Cours d'anglais gratuit C2

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LEVEL C2 – THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ

 


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VOCABULARY

 

 

 

  • Maximum high-security
  • United States Army
  • Military prison
  • Department of Justice
  • Federal Bureau of Prisons
  • The cold waters and strong currents
  • Escape proof
  • Designed to hold prisoners
  • The worst of the worst criminals
  • Highly trained in security
  • Criminal career
  • A pimp
  • He shot and killed a barman
  • The federal penitentiary
  • Extremely dangerous inmate
  • Solitary confinement
  • Sparrows
  • The prison yard
  • He began raising them
  • Ornithology
  • Diseases of Canaries
  • Rearing and selling birds
  • Making alcohol
  • Transference from
  • Menacing psychopath
  • His crimes were unremarkable
  • The field of ornithology
  • Bird breeders
  • Poultry raisers
  • Who demanded his release
  • With his health failing
  • He was transferred to
  • Having been incarcerated for
  • One of the most intricate escapes
  • Devised
  • They chiseled away at
  • An air vent
  • Utility corridor
  • Soldered
  • An electric drill
  • Improvised from
  • Vacuum cleaner motor
  • Manufactured false walls
  • They fooled the guards
  • Papier-mâché dummies
  • The barbershop
  • An inflatable raft
  • Raincoats
  • Concealed from
  • The departure of his accomplices
  • The prisoners drowned
  • Cold sea water
  • Strong ocean currents
  • They made it to the mainland

 

LESSON 103 DIALOGUE 

-Birdman of Alcatraz-

 

 

 

Lesson 103 – The bird man of Alcatraz

Alcatraz Island is located in the San Francisco Bay, offshore from San Francisco, California, United States. Also known as “The Rock”, it is home to the The Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary which was a maximum high-security Federal prison from 1934 to 1963. Originally a United States Army military prison, it was acquired by the Department of Justice in 1933 and became a prison of the Federal Bureau of Prisons a year later. The cold waters and strong currents of San Francisco Bay led to the belief that Alcatraz was escape proof.

Alcatraz was designed to hold prisoners who continuously caused trouble at other federal prisons and to hold the worst of the worst criminals who had no hope of rehabilitation. The prison initially had a staff of 155 who were highly trained in security, but not rehabilitation. During its 29 years, the prison held some of the most notorious criminals in American history including Al Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly and Robert Franklin Stroud (The Birdman of Alcatraz).

Robert Franklin Stroud’s criminal career started as a pimp in Alaska. In 1909, he shot and killed a barman and was sentenced to 12 years in the federal penitentiary. Stroud gained a reputation as an extremely dangerous inmate and in 1916 he killed a guard. Serving life in solitary confinement at Leavenworth Penitentiary, Kansas, Stroud discovered a nest with three injured sparrows in the prison yard and began raising them. He began extensive research into ornithology and by 1933 had his first book, Diseases of Canaries, published.

His work and contributions gained him respect among ornithologists and he ran a successful business rearing and selling birds. However, Stroud had also been secretly making alcohol and, on discovery, resulting in his transference from Leavenworth to Alcatraz in 1942 where, unfortunately he was not permitted to keep his birds.

Considered to be one of the most notorious criminals in American history, Stroud was seen as having a superior intellect whilst, at the same time, being an extremely dangerous and menacing psychopath.  However, given his level of notoriety, his crimes were unremarkable. Because of Stroud’s contributions to the field of ornithology, he gained a large following of thousands of bird breeders, and poultry raisers who demanded his release,  and for many years a « Committee to Release Robert F. Stroud » campaigned to have Stroud released from prison, to no avail.  In 1959, with his health failing, Stroud was transferred to the Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri, where he stayed until his death in 1963 at the age of 73, having been incarcerated for the last 54 years of his life, of which 42 were spent in solitary confinement.

In 1962, three of Alcatraz inmates, Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin carried out one of the most intricate escapes ever devised. They chiseled away at the concrete from around an air vent leading to a utility corridor, using tools such as a metal spoon soldered with silver from a dime and an electric drill improvised from a stolen vacuum cleaner motor. They manufactured false walls which fooled the guards and crafted papier-mâché dummies with human hair stolen from the barbershop. They also constructed an inflatable raft from raincoats which they successfully concealed from the guards.  

Allen West, who was part of the escapees’ group, was left behind and subsequently aided the FBI in their investigation of the escape. West’s false wall kept slipping so he held it in place with cement, which set. On the day of the escape West had to chip through the cement, a time consuming affair which resulted in the departure of his accomplices without him. Paddles and parts of the raft were found on nearby Angel Island and after 17 years of investigation the case was finally closed. The official report concluding that the prisoners drowned in the cold sea water due to the strong ocean currents and the cold sea water temperatures ranging between 50 and 55 degrees Fahrenheit. The 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz depicts the escape and stars Clint Eastwood, Fred Ward, and Jack Thibeau as Frank Morris, John Anglin, and Clarence Anglin, respectively. The film strongly implied that the men made it to the mainland.

Today, the island is managed by the National Park Service as part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Visitors can take a tour of the island and its facilities. It is cited as one of the most haunted places in America and the atmosphere has been described as being as cold as winter, even in the summer months.

COMPREHENSION QUIZZES (3 to complete)

 

 

Interactive Video Comprehension Quiz 1

 

Summary Statements Comprehension Quiz 2

 

Drag and Drop Quiz 3: 

 

 

GRAMMAR PRACTICE: VERBS + FROM

 

There are many verbs which are followed by a preposition. Today we have chosen to discover the list of verbs followed by “from”.

TO ABSTAIN FROMABSTENERSE DE
TO BAN (+ OBJECT) FROMPROHIBIR DE
TO BENEFIT FROMBENEFICIARSE DE
TO BORROW (+ OBJECT) FROMPEDIR PRESTADO DE
TO DEFEND (+ OBJECT) FROMDEFENDER DE
TO DIFFER FROMDIFERIR DE
TO DISCOURAGE (+ OBJECT) FROMDESALENTAR DE
TO DISTINGUISH (+ OBJECT) FROMDISTINGUIR DE
TO DIVERT (+ OBJECT) FROMDESVIAR DE
TO EMERGE FROMSALIR DE
TO ESCAPE FROMESCAPAR DE
TO EXCLUDE (+ OBJECT) FROMEXCLUIR DE
TO EXPEL (+ OBJECT) FROMEXPULSAR DE
TO HEAR FROM (SOMEBODY)OÍR DE (ALGUIEN)
TO HINDER (+ OBJECT) FROMOBSTACULIZAR
TO PROHIBIT (+ OBJECT) FROMPROHIBIR DE
TO PREVENT (+ OBJECT) FROMPREVENIR DE
TO RECOVER FROMRECUPERARSE DE
TO REFRAIN FROMABSTENER DE
TO RESIGN FROMRENUNCIAR A
TO RETIRE FROMRETIRARSE DE
TO SAVE (+ OBJECT) FROMGUARDAR DE
TO SEPARATE (+ OBJECT) FROMSEPARAR DE
TO SHRINK FROMREDUCIR, ENCOGER
TO STEAL (+ OBJECT) FROMROBAR DE
TO STEM FROMSER UNA CONSECUENCIA DE
TO STOP (+ OBJECT) FROMDETENER DE
TO SUFFER FROMSUFRIR
TO WITHDRAWN (+ OBJECT) FROMRETIRAR DE

 

PRONUNCIATION PRACTICE

  • Related Pronunciation Video Lesson and interactive exercise(s):

 

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