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Composition: Sachtext "The New American Super-Family"


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

  1. Mother’s Day should be abolished. Do you agree?
  2. “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to your past, bridge to our future” (Alex Haley, 1921-1992, American writer).
    Comment on this statement.
  3. Tension in the family home often plays a central role in books and films. Choose an example from the English-speaking world and show how this topic is dealt with.
  4. You are an exchange student in Kansas and have been asked to write an article for the school newspaper offering an outsider’s view on different aspects of American life. You decide to base your article on the following poster, which you saw at the local community center.
    Composition: Sachtext "The New American Super-Family" - Abbildung 1



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When I was a child, on Mother’s Day I used to surprise my mother with small handmade presents, prepared breakfast and picked flowers for her. Although a lot has changed since then, I think that Mother’s Day is a very special day that should by no means be abolished.

Some people argue that today, Mother’s Day is only about making profit. It is true that Mother’s Day is more commercialized today than it used to be. However, saying thank you to your mother and showing her that you love her does not have to cost a thing. Preparing breakfast, picking flowers and spending time with each other certainly does not show less affection than having a bunch of flowers and an anonymous card delivered.

One could also argue that there is no need for Mother’s Day as mothers deserve love, respect and appreciation every single day. This is undoubtedly correct. Still, there is more to Mother’s Day that makes this day a really special and important one. Just as other holidays, Mother’s Day is part of a country’s culture and has a traditional value. Holidays like Christmas or Easter are not abolished either. What is more, Mother’s Day is a valuable occasion for families to come together and spend time with each other.
Finally, the hard work and accomplishments of mothers are easily underestimated in everyday life. Mother’s Day gives us the opportunity to explicitly say thank you to our mothers.

To conclude, I think that Mother’s Day is an important day to honour our mothers’ work and should thus not be abolished.


The way we are raised by our parents has a huge impact on how we see the world and live our life. Therefore, I think that the American writer Alex Haley is quite right when he says that “[i]n every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past [and] bridge to our future”.

To begin with, it is obvious that our family connects us with our past. Our parents have a very comprehensive picture of us, as they raised us, watched us grow, taught us how to walk, swim, ride a bicycle and the like. We have developed tight bonds with our parents and brothers and sisters because of these early childhood experiences. That is to say, we are tied to each other by our past.

What is more, the family can also be seen as a bridge to our future as the experiences we have gained while growing up have a huge impact on our future life. Our character, attitudes and behaviour are influenced by the values and beliefs that our parents impart to us. Our family gives us help and guidance and conveys knowledge, skills and strategies to us that might help us cope with the difficulties in life. Hence, our family forms the basis of and sets the course for our future.

To sum up, the image of the family as “link to our past, bridge to our future” stresses the important role that the family plays in our lives.


Tension in the family home is a topic dealt with in many books and films. In Tim Bowler’s book “Shadows”, this topic plays a central role. “Shadows” tells the story of 16-year-old Jamie Williams, the protagonist, and his struggle to fulfil his father’s ambitions.

Jamie’s father, an overambitious, disabled ex-squash player, wants his son to become a world squash champion and thus to succeed where he himself had failed. As the father is obsessed with this idea, he uses harsh methods to push his son beyond his limits, beating him whenever he loses a match. Jamie is in constant fear of his overbearing, authoritarian father and his mother is just as helpless and intimidated as her son.
Whenever Jamie cannot bear the situation at home any longer, he hides in the garden shed, where one day, he discovers a pregnant girl about his age, Abby. As Jamie is desperate to escape the verbal and physical abuse he suffers at home, he decides to help Abby and runs away from home with her. Helping Abby, Jamie eventually realizes that he cannot run away from his problems forever and returns home in order to confront his father and come to terms with his life.
Upon his arrival, however, Jamie learns that his mother has committed suicide after having discovered and read a diary that Jamie kept before he fled. 

To conclude, “Shadows” is a drastic example that illustrates how tensions in the family home can destroy an entire family.


I have spent almost half a year in Kansas now, but I have to admit that there are still things that take me by surprise. So let me share some of my impressions as a German exchange student with you.

Last week, a poster at the local community center drew my attention. Why? It read “Celebrate Family Day”. The poster showed a plate and cutlery and the text printed in the plate read “A day to eat dinner with your children”.

The last six months here in Kansas have shown me that American parents tend to work a lot and usually work long hours and that American students spend a lot of time at school, too. That is to say, American families rarely eat dinner together during the week, and on the weekend, most of the students prefer hanging out with their friends, joining sport events or going to parties instead of spending time with the family.

I had a closer look at the poster and noticed the text printed at the bottom: “The more often children eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs”. I know that drug and substance abuse among American teens has become a huge problem. When watching TV, I have seen all kinds of spots for campaigns aiming at preventing drug addiction. However, eating dinner together and spending time with one’s family seems a rather unusual approach.
The poster also made me wonder whether Family Day is a holiday that is celebrated just like other American holidays, such as Mother’s Day, Independence Day or Thanksgiving.

Unfortunately, I will not have the opportunity to celebrate Family Day here in Kansas as I will have returned to Germany by then. But I hope that my American high school friends will send me pictures and let me know how they celebrated this day.

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