…

Question 3

‘arguably not unconnected with this increase’ (lines 23-24) What is the author suggesting in this phrase? What does ‘arguably’ say about her suggestion?

‘Alongside the increased prosperity
which is gradually, but all too slowly, spreading
across the world, has been a movement
( arguably not unconnected with this increase)
away from centralised totalitarian forms of
government towards democracies.

She is suggesting that the growth in the
economy and better standards of living
have led people away from autocratic rule
to the development of democracies where
people are given the right and freewill to

The use of word ‘arguably’ suggests that
her suggest6ion can be challenged/debatable.

Question 4

Explain how, according to paragraph 4, animals and inanimate objects differ from humans

‘…tasting, discriminating, choosing.’ (lines 37-38)

‘…being wise or prudent’ (lines 39)

the world’s history shows how choice is fundamental in making us different from animals who must obey their instincts, or from inanimate objects which are entirely subject to the natural forces acting upon them.’ (lines 39-41)

Question 6

From your reading of lines 21-31, explain why the author thinks we are disadvantaged when compared with the ancients Greeks or with class-bound societies.

‘True, the psychoanalysts have offered us the excuse of the determining influence of parents or society: I continue to make awful choices in life because I was brought up in this manner and in this particular set of circumstances.’ (lines 23-25)

‘In some societies, people have had much clearer reasons for accepting fate as inevitable.’ For example, the edict of a divine oracle….. Or again, the unquestioned authority of a class or caste system that allows you to claim: ‘I am here, like it or not, because I was born to this.’ (lines 27-31)

Whereas the ancient Greeks and class-bound societies could explain their misfortunes as the result of an unavoidable destiny, in the form of a divine instruction or the level of the social scale one was born into [1]
we have no such excuse, having no one to blame but ourselves [1].

Question 7

Explain how the three examples given in lines 35-39 are ‘situations where their choices are made for them’ (lines 34-35).

‘into an authoritarian religion which demands adherence to particular rules of behaviour and articles of belief’
(lines 35-36)(ii) ‘into the discipline of military life where initial choice to obey their superiors largely lifts the weight of choosing off their shoulders’ (lines 36-37)
(iii) ‘into an unquestioning commitment to some political, humanitarian or environmental cause.’ (lines 37-39)

One follows prescribed codes of conduct when one holds faith in a specific religion as it would require one to act and think in accordance to its teachings. [1]

In the military aspect, one would have to follow/obey the commands of those who ranked above him.[1]

When one gives total support to a particular cause, the need to make choices is removed. [1]

Question 8

Explain what the author means by ‘our destiny is simply this chameleon stranger- ourself!’ (line 48). (A chameleon is a lizard which changes colour according to its surroundings.)

Just as a chameleon changes its colours according to the surroundings, one’s fate is continually changing and unpredictable as one’s thinking is volatile. [1/2]We are constantly re-structuring the way we remember and see the events in our lives. [1/2]


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