Maturità 2014, seconda prova Liceo Linguistico: tracce e soluzioni
La prova di indirizzo per gli studenti verterà su una lingua straniera
La seconda prova di maturità per il Liceo Linguistico sarà una prova di lingua straniera.
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INGLESE: Ralph Ellison – "Invisible Man".
I am an invisible man. No, I am not a spook like those who haunted Edgar Allan Poe; nor am I one of your Hollywood-movie ectoplasms. I am a man of substance, of flesh and bone, fiber and liquids – and I might even be said to possess a mind. I am invisible, understand, simply because people refuse to see me. Like the bodiless heads you see sometimes in circus sideshows, it is as though I have been surrounded by mirrors of hard, distorting glass. When they approach me they see only my surroundings, themselves, or figments of their imagination – indeed, everything and anything except me.
Nor is my invisibility exactly a matter of a biochemical accident to my epidermis. That invisibility to which I refer occurs because of a peculiar disposition of the eyes of those with whom I come in contact. A matter of the construction of their inner eyes, those eyes with which they look through their physical eyes upon reality. I am not complaining, nor am I protesting either. It is sometimes advantageous to be unseen, although it is most often rather wearing on the nerves. Then too, you’re constantly being bumped against by those of poor vision. Or again, you often doubt if you really exist. You wonder whether you aren’t simply a phantom in other people’s minds. Say, a figure in a nightmare which the sleeper tries with all his strength to destroy. It’s when you feel like this that, out of resentment, you begin to bump people back. And, let me confess, you feel that way most of the time. You ache with the need to convince yourself that you do exist in the real world, that you’re a part of all the sound and anguish, and you strike out with your fists, you curse and you swear to make them recognized you. And, alas, it’s seldom successful.
One night I accidentally bumped into a man, and perhaps because of the near darkness he saw me and called me an insulting name. I sprang at him, seizing his coat lapels and demanded that he apologize. He was a tall blonde man, and as my face came close to his he looked insolently out of his blue eyes and cursed me, his breath hot in my face as he struggled. I pulled his chin down upon the crown of my head, butting him as I had seen the West Indians do, and I felt his flesh tear and the blood gush out, and I yelled, “Apologize! Apologize!” But he continued to curse and struggle, and I butted him again and again until he went down heavily, on his knees, profusely bleeding. I kicked him repeatedly, in a frenzy because he still uttered insults though his lips were frothy with blood. Oh yes, I kicked him! And in my outrage I got out my knife and prepared to slit his throat, right there beneath the lamplight in the deserted street, holding him in the collar with one hand, and opening the knife with my teeth – when it occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he, as far as he knew, was in the midst of a walking nightmare! And I stopped the blade, slicing the air as I pushed him away, letting him fall back to the street. I stared at him hard as the lights of a car stabbed through the darkness. He lay there, moaning on the asphalt; a man almost killed by a phantom. It unnerved me. I was both disgusted and ashamed. I was like a drunken man myself, wavering about on weakened legs. Then I was amused: Something in this man’s thick head had sprung out and beaten him within an inch of his life. I began to laugh at this crazy discovery. Would he have awakened at the point of death? Would Death himself have freed him for wakeful living? But I didn’t linger. I ran away into the dark, laughing so hard I feared I might rupture myself. The next day I saw his picture in the Daily News, beneath a caption stating that he had been “mugged.” Poor fool, poor blind fool, I thought with sincere compassion, mugged by an invisible man!
Answer the following questions.
1. What is the protagonist's main problem?
2. How does the protagonist feel about being invisible?
3. What happened to him one night?
4. What does the mane he bumped into look like?
5. What does the protagonist ask him to do?
6. Does the white man ses the protagonist? Justify your answer by referring to the text.
7. How do you explain the protagonist's aggression towards the white man? Substantiate your answer by referring to the text.
8. Does the protagonist justify his aggression? If yes, how?
Summarize the content of the passagge in abut 120 words.
Do you think that being invisible is a common experience for people? Can you recognise any individuals or groups among people that you know that are considered invisible? By whom? For what reasons? What is your reaction? Write a 300 word paragraph on the topic.
In Ellilson's view "the nature of our society is such that we are prevented from knowing who we are". (Callahan, John F. Ed. Ralpf Ellison's Invisible Man: a Casebook. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004). Discuss your views on the topic by writing a 300 word paragraph.
1) The protagonist’s main problem is that he feels invisible to other people’s eyes. He’s a normal man with a normal life, but to him it looks like he’s unnoticed by the rest of the World wherever he goes, whatever he does.
2) He doesn’t complain about being invisible, he thinks sometimes it can also be an advantage to be unseen by the others. At the same time, he asks himself if he really exists in this World. He questions his own existence, trying to convince himself that he is real and not just a phantom, making everything possible to be noticed, with poor results.
3) One night, as he was walking on a dark and empty street, he bumped into a man, who called him an insulting name.
4) The man was a tall blond one, with blue eyes and he was wearing a coat.
5) The protagonist asks the tall blond man to apologize for insulting him, but the other man didn’t reply.
6) The man didn’t saw the protagonist. As it is said in the text, while the protagonist was thinking of slitting the man’s throat with his knife, “it occurred to me that the man had not seen me, actually; that he, as far as he knew, was in the midst of a walking nightmare!”
7) The protagonist’s aggression could be explained by the fact that the only time someone’s get in contact with him, it’s just to curse and insult him. The protagonist reached such a level on dissociation from reality, given by the invisibility to other’s eyes, that he first feels angry and in the middle of a “frenzy”, just as if it was not him to act but the phantom. But as the rage and violence stop, he feels “unnerved”, “both disgusted and ashamed” for a second, before feeling mused, as he was freed by the fear of being a phantom, of not being real.
8) The protagonist tells us that he was acting that way in the middle of a frenzy, “because he still uttered insults though his lips were frothy with blood”. He felt like he was not really him butting the man’s chin or kicking his body, since after he realizes that the man didn’t saw him, he felt “like a drunken man myself, wavering about on weakened legs”.
A real man feels like he is invisible to other people’s eyes, even if he can’t understand we since he is a man just like others. He feels like a phantom, not a scary one but simply someone people refuse to see.
He accepts this fact, he thinks sometimes it can also be an advantage, but at the same time this situation makes him doubt about his own existence in the real world, dissociating him to normal life experience.
One night he bumps into a tall blond man, who insults him, and he reacts butting and kicking him in a violent frenzy, almost killing him with his knife, before realizing that this man too didn’t saw him, and feeling amused by the fact that a phantom mugged someone.
Being invisible is surely something that everybody experience in his life. Someone can feel invisible for a minute, someone else for his entire life.
You can be invisible in two different ways, in my opinion: you can FEEL invisible to other’s eyes because they don’t understand you, or you can BE invisible because people decide not to notice you. Both cases have the same result, dissociating someone from the real world, but causes are deeply different. In the first case it’s a condition you create or feel, consequence of particular situations or problems. The second case it’s a decision taken by others that you are subjected to, something you have to suffer.
This second case is the most problematic one, I guess. It’s quite common in schools, for example, that someone is isolated from the rest of the group or class just because he’s different. This person can be invisible to everybody, or even worse he can be the target of the others’ rage, a sadly phenomenon commonly known in Italy as “bullismo”.
The situation of being invisible can also be extended to entire social categories, to thousands of people. It happened in the US to Afro-Americans before Martin Luther King Jr, and that’s also the case of the protagonist in Ellison’s novel. It happens to those who run down a street and walk along a homeless, barely looking at him. It happens when you skip a TV channel referring to famine and war in Africa, just to cite one case.
Being invisible and to decide to make people feel invisible are two faces of the same medal. On one hand you have the passive element, who suffers the situation of being invisible, whether he creates this condition with his own actions or not. On the other hand you have an active role, most of the time taken on by a group, who deliberately decide who has the right to be noticed and who has not.
Via | Scuolazoo
Modern society leads us to fail to understand who we really are. We are always too busy to see ourselves through the eyes of others, hypothesizing about how we appear to those who live around us, in order to really do a thorough analysis and introspection to understand who we really are. One of the problems of modern society in which the appearance is more important than being, in which it is more important to be as others want you to be and not be as you really are.
The question is simple: it is difficult for modern man to be accepted for who he really is. It 's easier to lie and appear as others would like us to be, rather than to show what we really are, in all our strengths and all our faults. And that's when the mask falls that we feel naked and stripped of our securities, while it is precisely at this moment that we can show who we really are, without lies and without masks.
And it is at this time that the man is faced with a clear choice: throw the mask and finally show themselves for what he really is, or hide, fall into oblivion, becoming just an invisible man who is not seen for fear to be seen for what he really is.
All this leads to create ephemeral relationships that with the passage of time may fade, because our personality sooner or later is always ready to emerge, when we least expect it. For this reason we should learn a bit more to accept us for who we are, deepening the knowledge about ourselves first and then move to deepen the knowledge of the other that we face.
Only with the acceptance of ourselves can we hope to no longer be invisible men, but people visible and real, without masks and without lies.