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«9781/04 SPANISH (PRINCIPAL) Paper 4 Topics and Texts For Examination from 2016 SPECIMEN MARK SCHEME 2 hours 30 minutes MAXIMUM MARK: 60 The specimen ...»

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Cambridge International Examinations

Cambridge Pre-U Certificate



Paper 4 Topics and Texts For Examination from 2016


2 hours 30 minutes


The specimen paper is for general illustrative purposes. Please see the syllabus for the relevant

year of the examination for details of the set topics and texts.

The syllabus is approved for use in England, Wales and Northern Ireland as a Cambridge International Level 3 Pre-U Certificate.

This document consists of 31 printed pages and 1 blank page.

[Turn over © UCLES 2013 2 Part I: Topics (30 marks) Candidates answer one question from Part I: Topics and write their responses in the Target Language.

The texts/films are to be studied primarily in cultural context (historical, political, social) as well as a literary/cinematic one.

Answers are marked out of 30 according to the criteria below:

• Content: 20 marks (10 marks: AO3, 10 marks: AO4)

• Language: 10 marks: AO2 This paper is intended to test candidates’ knowledge and understanding of a topic and their ability to use it to answer questions in a clear and focused manner. A sophisticated literary approach is not expected (although at the highest levels it is sometimes seen) but great value is placed on evidence of a first-hand response and thoughtful personal evaluation of what candidates have studied. Candidates may have been encouraged to depend closely on prepared notes and quotations; quotation for its own sake is not useful, though it will not be undervalued if used appropriately to illustrate a point in an answer. This applies to answers about films as well as literary texts.

Texts and notes may not be taken into the examination.

Candidates will not tend to show all the qualities or weaknesses described in any one mark-band.

Examiners will attempt to weigh up all these at every borderline to see whether the work can be considered for the higher mark band.

Examiners will take a positive and flexible approach and will look to reward evidence of knowledge and especially any signs of understanding and careful organisation. Specific guidelines are given for each question, agreed by the examination team.

© UCLES 2013 9781/04/SM/16 3 Part I: Topics – Marking grid for content

–  –  –

Part I Topics: Indicative content Questions are open to interpretation and, therefore, the following notes are not intended to be prescriptive but to give an indication of some of the points which could be made in response to each question. They are by no means exhaustive.


Mercè Rodoreda, La plaza del Diamante Film: ¡Ay, Carmela! (Carlos Saura) Réquiem por un campesino español (novela de Ramón J. Sender o película de Francesc Betriu)

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A Describe la relación entre ricos y pobres en las dos obras que has estudiado. ¿Con quiénes crees que simpatiza más el autor o director? Justifica tu respuesta. [30] A range of episodes could be chosen to illustrate the point with reference to La plaza del Diamante. Natalia’s relationship with the señores for whom she works as a cleaner would provide several relevant examples, including her meeting with the ‘gentleman in the smock’ in which her salary is discussed or, more importantly, her unfair dismissal when the war breaks out. The sections devoted to the revolution on the streets of Barcelona and Franco’s final victory are particularly rich in episodes of this sort. The author seems to side with the poor but the novel is rich enough to evoke a complex picture which goes far beyond a black-and-white interpretation.

Carlos Saura’s film protrays the social turmoil during the Civil War through the eyes of a troupe of comedians who accidentally stray into rebel territory. While the conflict is seen in the wider context of the international fight between Fascism and Socialism, the comedians’ spell in prison shows the dark social nature of the war when the communist mayor of the town is publicly scorned by a Francoist landowner who then has him shot. The director’s leanings towards the poor and helpless is made clear most particularly through the film’s main character, Carmela, who becomes increasingly uneasy about her own role.

In terms of Sender’s novel, the relationship between the poor and the rich is probably best described through the figure of Paco el del Molino. As a child, he witnesses the extreme poverty of a dying man and the acceptance of the situation by the parish priest, Mosén Millán.

There is a marked social divide in the village between the ‘campesinos’ and the likes of Don Valeriano and Don Gumersindo, which comes to a head when Paco (now a councillor) refuses to pay for the right to use the duke’s grazing lands. Paco’s execution by order of the rich landowners shows the tragedy of such a social divide, and points to Sender’s sympathy for the plight of the poor.

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B “Los personajes de estas obras siempre actúan de acuerdo con su conciencia política.” ¿Estás de acuerdo con esta afirmación? Razona tu respuesta haciendo referencia al menos a un personaje de cada una de las dos obras que has estudiado. [30] In La plaza del Diamante, Natalia is an example of a character who does not have an overt political conscience. This makes her particularly interesting as a narrator, given that she describes the injustices of war with a moving detachment from politics, and we witness her unendurable suffering as a mother who has to see her two children go hungry during the air raids and beyond. Alternatively, candidates might wish to concentrate on figures with a clearer political agenda such as Natalia’s husband Quimet and the militiamen, or perhaps the señores for whom she works, respectively the losers and winners of the Civil War. The novel itself was written in exile and in a language (Catalan) which was banned by the regime.

Saura’s film offers a moving contrast between Paulino and his wife Carmela. They are both staunch supporters of the Republic but, given the difficult circumstances arising from their imprisonment, Paulino seems prepared to compromise as a means to an end: personal survival. This makes him accept the Italian lieutenant’s proposal to participate in a show aimed at Francoist generals and soldiers. On the other hand, Carmela’s growing uneasiness drives her to a heroic act at the end of the film which provokes her untimely death on stage. Killed by a follower of Franco’s principles, she becomes a symbol of the Spanish Republic.

Sender’s character Paco el del Molino always acts in accordance with his political conscience.

His experience of poverty as a child awaken feelings in him which pave the way for his brief political career and final execution at the hands of Francoist landowners. Consequently, he pays a high price for sticking to his principles: his own life. Alternatively, candidates might wish to analyse the figure of Mosén Millán, who finds it impossible to reconcile his Christian beliefs with the social demands of the time, and ends up betraying Paco, causing his death.

–  –  –

2 EL FRANQUISMO Josefina Aldecoa, Mujeres de negro Film: Salvador (Manuel Huerga) La colmena (novela de Camilo José Cela o película de Mario Camus)

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Josefina Aldecoa’s novel is the second in an autobiographical trilogy which starts with Historia de una maestra and finishes with La fuerza del destino. Candidates could analyse a number of episodes from Mujeres de negro which are anti-Francoist in that they reflect the plight of Republicans during and after the Civil War. The titles of the first two sections in the novel, ‘Los vencidos’ and ‘El destierro’, clearly point to the fact that Aldecoa’s account centres on the suffering of those who lost the war and ended up having to go into exile (to Mexico, in this case). After Juana’s return to Spain in the 1950s, the country is portrayed as a prison in itself.

Salvador tells the story of a real-life anti-Francoist activist, Puig Antich, who joins an anarchist group and, in a shoot-out with the police, ends up killing a young officer by mistake. As the whole of the second part centres on Puig Antich’s flawed military trial and the long wait until his execution by ‘garrote vil’ is carried out, the film becomes a damning indictment of a regime that was capable of using the death penalty for political reasons as late as the mid 1970s.

Huerga shows Franco’s political isolation in the international context as a result of Puig Antich’s execution.

La colmena is much more ambiguous in its message, given that it presents a whole host of characters living (or surviving) in post-war Madrid without any one story dominating the narrative structure. Candidates could discuss particular episodes suggesting the degradation of the lower-middle classes and the bleakness of daily life in the early years of Francoism (poverty, sordidness, hunger, fear, hatred, prudishness), but they could also note that the narrator’s detached attitude does not suggest that the novel should be read as a piece of anti-Francoist literature.

–  –  –

B “En estas obras lo importante no son los temas políticos sino el conflicto humano.” Discute esta afirmación con referencia a las dos obras que has estudiado. [30] There is an obvious political message against Franco’s dictatorship in Aldecoa’s novel but the narrative centres on the plight of particular people and thus on human (rather than social) conflict. Candidates could mention episodes in which personal suffering is emphasised, as when Juana’s mother, whose husband was killed because of his Republicanism, starts losing even her private pupils because of her political ideas. Juana’s evolution on her return from exile and her final rejection of the ‘mujeres de negro’ could be discussed as evidence that Aldecoa’s novel stresses human conflict.

Huerga’s film also stresses human conflict. There are political issues from beginning to end (police torture, absence of civil liberties and human rights) but characters are far more than simple political symbols. Candidates could analyse Salvador’s relationship with his father, who had also had to face the death penalty in his youth even if he was finally given a reprieve.

Similarly, human conflict could be discussed with reference to the protagonist’s dealings with his sisters and the defence lawyer. Most importantly, the prison officer’s personal evolution as a result of his friendship with Salvador shows that the film has personal interests at heart that go beyond the purely political.

Cela’s novel indeed centres on human conflict. Given the narrator’s apparent objectivity, the story does not seem to have a clear-cut political message. Instead, it is human relationships which are at its heart, as the work presents a panoramic view of over a hundred characters through a series of interlocking episodes. Candidates could analyse the plights of Martín Marco or discuss other personal conflicts affecting Doña Rosa’s customers and/or their friends and family (gender issues in the case of señor Suárez, Victoria’s ways of getting money in order to buy medicine for her tubercular boyfriend, Doña Jesusa’s brothel, Ventura and Julita’s adventures).

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A Analiza la visión de la vida urbana española en las dos películas que has visto. ¿Crees que Almodóvar describe la ciudad con amor o con odio? Razona tu respuesta. [30] Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios is set in Madrid, a city which is depicted in all its vibrancy. This relatively early comedy (1988) was Almodóvar’s first international success and it broke away from earlier clichés of Spain as a traditional, profoundly Catholic, rural country.

Here is a city of dubbing actors, jealous wives, feminist lawyers, gullible policemen, cheating husbands, Telefónica employees, international terrorists and kitsch taxi drivers. The panoramic view the director gives us from Pepa’s penthouse brings to the fore the centrality of a city, ‘el Madrid de la movida’, which has finally cast off the greyness of the Francoist period.

In Todo sobre mi madre, Barcelona is central to the story. Manuela, an Argentinian exile in Madrid, loses her seventeen-year-old son and decides to go back to the capital of Catalonia so that she can hopefully find the boy’s father and tell him about his death. Barcelona is seen as a harsh milieu (AIDS, prostitutes, violence, difficult family relationships) but, at the same time, its streets and squares are lovingly shot by a director who wants the film to be his personal homage to the city. The trip from Madrid to Barcelona represents an emotional journey on the part of Manuela in order to come to terms with her own past.

Volver is a story of survival and it switches between an urban and a rural background.

Raimunda’s Madrid is a working-class environment where her own ghosts from the past haunt her again when she learns that her husband has been killed by their teenage daughter as he tried to abuse her. In a sense, the film pays homage to Almodóvar’s native La Mancha, as much of it centres on characters living in a village in the area. La Mancha is indeed beautifully portrayed, but it is also the setting against which a terrible murder happened in the past.

So perhaps rural life is not so different from its urban counterpart.

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Almodóvar’s films often centre on female characters. Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios is a comedy and, therefore, solidarity in the face of adversity is not necessarily an important theme. In fact, the main point in the plot is the relationship between a man and a woman (Pepa ends up saving Iván’s life), and some of the female characters in the story are actually defined by hatred or even madness (the feminist lawyer and Lucía). Having said that, candidates could also analyse female solidarity in the relationship between Pepa and characters such as Candela (whom she hides in her own apartment) or Carlos’s fiancée (whom she helps to wake up to sexuality).

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