At the Station-House – Test 19/03/10

At the Station-House – Test
Writing (/7.5)
1. Where and when does the story take place ? (/0.5)
It takes place in harlem, New York, in the early 20th (twentieth) century. At that time, blacks
and whites were segregated and there was a strong rejection of the blacks by the white
American society. Harlemn is a ‘colored’ neighbourhood/district, where no whites lived at
the time.
2. Why is Richard in jail ? Is he innocent ? How do we know ? (/2)
Richard is the main character of this text . He is a twenty-year-old African-American who is
presented as the victim of an unfair system. When the text opens, Richard has been
imprisoned in a jail named ‘the Tombs’, a very gloomy and scary name which seems to say
that noone can leave it alive. He has been arrested in a subway station on a Saturday night,
after spending the evening/night out with his girlfriend. The narrative is a third person
narrative, but we can see what the characters are thinking, and on his mind, that night, there
was only his girlfriend, or dreams of love and marriage, with a girl who seems to trust him /
to have full confidence in him and his innocence. Yet, the police arrested him on the spot
when they found him surrounded by three burglars whom they were chasing. They had no
hesitation, and immediately took him to the Station House / the Police Station, not for one
second believing his claims that he was innocent and trustworthy.
3. What happened to Richard at the police station and why ? (/2)
At the Station House, he was ill-treated on account of his skin colour: beaten up, bruised, left
with a welt and painful swellings on his body. He was severely molested by policemen
depicted as a pack of bloodthirsty hounds / as racist brutes.
4. What does the text want to denounce ? Is the situation different nowadays ? (/3)
This text, which is a work of fiction / an extract from a novel published in 1953, is a radical
denunciation of racist events in the American society. 1953 was a very special time in the
history of the United States :………………….
I am of two minds on this question. On the one hand, the situation of minorities and their
place in society seems to hve evolved positively, both in the United States and in France.
Nowadays, we have many laws protecting individual rights : right to express yourself, to
marry whoever you want, to be accepted for (hired in) higher jobs, etc. Racist words are
prohibited in public and we see colored people on TV , which gives an impression of an openminded society. In the USA, Barack Obama’s election was welcomed with crie of joy by the
On the other hand, we see few colored people in politics in France, and there still seems to
be prejudices in some people’s minds, so the situation can still improve.
To my mind, equality is admitted in theory, but not always put in action.
Translate, using the form of the verb required if indicated. (/5)
1. Il était retenu dans une prison lugubre (preterit progressif, passif).
He was being held in a gloomy prison.
2. Il allait passer devant un tribunal le lendemain. (futur dans le passé, passif)
He would be/ was going to be brought to trial the following day.
3. On lui avait attribué un avocat. (plu perfect, passif)
He had been assigned a lawyer.
4. Il avait de fortes chances d’être condamné à la prison. ( condamner : to sentence)
It was very likely that he would be sentenced to prison.
He was likely to / was bound to be sentenced to jail.
5. Elle lui tint la main pour qu’il sache qu’elle l’aimait.
She held his hand for him to know that she loved him.
Write the correct form of the verbs in the space provided below.(/2.5)
-were charged
-was represented
-was assisted
-was sentenced
-was convicted / was spared
-was released
- went
-was killed
Vocabulary (/2)
un cambriolage : a burglary
agresser quelqu’un : to mug
blesser (X2) : to wound / to injure
un avocat
a lawyer
un procès : a trial / a prosecution
enfler (3 formes du verbe) : to swell, swelled, swollen
sangloter (3 formes du verbe) : to weep, wept, wept
Translation : Translate this passage from the text. (/3)
Le gérant/responsable/propriétaire du magasin était amené pour procéder à l’identification.
pour identifier les coupables. (transposition)
-Le passif est maladroit => c’est une traduction du ON=>… (modulation)
-Eviter ‘être en train de ‘ . Utiliser la forme IM-parfait : non parfait, encore en cours, non achevée
Richard essaya alors de se détendre : …
(éviter les anglicisme ; essayer de rendre ce ‘et’ avec une structure plus française : alors)
Could : il ne pouvait / il ne pourrait / il serait impossible qu’il puisse / il lui serait impossible de
Il serait impossible à cet homme de témoigner/certifier/affirmer (surtraduction) qu’il avait été (là-bas)
présent s’il ne (l’avait jamais vu) s’étaient jamais vus auparavant.
Mais quand le propriétaire arriva
= > Mais une fois arrivé, escorté (transposition) d’un autre policier encore, le propriétaire
, un homme petit à la chemise tachée de sang ,car ils l’avaient blessé au couteau,regarda les quatre
jeunes hommes devant lui et lâcha « Oui, c’est eux, pour sûr ».
Fautes récurrentes :
Quantifieurs :
*They have lots of authority
*They have a lot less rights  far/much fewer rights
Une arrestation:
Les coupables: culprits
Les subordonnants
* He was arrested whereas they didn’t know anything about him
*They arrested him whereas he was innocent