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Musterlösung 2013: Composition: Comment/Cartoon


Choose one of the following topics. Write about 200 to 250 words.

  1. Does social status affect a person’s future options? Discuss.

  2. “It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has exceeded our humanity” (Albert Einstein, 1879 – 1955). Comment on this statement.

  3. You are contributing to an article to The Learning Network of The New York Times, a site aimed at pupils and teachers, about the impact of Internet shopping on society. Write the article.

  4. Describe and interpret the following cartoon. Comment on its message.
    Musterlösung 2013: Composition: Comment/Cartoon - Abbildung 1


Topic 1

It is often claimed, that today’s modern education system creates equal opportunities for all regardless of their social status. Now, the question arises whether that is really true.

The fact that most schools in Germany are state-funded and therefore do not charge any fees shows that there truly is a chance for everyone to enter the school system. While American colleges, for example, ask for tremendous tuition fees, this financial burden was also taken away in Germany with the abolition of these fees. Even though housing, books and tuition fees also cause high costs everybody should be able to study since students from low-income households receive government support.

It is undisputable that the social status is very often closely connected to the income and the level of education. Going to university and getting a good job implies having good grades, of course. In families with a lower social backround it is more likely, that parents can’t help their children when it comes to difficult studies. Paying for expensive private tutoring often is no option, so lower class children might struggle a lot more when it comes to school and university. Furthermore, when entering the working world a person with a higher social backround is more likely to enjoy the benefits of more influential social connections. With today’s tight job market, this kind of ‘private’ boost usually is the crucial criteria when applying for a job.

So taking all these thoughts into consideration, one can conclude that although it is true that there are less barriers nowadays when it comes to the education system in general, the social status does play a huge role when applying for a job and building a future carrer.

Topic 2

Looking at Albert Einstein’s quote from today’s perspective, one can say that his statement definitely became a fullfilling predicition as with ongoing technologization and rapid progress in science, almost every part of today’s everyday life is somehow affected by radical changes. The constant human urge for improvement and innovation has lead us towards the boundary of the unthinkable and probably even beyond.

Although new, innovative ideas have given us incredible advantages and opportunities in many areas, it can’t be denied that pushing the technological and scientific limits further and further implies many risks and has caused severe negative side effects. The constant drive for advancement, seems to have lead to an oblivion of norms and values that once were deep-rooted in our society.

Humans are replaced by machines, causing a continuous intensification of the job market. In many areas of modern everyday life we seem to resemble rather numbers than human beings. With robots and computers gaining more and more influence, empathy and the importance of social cooperation seems to vanish slowly but surely. Our attitude towards one another and towards our environment has drastically changed in a negative way.

Since the beginning of humanity, people care more about profit and power than about their fellow human beings and that certainly hasn’t changed. Governments invest in modern warfare and get involved in wars sometimes just to gain new access to natural ressources. Companies move to far away countries to take advantage of the low wages and poor working conditions of the local people.

The people place their fate friviously into the hands of ruthless scientists, governments and companies that often don’t have the best intensions. We should be cautious and finally wake up, because the human society no longer is so very human nor overwhelming social, like many wish or claim.

Topic 3

Internet shopping – blessing and curse

The internet has had a huge impact on society and on the way people live.

In some cases, using the internet cannot only save much time, but also a lot of money. Online shopping allows people to compare prices, not only on a regional level, but worldwide. You can compare prices and search for hot deals without ever leaving your home.

Internet shopping has definitely opened the door to a completely new era of shopping. Everyone can get a great deal of the web and avoid a long, annoying, maybe even disappointing drive around town. Also those having only limited access to big shopping malls, now have the same opportunites like everyone else.

However, there is also a downside to this prosperous internet shopping era. Especially regional shops and smaller companies have a tough time competing in such a fierce, worldwide battle over the best price.

Furthermore, consumers today often complain about the lack of service, warranty and other problems, when buying over the internet. People no longer have the face-to-face contact with the well-known, friendly dealer across the street.

To make things even worse, people are spammed daily by thousands of ads and hot deals. Without a doubt, this has lead to the fact that people nowadays simply consume way too much, often also with money they don’t really have.

Today’s online consumer society should reconsider if every product purchased on the web is actually necessary and if it is really worth spending hours searching for the best deal, just to save a few cents. At the end of the day, it might be better not to constantly look for the new hot deal on the web, but to be satisfied with what you already have.

Topic 4

The cartoon given shows a father and daughter bed time scenario.

The scene depicts a father who is sitting in his daughter’s bedroom reading a bedtime story to his daughter whereas the girl is lying in her bed. The father is sitting in a chair next to her bed. The girl seems to be telling something to her father. The girl’s statement, written in the caption, seems to be confusing for her father as he is looking quite puzzled.

As the girl mentions “Prince Charming” and the “glass slipper” her father was probably just reading the story of Cinderella to her. In that story, the prince was looking for his future bride but his only hint was the slipper she had left behind, so the search for him was quite hard. The little girl, however, seems to be wondering why the prince went through this enormous trouble searching his whole kingdom for Cinderella, when he could have just searched for her on the internet.

The cartoon alludes to the fact that nowadays the internet is deep-rooted in everyday life – especially for the young generation. Children and teenagers are so used to the world wide web, that they can’t imagine a life without it. The idea of a time when people couldn’t use the internet, because it simply didn’t exist, doesn’t even occur to the little girl of that cartoon. The father on the other hand, looks completely puzzled, almost shocked, by his daughter’s question. This also somehow represents the generation clash regarding the internet.

In my opinion, the cartoonist definitely has a point, when he hints at the fact that children and teenagers might be too focused on the internet these days.

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