Soluzioni della seconda prova di Inglese - Maturità 2017, Prove svolte di Maturità di Inglese
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Soluzioni della seconda prova di Inglese - Maturità 2017, Prove svolte di Maturità di Inglese

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Traccia e soluzione della seconda prova di maturità di Inglese anno 2016 - 2017 per il Liceo Linguistico, Liceo Linguistico Moderno, Liceo Giuridico Economico e Liceo Artistico
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#SalvaMaturità

Soluzione della Seconda

Prova di Maturità di

Inglese

Anno 2016-2017

Liceo Linguistico

Liceo Linguistico Moderno

Liceo Giuridico Economico

Liceo Artistico

Questa prova di Maturità è stata risolta dai Tutor di Docsity.com

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Tema di: LINGUA INGLESE

A – ATTUALITÀ

Poverty affects education – and our systems perpetuate it

It’s hard to argue that poverty does not affect education. It’s hard to argue that

children who come from homes where they may be wanting—wanting for food, for

time, or for resources—don’t enter the school door with a little less than others. And

it’s hard to argue that children living in poverty and attending schools that are

underfunded, underresourced, and understaffed are not literally up against the

system.

We have established a system where those who are poor are more likely to stay poor,

and lately we have seen a sharp increase in those considered poor. In fact, a recent

research bulletin from the Southern Education Foundation highlights that, as of this

year, the majority of public school children come from poverty. According to the

bulletin, “The latest data collected from the states by the National Center for

Education Statistics (NCES), show that 51 percent of the students across the nation’s

public schools were low income in 2013”.

In 40 of the 50 states, low income students comprised no less than 40% of all public

schoolchildren. In 21 states, children eligible for free or reduced-price lunches were a

majority of the students in 2013.

51 percent of our children across the country now live in poverty, and the numbers

appear to be growing.

Coincidentally, it has also been 51 years since we, as a nation, declared poverty

unacceptable. It has been 51 years since President Lyndon B. Johnson launched the

War on Poverty in his 1964 State of the Union Address.

This administration today, here and now, declares unconditional war on poverty in

America. I urge this Congress and all Americans to join with me in that effort. It will

not be a short or easy struggle, no single weapon or strategy will suffice, but we shall

not rest until that war is won. The richest Nation on earth can afford to win it. We

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cannot afford to lose it. One thousand dollars invested in salvaging an unemployable

youth today can return $40,000 or more in his lifetime.

During this address, Johnson also acknowledged that “many Americans live on the

outskirts of hope—some because of their poverty, and some because of their color,

and all too many because of both.” Poverty, Johnson said, was a “national problem,”

one that required a collective response across all levels of government and society.

His address singled out every American to do his part.

Fifty-one years later, however, we have established systems that perpetuate and even

accentuate poverty. Schools in low socioeconomic areas are underfunded when

compared to higher socioeconomic neighborhoods. They tackle chronic issues with a

chronic lack of resources. While those who work in these schools may be passionate,

hard-working, and motivated educators, they frequently lack experience, support

services, and political power.

Thus, the message becomes clear—if you are born into poverty, you are likely to stay

in poverty.

As a country, we have deep-rooted negative stereotypes about people living in

poverty, despite the fact that people who live in poverty are as diverse in their norms,

beliefs, and behaviors as people who live in any other socioeconomic stratum. Poverty

spans geographical and ethnic boundaries, from urban cities to rural towns. There are

many communities that have battled poverty for decades and many where poverty

has arrived recently, unexpectedly, and in a rush.

Poverty is neither fair nor equitable, and it is not productive for society. If we ignore,

as Charles Blow called it, the “corrosive effects of poverty” on our nation’s children, it

will come back to haunt us. And as Steve Suitts, author of the Southern Education

Foundation research bulletin, said, “It’s a matter of our national future, because when

one group becomes the majority of our students, they define what that future is going

to be in education more than any other group.”

So what do we do? Rather than just get angry, we must get active.

We can and should commit to addressing poverty via intersectoral alignment, change

the formula by which we fund our schools, and ensure that inequities are at the heart

of all policy discussions. […] Poverty affects our education, our economy, and our

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future. It is becoming the norm, and we appear reluctant to address it. What was once

a local, regional, or state concern is now a national issue and will affect our national

progress. But we have the steps in place to change it—and we’ve had these steps for

over half a century. What has been waning is our will to act and our determination to

succeed. […]

[769 words]

From: Stephen Slade, “Poverty Affects Education—And our Systems Perpetrate It”,

The Huffington Post (US edition), 24 April 2015.

Available online: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sean-slade/poverty-affects-

education_b_7861778.html

Accessed on 20 January 2017.

COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION

Answer the following questions. Use complete sentences and your own words.

1. According to the author, in what ways do poor children “enter the school door

with a little less1 than others”?

The author means that poor children suffer from deficiencies such as food, money,

time, and so they face the school life in a different way from wealthy children.

2. What alarming fact regarding the children in the USA’s public schools is

highlighted by NCES data?

The data collected by NCES show that 51% of the students attending a public school

in the USA in 2013 came from a low-income family.

3. How do you know from the article that poverty among children has become a

wide-spread phenomenon in the USA? State at least 2 facts.

Two facts support this statement: in 2013, low-income students made up 40% of all

schoolchildren in 40 of 50 States, and in 21 States most of the schoolchildren were

eligible for a free or discounted lunch.

1 Attenzione al significato di a little, che è simile a quello di some; di conseguenza il significato della frase è che

i bambini poveri arrivano a scuola con “un bel po’ meno” rispetto agli altri.

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4. Name at least 2 points that President Lyndon B. Johnson made in his speech to

argue for the urgency to fight poverty.

President Lyndon B. Johnson highlights that: the richest Nation in the world shall not

allow a part of its population to live in poverty, because an investment to save people

from unemployment today can be of reward tomorrow, and poverty is a national

problem that every single American should tackle.

5. What relationship does the author establish between poverty and the education

system in the USA?

According to the author, schools in low-income areas accentuate poverty itself,

because such schools are underfunded and with chronic lack of resources.

6. Why is poverty depicted in the article as a trap out of which it is difficult for

people to escape? Give 2 reasons.

It seems that who is born in poverty is likely to remain in poverty, because poor areas

are not funded properly and this creates a vicious circle where people lack education

and resources, thus remaining where they are.

7. Where can poverty be found?

Poverty can be found everywhere, across geographical and ethnical boundaries, from

cities to towns.

8. What group is Steve Suitts referring to as having become “the majority of our

students”?

He is referring to poor students.

9. Name two ways in which it might be possible to address poverty according to

the author.

According to the author, poverty should be faced by changing the way schools are

funded or by making inequities the key topic of political discussions.

10. Why does the author believe the issue of poverty has not been addressed in the

last 50 years?

The issue of poverty has not been addressed because it was seen as becoming the

norm and people lacked will to act and determination to succeed.

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PRODUCTION

Choose one of the following questions.

Number your answer clearly to show which question you have attempted.

Either

1. The European Parliament resolution of 24 November 2015 on reducing inequalities with

a special focus on child poverty (2014/2237(INI)) recalls that “child poverty is a multi-

dimensional phenomenon that requires a multi-dimensional response” and that “tackling

child poverty requires the adoption of a lifecycle approach […] that reflects the different

needs of early childhood, primary childhood and adolescence”.

In an essay of approximately 300 words, show your own personal understanding of what a

“multidimensional response” and a “life-cycle approach” to tackling child poverty might

entail. Think also about what you have read in the article.

Or

2. Imagine that you and your volunteer group have been awarded a grant of 10 thousand

Euro to set up a local community project to help at-risk teenagers in your neighbourhood

stay in school and succeed in their education. Write a composition of about 300 words to

describe the specific situation you would like to address, what you would do to address it

and who you would involve. Try to make your project credible, also by considering the

amount of money you have for it.

1.

In my opinion2, childhood is one of the most important period in a person’s life. The way

you3 experience your childhood can affect your future choices and the rest of your life

forever. For this reason, it’s not unusual, as the above text has stated, that who is born in

poverty keeps on living in poverty, because the life you live in childhood is likely to be the

life you will live in the future too. Consequently, poverty should be addressed with a life-

cycle approach, that means, by assisting and supporting, both financially and emotionally, a

person in poverty during their4 most significant periods in life, such as childhood and

adolescence. This approach should also be “multidimensional”, i.e. it should cover and

address different aspects of the person’s life. A person in poverty does not only need

financial support; it is also important to help them with job opportunities, education

possibilities, relationships with others, and creative ways of thinking, so that they can

reinvent their life and wisely choose their future on their own. In fact, another difficulty

deriving from poverty is not only the inability to pay for food and rent, but also the lack of

2 Dal momento che la consegna chiede di esprimere una opinione personale, è lecito iniziare subito la

produzione scritta con le proprie idee. 3 Utilizzo del pronome you in senso impersonale. 4 Utilizzo della forma del singular they.

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opportunities for personal development due to too much work or no free time; as a

consequence, the person in poverty is forced to make some choices rather than others

because they don’t have any time neither to think nor to look for other possibilities.

In conclusion, we should not think about fighting poverty only with money; poverty also

causes mental states of depression and negativity that can be tackled with education,

support and help by everyone for everyone. In this way, everyone can do their part against

poverty.

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B – STORICO - SOCIALE

The case for gender parity

There is a clear values-based case for promoting gender parity: women are one-half

of the world’s population and evidently deserve equal access to health, education,

economic participation and earning potential, and political decision-making power.

However, it is pertinent to note that gender parity is equally fundamental to whether

and how societies thrive. Ensuring the healthy development and appropriate use of

half of the world’s total talent pool has a vast bearing on the growth, competitiveness

and future-readiness of economies and businesses worldwide.

A variety of models and empirical studies have suggested that improving gender

parity may result in significant economic dividends, which vary depending on the

situation of different economies and the specific challenges they are facing. Notable

recent estimates suggest that economic gender parity could add an additional

US$240 billion to the GDP of the United Kingdom, US$1,201 billion to that of the

United States, US$526 billion to Japan’s, and US$285 billion to the GDP of Germany.

Another recent estimate suggests that China could see a US$2.5 trillion GDP increase

by 2020, and North America and Oceania could gain an additional US$3.1 trillion over

the same period if they closed their gender gaps.

A number of recent studies also indicate that a reduction in the employment gender

gap has been an important driver of European economic growth over the past

decade, and has the potential to unleash even further growth. Conversely, limiting

women’s access to labour markets is costly, as poor female labour force participation

hampers economic growth. […]

The Global Gender Gap Index takes into account four critical dimensions when

measuring the gaps between women and men’s access to resources and

opportunities: economic participation, education, health and politics. Across these

four different dimensions we see a number of positive interdependencies, knock-on

and multiplier effects that highlight the multi-faceted nature of the benefits of

increased gender parity.

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For example, increased gender parity in education lowers infant and child mortality

rates, lowers maternal mortality rates, increases labour force participation rates and

earnings, and fosters further educational investment in children. The World Bank

finds, based on a sample of a wide range of developing countries, that investing in

girls so that they would complete education at the same rate as boys would lead to

lifetime earnings increases of today’s cohort of girls of between 54% to 68% of

countries’ GDP, equivalent to an increase in annual GDP growth rates of about 1.5%.

Conversely, girls’ exclusion from education considerably hinders the productive

potential of an economy and its overall development. In the East Asia and the Pacific

region, specifically, it has been estimated that between US$16 billion to US$30 billion

is lost annually as a result of gender gaps in education. Similar to education, investing

in health—and specifically in maternal, newborn and child health—has a significant

multiplier effect.

In the political sphere, women’s engagement in public life has a positive impact on

inequality across society at large. The issues which women advocate, prioritize and

invest in have broad societal implications, touching on family life, education and

health. Women’s engagement in public life fosters greater credibility in institutions,

and heightened democratic outcomes. […]

Women’s participation in the formal economy, or lack thereof, is also a business

issue—costing women, companies and, ultimately, entire economies. Female talent

remains one of the most under-utilized business resources, either squandered

through lack of progression or untapped from the onset. Business leaders and

governments increasingly note that tackling barriers to equality can unlock new

opportunities for growth. In the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey, 42%

of business leaders perceived addressing gender parity in their company as a matter

of fairness and equality; yet, in addition, more than a fifth of those surveyed also

highlighted rationales closer to their core business: reflecting the changing gender

composition of their customer base as well as enhancing corporate decision-making

and innovation.

Additionally, the global economy is currently in transition to a Fourth Industrial

Revolution. In such a highly interconnected and rapidly changing world, diversity is

critical to informed corporate decision-making and business innovation. When it

comes to leadership positions, companies with top quartile representation of women

in executive committees have been shown to perform better than companies with no

women at the top. […] Links also exist between having more women directors and

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corporate sustainability, as well as with economic growth, since more diverse

leadership teams can cater to a broader array of stakeholder needs and concerns.

Unlocking these benefits requires focused action to address the underlying causes of

persistent gender gaps in a systemic way.

[760 words]

Abridged from: World Economic Forum

The Global Gender Gap Report 2016

Available online: http://reports.weforum.org/global-gender-gap-report-2016/the-

case-for-gender-parity/

Accessed on 13 January 2017

COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION

Answer the following questions. Use complete sentences and your own words.

1. Provide 2 fundamental reasons in favour of gender parity that are given in the

text.

Gender parity should be addressed because women are half of the world’s population

and can significantly contribute to their country’s economy.

2. How could the closing of gender gaps in China affect it economically?

According to the text, China could see its GDP increase by US$2.5 trillion by 2020 if it

closed gender gaps.

3. What have recent studies revealed on reducing the gender gap in employment

in Europe?

Recent studies have shown that by reducing the gender gap there has been a

considerable growth of European economy.

4. What does the Global Gender Gap Index take into account to measure the

differences between women and men in terms of access to resources and

opportunities?

The Global Gender Gap Index takes into account four critical dimensions: economic

participation, education, health and politics.

5. Provide 2 examples from the text of interdependency and knock-on effects from

increased gender parity.

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Increased gender parity, for example in education, can have many positive effects on

family-related issues, such as low infant and child mortality rates; moreover, it can

increase labour force participation rates and earnings, and foster further educational

investment on children.

6. What sort of effects may be obtained from a greater involvement of women in

public life?

Women in public life may have a positive effect in tackling inequalities across society,

fostering greater institutional credibility and democratic outcomes.

7. What sort of issues do women involved in public life tend to address?

Women tend to address issues regarding family, education and health.

8. How is female talent under-utilized in business?

Usually female talent in business is under-utilized because of the lack of progress or

no progress at all.

9. What do business leaders think about gender parity, according to the recent

World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey?

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs Survey, most of business

leaders considers gender parity as a matter of fairness and equality.

10. Provide 2 details from the text showing the importance of having more women

in leadership roles.

In a so fast-growing word, diversity is the key to success, and women may contribute

to leadership in a different way from men; moreover, female leaders are more likely

to foster corporate sustainability and economic growth.

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PRODUCTION

Choose one of the following questions.

Number your answer clearly to show which question you have attempted.

Either

1. The text argues the case for gender parity and shows some of the effects of not achieving

it for women.

Think about the role of women in history, in public life and in current society. Write an essay

of about 300 words showing your understanding of the role that women have played or are

playing individually and/or collectively in circumstances and situations that you choose to

focus on (for instance, in the arts and sciences, in particular historical moments, on the

European or world scene, etc…).

Or

2. How aware do you think young people are of the existence of gender gaps in the society

you live in?

What do you think might be done to create awareness in young people of your age? Write

a composition of about 300 words expressing your opinions and ideas on the matter and

using examples to support them.

2.

The existence of gender gaps may seem to be over in the modern society. People seem to

be more aware of women’s value and rights and among young people girls and boy are

supposed to have the same possibilities and opportunities.

Actually, gender gaps still exist, even if they have shifted from one place to another, changing

in shape but not in nature. If that’s true that some equality barriers have been tore down –

girls can dress as they want, date with boys, choose their career paths -, some inequalities

are still there, even if they are less visible than in the past. For example, there is still a clear

stereotype about school and studies: boys are supposed to follow more scientific study paths

such as medicine, maths, engineering, whereas most of girls can be found in more abstract

and intellectual courses such as philosophy, languages, communication. This is true also in

career paths, where most of scientists, engineers and business leader are male, whereas there

are lots of female teachers, caregivers, researchers. In my opinion, this is due to a deep-

rooted stereotype in our society, which wants the man to work and earn a living while the

woman takes care of the family and the house. This basic distinction has made men and

women be associated to different types of job – men are often seen as working hard, doing

long hours, managing great amount of money; women deal with issues relating to children,

health, home, family sustainability.

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I believe that young people in the modern world are still someway trapped in this stereotype,

and this is reflected in the way boys behave with girls and vice versa – boys seeing the girls

as a tool for sexual pleasure, girls looking to boys as a source for love and support. This

situation should be addressed through more education and awareness in schools and

families: young people from both genders should be taught to pay respect to each other,

especially during a so sensitive period like adolescence.

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C – LETTERATURA

The Ultimate Safari

That night our mother went to the shop and she didn’t come back. Ever. What

happened?

I don’t know. My father also had gone away one day and never come back; but he

was fighting in the war. We were in the war, too, but we were children, we were like

our grandmother and grandfather, we didn’t have guns. The people my father was

fighting – the bandits, they are called by our government – ran all over the place and

we ran away from them like chickens chased by dogs. We didn’t know where to go.

Our mother went to the shop because someone said you could get some oil for

cooking. We were happy because we hadn’t tasted oil for a long time; perhaps she

got the oil and someone knocked her down in the dark and took that oil from her.

Perhaps she met the bandits. If you meet them, they will kill you. Twice they came to

our village and we ran and hid in the bush and when they’d gone we came back and

found they had taken everything; but the third time they came back there was nothing

to take, no oil, no food, so they burned the thatch and the roofs of our houses fell in.

My mother found some pieces of tin and we put those up over part of the house. We

were waiting there for her that night she never came back.

We were frightened to go out, even to do our business, because the bandits did come.

Not into our house – without a roof it must have looked as if there was no one in it,

everything gone – but all through the village. We heard people screaming and

running. We were afraid even to run, without our mother to tell us where. I am the

middle one, the girl, and my little brother clung against my stomach with his arms

round my neck and his legs round my waist like a baby monkey to its mother. All

night my first-born brother kept in his hand a broken piece of wood from one of our

burnt house-poles. It was to save himself if the bandits found him.

We stayed there all day. Waiting for her. I don’t know what day it was; there was no

school, no church any more in our village, so you didn’t know whether it was a Sunday

or a Monday.

When the sun was going down, our grandmother and grandfather came. Someone

from our village had told them we children were alone, our mother had not come

back. I say ‘grandmother’ before ‘grandfather’ because it’s like that: our grandmother

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is big and strong, not yet old, and our grandfather is small, you don’t know where he

is, in his loose trousers, he smiles but he hasn’t heard what you’re saying, and his hair

looks as if he’s left it full of soap suds. Our grandmother took us – me, the baby, my

first-born brother, our grandfather – back to her house and we were all afraid (except

the baby, asleep on our grandmother’s back) of meeting the bandits on the way. We

waited a long time at our grandmother’s place. Perhaps it was a month. We were

hungry. Our mother never came. While we were waiting for her to fetch us our

grandmother had no food for us, no food for our grandfather and herself. A woman

with milk in her breasts gave us some for my little brother, although at our house he

used to eat porridge, same as we did. Our grandmother took us to look for wild

spinach but everyone else in her village did the same and there wasn’t a leaf left.

Our grandfather, walking a little behind some young men, went to look for our mother

but didn’t find her. Our grandmother cried with other women and I sang the hymns

with them. They brought a little food – some beans – but after two days there was

nothing again. Our grandfather used to have three sheep and a cow and a vegetable

garden but the bandits had long ago taken the sheep and the cow, because they were

hungry, too; and when planting time came our grandfather had no seed to plant.

So they decided – our grandmother did; our grandfather made little noises and

rocked from side to side, but she took no notice – we would go away. We children

were pleased. We wanted to go away from where our mother wasn’t and where we

were hungry. We wanted to go where there were no bandits and there was food.

We were glad to think there must be such a place; away. […]

[775 words]

Nadine Gordimer, “The Ultimate Safari”,

Jump and Other Stories,

London, Penguin Books, 1991, pgs. 33 - 48.

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COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION

Answer the following questions. Use complete sentences and your own words.

1. Who is the narrator in the story?

The narrator of the story is a girl, the mid-child of a three-children family.

2. What happened to the children’s parents?

The father has left for the war; the mother has gone out to buy some oil and never

come back.

3. How many children are there in the narrator’s family and who are they?

There are three children in total: a younger boy, the female narrator, and the older

brother.

4. Who are “the bandits” that the narrator refers to and what are some of the

things they did?

The bandits are people who come to the village and steal everything they can with

violence; they, for instance, take all the food, burn the houses, steal the animals.

5. How did the children’s mother repair their home?

The children’s mother repaired the house’s roof with some pieces of tin.

6. Why can’t the children tell what day of the week it is?

The children can’t tell what day of the week it is because in the village there are no

school and church anymore, so they can’t distinguish between Sunday and Monday.

7. How is the children’s grandmother different from their grandfather? Which of

the two is the leader?

The children’s grandmother is physically bigger and stronger, and doesn’t seem old,

so she is the leader of the family; their grandfather is small and seems to disappear

inside his clothes.

8. Give two details from the story that bear witness to how hungry the children

were.

They were so hungry that they accepted some breast milk from a woman for the

youngest child, and went to look for some wild spinach around the village.

9. Why couldn’t the children’s grandfather farm for food?

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The children’s grandfather couldn’t farm for food because he had no seeds to plant.

10. What does “away” represent for the children?

For the children, “away” is everywhere they can find some food and there aren’t any

bandits, in a place other than the village where their mother disappeared.

PRODUCTION

Choose one of the following questions.

Number your answer clearly to show which question you have attempted.

Either

1. The use of the naïve first-person narrator in this story by the South-African Nobel laureate,

Nadine Gordimer, makes it particularly effective. Why is this so and in what ways? Think also

about another literary work in English that you have read that uses first-person narration. In

an essay of about 300 words, explain how this point of view influences our perception of the

settings, characters and events in this passage from “The Ultimate Safari” and in the work

you have chosen to discuss.

Or

2. This passage comes from the beginning of a short story by the South-African Nobel

laureate, Nadine Gordimer. Reflect on the experiences it presents and in a composition of

about 300 words, relate those experiences to other examples of hardships that you have

read about, either in works of fiction or in real life stories that involve children.

1.

In my opinion, a first-person narration is very effective for many reasons. First of all, it creates

a stronger bond between the character and the reader, because through the pronoun I the

reader can identify more easily with the person narrating. In fact, it is easier to explain

feelings and emotions in first person, because the narrator/character can use a personal

language and deepen its own thoughts in a closer way. Another remarkable aspect regarding

the first-person narration is that reality is filtered through the eyes of the character, so that

the reader sees and experiences only what the character itself sees and experiences. A clear

example of this aspect can be found in the novel Room by Emma Donoghue: it narrates the

experiences of a child who lives with his mother in a room and has never gone out of it.

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Everything is filtered through his eyes, and all thoughts and opinions are those of a five-year

child: for this reason, the reader doesn’t immediately acknowledge what is actually

happening in this room, why this child and his mother are there, and who the mysterious

night visitor of the mother is. Then, through some details that the child doesn’t understand,

but that the reader can detect, the truth is revealed.

I believe that this type of narration has the power to create a great suspense, because you

don’t have an omniscient narrator who tells you what’s going on – the reader has to

experience the story exactly as the character does, with all the fears, doubts, and uncertainty

about the development of the story. This happens also in the text above: many pieces of

information5 are uncertain, you don’t know if what is told is true or not, because the narrator

is a young girl and perhaps she does not understand reality in full; for example, you don’t

get who the bandits actually are, and where the characters live, because there is no third-

person narrator to tell you that.

5 Dal momento che information è un sostantivo uncountable, per dare un’idea di pluralità è necessario ricorrere

a una locuzione esterna.

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D – ARTISTICO

Art criticism, the analysis and evaluation of works of art. More subtly, art criticism is

often tied to theory; it is interpretive, involving the effort to understand a particular

work of art from a theoretical perspective and to establish its significance in the

history of art.

Many cultures have strong traditions of art evaluation. For example, African cultures

have evaluative traditions—often verbal—of esteeming a work of art for its beauty,

order, and form or for its utilitarian qualities and the role it plays in communal and

spiritual activities. Islamic cultures have long traditions of historiographical writing

about art. Works such as Mustafa Ali’s Manāqib-i hunarvarān (1587; “Wonderful

Deeds of the Artists”) often focus on the decorative traditions, such as calligraphy,

woodwork, glassware, metalwork, and textiles, that define Islamic art. China also has

a strong tradition of art evaluation, dating back to writers such as Xie He (active mid-

6th century), who offered the “Six Principles” for great art. […]

Like all these examples, the Western tradition has a set of evaluative criteria—

sometimes shared with other cultures, sometimes unique—as well as elements of

historiography. Within the history of Western art writing, however, is a distinct critical

tradition characterized by the use of theory; theoretical analyses of art in the West—

made either to oppose or to defend contemporary approaches to art making—led to

what is generally understood as the discipline of “art criticism.” Art criticism

developed parallel to Western aesthetic theory, beginning with antecedents in

ancient Greece and fully taking form in the 18th and 19th centuries. […]

The critic is “minimally required to be a connoisseur,” which means he must have a

“sound knowledge” of the history of art, as Philip Weissman wrote in his essay “The

Psychology of the Critic and Psychological Criticism” (1962), but “the step from

connoisseur to critic implies the progression from knowledge to judgment.” The critic

must make judgments because the art dealt with is generally new and unfamiliar—

unless the critic is trying to reevaluate an old art with a fresh understanding of it—

and thus of uncertain aesthetic and cultural value. The critic is often faced with a

choice: to defend old standards, values, and hierarchies against new ones or to defend

the new against the old. There are thus avant-garde critics, who become advocates

of art that departs from and even subverts or destabilizes prevailing norms and

conventions and becomes socially disruptive (one thinks, for example, of the furor

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caused by Caravaggio and Édouard Manet), as well as reactionary critics, who defend

the old order of thinking and values and the socially established familiar art that goes

along with them. Extreme innovators—artists whose work is radically different, even

revolutionary—pose the greatest challenge to the critic. Such artists push the limits

of the critic’s understanding and appreciation or else force the critic to fall back on

established assumptions in intellectual self-defeat. The greatest threat to art criticism

is the development of defensive clichés—settled expectations and unquestioned

presuppositions—about art, while the adventure of art criticism lies in the exposure

to new possibilities of art and the exploration of new approaches that seem

demanded by it.

The critic thus has a certain power of determination over art history, or at least great

influence in creating the canon of art, as is evident, for example, in the naming by

critics of many modern movements and in the “basic understanding” of the ostensibly

incomprehensible, unconventional artists who initiated them. The British critic Roger

Fry, who created the name “Post-Impressionism” and wrote brilliantly and

convincingly about Paul Cézanne, is a classic example. Art criticism may also

encompass historiography; while “art history” is often spoken of as an objective field,

art historians’ own preferences cannot always be separated from their judgments and

choices of emphasis, and this makes many art-historical narratives a subtler form of

art criticism. […]

[645 words]

From: Donald Burton Kuspit , “Art Criticism”,

Encyclopaedia Britannica (online)

Updated: 3 December 2010

Available online:

https://www.britannica.com/topic/art-criticism

Accessed on 20 January 2017.

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COMPREHENSION AND INTERPRETATION

Answer the following questions. Use complete sentences and your own words.

1. Name 4 of the evaluative criteria used by non-Western cultures in their

appreciation of art, as reported in the text.

In the African art tradition, for example, pieces of art are esteemed for their beauty,

order, form and also for their utility and role in society and spirituality.

2. In what centuries did art criticism become fully developed as a discipline?

Art criticism became fully developed as a discipline during the 18th and 19th centuries,

parallelly to the Western aesthetic theory.

3. Why is theory a relevant aspect of art criticism?

Theory is important because it establishes a set of criteria useful to judge a work of

art and establish its value.

4. What other aspect is also important for the Western tradition of art criticism?

Art criticism in the Western tradition has also some elements of historiography.

5. How is the art critic different from the art connoisseur?

The art connoisseur has a sound knowledge of art, whereas the art critic also has the

ability and duty to judge a work of art.

6. The text refers to different types of art critics. Briefly illustrate them.

On one hand, there are the avant-garde critics, who appreciate and promote new

types of art that can also divert from and disrupt the preceding art tradition; on the

other hand, there are the reactionary critics, who instead prefer old traditions, defend

the familiar art and the status quo.

7. What type of artist presents the greatest challenges for the art critic and why is

that?

The extreme artist is the one who presents the greatest challenges, because they are

strongly innovative and sometimes also revolutionary, so that it is difficult to judge

their art.

8. What do you understand from the text about the works of Caravaggio and

Édouard Manet?

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Caravaggio and Manet are considered to have been “revolutionary” artists, because

their work caused a lot of “furor”.

9. Give an example from the text of the art critic’s role in establishing the canons

of art.

Art critic has the power to establish the name of artistic movements, like Roger Fry

who invented the name “Post-Impressionisms”.

10. In what way can the art historian’s work be conceived also as a “subtler form of

art criticism”?

Usually, art history is supposed to be more objective than art criticism; however, an

art historian own preferences and judgments cannot be separated by the way he

explains a piece of art and its history, so that art history results in a “subtler form of

art criticism”.

PRODUCTION

Choose one of the following questions.

Number your answer clearly to show which question you have attempted.

Either

1. Focus on any modern artists you are familiar with and how their work was received by

critics and the public at large. In an essay of approximately 300 words, illustrate the aesthetic

and cultural values that have been associated to these artists by critics, as well as the role

they have been assigned in the history of art.

Or

2. Write a composition of about 300 words on your own personal experiences related to the

appreciation of contemporary art and to the evaluative criteria you think are important.

2.

I think that contemporary art is quite controversial for its own nature. Sometimes it is so

modern, revolutionary and different from the art of the past that there are strong debates

whether to consider it art or not. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to judge something that

goes so far beyond the normal criteria.

Personally, I don’t always like contemporary art, because sometimes I find it too much

complicated, or aggressive, or I simply don’t understand what that piece of art is meant to

communicate. On the other hand, there are works of contemporary art that inspire me an

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emotion, although I may have not understood what the message of such work is. For this

reason, I believe that “being able to inspire an emotion” should be one of the criteria through

which a piece of contemporary art should be evaluated. It is also true that such a criterium

is absolutely personal and without objective references, but all critics and judgments are,

eventually, personal and subjective. That’s why contemporary art is such debated, due to the

subjectivity of its critique: there are no objective criteria to refer to, so all critics are just

personal critics based on personal values and appreciation. But maybe this is just another

aspect that makes contemporary art different and revolutionary: the fact that it cannot even

be evaluated through objective criteria such as the dark and light, the colours, the brush

strokes… Even the locations where contemporary art is exhibited are different from the

traditional ones: big and bold architectural experiments, modern building that constitute a

piece of art by themselves.

In conclusion, what makes a contemporary work of art worth to be appreciated is still an

open debate, and it shall remain like this, because it is the ongoing debate and

transformation that makes art what it is.

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