Métropole, juin 2015, séries technologiques, LV2

Énoncé

Document 1
« It was 1910, then, and the twenty-fifth anniversary of my coming was near at hand.
Thoughts of the past filled me with mixed joy and sadness. I was overcome with a desire to celebrate the day. But with whom? Usually this is done by "ship brothers" , as East-Siders call fellow immigrants who arrive here on the same boat. It came back to me that I had such a ship brother, and that it was Gitelson. Poor Gitelson! He was still working at his trade. I had not seen him for years, but I had heard of him from time to time, and I knew that he was employed by a ladies' tailor at custom work somewhere in Brooklyn. (The custom-tailoring shop he had once started for himself had proved a failure.) Also, I knew how to reach a brother-in-law of his. The upshot was that I made an appointment with Gitelson for him to be at my office on the great day at 12 o'clock, I did so without specifying the object of the meeting, but I expected that he would know.
Finally the day arrived. It was a few minutes to 12. I was alone in my private office, all in a fidget […]. My eye swept the expensive furniture of my office. I thought of the way my career had begun. I thought of the Friday evening when I met Gitelson on Grand Street, he an American dandy and I in tatters. The fact that it was upon his advice and with his ten dollars that I had become a cloakmaker stood out as large as life before me. A great feeling of gratitude welled up in me, of gratitude and of pity for my tattered self of those days. Dear, kind Gitelson! Poor fellow! He was still working with his needle. I was seized with a desire to do something for him. I had never paid him those ten dollars. […]
It was twenty minutes after 12 and I was still waiting for the telephone to announce him. My suspense became insupportable. "Is he going to disappoint me, the idiot?" I wondered. Presently the telephone trilled. I seized the receiver.
"Mr. Gitelson wishes to see Mr. Levinsky," came the familiar pipe of my switchboard girl. "He says he has an appointment"
"Let him come in at once," I flashed. »
Abraham Cahan, The Rise of David Levinsky, 1917.

Document 2
« The Great Motivator. Better known as Jack Ballentine. If you've been alive and cognizant for the past twenty years, you've undoubtedly read all about the Jack Ballentine story. How he grew up as a steelworker's son in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, discovered a talent for football in high school, won a full scholarship to Michigan State, became the most renowned college quarterback(1) of the mid-sixties, then led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories during his high-profile professional career. […]
Everyone expected Ballentine to end up as an archetypal screwed-up jock(2), someone who, upon retiring from the NFL(3), would blow most of his fortune on nose candy, rapacious women, and bad investments. Instead, he surprised the world by moving to New York in 1975 and becoming a self-styled real-estate developer. The cynics laughed and predicted he'd be in bankruptcy court within twelve months. […]
But Ballentine being Ballentine, he wasn't satisfied with the humdrum role of multimillionaire developer. Rather, he had to transform himself into the Master Builder - Mr. High-rise, who, during the height of the Reaganomics(4), imprinted his very own stamp on the Manhattan cityscape. Big buildings. Big deals. […] A man who sold himself to the public as the great entrepreneurial patriot of his time: Capitalism's Great Quarterback. […]
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Pour une conversation, il faut mobiliser :
– le questionnement :
• la forme interrogative : attention à l'ordre des mots AUXILIAIRE + SUJET + VERBE,
• les pronoms interrogatifs : who, where, when, how long (combien de temps…  ?), how often (à quelle fréquence…  ?)
– les questions tag (la reprise « n'est-ce pas ? » dont raffolent les anglophones, en reprenant l'auxiliaire utilisé dans la phrase principale, mais à la forme négative) :
• You do… don't you? / You have…, haven't you? / You can…, can't you?
• You don't…, do you? / You haven't…, have you? / You can't…, can you?
– les bonnes formes verbales :
• présent simple pour évoquer le présent,
• le have + V-en pour évoquer des événements récents,
• le prétérit simple pour évoquer des événements plus éloignés dans le temps,
• will + V pour évoquer une action future ;
– la notion de remerciement :
• thank you for,
• thanks/ gratitude /generosity /kindness,
• kind/ generous.
Procéder par étapes
1.  Préparez vos idées pour le contenu de la conversation sous forme de notes :
– le premier échange entre les deux hommes ;
– le cœur de leur discussion (souvenirs du passé / bilan de leur expérience depuis 25 ans / comparaison de leur situation actuelle / gratitude de Levinsky / colère ou humilité de Gitelson…) ;
– la fin de la conversation (une impression de poursuite amicale ou bien une rupture définitive…).
2.  Rédigez votre conversation en indiquant dans la marge le prénom de chaque interlocuteur.
3.  Contrôlez la qualité de votre anglais.
C. In your opinion, can failure be an ingredient for success? Illustrate with examples.
Comprendre la question
Il s'agit d'un essai en 150 mots sur le rôle que joue l'échec dans la réussite. Pensez-vous que l'échec nous aide à emporter des réussites ou non ? Vous devez illustrer votre prise de position avec des exemples.
Mobiliser ses connaissances
Pour un texte argumentatif, il faut mobiliser :
– les mots de liaison pour articuler votre discours :
• en renforcement : indeed / moreover / besides / furthermore,
• pour marquer une opposition : however / and yet / on the one hand… on the other hand;
• pour marquer une conséquence : so, thus, therefore, as a consequence ;
–  des structures pour communiquer votre point de vue de manière objective :
• It's important / simplistic / easy / difficult / dangerous / harmful to + V,
• There is something frightening / alarming / reassuring about + Nom ;
– l'utilisation de la 1re personne plurielle we pour donner l'impression que tout le monde partage votre avis ;
– le champ sémantique de l'échec et du succès:
• to fail / to be unable to + V,
• to succeed in + Ving / to manage to + V / to be able to + V…
• failure / incapacity to + V,
• success at +  Nom.
Procéder par étapes
1.  Préparez vos idées :
- vous soutenez l'idée que l'échec aide à réussir ou bien l'inverse ;
- vos arguments pour défendre cette idée : une explicitation de chaque argument ; un exemple pour chaque argument ;
2.  Organisez votre plan : Introduction, développement (au moins deux paragraphes), conclusion.
3.  Rédigez votre essai en respectant votre plan et en veillant à éviter les redondances.
4.  Contrôlez la précision linguistique de votre brouillon (grammaire, lexique) puis recopiez-le au propre.
(1)Quarterback: a player in American football.
(2)Screwed-up jock (slang): here, someone who fails after his sporting career.
(3)NFL: National Football League.
(4)The Reaganomics: the economic policy under President Reagan.

Corrigé

I. Compréhension écrite
Questions on document 1
A. 3. His arrival in the USA 25 years ago.
B. They are "ship brothers" because they immigrated to the USA on the same boat.
C. Gitelson gave the narrator 10 dollars and advice to start his career.
D. In the past, Gitelson had a position in society as he had his own tailor's shop and made good money, "an American dandy" « an American dandy… », while the narrator was still finding his way: he had neither job nor money, "in tatters" « in tatters. The… ».
E. Today, Gitelson's position is less favourable because his business failed and he is now simply an employee in a tailor's shop. In contrast, the narrator has been more successful and has worked his way up from cloak maker to director of an enterprise.
Questions on document 2
F. SPORTY - FAMOUS - CLEVER
G.
1. Jack Ballentine came from a working-class family.
True: "he grew up as a steelworker's son" « he grew up… »
2. He went to university because he was good at maths.
False: "discovered a talent for football in high school, won a full scholarship to Michigan State, became the most renowned college quarterback of the mid-sixties" « discovered a talent… »
3. His job was to play football.
True: "led the Dallas Cowboys to three Super Bowl victories during his high-profile professional career." « led the Dallas… »
4. He decided to build stadiums.
False: "Master Builder (…) imprinted his very own stamp on the Manhattan cityscape. Big buildings." « Master Builder -… »
H. Ballentine's success first came as a surprise because former football players usually spent all their money on drugs, women and careless investments. When Ballentine started his own business people expected him to go bankrupt within the first year.
I. Ballentine's empire collapsed in 1991 when he had a series of misfortunes (the failure of a casino deal, an excessively expensive skyscraper): his business needed liquidities and the banks refused to help him. People felt pleasure and even satisfaction at Ballentine's failure. Indeed, stories of failure inspire and amuse Americans just as much as success stories.
Questions on documents 1 and 2
J. Gitelson created his own business from nothing, but it failed very quickly, and he spent the rest of his life working for someone else. Ballentine's origins were poor too, but he made a lot of money as a football player. He managed to invest his fortune and become the head of a huge building empire. Like Gitelson, his business finally failed.
K. Both the narrator of Document 1 and Ballentine are self-made men because they created their business through their own hard work: they both men started from nothing to become important figures in the business world. However, Ballentine's ultimate failure probably disqualifies him as a self-made man, as he is no longer considered successful by society.
L. The failures of Gitelson and Ballentine both seem to generate a sense of satisfaction. Indeed, Levinsky seems to enjoy comparing his own success with his shipbrother's insignificant career, and the collapse of Ballentine's empire was followed with pleasure by the American public. At the same time, people seem to be more respectful towards Gitelson who is called "Mr Gitelson" by Levinsky's secretary, while Ballentine is simply "Ballentine" for the whole of America.
II. Expression écrite
A. 1. Since Columbus' discovery of the New World in 1492, the American Dream has drawn waves of immigrants to "the Land of Hope and Opportunity". For the Pilgrim Fathers, the New World offered more than anything freedom from persecution; for later immigrants, it was a chance to make their fortune. But what does the American Dream represent today?
Nowadays, the United States of America is still a very popular destination for immigrants, especially because of the favourable image of the country shown on the media. For many, the USA represents democracy, freedom of expression, and equality. Poor people often hope they will be able to climb the social ladder and offer a better future to their children.
However, the reality is very different today. It is very difficult to obtain a Green Card to stay in the USA and if an immigrant does not have something to offer the nation (a fortune, qualifications, a profession, or celebrity), his or her application generally fails. Moreover, America's self-made men are the happy few. America does little to help the poor improve their living conditions.
The American Dream? In your dreams!
2.
BALLENTINE BASHING: WHO IS TO BLAME?
Mr High Rise has lost his fortune and the world is laughing! What have we come to? Would we laugh when a little old lady falls over crossing the street? Who is responsible for this universal satisfaction at someone else's misfortune?
You and me: every single one of us has their share of responsibility in this affair. As a member of the press, I participate in the production of stories designed to inspire emotions so as to encourage people to buy more and read more, to make more money. And you, as a member of the public, encourage the press to continue to produce such articles because you read them!
It seems to me that we have lost contact with the essential values of humanity: respect and dignity. We have also forgotten the role of the press: to inform, not to manipulate with sensational stories to encourage consumption!
Our government censors vulgarity in the media. I advocate that we, the people, should also monitor publications to protect each citizen's dignity. Only two people need to take the decision: you and me.
Anon., Wall Street Journal, 23 June 2015
B. Gitelson: David! It's good to see you. Look at this office! You've done well, I'm pleased for you!
Levinsky: I'm delighted to see you too after all these years.
Gitelson: Yes, 25 years to the day! I'll never forget how pleased I was to see Ellis Island!
Levinsky: Too true, it was one hell of a crossing, wasn't it?
Gitelson: Yes, but you haven't invited me here to talk about that, have you?
Levinsky: Only partly. I also wanted to thank you for your past generosity.
Gitelson: What are you talking about?
Levinsky: I have never forgotten that you gave me ten dollars to help me start out!
Gitelson: But you gave me something much more valuable, David!
Levinsky: Did I? I don't remember. I didn't have anything to give!
Gitelson: In those days, David, you were a model of humility and of generosity. It's because of you that after a year running my own business, I decided to sell up.
Levinsky: Why? I thought your shop failed -
Gitelson: Oh no, on the contrary! But I wanted a simple job to continue practising my trade, but more importantly to give me time to develop my pastime - helping the poor!
C. Ballentine and Gitelson are presented in these documents as examples of failure. Does failure necessarily mean an absence of success or does it have a role to play in success?
In my opinion, it is terribly simplistic to consider that the choice is binary: "success" or "failure" and that one is good and the other bad. It is also, I think, tremendously harmful to make people, especially children, believe that if they do not succeed, they inevitably fail. If we take the example of learning to ride a bike, it takes practise to manage to keep your balance. There is something frighteningly definitive about "failure": when you are learning to ride a bike, you just keep trying until you succeed, there is no question of failure. I would suggest that "failure" simply means that an effort is not yet sufficient to achieve a goal. That is what life and learning are all about: moving on from one goal to the next.
What is success anyway? For Ballentine, at one time it was winning a match or a championship. Later on, it was making money in the construction industry. We can imagine that after the collapse of his empire, he may have considered that being able to spend a whole day at home without arguing with his wife was a success, or that being able to fish all afternoon without thinking about his past job was a success. If we consider success in this way, it clearly has more to do with the notion of ambition than failure.
Success is achieved when we fulfil our ambition, but once it is fulfilled, we move on to a new project. Failure is a negative unconstructive concept: it should be banned.