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# Aufgabe 2

Aufgaben

## Part 2: Literature

1
Outline the information about Gary’s past and present life.
(30$\,\%$)
#outline
2
Analyze how the protagonist’s changing attitude towards online chats is conveyed to the reader. Give evidence from the text.
(30$\,\%$)
#analysis
3
Choose one of the following tasks:
3.1
“Maybe if they could track Gary down and get an exhaustive interview with him, in which he recounted every detail of his life and then broke down in tears while apologizing for his misdeeds – maybe then the story would be complete and his life could be restored.” (ll. 3-5)
Explain the quote and, using Gary as one of your examples, comment on the power of the media to make and break celebrities.
(40$\,\%$)
OR
3.2
Compare Gary’s situation with that of a character from literature or film who suffers from loneliness. Assess how they cope.
(40$\,\%$)
OR
3.3
For your English-language school magazine, write an article discussing the role internet friendships play in young people’s lives. Refer to ideas from the text and your knowledge about the issue.
(40$\,\%$)
#comparison#discussion#quotation

## Five Star Billionaire

### By Tash Aw

$\,$
Note: Gary grew up in Malaysia and moved to Shanghai to become a successful musician and pop star. He falls from grace when he gets involved in a drunken bar fight and videos of this are uploaded to YouTube.
1
[…] the TV channels have moved on from Gary-gate, as someone has predictably called this little episode; they are no longer interested in him.
Maybe if they could track Gary down and get an exhaustive interview with him, in which he recounted every detail of his life and then broke down in tears while apologizing for his
5
misdeeds – maybe then the story would be complete and his life could be restored. But Gary is not available for interviews. His record company says he is undergoing a period of self-reflection. According to most bloggers, this probably means he has taken an overdose, but by now even the cheapest tabloid newspapers do not have the enthusiasm to speculate on Gary’s fate.
10
For once in his brief, previously glittering career, however, the press release is true. Gary is indeed thinking about himself. Not because he wants to, but because he is barricaded in his hotel room, immobile, for the first time in years. No meetings to attend, no chat shows, no dance rehearsals […].
In front of him, little windows announce themselves on the screen of his laptop, popping
15
into existence like beautiful, short-lived night-time flowers. These are the numerous online chat rooms he is on – about half a dozen at once. Most of the time he doesn’t even bother to look at the messages, which are greetings from total strangers who don’t even know who they are contacting. They don’t care - they are all lonely and in need of someone to chat to. Everyone uses a false name, hiding who they truly are, just as he does. The only
20
thing on display is their solitude.
A small window with a girl’s face on it pops up with a bright bling. Gary has seen her before. It is rare to see a photo of a real face on these sites. The last time Gary saw it he decided that it must be a fake – no one would put a picture of themselves on the internet that showed them smiling straight into the camera. The photo was taken in a public park,
25
not in a studio, and the girl was not even dressed up or prettified in any way. He thought it must have been a stolen image – someone playing a joke – so he took no notice. Her message this time is the same as the last time: sassy and challenging. Hellooooo, anyone out there? Any human being, alien, even a talking monkey would be OK!
Yes, it must be a fake, Gary thinks as he clicks on the window to close it. Besides, he is
30
bored with these chat rooms now, bored with inventing stories about who he is, bored with lying about his age, job, home town – bored with the flattery and flirtation, the banality of the chat that is always the same and never goes anywhere. […]
[Note: Gary starts chatting with the girl anyway and after a while he finds himself in an online relationship with her.]
Is she a ‘girlfriend’? Or a ‘soulmate’? Is he in love with her, or are they just close friends who understand each other deeply? Of course he does not love her, but he finds that he
35
does have feelings towards her. It’s just that he cannot put a name to these feelings. It is a weird, exciting position to be in. He knows that she feels the same, that she does not consider him to be a boyfriend, but that she too is happy whenever she receives a message from him. He keeps his laptop on all the time, waiting for her to log in. Even when he is practising the piano he has it on a little table next to him, just in case the
40
familiar box with her smiling face pops up with a note saying: Little Cat is here!
They chat every day, sometimes three or four times a day. In the evenings they will talk for two or three hours, way past midnight, and the following morning he will receive a message saying,‘ So so so so tired but … so so so happy. Going to work now. Think of me and wish me success at work today!’
45
It is the first time in his life that he has been so close to another person. He has never had a conversation lasting more than five minutes, unless it concerns music or his career. He has never had the opportunity to chat about simple, silly things like what kind of food he likes, what his favourite animals are […]. When he first started chatting with her, he realised that he had no opinions on anything. He could barely be considered a normal
50
human being. Or rather, he did have feelings and opinions on many subjects, but he had never had the chance to articulate them. He has never been in a position to examine his thoughts about important issues in his life. Until now, no one has ever asked him, ‘How are you feeling this morning?’ No one has ever said, ‘Is everything all right with you today? You seem a little sad.’ This girl has the ability to discern sentiments in him that he
55
himself is incapable of noticing. But the moment she mentions something – ‘You seem a little depressed today’; ‘You seem optimistic this evening’ – he realises that it is exactly how he feels. Depressed. Optimistic. Brooding. Assured. She has a way of understanding what is going on in his head when even he does not.
And yet he has never met her in person, or even heard her voice. On one or two
60
occasions she has suggested swapping phone numbers so she can text him while she is at work, but each time he has changed the subject rapidly. He still cannot get rid of his manager’s first piece of advice to him, permanently imprinted on his memory: the first rule of self-protection is never to give your mobile number to anyone.
[…]
$\quad\quad\;\;$(970 words)
$\,$
Source: Aw, Tash. Five Star Billionaire. London: Fourth Estate, 2013, 161-163, 218-219.

## Annotations

Lines
 1 Gary-gate scandal involving Gary 25 to prettify to try to make something pretty, often with the result that it looks worse or false 27 sassy here: fashionable and confident 35 to put a name to here: to understand completely 54 to discern to understand something, especially something that is not obvious
#media#socialmedia
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## Part 2: Literature

1
Outline the information about Gary’s past and present life.
In dieser Aufgabe sollst du skizzieren wie Garys Leben in der Vergangenheit aussah und wie er in Gegenwart lebt. Konzentriere dich auf diese zwei Punkte.Du musst keine Inhaltsangabe vom Text insgesamt geben, sondern nur die Fragen beantworten.
Wichtig sind folgende Sachverhalte:
Garys Karriere befindet sich an einem Tiefpunkt.
Gary ist einsam, da sein Agent ihn vor persönlichen Kontakten warnte.
Nun verbringt er viel Zeit in einem anonymen Chat room.
2
Analyze how the protagonist’s changing attitude towards online chats is conveyed to the reader. Give evidence from the text.

Beschreibe wie sich Garys Haltung gegenüber Chats wandelt und erkläre inwiefern sein Chatpartner dafür verantwortlich ist. Wichtig ist hierbei, dass du Bezug zum Text nimmst und das durch Verweise auch deutlich machst.
3
Choose one of the following tasks:
3.1
“Maybe if they could track Gary down and get an exhaustive interview with him, in which he recounted every detail of his life and then broke down in tears while apologizing for his misdeeds – maybe then the story would be complete and his life could be restored.” (ll. 3-5)
Explain the quote and, using Gary as one of your examples, comment on the power of the media to make and break celebrities.

Erkläre das Zitat und verbinde es mit Garys Schicksal um die Macht der Medien zu erklären. Binde Textstellen über Gary in deine Antwort ein um das Zitat zu erklären, du kannst auch Beispiele aus der Unterhaltungswelt verwenden.
OR
3.2
Compare Gary’s situation with that of a character from literature or film who suffers from loneliness. Assess how they cope.

Mach dir Gedanken über Garys Situation, mit welchen großen Themen verbindet man die Geschichte, wo spielt die Geschichte? Denke dann darüber nach welche Bücher oder Filme das selbe Thema behandeln. Schreibe nun über Ähnlichkeiten oder Unterschiede der beiden Geschichten. Bewerte abschließend wie die Charaktere mit ihrer Situation umgehen.
OR
3.3
For your English-language school magazine, write an article discussing the role internet friendships play in young people’s lives. Refer to ideas from the text and your knowledge about the issue.

Überleg dir für wen du den Artikel schreibst und passe deine Sprache dementsprechend an. Unser Beispiel könnte zum Beispiel in einer Schülerzeitung abgedruckt werden. Leg dir auf einem Schmierpapier Argumente zurecht, bevor du mit dem schreiben beginnst.
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Lösungen

## Part 2: Literature

1
Outline the information about Gary’s past and present life.
Tipp
In dieser Aufgabe sollst du skizzieren wie Garys Leben in der Vergangenheit aussah und wie er in Gegenwart lebt. Konzentriere dich auf diese zwei Punkte.Du musst keine Inhaltsangabe vom Text insgesamt geben, sondern nur die Fragen beantworten.
Wichtig sind folgende Sachverhalte:
Garys Karriere befindet sich an einem Tiefpunkt.
Gary ist einsam, da sein Agent ihn vor persönlichen Kontakten warnte.
Nun verbringt er viel Zeit in einem anonymen Chat room.
Tipp
In dieser Aufgabe sollst du skizzieren wie Garys Leben in der Vergangenheit aussah und wie er in Gegenwart lebt. Konzentriere dich auf diese zwei Punkte.Du musst keine Inhaltsangabe vom Text insgesamt geben, sondern nur die Fragen beantworten.
Wichtig sind folgende Sachverhalte:
Garys Karriere befindet sich an einem Tiefpunkt.
Gary ist einsam, da sein Agent ihn vor persönlichen Kontakten warnte.
Nun verbringt er viel Zeit in einem anonymen Chat room.
Gary is a young artist who lives in Shanghai. He recently got involved in a drunken bar fight, of which videos have been uploaded to YouTube. This scandal became known as Gary-gate and in the wake of the event people stopped caring about Gary, even „ the cheapest tabloid newspapers do not have the enthusiasm to speculate on Gary's fate“ (Text, line 9 f.).
Before the incident, he was always busy with appointments and shows. After the bar fight the media is not interested in him anymore. The scandal led Gary to reflect on his life for the first time, because he had the chance to do so. As he ponders about his life he realizes how lonely and bored he is. His solitude is expressed by him being active in random chat rooms. He exchanges messenges with people he does not know, writing stuff which is not true. These people have in common that „they are lonely and in need of someone to chat to“ (Text, line 18 f.).
In one of these chats, he starts to develop feelings fo a „girl“ he chats with. Every day they chat for several hours and Gary is always online in order to see a new message instantly. „He finds that he does have feelings“ (Text, line 34 f.) for this person and through the conversation with her he starts to articulate opinions about some issues. So he is actually growing up in some way. Before he had this person in his life he always avoided personal contact with other people and his manager even told him to „never […] give your mobile number to anyone“ (Text, 63).
#outline
2
Analyze how the protagonist’s changing attitude towards online chats is conveyed to the reader. Give evidence from the text.
Tipp
Beschreibe wie sich Garys Haltung gegenüber Chats wandelt und erkläre inwiefern sein Chatpartner dafür verantwortlich ist. Wichtig ist hierbei, dass du Bezug zum Text nimmst und das durch Verweise auch deutlich machst.
Tipp
Beschreibe wie sich Garys Haltung gegenüber Chats wandelt und erkläre inwiefern sein Chatpartner dafür verantwortlich ist. Wichtig ist hierbei, dass du Bezug zum Text nimmst und das durch Verweise auch deutlich machst.

At the beginning of the text, the chat messages are „like beautiful, short-lived night-time flowers“(Text, line 15). They only pop up at night-time and in line with their short-lived character wane soon. So they are a pretty distraction for the wee hours. Gary is aware that the people who engage in these chats are lonely and that „they don't care“ (Text, line 18). Even though he uses these chat rooms, he keeps a certain emotional distance. Further down the line he admits being „bored with […] the banality of the chat that […] never goes anywhere“(Text, line 29 f.).
At one point in time, he starts to write everyday with the same person. The user has a girls photo as his avatar. He figured the photo would not be of a real person, but stolen of someone else. Soon, „he finds that he does have feelings towards her“(Text, line 34 f.). With this development he changes his attitudes towards messaging. When he chatted earlier it happened at night, now „he keeps his laptop on all the time“ (Text, line 38).
He is now not only continously online, but is also emotionally involved. To him it is „the first time in his life that he has been so close to another person“ (Text, line 45). Even though he feels so close to this person, he „has never met her in person“ (Text, line 59) and refuses to talk to her on the phone. This shows that he does not want to fully commit himself to this person and how much he values the anonymity of the internet. Maybe he is afraid of being disappointed and therefore wants to keep the relationship on an imaginative level.
#socialmedia#analysis
3
Choose one of the following tasks:
3.1
“Maybe if they could track Gary down and get an exhaustive interview with him, in which he recounted every detail of his life and then broke down in tears while apologizing for his misdeeds – maybe then the story would be complete and his life could be restored.” (ll. 3-5)
Explain the quote and, using Gary as one of your examples, comment on the power of the media to make and break celebrities.

Tipp
Erkläre das Zitat und verbinde es mit Garys Schicksal um die Macht der Medien zu erklären. Binde Textstellen über Gary in deine Antwort ein um das Zitat zu erklären, du kannst auch Beispiele aus der Unterhaltungswelt verwenden.
Tipp
Erkläre das Zitat und verbinde es mit Garys Schicksal um die Macht der Medien zu erklären. Binde Textstellen über Gary in deine Antwort ein um das Zitat zu erklären, du kannst auch Beispiele aus der Unterhaltungswelt verwenden.
The quote about Gary highlights how influential popular news shows can be. They can air an explanatory clip and afterwards a person who did something out of line will be forgiven their misbehaviour by the general public. Such clips get a lot of attention and can help shape public opinion. The quote suggests that in such clips the protagonist usually „[breaks] down in tears while apologizing for his misdeeds“(Text, line 4 f.). This excerpt highlights that such clips often involve emotional outbreaks. People are attracted by "real" emotions and therefore such videos get a lot of attention. What people forget when they are watching these videos, such emotional moments are usually private moments and should happen behind closed doors. The media companies count on this extra attention and often offer fallen stars these kind of interviews so they can remake their image.
Media does not only have the power to give celebrities a chance to remake their image, often tv-shows are responsible for the creation of stars. Casting shows or reality tv shows have produced many well known people in the last couple of years. Sometimes not the winner of a casting show will become famous, but a contestant who is more interesting or willing to share more private facts. When such a person has gathered enough attention, TV companies start to place them in several TV shows to increase their media presence, and indeed make them a star. At the same time they can break stars. If they decide to give such a person no more air time, they disappear into oblivion. But it is important to keep in mind that the quote uses the word „maybe“ two times. Even though many media outlets have the power to make stars, the public can choose to ignore everything they televise.
On the other hand, the media outlets can ignore everything a certain person does and "break" them by doing that. Ignoring someone in order to hurt his career is one way of breaking a star. In Gary's case, you can say that the media is using this approach to hurt his career. They stopped reporting about him, „they are no longer interested in him“ (Text, line 2) and by that took away possible interest about his fate. An other approach is spreading false information or linking the person to events or doings which are considered immoral. Similiar to this approach is the strategy to highlight certain bad behaviour, this could be the drunkenness of Gary during his bar fight. One such incident can give an artist a bad reputation and sponsors might drop him. He would be then "broken" because of an one-sided report.
For celebrities such things are daily threats and demands from them a positive behaviour at all times. Only when celebrities amaze the public by their artistry and creativity they can escape this vicious circle of dependence. Then their artistry creates public interest and not reporting about them would in return hurt the media outlets which ignore them.

OR
3.2
Compare Gary’s situation with that of a character from literature or film who suffers from loneliness. Assess how they cope.

Tipp
Mach dir Gedanken über Garys Situation, mit welchen großen Themen verbindet man die Geschichte, wo spielt die Geschichte? Denke dann darüber nach welche Bücher oder Filme das selbe Thema behandeln.
Schreibe nun über Ähnlichkeiten oder Unterschiede der beiden Geschichten. Bewerte abschließend wie die Charaktere mit ihrer Situation umgehen.
Tipp
Mach dir Gedanken über Garys Situation, mit welchen großen Themen verbindet man die Geschichte, wo spielt die Geschichte? Denke dann darüber nach welche Bücher oder Filme das selbe Thema behandeln.
Schreibe nun über Ähnlichkeiten oder Unterschiede der beiden Geschichten. Bewerte abschließend wie die Charaktere mit ihrer Situation umgehen.
The most famous literary character who experiences extreme loneliness is Robinson Crusoe. In our modern times Robinson Crusoe might be forgotten, but Tom Hanks who played a modern Robinson Crusoe in the Hollywood movie "Cast Away“ is well remembered. Tom Hanks plays a man, called Chuck Noland, who survived a plane crash over open water to find himself awash a lonely island. Chuck and Gary are in totaly different situations, but also share some similarities.
Gary is spending his days „barricaded in his hotel room“ (Text, line 11 f.), basically shutting out the outside world. He is just by himself and will not go out. Chuck is also isolated from the world, but not by his own choice. The island is not populated and he has no means of getting in contact with someone. Gary has a way of communicating with the outside world. He chats with strangers and after some time chats with just one person he feels a connection to. These chats take place in „windows“ on his screen. In the text excerpt of the novel these chat windows are mentioned three times (Text, line 14, 21, 29). Chat windows are his way of staying in contact with the world. In a house windows are made in order for light to enter a room and for people to look outwards. The chat windows fulfil the same goal, they let light/warmth into Gary's hotel room. They enable him to get in touch with people from the outside while he is spending his days „barricaded in his hotel rom%ldquo; (Text, line 11 f.). All this without leaving his room. Chuck is also isolated from the world, but not by his own choice. The island is not populated and he has no means of getting in contact with someone. Gary has a way of communicating with the outside world. He chats with strangers and after some time he chats with just one person, a female chat participant to whom he developed a connection to.
As humans need companion in order to be happy, Gary and Chuck fall back on a similiar strategy. Gary is talking to a person he does not know, through his chat window. Allowing minimal contact, never giving his real name and not willing to meet or even talk on the phone. Because of „Gary-gate“ (Text, line 1) he is avoiding the public and needs some emotional warmth to help him through this phase of his life.
Chuck, on his island, also developed a strategy to help him make it through his tough time. After some time in isolation he is starting to talk to a volleyball with a face drawn on it. The volleyball even receives a name to give him a more human touch, the ball is called Wilson. This behaviour resembles Gary's chatting in a way, Wilson provides Chuck with a companion he can talk to, even though Wilson is not a real person.
For Chuck, Wilson is not enough companion to keep him happy. He repeatedly tries to escape his island and after four years of isolation, he manages to get saved by a ship. His tries to escape the island were strenous and took him a lot of effort. This can be seen as something that lays in front of Gary if he wants to leave his self chosen isolation. Returing to the real world would take some effort by him. Chuck is very different in this aspect from Gary. He is working hard in order to get back to his old life, while Gary chooses to remain in solitude with his chat windows as a substitute for reality. He refuses to talk to her on the phone, longing to remain in isolation. You can imagine that Gary needs a push by someone from the outside to stop his retreat from society. His manager, who also told him to „never […] give your mobile number to anyone“ (Text, line 63) could be such a person. As Gary is following this rule even with his chat friend, you can see how much influence this person has over Gary's life.
In one scene of "Cast Away“, Chuck looses his companion Wilson. This happens during his final escape from the island on a raft. While he is in rough water, Wilson rolls of the raft and Chuck has to leave him behind. Naturally, Chuck is struck by grieve and starts to cry over his loss. It is most likely that a similiar scene would take place in „Five Star Billionaire“ if Gary would loose his internet friendship.
In general you can say, that from what we know Gary is dealing with his loneliness different than Chuck. Even though both seek companionship through a fictional character, Chuck is actively seeking to end his state of loneliness, while Gary is kind of enjoying his solitude.
OR
3.3
For your English-language school magazine, write an article discussing the role internet friendships play in young people’s lives. Refer to ideas from the text and your knowledge about the issue.

Tipp
Überleg dir für wen du den Artikel schreibst und passe deine Sprache dementsprechend an. Unser Beispiel könnte zum Beispiel in einer Schülerzeitung abgedruckt werden.
Leg dir auf einem Schmierpapier Argumente zurecht, bevor du mit dem Schreiben beginnst.
Tipp
Überleg dir für wen du den Artikel schreibst und passe deine Sprache dementsprechend an. Unser Beispiel könnte zum Beispiel in einer Schülerzeitung abgedruckt werden.
Leg dir auf einem Schmierpapier Argumente zurecht, bevor du mit dem schreiben beginnst.
Do you have friends who have friendships which only takes place online? We are talking about so called friendships that just consist of chatting with each other and in which the participating people have never seen each other in real life.
My younger sister is 13 and she is such a person I just described. Lara writes with several persons she just knows from boards. She talks with them about all topics of her life and when I ask her why she does it, she claims that this is normal. Well, I don't think it is normal. The basis of every friendship and every conversation is honesty and trust, but honesty and trust are things you rarely find online. Have you ever bought something online which was supposedly in "top notch condition" and was then delivered to you with scratches? Or the people who do not look anything like their profile pictures. That's what I mean. You should always be doubtful about what people say or do online.
The people my sister is exchanging messages with could indeed be nice girls. But do we know that? And isn't the most important thing about a friendship that you know where your friends are, when you feel down? A shoulder to lean on is far more worth than a caring emoji. Especially when people feel sad or are frustrated it helps them to find people they can talk to. It gives them strength if there is someone who listens. If this only happens online, soon a situation of dependency can develop. In real life, if a friend did you a favour, like caring for you when you feel bad, you can return the favour by for example bringing him a doughnut or by helping him with an odious task. Online things don't work that way and dependencies can develop faster than you like. There are many stories about people sending out private pictures to compensate for attention they recieved, which they later regreted.
Also if you spend a lot of time online chatting with people you don't know, you become oblivious to what happens around you. Gary for example is „barricaded in his hotel room“ (Text, line 11 f.) and chats with this person he does not know for „ every day […] for two or three hours“ (Text, line 41 f.). It is more healthy to spend time outside and meet real people so you can develop a sense for which people you can trust. Especially at a young age it is very important to develop a sense for that. I talked about this with Lara and she promised me to gradually stop her online friendships or make them into real life friendships. Now our next vacation is going to Birmingham to meet one of her friends, we are all excited and glad this person turned out to be a girl my sister's age. Some of her other online friends stopped replying as she proposed to meet. Maybe those were no girls her age.
This is something you should always keep in mind. There is little honesty online and true friends have real shoulders to lean on.
#explanation#quotation#comparison#discussion#socialmedia
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