ENGLISH TEST READING

COMPREHENSION
DATE:
NAME:
FORM :

MARK : /
20
COMMENTS:

O DOCUMENT 1 : The DEATH PENALTY in the USA

C Count the States in blue, yellow and green. What do they
correspond to ?
The States in blue represent the States where there is
currently no death penalty in place.
The States in yellow represent the States where no death
penalty has been issued since 1976. Finally the green States
indicate that the death penalty has been declared
unconstitutional.
C What group do the States in orange belong to ?
The orange Sates belong to the category of those which have
implemented a death penalty as a punishment since 1976.
They make up the majority of the United States of America.
C Draw conclusions on the death penalty in the US .
These statistics clearly show the Americans agree with the
use of the death penalty as a just punishment for certain
crimes. For the majority of the States it is a punishment that
has been recently used and no doubt that it will continue to be
put into use. However, there are a certain number of States
that does not believe in the death penalty. These States are
mostly North Eastern States.
C What notion does this document best illustrate ?
This document best illustrates the notion : “Places and
Forms of Power”.
O DOCUMENT 2 : DEATH AND INNOCENCE
C Briefly introduce the document under study .
The document under study is an excerpt from quite a recent
article entitled “Death and Innocence” dealing with a topical
and controversial issue in the USA: The Death Penalty. It was
published in The Economist, a British weekly newsmagazine ,
on November 12 2010.
C In the text, find the equivalents of these two expressions :
- capital punishment (l.5): death penalty (4 times)
- wrongfully convicted (l.19): innocent (4 times)
C How many times are they repeated ? What is the effect
produced ?
It connects the two notions. Readers are made to believe that
innocent convicts can be executed.
C Which of the following groups does “America” (l.1 evoke ? (2
possible answers maximum) ) ?
E jurors E judges
C What does this word refer to ?
- this (l.8): It refers to the fact of executing innocent
people.
© Focus on the survey (l.5- l.12)
a- Name of the polling agency : Angus Reid Where did it
appear ? on line survey/ on the internet .
b- Give a title to each chart . What do these numbers
correspond to ?

Chart 1 : Can innocent people be executed ? 6% =
percentage of people answering “NO”.
Chart 2 : Is the death penalty a valid punishment to murder ?
13% = percentage of people answering “NO”.
Chart 3 : Is the death penalty a valid punishment to rape ?
Numbers : left side of the pie := 38% , right side = 62 %
Chart 4 : Is the death penalty a valid punishment to
kidnapping ? Numbers : left side of the pie := 49% , right side
= 51 %
d- Summarize the key ideas : What does the survey show ?
What’s the paradox? What do most Americans think about
the death penalty ?
Even if most people agree that innocent convicts can
be executed, they still see the death penalty as a valid
means to punish murder, rape and kidnapping.
C List the arguments in favour and against capital punishment . 1
PROS CONS
Effective deterrent , necessary
sacrifice, proper punishment
for certain heinous crimes,
achieve a greater good
Convict wrongly, we think
about the death penalty in
relation to specific cases and
crimes
® a- “ I guess the deaths of a few wrongfully-convicted prisoners
can be considered collateral damage, a necessary sacrifice in order
to achieve a greater good “. ( L. 19-21) . Find an expression
usually connected to the military and war casualties : 1 collateral
damage
c- Rephrase what you have understood . 1 Executing some
innocent can be compared to the innocent victims of war.
³ Focus on the example . ( L. 25-28) 1
- Culprit’s name : 1 Cameron Todd Willingham
- Is he alive or dead now ? 1 DEAD
- Problem : 1 Cameron was probably innocent
1 What is the journalist’s views / position ? Pick out all the clues
in the text to support your answer. Quote the lines. Then share
your own views on the issue. 1
1 The journalist disagrees/condemns/exposes the death
penalty. He wonders “how a system killing potentially innocent
people can be allowed to continue” (l.27/28) + “ If one
believes the death penalty is an effective deterrent against
crime (I don’t) “ (l.16/17)
1 YOUR OPINION : As far as I am concerned , I am
opposed to / for …. / I share the journalist’s point of view
about the death penalty. I am myself adamantly
(=catégoriquement / fermement ) against the death penalty
because….
/ I disagree with …. /I believe / reckon that ….
ABOUT THE KEY IDEAS :
I have understood that the article is describing hypocritical
statistics with regards to capital punishment in the United
States. As a matter of fact, 81% of Americans who have
participated in the survey conducted by Angus Reid believed
that inevitably innocent people were killed through the death
penalty, but that 62% of the same people thought that death
penalty should be given to rapists, and 51% for those found
guilty of kidnapping. It explains that there is a large
population of people who believe that innocent people have
been unjustly convicted and sentenced to death, but that
people still want to continue with the use of capital
punishment and even expand it. The article then continues
with the writer criticizing this hypocrisy and offering their own
opinion on the matter. Therefore, there is an element of
hypocrisy in that the participants in the survey believe that the
death penalty is taking the lives of innocent people, but that it
should be used more often; a factor underlined by the writer,
who is adamantly (=catégoriquement / fermement ) against
the death penalty.

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