Séries générales • LV1
Espaces et échanges
Pondichéry • Avril 2015
Séries générales • LV1Text 1 A new home in the country
The move to Pagford had been the worst thing that had ever happened to Gaia Bawden. Excepting occasional visits to her father in Reading, London was all that she had ever known. So incredulous had Gaia been, when Kay had first said she wanted to move to a tiny West Country town, that it had been weeks before she took the threat seriously. She had thought it one of Kay’s mad ideas, like the two chickens she had bought for their tiny back garden in Hackney (killed by a fox a week after purchase), or deciding to ruin half their saucepans and permanently scar her own hand by making marmelade, when she hardly ever cooked.
Wrenched from friends she had had from primary school, from the house she had known since she was eight, from weekends that were, increasingly, about every kind of urban fun, Gaia had been plunged, over the pleas, threats and protests, into a life she had never dreamed existed. Cobbled streets and no shops open after six o’clock, a communal life that seemed to revolve around the church, and where you could often hear birdsong and nothing else: Gaia felt as though she had fallen through a portal into a land lost in time.
She and Kay had clung tightly to each other all Gaia’s life (for her father had never lived with them, and Kay’s two successive relationships had never been formalized), bickering, condoling and growing steadily more like flat-mates with passing years. Now, though, Gaia saw nothing but an enemy when she looked across the kitchen table. Her only ambition was to return to London, by any means possible, and to make Kay as unhappy as she could, in revenge. She could not decide whether it would punish Kay more to fail all her GCSEs1, or to pass them, and try and get her father to agree to house her, while she attended a sixth-form college in London. In the meantime, she had to exist in alien territory, where her looks and her accent, once instant passports to the most select social circles, had become foreign currency.
J. K. Rowling, The Casual Vacancy, 2012.
1. GCSE: diploma for students aged 14 to 16 in Britain.Text 2 Leaving home for boarding school
Isabel put her fingers lightly across her eyelids, and opened her eyes slowly behind them. She was not, of course, at school. She was at home, in her own bedroom, at number seven, the Quadrant, Larkford Camp, Wiltshire, which had been home for nearly for two years. Before that home had been a bit in Germany, and a bit in Yorkshire and a bit in London, and before that, when it was just Mum and Isabel on their own, a bit in another part of London in a highup flat with the top of a tree right outside the windows, which Isabel believed she remembered with a passionate nostalgia. There’d also been schools to go with all these places, school after school.
“Five schools by year six,” Mum had said to Isabel, trying to make the case for boarding school1. “It’s too much. It’s too much for you. It isn’t fair. You make friends and then you move and lose them. Don’t you think you’d rather have continuity, even if it means sleeping away from home ”
Isabel didn’t know. Even now, technically settled into boarding school, she didn’t know. She wanted to feel steadier, she wanted to please, she understood that if Dan got a promotion they might move again – but then, if he didn’t, if they didn’t, why was it necessary for her to be away from home when home wasn’t, after all, changing And then there were the twins. The twins went to a local nursery school, and when they were five would go to the local primary.
“But the twins —” Isabel began.
Mum looked at her. Isabel could see she understood and hadn’t got a real answer. She just said, “We – can’t plan, you see. Not if we want to stay together. As a family. But if you go to boarding school, at least you know – I know – that one thing, at least, will go on as before. That’s all.”
In Isabel’s experience, it was only the small things that went on as before, like the smell of the linen cupboard and the twins’ refusal to eat anything orange and the way one fingernail on her left hand grew at a very slight angle. The big stuff, like what was going to happen next, to all of them, was always a giant question mark hanging in the air, affecting everything, every mood. And even when the question mark was answered, it was always replaced by another one. Like today. Today was a big day, a day they had been looking forward for six months, a day that was circled on the kitchen calendar, and for which the twins had made a huge messy paper banner randomly stuck with patches of shiny coloured paper and scraps of pink feather from a dressing-up boa.
Today, Dan was coming home from his mission, with his whole battery.
Adapted from Joanna Trollope, The Soldier’s Wife, 2012.
1. Boarding school: a school where students can live during the school year.
compréhension (10 points)
> Read the whole text.
1 How does Gaia feel about moving from London to Pagford Quote 2 elements from the first paragraph to support your answer.
> Read from line 11 to the end.
2 Quoting from the text, what elements does she associate with London (3 elements) and Pagford (5 elements)
3 To what extent does this move change her relationship with Kay, her mother
4 How does Gaia intend to punish her mother for moving to Pagford Find 2 elements in the text.
5 “In the meantime, she had to exist in alien territory, where her looks and her accent, once instant passports to the most select social circles, had become foreign currency.” (l. 29 to 31)
Identify and explain the two metaphors linked to the “alien territory”. (30 words)
> Read the whole text.
6 List the characters and say how you think they are connected.
7 What do you learn about Dan’s professional situation Support your answer with two elements from the text.
8 “It’s too much. It’s too much for you. It isn’t fair.” (l. 12-13)
1. What “isn’t fair”
2. Why does her mother insist on sending Isabel to boarding school
9 1. Explain Isabel’s mixed feelings about her mother’s decision.
2. What does it reveal about her vision of stability as compared to her mother’s
Texts 1 and 2
> Read the two documents again.
10 Compare and contrast Gaia’s and Isabel’s situations.
Seul(e)s les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront également la question 11.
11 Show that Gaia and Isabel have a different conception of “home”. (50 words)
expression 10 points
> Les candidat(e)s des séries ES, S et L traiteront au choix le sujet 1 ou 2. Les candidat(e)s de la série L option LVA traiteront au choix le sujet 3 ou 4.
1 Leaving home can be scary but it’s a necessary step towards growing up. (300 words)
2 Gaia writes to her father about living in Pagford. Imagine the letter/email. (300 words)
3 “But the twins —” Isabel began (text 2, line 23)
Starting with this line, rewrite the end of the text focusing on Isabel’s thoughts and feelings. (300 words)
4 “Growing up is never easy. You hold on to things that were. You wonder about what’s to come.” (N. Marlens, The Wonder Years). Discuss this statement. (300 words)Les clés du sujet
Auteur britannique J.K. Rowling (1965-) a connu un succès planétaire grâce à la série Harry Potter. Casual Vacancy, son premier roman pour adultes, est un roman social d’une inspiration très différente. Il a été publié ensuite et a rencontré moins de succès.
Pour en savoir plus : www.jkrowling.com
Résumé du texte
Gaia et sa mère, Kay, ont toujours vécu ensemble en l’absence du père. Elles vécurent longtemps à Londres, ce qui représente la vraie vie pour Gaia. Puis Kay a soudain décidé, contre toute attente, de s’installer à Pagford, toute petite ville endormie de province, où Gaia se sent totalement étrangère. Mère et fille ont cohabité comme des colocataires jusqu’à présent. Ce déménagement altère profondément leurs relations au point que Gaia cherche un moyen de punir sa mère et envisage éventuellement de rejoindre son père près de Londres.
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
Move, l. 1 (déménagement) a threat, l. 6 (une menace) purchase, l. 8 (achat) to scar, l. 9 (laisser une cicatrice) to wrench, l. 11 (arracher) plea, l. 14 (supplication) cobbled streets, l. 15 (rues pavées) to cling to, l. 19 (se cramponner à) to bicker, l. 21 (se chamailler) to condole, l. 21 (se consoler) flat-mates, l. 22 (colocataires) to house, l. 28 (loger) her looks, l. 30 (son physique) currency, l. 31 (monnaie).
Johanna Trollope (1943-) est britannique. Décorée par la Reine, elle a écrit dix-sept romans, dont plusieurs ont été adaptés à la télévision. Elle écrit aussi sous le pseudonyme de Caroline Harvey.
Pour en savoir plus : www.joannatrollope.com
Résumé du texte
À cause du métier du père, Dan, la famille d’Isabel ne cesse de déménager. Sa mère voudrait donc l’inscrire dans un pensionnat, pour qu’il y ait au moins cet élément de stabilité dans la famille. Mais Isabel n’est pas d’accord : l’avenir est de toute façon incertain et elle trouve sa stabilité dans les petites habitudes de la vie familiale. Alors pourquoi quitter la famille pour un pensionnat alors qu’on ne sait même pas quand et où Dan risque d’être muté
Vocabulaire utile à la compréhension
Eyelids, l. 1 (paupières) to make the case, l. 11-12 (plaider en faveur de) fair, l. 13 (juste) steady, l. 17 (stable) linen cupboard, l. 30 (armoire à linge) fingernail, l. 31 (ongle) the big stuff, l. 32 (les gros trucs) mood, l. 34 (humeur) messy, l. 38 (sale, peu soigné) randomly, l. 39 (au hasard) patches, l. 39 (pièces, morceaux) scraps, l. 39 (bouts, morceaux) dressing-up boa, l. 40 (boa, écharpe en plume) battery, l. 42 (groupe (ici, de soldats)).
Les points de convergence
Les deux textes illustrent la problématique suivante : où doit habiter un(e) adolescent(e), avec sa famille ou là où il (elle) le souhaite Les deux héroïnes – dont le père est peu ou pas présent – sont confrontées à la décision de leur mère : l’une est forcée de s’installer à la campagne avec sa mère, l’autre est incitée à partir en pensionnat.
Le sujet d’expression
Pistes de recherche
On peut quitter le foyer familial pour différentes raisons, selon l’âge, les circonstances et de façon provisoire ou non. Ce départ n’implique pas forcément d’en avoir peur, malgré la vie familiale qu’on a vécue où l’idée que l’on a de son « chez soi ». Cependant, si cette perspective d’indépendance peut être passionnante et attendue avec impatience, elle peut aussi effrayer : comment affronter ce que la douceur du foyer permettait d’éviter Il s’agit en fait d’une des étapes les plus formatrices de la vie : on apprend à être indépendant, à assumer seul ses choix. On grandit et on se prépare à la vie d’adulte responsable.
Break up (rupture) to look forward to + V-ing (être impatient de) a grownup (un adulte) to overcome (surmonter) thrill (excitation) to run short of (tomber à court de) ahead (à venir, devant) hardship (épreuve, difficulté) wisdom (sagesse).
Le sujet d’expression
Pistes de recherche
Gaia connaît relativement peu son père, qui n’a jamais vécu au foyer, et qu’elle ne voit qu’épisodiquement. Il faudra donc tenter de toucher une fibre paternelle qui a eu peu l’occasion de se manifester, et l’apitoyer sur son sort. Elle pourra décrire la petite ville provinciale de Pagford et son ennui, son vide social et culturel, et la comparer à Reading, ville de grande banlieue très animée où vit son père. Elle pourra insister sur le fait qu’hébergée par son père, elle pourrait retrouver ses ami(es) d’enfance, y poursuivre ses études, y rencontrer des gens plus intéressants qu’à Pagford, où son avenir est plutôt fermé.
Boredom (l’ennui) dull (terne) uneventful (sans histoire, où rien ne se passe) a bustling town (une ville très animée) long-lost friends (des amis pas vus depuis longtemps) to go on with one’s studies (poursuivre ses études)
Le sujet d’expression (LVA uniquement)
Pistes de recherche
Isabel peut ressentir un peu de jalousie à l’idée que les jumeaux auront le droit de rester et pas elle. Elle semble très liée à sa mère, et vous pouvez imaginer que toutes deux s’occupent ensemble des jumeaux, et qu’elle aurait du mal à les quitter. Elle peut interroger sa mère qui, comme suggéré dans le texte, se sentira mal à l’aise et tentera de justifier sa décision.
To look up to somebody (admirer qqn) to send away (faire partir) awkward (maladroit) lasting (durable) to sigh (soupirer) a team (une équipe)
Le sujet d’expression
Pistes de recherche
- Montrez d’abord que vous comprenez la citation en l’expliquant. Growing up recouvre toute la période de la vie qui précède l’âge adulte. À chaque étape, on peut se raccrocher au passé, à ce qui a été et qui offre peu de surprises il s’agit de son vécu. En ce qui concerne l’avenir, on est, par définition, confronté à l’incertitude. Cette incertitude qui génère de l’inquiétude, peut provoquer une difficulté à grandir.
- Vous pouvez ensuite dire par exemple que grandir est une avancée et une évolution dans le temps, et que l’on se construit tout au long de cette expérience. Illustrez votre propos d’un ou deux exemples d’étapes marquantes de votre vie.
- Vous pouvez aussi faire remarquer que le terme grownup, qui désigne l’adulte, donne l’impression que l’évolution est terminée, mais qu’en fait il n’en est rien : on ne cesse de grandir, d’évoluer, à tout âge on se pose des questions sur l’avenir.
To be of age (être majeur) adulthood (l’âge adulte) to hold on to (se raccrocher à) a stage (une étape) a step (un pas) to achieve (accomplir) to go ahead (avancer) a goal, an aim (un but) to foresee (prévoir).
> Texte entier
1 She feels unhappy about moving to Pagford, she feels like she doesn’t fit in: “The move to Pagford had been the worst thing that had ever happened to Gaia Bawden.” (l. 1-2) “she took the threat seriously.” (l. 5-6).
> Ligne 11 à la fin
2 London : “friends she had had from primary school”, “the house she had known since she was eight”, “weekends that were, increasingly, about every kind of urban fun” (l. 11-13)
Pagford: “Cobbled streets”, “no shops open after six o’clock”, “a communal life that seemed to revolve around the church”, “where you could often hear birdsong and nothing else” (l. 15-17) “a land lost in time” (l. 18)
3 Gaia strongly resents Kay for the move: when they lived in London they were almost like friends, equals. The move to Pagford was made against Gaia’s will: her mother paid no attention to what she wanted. The move restores an authoritative parent-child relationship.
4 She hesitates between two punishments: either she fails her GCSE exams (l. 27) or she passes them in order to go to university in London and live there with her father. (l. 27-29)
5 The two things that are necessary in a foreign country are a passport, to be allowed to get in, and money in the country’s currency, to be able to survive. Before, Gaia’s physical appearance and London accent meant she was not only accepted there but had a privileged status. In the countryside, these are worthless.
6 All the characters, present or mentioned in the text, are members of a same family. Dan and his wife, only identified as “Mum”, are the parents and they have three children: Isabel, the main character, and much younger twins.
7 It is quite obvious that Dan is a soldier. The title of the book, The Soldier’s Wife, confirms this. He goes on frequent “missions” (l. 41) with other people (“his battery”, l. 41-42) which imply that the family have to move house very often and that Isabel has to change schools nearly every year (“Five schools by year six”, l. 11).
8 1. It isn’t fair that Isabel should keep changing schools because of her father’s job.
2. She thinks that in a boarding school Isabel would have more stability in her life and wouldn’t have to keep making new friends every time they move.
9 1. On the one hand she would like a more stable life and to make her mother happy, but on the other hand she does not see the point of leaving home for a boarding school if her father does not have the promotion he expects and thus does not have to move. She also feels jealous perhaps that the twins get to stay with their mother.
2. Her mother’s vision of stability is “continuity” that’s why she’d rather her daughter didn’t have to keep changing schools. For Isabel, life is full of uncertainties and there is no real stability except in unimportant things of everyday life, that is why she’d rather stay in the family than stay in the same school.
10 Both Gaia and Isabel are teenagers who are very much attached to their surroundings: Gaia to her life in London and Isabel to her family. In both cases, the girls’ fathers are not very present and they face their mothers’ decisions as to where they must live. Gaia has to follow her mother to a country town and wishes she could go back to London, while Isabel is incited by her mother to leave home to go to a boarding school, which she isn’t keen on. The girls’ reactions towards change are negative but Gaia is much more vocal and determined in her refusal than Isabel.
Candidats LVA uniquement
11 For Gaia, home is the bustling London where she was born and bred, with a busy social life, mainly among “select circles”. Home is her urban environment. For Isabel, home is where her parents and the twins live, wherever it may be, however often they may have to move. Home is her family.
Is leaving home always scary (Gaia and Isabel have different feelings about it) . It also depends if it implies a break up with our family or not.
But in most cases, during our teens and as young adults, and free from our parents’ influence and we are .
Yet, once we are about to take that step, we may have reasons to be scared: : what if we run short of the money our parents have given us to support ourselves If leaving home implies earning our own living, what if we can’t pay for everyday expenses that used to be paid for by our parents at home What if we feel lonely and far away from the love and comfort of our families In spite of the attractiveness of the new life ahead,
Yet, however uncomfortable or painful it may be, there is something positive in hardship because of the experience, knowledge and wisdom it brings. . Leaving home also means meeting new people, going to new places, facing other situations and learning new things. So we must try to make the most of leaving home, as .
Candidats LVA uniquement
“But the twins ” Isabel began. . With 10 years between them she’d watched them grow up, seen their first steps, heard their first words… They looked up to her and she adored them. But she couldn’t help but feel a twinge of and that she would have to leave.
“You wouldn’t send them away, would you ” she asked her mother looking her straight in the eye.
“Don’t be like that Izzie” her mum replied awkwardly “it’s not a question of sending you away, , moving around all the time like we do, you don’t get to think about the future, you don’t get to make plans with your friends or create real lasting friendships. That is so important for young people: …” her mother sighed and looked down at her feet.
Un peu de vocabulaire
Chick flicks = girlie films : slang term for romance films targeting female audiences.
“But mum, the most important thing for me is you!” Isabel could feel tears welling up in her eyes and she turned away so her mother couldn’t see them. She didn’t want to leave her family, why was that so difficult for her mum to understand Friends came and went. Dan was there when he came back from a mission but . They were the ones who calmed the twins at night, they were the ones who watched chick flicks on a Sunday afternoon when the twins were having their nap. and she couldn’t bear the thought of being away from her. Her mum was her rock, her stability in all this and she didn’t see why any of that had to change.