Italian: Italian State Exam Topics 2012

Italian: Italian State Exam Topics 2012

Higher Secondary Education - For all addresses: sorting and experimental

Carry out the test, choosing one of the four types proposed here.



Eugenio Montale, Killing time (from Auto da fé. Chronicles in two stages, Il Saggiatore, Milan 1966)
The most serious problem of our time is not among those that are reported in box characters in the front pages of newspapers; and it has nothing in common, for example, with the future status of Berlin or with the possibility of an atomic war destroying half of the world. Similar problems are historical and sooner or later come to a solution, albeit with frightening results. No war will prevent future humanity from boasting further magnificent fortunes in the context of an increasingly perfect and ecumenical industrial civilization. A half-destroyed world, which would rise from the ashes tomorrow, in a few decades would take on a face not too different from our world today. Indeed, today it is the spirit of conservation that slows progress. If there was nothing left to keep, technical progress would be much faster. Even the large-scale killing of men and things can represent, in the long run, a good investment in human capital. So far we remain in history. But there is a killing, that of time, which does not seem to bear fruit. Killing time is the increasingly worrying problem facing man today and tomorrow.
I don't think about automation, which will increasingly reduce the hours spent on work. It may be that when the work week has fallen from five to four or three, we end up banning the machines currently used to replace man. It may be that then new types of useless work are invented so as not to leave millions or billions of unemployed unemployed; but it will still be a job that will leave a wide margin of free hours, hours in which the spectrum of time cannot be evaded.
Why do you work? Certainly to produce things and services useful to human society, but also, and above all, to increase human needs, that is, to minimize the hours in which it is easier for this hated ghost of time to present itself to us. By increasing unnecessary needs, man is kept busy even when he assumes he is free. "Spending time" in front of the video or watching a football game is not really a leisure, it is a leisure, that is, a way to digress from the dangerous monster, to get away from it. You can't kill time without filling it with occupations that fill that void. And since few men are able to look with firm eyelashes in that emptiness, here is the social need to do something, even if this something serves only to anesthetize the vague apprehension that that emptiness recurs in us.
Eugenio Montale (Genoa, 1896 - Milan, 1981) is known above all as a poet. However, he also deserves to be remembered as a prosator. Montale himself collected in Farfard di Dinard (First ed. 1956) and Auto da fé (First ed. 1966) written in prose previously appeared in newspapers and magazines. The passage that is proposed is taken from a text originally published in the "Corriere della Sera" of November 7, 1961.
1. Understanding the text
Summarize theses and main topics of the text.
2. Analysis of the text
2.1 What are the problems that can be solved according to Montale?
2.2 Explains the meaning that Montale attributes to the expression "killing time".
2.3 Why are "unnecessary needs" increased and "new types of useless work" invented?
2.4 Do you notice the presence of irony in the text? Argue your answer.
2.5 Expose your observations in a personal comment of sufficient magnitude.
3. Overall interpretation and insights
Based on the analysis conducted, research the "world view" expressed in the text and deepen the research with appropriate links to other Montale texts. Alternatively, focus on the degree of actuality / inactivity of Montale's reasonings on work and time.


Drafting of a SHORT essay or newspaper article

(can choose one of the topics related to the four proposed areas)


It develops the chosen topic either in the form of a "short essay" or a "newspaper article", interpreting and comparing the documents and data provided.
If you choose the form of the "short essay", discuss your treatment, also with appropriate references to your knowledge and study experience.
Press on the essay for a coherent title and, if you want, divide it into paragraphs.
If you choose the form of the "newspaper article", indicate the title of the article and the type of newspaper you think the article should be published on.
For both forms of writing do not exceed five columns of half of the protocol sheet.


TOPIC: The maze.


«[...] Running, I will go out into a large meadow, and the one / avea in the middle a large and rich hostel. // Of various marbles with suttil work / built was the palazzo altoero. / He ran into the golden door / with the damsel in his arms the knight. / Not long after, Brigliadoro arrived, / bringing Orlando disdainful and proud. / Orlando, as he is inside, his eyes turn; / neither the guerrier nor the damsel aims. // Immediately dismount, and lightning passes / where more lodged inside the beautiful roof: / runs from here, runs from there, nor lapses / that does not see every room, every loggia. / Then that the secrets of every low room / he tries in vain, up the stairs rests; / and you don't even lose looking upstairs, / that you lose time and work below. // The ornate beds of gold and silk see: / nothing of walls or walls; / that those, and the ground where you put your foot, / are from pitched curtains and tapeti. / Count Orlando goes down and asks again, / for this reason he cannot make his eyes ever happy / revisiting Angelica, or that thief / who brought his beautiful, graceful face. // And while now and then in vain the step / movea, full of labor and thoughts, / Ferraù, Brandimarte and the king Gradasso, / king Sacripante and other horsemen / found you going up and down, / men facean vain paths of him; / and they regretted the wicked / invisible lord of that palace. // All looking for the van, they all give it / theft of any theft that they made: / of the destrier who took it away, others are in trouble; / that the woman has lost others, she gets angry; / others on the other hand the accusation: and so they are, / that they will not start from that cage; / and there are many, to this deception, / have been the whole weeks and months. "

Ludovico ARIOSTO, Orlando furioso, ed. 1532, Canto twelfth, Octaves 7-12

"I had gone through a maze, but the clear City of the Immortals frightened me and repelled me. A labyrinth is a building built to confuse men; its architecture, full of symmetries, is subordinated to this end. In the building that I imperfectly explored, architecture lacked all purpose. The landlocked corridor abounded, the tall window unreachable, the showy door that opened onto a cell or a well, the incredible inverted stairs, with steps and the balustrade down. Others by air adhering to the side of a monumental wall, died without reaching any place, after two or three turns, in the upper darkness of the domes. I don't know if all the examples I've enumerated are literal; I know that for many years they infested my nightmares; I cannot know by now if a certain detail is a transcription of reality or of the forms that disturbed my nights. "

Jorge Luis BORGES, The immortal, in "L’Aleph", Feltrinelli, Milan 1959 (ed. Orig. "El Aleph", 1949)

"People you meet, if you ask them: - For Penthesilea? - make a gesture around that you don't know if it means: "Here", or: "Farther", or: "All around", or even: "On the opposite side".
- The city, - you insist on asking.
- We come here to work every morning, - some people say to you, and others: - We go back to sleep here.
- But the city where you live? - ask.
- It must be, - they say - for that, - and some raise their arm obliquely towards a concretion of opaque polyhedra, on the horizon, while others indicate the spectrum of other cusps behind you.
- So I passed it without realizing it?
- No, try to keep going.
So go on, going from one periphery to another, and the time has come to leave Penthesilea. Ask for the way out of the city; retrace the string of suburbs scattered like a milky pigment; night comes; the windows are now sparse now more dense.
If hidden in some pocket or wrinkle in this rambling neighborhood there is a Pentesilea recognizable and rememberable by those who have been there, or if Pentesilea is only the periphery of itself and has its center in every place, you have given up on understanding it. The question that is now beginning to gnaw in your head is more distressing: is there an outside outside Penthesilea? Or how far away from the city do you only go from one limbo to another and you don't get to get out of it? "

Italo CALVINO, The invisible cities, Einaudi, Turin 1972

"" Let's reason, "said William," five quadrangular or vaguely trapezoidal rooms, with one window each, which go around a heptagonal room without windows to which the staircase rises. It seems elementary to me. We are in the eastern tower, each tower from the outside has five windows and five sides. The bill comes back. The empty room is precisely the one facing east, in the same direction as the church choir, the light of the sun at dawn illuminates the altar, which seems fair and pious to me. The only clever idea seems to me to be the alabaster slabs. During the day they filter a beautiful light, at night they do not even let the moon's rays shine through. It is not a great maze. Now let's see where the other two doors of the heptagonal room lead. I think we will find our way easily. " My teacher was wrong and the builders of the library had been more skilled than we thought. I don't know how to explain what happened, but as we left the tower, the order of the rooms became more confused. Some had two, other three doors. All of them had a window, even the ones we started from a room with a window and thinking of going towards the interior of the building. Each always had the same type of wardrobes and tables, the volumes in great order piled up all looked the same and certainly did not help us to recognize the place at a glance. "

Umberto ECO, The name of the rose, First ed. revised and corrected, Bompiani, Milan 2012 (First ed. 1980)


TOPIC: Young people and the crisis.


"Over the past three years, the economic crisis has left more than one million young workers between the ages of 15 and 34 on the streets. And above all they paid the bill for the economic and financial turbulence that has been affecting Europe and Italy for years, weakening their growth. Between 2008 and 2011, in fact, overall employment in Italy fell by 438 thousand units, which means that without the collapse of youth employment there would have been even a growth in jobs. Between 2008 and 2011, according to Istat data on average employment, workers aged between 15 and 34 years went from 7 million and 110 thousand to 6 million and 56 thousand. The decrease in young people employed, equal to 1 million 54 thousand units, concerned both men and women, more or less in the same proportion (minus 622 thousand jobs among men, minus 432 thousand among young women), and the North and South of the country more intensely than the Center. "

Mario SENSINI, Employment collapsed between 15 and 35 years old, "Corriere della Sera" - 8/04/2012

«Young people at the center of the crisis. In Italy 11.2% of young people aged 15-24, and even 16.7% of those between 25 and 29 years of age, are not interested in working or studying, while the European average is equal to 3 respectively , 4% and 8.5%. On the other hand, we have a much lower percentage of those who work: 20.5% among 15-24 year olds (the EU average is 34.1%) and 58.8% among 25-29 year olds (the average EU is 72.2%). In addition, one of the central figures of our economic fabric, that of the entrepreneur, is gradually losing its appeal among the new generations. Only 32.5% of young people aged 15-35 say they want to start their own business, less than in Spain (56.3%), France (48.4%), the United Kingdom (46.5% ) and Germany (35.2%).

Mobility that is not there, a question of culture and not of rules. Young people are today the workers on whom the cost of outgoing mobility weighs most. In 2010, out of 100 layoffs that resulted in unemployment, 38 involved young people under 35 and 30 with 35-44 years. Only in 32 cases were people aged 45 or over. Italy has a corporate seniority rate well above that of the main European countries. 50.7% of Italian workers, 44.6% of Germans, 43.3% of French, 34.5% of Spaniards and 32.3% of English have worked in the same company for more than ten years. However, only 23.4% of young people are available to move to other regions or abroad to find work. "

45th CENSIS REPORT, Work, professionalism, representations, Press release 2/12/2011

«The work that can be achieved with a high qualification does not always correspond to the training course undertaken. The consistency between the qualification held and that required to work is, albeit slightly, higher among graduates in long courses rather than among those who have completed courses lasting three years. In fact, graduates in long courses declare that they carry out a job for which the qualification held was required in 69% of cases while among three-year graduates this percentage drops to 65.8%. On the other hand, approximately 69% of graduates from both long and three-year courses evaluate the university education actually necessary for their work. A complete consistency between the qualification held and the work done - the degree, that is, as a requirement of access and effective use of the skills acquired for carrying out the work activity - is declared only by 58.1% of graduates in long courses and by 56, 1% of three-year graduates. On the contrary, 20% of graduates in long courses and 21.4% of three-year ones claim to be classified in positions that do not require a degree from a formal or substantial point of view. "

ISTAT - University and work: orientation with statistics -

«What a story, and what an incredible life, that of Steve Jobs. […] He dropped out of studies paid by foster parents at Portland, Oregon college after a few months of attendance. He left on a trip to India, returned, and only attended the lessons that interested him. That is, think a little, calligraphy courses. […] He was out of the standard in every detail, from the choice to personally present his products from theater stages, to the ultra minimal look, with his jeans and his black Jean Paul Sartre crew necks. "Your time is limited - said the inventor of the iPod, the iPhone and the iPad to Stanford students in 2005 -. Don't throw it away by living someone else's life. Do not let yourself be trapped by dogmas, which means living with the results of the thoughts of others. And don't let the noise of others' opinions drown your inner voice. Dare to follow your heart and intuition. Somehow they already know what you really want to be. Everything else is secondary ”. »

Giovanna FAVRO, Steve Jobs, a crazy genius, "La Stampa" - 6/10/2011


TOPIC: Individual good and common good.


"Now, the laws must be right both in relation to the end, being ordered to the common good, both in relation to the author, not exceeding the power of those who emanate them, and in relation to their content, imposing on the subjects some weights in order to the common good according to a proportion of equality. In fact, since man is part of society, everything that everyone possesses belongs to society: just as a part as such belongs to the whole. So even nature sacrifices the part to save the whole. And so the laws that share the burdens proportionately are right, they oblige in conscience and they are legitimate laws. "

S. TOMMASO D’AQUINO (1225-1274), The theological sum, Edizioni Studio Domenicano, Bologna 1996

"From the foregoing it follows that the general will is always right and always tends to public utility: but it does not follow that the people's resolutions always have the same righteousness. You always want your own good, but you don't always see it: you never corrupt the people, but often deceive them, and then only he seems to want what is bad. There is often a great difference between everyone's will and the general will: this only looks at the common interest, the other looks at the private interest and is only a sum of particular wills [...]. But when creating factions, partial associations at the expense of the great, the will of each of these associations becomes general with respect to its members, and particular with respect to the State: it can be said then that there are not as many voters as there are men; but only how many associations. The differences become less numerous, give a less general result. [...] It therefore matters, to truly have the expression of the general will, that there are no partial companies in the state, and that every citizen does not think that with his own head. […] As long as several assembled men see themselves as one body, they have only one will, which refers to common conservation and general well-being. Then all the driving forces of the state are vigorous and simple, its maxims clear and bright; there are no cheated, contradictory interests; the common good is evident throughout, and requires only common sense to be seen. Peace, union, equality are enemies of political subtleties. "

Jean-Jacques ROUSSEAU, Of the social contract or principles of political law, 1762, in Opere, Sansoni, Florence 1972

"There are certainly two types of men: those who think of themselves and therefore restrict the intentions of their future or at most to that of their life's companion. [...] Beside men, who conceive life as individual enjoyment, there are other men, fortunately the most, who, driven by different feelings, have the instinct of construction. [...] The father does not save for himself; but he hopes to create something that will ensure the life of the family in the future. The effect does not always respond to hope, because children sometimes love to consume what their father has accumulated [...]. If children are missing, the man endowed with the instinct of perpetuity builds because a demon urges him to lay the foundations of something. "

Luigi EINAUDI, Social policy lessons, Einaudi, Turin 1949

«The first [acquisition] is the overcoming of the taboo constituted by the word" profit ", in practice only mentioned in the first of the eleven synthesis rules, without any further underlining of its importance (technical, moral, religious) which has occupied decades of discussion. The second is the courage with which we face the need to simply define the content of the term "common good". In this regard, the importance attributed to the "intangible benefits that give man a spiritual fulfillment, such as feelings, family, friendship and peace" seemed decisive in this regard. This represents an innovation that overcomes both the ancient materialistic walls of the common good and the most recent tendencies to enhance its institutional, national and even international dimension. And the third decisive acquisition is that relating to the "centrality of man as the beating heart of the common good", an acquisition at least important and unexpected for me, because it recalls the fact that we must not feel that we are the subjects of demand for a common good, which others they must build, but we must feel "primary engine in the organization and enhancement of the common good, just as Our Lord is the engine of creation". »

Giuseppe DE RITA, Presentation of The Eleven Rules of the Common Good, Social Marketing, 2010


TOPIC: The responsibilities of science and technology.


"Act so that the consequences of your action are compatible with the permanence of an authentic human life on earth."

Hans JONAS, The principle of responsibility. An ethic for technological civilization, Einaudi, Turin 1990 (original ed. 1979)

«I would like (and it does not seem impossible or absurd to me) that in all the scientific faculties there was an insistence on one point: what you will do when you practice the profession can be useful for mankind, or neutral, or harmful. Don't fall in love with suspicious problems. Within the limits that will be granted to you, try to know the purpose to which your work is directed. We know, the world is not only made of black and white and your decision can be probabilistic and difficult: but you will agree to study a new medicine, you will refuse to formulate a nerve gas. Whether you are a believer or not, whether or not you are a "patriot", if you are given a choice, do not be seduced by material and intellectual interest, but choose within the field that can make the pain less painful and less dangerous. itinerary of your companions and posterity. Do not hide behind the hypocrisy of neutral science: you are learned enough to know whether a dove or a cobra or a chimera or maybe nothing will come out of the egg you are hatching. "

Primo LEVI, Covare il cobra, 11 September 1986, in Works II, Einaudi, Turin 1997

"It is a well-known history that Fermi and his collaborators obtained without realizing it the fission (then splitting) of the uranium nucleus in 1934. Ida Noddack suspected it: but neither Fermi nor other physicists took seriously his claims if not four years later, at the end of 1938. Ettore Majorana might have taken them seriously, having seen what the Roman Institute physicists could not see. And especially since Segrè speaks of "blindness". The reason for our blindness isn't clear even today, he says. And he is perhaps willing to consider it as providential, if their blindness prevented Hitler and Mussolini from having the atomic bomb. Not the same - and it is always the case for providential things - the inhabitants of Hiroshima and Nagasaki would have been willing to consider it. »

Leonardo SCIASCIA, The disappearance of Majorana, Einaudi, Turin 1975

«Science can help us build a desirable future. Indeed, scientific knowledge is essential building blocks for erecting this building. But [...] it is imperative to untie the decisive node of the value to be given to knowledge. The value that seems to prevail today is the pragmatic one that recognizes the market for knowledge. A utilitarian value: we must try to know what can be immediately and economically useful to us. […] But if we want to build a desirable future, even in the field of applied science, the recognition of the value of knowledge cannot be delegated to the market. This was demonstrated by the recent dispute between large multinationals and the government of South Africa on anti-AIDS drugs [...]. The market is unable to distribute "knowledge profits" to 80% of the world's population. To build the future with the building blocks of science, it is therefore necessary to (re) associate other values ​​with the market value of knowledge: the values ​​of human development. »

Pietro GRECO, His majesty the technology. Who's afraid of science ?, "Unity", 7 July 2001

"Research should be free, it should not be led by anyone. After all, if you think about it, it exists from the request of the individual rather than a collective result. It should be free from religious ties and subject to a single precept: to progress in its applications according to the well-being of living beings, men and animals. Here, I believe, is the rule and ethics of the scientist: scientific research must increase the proportion of the good in the world. The applications of science must bring progress and not regress, advantage and not disadvantage. Of course it is also true that the search goes by trial and therefore we cannot immediately realize the possible negative impact; in this case you should be able to give up. "

Margherita HACK interviewed by Alessandra Carletti, Roma Tre News, n. 3/2007



"Undersecretary Josef Bühler, the most powerful man in Poland after the governor general, was dismayed at the idea that Jews would be evacuated from the west to the east, as this would have meant an increase in the number of Jews in Poland, and therefore proposed that these transfers were postponed and that "the final solution started from the General Governorate, where there were no transportation problems." Officials from the foreign ministry presented a memorial, prepared with every care, in which their ministry's "wishes and ideas" were expressed regarding the "total solution of the Jewish question in Europe," but no one gave much weight to that document. . The most important thing, as Eichmann rightly observed, was that the representatives of the various civil services did not just express opinions, but made concrete proposals. The session did not last more than an hour, an hour and a half, after which there was a toast and everyone went to dinner - "a family party" to encourage the necessary personal contacts. For Eichmann, who had never been in the midst of so many "great characters," it was a memorable event; he was far inferior, both in terms of rank and social position, to all present. He had sent out the invitations and prepared some statistics (full of incredible errors) for Heydrich's introductory speech - eleven million Jews had to be killed, which was no small feat - and he was the one writing the minutes. In practice he acted as secretary, and that is why, when the grown-ups had left, he was allowed to sit by the fireplace in the company of his boss Müller and Heydrich, "and it was the first time I saw Heydrich smoking and drinking . " They didn't talk about "business", but they enjoyed "a little rest" after a lot of work, very satisfied and - above all Heydrich - very much in tone "(Hannah ARENDT, The banality of evil. Eichmann in Jerusalem, Feltrinelli, Milan 1964, from the seventh chapter: The conference of Wannsee, or Pontius Pilate).
The candidate, taking inspiration from the text of Hannah Arendt, dwells on the extermination of the Jews planned and carried out by the Nazis during the Second World War.



«I was twenty. I will not allow anyone to say that this is the most beautiful age of life»(Paul Nizan, Aden Arabia, 1931).
The candidate reflects on Nizan's statement and discusses new generations' problems, challenges and dreams.

Maximum duration of the test: 6 hours.
Only the use of the Italian dictionary is allowed.
It is not allowed to leave the Institute before 3 hours have elapsed from the dictation of the topic.

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