FCE exam Reading Part 5 A

Part 5

You are going to read an extract from a website. For questions 31-36 choose the best answer (A, B, C or D) which you think fits best according to the text.

We had been busy planting poppies and stopped to gaze at the vast silent army, nearly a million strong, that was stretched out before us. Each blood red flower represented a once living, breathing British and Colonial soldier, who had died during the bloody four-year conflict. Among them was a friend’s uncle, Private Jonathan Reed, who was killed a few days before he was due to leave the service.

A long queue of other volunteers met outside a site office by the Tower on a chilly morning in November. We were asked to report to reception at 9am where security staff searched our bags and gave us a red T-shirt, with “VOLUNTEER” emblazoned on the back. Soon after our team leader led us to the moat and into the installation, appropriately entitled Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red. The extraordinary sight, which had grown bigger every day since the first of the 888,246 ceramic poppies was planted in July, marked the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War in 1914.

From above, the “seas of red” reminded me of a bloodbath, a symbol of mass slaughter of mainly young men, some even boys, who were sent to fight on the battlefields and in the trenches. Now at ground level, the installation took on a new dimension. I could see up close the handmade ceramic poppies were all different, from the flower heads to the height of the metal rods, or stalks, in the ground. This striking multi-layered effect, only seen from inside the moat, served to remind us that every casualty had been a unique individual.

I applied to be a volunteer a few months ago, prompted in part by my visits to the war graves and battlefield sites in France and Belgium, and to pay tribute to my kind, late grandfather, an army officer in the war, who, like so many soldiers, never spoke of his experiences. I was also there for my uncle, a flying officer in Bomber Command, who was killed just before his 21st birthday in the Second World War. Despite the fact that Uncle Jonathan died many years before I was born, I have always felt connected to him, largely because my father, his younger brother and his sister, my aunt, often talk about him. His photo has pride of place in both of their homes.

There was criticism that the installation should have been more representative of the barbarity, inhumanity and futility of the First World War – a sculpture of bones and barbed wire in the moat was suggested. I agree that would have made a very powerful and meaningful statement. I have seen many war graves and mass burial grounds in war cemeteries- not just British but others, like the French, Italian, Canadian and German cemeteries- as well as battlefields and trenches. However, such a monument, on such a scale, was unlikely to be a place many people would visit to remember a loved one. Bones are not carried on top of a coffin, as someone remarked.

By contrast, millions of adults and children of all nationalities, creeds and backgrounds continue to travel from far and wide to see the installation at the Tower of London. And far from fuelling an “us and them” mentality, or nationalistic fervour, as was feared, it seemed to have had the opposite effect. It appeared to connect us as human beings – the “seas of red” in the moat was likened to blood flowing around a heart.

31 What does the word ‘army’ in line 1 refer to?

    1. red poppies.

    2. group of British and Colonial Soldiers

    3. group of volunteers

    4. people admiring the installation

32 How many months have the organizers been building the installation?

    1. three months

    2. four months

    3. one month

    4. roughly two months

Click on the Question tab to get the answer

Q31.  Answer: A ….poppies and stopped to gaze at the vast silent army, nearly a million strong, that was stretched out before us. Each blood red flower represented a once living…..

Q32.  Answer B … from July to November …..

Q33. Answer C … This striking multi-layered effect, only seen from inside the moat, served to remind us that every casualty had been a unique individual. …..

Q34. Answer D … had applied to be a volunteer a few months ago, prompted in part by my visits to the war graves and battlefield sites in France and Belgium, and to pay tribute to my kind…..

Q35. Answer B … However, such a monument, on such a scale, was unlikely to be a place many people would visit to remember a loved one. …..

Q36. Answer B … It appeared to connect us as human beings – the “seas of red” in the moat was likened to blood flowing around a heart. …..

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