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Textaufgabe 1

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Part 2: Literature

$\blacktriangleright\;$ Thema:
Katherine Howe: Conversion. New York: Penguin 2014, pp. 329-332.
$\blacktriangleright\;$ Aufgabenstellung:
You are doing an internship with an American drama group, which is preparing a production of The Crucible. You have been asked to choose additional texts for the program booklet and have to decide whether to include the excerpt from the novel Conversion by Katherine Howe. You have to write a formal letter to the theater manager in which you recommend whether or not to include the excerpt.
1.
To prepare your letter, you
  • outline the incidents in Danvers and how they are explained by the public health lady
  • examine Colleen's character.
  • #characterisation#writing
    2.
    On the basis of your findings, write your letter in which you justify whether the excerpt should be included in the program booklet or not. Refer to e.g. topics, characters and settings in both The Crucible and Conversion.
    #letter#opinion#writing

    Excerpt from Katherine Howe, Conversion (2014)

    Colleen, the protagonist and first-person narrator of the novel, is a senior student at a prestigious private school in Danvers, Massachusetts. More and more senior students, including Colleen's classmates Clara and Anjali, suddenly suffer from strange symptoms, and finally Colleen is also affected. While visiting her friend Emma, she all of a sudden experiences great pain and starts to talk backward. Believing that Emma has cast a spell on her and the other girls, Colleen informs the Department of Public Health, which has opened up a consultation van on the school grounds, about her suspicions.
    1
    "There's a condition," she said, keeping her voice calm and gentle, just like they'd probably told her to do in the serninar. "It's real, okay? It's a real illness. Nobody thinks you and your friends are faking. Everyone believes you are really suffering the symptoms you're suffering from, okay?"
    5
    "What condition?" I asked, waiting to hear some PR doublespeak. I glared at her, suspi-cious. For one thing, I knew I wasn't crazy. I certainly didin't think Clara was crazy. Some of the others, maybe. Anjali was definitely wound pretty tight.
    But. I. Was not. Crazy.
    "It's called conversion disorder," said Public Health Lady.
    10
    "Conversion disorder?" […]
    "Conversion disorder," she explained, "happens when you are experiencing really serious, really unusual stress in your life. And your body doesn't know how to handle being under so much stress. so it 'converts' it" - here she did the finger air quotes thing on either side of her head - "into physical symptoms."
    15
    I gave her a dubious look. It sounded fake. It sounded like a polite way of saying they didn't actually understand what was happening. […]
    "I can see why you'd feel judged, with a diagnosis like that," said Public Health Lady, leaning over to pat me on the knee. "But I assure you, this is real. The symptoms of converted stress can vary widely and be extremely debilitating. Verbal ties, hair falling out,
    20
    muscle weakness. fatigue. lt's a real disorder. lt can devastate otherwise perfectly normal, healthy peole."
    "That doesn't make any sense at all," I insisted. "I'm not that stressed out. And even if I were, how would that make me talk backward? How would it make my friend vomit pins?"
    25
    "Oh, really. You're not?" she said mildy. "A high-pressure school environment. College admissions on the horizon. Graduation, lots of life changes. Sexuality, dating. Your friends falling sick all around you. A media firestorm. And aren't you in contention for valedictorian, and on the brink of missing it? I'd say you're under quite a lot of stress, wouldn't you?"
    30
    "Who told you that?" I shouted, struggling to my feet, nearly hitting my head on the roof of the van. "Who told you that I was missing it by a tenth?"
    "It doesn't matter," Public Health Lady said resonably. "The point is, I think you're being too hard on yourself, Colleen. Conversion disorder is nothing to be ashamed of. And it's relatively easy to treat."
    35
    "Oh, yeah? If it's so easy, how come nobody's treating it?" I stood with my neck bent over, hands pressed to the van roof.
    "We,ve only just settled on the diagnosis this afternoon. […] We're confident that this is the correct diagnosis. And the solution is a special kind of talk therapy, and in some cases, antidepressants. Cognitive behavioral therapy. Which is just a fancy way of learn-
    40
    ing to observe and modify your own behavior. It's easy, and you don't even have to lie on a couch. You'll see, Colleen. In a few months this will all be over."
    MY certainty wavered. She sounded so sure of herself. If conversion disorder was real, then it wasn't our fault. Who's to say we couldn't be crazy and not know it? Maybe that was all being crazy was - not knowing we were crazy.
    45
    But deep inside me, where I stored all the secret truths that I didn't like to admit even to myself, where I kept my competition with my friends and my feelings about my body and the things I wanted to do to Spence and the things I dreamt of saying to my parents when I was angry at them and the arm-twisting I sometimes wanted to give Michael and Wheez, when I looked inside that secret box and tried to tell myself that Public Health Lady was
    50
    right, and I'd just lost my grip along with everyone elsem when I opened the lid and peered inside that secret box, I saw Emma's weirdly red, glowing eyes staring back at me.
    I picked up my bag and flattened my mouth into a stern line.
    "You're forgetting one thing," I said to her. […] "Danvers," I said, "changed its name in
    55
    1752. From Salem Village."



    Annotations:
    1 condition: an illness or a medical problem
    1 she - here: the public health lady
    5 PR: abbreviation for: public relations
    5 doublespeak: language that can be understood in more than one way and that is used to trick or deceive people
    7 wound pretty tight: tense and unable to relax
    19 debilitating: schwächend
    23/24 to vomit pins: Nadeln erbrechen
    27 contention: competition
    28 valedictorian: the student who has the highest marks in a particular group of students and who therefore gives a speech at the graduation ceremony
    42 to waver: to start to become weak and unsteady
    47 Spence: Colleen's boyfriend
    48 Michael and Wheez: Colleen's brother and sister

    Aus: Katherine Howe: Conversion. New York: Penguin 2014, pp. 329-332.
    Copyright © 2014 by Katherine Howe.
    #novel#katherinehowe
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    Part 2: Literature

    $\blacktriangleright\;$ Thema:
    Katherine Howe: Conversion. New York: Penguin 2014, pp. 329-332.
    $\blacktriangleright\;$ Aufgabenstellung:
    You are doing an internship with an American drama group, which is preparing a production of The Crucible. You have been asked to choose additional texts for the program booklet and have to decide whether to include the excerpt from the novel Conversion by Katherine Howe. You have to write a formal letter to the theater manager in which you recommend whether or not to include the excerpt.
    1.
    To prepare your letter, you
  • outline the incidents in Danvers and how they are explained by the public health lady
  • examine Colleen's character.
  • Deine Aufgabe besteht darin, Informationen über die Zwischenfälle in Danvers darzustellen und wie diese im Laufe des Ausschnitts dargelegt werden. Es ist also wichtig, dass du den Textasuzug nach diesen Informationen durchsuchst.
    Direkte und indirekte Zitate können für diesen Aufgabenteil verwendet werden. Auf diese Weise kannst du deine Darstellung stichhaltiger machen.
    Im Anschluss daran musst du dich mit Colleens Charakter auseinandersetzen. Auch hier lassen sich direkte und indirekte Zitate bestens in deine Charakteranalyse einbauen. Trotzdem solltest du darauf achten, deine eigenen Formulierungen zu verwenden.
    2.
    On the basis of your findings, write your letter in which you justify whether the excerpt should be included in the program booklet or not. Refer to e.g. topics, characters and settings in both The Crucible and Conversion.
    Bei dieser Aufgabe geht es darum, dass du einen formalen Brief verfasst. Der Breif richtet sich an den Theatermanager, daher solltest du Höflichkeitsformen benutzen und auf Verlaufsformen verzichten. Anrede und Grußformel dürfen in deinem Brief ebenfalls nicht fehlen.
    Neben diesen formalen Aspekten solltest du inhaltlich ein fundierte Meinung präsentieren, um dein Gegenüber von deinem Vorschlag zu überzeugen. Zum Abschluss deines Briefes solltest du Stellung beziehen und eine Empfehlung aussprechen.
    Weiter lernen mit SchulLV-PLUS!
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    Lösungen
    Download als Dokument:PDF

    Part One: Literature

    $\blacktriangleright\;$ Thema:
    Katherine Howe: Conversion. New York: Penguin 2014, pp. 329-332.
    $\blacktriangleright\;$ Aufgabenstellung:
    You are doing an internship with an American drama group, which is preparing a production of The Crucible. You have been asked to choose additional texts for the program booklet and have to decide whether to include the excerpt from the novel Conversion by Katherine Howe. You have to write a formal letter to the theater manager in which you recommend whether or not to include the excerpt.
    1.
    To prepare your letter, you
  • outline the incidents in Danvers and how they are explained by the public health lady
  • examine Colleen's character.
  • Tipp
    Deine Aufgabe besteht darin, Informationen über die Zwischenfälle in Danvers darzustellen und wie diese im Laufe des Ausschnitts dargelegt werden. Es ist also wichtig, dass du den Textasuzug nach diesen Informationen durchsuchst.
    Direkte und indirekte Zitate können für diesen Aufgabenteil verwendet werden. Auf diese Weise kannst du deine Darstellung stichhaltiger machen.
    Im Anschluss daran musst du dich mit Colleens Charakter auseinandersetzen. Auch hier lassen sich direkte und indirekte Zitate bestens in deine Charakteranalyse einbauen. Trotzdem solltest du darauf achten, deine eigenen Formulierungen zu verwenden.
    Tipp
    Deine Aufgabe besteht darin, Informationen über die Zwischenfälle in Danvers darzustellen und wie diese im Laufe des Ausschnitts dargelegt werden. Es ist also wichtig, dass du den Textasuzug nach diesen Informationen durchsuchst.
    Direkte und indirekte Zitate können für diesen Aufgabenteil verwendet werden. Auf diese Weise kannst du deine Darstellung stichhaltiger machen.
    Im Anschluss daran musst du dich mit Colleens Charakter auseinandersetzen. Auch hier lassen sich direkte und indirekte Zitate bestens in deine Charakteranalyse einbauen. Trotzdem solltest du darauf achten, deine eigenen Formulierungen zu verwenden.
    Katherine Howe's novel Conversion deals with students that are possessed by uncontrollable tics and strange conditions like talking backwards. One of the students who is suffering from these conditions is the female protagonist, Colleen Rowley.
    Einleitung
    The reader seems to be as clueless as Colleen. It seems to be a condition, as the public health lady puts it right at the beginning of the excerpt. Colleen, however, is not the only student suffering from these strange conditions and nervous tics. Being unable to control the way she speaks and being in pain in general, Colleen is very confused. Ever since visiting Emmma, Colleen has had these strange conditions. She is seeking answers at the Department of Public Health. A Public Healt Lady explains that Colleen is suffering from a stress-related conversion disorder (Text, line 10f.). She assumes that this is the case since Colleen is under a lot of pressure since she wants to be among the best student of her high school. This would enable her to give a speech at the graduation ceremony. The lady repeatedly explains that there is no reason to be ashamed, and that it should be no problem to cure her strange condition.
    Hauptteil
    Colleens Zustand
    Due to her condition, Colleen finds herself in an unknown situation. Her reactions to these circumstances allow the reader to get a clearer understanding of who Colleen really is. Colleen servs as the first-person narrator of the novel, which allows the reader to get a closer look at feelings and thoughts of the protagonist.
    Colleen is stunned and concerned since she just cannot cope with the facts that are presented to her. She cannot understand how she is throwing up "pins" (Text, line 24) and "talk[ing] backward" (l. 23). Colleen comes across as confident young woman, she does not believe for one moment that she is mad. She also seems to bequite intellegent since she is aware of the fact that the public health lady is only talking "PR doublespeak" (text, line 5) right from the beginning of her evaluation. She expresses this form of mistrust by giving the lady a "dubious look" (Text, line 15). At a later stage of the excerpt, Colleen has had enough of the lady beating around the bushes and voices her doubts, providing plausible reasons why she finds it so difficult to believe the kind of story she is being told. "That doesn't make any sense at all," she tells straight ahead, revealing her strong character.
    Colleens Charakter
    Stärken
    However, there seems to be a threshold at the midpoint of the excerpt where it seems as if Colleen's strong character is cracking. Colleen loses her composure when she is being told that she might miss her chance on giving a speech at the end of the year. She shouts and "struggles to [her] feet" (Text, line 29). This struggle can be understood quite literally and she seems to be caught off guard by that information. From this point onwards she seems to struggle. Her intelligent and compelling character traits seem to vanish. All of the sudden she is turning towards supernatural solutions by arguing that it must be Emma's "weirdly red, glowing eyes staring" (Text, line 50). It seems plausible to her that her condition is linked to the fact that Danvers "changed its name in 1752. From Salem Village." (Text, line 54) Logic is thrown out of the window and Colleen is barking up the wrong trees. She is not thinking logically anymore like she used to at the beginning of the excerpt. She seems superstitious.
    Colleens Charakter
    Schwächen
    Looking at Colleen's character on the scale of things, it seems as if there are two different sides to her character. There is the extremely self-confident, intelligent and rational young woman who stands on her own feet. The other side of her character, however, reveals a rather insecure, superstitious and vulnerable person who is the exact opposite of what was presented to the reader during the first half of the excerpt.
    Schluss
    #characterisation
    2.
    On the basis of your findings, write your letter in which you justify whether the excerpt should be included in the program booklet or not. Refer to e.g. topics, characters and settings in both The Crucible and Conversion.
    Tipp
    Bei dieser Aufgabe geht es darum, dass du einen formalen Brief verfasst. Der Breif richtet sich an den Theatermanager, daher solltest du Höflichkeitsformen benutzen und auf Verlaufsformen verzichten. Anrede und Grußformel dürfen in deinem Brief ebenfalls nicht fehlen.
    Neben diesen formalen Aspekten solltest du inhaltlich ein fundierte Meinung präsentieren, um dein Gegenüber von deinem Vorschlag zu überzeugen. Zum Abschluss deines Briefes solltest du Stellung beziehen und eine Empfehlung aussprechen.
    Tipp
    Bei dieser Aufgabe geht es darum, dass du einen formalen Brief verfasst. Der Breif richtet sich an den Theatermanager, daher solltest du Höflichkeitsformen benutzen und auf Verlaufsformen verzichten. Anrede und Grußformel dürfen in deinem Brief ebenfalls nicht fehlen.
    Neben diesen formalen Aspekten solltest du inhaltlich ein fundierte Meinung präsentieren, um dein Gegenüber von deinem Vorschlag zu überzeugen. Zum Abschluss deines Briefes solltest du Stellung beziehen und eine Empfehlung aussprechen.
    Dear Sir or Madam,
    Anrede
    Arthur Miller's The Crucible is one of the most important plays of the 20th century. Thus I feel extremely honored that I was giving the chance to give my recommendation to you as to whether or not to include the excerpt from Katherine Howe's novel Conversion in the programm booklet.
    Einleitung
    One of the first things that the audience gets its hands on when they come to see the play is the brochure. Therefore, I think it is important that the content of this brochure meets the excellence of the iconic play. The brochure should be informative and provide the fact that the play is still relevant today.
    Hauptteil
    Bedeutung der Broschüre
    On the one hand, there is the 17th century Salem. The society of Salem is theocratic and strictly organized. Worldly pleasures, like drinking, dancing or gambling are forbidden. The only job should be to worship God. In a society where there are so many restrictions, there is a lot of pressure on the people. People who do not follow these strict orders appear to be suspcious and might even be connected to the devil. This is a hotbed for radicalism and mass hysteria which soon is the case in Salem. This radicalism plays into the cards of Abigail Williams, who wants to get rid of John Proctor's wife Elizabeth in order to be united with her lover John Proctor. The dynamic of Saleem changes and soon enough more and more people are suspects for being with the devil. The Crucible is an impressive portrait of a theocratic society gone wrong. Former friends and neighbors start mistrusting each other and in the end this causes 20 lives.
    The fanatic believe of The Crucible is also an underlying theme in Conversion. Colleen Rowley, a senior at the prestigious St. Joan's Academy in Danvers, Massachusetts, is fighting to make valedictorian and seal her entry into a top college when when the popular Clara Rutherford has what appears to be a seizure in class. Quickly, more students are possessed by uncontrollable tics and panic, and an accompanying media circus ensues. Just like in Salem, people start blaming each other and Colleen spreads the rumors that Emma might be a witch.
    It seems hard to believe that those blames would still work in the 21st century, yet mass hysteria and panic are strong emotional reactions. Katherine Howe shows that these growing pains of a theocratic society can still happen in a today's society.
    Das Schauspiel damals und heute
    Therefore, I think that the excerpt from Katherine Howe's novel would fit perfectly into the brochure. Once again, I have to say that I am feeling humbled that I have the chance of proposing my idea to you. I am looking forward to hearing from you.
    Schluss
    Yours faithfully,
    Paul Thomas
    Grußworte
    #opinion
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