IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS Test 4 Reading passage 3; Homer’s Literary Legacy; with best solutions and detailed explanations

IELTS Academic Reading: Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS Test 4 Reading passage 3; Homer’s Literary Legacy; with best solutions and detailed explanations

This Academic IELTS Reading post focuses on solutions to IELTS Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS Test 4 Reading Passage 3 which is titled Homer’s Literary Legacy. This is a targeted post for IELTS candidates who have big problems finding and understanding Reading Answers in the AC module. This post can guide you the best to understand every Reading answer without much trouble. Finding out IELTS Reading answers is a steady process, and this post will assist you in this respect.

Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS Test 4: AC Reading Module

Reading Passage 3: Questions 27-40

The headline of the passage: Homer’s Literary Legacy

Questions 27-32: Identifying information

[This question asks you to find information from the passage and write the number of the paragraph (A, B, C or D … .. ) in the answer sheet. Now, if the question is given in the very first part of the question set, I’d request you not to answer them. It’s mainly because this question will not follow any sequence, and so it will surely kill your time. Rather, you should answer all the other questions first. And just like List of Headings, only read the first two lines or last two lines of the expected paragraph initially. If you find the answers, you need not read the middle part. If you don’t find answers yet, you can skim the middle part of the paragraph. Keywords will be a useful matter here.]

Question no. 27: the claim that the Odyssey and Iliad were not poems in their original form

Keywords for the question: Odyssey and Iliad, not poems, in their original form,   

In paragraph E, have a close look at the first 4 lines, “In 1795, the German philologist Friedrich August Wolf argued for the first time that not only were Homer’s works not written down by Homer, but they weren’t even by Homer. They were, rather, a loose collection of songs transmitted by generations of Greek bards, and only redacted in their present form at some later date. . .. .. .”

Here, Homer’s works/ they = the Odyssey and Iliad,
We spend a large part of our daily life = occupies much of our time,

So, the answer is: E

Question no. 28: a theory involving the reinterpretation of the term ‘author’

Keywords for the question: theory, reinterpretation, ‘author’,

If you look at paragraph D, the writer says in the first lines, “Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the first modern critics to suggest that Homer might not have been an author in the contemporary sense of a single person who sat down and wrote a story and then published it for others to read. .. . . .. . ..” 

Here, Homer might not have been an author in the contemporary sense = Homer might not have been an ‘author’ as modern people defines,

Then, in the final lines the writer says again, “ . . .. . .. . the Odyssey and Iliad might have been ‘written only in men’s memories. Somewhat later they were laboriously collected in writing’ – . . .. . ”

Here, ‘written only in men’s memories. Somewhat later they were laboriously collected in writing’ = Homer’s writings were in oral form and memorized by the people of his time; later they were collected and recorded,

These lines suggest that Jean-Jacques Rousseau gave a theory that the word ‘author’ had a different interpretation at Homer’s time; now it has somewhat changed.

So, the answer is: D

Question no. 29: references to the fact that little is known about Homer’s life  

Keywords for the question: fact, little is known, Homer’s life,

In the final lines of paragraph C, the writer of the passage says, “ … .. . There were no historical records of Homer, and no trustworthy biography of the man exists beyond a few self-referential hints embedded in the texts themselves.”

Here, no trustworthy biography of the man exists = little is known about Homer’s life,

So, the answer is: C

Question no. 30: a comparison between the construction of Homer’s poems and another art form  

Keywords for the question: comparison, construction of Homer’s poems, another art form,   

In paragraph E, lines 9-12, the writer gives reference to a Masters thesis done by Milman Perry and says, “ . . . .. .. All those stylistic quirks, including the formulaic and recurring plot elements and the bizarrely repetitive epithets – ‘clever Odysseus’ and ‘gray-eyed Athena’ – that had always perplexed readers were actually like thumbprints left by a potter: material evidence of how the poems had been crafted. . . .. . . . .”

Here, like = comparison, thumbprints left by a potter = another art form,

So, the answer is: E  

Question no. 31: examples of the kinds of people employed to recall language   

Keywords for the question: the kinds of people, employed, recall language,

In lines 8-10 of paragraph A, the writer says, “ . . . . .. . In India, an entire class of priests was charged with memorizing the Vedas with perfect fidelity. In pre-Islamic Arabia, people known as Rawis were often attached to poets as official memorizers.”

Here, priests & Rawis = the kinds of people,

charged with memorizing & official memorizers = employed to recall language,

So, the answer is: A 

Question no. 32: doubts regarding Homer’s apparently inappropriate descriptions

Keywords for the question: doubts, Homer’s apparently inappropriate descriptions,  

In lines 4-7 of paragraph B, the writer of the text refers to the doubt about the odd/ strange/ inappropriate descriptions. Have a look at these lines, “ . . .. .. However, even as they were celebrated as the models to which all literature should aspire, Homer’s masterworks had also long been the source of scholarly unease. The earliest modern critics sensed that they were somehow qualitatively different from everything that came after – even a little strange. . … .. .”

Here, scholarly unease & even a little strange = scholars’ doubt,

Again, if you read lines 7-12, the writer asks questions about some descriptions of characters explained in Odyssey and Iliad, “ . . .. . . For one thing, both poems were oddly repetitive in the way they referred to characters. Odysseus was always ’clever Odysseus’. Dawn was always ‘rosy-fingered’. Why would someone write that? Sometimes the epithets seemed completely off-key. Why call the murderer of Agamemnon ‘blameless Aegisthos’? Why refer to ‘swift-footed Achilles’ even when he was sitting down? Or to ‘laughing Aphrodite’ even when she was in tears? . .. . .. . ”

All these questions refer to doubts about Homer’s inappropriate (strange) descriptions.

So, the answer is: B

Questions 33-36: Choosing TWO options from given list

[In this kind of question candidates must choose two or three answers for each question from five or six options. The answers will not follow any sequential order as they are randomly spread in the text, so this question will be time-consuming. Skimming will come handy and previous reading of the text can come in use. Therefore, other questions should be done first before answering this question.]

Questions no. 33 & 34: Which TWO of these points are made by the writer of the text about the Odyssey and the Iliad?  

Keywords for the question: points are made, about the Odyssey and the Iliad,   

We find the mention of the Odyssey and the Iliad for the first time in paragraph B. Here, the writer says in lines 7-8, “ . . .. . . . For one thing, both poems were oddly repetitive in the way they referred to characters.”

Then, the writer continues to explain how they are similar. And, in lines 12-14, the writer says again, “ . . .. . . . In terms of both structure and theme, the Odyssey and Iliad were also oddly formulaic, to the point of predictability. The same narrative units – gathering armies, heroic shields, challenges between rivals – pop up again and again,”

Here, both poems were oddly repetitive = very similar,

both structure and theme, the Odyssey and Iliad were also oddly formulaic, & The same narrative units = Their content is very similar,

Now, if we look closely at the paragraph D and E, we find references to Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Milman Parry, both modern writers/critics who praised the Odyssey and the Iliad as ideal examples of writing; however, they confessed that both pieces were oral.

Then in paragraph F, the writer says in the first lines, “The greatest author of antiquity was actually, Parry argued, just ‘one of a long tradition of oral poets that … composed wholly without the aid of writing’. Parry realised that if you were setting out to create memorable poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad were exactly the kind of poems you’d create. .. .. .. .. .”

Here, if you were setting out to create memorable poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad were exactly the kind of poems you’d create = Later writers referred to them as ideal examples of writing,

So, the answers are:

C (Their content is very similar.)

D (Later writers referred to them as ideal examples of writing.)

Questions no. 35 & 36: Which TWO of the following theories does the writer of the text refer to?

Keywords for the question: theories, writer, refer to,

In paragraph D, in the first few lines, the writer says, “Jean-Jacques Rousseau was one of the first modern critics to suggest that Homer might not have been an author in the contemporary sense of a single person who sat down and wrote a story and then published it for others to read. .. .. .. .”

Here, Homer might not have been an author . .. . . who sat down and wrote a story = Homer created the Odyssey and Iliad without writing them down,

Then, in paragraph E, in the first few lines, the writer says, “In 1795, the German philologist Friedrich August Wolf argued for the first time that not only were Homer’s works not written down by Homer, but they weren’t even by Homer. . . . .. . . . .”

Here, not only were Homer’s works not written down by Homer, but they weren’t even by Homer = Neither the Odyssey nor the Iliad were written by Homer,

So, the answers are:

B (Neither the Odyssey nor the Iliad were written by Homer.)

C (Homer created the Odyssey and Iliad without writing them down.)

Questions 37-40: Summary completion

[In this kind of questions candidates are given a summary for one, two or three paragraphs with some fill in the blanks questions. Candidates need to find out the related paragraphs by correctly studying the keywords from the questions. Then, they should follow the steps of finding answers for fill in the gaps.]

Headline of the summary: The importance of the spoken word and words are remembered

Question no. 37: Spoken poetry was once the means by which each __________ of a particular culture or community could pass on its knowledge.     

Keywords for the question: Spoken poetry, once, the means, each, a particular culture or community, could pass on, knowledge,

The answer can be found in lines 1-3 of paragraph A, where the writer says, “Until the last tick of history’s clock, cultural transmission meant oral transmission, and poetry, passed from mouth to ear, was the principal medium of moving information across space and from one generation to the next. .. .. .. .. .”

Here, oral transmission, and poetry = spoken poetry,

the principal medium = the means,  

moving information across space = could pass on its knowledge, from one . .. . . . . to the next = each,

So, the answer is: generation  

Question no. 38: Indeed, it has been suggested that it was the duty of a __________ to know poetry so they would be informed about subjects such as politics and history.     

Keywords for the question: indeed, suggested, the duty, know poetry, so, would be informed about, subjects, such as politics and history,   

The answer can be found in lines 4-7 of paragraph A, “ .. . .. It was, argues the classicist Eric Havelock, a ‘massive repository of useful knowledge, a sort of encyclopedia of ethics, politics, history and technology which the effective citizen was required to learn as the core of his educational equipment’. . . .. .”

Here, was required to learn = was the duty .. .. . to know poetry,

a sort of encyclopedia of ethics, politics, history and technology = subjects such as politics and history,

So, the answer is: citizen   

Question no. 39: Psychologists now know that when people are trying to remember information, they may find it difficult to remember words that express __________ ideas.     

Keywords for the question: psychologists, now know, when people, trying to remember information, may find it difficult, remember words, express, ideas,  

Here, the questions are set craftily. Average candidates will try to find the answers in paragraphs A or B. However, if you look closely, you will see the word ‘Psychologists’. This word can be found in paragraph F, in line no. 9. So, the answer must be here. Let’s read.

Here, the writer says in lines 7-12, “ . .. . The principles that the oral bards discovered as they sharpened their stories through telling and retelling were the same mnemonic principles that psychologists rediscovered when they began conducting their first scientific experiments on memory around the turn of the twentieth century. Words that rhyme are much more memorable than words that don’t, and concrete nouns are easier to remember than abstract ones. .. .. . .. . .”

Here, psychologists rediscovered when they began conducting their first scientific experiments on memory around the turn of the twentieth century = Psychologists now know,

concrete nouns are easier to remember than abstract ones = they may find it difficult to remember words that express abstract ideas,

So, the answer is: abstract  

Question no. 40: It is easier to remember words which sound similar or go together with __________.     

Keywords for the question: easier to remember, words, sound similar, or, go together with,    

Take a look at the final lines of paragraph F, “ . . .. . … Finding patterns and structure in information is how our brains extract meaning from the world, and putting words to music and rhyme is a way of adding extra levels of pattern and structure to language.”

Here, patterns and structure = similar,
putting words to music and rhyme = sound similar or go together with music,
adding extra levels of pattern and structure = making it easier to remember words,

So, the answer is: music

© All the texts with inverted commas used in this post are taken from Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS Test 4

Click here for solutions to Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS AC Test 4 Reading Passage 1

Click here for solutions to Cambridge Official Guide to IELTS AC Test 4 Reading Passage 2

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