37. Reading Skills Comprehension: CLAY

By | June 17, 2019

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CLAY

  Read the passage given below and answer the questions that follow:

1. Cassius Clay, known to us now as Muhammad Ali, grew up in the city of Louisville. He had not achieved academic excellence and came from lower middle — class, black American family. Like the other blacks of the USA, Clay also had to face racial discrimination. Clay achieved what all sportsmen dream of, but few can accomplish. He won in 1960 the Olympic Gold Medal in the heavy-weight category of the Olympic Games held in Rome that year.

2. Clay was overjoyed. He had done what he was sure would bring recognition not only for him but for all the blacks of America. He had represented his country and brought back a Gold Medal. Though it was a herculean task to accomplish Olympic Gold Medal yet he did it (with great motivational attitude and inspiration by kith and kin). This medal brought with it a white hope, a hope for all blacks to be treated on an equal footing with their White brethren. Clay felt that his achievement would do much to show the Whites that the colour of a person’s skin did not stand in the way when it came to winning laurels for the country. It was Clay’s ardent desire that racism and antagonism against the blacks as well the feeling that the blacks were inferior beings be completely removed. Clay wished for acceptance for his people and he was confident that his success would pave the way for that.

3. However, Clay had to face disillusionment when he discovered that the whites were ready to honour his medal, but had no respect for the man who had strived so hard to bring accolades to his country. Clay was sponsored by millionaires who only wished to line their own pockets. Even the Pastor said that Clay should be grateful to the Christian millionaires who were doing so much for his black soul. Clay was not able to see through threes gestures that ostensibly were favoured, but in actuality were for the benefit of those who wished to exploit the situation for their own selfish ends. Clay was compelled to see the light when he and his friend were refused service in an all-white restaurant. His efforts and courage had received such a rebuke from established outfits. The ignominy and shame made Clay silent though he wanted to say so much. At one time during the controversy, Clay even thought to call on his sponsors to assist him, but then he realized that to do so would be even more degrading. To compound the issue, a group of white ruffians chased him and attempted to wrest the medal from him. Clay’s disillusionment was complete.

4. This was the final straw. Clay now looked at his medal as phoney. His glorious performance at Olympic earned him a great reward but could not establish a personal identification with people. The dominant white class had shattered his dream. The Gold had not won for him and his people the respect and social standing that he had hoped for. It was nothing, but a worthless piece of metal. With this thought in mind, he threw the medal into the middle of the Ohio River. He now realized that he had been looking at the medal as a passport to acceptance for himself and his race. He now had to fight for this himself as a champion does. He wanted to be his own kind of champion.

On the basis of your understanding of the above passage answer each of the questions given below with the help of options that follow:                                                                                    

(a) Muhammad Ali is famous because of ———-

 (i) growing up in Louisville, USA

(ii) facing up to discrimination bravely

(iii) winning an Olympic medal in boxing

(iv) throwing his Olympic medal into the river

(b) Winning the medal was a great source of joy for Ali because———–

(i) he had represented his country America

(ii) he had achieved it in spite of being a black

(iii) he believed it would bring respect and honour for the other blacks

 (iv) he believed that there would be no discrimination in America from then on

 (c) Ali felt disillusioned when ———-

 (i) he realized that his sponsors were not proud of his achievements

 (ii) he was ill-treated by some white ruffians

 (iii) his achievement had not brought any change in the attitude of the whites towards the blacks

(iv) he threw the medal into the Ohio River

(d) ‘this was the final straw’ refers to ———-

 (i) the restaurant refused to serve him

 (ii) the sponsors did not ensure that he was treated with respect

(iii) the ruffians tried to snatch his medal from him

(iv) none of the above

Answer the following questions briefly in your own words:

(e) What does the ‘White Hope’ refer to?

(f) Why did the Pastor’s comment hurt Ali?

(g) Why did he refuse to ask his sponsors for help?

 (h) Why were All and his friend refused service at the restaurant?

 (i) Why does All call his medal phoney?

(j) What does All mean by saying that he wanted to be his own kind of champion?

(k) Find words from the passage which mean the same as each of the following:                 

(i) keen/enthusiasm (para 2)

 (ii) rewards/praises (para 3)

ANSWERS:-

 (a) (iii);                       (b) (iii);

(c) (iii);                        (d) (iii)

(e) It refers to the hope that all blacks would be treated at par with the whites in America.

 (f) Because he said that Clay had a black soul, and should be grateful to the white millionaires who were actually exploiting the situation.

 (g) Because he felt it would be very insulting and degrading to do so.

(h) Because it was an all-white restaurant and did not serve blacks.

 (i) Because it did not win him or his people the respect and equality he had hoped for.

(j) This means that he would now fight for his beliefs.

(k) (i) Ardent;                          (ii) Accolades

Download the above Passage in PDF Worksheet (Printable)

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