A century ago, on an April night in the cold waters of the North Atlantic, a world came to an end. When RMS Titanic struck that iceberg and sank, killing 1,500 people, the disaster became one of those few truly landmark events before which things were one way and after which things were quite another.
The great lesson of the disaster is that no matter how smart we think we are, how skilled and how technologically advanced, we remain at the mercy of events beyond our control.
Writing in 1955, Walter Lord understood the significance of the subject in A Night to Remember. “The Titanic marked the end of a general feeling of confidence. Until then men felt they had found the answer to a steady and civilized life. For 100 years the Western world had been at peace, technology had steadily improved and the benefits of peace and industry seemed to be filtering satisfactorily through society. The Titanic woke them up. Never again would they be quite so sure of themselves.”
It seems fair to argue that the 20th century really began the night the Titanic sank. Two years later came the Great War, and the tragedy of Versailles, and the rise of Hitler, and the splitting of the atom, and so on.
Yet perhaps the most interesting part of the centennial of the Titanic for us now lies in the fact that technology, like any other human endeavor, is flawed and subject to disaster. We can never innovate nor create ourselves totally out of harm’s way.
Time, 13 April 2012
I. Answer the following questions using your own words but taking into account the information in the text.
- a. What are people supposed to have learnt after the sinking of the Titanic? PAR 2-3
- b. Why does the author suggest that the 20th century really started that day in April? PAR 3-4
II. Are the following statements true (T) or false (F)? Identify the part of the text that supports your answer by copying the exact passage on the answer sheet.
a. The lesson to learn is that everything is under control when technology is advanced.
- FALSE:The great lesson of the disaster is that no matter how smart we think we are, how skilled and how technologically advanced, we remain at the mercy of events beyond our control.
b. Before the Titanic sank, most people were confident in technology and industrial development.
- TRUE: For 100 years the Western world had been at peace, technology had steadily improved and the benefits of peace and industry seemed to be filtering satisfactorily through society.
c. The Great War, the tragedy of Versailles and the rise of Hitler were the real consequences of this tragedy.
- FALSE: Two years later came the Great War, and the tragedy of Versailles, and the rise of Hitler, and the splitting ofthe atom, and so on.
III. Find a synonym for each of the four definitions below from these six options:
disaster landmark smart mercy steady flawed
IV. Choose a, b, or c, in each question below. Only one choice is correct
1. When the Titanic sank...
- a. 1,500 people were killed and then the iceberg sank, too.
- b. 1,500 people were struck and killed.
- c. 1,500 people died and the world changed drastically.
2. In 1955, Walter Lord stated that...
- a. this tragedy put an end to a period of peace because of the rise of Hitler.
- b. people would not be so confident any more.
- c. people were confident with technology and industry before and after this tragedy.
3. This tragedy reminds us that technology is...
- a. perfect if carefully planned.
- b. innovative and creative and always safe.
- c. defective and we cannot be sure of its final results.