TERMINALES S - COMMENTAIRE DE TEXTE - FIRED
Pour ceux qui ont perdu le fil pendant que je dictais le cours !!!!!!!!!!!!
The scene takes place in a law firm in the eighties. Andrew Beckett, a young lawyer who has AIDS, has been summoned by his senior partners. Andy quickly learns that he is fired because if his incompetence. Charles Wheeler, Walter Kenton and Bob Seidman (who are the three senior partners) think that Andrew is not up to his job.
All along the conversation, Charles Wheeler speaks in the name of the others. Consequently, we can suppose that he is the boss of the law firm where Andrew works. He is the one who tells Andrew that he is fired and he monopolizes the conversation. Whenever he speaks, nobody stops him. Although he is all smiles, we quickly understand that he is not telling the truth. He is too polite to be honest. He flatters Andrew and tries to be as friendly as possible. By telling Andrew that everybody in the room is his friend, he sounds very hypocritical.
In a few seconds, Andrew remembers that Mr. Wheeler is famous / notorious for giving a very special kind a speech whenever / each time he fires someone = he is used to delivering his good-luck-and-get-out speech to the person he dismisses. It is also called the Executioner’s song because Wheeler is as merciless as an executioner whose job is to put the culprit to death. He is not interested in what the others think or feel.
When Andrew understands what is happening / going on, he is very surprised. He is so flabbergasted that he doesn’t know what to say. He is all the more stunned that he didn’t expect it. He is so astounded (sonné) that time has stopped. He is also very disappointed because he was probably dreaming of a brilliant career.
Mr. Wheeler accounts for their decision but he remains vague, ambiguous. He says that Andie is limited in the firm. It may suggest that Andie is so tough / good that he deserves a better job. On the other hand, it may also suggest that Andrew’s career is limited because he is ill and he is likely to die. Or also because he has made a mistake and that he can’t be trusted anymore. Andrew’s dreams are shattered (bafoués). His career and his life are destroyed.
Andrew doesn’t resign. He tries to make the senior partners that his firing is unfair and against the firm’s interests. If they fire him, they will probably lose clients. Instead of listening to him, Wheeler asks him to leave.
By standing up, Wheeler means it is all over. He gives Andie the sack and yet he apologizes for rushing him out. The fact that the partners call each other by their first names means that they’ve known each other and been working together for a long time. But here, Andrew is not part of the “family” anymore. They act as if he were now a total stranger. They want him to go out because they have a meeting, which clearly show that Andrew does not belong to the team any longer.
Walter Kenton accuses Andrew of being a liar. He blames him for not being honest. According to Kenton, Andrew shouldn’t have concealed his disease to his employers. He should have told them the truth.
By saying “that alone is inexcusable”, Seidman implies that even if Andrew hadn’t had AIDS, he would have been fired. He blames him for being incompetent / not being reliable / trustworthy. They make him understand that he can’t be forgiven for such a big mistake. However brilliant he is / no matter how brilliant he may be, they have to get rid of him / they can’t shut their eyes on the Highline case. This sentence is an understatement. It implies that there must be something else. It must be an allusion to Andrew’s disease. Andrew understands it is no sue arguing / there is no point in fighting. Arguing is pointless / useless.
In the end, Andrew is alone in the room. He is refered to as Mr Beckett. He is rejected and become an outcast. We may wonder why Wheeler acted that way. Probably because he was scared by Andrew’s terrible disease. Maybe he had little information about AIDS: he feared he might have caught AIDS by simply shaking hands with Andrew for instance.
Andrew is fired because he has AIDS. But the senior partners don’t utter the word once. They find a pretext to fire him. The text stresses / underlines / highlights people’s hypocrisy regarding AIDS. It shows how ostracized (mis à l’écart) AIDS carriers are. In all walks of life, no matter who they are, they are rejected first because people are still afraid of getting AIDS, secondly because this disease has been and is still linked with homosexuality, which is far from being accepted by the defenders of traditional morals in the USA.