Essay topics: Essay topics: TPO-08 - Integrated Writing Task
Toward the end of his life, the Chevalier de Seingalt (1725-1798) wrote a long memoir recounting his life and adventures. The Chevalier was a somewhat controversial figure, but since he met many famous people, including kings and writers, his memoir has become a valuable historical source about European society in the eighteenth century. However, some critics have raised doubts about the accuracy of the memoir. They claim that the Chevalier distorted or invented many events in the memoir to make his life seem more exciting and glamorous than it really was.
For example, in his memoir the Chevalier claims that while living in Switzerland, he was very wealthy, and it is known that he spent a great deal of money there on parties and gambling. However, evidence has recently surfaced that the Chevalier borrowed considerable sums of money from a Swiss merchant. Critics thus argue that if the Chevalier had really been very rich, he would not have needed to borrow money.
Critics are also skeptical about the accuracy of the conversations that the Chevalier records in the memoir between himself and the famous writer Voltaire. No one doubts that the Chevalier and Voltaire met and conversed. However, critics complain that the memoir cannot possibly capture these conversations accurately, because it was written many years after the conversations occurred. Critics point out that it is impossible to remember exact phrases from extended conversations held many years earlier.
Critics have also questioned the memoir's account of the Chevalier's escape from a notorious prison in Venice, Italy. He claims to have escaped the Venetian prison by using a piece of metal to make a hole in the ceiling and climbing through the roof. Critics claim that while such a daring escape makes for enjoyable reading, it is more likely that the Chevaliers jailers were bribed to free him. They point out that the Chevalier had a number of politically well-connected friends in Venice who could have offered a bribe.
The article claims that memoir by Chevalier is skeptical. It casts doubt upon the instances and also states three such examples. While, the professor, disagrees with the article and supports the facts stated in memoir and also gives gives reason for holding such opinions. The professor states the memoir written by Chevalier is reliable and also gives three instances where she is supporting the incidents stated be Chevalier in his memoir.
First, the article states that Chevalier had borrowed money when he was in Switzerland and was not wealthy as said in his memoir. However, the professor argues that whatever written in the memoir might be possibly correct. The professor says that Chevalier was not poor and he had assets. The professor claims that it took a little while to get those assets converted into money.
Second, the article casts doubt on the conversation between Chevalier and Voltire. It states that it cannot be trusted because the extended conversation between two people cannot be accurately stated. However, professor refutes this claim. She says that Chevalier had the habit of making notes of any conversation made on that that day. He also use to refer these notes later when he wanted to add them in his works. Professor asserts that whatever conversations written in the memoir are exact.
Third, the article suspects incident of great escape form the prison in Venice. The article suspects that Chevalier might have bribed in order to escape form the prison since he had political power. Whereas, the professor confutes by saying that there are records that showed that there were other people in that jail who were more powerful than Chevalier. The professor also hints about the one more record that reveals that government invested on repairing the ceiling of the prison after Chevalier escaped by making a hole in the ceiling. This means Chevalier escaped by making hole in the ceiling and not by bribing.
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