Questions 1-10 are based on the following passage.
This passage is adapted from MacDonald Harris,The Balloonist. ©2011 by The Estate of Donald Heiney.During the summer of 1897, the narrator of this story, a fictional Swedish scientist, has set out for the North Pole in a hydrogen-powered balloon.
My emotions are complicated and not readily verifiable. I feel a vast yearning that is simultaneously a pleasure and a pain. I am certain of the consummation of this yearning, but I don’t 5
know yet what form it will take, since I do not understand quite what it is that the yearning desires. For the first time there is borne in upon me the full truth of what I myself said to the doctor only an hourago: that my motives in this undertaking are not 10
entirely clear. For years, for a lifetime, the machinery of my destiny has worked in secret to prepare for this moment; its clockwork has moved exactly toward this time and place and no other. Rising slowly from the earth that bore me and gave me sustenance, I am 15
carried helplessly toward an uninhabited and hostile, or at best indifferent, part of the earth, littered with the bones of explorers and the wrecks of ships, frozen supply caches, messages scrawled with chilled fingers and hidden in cairns that no eye will ever see.20
Nobody has succeeded in this thing, and many have died. Yet in freely willing this enterprise, in choosing this moment and no other when the south wind will carry me exactly northward at a velocity of eight knots, I have converted the machinery of my 25
fate into the servant of my will. All this I understand, as I understand each detail of the technique by which this is carried out. What I don’t understand is why I am so intent on going to this particular place. Who wants the North Pole! What good is it! Can you eat 30
it? Will it carry you from Gothenburg to Malmö like a railway? The Danish ministers have declared from their pulpits that participation in polar expeditions is beneficial to the soul’s eternal well-being, or so I read in a newspaper. It isn’t clear how this doctrine is to 35
be interpreted, except that the Pole is something difficult or impossible to attain which must nevertheless be sought for, because man is condemned to seek out and know everything whether or not the knowledge gives him pleasure. In 40
short, it is the same unthinking lust for knowledge that drove our First Parents out of the garden.
And suppose you were to find it in spite of all, this wonderful place that everybody is so anxious to stand on! What would you find? Exactly nothing. 45
A point precisely identical to all the others in a completely featureless wasteland stretching around it for hundreds of miles. It is an abstraction, a mathematical fiction. No one but a Swedish madman could take the slightest interest in it. Here I am. The 50
wind is still from the south, bearing us steadily northward at the speed of a trotting dog. Behind us, perhaps forever, lie the Cities of Men with their teacups and their brass bedsteads. I am going forth of my own volition to join the ghosts of Bering and 55
poor Franklin, of frozen De Long and his men.What I am on the brink of knowing, I now see, is not an ephemeral mathematical spot but myself. The doctor was right, even though I dislike him.Fundamentally I am a dangerous madman, and what 60
I do is both a challenge to my egotism and a surrender to it.