CLINTON - the early years
The first woman to be nominated by a major
party as a presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton is a woman who
inspires great enthusiasm, or great dislike. This article was
originally written for Linguapress's Spectrum magazine in 1994 by
Nicole Bernheim, former New York correspondent of France's Le Monde
Hillary Clinton is certainly the incarnation of the
dreams of many American women of her generation. She has got
"everything": a family, a fine career, and a husband who not only
supports her and approves of what she does, but also allows her to use
her talents to the full.
- comfortably off:
Hillary Rodham was born in Chicago in
1947, the daughter of a textile manufacturer.
Her family was comfortably
off, but not rich; she had two brothers, and her mother
did not work.
At school, she was always a brilliant
student, though not the kind of girl who spent all her time in her
books. On the contrary, she spent a lot of time on outside activities,
something which is always greatly appreciated in American schools.
It was while she was still at high
school that Hillary began to take an interest in social issues,
working in the poorer districts of town among immigrant families, and
helping them to participate in elections.
After graduating from high school, she
went on to study at Wellesley College, one of the best universities on
the East Coast, where she was elected President of the Students' Union.
Photos taken at the time show her as a fairly plump young woman,
dressed in rather shapeless clothes, and wearing large glasses. Looking
smart was not one of her major concerns.
It was at Yale Law School that Hillary
first met Bill Clinton, a good looking young man who, in spite of his
reputation as a dilettante,
was actually one of the brightest students in his year. The legend says
that Bill finally "noticed" Hillary because she spoke so well.
At the time, Hillary was actively
involved in the Women's Liberation movement, and seemed to be much more
interested in her career than in marriage. When, several years later,
she was asked how it was that, after a long complicated relationship,
she finally ended up marrying Bill Clinton, she answered: "Because he
was the only guy I dated
who wasn't afraid of me!"
Meanwhile, while Bill had gone back to
his native Arkansas, intending to follow a career in politics, Hillary
became a brilliant lawyer in Washington, where she took part in the
famous Watergate hearings.
Though several major firms of lawyers asked her to join them, she
decided in 1973 to leave Washington and join Bill in Arkansas. They got
married in 1975, and Hillary joined a firm of lawyers in Little Rock
(the capital of Arkansas).
In 1979, at the age of 32, Bill Clinton
was elected Governor of Arkansas, becoming the youngest state Governor
in the U.S.A. A year later, Hillary gave birth to their
daughter Chelsea, named after a favorite hit song of the 1960's.
During Bill's twelve years in office as
Governor of Arkansas, Hillary helped him to radically reform the
state's public school system, and establish a school medical welfare system that
had no equivalent anywhere else in the United States.
As a solitary
concession to the powerful conservative lobby in the Deep South, who
were not accustomed to seeing wives working in partnership with their
husbands, she agreed to add her husband's name to her own, and be
called Hillary Rodham Clinton just to show that she
really was married.
She also changed her look, began to
dress much more smartly, got a new hairstyle and replaced her glasses
with contact lenses. She was ready for Washington.
moderately rich - to date:
to go out with
amateur, not a serious student
- - hearings:
judicial enquiry -
real example - lawyer
: legal expert, advocate - manufacturer :
moderately fat - social
social questions - solitary:
just one - students' union :
association - welfare:
aid, social help
for the Firefox
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Hillary Clinton - the early years
Questions from answers:
Imagine that you have
just interviewed Hillary Clinton about her early life. Here are her
answers: what questions did you ask? Make sure that each question
naturally elicits the answer provided.:
really, but my father was quite well off.
2. While I
was still at high school.
3. Yes, I
was involved with a program to encourage immigrant families to take
part in elections.
4. I went
to Wellesley College.
5. No, I
first met him at Yale.
6. Well he
says it was because he thought I spoke very well!
he was the only guy I dated who wasn't afraid of me!
9. No, I
stayed and worked as a lawyer in Washington for a while.
that didn't happen until 1979.
class, or for
homework: have students contract this article to about half
the original length.