It is better to learn the way people lived in the past through films and video records than written documents

It is better to learn the way People lived in the Past

It is better to learn the way People lived in the Past IELTS Essay

It is better to learn the way people lived in the past through films and video records than written documents. To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience. You should write at least 250 words.

Real IELTS Exam Question, Reported On:

India 5th November 2022

It is better to learn the way People lived in the Past IELTS Essay

Some believe that learning about the past is best done through written documents, while others feel video is a more accurate medium. In my opinion, recent films in particular can be useful but most information about the past is contained in documents.

Those who argue in favor of video recordings can point to their accuracy. Images transform every observation into a firsthand account. For example, there are documentaries and home videos starting in the 1960s that show how people lived. By watching these films, a social anthropologist can spot more than the surface content. They can see how people talked to each other in real life, what products they used, get a sense for the fashion and the way people spoke. In order to better understand their subject, historians would give anything for an opportunity to have similar film of the Ancient Greeks or Romans.

However, video is limited, especially in terms of its access to important persons and events of the past. It might reveal how everyday people behaved but the facts of what was going on behind the scenes is contained in firsthand notes, memos, letters, and official documents. A good example of this would be the exhaustive four volume biography of Lyndon Johnson written by Robert Caro. A famously meticulous writer, he has poured over thousands of documents ranging from private diaries and correspondences to the laws and orders issued at the time. Slowly, a good observer of the past is able to piece together disparate pieces of information into a narrative that approaches truth. There simply does not exist the same repository of video evidence from any period to yet allow for such a complete understanding of individuals or historic periods.

In conclusion, the value of film may increase in the future but documents still offer the greatest insights into the past. It is important to be mindful that all history is speculation but the best history sticks closely to the facts.


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