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Oral 4 : Progress (women)

So, the notion I’m going to deal with is idea of progress. First, let me give you a definition of the notion. Progress can be defined as an improvement, a development or a change, or as a technical, scientific or social advance which contributes to making the world a better place. I’m going to focus on progress of the rights of women in the United Kingdom. Well, the issue I’m going to raise is: in what domain did the rights of women evolve during the 20th century? We are going to answer this problem in a chronological way.

To begin with, I would like to talk about the improvement of the right to vote at the beginning of the 20th century, through a photo of Mrs. Emmeline Pankhurst, leader of the Suffragette movement. Indeed, the suffragettes were women fighting for women’s right to vote, by means of organized protest. In this picture, we can see a policeman holding her up: she was arrested outside Buckingham Palace, while trying to present a petition to the King, in May 1914. In the United Kingdom in the early 20th century, the suffragettes initiated a campaign of demonstrations and militant actions, after the repeated defeat of women’s suffrage bills in Parliament. In 1918 they won the vote for women over the age of 30 and with « property », and ten years later were given full equality with men in voting rights.
Furthermore, the movie « The Suffragettes », which is a 2015 British historical drama film, illustrates perfectly well the fight of women at the beginning of the 20th century to obtain this right.

Next, we will see the advance of the wages of women in the sixties and seventies. I would like to talk about a document entitled “No surrender”. This is an excerpt from the script of the movie “Made in Dagenham” directed in 2010 by William Ivory. This extract is about the protests of the underpaid women of the Ford car factory of Dagenham, in east London. Led by Rita O’Grady, they decided to fight against pay discrimination, and met Barbara Castle, the Secretary of State for Employment. Mrs. Castle said she supported the struggle for equal pay, but she said that it would take time, and in front of Rita’s determination, she tried to negotiate a partial increase. Through this script, the movie wants to shows us that women had to rebel to obtain their rights. Finally, in 1970, the Equal Pay Act was voted. However, it will come fully into practice five years later, but above all, it established the principle of an equal pay for an equal work.

Then, to complete, I would like to talk about the others important steps forward, like the right to divide the family property in case of a divorce, abortion, contraception… To illustrate this, we will see one document, an extract from a history book entitled « Chronicle of Britain » published in 1992. Thus, the document shows us that the Matrimonial Property Act of 1970 laid down a division of the family home between wife and husband in case of a divorce, because the wife’s work, whether in jobs outside or as a housewife, must be regarded as an equal contribution in comparison to that of the husband. Completed by other rights obtained over time as the availability of the contraception, or the Abortion Act in 1967, these rights symbolized a new freedom for women in the sixties, even if feminism in the UK was not as pronounced as in the USA.

As a conclusion, I would say that progress of the women’s right is noticeable in the domain of vote, of equal salary, but also in that of property or birth control. The situation of women largely evolved during the 20th century in Great Britain, thanks to the women’s movements who fought with determination to make the situation improve.
Moreover, I think we can link this figure to the notion of myths and heroes: indeed, the women who fought for their rights, like Emmeline Pankhurst or other suffragettes who made brave things like hunger strikes or Emily Devison who stepped in front of the King’s horse on Derby day, and died with a « vote for women » banner in her hands, must be recognized as heroines because it is thanks to their actions that women have been able to acquire the rights they enjoy today.

Oral 3 : Power (guns in USA)

So, the notion I’m going to deal with is places and forms of power. First, let me give you a definition of the notion. Power can be defined as the capacity to do something or act in a particular way, or influence the behavior of others or the course of events. I’m going to focus on the power of firearms; and more precisely, the subject of my presentation will be gun violence in the United States. Well, the issue I’m going to raise is: why can’t Americans put an end to gun violence?

Fistly, I’m going to make an observation of gun violence in the USA. Then, I will talk about the blocking factors, that is to say the Constitution and the NRA.

To begin with, I would like to talk about the facts. The first document I have chosen is an image which represents a handgun painted like the US flag, along with figures. It tells us that in 1980, there were 11 500 (eleven thousand five hundred) people killed by firearms in America. That is many more than in the other coutries, there were for example 8 in Canada and 4 in Australia. What’s more, since 1963 more americans have died by american gunfire than perished on foreign battlefiels in the whole of the 20th century. Then, this situation is considered as a problem by many other countries like Great Britain, and also by a certain part of American citizens.
To illustrate this, we will talk about a second document, an article of The New York Times published in 2003, whose subject is the district of South Los Angeles. It is a very dangerous area, full of gunmens and gang members, devasted by poverty and joblessness. In this part of the city, murder and violence are the daily life of the frightened citizens. The residents of districts like South LA have a radically constricted lifestyle because of guns. What is particulary striking about the firearms’s victims is that most of them are young. In spite of this oppressive report, firearms are not yet forbidden in the USA, and we are going to see why.

Next, we will see that second amendment of the constitution prevents the American Governement from forbidding firearms. I would like to talk about a document entitled « America’s tragedy » taken from the english newspaper “The Economist” published in April 2007, shortly after a massacre happened in a Virginian university. In fact, in America, everyone can have a gun easily, all adults can buy one over the counter and find bullets at the supermarket. It is due to the second amendment of the United States of America’s constitution, which is: « A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the People to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed ». Because of this amendment, which can be changed only with an extreme difficulty, the laws which restricts the right to possess firearms cannot be voted.

Then, I would like to talk about another very important blocking factor: the NRA, or National Riffle Association. In the same article, we can understand that they are a very important progun lobby in the USA. This pressure group acts on the politicians to make sure that the second amendment will never be touched. This lobby is very powerful because he is financially fed by an important mass of gifts from gun-favorable citizens, and supported by the arms manufacturers.

As a conclusion, I would say that these two factors do not allow the Americans to restrict the possession of firearms in their country. The fact that the President Barack Obama was crying during a speech after a new massacre in a school in Chicago, the fact that the most powerful man in the world couldn’t do anything to stop that, is very revealing of the irony of the current American system about the laws on firearms. This vicious circle doesn’t let us be optimistic for the moment. To finish, I would like to quote the journalist Bob Herbet, who says « No one seems to know what to do now. Meanwhile, the dying continues. »
Moreover, I think we can link the theme of gun violence with the notion of progress. Indeed, gun laws should have evolved when society evolved. Nowadays, American citizens no longer need the second amendment as defined by the founding fathers. A final figure clearly proves this: between 2001 and 2011, there were a hundred times more deaths by firearms than by terrorism in the United States.

Oral 2 : myths and heroes

So, the notion I’m going to deal with is myths and heroes. First, let me give you a definition of the notion. A myth can be defined as a story and a mirror for a nation, which reflects its identity. A hero can be a mythological figure, it’s a person admired for his or her achievements, courage and noble qualities. I’m going to focus on the American hero who embodies one of the most important myth of the United States: the conquest of the West. So the subject of my presentation will be the shifting image of the cowboy. Well, the issue I’m going to raise is: what image has the cowboy had in the history of the United States?

Firstly, I’m going to talk about the real cowboy; next, of his myth and then I will talk about the questioning of this heroic character.

To begin with, I would like to talk about the real cowboy, the starting point of what will become the myth. The first document I have chosen tells us that cowboys were not always regarded as American heroes. In fact, in the past, they were considered violent and uncontrollable. They suffered early on a most disreputable reputation. Their name was a synonym for lawlessness, rudeness and cussedness. They were not liked by the population, to the point that even the president Chester Arthur described them as « armed desperadoes ». We can find this realistic image in another document, the movie Once upon a time in the West: this is a Western spaghetti which has a vision of cowboys close to the reality, showing us dirty and violent cowboys who are not heroic. This movie demystifies the cowboy. Indeed, there is a shift in how public perceives them and how they really were a century before. So, we are going to see how the cowboy is perceived as an American myth.

Let’s talk about the image of the cowboy in the 20th century and particularly from the 50s. This decade is considered as the golden age of Hollywood with the realization of a lot of westerns, like for example She Wore a Yellow Ribbon, The man of Arizona or Rio Bravo. In these movies, there are the goodies, the whites, and the baddies, the Indians. The cowboy is put forward as an American hero, brave, who lives outside, who takes justice into his own hands and solves by himself his problems. To complete this, we will talk about a document entitled “Birth of the Marlboro Man”. Through this text, we understand that if the myth of the cowboy is so popular, it’s because it was used as an emblem of advertising. Indeed, they wanted to give a masculine image of their filters cigarettes, which were considered feminine. Their company found that the cowboy was the most masculine symbol to restore the reputation of the brand. This marketing strategy worked and contributed to the popularization of the myth of the cowboy as the typical American hero, by means of the image of the Marlboro Man.

Then, I would like to talk about the questioning of this heroic character. It began in 1956 with the movie « The Searchers » directed by John Ford. The main character, Ethan, is a cowboy, veteran of the civil war who refused surrender and who lives apart from society. On the one hand, he embodies all the values of the cowboys all along the first part of the movie, but on the other hand, we can see that he is becoming a very ambiguous character: he as a negative side, he can be bad. Indeed, he shows that he is racist, violent and cruel. For example, he blames the Indians for scalping but he scalps them after he killed them, to take his revenge. The director criticizes through this movie the genocide that the cowboys committed on the Indians, and this movie begins to dismantle the myth of the cowboy admired for his noble qualities. The message he wants to send is a question: who are the savages, Indians or cowboys? To complete this, we can talk about one other movie, this time very recent: The Duel, directed in 2016. It shows us the image of a typical western hero, a real icon of the West, but who has the mentality of tolerance that a certain number of Americans have today. The story allows us to say that the cowboy’s new values are no longer to fight against the oppressed people like Indians, but to fight with them and help them.

As a conclusion, I would say that the image of the cowboy has changed a lot in time. Nowadays, the myth of the cowboy is still very present, but it is questioned and debated.
Moreover, I think we can link this figure to the notion of progress: indeed, the myth of the conquest of the West is represented by the Frontier between East and West, the civilized world and the wild world. The cowboys have first conquered the West, but now civilization is arriving, represented by railways. The conquest is finished, and progress questions the reason of their existence: they disappear then little by little, giving way to a myth.

 

 

Modèle d’oral anglais

Modèle d’oral anglais :

So, the notion I’m going to deal with is. First, let me give you a definition of what is a. It can be defined as a, or as a. I’m going to focus on . And more precisely, the subject of my presentation will be . Well, the issue I’m going to raise is: ?

 

To begin with, I would like to talk about . The first document I have chosen is a taken from the newspaper «  » published in

Next, we will see . I would like to talk about a document entitled “”. This is an excerpt from the novel “” published in  by . It tells the story of
Through (fwrou) this text, the writer wants to show us that

Then, I would like to talk about .  To illustrate this, we will see one document which consists of . The message he wants to spend is

 

As a conclusion, I would say that

Oral 1 : Spaces and exchanges

So, the notion I’m going to deal with is spaces and exchanges. First, let me give you a definition of the notion. A space is a geographical or symbolic location where exchanges take place, and an exchange can be defined as an act of giving, and receiving something in return, or as a continuous movement or circulation of people, trade, ideas, etc. I’m going to focus on people, the movement of people going from one country into another, that is to say: migration. And more precisely, the subject of my presentation will be immigration in America. Well, the issue I’m going to raise is: How can America, a country of immigrants, prevent immigration?

Firstly, I’m going to talk about immigration before the creation of the USA. Then, I will talk about the reality of immigration nowadays, and finally we will see what think the american leaders of immigration.

To begin with, I would like to talk about how was immigration in America in the past. The first document I have chosen is a cartoon taken from the newspaper « Florida Today » published in 2006 (two thousands and six). In this cartoon we can see settlers arriving on the shore and some Indians who are building a fence. What’s more, there is a rock with “Plymouth Rock” written one it, and we know that in 1620 the Pilgrim Fathers arrived in Plymouth Rock on the “Mayflower” ship and founded one of the first colony in North America.
However, the caption shows us that the real topic of the document is not the Puritans but mexican immigrants. There was no fence building by the Indians in 1620, but there is one in 2006 between the USA and Mexico. If there had been a fence in the past, the United States of America would never have been created. And yet, today, Donald Trump wants to build a wall.
So, the aim of the cartoonist is to denounce the anti-immigration policy of the American Government during the previous decade, and we know that this policy is worse today. Indeed, if we didn’t know when was published this document, we could have say that the cartoonist clearly hints at the wall Trump wants to build, which proves that the debates on the policies of the previous decade are still relevant.

Next, we will see what’s concretely happening with immigration today. I would like to talk about a document entitled “A hard path to hope”. This is an excerpt from the novel “Texas” published in 1985 (nineteen eighty five) by James A. Michener. It tells the story of two mexicans, Manuela and her brother Candido,who try to cross the border illegally by paying smugglers, but the smugglers abandon their group of wetbacks in the desert, and most of them die, including Manuela.
Through (fwrou) this text, the writer wants to show us the reality of illegal immigration : in fact, some illegal immigrants are ready to risk their lives to cross the border. Sometimes, the smugglers take the money and leave them in the desert, which means a death (pénalty) penalty. But, no matter how dangerous is it, the wetbacks believe in the American dream: they want to have a job, a good wage, and a chance to become wealthy. Very often, they came from poor countries, the fled from dictatorships, they were unemployed, so they believe in a bright future in America.

Then, I would like to talk about ideas. What think the American leaders of immigration? To illustrate this, we will see one document which consists of two speeches. The first speech is one of Barack Obama. The message he wants to spend is that immigration is a boon for the USA. It has always been an advantage since the creation of the country in 1776 (seventeen seventy six), because it’s what makes America a young, entrepreneurial and a dynamic country. And he says more: Obama thinks this is one of the values of the USA, because for him, Americans are idealists, and they believe all people are equal in laws and in opportunities. This is the definition of the American dream which attracts a lot of immigrants: no matter where you come from, you can start for scratch and make it to the top, you can success if you word hard. It can remind us one of the mottos of the USA : “Out of many origins, we made one nation”.
Unlike to Obama, we can see in a speech delivered by Trump that for him, immigration is a threat for the country. Opposing all the values of America, Trump tells diversity is a bane, he wants to build a wall at the border and ask Mexicans to pay for it. I believe that it is not American to do that.

 

As a conclusion, I would say that the anti-immigration policy of the American government is paradoxical, because it goes against all the values of the USA like diversity and equality of opportunities. However, from a sociological point of view, a part of the American population agrees the policy presently led by Trump. But this could have been caused by something like a racist propaganda, which wants to persuade the people that there are immigrants who are at the origin, who are responsible, of all the problems of the country.

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