Questions 16 to 20 are based on the following passage.
As a wise man once said, we are all ultimately alone. But an increasing number of Europeans are choosing to be so at an ever earlier age. This isn't the stuff of gloomy philosophical contemplations, but a fact of Europe's new economic landscape, embraced by sociologists, real-estate developers and ad executives alike. The shift away from family life to solo lifestyle, observes a French sociologist, is part of the "irresistible momentum of individualism" over the last century. The communications revolution, the shift from a business culture of stability to one of mobility and the mass entry of women into the workforce have greatly wreaked havoc on(扰乱) Europeans' private lives.
Europe's new economic climate has largely fostered the trend toward independence. The current generation of home-aloners came of age during Europe's shift from social democracy to the sharper, more individualistic climate of American style capitalism. Raised in an era of privatization and increased consumer choice, today's tech-savvy(精通技术的) workers have embraced a free market in love as well as economics. Modern Europeans are rich enough to afford to live alone, and temperamentally independent enough to want to do so.
Once upon a time, people who lived alone tended to be those on either side of marriage-twenty something professionals or widowed senior citizens. While pensioners, particularly elderly women, make up a large proportion of those living alone, the newest crop of singles are high earners in their 30s and 40s who increasingly view living alone as a lifestyle choice. Living alone was conceived to be negative-dark and cold, while being together suggested warmth and light. But then came along the idea of singles. They were young, beautiful, strong! Now, young people want to live alone.
The booming economy means people are working harder than ever. And that doesn't leave much room for relationships. Pimpi Arroyo, a 35-year-old composer who lives alone in a house in Paris, says he hasn't got time to get lonely because he has too much work. "I have deadlines which would make life with someone else fairly difficult." Only an Ideal Woman would make him change his lifestyle, he says. Kaufmann, author of a recent book called "The Single Woman and Prince Charming," thinks this fierce new individualism means that people expect more and more of mates, so relationships don't last long-if they start at all. Eppendorf, a blond Berliner with a deep tan, teaches grade school in the mornings. In the afternoon she sunbathes or sleeps, resting up for going dancing. Just shy of 50, she says she'd never have wanted to do what her mother did-give up a career to raise a family. Instead, "I've always done what I wanted to do: live a self-determined life."
16. More and more young Europeans remain single because .
A) they are driven by an overwhelming sense of individualism
B) they have entered the workforce at a much earlier age
C) they have embraced a business culture of stability
D) they are pessimistic about their economic future
17. What is said about European society in the passage?
A) It has fostered the trend towards small families.
B) It is getting closer to American-style capitalism.
C) It has limited consumer choice despite a free market.
D) It is being threatened by irresistible privatization.
18. According to Paragraph 3, the newest group of singles are .
A) warm and lighthearted B) on either side of marriage
C) negative and gloomy D) healthy and wealthy
19. The author quotes Eppendorf to show that .
A) some modern women prefer a life of individual freedom
B) the family is no longer the basic unit of society in present-day Europe
C) some professional people have too much work to do to feel lonely
D) most Europeans conceive living a single life as unacceptable
20. What is the author's purpose in writing the passage?
A) To review the impact of women becoming high earners.
B) To contemplate the philosophy underlying individualism.
C) To examine the trend of young people living alone.
D) To stress the rebuilding of personal relationships.
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