Sujet inédit, séries technologiques, LV1


Document A
« Mary Ann Singleton was twenty-five years old when she saw San Francisco for the first time. She came to the city alone for an eight-day vacation. On the fifth night, she drank three Irish coffees at the Buena Vista, realized that her Mood Ring was blue, and decided to phone her mother in Cleveland.
"Hi, Mom. It's me."
"Oh, darling. Your daddy and I were just talking about you. There was this crazy man on McMillan and Wife(1) who was strangling all these secretaries, and I just couldn't help thinking…".
"I know. Just crazy ol' Mom, worrying herself sick over nothing. But you can never tell about those things. Look at that poor Patty Hearst(2) locked up in that closet with all those awful…".
"Mom… long distance."
"Oh… yes. You must be having a grand time."
"Mom, I want you to do me a favor."
"Of course, darling. Just listen to me. Oh… before I forget it, I ran into Mr Lassiter yesterday at the Ridgemont Mall, and he said the office is just falling apart with you gone. They don't get many good secretaries at Lassiter Fertilizers."
"Mom, that's sort of why I called."
"Yes, darling?"
"I want you to call Mr Lassiter and tell him I won't be in on Monday morning."
"Oh… Mary Ann, I'm not sure you should ask for an extension on your vacation."
"It's not an extension, Mom."
"Well, then why…"
"I'm not coming home, Mom."
Silence. Then, dimly in the distance, a television voice began to tell Mary Ann's father about the temporary relief of hemorrhoids.
Finally, her mother spoke: "Don't be silly, darling."
"Mom… I'm not being silly. I like it here. It feels like home already."
"Mary Ann, if there's a boy…"
"There's no boy… I've thought about this for a long time."
"Don't be ridiculous. You've been there five days!"
"Mom, I know how you feel, but… well, it's got nothing to do with you and Daddy. I just want to start making my own life… have my own apartment and all."
"Oh, that. Well, darling… of course you can.
As a matter of fact, your daddy and I thought those new apartments out at Ridgemont might be just perfect for you. They take lots of young people, and they've got a swimming pool and a sauna, and I could make some of those darling curtains like I made for Sonny and Vicki when they got married. You could have all the privacy you…"
"You aren't listening, Mom. I'm trying to tell you I'm a grown woman."
"Well, act like it, then! You can't just… run away from your family and friends to go live with a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!"
"You've been watching too much TV."
"OK… then what about The Horoscope?"
"The Horoscope. That crazy man. The killer."
"Mom… The Zodiac."
"Same difference. And what about… earthquakes? I saw that movie, Mary Ann, and I nearly died when Ava Gardner…"
"Will you just call Mr Lassiter for me?"
Her mother began to cry. "You won't come back. I just know it."
"Mom… please… I will. I promise."
"But you won't be… the same!"
"No! I hope not." »
Armistead Maupin, Tales of the City, (1978)

Document B
22 year-old Sara has just announced to her parents that she is accepting a trainee job at Life, and that she will not marry Horace and live in Hartford.
« I felt shaky all the way to New York – and more than a little scared. After all, I had directly defied my father – something I had never attempted before. Though I was trying to be dauntless and self-confident, I was suddenly terrified of the thought that I might just lose my parents. Just as I was also terrified by the thought that – if I heeded Father's wish – I would end up writing the "Church Notes" column in the Hartford Courant, and ruing(3) the fact that I had allowed my parents to force me into a small life.
And yes, I did believe I had a destiny. I know that probably sounds vainglorious and absurdly romantic… but at this early juncture in so-called adult life, I had reached one simple conclusion about the future: it had possibilities …but only if you allowed yourself the chance to explore those possibilities. However, most of my contemporaries were falling into line, doing what was expected of them. At least fifty per cent of my class at Bryn Mawr had weddings planned for the summer after they graduated. All those boys trickling home from the war were, by and large, just thinking about getting jobs, settling down. Here we were – the generation who was about to inherit all that post-war plenty, who (compared to our parents) had infinite opportunities. But instead of running with those opportunities, what did most of us do? We became good company men, good housewives, good consumers. We narrowed our horizons, and trapped ourselves into small lives. »
Douglas Kennedy, The Pursuit of Happiness, Arrow Books, 2002

I. Compréhension de l'écrit
Questions on document A
1 Where are Mary Ann and her mother, how do they communicate?
2 Where does Mary Ann usually live precisely? (justify by quoting the text)
3 The location
The scene takes place in the USA. Find in the text the American-English equivalents of the following words:
  • holiday
  • wardrobe
  • shopping centre
  • flat
  • film
4 The main character
a) Write a sentence about the main character (name, age, job, hometown). (20 words)
b) In which city is she and why?
c) What is the relationship between the main character and Mr. Lassiter?
d) Is she appreciated by him? Justify by quoting from the text.
e) What favor does she want her mother to do for her?
(15 words)
5 The mother
a) Choose four adjectives from the following list and use them in a short paragraph to describe the mother's personality: loving/ over-protective/ bossy/ narrow-minded/ indifferent/ apprehensive/ over-imaginative/ interfering/ down-to-earth/ rational. (50 words)
b) What negative image does the mother have of the city? Use elements from the text to illustrate your answer. (20 words)
6 The decision
Focus on the passage from "I want you […]" to the end.
a) What decision has the main character made? (10 words)
b) Pick out three different quotes justifying her decision. Explain in your own words what desires motivated her choice. (40 words)
c) Explain in your own words why the mother begins to cry. Give at least three reasons. (40 words)
Questions on document B
7 Draw a portrait of the narrator (name, sex, age, family, hometown).
8 When does the story take place? Choose the right answer. Justify your answer with one quotation from the last paragraph.
– in the late 1940s – in the late 1960s – in the late 1990s
9 What decisions has the narrator just made?
10 Read from "I felt shaky […]" to "[…] a small life." and explain, in your own words, the inner conflict the narrator is experiencing. (30-40 words)
11 "However, most of my contemporaries were falling into line, doing what was expected of them." Explain in your own words what young people were expected to do at that time. (30 words)
Question on documents A and B
12 Explain how the central protagonist in both these extracts have taken control of their lives.
II. Expression écrite
Vous devez faire un des deux sujets (250-300 mots)
1 Using your own experience, explain how young people gradually gain independence from their parents. Illustrate with examples.
2 Imagine the conversation Sara has with her brother, Eric, when she arrives in New York.
(1)A television program.
(2)The daughter of an American millionaire who was kidnapped in California in 1974.
(3) ruing: regretting

Le sujet pas à pas

I. Compréhension de l'écrit
Questions on document A
Comprendre la question
Vous devez expliquer où se trouvent Mary Ann et sa mère et dire comment elles communiquent entre elles.
Comprendre la question
On vous demande d'expliquer où Mary Ann habite habituellement et de citer l'élément du texte qui vous permet de l'inférer.
The location
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit de trouver les mots en anglais américain dans le texte qui correspondent aux mots listés.
The main character
Comprendre la question
Vous devez :
a) rédiger une phrase pour présenter le personnage principal en indiquant son nom, son âge, sa profession et sa ville natale.
b) dire dans quelle ville elle se trouve dans ce passage et pour quelle raison.
c) expliciter le lien entre le personnage principal et Mr. Lassiter.
d) préciser si M. Lassiter apprécie le personnage principal, en citant le texte pour justifier votre réponse.
e) indiquer le service qu'elle demande à sa mère. (Précisez pourquoi.)
The mother
Comprendre la question
On vous demande :
a) de sélectionner quatre adjectifs dans la liste et de les utiliser pour rédiger un paragraphe sur la personnalité de la mère.
b) d'expliquer l'image négative qu'entretient la mère de la ville. Vous devez utiliser des éléments dans le texte pour illustrer votre réponse.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Voici des synonymes pour vous aider à comprendre les adjectifs les moins communs :
  • over-protective: too careful/ possessive
  • bossy: domineering/ authoritarian
  • narrow-minded: intolerant/ reactionary/ conventional/ provincial
  • interfering: intrusive/ nosy/ inquisitive
  • down-to-earth: practical/ pragmatic/ realistic
The decision
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit :
a) d'expliciter la décision prise par le personnage principal.
b) de repérer trois citations différentes qui justifient sa décision. Vous devez en plus expliquer avec vos propres mots ce qui motive son choix.
c) d'expliquer avec vos propres mots pourquoi la mère se met à pleurer, en donnant au moins trois raisons.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Vous pouvez avoir besoin :
  • de lexique par rapport à l'âge adulte : adult/ grown-up/ adulthood
  • de l'expression du désir : want/ would like  + Complément +  to  + Verbe
  • de lexique de l'inquiétude : worried/ anxious/ frightened/ afraid
  • d'expressions pour énumérer les raisons : firstly/ secondly/ last but not least
Questions on document B
Comprendre la question
Vous devez indiquer la fiche d'identité du personnage : son nom, son sexe, son âge, sa famille et sa ville d'origine.
Comprendre la question
On vous demande de situer le récit dans son contexte historique. (Il s'agit de repérer un indice dans le dernier paragraphe qui permet d'identifier la période historique.)
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit de montrer que vous avez repéré les décisions que le narrateur vient de prendre.
Comprendre la question
Vous devez expliquer avec vos propres mots le trouble intérieur qui envahit le narrateur.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Vous pouvez avoir besoin :
  • d'expressions pour souligner le contraste : on the one hand, she… on the other hand, she
  • d'expressions pour présenter la division dans son esprit : be in two minds/ divided/ unsure/ have mixed feelings
  • des expressions de peur : afraid/ scared/ frightened that  + Sujet +  might  + Verbe
Comprendre la question
On vous demande d'expliquer ce qui était attendu des jeunes gens à cette époque.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Vous pouvez avoir besoin :
  • de synonymes pour 'be expected to' : it was assumed that…/ they were supposed to…
  • d'expressions en lien avec 'wedding' : marriage/ (to) get married
  • d'expressions en lien avec 'getting jobs' : start work/ enter active employment
  • d'expressions en lien avec 'settling down' : set up home/ buy a house
  • de synonymes pour 'company men' : employees/ workers
  • de synonymes pour 'housewives' : wives/ mothers
  • de synonymes pour 'consumers' : shoppers/ clients
Question on documents A and B
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit d'expliquer en quoi chacun des protagonistes a su prendre le contrôle de sa vie.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Les notions suivantes pourront vous servir :
  • l'idée de s'opposer : resist/ stand up to/ take a stand against
  • l'idée de se rebeller : defy/ rebel/ disobey/ challenge
  • l'idée de contrôler : be in control of/ take control of/ manage/ be the boss
II. Expression écrite
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit d'exprimer votre point de vue sur la prise d'indépendance progressive des jeunes gens par rapport à leurs parents dans un essai argumentatif. Comment s'organise-t-elle aujourd'hui ? Vous devez illustrer votre réponse avec des exemples.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Pour un essai argumentatif, il faut mobiliser :
Les expressions d'opinion :
  • to my mind/ in my opinion/ from my point of view/ as far as I'm concerned
Les mots de liaison pour articuler votre discours :
  • en renforcement : indeed/ moreover/ what's more
  • pour marquer une opposition : however/ and yet/ on the one hand… on the other hand…
Des expressions pour contextualiser vos arguments :
  • expressions pour les différents âges : child/ children/ teenager/ adult/ parent  ; childhood/ adolescence/ adulthood/ parenthood
  • expressions par rapport à l'indépendance : independent/ self-supporting/ self-sustaining  ; stand on one's own two feet/ think for oneself/ make one's own decisions
Procéder par étapes
  1. Préparez vos idées en suivant la progression de l'âge et le développement de l'indépendance.
  2. Rédigez votre réponse en évitant d'exprimer les idées pour lesquelles vous ne maîtrisez pas l'anglais.
  3. Contrôlez la qualité de votre anglais.
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit de rédiger une conversation entre Sara et son frère Eric (qui vit déjà à New York et qui connaît les difficultés avec leurs parents).
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Une conversation nécessite l'utilisation de l'anglais oral ; par exemple, des formes contractées (it's/ don't…), l'usage de l'impératif (tell me…/ don't worry), ou encore de formules idiomatiques :
  • What's up?/ What's the matter?/ What's wrong?
  • Are you okay?/ Are you alrignt?/ Is everything okay?
  • It's not worth  + V-ing/ It's no use  + V-ing
Chaque personnage joue un rôle précis dans la conversation :
  • pour Sara, elle exprime sa colère envers ses parents, et aussi ses propres inquiétudes ;
  • pour Eric, il la rassure.
Procéder par étapes
  1. Réfléchissez aux grandes lignes de la conversation.
  2. Rédigez la conversation au brouillon.
  3. Contrôlez la précision linguistique de votre brouillon (grammaire, lexique) puis recopiez-le au propre.


I. Compréhension de l'écrit
Questions on document A
1 Mary Ann is in San Francisco at the Buena Vista and her mother is in Cleveland, they communicate on the phone.
2 She usually lives with her parents in Cleveland, I quote: "I just want […] have my own apartment and all".
3 The location
  • holiday: vacation
  • wardrobe: closet
  • shopping centre: mall
  • flat: apartment
  • film: movie
4  The main character
a) The main character's name is Mary Ann Singleton who is twenty-five years old and she is a secretary, she is from Cleveland.
b) She is in San Francisco where she is on holiday for a week.
c) She is one of Mr. Lassiter's employees, she works for him as a secretary.
d) She is clearly appreciated by Mr. Lassiter.
"[…] the office is just falling apart with you gone."
"They don't get many good secretaries at Lassiter's Fertilizers."
e) As she has decided she won't come back from San Francisco, she would like her mother to phone the firm and announce Mr. Lassiter she won't go back to work.
5  The mother
a) The mother really loves her daughter, she seems to be used to calling her darling, which shows she is loving. Moreover she is a possessive mother since she wants her daughter to live not far from them, consequently we can say she is both over-protecting and interfering. All in all, she has a very negative image of San Francisco and is prejudiced against that city which she thinks is very dangerous which implies that she is over-imaginative.
b) She is worried for her daughter who is there because she has clichés in mind about a city which can be dangerous: "[…] a bunch of hippies and mass murderers!", "And what about… earthquakes?"
6  The decision
a) The main character has decided to stay in San Francisco and won't come back.
b) "Mom… I'm not being silly. I like it there. It feels like home already."
"I just want to start making my own life… have my own apartment and all."
"[…] I'm trying to tell you I'm a grown woman now."
The main character seems to be more mature, she is a grown-up now and she has understood that her parents, and more particularly her mother, are too over-protective and she wants them to let her live her life as she wants. She wants to have her independence, to lead her life the way she wants and not the way her parents want her to. For her, being far away from them is the solution to the problem.
c) There are different reasons why the mother begins to cry at the end. First she thought she could make her daughter change her mind, but she has failed. In addition, she is worried and afraid as she has negative images of the city and she thinks it is dangerous for her daughter to stay there, that she may put her life at risks. Moreover, she is frightened because she has the feeling that she won't see her daughter very often and she really understands that she has lost her and that things will never be the same.
Questions on document B
7 The narrator's first name is Sara, she is a 22 year old female, she has a mother and a father and she lives in Hartford.
8 The story could take place in the late 1940s (post WW2) or in the late 1960s (back from Vietnam war).
"All those boys trickling home from the war were, by and large, just thinking about getting jobs, settling down. Here we were the generation who was about to inherit all that post-war plenty, who (compared to our parents) had infinite opportunities."
9 The narrator has decided to work for Life as a trainee and turn down Horace's marriage proposal and a future life in Hartford.
10 The narrator is torn between her love for her parents and her wish to handle her life and make her choices for her future. She really has mixed feelings. Although she loves her parents, she is irritated about their reaction to her plans and at the same time she refuses to give up which makes her feel uncomfortable.
11 At that time, young people were expected to lead a quiet and secure life. They were supposed to find a good job, to get married, to found a family, to have children and thus to become "good" citizens and as a consequence "good" consumers in that society of plenty.
Question on document A and B
12 Both female protagonists have decided to go against their parents' wishes and to stand up for themselves and lead an independent existence. This independence entails leaving their home town and working in a large city. In both cases, neither of them is setting up home with a boyfriend: they are totally in control of their own lives.
II. Expression écrite
1 I think that to explain how people gradually gain independence from their parents, we have to consider the period of time when children have become teenagers and when they come of age to become adults. First of all, I would say that it depends on how old children are. Of course when they are young children or young teenagers, it seems quite difficult for them to go against their parents' will which is the necessary phase to become independent. As a consequence they have to impose on them a certain number of things and values children do not necessarily agree with (on account of their age and their thirst to do as they have decided). During their childhood and their youth they usually follow their parents' will even if sometimes they are quite reluctant, but that's how it all starts. Later when they grow older and after, when they come of age, they often try to talk things over with their parents to convince them they are right and should be allowed to do as they want when their decisions do not meet their parents' approval. Most parents always want the best for their children and often think that what they want or say is good for them and tend to refuse their children the right to decide on their own. This can still be true when children have become adults. I think that there comes a time when children should make their own decisions and should go against their parents' will because one has to stand on one's own two feet sooner or later and has to be given the possibility to make his own choices, even if it is sometimes difficult. Parents can't always dictate to their children what they have to do. Parents had better give their children advice and tell them what they should think or shouldn't do but they must let them make the final decision. By gradually giving the possibility to their children to choose, to decide, parents help them to become mature, self-confident and to give them the opportunity to build their own personality and consequently to become independent and adult.
2 Eric: "Hi Sara, how are you? I'm glad to see you."
Sara: "Hi Eric, I'm glad to see you too, but I can't say I feel that well."
Eric: "Why is that? You are in New York now and you are going to work for Life, isn't that wonderful?"
Sara: "Yes, of course, but you know that, although I'm excited at the prospect of working for Life, I am also really disappointed by our parents' reaction to it."
Eric: "Tell me what happened, Sara?"
Sara: "Well, you know how our parents are. They are quite strict and stubborn sometimes and they often dictate what we have to do. That was alright when we were kids and teenagers, but now I'm 22, an adult and I don't understand why they still behave that way."
Eric: "Well, you know they have always been like that and they won't change behavior now, it is too late. So what we have to do is to cope with it even though it is not always easy."
Sara: "Of course I know that for sure, but making me feel guilty about my decision and blackmailing me makes me angry and I have some difficulties to forgive them, specially Dad who has tried everything to make me change my mind in such a way that I felt both guilty and revolted. We are not children any longer and we have the right to decide of our own life and future I think and they behave as if they had the right to control our lives, I can't stand that."
Eric: "You have to keep aloof. You perfectly know how they are and you are a grown-up now so you have the right to make your mind and decide for yourself."
Sara: "I know, I'm absolutely convinced about that, but telling me that if I did what I had decided they would cut me off make me fly off the handle."
Eric: "Sara, I think Dad has done that and tried his luck to see if you were sure about what you had decided, it was his last possible argument since he didn't succeed in making you change your mind, but I'm sure they won't do it, they love you too much for that. He took a gamble because he had no other possibility but he won't cut you off I'm sure about it. Don't be afraid, you'll see."
Sara: "Well, you may be right Eric and I hope I am not going to lose them for good simply because I want to lead my life the way I want."