Fasting is an act of homage to the majesty of appetite. So I think we should arrange to give up our pleasures regularly–our food, our friends, our lovers–in order to preserve their intensity, and the moment of coming back to them. For this is the moment that renews and refreshes both oneself and the thing one loves. Sailors and travelers enjoyed this once, and so did hunters, I suppose. Part of the weariness of modern life may be that we live too much on top of each other, and are entertained and fed too regularly.
Once we were separated by hunger both from our food and families, and then we learned to value both. The men went off hunting, and the dogs went with them; the women and children waved goodbye. The cave was empty of men for days on end; nobody ate, or knew what to do. The women crouched by the fire, the wet smoke in their eyes; the children wailed; everybody was hungry. Then one night there were shouts and the barking of dogs from the hills, and the men came back loaded with meat. This was the great reunion, and everybody gorged themselves silly, and appetite came into its own; the long-awaited meal became a feast to remember and an almost sacred celebration of life. Now we go off to the office and come home in the evenings to cheap chicken and frozen peas. Very nice, but too much of it, too easy and regular, served up without effort or wanting. We eat, we are lucky, our faces are shining with fat, but we don’t know the pleasure of being hungry any more.
Too much of anything–too much music, entertainment, happy snacks, or time spent with one’s friends–creates a kind of impotence of living by which one can no longer hear, or taste, or see, or love, or remember. Life is short and precious, and appetite is one of its guardians, and loss of appetite is a sort of death. So if we are to enjoy this short life we should respect the divinity of appetite, and keep it eager and not too much blunted.
1) What is the author’s main argument in the passage?
a) The olden times, when the roles of men and women were clearly divided, were far more enjoyable than the present time
b) There is not enough effort required anymore to obtain food and hence the pleasure derived is not the same
c) People who don’t have enough to eat enjoy life much more than those who have plentiful
d) We should deny ourselves pleasures once in a while in order to whet our desires and feel more alive
2) What are the benefits of fasting?
a) It is an act against the drawbacks of appetite
b) It brings joy in eating, and one learns to appreciate food
c) It is the method to understand how civilization evolved
d) It is a punishment for the greedy and unkind
3) What commonality has been highlighted between the sailors and hunters?
a) Neither were fed nor entertained regularly
b) They renew and refresh themselves regularly
c) They were regularly separated from their loved ones and things they liked
d) The roles of men and women were clearly divided for both professions
4) ‘The long-awaited meal became a feast to remember and an almost sacred celebration of life’, what does this line imply?
a) After so many days of being hungry, the cave men and women felt alive once again after eating the food
b) People respected and were thankful for getting food after days of being hungry and also of being united with their loved ones
c) Cave men and women ate and celebrated together with the entire community making the feast really enjoyable
d) Cave men and women enjoyed themselves in the feast and performed a ceremony to thank the Gods for their safe return back home