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Annales gratuites Bac L : Compréhension de texte

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LE SUJET

August 28, 1919
Detroit, Michigan
America

Dearest Matka,

     You will not understand this easily, so best I tell you quickly. Now my name is Rose. Do you like it ? I whisper this new name and a summer surrounds me : flowers and larks(1) and quite breezes, and I forget the boat and the people crowded tight against me, squeezing the thoughts out of my head. A new name cannot make your daughter a different person, Matka and all you taught me is mine forever. But now I'm in America, and my name is Rose. It is a happy name. A name Americans understand.
     Stanislaus, reading this letter to Matka, ask her to say my new name. She should feel for one moment what it means to be in America, where everything is new and different, even something so little and so grand as a name.
     The people we know don't have the names they had on the boat. Matka, forgive me, but when I got here they made me Rose, so this is who I am now. You would be proud to see me.
     I plan to become an American as soon as I can. I plan to learn English fast. One day I will have lots and lots of nice things, Matka, and you will have nice things too because I will send them to you.
     Two days here, and already I see how there is so much in America : so much time, so much space. There is everything ! Time to work hard and earn good money, time to tell stories and laugh.
     My name is gone !
     I am here ! I am here !
     With precious love always from your daughter…


November 16, 1919
Detroit, Michigan
America

     Dearest Matka,

     Late at night is the only time my thoughts of you aren't hidden. Overlook my crooked lettering because I'm writing in the dark as everyone sleeps ; only the light from the moon peeks in where the curtain doesn't pull shut. It's never quiet here in America. Across the hall the Jasinski's baby girl cries, boot steps clump to the washroom, a harmonica plays the same song every night, then stops too suddenly.
     The daylight hours are not ours anyway ; they belong to the factory, the landlord, the hallways I can't scrub clean of muddy footprints, the peddler(2) whose prices are too high, the butcher with the meat cut ways I don't understand, the teacher at night school and his long sighs and bad complexion, the babies who whimper to be held. Nights have always been for dreaming, so that is when I dream of you, Matka, and everything behind me.
     When I went to say good-bye, you were surrounded by chickens ; you were tossing out their feed. Neither of us spoke. Only the chicken squawked(3), as handfuls of food rained down upon them when it was supposed to be just one. These months later, I want to hear your voice, but it's chickens I remember.
     It is like nothing you can think of, to live in America. Even the sun is bigger here, its light whiter. There are so many people, and they talk too fast ; their language is twisted and gnarled, like trees growing in the wind. There are stories here, but I don't know them. I only know the stories you told me, Matka, and I repeat them to myself so I won't forget. The story about the day the rooster(4) got its crow. The story about the wolves running through the snow and how their tracks filled with gold coins. I think of you telling me those stories, but I still can't hear your voice.
     At night, I feel my American baby growing inside me. My body doesn't want to let go of this baby. This is not the right way to think because again and again this child will find new ways to leave me. There's no end to leaving. Not yet a mother and already I know this.
     My husband learns English words at the factory school. "I am a good American", he can say and write. What he learns he teaches me. He is good this way. We learn together.
     Stanislaus, reading this letter to Matka, please tell her we are fine here in America. Tell everyone we are fine. Tell them to remember us in their prayers. We remember them.
     With precious love always from your daughter…

Pears on a Willow Tree. (p. 9-11), Leslie PIETRZYK, (Granta Books,1998)

(1)larks (line 6) : alouettes
(2)peddler (line 36) : marchand ambulant
(3)squawked (line 41) : caquetaient
(4)rooster (line 48) : un coq


1 - Who is writing the two letters and who are they addressed to ? (give their names and say how they are related)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

2 - Sum up the contents of each letter (maximum 40 words)
-letter 1 : ……………………………………………………………………………………….
-letter 2 : ……………………………………………………………………………………….

3 - What do we learn about her trip to America ?
  a- the means of transport……………………………………………………………………...
  b- the conditions of transport………………………………………………………………….
  c- the date of arrival…………………………………………………………………………..

4 - What first change occurred as soon as she arrived ? How did she react to it ?(about 40 words)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………

5 - True (T) or false (F) ? Tick the appropriate box and justify with one quotation from the text (letter 2). Indicate the lines.
                                                                                                         True          False
     1-Rose has plenty of free time during the day.
       Line……………………………………………………………………………………..
     2-The new immigrants have to live together, under one roof.
       Line……………………………………………………………………………………..
     3-Rose can afford to buy whatever she wants.
       Line……………………………………………………………………………………..
     4-The American language is difficult to understand for Rose.
       Line……………………………………………………………………………………...
     5-Now she likes listening to American stories best.
       Line……………………………………………………………………………………...

6 - In the following list, underline four adjectives and use them to analyse the evolution of Rose's feelings in the two letters. (60 words) :
     bitter - determined - depressed - frustrated - hopeful - miserable - thrilled
……………………………………………………………………………………………….

7 - Pick out three elements from the text related to nature (indicate the lines)and say what they mean or suggest in the letters.
     1-Line… ……………………………………………………………………………….
     2-Line… ……………………………………………………………………………….
     3-Line… ……………………………………………………………………………….

LE CORRIGÉ

August 28, 1919
Detroit, Michigan
America

Dearest Matka,

     You will not understand this easily, so best I tell you quickly. Now my name is Rose. Do you like it ? I whisper this new name and summer surrounds me : flowers and larks(1) and quiet breezes, and I forget the boat and the people crowded tight against me, squeezing the thoughts out of my head. A new name cannot make your daughter a different person, Matka and all you taught me is mine forever. But now I'm in America, and my name is Rose. It is a happy name. A name Americans understand.
     Stanislaus, reading this letter to Matka, ask her to say my new name. She should feel for one moment what it means to be in America, where everything is new and different, even something so little and so grand as a name.
     The people we know don't have the names they had on the boat. Matka, forgive me, but when I got here they made me Rose, so this is who I am now. You would be proud to see me.
     I plan to become an American as soon as I can. I plan to learn English fast. One day I will have lots and lots of nice things, Matka, and you will have nice things too because I will send them to you.
     Two days here, and already I see how there is so much in America : so much time, so much space. There is everything ! Time to work hard and earn good money, time to tell stories and laugh.
     My name is gone !
     I am here ! I am here !
     With precious love always from your daughter…

 

 

November 16, 1919
Detroit, Michigan
America

     Dearest Matka,

     Late at night is the only time my thoughts of you aren't hidden. Overlook my crooked lettering because I'm writing in the dark as everyone sleeps ; only the light from the moon peeks in where the curtain doesn't pull shut. It's never quiet here in America. Across the hall the Jasinski's baby girl cries, boot steps clump to the washroom, a harmonica plays the same song every night, then stops too suddenly.
     The daylight hours are not ours anyway ; they belong to the factory, the landlord, the hallways I can't scrub clean of muddy footprints, the peddler(2) whose prices are too high, the butcher with the meat cut ways I don't understand, the teacher at night school and his long sighs and bad complexion, the babies who whimper to be held. Nights have always been for dreaming, so that is when I dream of you, Matka, and everything behind me.
     When I went to say good-bye, you were surrounded by chickens ; you were tossing out their feed. Neither of us spoke. Only the chickens squawked(3), as handfuls of food rained down upon them when it was supposed to be just one. These months later, I want to hear your voice, but it's chickens I remember.
     It is like nothing you can think of, to live in America. Even the sun is bigger here, its light whiter. There are so many people, and they talk too fast ; their language is twisted and gnarled, like trees growing in the wind. There are stories here, but I don't know them. I only know the stories you told me, Matka, and I repeat them to myself so I won't forget. The story about the day the rooster(4) got its crow. The story about the wolves running through the snow and how their tracks filled with gold coins. I think of you telling me those stories, but I still can't hear your voice.
     At night, I feel my American baby growing inside me. My body doesn't want to let go of this baby. This is not the right way to think because again and again this child will find new ways to leave me. There's no end to leaving. Not yet a mother and already I know this.
     My husband learns English words at the factory school. "I am a good American", he can say and write. What he learns he teaches me. He is good this way. We learn together.
     Stanislaus, reading this letter to Matka, please tell her we are fine here in America. Tell everyone we are fine. Tell them to remember us in their prayers. We remember them.
     With precious love always from your daughter…

                            Pears on a Willow Tree. (p. 9-11), Leslie PIETRZYK, (Granta Books,1998)

(1)larks : alouettes
(2)peddler : marchand ambulant
(3)squawked : caquetaient
(4)rooster : un coq

 

 

COMPREHENSION

1- Who is writing the two letters and who are they addressed to ? (give their names and say how they are related)
Rose is writing to her mother, whom she calls "Matka".
These letters will be read by Stanislaus , who may be Rose' s brother
.

2- Sum up the contents of each letter (maximum 40 words)
-letter 1 : After a difficult journey, Rose tells her mother about her new American name. Although she is still unsure of her identity, she is enthusiastic about her new country and determined to become a real American (35 words)
-letter 2 : Rose has to face difficult living conditions.
She is homesick now and can't get used to her new surroundings. She is aware her future baby may reject her Polish roots, expressed in the stories her mother used to tell her. (40 words)

3- What do we learn about her trip to America ?

  a- the means of transport…She travelled by boat.

  b- the conditions of transport…The travelling conditions were pretty bad : the boat was so overcrowded that she could hardly think.

  c- the date of arrival…She arrived two days ago, on August 26, 1919

4- What first change occurred as soon as she arrived ? How did she react to it ? (about 40 words)
Like many other immigrants she was given a new name, which can be easily pronounced by Americans. She loved it but wondered whether her mother liked it. In spite of her new identity, she assured Matka that she would never be a different person

5- True (T) or false (F) ? Justify with one quotation from the text (letter 2).

     1-Rose has plenty of free time during the day.
       False
       "The daylights are not ours anyway ; they belong to the factory"

     2-The new immigrants have to live together, under one roof.
       True
       " Across the hall…every night"

     3-Rose can afford to buy whatever she wants.
       False
       "The peddler whose prices are too high"

     4-The American language is difficult to understand for Rose.
       True
       " There are so many people and they talk too fast, their language is twisted and gnarled"

     5-Now she likes listening to American stories best.
       False
       "There are stories here, but I don't know them"

6- In the following list, underline four adjectives and use them to analyse the evolution of Rose's feelings in the two letters. (60 words) :
     bitter - determined - depressed - frustrated - hopeful - miserable - thrilled

   At first, Rose is hopeful : America is a land of plenty. After two days, she sounds thrilled knowing that she will easily find a job and earn money. Three months later, Rose seems rather depressed. She tries to escape her harsh reality by dreaming about her former country. However, Rose is determined to make it in America. She and her husband are striving to learn the language but optimistic about the future. (» 65 words)

7- Pick out three elements from the text related to nature and say what they mean or suggest in the letters.

     1- "flowers and larks - quiet breezes" : Pleasant memories.

     2- " Their language is twisted and gnarled like trees growing in the wind" : She has difficulty in adjusting to her new country and its language.

     3- "The wolves through the snow" ; " The rooster got its crow : The Polish stories her mother used to tell her : her roots.

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