Commentaries from extracts and themes

Commentaries from extracts and themes

Write a commentary of 1000 words on ONE of the following extracts.
You should pay close attention to matters of form and style, as well as
theme and meaning.
1. I hear the storm. They talk to me about progress, about
“achievements,” diseases cured, improved standards of living.
I am talking about societies drained of their essence, cultures
trampled underfoot, institutions undermined, lands confiscated,
5 religions smashed, magnificent artistic creations destroyed,
extraordinary possibilities wiped out.
They throw facts at my head, statistics, mileages of roads,
canals, and railroad tracks.
I am talking about thousands of men sacrificed to the Congo10 Océan. I am talking about those who, as I write this, are digging the
harbor of Abidjan by hand. I am talking about millions of men torn
from their gods, their land, their habits, their life—from life, from the
dance, from wisdom.
I am talking about millions of men in whom fear has been
15 cunningly instilled, who have been taught to have an inferiority
complex, to tremble, kneel, despair, and behave like flunkeys.
They dazzle me with the tonnage of cotton or cocoa that has
been exported, the acreage that has been planted with olive trees or
grape-vines.
20 I am talking about natural economies that have been disrupted—
harmonious and viable economies adapted to the indigenous
population—about food crops destroyed, malnutrition, permanently
introduced, agricultural development oriented solely toward the
benefit of the metropolitan countries; about the looting of products,
25 the looting of raw materials.
They pride themselves on abuses eliminated.
I too talk about abuses, but what I say is that on the old ones—
very real—they have superimposed others—very detestable. They talk
to me about local tyrants brought to reason; but I note that in general
30 the old tyrants get on very well with the new ones, and that there has
been established between them, to the detriment of the people, a
circuit of mutual services and complicity.
They talk to me about civilization, I talk about proletarianization
and mystification.
35 Commentaries from extracts and themes
2. From the shot in La Noire de… of Diouana on her bed asking,
‘Pourquoi je voulais venir en France / Why did I want to come to
France’(42’00 on the Youtube version) to the end of the sequence in
the Place de l’Indépendance, which closes with the dissolve into the
shot of the boy with his trolley (45’00 on the Youtube version).
3. THESEUS: You should have been less prompt to snatch
Advantages from such a perjured match.
ARICIA: How could you let this calumny of truth
5 Affect the clean-limbed passage of his youth?
Are you condemned to see no difference
Between a crime and shining innocence?
To you alone the hateful cloud of lies
Obscures the virtue clear in others’ eyes.
10 Must I let slander stand and so allow
Your prosecution of that murderous vow?
Pray the unbending sky will never nurse
A hate sufficient to fulfil your curse.
Anger’s offering will often win
15 A scourge that cruelly punishes our sin.
THESEUS: It’s love that makes you vainly turn away
From what this wretch’s failings clearly say,
For I have witnesses, true witnesses, whose pain
20 And tears exceed what any lie could feign.
ARICIA: Take care, my lord, for one whose hand may kill
Unnumbered monsters may be leaving still
Worse unnoticed where no light has shone . . .
25 But then your son forbids that I go on,
Such is the reverence he feels for you.
And there is matter here to harm you too.
I leave your presence now lest I reveal
What with his modesty I should conceal.
4. MOM. For years and years, every night I imagined coming home and
finding you here. But I had stopped thinking about it. And now it’s
happened. Just now, I entered the foyer to recognise the voice of my
husband, who left ten years ago, I was afraid, I trembled, I sat in a
5 corner of the stairwell asking myself if I would ever be able to
climb the stairs. And just the same I got up, my knees knocked, and I
wanted to vomit, and I said to myself, all while climbing very slowly,
step by step, I said to myself: what a convenient wife you make…
10 ZELNER. He uses language that we cannot tolerate here.
MOM. But I am really happy, Ahmed, really… simply to see you here.
You look so young. What have you done to look so young?
15 DADDY. I am back. May I kiss you?
MOM. Oh, I don’t know, I don’t know. My god.
Children, don’t listen to anything Daddy says, trust only Mr. Zelner for
the truth.
20
DADDY. The children will like it better on Daddy’s side than on the side
of the truth. My dear, you are beautiful, you are marvellous, and you
do me honour. But how curiously blonde you are, too! Your hair seems
so fine and light! My dear, my wife, I see you again and you do me
25 credit!
I am rich. I am great.
Take me back.
MOM. You kept me from finishing my training, but I would have opened
30 my salon; I would have succeeded, too.
DADDY. I am prepared to deliver any conventional expression of—not
regret, but a request for mercy and forgiveness: kneel, take your
hands. Anything you want. I can do it all. Forgive me. I beg you to
35 forgive me and to let me resume my place. Because right now, nothing
can touch me. Nothing can ruffle or destroy Daddy. Yes, Daddy is back,
Daddy will never grow old.
MOM. My god, Ahmed, how I loved you.
40
DADDY. And so you must call me: your beloved, Aimé, since it is Aimé
that business has made powerful.
Commentaries may be written in English or in French. No special credit
will be given for writing in French.
Submit your essay through KEATS and make sure you start uploading
in plenty of time.
For details on word limits, late penalties, and requests for extensions,
see the link to ‘Guidance on Submitting Assessments’ on the module
KEATS page.

Commentaries from extracts and themes Commentaries from extracts and themes

 

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