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..........................................................................................................................................................06 One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest.........................................................................................................................................09 Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Ernest...................................................................................................................11 Roald Dahl – The Landlady..................................................................................................................................................14 SARS....................................................................................................................................................................................14 Xenophobia...........................................................................................................................................................................16 Doping..................................................................................................................................................................................17 A Grand Alliance..................................................................................................................................................................17 Brave New World.................................................................................................................................................................18 Dreams..................................................................................................................................................................................22 E.A. Poe – Short stories........................................................................................................................................................23 Harold Pinter – The Caretaker..............................................................................................................................................25 Lord of the Flies....................................................................................................................................................................26 Dangerous Obsessions..........................................................................................................................................................29 Bowling for Columbine........................................................................................................................................................30 Violence in “The Green Mile................................................................................................................................................32 Dead Poets Society...............................................................................................................................................................33 A Beautiful Mind..................................................................................................................................................................35 Macbeth................................................................................................................................................................................36
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
CAL – Northern Ireland CAL Film Reviews The worse conditions are the better the movie that can be made from them. That's what enables CAL, a story of love and killings in Northern Ireland, to become a profoundly moving treatment of the country's current "troubles". A picture of this quality honours the country and people that make it. http://www.bernardmaclaverty.com/works/screenplay/cal_film_reviews.htm This compelling romantic drama which, noted the Daily Mail, has "moments of great tenderness and unexpected wit" gains considerably in its dramatic impact from the superbly realized background of the bitter sectarian violence in Northern Ireland. Cal played by John Lynch in a very impressive film debut is a 19 year old unemployed Catholic who is reluctantly drawn into the dangerous and violent world of violent Republicanism becoming an accomplice in the murder of a Protestant policeman. When he gets a job on the lonely farm where the dead man's widow - Helen Mirren - lives with her in-laws, Cal finds himself drawn to her. It is the start of a passionate affair between the guilt-ridden youth and the unhappy woman, a moving romance that ultimately ends in tragedy. For Cal, some of the choices are devastatingly simple - he can work in the abattoir that nauseates him or he can join the dole queue; he can brood on his past or plan a future with Marcella. Springing out of the fear and violence of Ulster, Cal is a haunting love story in a land where tenderness and innocence can only flicker briefly in the dark. Summary of the book The story "CAL" by Bernard Mac Laverty takes place in Northern Ireland (Ulster). The young Irishman Cal lives alone with his father Shamie (both are Catholics) in a town near Belfast in which mainly Protestants live. Cal's mother died when he was 8 years old. Life there isn't easy for Cal. Additionally, Cal sympathizes with the IRA (= Irish Republican Army). Together with his friends Crilly and Skeffington, who are members of the IRA, too, Cal plans criminal acts. Another problem for him is being out of work. So he has time enough to visit the library. One day when he's there to borrow a book he sees a woman, Marcella. He falls in love with her and must always think of this woman. Marcella is much older than Cal, she is a widow and has a daughter. Because of being unemployed Shamie offers Cal a little job: he asks him to sell some wood. Cal accepts and so he tries to sell as much wood as possible. Cal drives to a farm which belongs to the Mortons. There a woman buys the trees or rather logs and asks him to cut them into smaller pieces. A bit later the woman turns out to be Marcella's mother-in-law. The Mortons offer Cal a job on the farm. He has a chance to see Marcella every day! With working on the farm he gets more and more in contact with the Morton family and falls in love with Marcella. But there is something threatening in the air: Cal took part in the murder of her husband by driving the car for the murderer. Nobody knows this. Time passes and Cal tries to separate from his "friends" Crilly and Skeffington and the IRA after having been the driver for some of their illegal activities. Later in the story Shamie's and Cal's house is burned down by militant Protestants, so Cal lives secretly in a derelict building on the farm. When the Mortons discover it, he's allowed to stay there. At the end of the story Marcella falls in love with Cal and both become lovers until finally the police arrest him. http://www.schule.de/englisch/cal/contents.htm
IRELAND CONFLICT 4th century BC Celts settled in Ireland; high level in the fine arts and music 432 Romans conquered England but not Ireland
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) 1171 Royal English Army invaded Ireland; small part around Dublin under English control; Henry II becomes Lord of Ireland After the Norman Invasion in 1170, Henry II of England attached Ireland to his kingdom by establishing control in an area around Dublin. The Irish adopted English administrative practices and the English language while receiving protection and leadership from London. The British tried to extend their domination on the rest of Ireland, but did not succeed until the sixteenth century. For the Irish population England therefore became a threat for Ireland. 16th century England settled Protestants from Scotland in Ulster on the best land In 1609, under the reign of Queen Elizabeth, England controlled Ireland, with the exception of the provinces of Ulster. They had built an effective alliance against the British Kingdom and their Army. After long fights Ulster was brought under English control and the leaders of Ireland left Ulster for Europe. By 1703, barely 5% of Ulster was in the hands of Catholic Irish. The native Irishmen were then excluded from the towns and had to settle in the mountains and bogs on the margins of the land they had owned. The plantation of Ulster was the beginning of a new culture in Ireland with different languages and several foreign communities. Mainly, two hostile groups occupied the region. That's why the situation then could be called the beginning of the conflicts today. 1650 Oliver Cromwell invaded Ireland; population nearly halved within 10 years; Irish shipped to America 1801 Ireland under British control; Irish language forbidden; In 1801, Westminster abolished the Irish parliament and government to gain more direct control over the Irish. The Act of Union created the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. During the next century movements were attempted to overthrow the Union. Some of these movements were parliamentary, some of them took place with physical force. 1845 ff. Great Famine; more than 1.000.000 people immigrated to the US 1916 Easter Rising in Dublin During the Easter week of 1916 an armed rising was attempted, but did not succeed. The leaders were executed which created a wave of sympathy for the IRA and Sinn Fein. In 1918, Sinn Fein replaced the old Irish Parliament and established its own Irish Parliament. The resulting Anglo-Irish War between Republicans (IRA) and Britain was ended by peace treaties. From then on, Ulster Protestants succeeded in their position to exclude Northern Ireland (Ulster) from the Home Rule arrangements. The Government of Irish Act recognised and confirmed their suggestion by partitioning the island. The following Civil War in 1921 saw two positions. Those who were willing to accept the treaty and those who thought that living in Northern Ireland was a betrayal. Northern Ireland consisted of six county administrations which could be easily held by the British Union. For the security of Northern Ireland, the British MPs established a police force and a police reserve to prevent the Irish from beginning another civil war. 1949 Republic of Ireland (Eire) founded; Ulster remained British Civil Rights Movement after 1969 The Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association was founded in 1967 to demand liberal reforms including a policy change of the discrimination in the allocation of jobs and houses. The resulting civil disorder could not be managed by the local administration, therefore the British government sent in troops to enforce order and imposed Direct Rule on Northern Ireland. Around 1969-70 the militant fights between the IRA and the British Forces started, reaching a sad top in 1972 with 468 people killed. On January the 30th 1972, the British Army's first Parachute Regiment opened fire on unarmed civilian demonstrators in Derry, killing 13 of them. This day is also known as Bloody Sunday. It still is one of the key-events of 'The Troubles' which actually were rather a civil war. Peace Talks & the Agreement It took another 22 years on the long road to the talks table until the first Ceasefire Declaration on August 31st, 1994 was announced by the IRA. This marked the beginning of the Peace Process which in April 1998 resulted in an "Agreement covering civil rights issues and relationships". This agreement could be put into practise despite the neglecting attitude of fringe groups on both sides and the fact that the old thinking still prevailed with many people.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) The Main Parties Unionists: Unionists are the successors of those who opposed Home Rule in the 19th century. The two main parties are: Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) with party leader David Trimble. The UUP formed the government from 1921-1972. The UUP is rather unwilling to share the executive power with non-Unionists parties and is opposed to the involvement of the Irish Republic in Northern Ireland. Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) with its party leader Ian Paisley. The DUP holds all positions much more extremely than the UUP. Ian Paisley, Reverend of a Free Presbyterian Church in Belfast, is an absolute opponent of the Catholic Church. Nationalists: The main party of the Nationalists is the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SLDP), led by John Hume. The main aim of the Nationalists is to unite Northern Ireland with the Republic of Ireland. Unlike Sinn Fein, who wants to "free" Northern Ireland of the British by more drastic and perhaps more militant methods, the SLDP campaigns for peaceful reforms. Sinn Féin ("We Ourselves") is committed to a united Ireland. This party has historic links to the IRA although it has long insisted that the organisations are separate. It is led by Gerry Adams. "Our objective is to end British rule in Ireland. We seek national self-determination, the unity and independence of Ireland as a sovereign state" (from: Sinn Féin Homepage). The Paramilitary Organisations The republican paramilitary organisations, of which the IRA is by far the most important, believe that only force will remove the British from Ireland. Initially they saw themselves as defenders of the Northern Catholic minority, but later spread their military activities throughout Northern Ireland, Britain and Europe. There is disagreement about whether loyalist violence is essentially reactive, but certainly the pattern of loyalist violence has shadowed republican violence. There has been a major shift in the form of violence since 1990, with loyalists for the first time killing more victims than republicans. It has been speculated that this rise in loyalist violence may be connected to the failure of recent political talks." The Terrorist Threat in Northern Ireland The Armed Forces in Northern Ireland support the RUC in operations against both Republican and Loyalist terrorists. Currently, both groupings retain their arsenals of weapons, ammunition and explosives. Whilst the loyalists are currently maintaining their ceasefire, they are capable of using violence for their own political ends. How the conflict has an influence on Northern Ireland’s inhabitants It is often alleged that the Northern Ireland Conflict has a religious background. Nonetheless the truth is that it is merely a political one. Without a doubt it is, like most other conflicts about power and influence. One fraction, the catholic inhabitants of Ireland want it to belong to the Republic of Ireland, which explains the fact why they are called Republicans. On the other side, there are the Loyalists, so-called because they are loyal to Great Britain in which Northern Ireland is integrated since its conquest by the Protestants in 1641. Coexistence and co-operation between the two religious groups has always been difficult but since 1969 tensions have dramatically increased due to the formation of paramilitary groups on both sides. Barbed wire, soldiers all over the place and violence belong to Northern Ireland’s everyday life. These facts are all revealed in the movie “Cal”. The motion picture, named after its main character, describes the difficult situation Ireland is/was in a very detailed way. The dark colours used in the movie represent extremely well the depressive and hopeless situation of young people in Northern Ireland. Remarkably no nice weather is ever shown in the whole movie, which cannot only be explained by Ireland’s geographic situation but mostly by the director’s aim to indicate Cal’s desperate situation. On the one hand the movie tells us a very personal story about the main-character’s life. On the other hand it sometimes also shows the Northern Ireland Conflict in graphic detail and in all its brutality. This conflict, which has actually nearly been a civil war from 1969 up to 1994, is very explicitly depicted in the movie. It is not only personal fates that are portrayed, but also the fate of thousands of people, of a whole generation. On the one hand they are terrorised by the opposing group’s paramilitaries and on the other hand they are put under pressure by their own groups to support and help them. This is exactly what happens to Cal. He is beaten up by a group of young Protestants, due to the fact that he is Catholic and lives in a Protestant residential area. Nonetheless he is traumatised from his experience as a driver for the IRA and therefore does not want to turn to this Catholic organisation for help – due to the fact that they are recruiting any young Catholic man for their terrorist attacks. Nevertheless a former friend of his, who is still IRA-member contacts him and forces him to take part in another terrorist coup. Owing to Cal’s refusal to cooperate he is brought to the IRA’s district leader Mr Skeffington who intimidates him and makes him take part in the end. Another thing that strongly influences people and the way they live are the checkpoints, which can basically be found everywhere. Northern Ireland’s cities are full of checkpoints, barbed wire and British soldiers. These measures have been taken to prevent a full-scale bloodshed. All these things are part of the everyday life and many people cannot imagine life any
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) different anymore. In Cal it is indicated that people have already gotten used to all these things and do not see it as an inconvenience anymore. It is clear that the conflict plays a major part in the lives of people who live in Northern Ireland. Nonetheless we should not forget that it is already their daily routine and that they have gotten used to this problem. Of course many problems arise owing to this obviously never-ending story of bloodshed and diverse opinions. As the film shows very well your job, housing and the places where you go shopping are determined by the religious belief you follow.
The Management and Resolution of the Conflict "'The Northern Irish problem' is a term widely used in Northern Ireland and outside as if there were an agreed and universal understanding of what it means. It is more accurate and more productive to consider the issue not as a 'problem' with the implication that a solution lies around the corner for anyone ingenious enough to find it, but as a tangle of interrelated problems: There is a central constitutional problem: what should be the political context for the people of Northern Ireland? Integration with Britain? A united Ireland; independence? There is a continuing problem of social and economic inequalities, especially in the field of employment; there is a problem of cultural identity, relating to education, to the Irish language and to a wide range of cultural differences; there is clearly a problem of security; there is a problem of religious difference; there is certainly a problem of the day-to-day relationships between the people who live in Northern Ireland. All of these are elements of the problem, but none can claim dominance. Each affects the others. Any approach to change needs to take into account all elements of the problem. Viewed against this broader context, an evaluation of conflict relations policy over the last 20 years can point to some successes: discrimination in the allocation of housing, a major grievance in 1969, has been removed; integrated schooling has been encouraged, and the segregated schools attended by the vast majority of children are required to introduce the concepts of cultural diversity and mutual understanding; minority cultural expression, especially through the use of the Irish language, has been allowed and even encouraged through the acceptance of a small number of Irish language schools. At local government level, 11 of Northern Ireland's 26 councils were in 1993 operating a power-sharing regime. On the other side of the balance, a number of major problems remain. Catholics are much more likely to be unemployed than are Protestants, more than twice as likely in the case of males. The problem of violence remains as persistent as ever. Progress towards a more general political solution has been disappointing. Since the introduction of direct rule from Westminster in 1972 there have been six attempts to reach a political accord. Prior to 1993 Sinn Féin was excluded from all major political talks, mainly because unionist parties refused to talk with terrorists. In 1988 and 1993, however, those whom they regarded as the leaders of the SDLP and Sinn Féin held two series of bilateral talks. The consequences remain to be seen. 1993: The Downing Street Declaration, jointly announced by the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, John Major, and the Irish Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds, introduced for the first time the possibility of Sinn Féin becoming involved in talks. The condition was an ending of violence for at least three months. The Northern Ireland Conflict Northern Ireland is split into two camps: the Catholics and the Protestants. It is remarkable that although these are two religious groups it is not a religious but a political conflict. The question argued about for hundreds of years is whether Northern Ireland is to belong to Great Britain or to Ireland. In the last few decades this conflict has culminated in a great bloodshed. The IRA and other paramilitary groups were formed. Some experts are of the opinion that violence is not only used to bring the other camp to agree to their opponents’ ideas but also to make the world public aware of the Northern Ireland Conflict. In recent years a peace-process has been started and violence reduced to a minimum. Although the situation has already improved extensively the last step towards peace and so-called “normality” has not yet been taken. The DUP wants photographical evidence that the IRA really destroys her weapons. Nonetheless the latter will not agree to this because this could be perceived as an act of weakness and it would be a great humiliation for them. On the long run this will lead to a delay of the peace-process but experts think that eventually the photos will be published and peace will be possible.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
Genetic Engineering (abbreviated) Genetic engineering, genetic modification (GM), and the now-deprecated gene splicing are terms for the process of manipulating genes, usually outside the organism's normal reproductive process. It often involves the isolation, manipulation and reintroduction of DNA into cells or model organisms, usually to express a protein. The aim is to introduce new characteristics such as making a crop resistant to a herbicide, introducing a novel trait, or producing a new protein or enzyme. Examples include the production of human insulin through the use of modified bacteria, the production of erythropoietin in Chinese Hamster Ovary cells, and the production of new types of experimental mice such as the OncoMouse (cancer mouse) for research, through genetic redesign. Since a protein is specified by a segment of DNA called a gene, future versions of that protein can be modified by changing the gene's underlying DNA. One way to do this is to isolate the piece of DNA containing the gene, precisely cut the gene out, and then reintroduce (splice) the gene into a different DNA segment. Applications One of the best known applications of genetic engineering is that of the creation of genetically modified organisms (GMOs). There are potentially momentous biotechnological applications of GM, for example oral vaccines produced naturally in fruit, at very low cost. This represents, however, a spread of genetic modification to medical purposes and opens an ethical door to other uses of the technology to directly modify human genomes. While protein and molecule engineers often times acknowledge the requirement to test their products in a wide variety of environments to determine if they pose dangers to life, the position of many genetic engineers is that they do not need to do so, since the outputs of their work are 'substantially the same as' the original organism which was produced by the original genome(s). A radical ambition of some groups is human enhancement via genetics, eventually by molecular engineering. See also: transhumanism. Genetic engineering and research Although there has been a tremendous revolution in the biological sciences in the past twenty years, there is still a great deal that remains to be discovered. The completion of the sequencing of the human genome, as well as the genomes of most agriculturally and scientifically important plants and animals, has increased the possibilities of genetic research immeasurably. Expedient and inexpensive access to comprehensive genetic data has become a reality, with billions of sequenced nucleotides already online and annotated. Now that the rapid sequencing of arbitrarily large genomes has become a simple, if not trivial affair, a much greater challenge will be elucidating function of the extraordinarily complex web of interacting proteins, dubbed the proteome, that constitutes and powers all living things. Genetic engineering has become the gold standard in protein research, and major research progress has been made using a wide variety of techniques. Ethics Proponents of genetic engineering argue that the technology is safe and that it is necessary in order to maintain food production that will continue to match population growth and help feed millions in Third World countries more effectively. Others argue that there is more than enough food in the world and that the problem is food distribution, not production, so people should not be forced to eat food that may carry some degree of risk. Others oppose genetic engineering on the grounds that genetic modifications might have unforeseen consequences, both in the initially modified organisms and their environments. For example, certain strains of maize have been developed that are toxic to plant eating insects (see Bt corn).
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Activists opposed to genetic engineering say that with current recombinant technology there is no way to ensure that genetically modified organisms will remain under control, and the use of this technology outside secure laboratory environments carries unacceptable risks for the future. Some fear that certain types of genetically engineered crops will further reduce biodiversity in the cropland; herbicidetolerant crops will for example be treated with the relevant herbicide to the extent that there are no wild plants ('weeds') able to survive, and plants toxic to insects will mean insect-free crops. This could result in declines in other wildlife (e.g. birds) which depend on weed seeds and/or insects for food resources. Proponents of current genetic techniques as applied to food plants cite the benefits that the technology can have, for example, in the harsh agricultural conditions of Africa. They say that with modifications, existing crops would be able to thrive under the relatively hostile conditions providing much needed food to their people. Proponents also cite golden rice and golden rice 2, genetically engineered rice varieties (still under development) that contain elevated vitamin A levels. There is hope that this rice may alleviate vitamin A deficiency that contributes to the death of millions and permanent blindness of 500,000 annually. Proponents say that genetically-engineered crops are not significantly different from those modified by nature or humans in the past, and are as safe or even safer than such methods. There is gene transfer between unicellular eukaryotes and prokaryotes. There have been no known genetic catastrophes as a result of this. They argue that animal husbandry and crop breeding are also forms of genetic engineering that use artificial selection instead of modern genetic modification techniques. It is politics, they argue, not economics or science, that causes their work to be closely investigated, and for different standards to apply to it than those applied to other forms of agricultural technology. Proponents also note that species or genera barriers have been crossed in nature in the past. An oft-cited example is today's modern red wheat variety, which is the result of two natural crossings made long ago. Economic and political effects • • • Many opponents of current genetic engineering believe the increasing use of GM in major crops has caused a power shift in agriculture towards Biotechnology companies gaining excessive control over the production chain of crops and food, and over the farmers that use their products, as well. (e.g. Romania) Many proponents of current genetic engineering techniques believe it will lower pesticide usage and has brought higher yields and profitability to many farmers, including those developing nations. A few GM licenses allow farmers in less economically developed countries to save seeds for next year's planting. In August 2002, Zambia cut off the flow of Genetically Modified Food (mostly maize) from UN's World Food Program. Although there were claims that this left a famine-stricken population without food aid, the U.N. program succeeded in replacing the rejected grain with other sources, including some foods purchased locally with European cash donations. In rejecting the maize, Zambians cited the "Precautionary Principle" and also the desire to protect future possibilities of grain exports to Europe. In December 2005 the Zambian government changed its mind in the face of further famine and allowed the importation of GM maize. In April 2004 Hugo Chávez announced a total ban on genetically modified seeds in Venezuela. In January 2005, the Hungarian government announced a ban on importing and planting of genetic modified maize seeds, although these were authorised by the EU.
• • •
Human Genetic Engineering (abbreviated) Applications Curing medical conditions When treating problems that arise from genetic disorder, one solution is gene therapy. A genetic disorder is a situation where some genes are missing or faulty. When this happens, genes may be expressed in unfavorable ways or not at all, and this generally leads to further complicatons. The idea of gene therapy is that a non-pathogenic virus or other delivery system can be used to insert a piece of DNA--a good copy of the gene--into cells of the living individual. The modified cells would divide as normal and each division would produce cells that express the desired trait. The result would be that he/she would then have the ability to express the trait that was previously absent at least partially. This form of genetic engineering could help alleviate many problems, such as diabetes, cystic fibrosis, or other genetic diseases.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Adapting humans to new specifications Some people say that using genetic engineering to drastically change people's genomes could enable people to regrow limbs, the spine, the brain. It could also be used to make people stronger, faster, smarter, or to increase the capacity of the lungs, among other things. If a gene exists in nature, it could be brought over to a human cell. Positive reasoning Some people say genetic engineering could improve the human race. The human race would be able to adapt and survive in more environments and situations than are currently possible. For example, humans can't breathe the atmosphere on Mars, nor live in the sea. Genetically engineered people, theoretically, could. People could then comfortably live in an area currently difficult or impossible to live in. Ethical considerations • • • • • • We could choose to have changes made to us, but we might also be making the choice for our children if the changes are carried through to the germline. Do we have that right, and how far should we take our ability? Conversely, is it responsible and ethically acceptable to leave the potentials of our children to the chance effects of the "genetic lottery", if we obtain the technological capacity to make positive changes? If genetic engineering became the way of the future, would people whose parents could not afford to genetically 'modify' them while still in an embryo, have a chance of achieving with high standards compared to the people who were 'modified' to be perfect? Is it ethical to experiment on embryos that have yet to be born? How would genetic engineering be used to revolutionize warfare? Who decides which changes will be made?
Social considerations • • • • • Would society treat genetic engineered people differently, either to a higher or lower standard? What would happen to society that would not change over? Would they be left behind, would they be considered second class humans? What if this created a different species of human, would they still be able to interbreed, would they want to? What place would genetically engineered humans and regular humans have in society? Could unequal access to genetic engineering lock in or exaggerate current class divisions?
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Its allegorical theme is set in the world of an authentic mental hospital, a place of rebellion exhibited by a energetic, flamboyant, wise-guy anti-hero against the Establishment, institutional authority and status-quo attitudes (personified by the patients' supervisory nurse). Expressing his basic human rights and impulses, the protagonist protests against heavy-handed rules about watching the World Series, and illegally stages both a fishing trip and a drinking party in the ward - leading to his own paralyzing lobotomy. The film's title was derived from a familiar, tongue-twisting children's folk song. The one that flies over the cuckoo's nest [the mental hospital filled with "cuckoo" patients] is the giant, 'deaf-mute' Chief. An energetic, swaggering, wisecracking, non-conformist, rebellious patient/prisoner Randle Patrick "Mac" McMurphy, 38 years old, is escorted into the ward where he meets some of the bizarre, memorable patients/inmates (most of whom are voluntarily committed): • • • a silent, dignified, huge and towering Indian giant "Chief" Bromden, aka "Broom" - a "deaf and dumb Indian" "as big as a god-damn tree trunk" - with a father blinded after many years of alcoholism a pathetic, incessantly stuttering, paranoid boychild, thirty-year old Billy Bibbit - shy, virginal, impressionable, and deathly afraid of his mother an insecure neurotic Charlie Cheswick lacking self-confidence
McMurphy is assigned to a ward supervised by a consistent, bureaucratic authoritarian named Nurse Mildred Ratched and soon senses he must battle her, antagonized by her emasculating, slightly sadistic, and domineering attitude in a chaotic group therapy session. While the non-restricted patients board a field trip bus during a restorative outdoor exercise period, he teaches those left behind, including the Chief, an "old Indian game" - basketball, in a fenced-in court. "It's called, uh, put the ball in the hole." With card-shark skill, he introduces card games and black jack gambling (betting cigarettes) to the dull monotonous routine of the inmates. First with subtle mind games, he rebels against correct behavior and the rules of the hospital laid down by the self-righteous and cooly-controlled Nurse, unwilling to yield to her power over his life-affirming spirit and cunning manhood. The patients are organized and controlled through a rigid set of authoritarian rules and regulations that McMurphy questions. The contest of wills with the Nurse is played out as a struggle to win the other inmates over to his way of thinking and behaving by establishing a political majority, to lead various group insurrections, and to emphasize how they have been denied their freedom of will. In a group therapy meeting, McMurphy begs Nurse Ratched to rearrange the "carefully worked out schedule" so that the inmates can watch the opener of the World Series baseball game on TV. To intimidate his liberating challenge to the leadership of the ward and to cause no disruption to the ward's precise schedule, she refuses: "Some men on the ward take a long, long time to get used to the schedule. Change it now and they might find it very disturbing." The Nurse proposes a vote to decide the matter, knowing that authority is on her side against the slavish, malleable, drugged-out patients. Only three votes support the request and he can't believe it: "What is the matter with you guys? Come on! Be good Americans." In a dramatic, riveting, and memorable scene, McMurphy strains and struggles valiantly to pick up a tremendous marble wash station, gritting his teeth - but he cannot lift it. As he strides from the room, he turns toward the patients, refusing to acknowledge defeat, maintaining by his example that it is better to try and fail than to meekly accept an unsatisfactory status. During the next therapy session, Nurse Ratched determinedly presses Billy with questions about emotional disturbances resulting from a domineering mother. By controlling the patients, she serves her own ego needs rather than the therapeutic needs of the patients. There is another vote about watching the second game of the World Series. McMurphy encourages his usually compliant and spiritless fellow patients. Nine votes are counted in the therapy group and McMurphy senses victory in this round over her. But Nurse Ratched refuses to have the other inmates won over to him and changes the rules to defeat the proposal. When the Chief slowly raises his hand, McMurphy is elated, but the steely-willed Nurse rejects the vote of 10 to 8 and forbids them to watch television. She claims that the vote when the meeting adjourned was 9 to 9. In the most wellremembered sequence in the film, McMurphy pretends to be enjoying the second World Series baseball game on TV in a contest of wills with the Nurse. He inventively re-creates the excitement of the game. His excitement proves infectious - the other patients join him and look up at the dark television screen that reflects their faces - they almost believe that the game is real.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) In another evaluation session with Dr. Spivey, the doctor offers his diagnosis of McMurphy's mental health state: "I don't see any evidence of mental illness. I think that you've been trying to put us on all this time." To prove a point about the fine line between normality and abnormality, McMurphy demonstrates some stereotypical "crazy" behaviors; "Is that crazy enough for you? You want me to take a s--t on the floor?" In one of the film's funniest sequences, he hijacks the field trip bus and escapes with his fellow inmates for a wild fishing field trip. On the way, he picks up a prostitute friend named Candy. McMurphy flaunts his disobedience and convinces the charter boat harbor manager that the men are a group of doctors. Although the group is jubilant during the liberating trip, the boat actually spins in circles on the open water when Cheswick takes the wheel. The inmates come back with a full catch of fish and smiles on their faces - their holiday away from the hospital has done them more good than a therapy session. They are greeted at dockside by the police and Dr. Spivey. In a meeting in Dr. Spivey's office, the institution's doctors agree that McMurphy is "dangerous" and possibly a threat to society, but probably not insane. Nurse Ratched wants to keep McMurphy in the hospital, not to "help him" but because she is determined to control him and break him. McMurphy asks Nurse Ratched and the other patients about his indeterminate length of stay and realizes that most of the patients are voluntary and self-committed, and have the freedom to leave at any time if they choose. The inmates are not crazy at all - merely helpless misfits in the outside world, and accepting of their fate in the walls of the institution. To all of the inmates, he tells them that they are no more insane than the Nurse or any of the asylum wardens. Inspired by McMurphy's instigating, "challenging observations," the patients begin to use their minds and express their feelings, questioning the authoritarian Nurse and the system that keeps them locked up. However, the therapy session degenerates when the patients end up fighting with each other over cigarettes. McMurphy smashes his fist through the glass panels of the Nurses' Station and seizes a carton of cigarettes. When a guard tries to restrain him, they get into a vicious wrestling match and fist-fight. The Chief enters the struggle to help even the odds. As punishment, Cheswick, McMurphy, and Chief Bromden are shackled and sent upstairs to the 'Disturbed' ward to receive electro-shock treatments. There while waiting on a bench, McMurphy realizes, to his surprise that Bromden has faked being deaf and dumb to close himself off from a hypocritical society. They plan an escape together. Later after his treatment, McMurphy walks zombie-like into a therapy session in progress on the ward, and the inmates respond affectionately to his return as he sparks them back to life. He jokes to Billy about the effectiveness of shock treatments. McMurphy's last bold victory overextends his reach, when he plans a pre-escape party with alcohol and prostitutes. After bribing the night watchman with booze, he smuggles two girlfriends, Candy and Rose into the ward for a wild drinking party. The patients enjoy themselves, the entire ward is quickly destroyed. McMurphy has an opportunity to leave, but hesitates when young Billy Bibbit expresses disappointment his departure - and then wishes a last-minute "date" with Candy. McMurphy persuades Candy to sleep with Billy so that he can experience life's fruits and lose his virginity. The next morning, the ward orderlies find the place in a shambles. McMurphy has drunkenly fallen asleep on the floor. Nurse Pilbow discovers Billy Bibbit in bed with Candy in one of the rooms. The patients applaud his conquest when he joins them in the ward, smiling from ear to ear. But Billy is forced to "explain everything," and made to feel guilty about experiencing and enjoying sex. Threatening to inform his mother about his behavior, thereby emasculating him, the repressive Nurse knows how to exploit Billy's weaknesses and torment him. There are disastrous results - Billy begins stammering again and feels so guilty and selfhating that he commits suicide by slitting his own throat. McMurphy is unable to make a quick break for it through the window in time but might have escaped to freedom during the confusion. But he goes beserk beyond control when he learns of Billy's death, feeling personally responsible for his new-found friend. When the Nurse authoritatively instructs everyone to "calm down" and "go on with our daily routine," he attempts to strangle her for having cruelly contributed to Billy's suicide. In retaliation, McMurphy is restrained and led away. Rumors spread that he has escaped, or that he has been brought upstairs and is "as meek as a lamb." In the middle of the night, McMurphy is returned to the ward - lobotomized, glassy-eyed, catatonic, totally passive, and obediently captive. In the film's conclusion, inmate Chief Bromden realizes that "Mac" has had surgery on his brain. [A frontal lobotomy is the surgical severance of nerve fibers connecting the frontal lobes to the thalamus, commonly practiced in the 1930s-1950s on mentally-disordered patients.] He knows that McMurphy has lost his vital vigor and will never be able to escape with him to Canada. He hugs his friend and then ends his misery to free him from the bondage of his existence in an act of mercy killing. Bromden smothers and suffocates McMurphy with a pillow. Then, with his tremendous strength and inspired by McMurphy's liberating example, proving that a single person can still overcome oppressive conditions, he picks up the marble wash station from the tub room and smashes through the window with it. He escapes from the cuckoo's nest, flying away to the outer worl. The other inmates remain incarcerated in the locked ward of the hospital after everything that has transpired.
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Oscar Wilde – The Importance of Being Ernest Major characters John "Jack" Worthing: Jack is the play's protagonist and the play's most sympathetic character. He was found in a handbag on a railway line, and feels less at home in aristocratic society than does Algernon. He lives in the country but has invented a wicked brother named "Ernest" whose scrapes require Jack's attendance in the city. Algernon Moncrieff: Algernon, the foil to Jack, is a hedonist who has created a friend named Bunbury whose status as a permanent invalid allows Algernon to leave the city whenever he pleases. He believes this activity, "Bunburying," is necessary, especially if one is going to get married—something he vows never to do. Lady Bracknell: Lady Bracknell is the antagonist of the play, blocking both potential marriages. She embodies typical Victorian classism; she does not allow Gwendolen to marry Jack when she finds out he is an orphan, and she dislikes Cecily as a mate for her nephew Algernon until she learns that Cecily is wealthy. Gwendolen Fairfax: Gwendolen is Lady Bracknell's daughter, and is the object of Jack's romantic attention. Though she returns his love, Gwendolen appears self-centered and flighty. Like Cecily, she desires nothing but to marry someone named Ernest. Cecily Cardew: Cecily is Jack's ward and lives with him in the country. Young and pretty, she is favored by Algernon, who pretends to be Jack's brother Ernest. Cecily has heard about this brother, and has written correspondences between the two of them for months by the time she meets Algernon/Ernest. Like Gwendolen, she is only interested in marrying a man named Ernest. Miss Prism: Miss Prism is the Cecily's governess. She obviously loves Chasuble, though the fact that he is a priest prohibits her from telling him so directly. Lane: Algernon's butler delivers a number of droll lines which show that he is far from a passive servant. Chasuble: A rector, Chasuble frequently visits Jack's country house to see Miss Prism. Though he is celibate, he seems well matched for the educated Miss Prism. Merriman: Jack's butler, Merriman has a less significant role than Lane has, but in one scene he and another servant force the bickering Gwendolen and Cecily to maintain supposedly polite conversation. Major Themes Plot Overview Jack Worthing, the play’s protagonist, is a pillar of the community in Hertfordshire, where he is guardian to Cecily Cardew, the pretty, eighteen-year-old granddaughter of the late Thomas Cardew, who found and adopted Jack when he was a baby. In Hertfordshire, Jack has responsibilities: he is a major landowner and justice of the peace, with tenants, farmers, and a number of servants and other employees all dependent on him. For years, he has also pretended to have an irresponsible black-sheep brother named Ernest who leads a scandalous life in pursuit of pleasure and is always getting into trouble of a sort that requires Jack to rush grimly off to his assistance. In fact, Ernest is merely Jack’s alibi, a phantom that allows him to disappear for days at a time and do as he likes. No one but Jack knows that he himself is Ernest. Ernest is the name Jack goes by in London, which is where he really goes on these occasions—probably to pursue the very sort of behavior he pretends to disapprove of in his imaginary brother. Jack is in love with Gwendolen Fairfax, the cousin of his best friend, Algernon Moncrieff. When the play opens, Algernon, who knows Jack as Ernest, has begun to suspect something, having found an inscription inside Jack’s cigarette case addressed to “Uncle Jack” from someone who refers to herself as “little Cecily.” Algernon suspects that Jack may be leading a double life, a practice he seems to regard as commonplace and indispensable to modern life. He calls a person who leads a double life a “Bunburyist,” after a nonexistent friend he pretends to have, a chronic invalid named Bunbury, to whose deathbed he is forever being summoned whenever he wants to get out of some tiresome social obligation. At the beginning of Act I, Jack drops in unexpectedly on Algernon and announces that he intends to propose to Gwendolen. Algernon confronts him with the cigarette case and forces him to come clean, demanding to know who “Jack” and “Cecily” are. Jack confesses that his name isn’t really Ernest and that Cecily is his ward, a responsibility imposed on him by his adoptive father’s will. Jack also tells Algernon about his fictional brother. Jack says he’s been thinking of killing off this fake
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) brother, since Cecily has been showing too active an interest in him. Without meaning to, Jack describes Cecily in terms that catch Algernon’s attention and make him even more interested in her than he is already. Gwendolen and her mother, Lady Bracknell, arrive, which gives Jack an opportunity to propose to Gwendolen. Jack is delighted to discover that Gwendolen returns his affections, but he is alarmed to learn that Gwendolen is fixated on the name Ernest, which she says “inspires absolute confidence.” Gwendolen makes clear that she would not consider marrying a man who was not named Ernest. Lady Bracknell interviews Jack to determine his eligibility as a possible son-in-law, and during this interview she asks about his family background. When Jack explains that he has no idea who his parents were and that he was found, by the man who adopted him, in a handbag in the cloakroom at Victoria Station, Lady Bracknell is scandalized. She forbids the match between Jack and Gwendolen and sweeps out of the house. In Act II, Algernon shows up at Jack’s country estate posing as Jack’s brother Ernest. Meanwhile, Jack, having decided that Ernest has outlived his usefulness, arrives home in deep mourning, full of a story about Ernest having died suddenly in Paris. He is enraged to find Algernon there masquerading as Ernest but has to go along with the charade. If he doesn’t, his own lies and deceptions will be revealed. While Jack changes out of his mourning clothes, Algernon, who has fallen hopelessly in love with Cecily, asks her to marry him. He is surprised to discover that Cecily already considers that they are engaged, and he is charmed when she reveals that her fascination with “Uncle Jack’s brother” led her to invent an elaborate romance between herself and him several months ago. Algernon is less enchanted to learn that part of Cecily’s interest in him derives from the name Ernest, which, unconsciously echoing Gwendolen, she says “inspires absolute confidence.” Algernon goes off in search of Dr. Chasuble, the local rector, to see about getting himself christened Ernest. Meanwhile, Gwendolen arrives, having decided to pay Jack an unexpected visit. Gwendolen is shown into the garden, where Cecily orders tea and attempts to play hostess. Cecily has no idea how Gwendolen figures into Jack’s life, and Gwendolen, for her part, has no idea who Cecily is. Gwendolen initially thinks Cecily is a visitor to the Manor House and is disconcerted to learn that Cecily is “Mr. Worthing’s ward.” She notes that Ernest has never mentioned having a ward, and Cecily explains that it is not Ernest Worthing who is her guardian but his brother Jack and, in fact, that she is engaged to be married to Ernest Worthing. Gwendolen points out that this is impossible as she herself is engaged to Ernest Worthing. The tea party degenerates into a war of manners. Jack and Algernon arrive toward the climax of this confrontation, each having separately made arrangements with Dr. Chasuble to be christened Ernest later that day. Each of the young ladies points out that the other has been deceived: Cecily informs Gwendolen that her fiancé is really named Jack and Gwendolen informs Cecily that hers is really called Algernon. The two women demand to know where Jack’s brother Ernest is, since both of them are engaged to be married to him. Jack is forced to admit that he has no brother and that Ernest is a complete fiction. Both women are shocked and furious, and they retire to the house arm in arm. Act III takes place in the drawing room of the Manor House, where Cecily and Gwendolen have retired. When Jack and Algernon enter from the garden, the two women confront them. Cecily asks Algernon why he pretended to be her guardian’s brother. Algernon tells her he did it in order to meet her. Gwendolen asks Jack whether he pretended to have a brother in order to come into London to see her as often as possible, and she interprets his evasive reply as an affirmation. The women are somewhat appeased but still concerned over the issue of the name. However, when Jack and Algernon tell Gwendolen and Cecily that they have both made arrangements to be christened Ernest that afternoon, all is forgiven and the two pairs of lovers embrace. At this moment, Lady Bracknell’s arrival is announced. Lady Bracknell has followed Gwendolen from London, having bribed Gwendolen’s maid to reveal her destination. She demands to know what is going on. Gwendolen again informs Lady Bracknell of her engagement to Jack, and Lady Bracknell reiterates that a union between them is out of the question. Algernon tells Lady Bracknell of his engagement to Cecily, prompting her to inspect Cecily and inquire into her social connections, which she does in a routine and patronizing manner that infuriates Jack. He replies to all her questions with a mixture of civility and sarcasm, withholding until the last possible moment the information that Cecily is actually worth a great deal of money and stands to inherit still more when she comes of age. At this, Lady Bracknell becomes genuinely interested. Jack informs Lady Bracknell that, as Cecily’s legal guardian, he refuses to give his consent to her union with Algernon. Lady Bracknell suggests that the two young people simply wait until Cecily comes of age, and Jack points out that under the terms of her grandfather’s will, Cecily does not legally come of age until she is thirty-five. Lady Bracknell asks Jack to reconsider, and he points out that the matter is entirely in her own hands. As soon as she consents to his marriage to Gwendolen, Cecily can have his consent to marry Algernon. However, Lady Bracknell refuses to entertain the notion. She and Gwendolen are on the point of leaving when Dr. Chasuble arrives and happens to mention Cecily’s governess, Miss Prism. At this, Lady Bracknell starts and asks that Miss Prism be sent for. When the governess arrives and catches sight of Lady Bracknell, she begins to look guilty and furtive. Lady Bracknell accuses her of having left her sister’s house twenty-eight years before with a baby and never returned. She demands to know where the baby is. Miss Prism confesses she doesn’t know, explaining that she lost the baby, having absentmindedly placed it in a handbag in which she had meant to place the manuscript for a novel she had written. Jack asks what happened to the bag, and Miss Prism says she left it in the cloakroom of a railway station. Jack presses her for further details and goes racing offstage, returning a few moments later with a large handbag. When Miss Prism confirms that the bag is hers, Jack throws himself on her with a cry of “Mother!” It takes a while before the situation is sorted out, but before too long we understand that Jack is not the illegitimate child of Miss Prism but the legitimate child of Lady Bracknell’s sister and, therefore, Algernon’s older brother. Furthermore, Jack had been originally christened “Ernest John.” All these years Jack has unwittingly been telling the truth: Ernest is his name, as is Jack, and he does have an unprincipled younger brother—
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Algernon. Again the couples embrace, Miss Prism and Dr. Chasuble follow suit, and Jack acknowledges that he now understands “the vital Importance of Being Earnest.”
Major Themes Manners and sincerity: The major target of Wilde's scathing social criticism is the hypocrisy that society creates. Frequently in Victorian society, its participants comported themselves in overly sincere, polite ways while they harbored conversely manipulative, cruel attitudes. Wilde exposes this divide in scenes such as when Gwendolen and Cecily behave themselves in front of the servants or when Lady Bracknell warms to Cecily upon discovering she is rich. However, the play truly pivots around the word "earnest." Both women want to marry someone named "Ernest," as the name inspires "absolute confidence"; in other words, the name implies that its bearer truly is earnest, honest, and responsible. However, Jack and Algernon have lied about their names, so they are not really "earnest." But it also turns out that they were both inadvertently telling the truth (or most of it, at least). The rapid flip-flopping of truths and lies, of earnestness and duplicity, shows how truly muddled the Victorian values of honesty and responsibility were. Dual identities: As a subset of the sincerity theme (see above), Wilde explores in depth what it means to have a dual identity in Victorian society. This duality is most apparent in Algernon and Jack's "Bunburying" (their creation of an alter ego to allow them to evade responsibility). Wilde hints that Bunburying may cover for homosexual liaisons, or at the very least serve as an escape from oppressive marriages. Other characters also create alternate identities. For example, Cecily writes correspondence between herself and Ernest before she has ever met him. Unlike real men, who are free to come and go as they please, she is able to control this version of Ernest. Finally, the fact that Jack has been unwittingly leading a life of dual identities shows that our alter egos are not as far from our "real" identities as we would think. Critique of marriage as a social tool: Wilde's most concrete critique in the play is of the manipulative desires revolving around marriage. Gwendolen and Cecily are interested in their mates, it appears, only because they have disreputable backgrounds (Gwendolen is pleased to learn that Jack was an orphan; Cecily is excited by Algernon's "wicked" reputation). Their shared desire to marry someone named Ernest demonstrates that their romantic dreams hinge upon titles, not character. The men are not much less shallow—Algernon proposes to the young, pretty Cecily within minutes of meeting her. Only Jack seems to have earnest romantic desires, though why he would love the self-absorbed Gwendolen is questionable. However, the sordidness of the lovers' ulterior motives is dwarfed by the priorities of Lady Bracknell, who epitomizes the Victorian tendency to view marriage as a financial arrangement. She does not consent to Gwendolen's marriage to Jack on the basis of his being an orphan, and she snubs Cecily until she discovers she has a large personal fortune. Idleness of the leisure class and the aesthete: Wilde good-naturedly exposes the empty, trivial lives of the aristocracy— good-naturedly, for Wilde also indulged in this type of lifestyle. Algernon is a hedonist who likes nothing better than to eat, gambol, and gossip without consequence. Wilde has described the play as about characters who trivialize serious matters and solemnize trivial matters; Algernon seems more worried by the absence of cucumber sandwiches (which he ate) than by the serious class conflicts that he quickly smoothes over with wit. But Wilde has a more serious intent: he subscribes to the late19th-century philosophy of aestheticism, espoused by Walter Pater, which argues for the necessity of art's primary relationship with beauty, not with reality. Art should not mirror reality; rather, Wilde has said, it should be "useless" (in the sense of not serving a social purpose; it is useful for our appreciation of beauty). Therefore, Algernon's idleness is not merely laziness, but the product of someone who has cultivated an esteemed sense of aesthetic uselessness. Farce: The most famous aspect of Oscar Wilde's literature is his epigrams: compact, witty maxims that often expose the absurdities of society using paradox. Frequently, he takes an established cliché and alters it to make its illogic somehow more logical ("in married life three is company and two is none"). While these zingers serve as sophisticated critiques of society, Wilde also employs several comic tools of "low" comedy, specifically those of farce. He echoes dialogue and actions, uses comic reversals, and explodes a fast-paced, absurd ending whose implausibility we overlook because it is so ridiculous. This tone of wit and farce is distinctively Wildean; only someone so skilled in both genres could combine them so successfully.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
Roald Dahl - The Landlady The Landlady is one of Dahl's most famous stories and it's been dramatized on television at least once. Billy Weaver arrives in Bath after taking the train from London. He's never been to the town before, but he's due to start a new job there soon and he's excited at the prospect. He heads toward The Bell and Dragon, which is a pub he's been told he could spend the night at. On the way though, he notices a sign in the window of a nearby house: "BED AND BREAKFAST." Billy looks in the window and notices that it's a charming house, with a roaring fire and a little dog curled up asleep on the rug. On an impulse, he decides to check it out and rings the bell. It is answered immediately a little old lady who invites him to enter and tells him the room rate. As it's less than half what he was prepared to pay, Billy decides to stay. She tells him that he is the only guest as she takes him to his room. When he goes downstairs to sign the guest-book, he notices that there are only two names in the entire book. The names are over two years old... and what's more, they strike him as being familiar. As he struggles to remember where he's heard the names before, the landlady brings him a cup of tea. He seems to remember that one of them was an Eton schoolboy that disappeared, but she assures him that her Mr. Temple was different. Billy sits down before the fire with his tea and notices a strange odor that comes from the woman, something like walnuts or new leather. They begin talking about the former guests, and she notes that both of them were handsome young men just like him. He asks if they left recently, and she replies that both of them are still in the house on the fourth floor. Billy is confused and tries to change the subject by commenting on a parrot in a cage, which he thought was alive but just realized is stuffed. The landlady reveals that she herself stuffed the bird, and as she is a taxidermist she stuffs all her own pets. Billy realizes with a shock that the little dachsund by the fire isn't alive. He also notices a curious bitter almond taste in his tea, and he asks the landlady again: "Haven't there been any other guests here except them in the last two or three years?" She gives him a little smile as she replies, "No, my dear. Only you." (If you don't get it, here's what happens: she poisoned the other two men and stuffed them. Billy has read of their disappearances in the newspaper, and now he's to be the next victim! The bitter almond taste in his tea is potassium cyanide.) SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome) Severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) was an atypical pneumonia that first appeared in November 2002 in Guangdong Province of the People's Republic of China. The disease is now known to be caused by the SARS coronavirus (SARS CoV), a novel coronavirus. It can be spread through both sexual and casual contact. As the Chinese government suppressed news of the SARS outbreak, the disease spread rapidly, reaching Hong Kong and Vietnam in late February 2003, and then to more than two dozen countries in Asia, North America, South America, and Europe via international travellers before the SARS global outbreak of 2003 was contained. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a total of 8098 people worldwide became sick with SARS during the 2003 outbreak; 774 of these died (a mortality rate of around 10%). In May 2005 the disease itself was eradicated by the WHO and it became the second disease in mankind to be eradicated (the other was smallpox).
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
Clinical information Symptoms Initial symptoms are flu-like and may include: fever, lethargy, gastrointestinal symptoms, cough, sore throat and other nonspecific symptoms. The only symptom that is common to all patients appears to be a fever above 38 °C. Shortness of breath may occur later. Symptoms usually appear 2–10 days following exposure. In most cases symptoms appear within 2–3 days. About 10–20% of cases require mechanical ventilation. Physical signs Early physical signs are inconclusive and may be absent. Some patients will have tachypnea and rales on auscultation. Later, tachypnea and lethargy become more prominent. Investigations The Chest X-ray (CXR) appearance of SARS is variable. There is no pathognomonic appearance of SARS but is commonly felt to be abnormal with patchy infiltrates in any part of the lungs. The initial CXR may be clear. Moreover white blood cell and platelet counts are often low. Diagnosis SARS may be suspected in a patient who has: 1. Any of the symptoms including a fever of 38 °C or more AND 2. Either a history of a) Contact (sexual or casual) with someone with a diagnosis of SARS within the last 10 days OR b) Travel to any of the regions identified by the WHO as areas with recent local transmission of SARS (affected regions as of 10 May 2003 were parts of China, Hong Kong, Singapore and the province of Ontario, Canada). A probable case of SARS has the above findings plus positive chest x-ray findings of atypical pneumonia or respiratory distress syndrome. Treatment Antibiotics are ineffective. Treatment of SARS so far has been largely supportive with antipyretics, supplemental oxygen and ventilatory support as needed. Suspected cases of SARS must be isolated, preferably in negative pressure rooms, with full barrier nursing precautions taken for any necessary contact with these patients. There is some evidence that some of the more serious damage in SARS is due to the body's own immune system overreacting to the virus. There may be some benefit from using steroids and other immune modulating agents in the treatment of the more acute SARS patients.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) In December 2004 it was reported that Chinese researchers had produced a SARS vaccine. It has been tested on a group of 36 volunteers, 24 of whom developed antibodies against the virus. Action implemented to restrict the outbreak of SARS WHO set up a network for doctors and researchers dealing with SARS, consisting of a secure web site to study chest x-rays and a teleconference. Attempts were made to control further SARS infection through the use of quarantine. In Singapore and in Hong Kong, schools were closed to contain the spread of SARS. The WHO recommended the screening of airline passengers for the symptoms of SARS. Political and economic reaction 1. On April 1, a European airline laid off a batch of employees owing to a drop in travellers caused by the September 11 attacks and SARS. 2. Severe customer drop of Chinese cuisine restaurants in Guangdong, Hong Kong and Chinatowns in North America, 90% decrease in some cases. Business recovered considerably in some cities after promotion campaigns. 3. In the People's Republic of China, the openness in the later stage of the SARS crisis showed an unprecedented change in the central government's policies. In the past, rarely had officials stepped down purely because of administrative mistakes, but the case was different with SARS, when these mistakes caused international scrutiny. 4. et al.
Xenophobia Xenophobia denotes a phobic attitude toward strangers or of the unknown. It comes from the Greek words ξένος (xenos), meaning "foreigner," "stranger," and φόβος (phobos), meaning "fear." The term is typically used to describe fear or dislike of foreigners or in general of people different from one's self. For example, racism is sometimes described as a form of xenophobia. Prejudice against women cannot be considered xenophobic in this sense, except in the limited case of all-male clubs or institutions. The term xenophilia is used for the opposite behaviour, attraction to or love for foreign persons. A phobia is an "intense anxiety" which follows exposure to the "object of the phobia, either in real life or via imagination or video..." For xenophobia there are two main objects of the phobia. The first is a population group present within a society, which is not considered part of that society. Often they are recent immigrants, but xenophobia may be directed against a group which has been present for centuries. This form of xenophobia can elicit or facilitate hostile and violent reactions, such as mass expulsion of immigrants, or in the worst case, genocide. The second form of xenophobia is primarily cultural, and the object of the phobia is cultural elements which are considered alien. All cultures are subject to external influences, but cultural xenophobia is often narrowly directed, for instance at foreign loan words in a national language. It rarely leads to aggression against persons, but can result in political campaigns for cultural or linguistic purification. Isolationism, a general aversion of foreign affairs, is not accurately described as xenophobia. Xenophilia often leads to racism which can be defined as:
1. The belief that members of one race are superior to members of other races 2. The belief that members of one ethnic group are superior to members of another ethnic group.
3. The belief that capability or behaviour can be racially defined.
4. Aggression or discriminatory behaviour towards members of a certain race or races. 5. Aggression or discriminatory behaviour based upon differences in ethnicity.
6. Ethnically or culturally discriminatory behaviour exhibited by members of the racial, ethnic, or cultural group dominant within a society. 7. The practice of asserting or assuming racially or ethnically defined cultural dominance. 8. The perpetuation of racial, ethnic, or cultural dominance of some groups over others. 9. Opportunity inequality resulting from preferential treatment towards others of a similar cultural background. 10. The act of using political, judicial, civil, and educational systems to oppress one based on their ethnicity.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Part of the debate over the use of racism revolves around the concept of race itself: whether the species homo sapiens contains different races (i.e., whether there is any scientific basis for the concept of race); whether what is generally considered racism is in fact related to race (as opposed to being based on cultural differences); and whether ethnic discrimination between two groups of people within the same race can be considered racism (i.e., whether discrimination or aggression if exhibited by white Christians towards white Jews would constitute racism, usually referred to as AntiSemitism). Beyond this there is debate as to whether the word racism can only be applied to conscious belief or behaviour, if it can extend to people who believe themselves free of racism but in practice unknowingly discriminate or denigrate people of a different ethnic group, if it can extend to people who do not act to prevent instances of racial aggression or discrimination, if it can extend to people who knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate a social structure of racial dominance, or if it can extend to people who treat people similar to themselves preferentially, resulting in a discriminatory effect with ethnic correlations. Some people claim that racism exists or is inherent in all people, but in varying amounts and with varying degrees of selfawareness. Other people define racism as behaviour exhibited only by the culturally dominant ethnic group towards other ethnic groups (i.e., racism cannot be exhibited by ethnic minorities, since they are incapable of reinforcing the existing power structure by discriminating against members of another race.) Institutionalized racism is the manifestation of discrimination through institutions of the society. Intolerance Common forms of intolerance include racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, religious intolerance, and intolerance of differing political views. However, it is not limited to these forms: one can be intolerant of any ideas or anyone. Intolerance is based in prejudice, and can lead to discrimination. In its everyday form, intolerance is an attitude expressed through angry argumentation, looking down at people because of their characteristics or viewpoints, negatively portraying something due to one's own prejudice, etc. On a more extreme level, it can lead to violence - in its most severe form, genocide. Possibly the most infamous example in Western culture is the Holocaust. Colonialism was based, in part, on a lack of tolerance of cultures different than that of the mother country. There is debate as to where a government can use its force to prevent what it defines as hate speech. For example, the First Amendment to the United States Constitution allows such expression of intolerance without criminal action. In some other countries people can be prosecuted for such speech. This is a question of how much intolerance the government should tolerate, and how it decides what constitutes the expression of hate. Doping and drug abuse in sports Doping is the taking of substances with the aim of getting an unfair advantage over competitors. Although this is forbidden and the list of banned substances is very long (from testosterone, a steroid, over beta blockers that enhance stamina to medicines against the common cold). However the list varies from country to country and sport to sport as well as the punishment, nonetheless a life-time ban is common. The case of the sprinter Ben Johnson is quite well known as he was denied his world record due to doping. He tried to justify this by claiming that everyone else was doing it as well. This gave rise to the debate whether doping should be controlled more strictly or whether there should be a relaxation of rules. There are two aspects to this issue: A strict control would allow the competitions to be perfectly fair and the sportsmen would not be endangered by the hazardous side effects of doping substances. On the other hand the list of banned substances contains at the moment many drugs that have no or very little performance enhancing effects but are crucial for treating illnesses such as the flu or the cold. This means that sportsmen suffer far more and longer from these diseases than normal people do as they are not allowed to take medications. A further point that needs to be considered is who is to blame for doping. Is it really the sportsmen themselves or rather their trainers and administrators? Possible questions: Why do you think people cheat? What famous cheats can you think of? Is taking drugs cheating or is it necessary to compete in today’s sporting world? Should sportsmen that are caught doping be banned for life? What could be done to stop cheating and doping? A Grand Alliance
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) The article a grand alliance was written by Zbigniew Brzezinsky, former US security advisor and puppet master of US politics. The article itself is about Brzezinsky’s ideas concerning the US foreign policy. He questions the attitude of the USA towards the rest of the world, especially after 9/11: He believes that the state has overreacted and that the fight against terrorism has become an obsession. On the other hand he is convinced that the world needs the USA thus he would not consider it as favourable if the USA refrains from all foreign interventions as this would lead to further thrive of fundamentalism. He does not agree with Bush’s “War on Terror” as the term is at the same time to specific and vague (what is “Terror”?). He finds the alternated name more acceptable: “Struggle against ideological extremists who do not believe in free societies” Brzezinsky describes the true goal of the USA as being a missionary for democracy, not necessarily only by peaceful, diplomatic means. The reason for this necessity is according to him the commencing political awakening of the world (e.g.: China, middle East). Thus there is a need for the establishment of stable, democratic political systems before the emerging political potential is misused by fundamentalists. In order to accomplish this mission, the support of Europe is required as only then the needed resources are available. He describes Europe as a natural ally as it is the birthplace of democracy and calls for a grand alliance of USA and EU to spread democracy and create a global community. He suggests that the middle East would be a good place to start this mission. Furthermore Brzezinsky compares Bush Jr. to other presidents who had encountered difficult global situations during their presidencies (e.g.: Roosevelt, Churchill, Truman) and how they thrived under this special kind of pressure. He expects a similar change in Bush Jr.
Brave New World Summary In the future our society will have undergone a significant change as all human values will be different and the people will live in the Brave New World. It is a world without a family life where babies are produced in bottles and conditioned so that they are satisfied with their lives which have been planned for them from start to finish. The time is measured After Ford(AF). This refers to Henry Ford’s invention of the first automobile. Chapter 1 The Director shows a group of students the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. The first room is the Fertilising Room in which the first stage of the hatchery process takes place. The ovaries are fertilised and then the foetuses in the incubators are divided into two groups: the Alphas and Betas and the Gammas, Deltas and Epsilons. The first group stays in the incubators whereas the second group’s eggs are multiplied to provide the World State with its less educated servants. The second room is the Bottling Room where the embryo’s are put into bottles which represent the mother’s womb. Then the obedient students, the director and Henry Forster, a scientist, move to the Social Predestination Room in which the embryos are conditioned for their later position in life. Foster and the director explain the students the technological wonders of the BNW. Finally, the group heads towards the Decanting Room and Foster stays behind. Chapter 2 They enter the Nurseries where children are conditioned for their future lives. The students witness the conditioning of babies to fear and dislike nature and books, as they are a Delta group. They also learn about sleep-teaching, where the World State’s propagandistic slogans are drummed into the unconscious minds of the sleeping children. These lessons are repeated very often so that they become part of the children’s personalities. Chapter 3 This is stylistically the most experimental chapter of the novel. The students are brought outdoors to watch children being sexually conditioned to accept and participate in erotic games, without having moral concerns or becoming emotionally attached to the sexual partners. Then Mustapha Mond, one of the 10 World Controllers appears and lectures the students on the evil of family life and the benefits of social security. He quotes Henry Ford: “History is bunk.” However, Mond provides a short overview of BNW’s history, especially why the Nine Years War was a turning point in society as this was the end of life as we know it since the World State was born. Meanwhile, inside the centre Lenina Crown, who also works in the centre, reveals to her friend Fanny an unconventionally monogamous sexual loyalty to Henry Foster, but at the same time admits her attraction to Bernard Marx. Marx is an AlphaPlus psychologist who is not very attractive, too slim and small and likes to be on his own. A “hatching mistake”-alcohol supposedly got in his blood surrogate is said to be responsible for his “odd” behaviour.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Chapter 4 On the same day Lenina tells Bernard that she would like to join him on a holiday to the Savage Reservation in New Mexico. Then she flies of with Henry Foster and Marx leaves to meet his only friend Helmholtz Watson, also an Alpha-Plus who his superiors fear because he is too intelligent. He is an emotional engineer and a successful propaganda writer who, like Bernard, is aware of his individuality. When Bernard leaves Helmholtz he flies to the Community Singery where his Solidarity Group thanks Ford, takes some soma pills and then gets sexually active with the other members since “everyone belongs to everyone else”. Chapter 5 Bernard asks for the director’s permission to go to the reservation. He gets to know that the director once visited the same one years ago and that the girl he had taken with him got lost. The director threatens Bernard to send him to an island if his behaviour does not improve. Chapter 6 Bernard and Lenina travel to the Reservation. They cannot understand the natives’ traditions and are appalled by what they see, e.g. they do not know old age as no one in the civilised world gets old because of the medicine and they do not understand religion or love. They meet John, Linda and the director’s son. For Lenina Linda looks disgusting as she has become fat and ugly.
Chapter 7 John informs Bernard of how his life in the reservation and how he learned how to read and write. He has got a book written by Shakespeare, an author which is forbidden in BNW because his books are old. John also tells Bernard of how he had to suffer because his mother and he were not welcomed in the village since they were so different. Marx sees a possibility of not being sent on an island and decides to take John and Linda back into civilisation. For John Lenina is the most beautiful person in the world. Chapter 8 The following day Bernard, Linda and John come to the Hatchery and Conditioning Centre. The director has to face his son and Linda. As he cannot stand the thought of having a child and seeing such an ugly creature like Linda he flees from the centre and never returns again. Chapter 9 Bernard is now very popular since all the people from the upper-class want to get to know the Savage, John. He is very selfconfident and even boasts in front of Helmholtz. Moreover, he is talking to very influential people about his ideas which are critical of the World State. Bernard needs to show John every detail of civilised life, something which John does not approve of since this includes many factories,... Lenina and John are going out with each other, but as John believes in love in an old-fashioned way Lenina does not understand him as she does not know about love. Meanwhile the Savage’s mother is given a lot of soma so no one needs to care about her. Chapter 10 John refuses to see all the important people again which causes problems for Bernard as he had boasted in front of them earlier. He loses all his self-confidence and is very miserable. Bernard and John visit Helmholtz and Bernard apologises for his misbehaviour. His friends forgive him. The Savage and Helmholtz get along very well. John recites from Shakespeare which moves Helmholtz a lot. He seems to be the only person apart from John who understands what Shakespeare is trying to say. Nonetheless, he does not understand the tragedy of e.g. Romeo & Juliet. Chapter 11 Lenina cannot understand what she feels for John because she does not know about love or any comparable emotions. Thus, she believes that she just needs to make love with John and so she enters his apartment. He is appalled by her behaviour and gets violent. Lenina leaves frightened by his reaction and is even more confused. Chapter 12 John enters the hospital of the dying to see his mother, Linda. The staff cannot understand why he is in such a hurry and why he shows feelings for such an old and ugly person. Everyone else looks very young and nice. All the patients are given a lot of soma to make everything as comfortable as possible. A group of children enters the room in order to be death-conditioned so that death is neither sad nor frightening for them. The children crawl onto Linda’s bed to examine her and the Savage gets really angry. When Linda is dying she does not seem to see John but is only talking about Popé, a man she had used to know in the Reservation. John blames himself for her death. Chapter 13
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) When John wants to leave the hospital he sees a large group of Deltas who are waiting for their soma pills. As Linda had depended on soma John decides to take it away from the Deltas. This causes a riot. Helmholtz is informed about it and together with Bernard he arrives to help the Savage. However, Bernard does not actively take part. The police comes and restores order. Chapter 14 The three of them are brought to the World Controller. Mustapha Mond reveals that he knows about Shakespeare and starts to discuss with John why so many things are forbidden in BNW. The main reason is that so many things are old and therefore no longer good and valuable. They also talk about the reasons why Epsilons and Deltas exist. This is due to the fact that the society needs people who do the work. If one had a factory full of Alphas, people who constantly think, this would not work. Bernard has a nervous break down and is given a lot of soma. He and Helmholtz will be sent to an island where there are more people who know about their individuality. Chapter 15 Mond and John are on their own and their discussion continues. They mainly talk about religion and what people really need. In John’s opinion people need to feel loss and love and should not take soma to forget about their worries. The Controller, on the other hand, explains that if people are conditioned to hate being alone they will never feel miserable. Chapter 16 Helmholtz and Bernard return to Bernard’s flat but the Savage has gone. He moved to a tower in the countryside outside London. He tries to grow his own food and to return to God and beg for mercy. However, the BNW society finds him and they are obsessed by his whip. They ask him to use it after the media had shown how Lenina was hit by the whip as she had asked him why he had not wanted her. The crowd gets more and more excited and start an orgy in the place where John wanted to find himself again. When they return the next day they find John hanging from the stair-rail because he could not stand what he had done.
Themes Manipulation: Takes place in BNW in various forms, to a higher degree than in our world and in a more obvious manner.
Genetic manipulation: natural selection has become “human selection” (think, is this necessarily unnatural?) Humans are no longer born, they are produced in vitro. All vital physical characteristics of a person are formed according to society’s demand. Complete dogma manipulation: People are taught a peculiar world view and basic morals from birth on (remember, children are no longer raised by families). This is done by “neo-pavlovian” conditioning and sleep teaching (examples: sexuality, emotions, equality, attitude towards death etc.). This teaching fulfils one purpose: to make people pleased throughout their controlled life in order to ensure a stable society. All kinds of negative emotions are either extinguished from childhood on or eliminated by the universal drug SOMA. The unquestioned status of SOMA as a solution to all problems is also part of the conditioning. Manipulation of interests: People in BNW are conditioned to like only certain kinds leisure activities selected by the rulers. These activities are expensive to exercise (e.g. expensive equipment) as the economy should profit.
Another form manipulation in “Brave New World” is the use of language by Aldous Huxley. He depicts his utopia in a very negative light, trying to manipulate the reader’s mind. After all happiness (and is it not what we truly live for?) seems to be much greater in BNW then in our society. Education: In BNW education takes the major part in manipulation on people. Education is reduced to teaching precisely plannedthrough moral values and, on the other hand, the mental and physical skills required for fulfilling the task one has to accomplish in society. Neo-pavlovian behavioural conditioning is applied to make young children like what is good for the economy. Methods depicted in the story remind of laboratory experiments done with rats. (significant example: the electric shock teaching. Unconditioned Infants were let being attracted to books which evoked their interest. Then, when they touched the books and played with them the nurse activated a shrieking siren and eventually an electric shock. Effect: children hate books because they think they harm them. After several repetitions dislike becomes stored in their unconsciousness where it stays for the rest of the life and is resistant to rational thinking = a phobia.)
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Furthermore all subjects and activities which would encourage free or critical thinking are abolished and are no longer sought for by the people as this need was also “conditioned away”. Therefore history, cultural history and art are forbidden subjects in BNW. Love & Sexuality: The natural purpose of having sex, namely reproduction, is taken away. Sex has been degraded to yet another form of entertainment. Having children in its initial sense is against the social code. Love is a foreign or meaningless word to most of the society in BNW. Not only love towards a mate but also towards relatives is unknown. Love has been conditioned away. Drugs: SOMA is a mass produced drug with no side-effects, a narcotic-tranquillizer in tablet form. People are conditioned to understand SOMA as a universal solution to all problems. The kind of high you get depends on the doses, reaching from “a little cheer-up” to a period of up to several days of sleep accompanied by typical, pleasant drug effects. SOMA could be interpreted as a substitute for religion and alcohol, leaving out the disadvantages of both. It is a good means of making people more controllable as they will not seek any other ways of solving problems (questioning the totalitarian system or their life-style etc.) because it is simply by far most convenient to swallow happiness in form of a tablet. Seen from a strictly rational point of view (skipping in our consideration our own conditioned moral values) SOMA’s advantages outweigh its disadvantages. It may therefore sound less surprising to hear that the author, Aldous Huxley was a fan of psychoactive drugs himself. Death & Dying: In the BNW the people do not fear death or associate it with any extraordinary emotions. This is due to bla bla bla conditioning blu blä happiness bla bla stable society (you know this!)
Important things to know Means, institutions and forces that determine the individuals’ lives in the BNW society. The Hatchery and Conditioning Centre: - The Fertilising Room: When the foetuses are in the incubators the Alphas and Betas are left alone, but the Gammas, deltas and Epsilons have to undergo Bokanovskification, which means that the eggs are multiplied in order to produce more offsprings from one ova. - The Bottling Room: The embryos are put into bottles which represent the mother’s womb. The various groups receive different substances. - The Social Predestination Room: The embryos are conditioned for their later position in life. For example, future workers in hot countries were trained to enjoy heat. - Sleep-teaching lessons: They are repeated very often while the children are asleep. They are usually rimes which everyone can memorise very easily. There are different sleep- teaching lessons for the various groups. For example, they are trained in Class Consciousness which means that they would not want to be in any other class because they believe their class is the best. This is part of the moral education. - the Nurseries: This is comparable to Pavlov’s experiments with the food, the bell and the production of saliva. The children are shown pictures of flowers in books. As soon as they touch the books they are hurt. The same is repeated with flowers or many other things. The Community Singery: People meet there in their Solidarity Groups. They sing songs together and praise “Our Ford”. Most important is that they take soma pills which make everyone forget their worries and become very happy. Sports and Entertainment facilities: - Cinemas: Here people are shown movies which have been created to give evidence of the perfect BNW. The movies do not contain a very complex story as the writers do not have anything to say. Gulf courses, tennis courts,...: People from the BNW need to participate in a lot of activities so they are never alone. Soma: This is a drug which has been invented to make everyone satisfied with him or herself. There are no side-effects. Main characters D.H.C, Henry Foster, Lenina Crown, Mustapha Mond, Bernard Marx, Helmholtz Watson, John Savage, Linda, Popé Most striking characteristics of the Reservation.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) The natives are mixing Indian traditions with the Catholic god. They still believe in human sacrifices to ask the gods for help. Contrary to the BNW society the people in the Reservation strictly believe in marriage and love. Moreover, children are actually born and they have real parents. Which events lead to John’s disillusionment in the BNW? When Lenina comes to John he believes that she has finally understood everything about love, but she only wants to make love with him and “have him”. She is incapable of understanding his reactions and he gets furious and violent which frightens her very much. The scene when John visits the hospital of the dying in which Linda lies and waits for her death definitely has the greatest influence on John concerning his disillusionment. When his mother dies many small children, who are death-conditioned, so that they do not fear death or anything which is related to it, are in the same room. Because of Linda’s ugliness they climb onto her bed to examine her more closely. The children cannot understand why John is so angry with them and why he is crying. Another important scene is when he tries to leave the hospital and he sees a group of Deltas who are waiting to receive soma. They react like a horde of wild animals when they realise that he wants to take away their soma. They even attack him. Human language in BNW Authors and works from earlier times are strictly forbidden because they contain messages which would either be dangerous for the BNW society or which the people would not be able to understand anyway. Therefore, high works of literature like Shakespeare’s plays, etc. got lost. This cannot have had a positive influence on language. Moreover, during the sleep-teaching lessons the children only hear very simple rimes such as “ending is better than mending”. Thus, the human language has been simplified and it is no longer of any importance to be very skilled in talking or anything like this.
Dreams Dreams are very important. They play a significant role in everyone’s life. However, many people neglect them and do not pay much attention to them. In fact, dreams often try to give you answers to certain questions that bother you and also warn you from danger concerning friends, family and so forth. On the one hand, you should try to interpret them and take them serious, since dreams are the guide to your soul and give you information about your inner fears and hopes. On the other hand, you should not panic if for instance people are killed in your dream. The real meaning of such kind of dream is often harmless. Books about dream interpretation are a good starting point to understand dreams. They give you an idea about what your dream might be about. Unfortunately, those books cannot give you a recipe how to interpret your dreams but they can definitely give you a framework around which you have to build up your own interpretation. As a result of this, people interpret similar dreams differently because certain symbols have such a wide range of possible results in your interpretation. This fact is also due to the dreams having a close connection to your daily life. Pictures, events or happenings which you cannot digest during the day are then processed in the night during sleeping. Scientist have found out that people who do not sleep, and therefore also do not dream, have difficulties in solving their problems. Furthermore this would have a detrimental effect on the imagination of a person. Sleep cycle: One sleep cycle consists of four stages and it lasts for about 90-120 minutes. Dreams occur in any of the four stages of sleep but the most memorable dreams take place during the last stage, which is commonly referred to as REM sleep. Naturally one can have more dreams in one night. This is due to the sleep cycle repeating itself about 4 to 5 times during one night. The dreams dreamt shortly before waking up are, however, the ones we are more likely to remember. Still, some people insist on the fact that they do not dream. In reality, this could not be further from the truth. Everyone spends some time on dreaming but not everyone remembers their dreams. A good way to train remembering dreams is to write them down immediately after you awake. Using a dream diary for that is also a help to interpret the dreams afterwards. After a few dreams you are probably able to see a certain pattern and then it is easier to find out what they mean. Experts support the view that people who are very much in touch with their emotions are more able to recall their dreams than people who regard their emotions as not so important. In fact, 20% of the sleeping time per night of an adult is spent on
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) dreaming. In contrast, babies spend 50% of their sleeping time on dreams. The reason for this is that – compared to adults – little kids are full of new impressions they perceive through their senses like warmth, love or hunger. Examples of dreams: • Daydreams: Daydreaming is normal and very important for human beings. It is level of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness. What is particularly striking is that on average we spend 70-120 minutes a day on day dreaming. • Lucid dreams: During this dream we realize that we are dreaming. Most dreamers wake themselves up once they have noticed that fact. Other dreamers are able to remain in the lucid state of dreaming and become an active participant in their own dreams. • Nightmares: Nightmares are of disturbing nature and after such a dream the dreamer wakes up being anxious and nervous. They might have a real connection to real life and may refer to a problem. Sigmund Freud was a very famous neurologist, more commonly known as the father of psychoanalysis. He revolutionized the study of dreams with his work "The Interpretation Of Dreams". According to him, dreams express the connection between the unconscious and the conscious. We tend to repress our urges and impulses but they have to come to the surface in any form. Freud suggested that this happens when dreaming.
E.A. Poe – Short Stories “The Tell-Tale Heart” (1843) An unnamed narrator opens the story by addressing the reader and claiming that he is nervous but not mad. He says that he is going to tell a story in which he will defend his sanity yet confess to having killed an old man. His motivation was neither passion nor desire for money, but rather a fear of the man’s pale blue eye. Again, he insists that he is not crazy because his cool and measured actions, though criminal, are not those of a madman. Every night, he went to the old man’s apartment and secretly observed the man sleeping. In the morning, he would behave as if everything were normal. After a week of this activity, the narrator decides, somewhat randomly, that the time is right actually to kill the old man. When the narrator arrives late on the eighth night, though, the old man wakes up and cries out. The narrator remains still, stalking the old man as he sits awake and frightened. The narrator understands how frightened the old man is, having also experienced the lonely terrors of the night. Soon, the narrator hears a dull pounding that he interprets as the old man’s terrified heartbeat. Worried that a neighbor might hear the loud thumping, he attacks and kills the old man. He then dismembers the body and hides the pieces below the floorboards in the bedroom. He is careful not to leave even a drop of blood on the floor. As he finishes his job, a clock strikes the hour of four. At the same time, the narrator hears a knock at the street door. The police have arrived, having been called by a neighbor who heard the old man shriek. The narrator is careful to be chatty and to appear normal. He leads the officers all over the house without acting suspiciously. At the height of his bravado, he even brings them into the old man’s bedroom to sit down and talk at the scene of the crime. The policemen do not suspect a thing. The narrator is comfortable until he starts to hear a low thumping sound. He recognizes the low sound as the heart of the old man, pounding away beneath the floorboards. He panics, believing that the policemen must also hear the sound and know his guilt. Driven mad by the idea that they are mocking his agony with their pleasant chatter, he confesses to the crime and shrieks at the men to rip up the floorboards. Analysis: Poe's story is a case of domestic violence that occurs as the result of an irrational fear. To the narrator that fear is represented by the old man's eye. Through the narrator, Poe describes this eye as being pale blue with a film over it, and resembling that of a vulture. Does the narrator have any reason to fear the old man or his eye? Poe writes this story from the perspective of the murderer of the old man. When an author creates a situation where the protagonist tells a personal account, the overall impact of the story is heightened. The narrator, in this particular story, adds to the overall effect of horror by continually stressing to the reader that he or she is not mad, and tries to convince us of that fact by how carefully this brutal crime was planned and executed.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) “The Black Cat” (1843) On the eve of his death, an unnamed narrator opens the story by proclaiming that he is sane, despite the wild narrative he is about to convey. This narrative begins years before, when the narrator’s honorable character is well known and celebrated. He confesses a great love for cats and dogs, both of which, he says, respect the fidelity of friendship, unlike fellow men. The narrator marries at a young age and introduces his wife to the domestic joys of owning pets. Among birds, goldfish, a dog, rabbits, and a monkey, the narrator singles out a large and beautiful black cat, named Pluto, as his favorite. Though he loves Pluto, the narrator begins to suffer from violent mood swings, predominantly due to the influence of alcohol. He takes to mistreating not only the other animals but also his wife. During this uncontrollable rage, he spares only Pluto. After returning home quite drunk one night, the narrator lashes out at Pluto. Believing the cat has avoided him, he vengefully grasps the cat, only to be bitten on the hand. In demonic retaliation, the narrator pulls a penknife from his pocket and cuts out one of the cat’s eyes. Though the narrator wakes the next morning with a partial feeling of remorse, he is unable to reverse the newly ominous course of his black soul. Ignored for certain now by the wounded cat, the narrator soon seeks further retaliation. He is overwhelmed by a spirit of PERVERSENESS, and sets out to commit wrong for the sake of wrong. He hangs Pluto from the limb of a tree one morning. On the night of Pluto’s hanging, the narrator’s family’s house burns down, but he dismisses the possibility of a connection between the two events. The day after the fire, which destroys all the narrator’s possessions, he witnesses a group of neighbors collected around a wall that remains standing. Investigating their shouts of amazement, the narrator discovers the impression of a gigantic cat—with a rope around its neck—on the surface of the wall. The narrator attempts to explain rationally the existence of the impression, but he finds himself haunted by this phantasm over the course of many months. One night, while out drunk, the narrator discovers a black object poised upon a large barrel of alcohol. A new black cat has appeared, resembling Pluto but with a splash of white on his fur. As with Pluto, the narrator experiences a great fondness for the mysterious cat, which no one has seen before. The cat becomes part of the household, much adored by his wife as well. However, following the earlier pattern, the narrator soon cannot resist feelings of hatred for the cat. These murderous sentiments intensify when the narrator discovers that the cat’s splash of white fur has mysteriously taken on the shape of the gallows, the structure on which a hanging takes place. The white fur reveals the mode of execution that claimed Pluto, and the narrator pledges revenge. One day, descending into the cellar of the building with his wife, the narrator almost trips over the cat. Enraged, the narrator grabs an axe to attack the cat, but his wife defends the animal. Further angered by this interference, the narrator turns his rage at his wife and buries the axe in her head. Faced with the evidence of his crime, the narrator considers many options for the body’s disposal, including dismemberment and burial. The narrator eventually decides to take advantage of the damp walls in the basement and entomb the body behind their plaster. Without any difficulty, the narrator creates a tomb in the plaster wall, thereby hiding the body and all traces of his murder. When he finally turns to the cat, it is missing, and he concludes that it has been frightened away by his anger. On the fourth day after the murder, the police arrive unexpectedly at the narrator’s apartment. Cool and collected, the narrator leads them through the premises, even into the basement. Though facing the scene of the crime, the police do not demonstrate any curiosity and prepare to leave the residence. The narrator, however, keeps trying to allay their suspicion. Commenting upon the solid craftsmanship of the house, he taps on the wall—behind which is his wife’s body—with a cane. In response to the tapping, a long, loud cry emanates from behind the wall. The police storm the wall and dismantle it, discovering the hidden corpse. Upon its head sits the missing cat. Analysis: Like in the ‘Tell-Tale Heart the narrator’s descent into madness can be seen in this story. As the he begins to tell his story (flashback), the reader discovers that the man's personality had undergone a drastic transformation which he attributes to his abuse of alcohol and the perverse side of his nature, which the alcohol seemed to evoke. The reader also discovers (with the introduction of Pluto into the story) that the narrator is superstitious, as he recounts that his wife made "...frequent allusion to the ancient popular notion, [that] all black cats [are] witches in disguise." Even though the narrator denies this (much as the narrator in "The Tell-Tale Heart" denies that he or she is insane), the reader becomes increasingly aware of his superstitious belief as the story progresses. The introduction of alcohol as a plot device is also significant because Edgar Allan Poe was a reputedly uncontrollable drunk throughout his lifetime. For many years, his biographers asserted that he died of alcohol poisoning in a gutter in Baltimore. More recent biographies insist that the exact cause of Poe’s death cannot be determined. Regardless, it is certain that Poe suffered from the deleterious effects of alcohol consumption throughout his life. 1) The narrator’s social behaviour when he was a child: kind to animals loved them, cared for others, weak, outsider, lonely strange to others 2) The narrator’s relationship to his wife: towards the end more and more aggressive, balanced, not too intense, superficial (doesn’t love her but her affection for animals) 3) The narrator’s alcohol abuse and its effect: violent, neglects feelings of others ill-used pets (except for Pluto) 4) The narrator’s attitude to Pluto and his new cat: Pluto: respect, close relationship, intense feelings New cat: similar, even more intense
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) “The Pit and the Pendulum” (1843) An unnamed narrator opens the story by revealing that he has been sentenced to death during the time of the Inquisition—an institution of the Catholic government in fifteenth- and sixteenth-century Spain that persecuted all Protestants and heretical Catholics. Upon receiving his death sentence, the narrator swoons, losing consciousness. When he wakes, he faces complete darkness. He is confused because he knows that the usual fate of Inquisition victims is a public auto-da-fé, or “act of faith”— an execution normally taking the form of a hanging. He is afraid that he has been locked in a tomb, but he gets up and walks a few paces. This mobility then leads him to surmise that he is not in a tomb, but perhaps in one of the dungeons at Toledo, an infamous Inquisition prison. He decides to explore. Ripping off a piece of the hem from his robe, he places it against the wall so that he can count the number of steps required to walk the perimeter of the cell. However, he soon stumbles and collapses to the ground, where he falls asleep. Upon waking, the narrator finds offerings of water and bread, which he eagerly consumes. He then resumes his exploration of the prison, determining it to be roughly one hundred paces around. He decides to walk across the room. As he crosses, though, the hem that he ripped earlier tangles around his feet and trips him. Hitting the floor, he realizes that, although most of his body has fallen on solid ground, his face dangles over an abyss. To his dismay, he concludes that in the center of the prison there exists a circular pit. To estimate its depth, the narrator breaks a stone off the wall of the pit and throws it in, timing its descent. The pit, he believes, is quite deep, with water at the bottom. Reflecting upon his proximity to the pit, the narrator explains its function as a punishment of surprise, infamously popular with the Inquisitors. The narrator falls asleep again and wakes up to more water and bread. After drinking, he immediately falls asleep again and imagines that the water must have been drugged. When he wakes up the next time, he finds the prison dimly lit. He remarks that he has overestimated its size, most likely having duplicated his steps during his explorations. The narrator discovers that he is now bound to a wooden board by a long strap wrapped around his body. His captors offer him some flavorful meat in a dish, but no more water. When he looks up, he notices that the figure of Time has been painted on the ceiling. Time, however, has been made into a machine, specifically a pendulum, which appears to be swinging back and forth. The narrator looks away from the ceiling, though, when he notices rats coming out of the pit and swarming around his food. When he returns his focus to the ceiling, he discovers that the pendulum is constructed like a scythe and is making a razor-sharp crescent in its descent toward him. Its progress, however, is maddeningly slow and in a trajectory directly over his heart. Even though he recognizes how dire the situation is, the narrator remains hopeful. When the pendulum gets very close to him, he has a flash of insight. He rubs the food from his plate all over the strap that is restraining his mobility. Drawn by the food, the rats climb on top of the narrator and chew through the strap. As the pendulum nears his heart, the narrator breaks through the strap and escapes from the pendulum’s swing. When he gets up, the pendulum retracts to the ceiling, and he concludes that people must be watching his every move. The walls of the prison then heat up and begin moving in toward the pit. The narrator realizes that the enclosing walls will force him into the pit, an escape that will also mean his death. When there remains not even an inch foothold for the narrator, the walls suddenly retract and cool down. In his fear, however, the narrator has begun to faint into the pit. To his great surprise, though, a mysterious person latches onto him and prevents his fall. The French general Lasalle and his army have successfully taken over the prison in their effort to terminate the Inquisition. Analysis: Unlike the hypersensitive characters from other stories, (e.g. the narrator in “The Tell-Tale Heart,”) this narrator claims to lose the capacity of sensation during the swoon that opens the story. He thus highlights his own unreliability in ways that other narrators resist or deny. The narrative pattern resembles that of other stories, such as “The Tell-Tale Heart,” to the extent that the narrator says and does the opposite of what he originally announces. This story diverges from the pattern, however, in that this narrator’s descriptions are more objectively valid—that is, less concerned with proving the narrator’s own sanity. The story is unusual among Poe’s tales because it is hopeful. The narrator maintains the capacity to recount faithfully and rationally his surroundings while also describing his own emotional confusion. Unlike in “The Tell-Tale Heart,” for example, the burden of emotional distress does not hinder storytelling. The narrative examines the physical and emotional fluctuations of the pure present, leaving historical and moral judgments to the reader. Edgar Allan Poe draws upon actual historical events that occurred in the Spanish city of Toledo, the central command from which the religious persecution of all Jews, Muslims, and accused "heretics" would be put on trial. The French and "General Lasalle," appear to be historically nonexistent, however. In all 3 stories Poe uses the portrayal of explicit violence to create a suspenseful story. Additionally all 3 narrators have excessive fear of something and 2 of them are insane. As in many of Poe’s stories excessive biting and mutilation appear in all 3 stories and are recounted in detail. Harold Pinter – The Caretaker (oral) I’ve chosen to present the topic of dreams and aspirations in Harold Pinter’s “The Caretaker”, since we read the play in class. Naturally, every one of us has, or at least should have, some ambitions and hopes for the future, which is why dreams remain an issue of universal significance. While I am personally still unsure what career I should pursue, the individual aims of the main characters in Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker”, are relatively unambiguous.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) I’d like to divide my presentation into 3 parts, each dedicated to one of the three protagonists of the play. I am going to start off with the dreams and aspirations of Davies, then move on to the intentions of Aston and finally deal with Mick’s future plans. So, as I mentioned, I’m going to begin with the hopes of Davies, who can be seen as the principal character of the play, as it is both named after and centred on him. Davies is old, unemployed, homeless and travelling under an assumed name. A benevolent bystander named Aston rescues him from a fight and invites him to stay at his flat. However, Davies transpires to be heavily dependant on his belongings and personal documents, which he has left at Sidcup 15 years earlier. Without his papers and insurance cards he feels insecure and haunted by the authorities. Furthermore, he is unable to provide references for any job application. In order to retrieve his identity and social status, be employed as a caretaker, and as he says, “get fixed up” or “sorted out”, he is therefore obliged to reach Sidcup. Nevertheless, the stormy weather and his worn out shoes prevent him from leaving Aston’s room. Davies postpones his journey indefinitely and all his hopes are dashed once he is thrown out by Aston. This brings me to the next section of my presentation, namely the aspirations of Aston. In his youth, Aston has been subjected to an electroshock therapy, which severely damaged his brain. Consequently he has remained a social outcast. At present, he is entrusted with the task of renovating his brother Mick’s apartment. For that purpose, Aston intends to build a shed in the garden. It is only after the erection of this workshop, that he can see to his bother flat and one day confront the doctor responsible for his tormented past. Nevertheless, Aston is described as a slow and inefficient worker, and even admits to have difficulties thinking, which is mirrored in his behaviour and speech. He fails to obtain the necessary tools and machinery and it is to be doubted, whether he will ever reach his goals. Lastly, I am going to refer to the third protagonist of the play, Aston’s younger brother Mick. Mick is said to be in the building trade and portrayed as an ambitious man. Alongside building up his business, he has great plans to convert his rundown flat into a luxurious penthouse. Nonetheless, the project remains in the hands of his incompetent brother and Mick is forced to abandon his endeavor. So, in conclusion, one can see that all three characters in Harold Pinter’s play “The Caretaker” have clear-cut hopes for the future, which give their life a certain purpose, even though they are not likely to be achieved.
Lord of the Flies Summary: During an unnamed time of war, a plane carrying a group of British schoolboys is shot down over the Pacific. The pilot of the plane is killed, but many of the boys survive the crash and find themselves deserted on an uninhabited island, where they are alone without adult supervision. The novel begins with the aftermath of the crash, once the boys have reached the island. The first two boys introduced are the main protagonists of the story: Ralph is among the oldest of the boys, handsome and confident, while Piggy, as he is derisively called, is a pudgy asthmatic boy with glasses who nevertheless possesses a keen intelligence. Ralph finds a conch shell, and when he blows it the other boys gather together. Among these boys is Jack Merridew, an aggressive boy who marches at the head of his choir. Ralph, whom the other boys choose as chief, leads Jack and another boy, Simon, on an expedition to explore the island. On their expedition they determine that they are, in fact, on a deserted island and decide that they need to find food. The three boys find a pig, which Jack prepares to kill but finally balks before he can actually stab it. When the boys return from their expedition, Ralph calls a meeting and attempts to set rules of order for the island. Jack agrees with Ralph, for the existence of rules means the existence of punishment for those who break them, but Piggy reprimands Jack for his lack of concern over long-term issues of survival. Ralph proposes that they build a fire on the mountain which could signal their presence to any passing ships. The boys start building the fire, but the younger boys lose interest when the task proves too difficult for them. Piggy proves essential to the process: the boys use his glasses to start the fire. After the boys start the fire, Piggy loses his temper and criticizes the other boys for not building shelters first. He worries that they still do not know how many boys there are, and believes that one of them is already missing. While Jack tries to hunt pigs, Ralph orchestrates the building of shelters for the boys. The littlest boys have not helped at all, while the boys in Jack's choir, whose duty is to hunt for food, have spent the day swimming. Jack tells Ralph that he feels as if he is being hunted himself when he hunts for pigs. When Simon, the only boy who has consistently helped Ralph, leaves presumably to take a bath, Ralph and Jack go to find him at the bathing pool. However, Simon instead walks around the jungle alone, where he finds a serene open space with aromatic bushes and flowers.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) The boys soon become accustomed to the progression of the day on the island. The youngest of the boys, known generally as the "littluns," spend most of the day searching for fruit to eat. When the boys play they still obey some sense of decency toward one another, despite the lack of parental authority. Jack continues to hunt, while Piggy, who is accepted as an outsider among the boys, considers building a sundial. A ship passes by the island, but does not stop, perhaps because the fire has burned out. Piggy blames Jack for letting the fire die, for he and his hunters have been preoccupied with killing a pig at the expense of their duty, and Jack punches Piggy, breaking one lens of his glasses. Jack and the hunters chant "Kill the pig. Cut her throat. Bash her in" in celebration of the kill, while Maurice pretends to be a pig and the others pretend to attack him. Ralph becomes concerned by the behavior of Jack and the hunters and begins to appreciate Piggy's maturity. He calls an assembly in which he criticizes the boys for not assisting with the fire or the building of the shelters. He insists that the fire is the most important thing on the island, for it is their one chance for rescue, and declares that the only place where they should have a fire is on the mountaintop. Ralph admits that he is frightened but there is no legitimate reason to be afraid. Jack then yells at the littluns for their fear and for not helping with hunting or building shelters. He proclaims that there is no beast on the island, as some of the boys believe, but then a littlun, Phil, tells how he had a nightmare and when he awoke saw something moving among the trees. Simon admits that Phil probably saw him, for he was walking in the jungle that night. The littluns begin to worry about the supposed beast, which they conceive to be perhaps a ghost or a squid. Piggy and Ralph fight once more, and when Ralph attempts to assert the rules of order, Jack asks rhetorically who cares about the rules. Ralph in turn insists that the rules are all that they have. Jack then decides to lead an expedition to hunt the beast, leaving only Ralph, Piggy and Simon. Piggy warns Ralph that if Jack becomes chief the boys will never be rescued. That night, during an aerial battle, a pilot parachutes down the island. The pilot dies, possibly on impact. The next morning, the twins Sam and Eric are adding kindly to the fire when they see the pilot and believe him to be a beast. They scramble down the mountain and awake Ralph. Jack calls for a hunt, but Piggy insists that they should stay together, for the beast may not come near them. Jack claims that the conch is now irrelevant, and takes a swing at Ralph when he claims that Jack does not want to be rescued. Ralph decides to join the hunters on their expedition to find the beast, despite his wish to rekindle the fire on the mountain. When they reach the other side of the island, Jack wishes to build a fort near the sea. The hunters, while searching for the beast, find a boar that attacks Jack, but Jack stabs it and it runs away. The hunters go into a frenzy, lapsing into their "kill the pig" chant once again. Ralph realizes that Piggy remains with the littluns back on the other side of the island, and Simon offers to go back and tell Piggy that the other boys will not be back that night. Ralph realizes that Jack hates him and confronts him about that fact. Jack mocks Ralph for not wanting to hunt, claiming that it stems from cowardice, but when the boys see what they believe to be the beast they run away. Ralph returns to the shelters to find Piggy and tells him that they saw the beast, but Piggy remains skeptical. Ralph dismisses the hunters as boys with sticks, but Jack accuses him of calling his hunters cowards. Jack attempts to assert control over the other boys, calling for Ralph's removal as chief, but when Ralph retains the support of the other boys Jack runs away, crying. Piggy suggests that, if the beast prevents them from getting to the mountaintop, they should build a fire on the beach, and reassures them that they will survive if they behave with common sense. Simon leaves to sit in the open space that he found earlier. Jack claims that he will be the chief of the hunters and that they will go to the castle rock where they plan to build a fort and have a feast. The hunters kill a pig, and Jack smears the blood over Maurice's face. They then cut off the head and leave it on a stake as an offering for the beast. Jack brings several hunters back to the shelters, where he invites the other boys to join his tribe and offers them meat and the opportunity to hunt and have fun. All of the boys, except for Ralph and Piggy, join Jack. Meanwhile, Simon finds the pig's head that the hunters had left. He dubs it the Lord of the Flies because of the insects that swarm around it He believes that it speaks to him, telling him how foolish he is and how the other boys think that he is insane. The pig's head claims that it is the beast, and mocks the idea that the beast could be hunted and killed. Simon falls down and loses consciousness. Simon regains consciousness and wanders around. When he sees the dead pilot that the boys perceived to be the beast and realizes what it actually is, Simon rushes down the mountain to alert the other boys of what he has found. Ralph and Piggy play at the lagoon alone, and decide to find the other boys to make sure that nothing unfortunate happens while they play as hunters. When they find Jack, Ralph and Jack argue over who will be chief. When Piggy claims that he gets to speak because he has the conch, Jack tells him that the conch does not count on his side of the island. The boys panic when Ralph warns them that a storm is coming. As the storm begins, Simon rushes from the forest, telling about the dead body on the mountain. The boys descend on Simon, thinking that he is the beast, and kill him. Back on the other side of the island, Ralph and Piggy discuss Simon's death. They both took part in the murder, but attempt to justify their behavior as acting out of fear and instinct. The only four boys who are not part of Jack's tribe are Ralph and Piggy and the twins, Sam and Eric, who help tend to the fire. At the castle rock, Jack rules over the boys with the trappings of an idol. He has kept one boy tied up, and instills fear in the other boys by warning them about the beast and the intruders. When Bill asks Jack how they will start a fire, Jack claims that they will steal the fire from the other boys. Meanwhile, Ralph, Piggy and the twins work on keeping the fire going, but find that it is too difficult to do by themselves. That night, the hunters
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) attack the four boys, who fight them off but still suffer considerable injuries. Piggy learns the purpose of the attack: they came to steal his glasses. After the attack, the four boys decide to go to the castle rock to appeal Jack as civilized people. They groom themselves to appear presentable and dress themselves in normal clothes. When they reach castle rock, Ralph summons the other boys with the conch. Jack arrives from hunting and tells Ralph and Piggy to leave them alone. When Jack refuses to listen to Ralph's appeals to justice, Ralph calls the boys painted fools. Jack takes Sam and Eric as prisoners and orders them to be tied up. Piggy asks Jack and his hunters whether it is better to be a pack of painted Indians or sensible like Ralph, but Roger tips a rock over on Piggy, causing him to fall down the mountain to the beach. The impact kills him. Jack declares himself chief and hurls his spear at Ralph, who runs away. Ralph hides near the castle rock, where he can see the other boys, whom he no longer recognizes as civilized English boys but rather as savages. He crawls near the place where Sam and Eric are kept, and they give him some meat and tell him to leave. While Ralph hides, he realizes that the other boys are rolling rocks down the mountain. Ralph evades the other boys who are hunting for them, then realizes that they are setting the forest on fire in order to smoke him out, and thus will destroy whatever fruit is left on the island. Ralph finally reaches the beach, where a naval officer has arrived with his ship. He thinks that the boys have only been playing games, and scolds them for not behaving in a more organized and responsible manner, as is the British custom. As the boys prepare to leave the island for home, Ralph weeps for the death of Piggy and the end of the boys' innocence. Characters: Ralph - The novel’s protagonist, the twelve-year-old English boy who is elected leader of the group of boys marooned on the island. Ralph attempts to coordinate the boys’ efforts to build a miniature civilization on the island until they can be rescued. Ralph represents human beings’ civilizing instinct, as opposed to the savage instinct that Jack embodies. Jack - the novels antagonist, one of the older boys stranded on the island. Jack becomes the leader of the hunters but longs for total power and becomes increasingly wild, barbaric, and cruel as the novel progresses. Jack, adept at manipulating the other boys, represents the instinct of savagery within human beings, as opposed to the civilizing instinct Ralph represents. Simon - A shy, sensitive boy in the group. Simon, in some ways the only naturally “good” character on the island, behaves kindly toward the younger boys and is willing to work for the good of their community. Moreover, because his motivation is rooted in his deep feeling of connectedness to nature, Simon is the only character whose sense of morality does not seem to have been imposed by society. Simon represents a kind of natural goodness, as opposed to the unbridled evil of Jack and the imposed morality of civilization represented by Ralph and Piggy. Piggy - Ralph’s “lieutenant.” A whiny, intellectual boy, Piggy’s inventiveness frequently leads to innovation, such as the makeshift sundial that the boys use to tell time. Piggy represents the scientific, rational side of civilization. Roger - Jack’s “lieutenant.” A sadistic, cruel older boy who brutalises the littluns and eventually murders Piggy by rolling a boulder onto him. Sam and Eric - twins closely allied with Ralph. Sam and Eric are always together, and the other boys often treat them as a single entity, calling them “Samneric.” The easily excitable twins are part of the group known as the “bigguns.” At the end of the novel, they fall victim to Jack’s manipulation and coercion. The Lord of the Flies - The name given to the sow’s head that Jack’s gang impales on a stake and erects in the forest as an offering to the “beast.” The Lord of the Flies comes to symbolize the primordial instincts of power and cruelty that take control of Jack’s tribe.
Themes Civilization vs. Savagery The central concern of Lord of the Flies is the conflict between two competing impulses that exist within all human beings: the instinct to live by rules, act peacefully, follow moral commands, and value the good of the group against the instinct to gratify one’s immediate desires, act violently to obtain supremacy over others, and enforce one’s will. The conflict between the two instincts is the driving force of the novel, explored through the dissolution of the young English boys’ civilized, moral, disciplined behaviour as they accustom themselves to a wild, brutal, barbaric life in the jungle. Lord of the Flies is an allegorical novel, which means that Golding conveys many of his main ideas and themes through symbolic characters and objects. As the novel progresses, Golding shows how different people feel the influences of the instincts of civilization and savagery to different degrees. Piggy, for instance, has no savage feelings, while Roger seems barely capable of comprehending the rules of civilization. Generally, however, Golding implies that the instinct of savagery is far more primal and fundamental to the human psyche than the instinct of civilization. Golding sees moral behavior, in many cases, as something that civilization forces upon the individual rather than a natural expression of human individuality. When left to their own devices, Golding implies, people naturally revert to cruelty, savagery, and barbarism. This idea of innate human evil is central to Lord of the Flies, and finds expression in several important symbols, most notably the beast and the sow’s head on the stake.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Loss of Innocence As the boys on the island progress from well-behaved, orderly children longing for rescue to cruel, bloodthirsty hunters who have no desire to return to civilization, they naturally lose the sense of innocence that they possessed at the beginning of the novel. The painted savages who have hunted, tortured, and killed animals and human beings are a far cry from the guileless children swimming in the lagoon at the beginning. But Golding does not portray this loss of innocence as something that is done to the children; rather, it results naturally from their increasing openness to the innate evil and savagery that has always existed within them. Golding implies that civilization can weaken but never wipe out the innate evil that exists within all human beings. The forest glade in which Simon sits in Chapter 3 symbolizes this loss of innocence. At first, it is a place of natural beauty and peace, but when Simon returns later in the novel, he discovers the bloody sow’s head impaled upon a stake in the middle of the clearing. The bloody offering to the beast has disrupted the paradise that existed before—a powerful symbol of innate human evil disrupting childhood innocence.
Symbols: Conch: stands for order and civilisation, Ralph is able to assemble all the boys by blowing the conch, who has the conch talks, by increasing savagery of the group conch loses importance, at the end it is crashed which means that civilisation has been fully replaced by savagery. Glasses: power of science and rational thinking, as piggy is the most intellectual of the boys. When savages, led by jack, steal glasses full power over fire and therefore island, burn forest Signal fire: attract passing ships, connection to civilisation, when the hunter let fire out because hunting a pig is more important first hint of savagery. Savages want fun-hunting. fire is boring, don’t want to be rescued. Ordered live of adults. End, ironical not signal fire but forest fire triggered by savages rescues the boys. Beast: not physical. Frightens boys, evokes primary instinct of savagery, want to kill it, they are leaving sacrifices for it, like aboriginal tribes do, indicates like conch symbolises the full takeover a savagery. Simon realises that beats in them, tells, killed, more savage the more beats grows stronger- when the lord of the flies, sows head on a stake-beast, the beast appears physically, boys created it.
Dangerous Obsessions PLOT SUMMARY John Barrett, a vague business acquaintance of Sally and Mark Driscoll suddenly appears at their house finding Sally on her own. He has come to discuss some business with Mark and while they are waiting for him to come home, John closes and secretly locks one of the conservatory doors, keeping the key. Mark enters and when confronted with the intentions of John he asks him to contact his secretary and arrange an appointment because he does not want to discuss the business at that time. John agrees and informs the two that his wife, Jane, has been the victim of an accident. Sally and Mark have first met Jane and John in Torquay. John asks for the bathroom and when not seen, switches their alarm system off and removes the incoming wires from the master junction box so that the telephone does not work. He comes back and after a second refusal of Mark to discuss business with John, he locks the remaining doors and pulls out a gun. Sally tries to press the panic button, without success, as the alarm system has been switched off. Mark tries to threaten John with phoning the police, but John, member of a gun club, fires twice. Sally fetches another drink and thereby tries to call the police, but the phone does not work. John starts questioning the two, informing them about his investigations which he has started after finding love letters of Jane addressed to Mark. After threatening to kill him, it finally results that Mark had an affair with Jane and spent the weekend of the accident with her in a hotel in Bournemouth, registering as Roger Price. He called Sally from this hotel and asked her how her mother was (Sally spent the weekend with her mother, who was in hospital) to make her believe that he was in Jersey for a business appointment. Although Jane and Mark arrived separately, the fact that they left together due to an argument between them, attracted staff gossip in the hotel. Jane was “beginning to take it all too seriously” and was thinking about divorce and remarriage, which gave rise to a disagreement between Mark and Jane. Due to the fact that Sally’s father left her a lot of money, Mark does not want a divorce. Jane got upset and Mark drove the car, having had several dry martinis. They had an accident in which the passenger side was damaged more than the driver’s. Mark thought that Jane was dead (she is actually in
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) coma) and pulled her to the driver’s side, to avoid being breathalysed. However, he did not properly secure the seatbelt, which was another incident for John that she had not been driving, since she would have been thrown out of the car. After having forced Mark to answer all questions, John threatens to kill him in order to pay for what he has done. Sally now has to decide what her part is to be in this family drama. CHARACTERS Sally: kind-hearted, loving, caring, commiserative, distrustful, rude (beginning), irritable, forgetful, naïve, talkative, honest, well-off (father was very wealthy and left her a lot of money), drinks too much, knows of her husband’s affairs but accepts it as long as he doesn’t flaunt it, wants to have children Mark: liar, business man, not commiserative, doesn’t care about others, egoist, has other women, wants Sally’s money doesn’t want a divorce, wants to wait with having a child, he is a bad passenger and always wants to drive himself, irritable, “cheating, lying bastard” (p.53) John: clever, loves Jane, jealous, wants revenge, lunatic?, member of a gun club, did not suspect that Jane had an affair.
Bowling for Columbine You should know: • What is the film about? • Key scenes • Why is the film more popular in Austria? Summary The film's purpose is to explore what Moore suggests are the reasons and causes for the Columbine High School massacre, and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place, and some common public opinions and assumptions about different particular points. The film takes an informal, artistic and up-close-and-personal look into the nature of violence in the United States, focusing on guns as the controversial symbol of both American "Freedom" and its paradoxical self-destruction. It also looks at the claims and beliefs attributed by some to the perpetrators, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, and their ideological associations, as well as the progress of the surviving victims and relatives in dealing with their personal tragedy. Aside from the political points and jabs, the film is about the healing of the nation in the wake of "Columbine" in coming to an understanding of the event and its meaning for the culture at large. The film draws heavily from self-incriminating clips from gun advertisements, corporate training videos, news clips, and political speeches. Depending on perspective, the clips chosen either represent disastrously common American archetypes, or they simply catch a few people unexpectedly. For example various talking heads who carelessly spouted out their verdicts for why the massacre was the fault of everything from "Satan" (Jerry Falwell), to South Park (Byron Dorgan), eventually many agreeing to villainize heavy metal music, and Marilyn Manson's music in particular, which some claimed was an influence (though reportedly Harris and Klebold disliked Manson's music). Another clip shows a local Michigan TV journalist reporting on the death of a child by gun violence, who seems more concerned with his cosmetic appearance and being
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) syndicated on national networks. The apparent dichotomy between those who care about common people and those who do not, and how these categories tend to line up with socio-economic status, is a central focus in Moore's films. There are three parts in the movie when Michael Moore goes up to a person to take an interview but they walk away. The first person was a cop in LA (who when asked about the pollution didn't say anything), the second was Dick Clark (who was in a car leaving when Michael Moore came up to him and asked him about welfare problems. Dick Clark told others to shut the door and then the car drove away.) The third person was Charlton Heston, the head of the NRA, who let Michael Moore take an interview with him because Michael Moore at first sounded like an NRA fan (he told Heston that he was a member, which is true), but when the interview started and Moore started asking about Columbine-related events, Heston got up and walked away (bizarrely, in his own home). Bowling for Columbine also features what is intended as a simplified satirical cartoon about North American history and Moore's discussions with various people, including South Park co-creator Matt Stone; the National Rifle Association's president, Charlton Heston, who suffers from Alzheimer's disease and was allegedly interviewed under false pretenses; and musician Marilyn Manson. Moore seeks to answer, in his own unique style, the questions of why the Columbine massacre occurred, and why the United States then had higher rates of violent crimes (especially crimes involving guns) than other developed nations, in particular Germany, France, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and especially Canada. (Note: crime rates change from year-to-year) Aim The film's purpose is to explore what Moore suggests are the reasons and causes for the Columbine High School massacre, and other acts of violence with guns. Moore focuses on the background and environment in which the massacre took place, and some common public opinions and assumptions about different particular points. The film takes an informal, artistic and up-close-and-personal look into the nature of violence in the United States, focusing on guns as the controversial symbol of both American freedom and its paradoxical self-destruction. In Moore's discussions with various people, including South Park co-creator Matt Stone; the National Rifle Association's president, Charlton Heston, and musician Marilyn Manson, he seeks to answer, in his own unique style, the questions of why the Columbine massacre occurred, and why the United States has higher rates of violent crimes (especially crimes involving guns) than other developed nations, in particular Germany, France, Australia, Japan, the United Kingdom, and especially Canada. Accusations of editorialism Critics of Moore claim it is deceptive to call this film purely a "documentary;" they say it is more accurate to describe it as selective documentary, or as Moore has at times called another of his films, an "op-ed" piece that displays his own views. Moore's critics say the film omits key facts while stringing together other facts to lead to a conclusion, they say, is blatantly untrue, or at the least somewhat deceptive. For example, an early scene has Moore visiting a savings bank which had advertised a complimentary firearm upon the customer's creating a bank account. Moore records his completing of the savings account application, then the film's next scene shows him wielding a gun (specifically, a rifle) in front of the bank. This sequence may lead one to believe is that it is possible to obtain a free gun immediately upon signing an application and without background checks/investigations. What actually occurred between the scenes is that a thorough background screening over the course of weeks was performed on Moore before he was allowed to receive a gun (also not given at the bank). Moore filmed disparate occurrences and strung them together to persuade viewers to conclude the gun was received shortly after opening the account. While the use of free firearms as a marketing ploy may be legitimately questioned, Moore's critics question the means by which he makes this argument. Criticism from pro-gun groups The gun-rights lobby believes that Moore unfairly portrayed lawful gun-owners in the USA as a violence-prone group. While few dispute that the gunshot homicide rate is higher in the US than in other countries, Moore's critics claim his statistics as presented in the montage of other countries sequence are ambiguous  on two counts: first, they maintain Moore's statistics are not adjusted for smaller population of other countries; second, his critics claims most of the other countries' numbers do not include accidental deaths and shootings performed in self-defense, while the US figure does include these. Finally, Moore's opponents argue that other types of violent crime (such as assault with knives or other deadly weapons) were not mentioned, which tend to take the place of gun violence in countries where guns are not prevalent. Another criticism of Moore has to do with his editing of several Charlton Heston speeches. He juxtaposes Columbine pictures with footage of saying "from my cold dead, hands" and says that Heston held a rally ten days afterwards, then shows footage of Heston saying that he is refusing demands that he "don't come here" because "we're already here". Critics charge that this juxtaposition implies that Heston deliberately held a rally after Columbine. The NRA however cancelled all Denver events (except for an annual meeting required by the group's bylaws, which NRA officials say is enforced by a New York State law mandating that the Colorado event could not be cancelled). The "cold, dead, hands" remark was from a different meeting a year later, and the "we're already here" remark was edited in from a different part of the speech, while Moore edited out lines where Heston says he is cancelling the events. Conservatives also accuse Moore of misleading editing when he says "Just as he did after the Columbine shooting, Charlton Heston showed up in Flint, to have a big pro-gun rally." He does not mention that the rally was eight months afterwards rather than immediate, nor that the rally was a "get out the vote" rally done at a time when Bush, Gore, and Moore himself were at rallies. Moore also shows a web page saying "48 hours after Kayla Rolland was pronounced dead" which, critics
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) charge, implies that Heston had the rally 48 hours after the shooting, when the full quote from the web page refers to Bill Clinton appearing on The Today Show, not to Heston. Moore's opponents also accuse him of omitting facts about Kayla Rolland's shooter, saying that "no one knew why the little boy wanted to shoot the little girl" without mentioning that the boy had already been suspended once for stabbing a student with a pencil, that his father was in jail, and that his uncle (from whose house he got the gun) was a drug dealer and the gun had been stolen and exchanged for drugs. Criticism from anti-gun groups Moore argues that high gun ownership is not responsible for violence in America, and instead attempts to argue that there must be something about the American psyche that makes the nation uniquely prone to high rates of murder and shootings. Gun control advocates argue that it is the higher rates of gun ownership, especially handgun ownership, that are to blame for the higher gunshot homicide rate in the US. In support of his claims, Moore argues that Canadian gun ownership levels are as high as the U.S. However, Moore's critics instead claim that high gun ownership in Canada and some other countries is mainly related to hunting rifles, which, they say, are stringently regulated by the government, and mostly owned by people in small towns and rural areas. By contrast, gun deaths in the U.S. are generally related to handguns in inner cities. It is easier to legally purchase a handgun in the United States than in any other industrialized nation. In Bowling for Columbine, Moore claims that it is easy to buy guns in Canada too, and attempts to prove this by buying some ammunition. Conservative opponents of Moore rebuke this, claiming the purchase of a hunting rifle is well regulated in Canada, and that obtaining a handgun is even more difficult. Culture of fear The film explores the idea of a "culture of fear", in which citizens are kept frightened about the world around them and thus turn to guns and other weapons for security. He specifically pillories the media for excessive and overly dramatic coverage of violent crime as a leading cause of this culture. He argues this is an important difference between US and other cultures. For instance, he shows that many Canadians leave their doors unlocked when they are at home. The film includes footage of him testing some doors and finding them unlocked. Gun homicide Moore argues that the higher gun-related homicide rate in the United States is not due to the number of guns there, since, Moore states, Canada also has the same number of gun per capita and yet has fewer gun related homicides. Moore then inquires, if it is not the number of guns in American society, what else could the cause be? He makes suggestions, such as the nation's violent past in subjugating the Native Americans, but he argues that other nations with violent histories, such as Germany and Japan, nevertheless have many fewer murders than the United States does. He also examines American militarism, and takes a personal look at the ways that American society has a smaller "social safety net" to take care of its citizens, compared to other countries. He also suggests a relationship between America's supposed fear of its Black population and the rate of gun ownership and violence.
Violence in “The Green Mile” Plot Summary The Green Mile is a story told in "flashback" by an elderly Paul Edgecomb in a nursing home. He tells a friend about the summer of 1935 when he was a prison guard in charge of death row inmates. His domain was called "The Green Mile" because 1) the linoleum floor was green and 2) condemned prisoners walking to their execution are said to be walking "the last mile". The star of the cellblock was "Old Sparky," the electric chair, sitting peacefully, waiting for its next victim. One day, a new inmate arrives. He is seven-foot-tall (about 213 centimeters) John Coffey, a black man (wrongly) convicted of raping and killing two young white girls. Coffey immediately shows himself to be a "gentle giant", keeping to himself and being moved to tears on occasion. Soon enough, Coffey reveals his extraordinary healing powers by healing Paul Edgecomb's urinary infection and bringing a mouse back from the dead. Later, he would heal the terminally ill wife of the warden. At the same time, Percy Wetmore, a vicious, sadistic guard who takes pleasure in intimidating and injuring inmates, exasperates everyone else in the cellblock. However, he "knows people in high places" (supposedly he was the nephew of the governor), preventing Paul or anybody else from doing anything significant to curb his deviant behavior. What Percy wants is to be put "up front" for (i.e., in charge of) an execution; then, he promises, he will transfer himself to another government job and Paul will never hear from him again. Notwithstanding Coffey's incredible abilities and the wrongness of his conviction, he ends up being executed, due in large part to geographically-based racial overtones (the movie was set in the American South, during a period of racial segregation). Edgecomb thereafter transfers from death row to another prison. His "fate" for not stopping Coffey's execution was that he would outlive all his relatives and friends; as he puts it, he would have to walk his own "green mile."
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) Violence: In the film, not only physical violence is exerted but also human rights seem to be violated. This is illustrated by John Coffee being sentenced to death, regardless of his innocence. Obviously, prejudices against the black community have played a key role, when reaching this verdict. A great deal of violence is performed by Percy Wetmore. Apart from enjoying to injure the prisoners whenever possible and treating them harshly on a physical basis, he thrives on mocking them and putting them down mentally. His killing of the mouse is maybe the most representative example for this. By and large, violence has always found justification in racial discrepancies and the resulting tensions, particularly in the southern States of the U.S. of the 1930’s. Pat Berger
Dead Poets Society Dead Poets Society explores the conflict between realism and romanticism as these contrasting ideals are presented to the students at an all boys preparatory school. Welton Academy is founded on tradition and excellence and is bent on providing strict structured lessons prescribed by the realist, anti-youth administration. With the dawning of each new semester, hundreds of parents abandon their sons, leaving them in the tried hands of Welton staff in hopes that they will raise doctors and lawyers. When a replacement English teacher arrives, who happens to be a Welton alumnus, he brings with him a passion for teaching romanticism, thus opening a never-before-seen world to his students. The story is predominantly viewed through the eyes of Todd Anderson, a newcomer to Welton, and his roommate Neil Perry. Todd is painfully shy and terrified that what he might say is insignificant and meaningless. This is particularly disturbing to him since he is repeatedly told that he has "big shoes to fill" being the younger brother of a former valedictorian. Neil, on the other hand, is bright and full of ambition, which is unfortunately squelched by his overbearing, controlling father. Mr. Perry dictates every detail of his son's life including extra curricular activities, future plans, and specifically what others think of him. The new English teacher John Keating begins his teachings with a fervent lecture on their imminent deaths, explaining to the students that their lives are fleeting so they should seize the day to make their lives count, to leave a legacy of "carpe diem." He continues his teaching by instructing the class to rip out the pages of their books which describe a scientific way to determine the greatness of poetry. He teaches them the works of the romantic poets such as Thoreau and Lord Byron and employs outdoor exercises to warn them of the dangers of conformity and the power of sports as a way which human beings push each other to excel. Amidst these eccentric activities, the students, intrigued with their new teacher, learn that he was a member of the Dead Poets Society. When asked, Keating describes glorious moments of creating gods, but warns them to forget about the idea. Nevertheless, they repeatedly sneak off campus to convene their own version of the Dead Poets Society. Todd is allowed to
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) attend as an exception: since he does not want to read aloud, he keeps minutes of the meetings. Throughout these meetings, each character is able to develop his own romantic or realist nature. The shocking clash between realism and romanticism begins to unfold when Charlie Dalton prints an obnoxious article in the school news in the name of the Dead Poets. The administration is appalled and begins an investigation. Meanwhile, Knox Overstreet fall madly in love with a girl who is practically engaged to the son of his parent's friends. He pursues her relentlessly, driven by romantic ideals, in the face of the threats on his life by her boyfriend. Neil realizes that his real passion in life is acting and proceeds to land the role of Puck in a Midsummer Night's Dream at the local theatre. He begins to weave a tangled web of deception by failing to inform his father, then lying to Mr. Keating when his father finds out and demands he quit the play. Feeling trapped, after his final performance and a standing ovation, he takes his own life. This horrible outrage echoes through the hallowed halls of Welton, applying even greater pressure to the Dead Poets. When Mr. and Mrs. Perry demand a thorough investigation, Welton administration links the Dead Poets Society, which they determined as the cause for the upheaval, to Mr. Keating. Each member is called before the administration and their parents to sign a confession statement indicating that Mr. Keating filled their minds with these lofty ideals ultimately leading to Neil's suicide. Richard Cameron, ultimately a realist concerned most with doing what is already determined to be right, signs the statement and encourages the rest of them to do the same. Knowing full well that Keating was not responsible, Cameron lets him take the rap to free himself. Angered by this betrayal, Dalton punches Cameron in an impulsive fit displaying his final romantic act, only to be expelled. The last to sign, though unwillingly, is Todd, thus removing John Keating from his treasured position. In one final scene, displaying the beauty of a balance between the two ideals, Todd is able to cry out to Mr. Keating, who stopped by the class to collect his belongings, "O Captain, my Captain!". Todd, who previously had no identity, contributed his verse to mankind, climbing to the top of his desk to salute his fallen teacher, who changed his life. Neil Perry Neil couldn't deal with the idea that to give up acting was to quit playing the roles that he lived everyday, and so he killed himself because he "realized that he had not lived" up to that point. Neil seems to symbolize his kneeling down before everyone - such as his father (who takes away all control Neil tries to have - such as the editor of the newspaper) and the school. Perry seems to be symbolic for "perish" and death, foreshadowing Neil's suicide later in the movie. John Keating Keating claims that occupations are noble pursuits to sustain life, but passion is the reason to live, showing his romantic side. This is in direct contrast to what the school teaches. Keating's romanticism was what led to his downfall. When Neil asks him about what the DPS was, he replies that they were romantics - that during the meetings "gods were created, women swooned, and spirits soared." He also mentions that he wishes to forget those times. In his attempt to teach others what he had learned in life about romanticism and how it needed to be controlled, he watched Neil, Nuwanda and Knox enter into extreme romanticism, and that not only led to their downfall, but his as well. Todd Anderson Todd is very quiet with not much to say. He is the youngest of his family and has many expectations laid upon him due to the success of his brother, who also went to Welton and was Valedictorian. His shyness becomes obvious when he is incapable of speaking to anyone of authority including answering questions in class without sounding insecure. Even in the Dead Poets Society, Todd was an observer, not a participant since he was afraid to read out loud. Todd's worst fear is that his life has no meaning, and therefore, he has no verse to contribute. However, by the end of the movie, Todd has found his voice by proving that he could stand up and express himself when it really matters. Todd stands up to Cameron’s accusations of their teacher and is additionally the first to stand on the desk, not only because he feels guilty for signing the confession implying Keating in Neil’s death but mostly because of his respect for Keating. Knox Overstreet Knox is a static character - he doesn’t undergo any kind of self-realization like Todd does. He just throws himself into romanticism and uses that as his interpretation of "carpe diem". Knox's "object of desire" is Chris. His entire existence, including his thoughts, poets and behaviour, revolves around her; he breaks rules to see her and competes for her attention with her boyfriend. He’s ready to do this based on a one-time event where he interacts with her briefly. In the end Knox stands up for what he believes in, mostly because it goes against tradition. Keating taught there's a time for daring and a time for caution, and this was his time of daring. Charlie “Nuwanda” Dalton Charles Dalton's character thrives on attention. He has a "God-complex," meaning he feels that he should always be in control of the situation and that he will not have to face the consequences of any of his actions. Unfortunately, he has to learn the hard way that his actions spark consequences. Nuwanda always looks to see if people are watching him, is always trying to tell people what to do and tries to be the voice of reason for Knox.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
A Beautiful Mind "A Beautiful Mind" relates the story of John Forbes Nash, Jr., a gifted mathematician who overcomes the inner conflict of schizophrenia to achieve the prestigious Nobel Prize. It is a story of tremendous sadness and confusion, as one watches Nash and those dear to him come to terms with his mental illness. The story opens in the late 1940's at a reception for incoming students at the prestigious Princeton University. John Nash has arrived on a Princeton fellowship, much to the amusement of his fellow classmates. Here, he awkwardly attempts to socialize, but soon realizes that he is of a different mindset. He is more aloof and shy than the others and would rather skip class to pursue his one unique idea. That one, unique idea happens to be his theory of "Non-cooperative Games." And it is this theory that helps him achieve a Sloan sabbatical, work at the Institute for Advanced Study at Princeton, a teaching position at MIT, and eventually, the Nobel Prize in mathematics. He is uncomfortable in dealing with people. Asked by his roommate Charles why he doesn't have any friends, Nash responds: "I don't much like people and they don't much like me." Although seemingly comfortable with his shyness, it is this quality that makes him both a mysterious and interesting character. Equally mysterious is the character by the name of Parcher. Parcher is a secret agent who pops in and out of John's life with details of an atomic bomb being kept secretly by the Russians on American soil. To foil the plan, John must crack a variety of codes, detailing the current whereabouts of Russian spies.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs) While working as a teacher at MIT and working covertly for the government, Nash discovers true love. Intrigued and unabashed by his forwardness, a promising young graduate student falls in love with him. Alicia Larde is unaware of the secret life that John keeps. And, after a short courtship, they marry and Alicia becomes pregnant. It is here where John's paranoia begins to settle in. While pregnant, Alicia discovers the truth behind John's work. She meets Dr. Rosen, a psychiatrist who oversees John's treatment consisting of shots of insulin and shock therapy. However, it is not until later in the film that John actually begins to understand his illness. In perhaps one of the most compelling scenes, Dr. Rosen tells John that he cannot reason his problem away because the problem is where his reason comes from. And if not properly treated, it will get worse. Alicia must then choose to have him committed and lose him forever or stay by his side. Very rarely will a film allow us to observe mental illness from the inside. And "A Beautiful Mind" accomplishes this very well. Throughout the first half of the film, we are introduced to characters and situations that seem real, yet we learn later as Nash learns himself that they are creations of his imagination. This dramatic twist in the film changes our perception of everything we've seen and challenges us to decipher between what is real and what is artificial. On the brink of insanity, it is realistically hard to imagine anyone staying with John for any period of time. Although not a complete vegetable, John struggles to cope with his new-found reality and is determined to put his past to rest. And this is certainly a testament to Alicia's commitment and love for John.
TOPICS – ORAL MATURA 2006 – ENGLISH (Jachs)
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