Saturday, December 29, 2012

Essay Writing Exam: Second Year -


Alexandria University               Second Year 
Faculty of education                 Essay Writing
English Department                  Two Hours
May 2004

Part 1: Reading Comprehension(15 marks)

Read the 8 excerpts below and answer all the following questions:

1 But many youngsters in Lebanon shrug off the criticism. "Is It wrong to watch young people sing, dance and get to know each other?" wondered 16-year-old Elsa. "I used to think that all young Arabs from the Gulf were fundamentalists. I realised that they are like us. They are open to the world but it is forbidden for them to express themselves at home," she said. "This programme for the first time has given Arab youth the chance to vote for other people than the dinosaurs who govern them," added Umar, 24._

2 The Imam of Islam's holiest site on Friday urged television executives in the Arab world to stop airing shows that spread "vice and debauchery." The condemnation of the reality TV show follows the suspension of the Arab version of Big Brother after the program came under fire for allegedly sanctioning promiscuity. These programs, he said, are "weapons of mass destruction that kill values and virtue."

3 The Arab versions of the shows are tame by our standards — which themselves are modest compared to European TV. A recent video matchmaking show followed a strict self-imposed code: no alcohol, no tobacco, no bikinis, no sex, no violence, and no product placement. Women showcased their domestic skills to men over a video hookup.

4 At root, the clerics are struggling against human nature. People tune in to these shows in vast numbers because they want to be entertained. Left to their own devices, people like to have fun. Whether the religious leaders know it or not, this debate is contributing to the development of a new form of political consciousness in the young generation. Kids are being confronted with political questions that affect their lives directly. The Palestinian issue — the thing the leaders would rather the younger generation focus on — is meaningful but abstract to most of them. Canceling their favorite TV shows — that's real.

5 The've all grown up in Middle Eastern homes," says Rouia Saad, a producer and director "They know what’s acceptable.” Although these shows required single men and women to live together under the same roof - a notion new as well as disturbing to most viewers and illegal in many Arab countries - they still developed a die-hard devotion to follow up the shows.

6 A political commentator observed that this program gave viewers a chance to practice voting freely. People were asked to vote for the participants to determine the winner, and millions of callers and voters participated. This was due to the fact that participants knew that their votes would be counted and that they would ultimately have a say in choosing the winner, contrary to the local political scene where they know it is useless to vote.

7  Beyond domestic logistics, reality shows are also challenging ideas about privacy -something carefully guarded in Arab culture. Such feelings at first caused Ms. Jammal to wonder whether the shows would lack the emotional spontaneity of its western predecessors. "When I first saw the tape [of "Pop Idol"], I thought it would never happen in the Middle East... Arabs are too private, too self-conscious," she says. "But if you have the right mood, you can change that."

8  Not all channels were dedicated to news coverage; many were purely after entertainment. Some Lebanese channels introduced the "Lebanese phenomenon" to the Arab world as a whole. The Arab public has always been fascinated by Lebanon, and after the end of its civil war, there was a surge in interest in this country. So with the introduction of Lebanese satellite channels, new concepts of entertainment were introduced that challenged Egypt's dominance in the entertainment world. The public's attachment to these Lebanese channels grew so much that other Arab channels started to imitate them.

  1. Choose the common topic that combines all the above excerpts: (I/I)
  2. In your own words, define the above key issue (1 -3 sentences only). (1/1)
  3. The above-mentioned topic seems very debatable. Some excerpts have supporting views (S), some have opposing views (O), and others are neutral (N), simply reporting different views on this heated issue. Complete the table, referring to the No. of the appropriate excerpts. (4/4)
    •  Supporting (S)   
       Opposing (O)
        Neutral (N)



  4. Guess meaning of these words/phrases from the above the excerpts: (2/2)
    • a. vice and debauchery c. abstract   b. shrug off the criticism d. a die-hard devotion
  5. In your own words, summarize the main ideas tackled in the above 8 excerpts in a paragraph (8-12 sentences only). (2/2)
  6. This controversy relates to traditional taboos in any conservative society: sex, politics and religion. State the social, political and religious implications involved, supporting your answer with examples and evidence from the above excerpts. (3/3)
  7. What is your own personal opinion about this controversy? Are you for or against such a notion? Why (not)? (4-6 sentences only). (2/2)

Part II: Essay Writing (25 marks)

Choose ONE of the following topics to write a 1000-word essay (90-100 lines approximately adding your own unique title.
  1. The younger generations would rather follow up the latest about fashion and music rather than focus on "U.S. imperialism" in the Middle East. Discuss the reasons behind this matter, highlighting its possible future consequences.
  2. In today’s world you have to decide whether to “lead, follow, or get out of the way”. How is this true of our reality? Support your answer with examples and opinion, illustrating whether or not you agree with this statement.
  3. Are there universal good manners? In other words, is there a core of good manners that polite people of all countries recognize? Or are good manners different for each individual culture?