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# It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is

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Senior RC Moderator
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It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is  [#permalink]

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Updated on: 09 Oct 2019, 23:19
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It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is an evil. For instance, we seize a man and deliberately do him a malicious injury: say, imprison him for years. One would not suppose that it needed any exceptional clearness of wit to recognize in this an act of diabolical cruelty. But in England such a recognition provokes a stare of surprise, followed by an explanation that the outrage is punishment or justice or something else that is all right, or perhaps by a heated attempt to argue that we should all be robbed and murdered in our beds if such senseless villainies as sentences of imprisonment were not committed daily. It is useless to argue that even if this were true, which it is not, the alternative to adding crimes of our own to the crimes from which we suffer is not helpless submission. Chickenpox is an evil; but if I were to declare that we must either submit to it or else repress it by seizing everyone who suffers from it and punishing them by inoculation with smallpox, I should be laughed at; for thought nobody could deny that the result would be to prevent chickenpox to some extent by making people avoid it much more carefully, and to effect a further apparent prevention by making them conceal it very anxiously, yet people would have sense enough to see that the deliberate propagation of smallpox was a creation of evil, and must therefore be ruled out in favor of purely humane and hygienic measures.

Yet in the precisely parallel case of a man breaking into my house and stealing my diamonds I am expected as a matter of course to steal ten years of his life. If he tries to defeat that monstrous retaliation by shooting me, my survivors hang him. The net result suggested by the police statistics is that we inflict atrocious injuries on the burglars we catch in order to make the rest take effectual precautions against detection; so that instead of saving our diamonds from burglary we only greatly decrease our chances of ever getting them back, and increase our chances of being shot by the robber. But the thoughtless wickedness with which we scatter sentences of imprisonment is as nothing compared to the stupid levity with which we tolerate poverty as if it were either a wholesome tonic for lazy people or else a virtue to be embraced as St. Francis embraced it. If a man is indolent, let him be poor. If he is drunken, let him be poor. If he is not a gentleman, let him be poor. If he is addicted to the fine arts or to pure science instead of to trade and finance, let him be poor. If he chooses to spend his wages on his beer and his family instead of saving it up for his old age, let him be poor. Let nothing be done for "the undeserving": let him be poor. Serve him right! Also -- somewhat inconsistently blessed are the poor!
1. The passage is most probably intended to

A. serve as an introduction to a more detailed discussion of poverty
B. censure imprisonment as a punitive measure
C. analyze the possible repercussions of social evils
D. continue a prior discussion of strong measures against social evils
E. make people recognize social evils in the face of deliberate obfuscation

2. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would agree with all the following except

A. most people don't realize that by punishing offenders they are surrendering themselves to the vicious cycle of crime and punishment
B. sentences of imprisonment have little success in reducing the crime rate in society
C. it would be ridiculous to inoculate people suffering from chicken pox with small pox
D. if criminals were not strongly punished for their misdeeds there would be no law and order in society
E. tolerating poverty is at least as bad as inflicting punishments on criminals

3. The authors argument about imprisonment would be most weakened by showing that

A. imprisonment is not widely regarded as an act of cruelty
B. chicken pox and burglary are not analogous evils
C. imprisonment does not cause malicious injury
D. sentences of imprisonment are given increasingly rarely
E. a burglar who commits murder in self defense would not be hanged

4. The author apparently believes that people at the time he wrote the passage were

A. inclined to consider poverty a social evil
B. anxious to take the right steps to ensure an orderly society
C. too ready to judge other people unfairly
D. inconsistent in their attitude to poverty
E. in favor of unusually harsh punishment of all offenders

Adapted from the introduction to Major Barbara, G B Shaw (1907)

Source: Www.MajorTests.Com
Difficulty Level: 700

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Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 09 Oct 2019, 23:19, edited 4 times in total.
Updated - Complete topic (895).
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Re: It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 00:22
Senior RC Moderator
Joined: 02 Nov 2016
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Re: It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is  [#permalink]

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07 Feb 2017, 00:26
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Q. 1 OE

Explanation: OA A

The structure of the passage is important. The author starts with a general statement about its being difficult to get people to recognize an evil. He goes on to say for instance and then talks about imprisonment. His last paragraph starts with the word but and introduces the idea of poverty as something we tolerate. He would probably go on to show how poverty is an evil that we dont recognize, but ought to do something about.
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Re: It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is  [#permalink]

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21 Feb 2019, 07:40
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Official Explanation

1. The passage is most probably intended to

Explanation

The structure of the passage is important. The author starts with a general statement about its being difficult to get people to recognize an evil. He goes on to say for instance and then talks about imprisonment. His last paragraph starts with the word but and introduces the idea of poverty as something we tolerate. He would probably go on to show how poverty is an evil that we don't recognize, but ought to do something about.

2. It can be inferred from the passage that the author would agree with all the following except

Explanation

The author apparently believes that there is an alternative to imprisonment and therefore does not think that law and order would break down in the absence of strong punishment.

3. The authors argument about imprisonment would be most weakened by showing that

Explanation

The author makes his case mainly by recourse to discussion of a way of preventing chicken pox which he describes as closely parallel to our response to burglary. If the type of evil that chickenpox represents is not at all similar (analogous) to the evil that burglary represents, his case falls flat.

4. The author apparently believes that people at the time he wrote the passage were

Explanation

The last sentence tells us that the words inconsistent is appropriate. (The poor are both undeserving and blessed.)

Hope it Helps
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Re: It is exceedingly difficult to make people realize that an evil is   [#permalink] 21 Feb 2019, 07:40
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