This is a listening activity based on The School of Life’s short video (about 7 minutes long)“LITERATURE – Jane Austen”. This activity is aimed at students who have an English level between B2 and C1 (Upper Intermediate and Advanced).
I suggest that you read the following vocabulary list before watching the video. Under the video, there are two exercises (with answers) and a writing practice suggestion.
AMBITIOUS: having a desire to be successful, powerful, or famous; having ambition. Ex. She was ambitious enough to aim for the company’s presidency.
STERN: very serious; severe. Ex. Journalists received a stern warning not to go anywhere near the battleship.
CONSCIOUS: awake, thinking, and knowing what is happening around you. Ex. When I took the exam, I was conscious that my parents were expecting a lot of me.
DIGNIFIED: serious and somewhat formal; having or showing dignity. Ex. Even when very old, he was very dignifiedin appearance.
WELL OFF: moderately rich. Ex. They must be well off if they can afford to buy a house there!
TEMPTED: to want something or to want to do something. Ex. “Would you like some more pie?” “I’m tempted, but no thank you.”
STRUGGLE: a long effort to do, achieve, or deal with something that is difficult or that causes problems. Ex. The people of this country will continue in their struggle for independence.
TO CONDEMN: to say in a strong and definite way that someone or something is bad or wrong. Ex. We strongly condemn this attack against our allies.
TO OVERCOME: to prevail over (opposition, a debility, temptations, etc.); surmount. Ex. To overcome one’s weaknesses.
INCOME: money that is earned from work, investments, business, etc. Ex. He has a very high annual income.
TO FELL APART: to break into pieces (often used figuratively). Ex. I feel as if my family is falling apart.
TO SUPPLY: to furnish or provide (something wanting or requisite). Ex. Tosupply a community with electricity.
WEALTH: a large amount of money or valuable possessions that someone has. Ex. Thewealth of a city.
ELUSIVE: hard to find or capture. Ex. Police are trying to track down the elusive criminal, who has so far avoided all their attempts to capture him.
SNOBBISH: like a snob (a person who respects and likes only people who are of a high social class). Ex. He’s a snobbish rich kid.
GREED: a selfish desire to have more of something (especially money). Ex. He was a ruthless businessman, motivated by naked ambition and greed.
Helena Christensen: I ____________________ around the world when I was about 18-19 years old and I think my interest and passion for photography probably started on that trip. And then almost immediately that trip ended my _______________ _________________ started and so then I got to see the world.
Voice-over: I’ve had the rare opportunity to meet many amazing photographers who moved through the different _________________ to create powerful images.
Mark Seliger: I’m here with Mary Ellen Mark photojournalist and portrait photographer ___________ work has changed, I think, the _________ of modern photography.
Mark Seliger: It was very ________________ to me because there was photojournalism but there was also this very ____________ and creative way that images were presented.
Mary Ellen Mark: Magazines were like ______________ for me, they gave me this amazing opportunity to do my own work.
Helena Christensen: When I’m behind the camera I seem to stop breathing because I get so ______________ by the moment. It’s almost like everything just came to a standstill.
Mary Ellen Mark: The guy that ran the ______________ … We called him doctor death.
Helena Christensen: You know what is strange about this photo? I don’t even know where I took it and the negative was ______________ together with a piece of paper so when I _______ it ____________ obviously all that white stuff which looks like ice on a window […].
Helena Christensen: We don’t live in these areas so we are not ______________ the same ways. When you are in it, you feel it in a way that’s inexplicable.
Helena Christensen: And it was one of those moments when you are like … your adrenaline … just … you know … __________ ________, because you’re like … oh, this is one of those.
HelenaChristensen: It’s very harsh as Mary Ellen was saying. People are very ______________, more and more.
Helena Christensen: That’s kind of what I feel you do with your portraits. You get the ___________ essence of these people no matter of how they are dressed up, no matter how they’re made up. You go right through to the _____________ of them.
Mary Ellen Mark: When you are working with an actor you have to __________ control.
Mary Ellen Mark: I think I have so much stronger pictures. For some reason, that picture became an ____________ picture.
Helena Christensen: It’s very important and I feel with contact sheets which we are now losing because no one ever get contact sheets back anymore and sits with 24 or 26 images. But now that I _________ _____ at my old contact sheets, I see something completely different in some of the photographs that I would have never even … you know … been the least excited about maybe fifteen years ago …I’m now … Why didn’t I __________ this up?!?
Mary Ellen Mark: Right when I was taking that picture the ____________ of the high school walked in … I thought he was gonna like throw me out … But he didn’t.
Lonesome, lonely: sad from being apart from other people.
To set off: to begin a journey
Cement: a soft gray powder that is mixed with water and other substances to make concrete.
To grin: to smile widely.
Cozy: small, comfortable, and warm.
To wolf down: (slang) to eat something very rapidly and in very large pieces.
To slip: to move quietly and cautiously.
Feast: a special meal with large amounts of food and drink.
Profusely: given, produced, or existing in large amounts.
Array: a largenumber, as of persons or objects.
To stiffen: to become physically tense.
Hasty: done or made very quickly.
Watch the video and answer the questions below:
1.Where did the story take place?
2. How did the old lady receive her unexpected guest?
3. The protagonist met a little girl, who did she think she was?
4. What did they watch on TV?
5. Why did the old woman slip out?
6. What did the old woman cook?
7. How did they communicate?
8. When did the guest understand that they were not her friend’s relatives?
9. What did she do to get out of that embarrassing situation?
10. What was the mistake?
1. It took place in Brașov, in Romania.
2. The old lady received her guest with a big grin (smile).
3. She thought she was her friend’s sister.
4. They watched soap operas on TV.
5. The old woman went out to buy food.
6. She made soup, meat, and polenta.
7. They communicated with gestures.
8. She understood she made a mistake while looking at pictures. There weren’t pictures of her friend!
9. To get out of that situation, she said that she had previously booked a room in a hotel.
10. She mixed up the numbers. The right apartment number was 98.