55. Reading Skills Comprehension: SUPERHERO


Read the following passage carefully:

 1      There is a fundamental difference between the words ‘superhero’ and ‘avatar’ and it is critical to understand this if one hopes to be a good leader. Unfortunately, today, no thanks to video games and Hollywood, the two words are used synonymously.

       2       In the beginning, in Europe, there were no superheroes. There were masked crusaders though, like Zorro and Scarlet Pimpernel, men who pretended to be ordinary but secretly displayed their extraordinary talents only to help the helpless. Hiding their talent was necessary so that they could mingle with ordinary folk and unsuspecting villains.

       3       The extraordinary became fantastic in an America spellbound by outer space, radioactivity and modern technology. Superman came from outer space and so had X-ray vision and superhuman strength. Spiderman was bitten by a mutant bug that enabled him to create spider webs. And there was Batman who used his wealth to create fantastic gadgets like the Bat-mobile.

        4      The characters were like Greek heroes, standing up against cruel authority, or super villains, on behalf of ordinary folk.

        5      But that is not an avatar. The word avatar is derived from another word avatarana – to come down. This word is commonly associated with Vishnu, the preserver of the cosmos. From his abode, Vishnu watches over the world. And from time to time, he descends either an animal or human to set things right.

        6      At face value, it seems exactly the same. So what is the difference? Both help the helpless. But in the case of the superhero, he has to secretly unleash his extraordinariness to solve problems. But in the case of the avatar, Vishnu has to make himself less divine and more mortal to solve problems. Expansion of capability transforms the hero into a superhero.

       7       In the superhero’s story, the people around him stay the same. In the avatar’s story, the people around him are hopefully transformed. In the superhero’s story, the world becomes a better place thanks to the superhero’s intervention. In the avatar’s story, the world remains as it was — moving towards the end of the world, which is unavoidable — but hopefully, people are wiser and see the world differently. The superhero’s world is physical, tangible, and measurable. The avatar’s world is psychology cal, intangible, not measurable.

       8       Superheros save the world. Avatara seeks to provoke wisdom about the nature of the world and humanity. The superhero hides his extraordinariness so that those around him do not feel threatened.

Read the given questions and write the answer in about 30-40 words.

(a) How did characters like Zorro become superheroes?

(b) How did the extraordinary become fantastic in America?

 (c) Describe the term ‘avatar’.

(d) Mention two differences between superheroes and avatar.

Choose the word which is closest in meaning to the words given below.

(a) crusaders

(i) soldiers                                           (ii) people who stand up for the common man

(iii) policemen                                   (iv) robbers

(b) mingle

(i) mix up                                              (ii) fight

(iii) stay away                                     (iv) grow together

(c) descends

(i) move up                                         (ii) fall down

 (iii) come down                                (iv) to fly

(d) unleash 

(i) to throw                                         (ii) to break

(iii) to bind together                        (iv) to exhibit


1.(a) They become superheroes because they looked ordinary but secretly showed extraordinary talents to help the helpless.

(b) Extraordinary become fantastic because of the inclusion of outer space, radioactivity and modern technology. The Superman came from outer space.

(c) The term is associated with ‘Lord Vishnu’ who comes down to earth either as human or animals to put things right. Vishnu is considered as the ‘preserver’ of life.

(d) Firstly, in stories of superheroes people around remain the same. In the case of ‘Avatar’, the people around get transformed. The world around a superhero changes whereas in case of ‘Avatar’ the world around remains the same.

 2.(a) (ii)                                (b) (i)                    (c) (iii)                   (d) (iv)

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