Texte de Dan Brown

Énoncé

« When Rachel arrived at her father's table, the senator was on his cellphone talking loudly about one of his recent successes. He glanced up at Rachel only long enough to tap his Cartier and remind her she was late. I missed you, too, Rachel thought. Her father's first name was Thomas, although he'd adopted his middle name long ago. Rachel suspected it was because he liked the alliteration. Senator Sedgewick Sexton. The man was a silver-haired, silver-tongued political animal who had been anointed with the slick look of a soap opera doctor, which seemed appropriate considering his talents of impersonation. "Rachel!" Her father clicked off his phone and stood to kiss her cheek. "Hi, Dad." She did not kiss him back. "You look exhausted." And so it begins, she thought. "I got your message. What's up?" "I can't ask my daughter out for breakfast?" Rachel had learned long ago her father seldom requested her company unless he had some ulterior motive. Sexton took a sip of coffee. "So, how are things with you?" "Busy. I see your campaign's going well." "Oh, let's not talk business." Sexton leaned across the table, lowering his voice. "How's that guy at the State Department I set you up with?" Rachel exhaled, already fighting the urge to check her watch. "Dad, I really haven't had time to call him. And I wish you'd stop trying to –" "You've got to make time for the important things, Rachel. Without love, everything else is meaningless." A number of comebacks(1) came to mind, but Rachel chose silence. Being the bigger person was not difficult when it came to her father. "Dad, you wanted to see me? You said this was important." "It is." Her father's eyes studied her closely. Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away(2) under his gaze, and she cursed the man's power. The senator's eyes were his gift – a gift Rachel suspected would probably carry him to the White House. On cue(3), his eyes would well with tears, and then, an instant later, they would clear, opening a window to an impassioned soul, extending a bond of trust to all. It's all about trust(4), her father always said. The senator had lost Rachel's years ago, but he was quickly gaining the country's. "I have a proposition for you," Senator Sexton said. "Let me guess," Rachel replied, attempting to refortify her position. "Some prominent divorcé looking for a young wife?" "Don't kid yourself, honey. You're not that young anymore." Rachel felt the familiar shrinking sensation that so often accompanied meetings with her father. "I want to throw you a life raft," he said. "I wasn't aware I was drowning." "You're not. The President is. You should jump ship before it's too late." "Haven't we had this conversation?" "Think about your future, Rachel. You can come work for me." "I hope that's not why you asked me to breakfast." The senator's veneer(5) of calm broke ever so slightly. "Rachel can't you see that your working for him reflects badly on me? And on my campaign." Rachel sighed. She and her father had been through this. "Dad, I don't work for the President. I haven't even met the President. I work in Fairfax, for God's sake!" "Politics is perception, Rachel. It appears you work for the President". Rachel exhaled, trying to keep her cool. "I worked too hard to get this job, Dad. I'm not quitting." »
Dan Brown, Deception Point, 2004

Compréhension
1. 
a) In which country does the story take place? (10 words maximum)
b) Justify your answer by quoting two elements from the text.
2. There are two characters present in the scene. What are their names? (15 words max.)
3. How are they related to each other? (10 words max.)
4. What are they doing in the passage? Specify the time and place of their meeting. (15 words max.)
5. 
a) What is the male character's position in society? (10 words max.)
b) Considering his position, what does he want to become? (10 words max.)
c) Give two different quotations from the text to support your answer in b).
6. 
A message is mentioned.
a) Who sent it? (5 words max.)
b) Who received it? (5 words max.)
c) Using elements from the text, write the contents of the message, including indications of time, place and purpose. (20 words max.)
7. 
a) What are the two subjects of the characters' conversation? (25 words max.)
b) Justify your answers with two quotations from the text (one quotation for each subject).
8. 
a) Which is the dominant character? (10 words max.)
b) Justify with two elements referring to this character.
c) What does this character want the other to do at the end of the passage? (15 words max.)
d) Does the other character agree to this request? (10 words max.)
e) Justify your answer by quoting from the text.
9. How would you qualify in one sentence the relationship between the two characters throughout the passage? (10 words)
10. Focus on Rachel. Rachel's mood changes several times.
For each adjective in the list below, pick out at least one relevant quotation from the text.
  • irritated
  • self-restrained
  • ill at ease
  • determined
11. 
a) Focus on the following sentences:
  • "I missed you too, Rachel thought."
  • "And so he begins, she thought. "I got your message. What's up?"
  • "It's all about trust, her father always said."
Why are the sentences partly written in italics? (15 words max.)
b)  "It's all about trust". Explain why the notion of trust is important. (25 words max.)
Expression
Les candidats de série S choisiront de traiter l'un des deux sujets au choix. (200 mots)
Les candidats de série L devront obligatoirement traiter les deux sujets. (300 mots au total, soit environ 150 mots pour chaque sujet.)
1. A year later, the two characters meet again. Write their conversation.
2. Do you think a politician's family life should be of public concern?
Traduction
Seuls les candidats de la série L réaliseront cet exercice.
Traduire en français le passage allant de "Rachel!" à "…for breakfast?"
(1)Comebacks: answers.
(2)Melt away: disappear.
(3)On cue: at the right moment.
(4)Trust: confidence.
(5)Veneer: appearance.

Corrigé

Compréhension
1. 
a) The scene takes place in the United States of America.
b) "the White House".
"the State Department".
2. One character is called Rachel (Sexton) and the other one is called Thomas (Senator) Sedgewick Sexton.
3. Rachel is Thomas Sedgewick's daughter and Thomas Sedgewick is Rachel's father. They are daughter and father.
4. In the passage, they are having a conversation at breakfast time in a restaurant.
5. 
a) The male character is a politician, more precisely a senator.
b) He wants to become the president of the USA.
c) "the White House", "gaining the country's" trust.
6. 
a) The message was sent by Thomas Sedgewick Sexton/ the senator.
b) His daughter, Rachel, received it.
c) Rachel, come and meet me for breakfast at the little restaurant you know. I have something important to tell you. I have a proposition for you.
7. 
a) At first, Thomas Sexton shows some interest in his daughter's private life before revealing his intention. He wants his daughter to work for him.
b) Private life: "Without love, everything else is meaningless."
Professional life: "Think about your future, Rachel, you can come work with me."
8. 
a) Senator Thomas Wedgewick Sexton is the dominant character.
b) "Being the bigger person…"
"Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away under his gaze and she cursed the man's power."
c) He wants his daughter to quit her job and to come and work with him.
d) She doesn't agree with this request.
e) "I'm not quitting".
9. The father and the daughter do not get on well with each other, they have a conflicting relationship.
10. irritated:
  • "And so it begins, she thought."
  • "And I wish you'd stop trying to."
  • "I hope that's not why you asked me to breakfast."
  • "I work in Fairfax for god's sake! "
self-restrained:
  • "She did not kiss him back."
  • "but Rachel chose silence."
  • "Rachel exhaled, trying to keep her cool."
ill-at-ease:
  • "Rachel felt part of her defenses melt away, and she cursed the man's power."
  • "Rachel felt the familiar shrinking sensation."
determined:
  • "I'm not quitting."
11. 
a) The sentences in italics reveal the misunderstanding between Rachel and her father and their different vision of things. They are also Rachel's inner thoughts.
b) Trust is the cornerstone of human relations but the senator seems to be better at gaining support for the presidential elections than at having his daughter's trust.
Expression
1. Pensez à présenter le travail en respectant la forme demandée, ici un dialogue. Il faudra veiller à utiliser les guillemets, à changer de ligne chaque fois qu'un des deux personnages prend la parole. Il faudra aussi veiller à respecter l'attitude de chacun des protagonistes pour rester dans le ton du texte.
2. A politician's family or private life, just like the lives of ordinary people should not be a public concern. Private life has nothing to do with public life, in other words social or professional life. Reasonable people are interested in what a politician does insofar as public affairs are at stake, and not in what that man or woman does outside the political field.
There's no denying that the press, and more particularly the tabloids, is responsible for an inclusive attitude into people's private life. Some famous people are permanently under the public eye. Thus you can hear and read about the lives of famous people in the show business, sport or even politics. Some political figures tend to expose their private lives in entertainment programs on television and in newspapers, hoping that it will boost their popularity. In the gutter press, nothing is concealed from the prying of journalists, even insignificant or base details are given to the reader.
Unfortunately, some journalists are not following ethical principles and are ready to do anything to write articles of a dubious taste. This is not a responsible attitude and it is not good for democracy. Unfortunately, there is an audience for such newspapers or magazines.
To sum up, we can say that as long as photographs or articles about famous people are issued with their acceptance and since these images have not been "stolen", public concern and freedom of the press are compatible with people's right to privacy, whoever they are.
Traduction
« Rachel ! » Son père éteignit son téléphone portable d'un geste rapide puis se leva pour l'embrasser sur la joue.
« Salut, papa. » Elle ne l'embrassa pas en retour.
« Tu as l'air épuisé. »
« Voilà qu'il remet ça », pensa-t-elle. « J'ai bien eu ton message. Qu'est-ce qui se passe ? »
« Je ne peux même pas inviter ma fille à prendre le petit-déjeuner quelque part ? »