Reading Warm-up – Part 16

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Reading Warm-up – Part 16

Reading warm-up

You should spend about 20 minutes on Questions 1–۱۶, which are based on Reading Passage 1 below

Sea monsters are the stuff of legend – lurking not just in the depths of the oceans, but also the darker corners of our minds. What is it that draws us to these creatures

This inhuman place makes human monsters, wrote Stephen King in his novel The Shining. Many academics agree that monsters lurk in the deepest recesses, they prowl through our ancestral minds appearing in the half-light, under the bed – or at the bottom of the sea

They don’t really exist, but they play a huge role in our mindscapes, in our dreams, stories, nightmares, myths and so on, says Matthias Classen, assistant professor of literature and media at Aarhus University in Denmark, who studies monsters in literature. Monsters say something about human psychology, not the world

One Norse legend talks of the Kraken, a deep sea creature that was the curse of fishermen. If sailors found a place with many fish, most likely it was the monster that was driving them to the surface. If it saw the ship it would pluck the hapless sailors from the boat and drag them to a watery grave

 This terrifying legend occupied the mind and pen of the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson too. In his short 1830 poem The Kraken he wrote: Below the thunders of the upper deep, / Far far beneath in the abysmal sea, / His ancient, dreamless, uninvaded sleep / The Kraken sleepeth

 The deeper we travel into the ocean, the deeper we delve into our own psyche. And when we can go no further – there lurks the Kraken

Most likely the Kraken is based on a real creature – the giant squid. The huge mollusc takes pride of place as the personification of the terrors of the deep sea. Sailors would have encountered it at the surface, dying, and probably thrashing about. It would have made a weird sight, “about the most alien thing you can imagine,” says Edith Widder, CEO at the Ocean Research and Conservation Association

It has eight lashing arms and two slashing tentacles growing straight out of its head and it’s got serrated suckers that can latch on to the slimiest of prey and it’s got a parrot beak that can rip flesh. It’s got an eye the size of your head, it’s got a jet propulsion system and three hearts that pump blue blood

The giant squid continued to dominate stories of sea monsters with the famous 1870 novel, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, by Jules Verne. Verne’s submarine fantasy is a classic story of puny man against a gigantic squid

The monster needed no embellishment – this creature was scary enough, and Verne incorporated as much fact as possible into the story, says Emily Alder from Edinburgh Napier University. “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea and another contemporaneous book, Victor Hugo’s Toilers of the Sea, both tried to represent the giant squid as they might have been actual zoological animals, much more taking the squid as a biological creature than a mythical creature.” It was a given that the squid was vicious and would readily attack humans given the chance

That myth wasn’t busted until 2012, when Edith Widder and her colleagues were the first people to successfully film giant squid under water and see first-hand the true character of the monster of the deep. They realised previous attempts to film squid had failed because the bright lights and noisy thrusters on submersibles had frightened them away

By quietening down the engines and using bioluminescence to attract it, they managed to see this most extraordinary animal in its natural habitat. It serenely glided into view, its body rippled with metallic colours of bronze and silver. Its huge, intelligent eye watched the submarine warily as it delicately picked at the bait with its beak. It was balletic and mesmeric. It could not have been further from the gnashing, human-destroying creature of myth and literature. In reality this is a gentle giant that is easily scared and pecks at its food

  Another giant squid lies peacefully in the Natural History Museum in London, in the Spirit Room, where it is preserved in a huge glass case. In 2004 it was caught in a fishing net off the Falkland Islands and died at the surface. The crew immediately froze its body and it was sent to be preserved in the museum by the Curator of Molluscs, Jon Ablett. It is called Archie, an affectionate short version of its Latin name Architeuthis dux. It is the longest preserved specimen of a giant squid in the world

It really has brought science to life for many people,” says Ablett. “Sometimes I feel a bit overshadowed by Archie, most of my work is on slugs and snails but unfortunately most people don’t want to talk about that

And so today we can watch Archie’s graceful relative on film and stare Archie herself (she is a female) eye-to-eye in a museum. But have we finally slain the monster of the deep? Now we know there is nothing to be afraid of, can the Kraken finally be laid to rest? Probably not says Classen. We humans are afraid of the strangest things. They don’t need to be realistic. There’s no indication that enlightenment and scientific progress has banished the monsters from the shadows of our imaginations. We will continue to be afraid of very strange things, including probably sea monsters

Indeed we are. The Kraken made a fearsome appearance in the blockbuster series Pirates of the Caribbean. It forced Captain Jack Sparrow to face his demons in a terrifying face-to-face encounter. Pirates needed the monstrous Kraken, nothing else would do. Or, as the German film director Werner Herzog put it, What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams

 

Questions ۱

In boxes ۱–۷ on your answer sheet, write

TRUE                          if the statement agrees with the information

FALSE                        if the statement contradicts the information

NOT GIVEN                if there is no information on this

N1. Matthias Classen is unsure about the possibility of monster’s existence. T F NG

N2. Kraken is probably based on an imaginary animal. T F NG

N3. Previous attempts on filming the squid had failed due to the fact that the creature was scared. T F NG

N4. Giant squid was caught alive in 2004 and brought to the museum. T F NG

N5. Jon Ablett admits that he likes Archie. T F NG

N6. According to Classen, people can be scared both by imaginary and real monsters. T F NG

N7. Werner Herzog suggests that Kraken is essential to the ocean. T F NG

 

Questions 8–۱۲

.Complete the sentences below

.Write NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS  from the passage for each answer

N8. According to the Victor Hugo’s novel, the squid would _________ if he had such opportunity

 ________N9. The real squid appeared to be _________ and

.N10. Archie must be the _________ of its kind on Earth

.N11. We are able to encounter the Kraken’s _________ in a movie franchise

 

:Answers

N1.  False
N2.  False
N3.  True
N4.  False
N5.  Not Given
N6.  True
N7.  Not Given
(N8.  readily attack (humans
N9.  balletic, mesmeric
N10.  longest preserved specimen
N11.  fearsome appearance

 

Reading Warm-up – Part 16
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