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Oral anglais, places and forms of power

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Places and Forms of Power :


2Oth April 1999 : two 17yo students killed 12 pupils and a teacher at Columbine High School (Littleton / Colorado). Besides they wounded many others. Next, the two pitiless murderers killed themselves, they committed suicide.

Many Americans are in love with guns because they think they can’t rely on the police all the time, they feel entitled to use arms (=to have a right to do something) in order to defend themselves and their families.

The parents who demonstrated in the streets after the shooting though that the NRA and gun lobbies are the ones to blame, because they are promoting gun violence. There is also violent video games, cartoons or movies are promoting gun violence. They hold responsible divorced parents for this too, because they can’t always look after their children properly.

What’s more some people tough that Marilyn Manson was to blame because he praise violence, suicide and drugs.

Marilyn Manson tough that the government and the media are not giving a good example, they actually repeatedly insist on frightening news. The more you are scared, the more you consume. The less safe you feel, the more guns you may want to buy.

Moore wants to make people realized that gun violence became a huge problem. That this is so easy to get guns today. He also shows how powerful is the NRA, in fact they convince people that they are unsafe, there’s a culture of fear that prevails in the US. American TV viewers are brainwashed into thinking that they should be afraid of African American, Hispanics and other ethnics. Moore also shows that the rate of gun violence is the highest in the US and that they are the most heavily armed people in the world. He denounces the fact that resorting to violence seems to be the only way to solve all sorts of problems. Finally he compares the situation in the US to that in Canada.


Why do so many Americans disapprove of gun control in the USA ?

Text 1 : they object to gun control because they usually associate their independence of their country with the ownership of firearms. Thanks to firearms , they defeated the British, the 13 British colonies became the 13 American States and The Declaration of Independence was signed on 4th July 1776. Keeping and bearing arms became a constitutional right in 1791.

Text 2 : during the 19th century Conquest of the West, firearms enabled (= permettre) settlers to get food and defend themselves and their families. They had to use firearms to fight the the American Indians (= the Native Americans) to conquer new territories and hunt buffaloes.

Text 3 : although a lot of Americans were killed during the Civil War (1861-65), the Southern States didn’t leave the Union and the US remained an undivided country.


Charlton Heston is reading a newspaper. The heading reads «another school shooting».

Charlton Heston seems to feel guilty and remorseful after reading about another school shooting in the US. We may think that he wishes he had not supported gun ownership but actually, he feels the right opposite. In fact, he wishes he could have done more to support ownership. (Columbine shooting)

According to him, if students had been armed, they would have been able to defend themselves and therefore there might have been fewer victims on that day. He seems to be dreaming of a world in which everybody could be armed.


This text dates back to 2000. and raises a burning and topical issue ,the problem of gun control and gun culture in the United States. The author tries to account for a widespread phenomenon, gun violence .
The text starts with concrete and precise examples. The author refers to two tragedies that involved young people. The two magazines clearly demonstrate that the two teenagers had been brainwashed into thinking that arms were part of their daily lives.
Further in the text, the writer wonders how this country may have reached such a high level of violence and why giving a young child a gun for Christmas has become a custom in some families. He compares the States to other countries and points out that it is similar to the level of violence in countries that are at war .

The number of murders is staggering and the figures are huge and alarming. He then examines the causes and lists them.
First, gun violence has become part of people’s daily lives. It is thought to be normal to have a loaded gun at home.
Secondly, the media play a key role because they focus the light on sensational events and brainwash people into thinking that self-defence is the only solution.
Thirdly, video games are also responsible for this level of violence. Players are trained to shoot without thinking and thus become potential killers.
Finally, the” government is also held responsible since there is no control of the arms that are purchased.
Although bearing an arm is a constitutional right, the writer clearly advocates stricter gun control in the States.

To discuss the notion of Places and Forms of Power, I'm going to present the situation of Gun Control in the USA. First of all we can define this notion in two steps : «places of power», it could be important buildings or institutions that represent a certain form of power, for example Buckingham Palace (the symbol of the British monarchy), the White House (the symbol of the American presidency). A place can also be a country or a state, for example the USA is a state which is powerful enough to influence events throughout the world (superpower) and China is a major economic power in today’s world. Then we have «forms of power» which is the ability to control others, events, or resources. The ability to make things happen despite obstacles, resistance, or opposition. Indeed, when we think of power, the influence of weapons in the US plays a major part in the society. Indeed, when we think of power, the influence of weapons in the USA plays a major part in the society. The history of the country shows that the Americans have always felt the need to be armed, but we may wonder why American society is divided by gun control. In a first part we’ll see the gun culture in the US. Then, in a second part, we’ll see the consequences of this armament of mass.


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