CAT 2019 Question Paper | Verbal Slot 2

CAT Previous Year Paper | CAT VARC Questions | Question 31

CAT 2019 VARC section was a true nightmare. It was the most taxing section of the three. With some of its questions requiring critical reasoning, demanded even the avid of the readers to read and reread the passages before landing on an answer. We've tried our best to present these actual questions from CAT 2019 VARC section in their least intimidating from (at least in the font), with detailed solutions in a student friendly format to test yourself and understand the importance of reading for VARC section of the CAT exam. For a curated reading list head out here: Bharath’s Reading List. If you are planning to take CAT 2019 paper as a full fledged mock, it would help if you go back to : CAT Question Bank and solve questions that are not from actual CAT Question papers.

The passage given below is followed by four alternate summaries. Choose the option that best captures the essence of the passage.

Question 31 : Privacy-challenged office workers may find it hard to believe, but open-plan offices and cubicles were invented by architects and designers who thought that to break down the social walls that divide people, you had to break down the real walls, too. Modernist architects saw walls and rooms as downright fascist. The spaciousness and flexibility of an open plan would liberate homeowners and office dwellers from the confines of boxes. But companies took up their idea less out of a democratic ideology than a desire to pack in as many workers as they could. The typical open-plan office of the first half of the 20th century was a white-collar assembly line. Cubicles were interior designers’ attempt to put some soul back in.

  1. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out as desired and therefore cubicles came into being.
  2. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out the way their utopian inventors intended, as they became tools for exploitation of labor.
  3. Wall-free office spaces could have worked out the way their utopian inventors intended had companies cared for workers' satisfaction.
  4. Wall-free office spaces did not quite work out as companies don’t believe in democratic ideology.

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Explanatory Answer

The paragraph given explains that while open-plan offices were created with the idea of liberating workers, things did not work to plan, as companies used these spaces to cram in as many workers as they could, in a soul-less "white-collar assembly line".

Option 3 states that wall-free spaces 'could have worked out' had companies cared for workers' satisfaction. But the paragraph given merely talks of why the idea of wall-free office spaces failed: 3 is hence not a satisfactory summary of the paragraph.

Option 4 is incorrect as it goes too far. The paragraph says companies took up the idea of wall-free spaces less out of a democratic ideology than a desire to pack in workers. This does not imply that companies don't believe in democratic ideology.

Options 1 and 2 are close, but 2 is a better option than 1 as it brings in the points about the ‘utopian’ (idealistic) intentions of the inventors of wall-free offices and the way cramming of workers became a means of invading their privacy and exploiting them.

Choice B is the correct answer.


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