SUJET BAC BLANC NUMERO 2
The narrator is the mother of the family.
Everyone’s behavior has altered for the worse.
At school, Jordan has been lashing out at other kids, even the bigger ones. He punched and kicked Debbie Suffling who, though tall and strong-looking, actually has a blood condition that means she must not be hit.
Julie Edmunds, his teacher, sent Jordan straight to the head’s office where he sat stony-eyed and sullen and refusing to say sorry. That’s what Julie tells us when we go in to see her – that it’s not the incident itself but his total lack of remorse about it that she takes most seriously.
I’m sure he’s sorry, Mick tells her. He’s just too proud to say it.
We don’t encourage that sort of pride in this school, Julie says. We try to encourage children to respect others and put the truth first.
And she eyes Liv’s buggy1 and I know what she’s thinking: what’s she doing with another baby at her age when she can’t even control the ones she’s already got?
But it’s not just Jordan. Rosa, who’s loud and difficult at home but normally an angel at school – so good and conscientious that she will literally sweat if she doesn’t get her homework done on time – has lost her pen, her PE kit and half of her books, and been in trouble more than once for talking in assembly.
Our Rosa? Mick says. Talking in assembly?
Not only that, but her shoelaces are fraying, her shirt’s perpetually splattered with ink, her fingers are grubby and her arms covered in strange itchy spots which she picks till they bleed.
Who’s throwing ink at you, Rose? I ask her. Someone’s flicking it at you, aren’t they?
It’s my cartridge, she says flatly. It leaks.
All over your back?
She makes an ugly face at me.
And the spots – I wonder if they’re flea bites. We must get Maria a flea collar, I say.
It’s not Maria, Rosa almost shouts. Maria’s fine. You leave my kitten2 out of this !
Well, what’s biting you, Rosa?
I don’t know, she says. Mosquitoes, maybe?
Leave me alone, she says. I’m fine, OK?
What is it? I ask her when she bursts into sudden tears. What’s the matter, darling?
But she won’t talk to me, just stomp upstairs. Half an hour later I find her asleep on her bed with the kitten purring on her chest.
And then, there’s Nat. I’ll ask him to do a simple thing like empty the dishwasher or tidy his room or eat an egg on toast or remove his school blazer from where he just lets it drop in the hall and he’ll immediately attack me.
Why do you insist on making my life hell? He screams.
I’m surprised at how much I want to hit him – I, who’ve never laid a finger on my kids. How can Nat – once the sunniest, easiest boy (far easier in many ways that the other two) – have turned into this monster? He sits in his room with the curtains shut and something electronic in his hand. He slouches around the house complaining.
And then there’s the food thing.
OK, I say as he pushes his plate away, why aren’t you eating? It had better be good.
You – know – I – hate – scrambled – eggs.
I don’t know that at all.
I told you. Last time. I hate the skin on them.
What skin? There isn’t a skin –
There is, look. And he pokes with the edge of his fork.
Eat them, boy, Mick advices softly from behind his paper.
Oh, God! Nat wails3, letting his head sink into his hands. I’ll throw up, I’ll be sick
Julie Myerson, Something Might Happen, 2003
- Liv’s buggy : baby Li’s pushchair
- kitten : young cat
- wails : laments
1. Give the names of the two characters who are not members of the family circle.
2. Justify your choice by quoting from the text.
3. Whose kitten is Maria?
4. There are six characters in the family circle. Using the table below, classify them into two age groups and give a name to each age group.
GROUP 1: ……..
GROUP 2: ……….
- Line 21: “Our Rosa? Mick says.” Who does “Our” refer to?
- Complete the following sentence. Mick is probably Rosa’s
- younger brother
> Focus on the passage from line 1 down to line 15.
- Where did “the incident’ (l.8) take place (10 words maximum)
- Give the names of the two characters (one boy and one girl) who took part in ‘the incident”.
- Among the following list, choose the two adjectives that best apply to the boy after “the incident”.
ashamed – guilty – heartless – sympathetic – uncooperative – worried
- Justify your answer with one quotation for each adjective?
- Line 10: “I’m sure he’s sorry, Mick tells her”. Who do the underlined pronouns refer to?
- What did Mick try to do then?(10-15 words)
> Focus on the passage from line 16 down to line 41.
V. Say whether these statements are true (T) or false (F). Justify your answers by quoting from the text.
1. Rosa behaves well at home (one quotation)
2. Rosa’s attitude at school has become positive (one quotation)
3. Rosa’s physical appearance is worrying (two quotations)
4. The relationship between Rosa and the narrator is tense (two quotations)
> Focus on the passage from line 42 down to the end.
VI. Choose one word from the passage to complete the sentence:
Nat is one of the narrator’s ………………….
- Fill in the blanks with adjectives taken from the list below (one blank = one adjective).
Bad-tempered – clever – good-looking – loveable – scared – shy
According to the narrator, Nat used to be ____________. But now she thinks he has become ___________ at home.
- Pick out one quotation to justify each adjective chosen in 1.
VIII. An incident is related at the end of this passage.
- What happened with Nat (10-15 words)
- Compare the narrator’s and Mick’s attitudes towards Nat (10-20 words)
> Read the whole text again.
IX. Quote the sentence which best sums up the narrator’s view on the family’s situation.
X. Traduction (uniquement pour le L)
Traduire en français le passage de « And then there’s Nat » (l.42) à « he screams » (l.46).
- Série S / Traiter l’un des deux sujets au choix(200 mots)
- Série L : Traiter obligatoirement les deux sujets (300 mots au total, soit environ 150 mots pour chaque sujet).
- Sometime later, the narrator and Mick are discussing the family situation. Write their conversation.
- Do you think school should “encourage children to respect others’ (l.11-12)? Discuss.