FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Assignment 1 – Informative, analytical and/or argumentative
Does progress pay? In this world of constant technology progress and continuous improvements in science, it is almost inconceivable to be left out of this development the world is suffering. Every day new techniques and products appear to help improve our way of life; some affect it directly, but others indirectly; several can not change our lives yet, but will make a great difference in some year’s time. Many of these deal with the theme of health. Lately, a lot has been investigated about cells and their importance in the transmission of inherited information. The thorough and fervent study of the origins of life as well as its bases has led to the discovery of the molecule of DNA and, in the same way, to the investigation of the genetic code. Along with genetics engineering and the manipulation of genes came an enormous controversy regarding the viability of the projects originated by this science. There are many people who foster the projects of human cloning and genetic modifications, but, as always, there are groups who deliberately oppose and believe all kinds of cloning should be banned. Before developing any premature opinion, it is necessary to clarify what cloning is, and erase any mistaken idea. To clone means simply to duplicate, to copy, not only whole bodies, but also single cells, and the difference between these types must be stated. Actually, many industrial processes involve cloning of special breeds of bacteria or parts of DNA, and they result very useful and applicable in medical, industrial or agronomic environments. But these types of modifications are not exactly the protagonists of nowadays’ debates, the most critical discussions take place around the intervention in the human genetic code. People who promote the creation of whole human clones have the opposition of those who believe making clones or means “playing God.” I think there are many sensible reasons for and against human cloning, all of them acceptable; nevertheless, cloning a person requires excessive care and involves very expensive processes, which would finally make me believe it is still not the right moment to start creating clones. Most arguments in favor of human cloning sound cruel and cold-blooded, since the majority involves the creation of a human being to obtain a benefit and then “get rid” of it. Some of these ideas include creation of clones that would allow sterile people to have their own babies; homosexual couples to get pregnant; parents who have lost a child to recover him. Also, clones could be destined to be operated on to take their organs for transplantation. These ideas may sound extremely barbarous and self-centered as they suggest the use of a person for our own benefit and it is due to this that human cloning is outlawed in most countries. However, there are some possible solutions for these problems, which means that human cloning can still wait until better research and investigation has been done. There are treatments for infertile people which can, though slowly, enable them to have their children. Apart from this, a lot has been investigated about organ tissues and it has been possible to obtain cloned organs; cells have been extracted from special tissues and by genetic engineering their cloning was achieved, 1

FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

which means we can create individual compatible organs for transplantation. Anyway, all these procedures still need testing and evaluation to finally start using them massively. Other reasons for human cloning which have more support are the creation of humans to help in medical research of diseases. Once again, scientific advances can help to improve our quality of life. On the other hand, people against these manipulations sustain that clones may have several psychological problems of lack of individualism. But the truth is that we have to take into account that clones do not grow from one day to another and therefore would have a great difference in age with their parents; clones would be like twins, only with different ages. They also believe that having clones around the world would destroy the sense of uniqueness of individuals. Many are also concerned about the dangers that involve cloning; in order to obtain one healthy and viable embryo, hundreds have to die. Still, I believe that for everything we have to run risks, it is not possible to obtain something or succeed in the area of medicine if we don’t take risks; it is part of the game. Finally, we have seen that there are as many arguments in favor as there are against. Human cloning could help us greatly improve our way of life, by providing answers and help to cure special types of diseases; by genetic planning we can ameliorate a lot our health as well as our relatives’. But still there are some ideas that do not fully convince me; as always, there are cruel ideas which some people support that can degenerate and ruin all the devised projects, as well as throw away years of research and investigation. The best course of action is to continue investigating and slowly lead to the creation of human clones when the world is ready to receive them and give them the treatment they deserve: equal to human beings. In this way when we are ready to, we can go on with this science; meanwhile we can do nothing but continue studying the complex and never ending nature. Although rather too long, this is a coherent and consistent piece, where the candidate describes and reflects effectively upon her own experience over the issue of human cloning. There are insignificant language errors. Paragraphs are well constructed and linked to clarify writing as a whole. That is why I allot this piece 37 out of 40 .

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Assignment 2 – Imaginative, descriptive and/or narrative
(DRAFT) Numbered
Scene 1 – Emergency Rest Room [Dr. Manley is dozing half-falling from a narrow stretcher, barely covered by an old blanket. Every once in a while he startles and whispers something incomprehensible, probably product of a momentary nightmare. Those nights staying at the Emergency Guard were never easy, and even less today, after a whole day of teaching at University. But it’s been a peculiarly and oddly calm night and Dr. Manley is apparently getting the rest he has needed for a long time… Yet, there’s something going on. He senses it. That’s why he can’t conciliate sleep. He is running through a corridor… Chasing something… Or otherwise: he is being chased. He is getting there; he is reaching the door, just one more step...] Nurse: Dr. Manley: Sir, we have an emergency, a man has just dropped in, we don’t know what’s going on with him… [Suddenly jumping off the stretcher, his glasses have almost fell and hang only from one ear, they are completely crooked] Heh?! Hum, what?! Okay, okay, don’t panic, I’m coming! Quick! Where is he? Duh, where are my glasses… Oh! Here! They’ve fell on the floor; oh, just what I needed: a pair of broken glasses… Well, I’ve the spare one in my pocket. Now, back to work! [A resident student enters the place with an expression of horror on his face. It must be his first time at Emergency. Those guys always panic at the sight of a blood drop when it’s their first patient. They just freeze and don’t know what to do. Seeing the extremely worried look, Dr. Manley simulates to be worried too, just not to ridicule or embarrass the young doctor.] Dr. Manley: Dr. Farrell: [As they leave the room running] Yes, so, Dr…? Jim Farrell, yes, Dr. Jim Farrell, tell me about the man, what is he showing signs of…? [Very agitated] Well, his blood pressure is sky-high, and there’s no way to lower it by any means. His heartbeats increase second by second. We’ve already provided him with a beta-blocking, but he doesn’t seem to respond. He has goose bumps and doesn’t stop sweating… [They arrive where the stretcher with the man is] This is the third sheet we have to change, he leaves them completely wet… [Dr. Manley carefully examines the man. He is about 25 years old. He is shaking convulsively and his hair is electrified. After some minutes the patient becomes stiff. He stops shaking and seems to be peacefully asleep. The professional seems very confused. A person with that blood pressure and heartbeats cannot simply “calm down” in that way. He tells Dr. Farrell to go and sleep for a while: everything is under control. He sits down beside him. After some minutes, he sees the man moving.] Dr. Manley: Hello there… Can you hear me? Do you understand me? I don’t really know your name, and neither the reason why you are here, but we’ll try find out, okay? I just need to know your name and any useful phone number to call any relative… Hey! Are you listening to me? Can you speak? [The man keeps looking around completely stunned and frenetically. He is absolutely lost and perplexed. Abruptly, he shows his intention of talking, but only some stammering comes out. He cannot pronounce a word, or, at least, nothing understandable.] Man: Dr. Manley: Dub… Yub… Argg… Stub… Calm Down, calm down. Just relax, we have time. So, can you try and tell me your name? Or at least where you come from?

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

[The man keeps moving hysterically, until he suddenly freezes. He has given a good look at Dr. Manley and is paralyzed, as if he had recognized him, or remembered something.] Man: Dr. Manley: [Running out of breath] Na… Num… 34… Number… 342? Tom… Tommy… You ok…? Where… Tommy! I… I found you! Oh… can’t… believe it… escaped! it’s you…! Sir, in case you can listen to me, my name is Dr. Joseph Manley, and you are at the hospital right now. We want to know what’s happening to you, we just need… Sir? Hey! Sir?! [The man has ceased to move. His body is stiff. His eyes wide open, but apparently lifeless. He seems as frozen by an invisible frost. The doctor immediately begins his work to revive him: electro-shock, respirator. The whole room has become a chaos, people entering and leaving, bringing and taking out things.] Scene 2 – Hospital Corridor, Analysis Lab [It is a normal day at hospital. Nothing apart from the quotidian: Dr. Manley has just finished checking his patients, everything is in order. But he has good spirits; he is expectant as he starts for the Analysis Lab] Dr. Manley: Hi everyone, how’s everything going? Tough day, heh? Well, we all have one every once in a while… It’ll do, don’t worry, it’ll do. Meanwhile… Mark, please tell me you have what I want… Yes… Exactly, oh yes, make me a happy man and tell me you’ve made it…

Dr. Glauber: [In an ironic and joking way] Well… That depends… Nah, you owe me a big one there, Joe… Here, take it and disappear, away, go, go… Dr. Manley: [Almost jumping in happiness and gratification] Thank you sooo much! You can’t imagine what you have just done for me. I couldn’t simply let the death of that man pass inadvertent as it was… Something must have killed him, he can’t just die. Tell me, anything unconventional on his blood test results?

Dr. Glauber: Hmm… Well, everything’s fine: glucose levels, erythrocytes number ok, leucocytes too, plasma… The only striking result is the adrenaline level, it’s exorbitant. But… No, no, it can’t be possible, it must be a mistake. Don’t worry about it, you know, you can never trust technology! Ha ha ha! Dr. Manley: Are you sure? That would be the only abnormal thing in that man, the only possible cause of death. I’ll think about it.

Dr. Glauber: I don’t think so, it’s a very strange result. But listen, why didn’t you do an autopsy if you are so interested in him? Dr. Manley: Why didn’t I do it? I wanted to, but the authorities wouldn’t let me. Since no one has claimed for his body, and he doesn’t have any identification, they won’t waste their time on him. But I can’t just stay here when a man has died in my hands and I find no reason. Ok, I guess I’ll continue searching in case I find something else. If not, we’ll have to blame his high levels of adrenaline, though they have to be drastically high to kill him… And it would be a really odd case, really hard to explain this hormonal overproduction. Bye Mark, and thanks again, I owe you a big one! Dr. Glauber: No problem, go on, in case I find something I tell you. See you later at lunch. […] Scene 3 – Hospital Cellar

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

[Two men are squatting behind some old syringe boxes, under some debilitated dusty shelves. They are whispering in an almost imperceptible way, trying to avoid being heard or seen.] Dr. Manley: So what is it that you’re telling me? Do you want me to believe there’s a vast net of people in this town who are conspiring behind us and manipulating us and our society? I’m sorry Madam, but I’m not quite sure I get your idea… It’s not my idea, I’ve already told you! [Starts to get nervous] You’re gonna blow my top… I’m trying to warn you! Listen, I know my appearance doesn’t help, but I’m pretty sure of what I’ve been seeing and listening for the past years: There’s a group of people under the abandoned mall where I sleep who are kidnapping others to play with them! To harm them! To manipulate their bodies! If you don’t believe me who will? I’ve got to go right now, but please, just trust me and visit that place, just try not to be seen. They’re making doubles over there, they’re making experiments. Go there and try to save that people, please, trust me. Bye… [A loud chilling sound is heard from above. They both stand up very quickly, but Manley hits his back with one of the shelves and it falls down] Ouch! [Worried] Are you okay? Look, look what you’ve done to yourself! You have a great scar under your neck that has reopened! Your neck is bleeding… [Calming her down] Oh, don’t worry, it happens all the time. It’s an old scar I’ve always had; probably a fall when I was a kid, I really never knew. The fact is that my skin there is very weak, and at the slightest touch it opens. Nothing to worry about. Let’s go. Okay, yes, I’d better be going. Bye, and thanks for listening, I hope you trust me and go to the mall. […] Scene 4 – Down the mall [Manley has hardly managed to get into the mall, after having to fight with some beggars who live there. He has escaped from the security men of the cellar, and gotten into a kind of secret installation that resembles a hospital. He is now in the Conference Room, hiding at the back of the auditorium. Everybody is silent, and a video is about to be played.] Man: Welcome everybody! I’m glad to introduce you to the new world of technology! [Applause] After 15 years of research and experimentation, we are ready to present you with the medicine of the next millennium: genetic techniques to modify any problem in people and achieve the birth of better human beings, and individual cloning! [Applause] The video that follows will explain our work step by step, and show you the future of health. Thank you very much. [Applause] “After years of undercover research, Genetech is glad to introduce you with the first human clones in the Earth. At the same time, we want to show the creation of genetically improved human beings, who have a better performance in everyday life, thanks to their special protein production. All the studied individuals were kept here numbered under exam. In the first place, we introduce you to the first human beings to be modified in order to produce higher levels of adrenaline. In this way, their functioning is longer and better; they have much more energy to continue working and doing everyday activities, without needing to sleep that much. On the other hand, Genetech has been able to modify individuals providing them with genes that stimulate the formation of new nervous branches; due to this, it is possible to regenerate any broken nerve in the body. And related to this topic, some other experiments were held. Our main objective about the nervous system was to improve the treatments in diseases related to the spinal marrow: cancer, body paralysis, etc. To contribute to these experiments, certain specifically chosen individuals were cloned. They were studied and kept here numbered for some time, and then a part of their marrow was surgically extracted to continue the studies, as well as certain organs in some cases. This was achieved by a dorsal incision, right under the neck…”

Woman:

Dr. Manley: Woman: Dr. Manley:

Woman:

Video:

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

1883 words!! Agustina, This is too long. Your stage directions can be reduced because in many parts they sound more like a novel, rather than stage directions. Also choose the most important entries of each scene.

Assignment 2 – Imaginative, descriptive and/or narrative Numbered
Scene 1 – Emergency Rest Room [Dr. Manley is dozing half-falling from a narrow stretcher, barely covered by an old blanket.] Nurse: Dr. Manley: Dr. Farrell: Sir, we have an emergency, a man has just dropped in, we don’t know what’s going on with him… [As they leaves the room running] Yes, so, Dr…? Jim Farrell, yes, Dr. Jim Farrell, tell me about the man, what is he showing signs of…? [Very agitated] Well, his blood pressure is sky-high, and there’s no way to lower it by any means. His heartbeats increase second by second. We’ve already provided him with a beta-blocking, but he doesn’t seem to respond. He has goose bumps and doesn’t stop sweating… [They arrive where the stretcher with the man is] This is the third sheet we have to change, he leaves them completely wet… [Dr. Manley carefully examines the man. He sits down beside him. After some minutes, he sees the man moving.] Dr. Manley: Hello there… Can you hear me? Do you understand me? I don’t really know your name, and neither the reason why you are here, but we’ll try find out, okay? I just need to know your name and any useful phone number to call any relative… Hey! Are you listening to me? Can you speak? [The man keeps looking around completely stunned and frenetically. He is absolutely lost and perplexed. Abruptly, he shows his intention of talking, but only some stammering comes out. He cannot pronounce a word, or, at least, nothing understandable.] Man: Dr. Manley: Dub… Yub… Argg… Stub… Calm Down, calm down. Just relax, we have time. So, can you try and tell me your name? Or at least where you come from? [The man keeps moving hysterically, until he suddenly freezes. He has given a good look at Dr. Manley and is paralyzed, as if he had recognized him, or remembered something.] Man: Dr. Manley: [Running out of breath] Na… Num… 34… Number… 342? Tom… Tommy… You ok…? Where… Tommy! I… I found you! Oh… can’t… believe it… escaped! it’s you…! Sir, in case you can listen to me, my name is Dr. Joseph Manley, and you are at the hospital right now. We want to know what’s happening to you, we just need… Sir? Hey! Sir?! [The man has ceased to move. His body is stiff. His eyes wide open, but apparently lifeless. He seems as frozen by an invisible frost. The doctor immediately begins his work to revive him: electro-shock, respirator. The whole room has become a chaos, people entering and leaving, bringing and taking out things.] Scene 2 – Hospital Corridor, Analysis Lab [It is a normal day at hospital: Dr. Manley is expectant as he starts for the Analysis Lab]

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Dr. Manley:

Hi everyone, how’s everything going? Tough day, heh? Mark, please tell me you have what I want… Yes… Exactly, oh yes, make me a happy man and tell me you’ve made it…

Dr. Glauber: [In an ironic and joking way] Well… That depends… Nah, you owe me a big one there, Joe… Here, take it and disappear, away, go, go… Dr. Manley: [Almost jumping in happiness and gratification] Thank you sooo much! You can’t imagine what you have just done for me. I couldn’t simply let the death of that man pass inadvertent as it was… Something must have killed him, he can’t just die. Tell me, anything unconventional on his blood test results?

Dr. Glauber: Hmm… Well, everything’s fine: glucose levels, erythrocytes number ok, leucocytes too, plasma… The only striking result is the adrenaline level, it’s exorbitant. But… No, no, it can’t be possible, it must be a mistake. Don’t worry about it, you know, you can never trust technology! Ha ha ha! Dr. Manley: Are you sure? That would be the only abnormal thing in that man, the only possible cause of death. I’ll think about it.

Dr. Glauber: I don’t think so, it’s a very strange result. But listen, why didn’t you do an autopsy if you are so interested in him? Dr. Manley: Why didn’t I do it? I wanted to, but the authorities wouldn’t let me. Since no one has claimed for his body, and he doesn’t have any identification, they won’t waste their time on him. But I can’t just stay here when a man has died in my hands and I find no reason. Ok, I guess I’ll continue searching in case I find something else. If not, we’ll have to blame his high levels of adrenaline, though they have to be drastically high to kill him… And it would be a really odd case, really hard to explain this hormonal overproduction. Bye Mark, and thanks again, I owe you a big one! Scene 3 – Hospital Cellar [Dr. Manly and a woman are squatting behind some old syringe boxes, under some shelves, whispering so as not to be heard] Woman: It’s not my idea, I’ve already told you! [Starts to get nervous] You’re gonna blow my top… I’m trying to warn you! Listen, I know my appearance doesn’t help, but I’m pretty sure of what I’ve been seeing and listening for the past years: There’s a group of people under the abandoned mall where I sleep who are kidnapping others to play with them! To harm them! To manipulate their bodies! If you don’t believe me who will? I’ve got to go right now, but please, just trust me and visit that place, just try not to be seen. They’re making doubles over there, they’re making experiments. Go there and try to save that people, please, trust me. Bye… [A loud chilling sound is heard from above. They both stand up very quickly, but Manley hits his back with one of the shelves and it falls down] Ouch! [Worried] Are you okay? Look, look what you’ve done to yourself! You have a great scar under your neck that has reopened! Your neck is bleeding… [Calming her down] Oh, don’t worry, I have had it for a long time. Let’s go. Okay, yes, I’d better be going. Bye, and thanks for listening, I hope you trust me and go to the mall.

Dr. Manley: Woman: Dr. Manley: Woman:

Scene 4 – Down the mall [Dr. Manley has gotten into a kind of secret installation that resembles a hospital. He is now in the Conference Room, hiding at the back of the auditorium. Everybody is silent, and a video is about to be played.]

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Man:

Welcome everybody! I’m glad to introduce you to the new world of technology! [Applause] After 15 years of research and experimentation, we are ready to present you with the medicine of the next millennium: genetic techniques to modify any problem in people and achieve the birth of better human beings, and individual cloning! [Applause] The video that follows will explain our work step by step, and show you the future of health. Thank you very much. [Applause] “After years of undercover research, Genetech is glad to introduce you with the first human clones in the Earth. At the same time, we want to show the creation of genetically improved human beings, who have a better performance in everyday life, thanks to their special protein production. All the studied individuals were kept here numbered under exam. In the first place, we introduce you to the first human beings to be modified in order to produce higher levels of adrenaline. In this way, their functioning is longer and better; they have much more energy to continue working and doing everyday activities, without needing to sleep that much. On the other hand, Genetech has been able to modify individuals providing them with genes that stimulate the formation of new nervous branches; due to this, it is possible to regenerate any broken nerve in the body. And related to this topic, some other experiments were held. Our main objective about the nervous system was to improve the treatments in diseases related to the spinal marrow: cancer, body paralysis, etc. To contribute to these experiments, certain specifically chosen individuals were cloned. They were studied and kept here numbered for some time, and then a part of their marrow was surgically extracted to continue the studies, as well as certain organs in some cases. This was achieved by a dorsal incision, right under the neck…”

Video:

Still too long, but we can see how well Agustina has constructed her script around organized action, providing entertainment and sound food for thought. Characters are well developed, while unity is achieved; therefore, I see no reason why the number of words should be considered self-penalising. On the contrary, I do believe we should recognize Agustina’s nack as a writer. I allot this script 38 out of 40 points.

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Assignment 3 – Reading and Writing
Extract from the novel Anthills of the Savannah, by Chinua Achebe
“ He dug his hand into his shirt pocket and pulled out a folded sheet of paper and carefully unfolded it on his knee. “I wrote this strange love-letter last night. May I read it?” I nodded. "The original oppression of Woman was based on crude denigration. She caused Man to fall. So she became a scapegoat. No, not a scapegoat which might be blameless but a culprit richly deserving of whatever suffering Man chose thereafter to heap on her. This is Woman in the Book of Genesis. Out there, our ancestors, without the benefit of hearing about the Old Testament, made the very same story differing only in local colour. At first the Sky was close to the Earth. But every evening Woman cut off a piece of the Sky to put in her soup pot or, as in another version, she repeatedly banged the top end of her pestle carelessly against the Sky whenever she pounded the millet or, as in yet another rendering – so prodigious is Man's inventiveness – she wiped her kitchen hands on the Sky's face. Whatever the detail of Woman's provocation, the Sky finally moved away in danger, and God with it. "Well, that kind of candid chauvinism might be OK for the rugged taste of Old Testament. The New Testament required a more enlightened, more refined, more loving even, strategy – ostensibly, that is. So the idea came to Man to turn his spouse into the very Mother of God, to pick her up from right under his foot where she'd been since Creation and carry her reverently to a nice, corner pedestal. Up there, her feet completely off the ground she will be just as irrelevant to the practical decisions of running the world as she was in her bad old days. The only difference is that now Man will suffer no guilt feelings; he can sit back and congratulate himself on his generosity and gentlemanliness. “Meanwhile our ancestors out here, unaware of the New Testament, were working out independently a parallel subterfuge of their own. Nneka, they said. Mother is supreme. Let us keep her in reserve until the ultimate crisis arrives and the waist is broken and hung over the fire, and the palm bears its fruit at the tail of its leaf. Then, as the world crashes around Man’s eras, Woman in her supremacy will descend and sweep the shards together. “Do I make sense?” “As always, go on.” “Thank you BB. I owe that insight to you. I can’t tell you what the new role of Woman will be. I don’t know. I should never have presumed to know. You have to tell us. We never asked you before. And perhaps because you’ve never been asked you may not have thought about it; you may not have the answer handy. But in that case everybody had better know who is now holding up the action.” “That’s very kind of you!” “That was the first part of this love-letter, the part I owe specifically to you. Here’s the rest. “The women are, of course, the biggest single group of oppressed people in the world and, if we are to believe the Book of Genesis, the very oldest. But they are not the only ones. There are others – rural peasants in every land, the urban poor in industrialized countries, black people everywhere including their own continent, ethnic and religious minorities and castes in all countries. The most obvious practical difficulty is the magnitude and heterogeneity of the problem. There is no universal conglomerate of the oppressed. Free people may be alike everywhere in their freedom but the oppressed inhabit each their own peculiar hell. The present orthodoxies of deliverance are futile to the extent that they fail to recognize this. You know my stand on that. Every genuine artist feels it in his bones. The simplistic remedies touted by all manner of salesmen (including some who call themselves artists) will always fail because of man’s stubborn antibody called surprise. Man will surprise by his capacity for nobility as well as for villainy. No system can change that. It is built into the core of man’s free spirit.” ”

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FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

A myriad of differences One of the most controversial debates taking place in the world these days is the discussion about social differences among people. In this extract of a letter written by the character Ikem Osodi in the novel Anthills of the Savannah, we can clearly appreciate not only the situation of women throughout the years and in diverse parts of the world, but also the circumstances in which other oppressed groups live. Despite the myriad of wars, battles and struggles in seek of equality and universality, it is shameful to have to admit in the 21st Century that these differences continue and affect a great number of people. In this extract, Achebe masterfully succeeds in presenting a very clear idea, by means of his character Ikem, about the position of these groups of people and how they have changed since the origins of civilization, as well as his opinion as regards this topic. Osodi begins his letter by going back to the origins of civilization, according to the Bible, when Woman started to be cornered by Man, until reaching the point of “crude denigration.” We can notice the writer’s opposition to this idea when he implies this was done due to the fact that Woman was in some way stronger than Man: “She caused Man to fall. So she became a scapegoat.” In this line he also suggests Man needed somebody to put the blame on and punish, and this role was taken by Woman, who had to carry all the culpability, or supposed culpability, leaving Man free of guilt. Further on, he compares this religious story to the native one, an African legend, probably to show the reader that this attitude was not only adopted by certain groups of people, but also by others who had no contact at all, suggesting may be, that having the need of blaming somebody for their own actions is in Man’s nature. In the second story, we are told that Woman is supposed to be the one who caused God to go away, accusing her again of being the culprit of the world’s evils. The choice of the word “chauvinism” clearly denotes his opposition to the course of action taken by the people at that time. The reference to this particular ideology similar to that of narcissism, suggests ideas of egotism/self-absorption, absolutism and xenophobia from Man’s part, who cares only about himself to the point of reaching perverse, merciless and cruel manifestations. But then the writer tells us by an excellent use of irony and a masterful choice of words, that long after that Man had to ‘disguise’ what he had done; the suffering Woman had to go through could now sound terribly sanguine and abusive, and that’s why he chooses to change a bit her position in society. But what can he do to revert the situation? Exactly that: completely revert it; by making Woman pass from being the lowest thing on Earth, to being the highest in Heaven - God’s Mother. The irony in this idea makes emphatically clear his opinion about Woman being treated like an object whose position can be changed from one day to another; it is absolutely sensible and asserted to fight for social equality. Man without Woman would never survive, they need each other to do this, and there is no reason to believe one is inferior to the other. This is why the idea of the supremacy of one sex over the other is completely absurd. The effect of irony reaches its climax when Osodi insinuates that now that Woman is in her “nice corner pedestal” Man can finally be content with himself and fully proud of his actions, his questionable/pretended heroism. His critics make sense when we realize that, despite Woman has now ascended position, she still has no right or power of decision; she continues to be useless and insignificant when talking about the world’s management. 10

FIRST LANGUAGE ENGLISH Coursework portfolio Cardozo Tomás, Agustina AR512 0013

Parallel to this, we are told that the African people created an analogue story in that Woman was held back until a moment of crisis when she would come and settle everything down, a moment which, eventually, would never come. In the second part of the letter, Osodi starts to go to the more general idea, not centering anymore in the oppression on Women that continues even today in some countries of Africa and Asia. Now, he refers to every other marginalized group of people and wants to highlight the idea that every minority is different from the others, each has its own story and suffering, what makes them unique. He also makes emphasis on the fact that ‘free’ people are far from knowing or realizing about this, which isn’t quite the exact situation; what he accurately really thinks is that Man is aware of what these people suffer, but he simply ignores and disregards it. No matter what happens, Man will always try to avoid the oppressed and their problems, there will always be a new excuse and reason for acting as if he was surprised, and in this way, be able to escape from the situation. Nothing will change that because it is in Man’s nature. To conclude, by means of this sincere letter Osodi is able to transmit what he thinks about women’s marginalized treatment along the years in different places, as well as other minorities’. I personally agree with the writer in the fact that men and women should be treated as equals, since one without the other would never survive. The same happens with ethnic, political or economic differences; there’s no reason to believe one is superior over the others, we are all human beings. We should all have the same rights and treatments. By a very effective and provoking speech, the writer is able to create a forceful impact on readers making his ideas and the way of expressing them memorable. Again, an impressive piece, where this candidate shows her excellent selection of reading passage plus her sound judgment, expressed in very good language. Agustina draws inferences, evaluates them effectively, compares, analyses and synthesizes the author’s plus her own opinions. I allot this piece 10 out of 10 points.

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