Proposal for the Maturity: a theme on the mother

Ungaretti’s «Pilgrimage», Pirandello’s invective against unbridled technological progress, the right to beauty, the consequences of the division of the continent into blocks according to Galasso, the rediscovery of silence as communication, blogs and selfies, imperfection as push for improvement… beautiful, the traces of this year’s final exam. Designed for students who are largely prepared to carry them out. As usual, a couple are doable. Then there’s the nerd quota, aka the exception that proves the rule.

With a journalist who called me the day before yesterday to comment on the topics of the themes, we enjoyed confiding in each other how incapable we would be of carrying out the most difficult ones, arriving at the paradox of throwing out the idea that it would be interesting, for once to the final exams, give an essay on the mother. Would everyone do it, or at least the majority? Would they feel treated like fools? Would they be offended? Would they welcome the provocation? Maybe they would write memorable themes, allowing themselves the freedom to say what they really think and know about their mothers (and therefore their fathers), their condition, their family lives and the relationships (always a little critical) that pass through them, and they would discover an ability to express themselves usually inhibited by the coolest tracks. Why not?

Indeed: Why not with a period, not a question. Take Antonio Franchini’s latest, excellent novel, «The fire you carry inside you»: isn’t it perhaps (I’m addressing those who have read it) a long theme about mothers?
There is a lot of talk about the inability of a significant percentage of students to read a text, that is, to understand the meaning of a writing. According to data from last year’s Invalsi test, 49% of Italian fifteen-year-olds do not understand what they read. Not to mention the difficulty in concentrating (what is defined as “scholastic dropout”, which does not consist in a widespread tendency not to go to school, but to go there and turn off one’s understanding) and, even before that, in managing to keep a child seated for five hours a day in a classroom. We continually hear media warnings sounding the danger of a decline in school education. We often read data (such as that of the inability to read and understand a written text) that are worrying, when not depressing and lead us to think that the survival of the school now depends on the substantial volunteering of an increasingly smaller number of teachers who obstinately continue to believe it. And then a student in such critical conditions is asked to write on a poem by Ungaretti or a page by Giuseppe Galasso.

Obviously I’m exaggerating. Thank God (or rather, the teachers mentioned above), not all students are in such bad shape. Personally, I have great faith in young students, and especially in young research. But in such a widespread broken situation, proposing a theme on mothers would be a courageous choice. Maybe some slightly witty minister will give it a little thought.
See you next Saturday.

 
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