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Musterlösung 2013: Composition: Comment/Poster


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

  1. “Happiness is having a large, loving, caring, close-knit family in another city.” (George Bernhard Shaw, 1856 – 1950) 
    Comment on this statement.

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

  3. Thanks to social media, loneliness is a thing of the past. Do you agree?

  4. Describe and interpret the following recruitment poster and comment on it.
    Musterlösung 2013: Composition: Comment/Poster - Abbildung 1


Topic 1

According to George Bernard Shaw, happiness within a family means having loving and caring relatives with which you are very close, but who live rather far away.

At first view, Shaw’s statement on how happiness within a family can be preserved by keeping a distance between oneself and the rest of the family might seem a bit controversial. Most people appreciate getting along well with the whole family and seeing each other frequently. Close family bonds are very important and many people believe the more relatives they have the merrier it is, because often it’s family members whom you can trust and depend on the most.

However, with many family members around and having your parents living close by, a lot of difficulties may also arise. Especially parents tend to get involved in their children’s lives even after the kids have turned into grown-ups. It’s sometimes hard for family members to accept boundaries, particularly when the family lives close by and everybody always knows everything about the other. If you often deal with one another, maybe even too often, arguments may occur more frequently and you might even grow tired of each other. The worst case would be if the once harmonic, closely linked family turns into nothing but a nightmare.

What Shaw was trying to express is to keep a little distance between yourself and your family. By doing so, frequent conflicts can easily be avoided, because you won’t get too involved into the other’s business. If you only see each other every once in a while, you cherish these moments a lot more than if you see each other daily. Putting some distance between yourself and your family, helps to establish a natural boundary, so that harmony is preserved and everybody can truly enjoy a life according to one’s own expectations. 

(303 words)

Topic 2

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 career.

(283 words)

Topic 3

Some 21st-century people claim that thanks to social media, loneliness has become a thing of the past. Although social networks have created new opportunities to connect with one another, in my opinion, loneliness is definitely not a thing of the past, but has evolved into an even greater problem.

On the one hand, one has to admit, that nowadays people from all over the world are able to connect thanks to the internet and social networks. We can be friends with many people world wide, communicate with one another easily and share information via the internet. Social media, especially social networks like Facebook, for example, provide a platform for everyone to interact.

On the other hand, however, one has to reflect critically whether these 21st-century cyber friendships really have the same impact and value as friendships made in real life. Today, people seem to have less really good friends they can depend on and trust. One might have hundreds of social network friends, but nobody to turn to when facing problems in real life. We don’t even know many of the so-called internet friends, because we are not in touch frequently. There is no hug over the internet, no real emotions and feelings, no physical closeness, nothing as valuable as an actual face-to-face conversation with a real friend about something meaningful.

Maybe one day, people will realize again that having one or two close friends in the real world is much worthier than having hundreds of cyber friends. We seem to hide behind computer screens tired of real contact and tired of bonding with one another. People have isolated themselves and society seems to immerse more and more into this illusionary, anonymous cyber world.

(284 words)

Topic 4

The poster shows a woman wearing a camouflage uniform, saluting. She looks somewhat proud, but also very serious.

The poster serves most likely as a recruitment ad of the U.S. Army and reads “There’s Strong. Then There’s Army Strong.”, and beneath the question, “Are You Army Strong?”.

The recruitment poster is supposed to attract people joining the U.S. Army and addresses everyone who is reading the lettering directly with the question whether they are Army strong.

With the big heading, the ad further tries to point out that something or somebody might be strong, but there is also “Army strong”, which is even better. The U.S. Army apparently embodies something extraordinary beyond the adjective “strong”, something much greater.

The purpose of the poster is to catch people’s interest to join the Army. By doing so, everybody can become part of something special, something to feel proud of, like the woman, who serves her country honorably. The fact, that the woman is African-American, might also indicate to potential new recruits. Therefore skin colour and heritage don’t matter, but every soldier is regarded as equal and can become part of a unified power.

The ad shows how the U.S. Army addresses people’s patriotism and is therefore yet another example of an overwhelming, patriotic mind-propaganda that might still work in the US. Especially young adults feeling lonely or left out might be attracted by those kinds of ads, because they may think joining the Army might just be the one thing to gain respect and appreciation and the chance to a bright future.

Even though being a soldier in America today might still be a respectful profession with good payment, serving in the U.S. Army in the 21st century usually also implies being shipped off to far away countries, fighting terrorism and maybe never returning to America alive.

(305 words)

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