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Unit Three A Few Kind Words for Superstition

Unit Three A Few Kind Words for Superstition

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Unit Three A Few Kind Words for Superstition

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  1. Unit Three A Few Kind Words for Superstition Robertson Davies

  2. Pre-reading Questions 1: Give an example of superstition either handed down from one’s family tradition or arising from your own mind or from other sources, and explain the irrationality in it. 2: Why do some people still cling to superstition handed down through the centuries? 3:Do you believe in ghosts? 4: Do you hold the mass culture belief that Zodiac sign may influence your personality? What sign of the zodiac were you born under? Does your personality resemble some of the typical traits of your zodiac sign?

  3. Robertson Davies William Robertson Davies,  (August 28, 1913 – December 2, 1995) wasa Canadian novelist, playwright, critic, journalist, and professor. He was one of Canada's best-known and most popular authors.

  4. Introduction Look at: view or regard sth The Americans look at life differently from the British. Looked at from that point of view, the job becomes easy. closely:adv in a close manner listen closely, ie carefully Be familiar (to sb): well known (to sb); often seen or heard facts that are familiar to every schoolboy The smell is very familiar to everyone who lives near a bakery.

  5. Introduction take the time: to make the effort to do something: She didn't even take the time to wish me good morning. label sb/sth as sth(fig) describe or classify sb/sth His work is difficult to label accurately. She is usually labelled (as) an Impressionist. The newspapers had unjustly labelled him a troublemaker. The regime was inevitably labelled as 'communist'. Rational: not foolish or absurd; sensible; reasonable rational conduct a rational argument, explanation, solution, etc Rational/sensible/reasonable

  6. Paragraphs 1-2 Questions 1: what is the common assumption about people who believe in superstition? How does the author discredit this assumption? 2: Explain “instant enlightenment.” 3: explain “an unacknowledged hold on so many of us.”

  7. Paragraphs 1-2 Renaissance: a situation when there is new interest in a particular subject, form of art, etc. after a period when it was not very popular Synonym: REVIVAL The British film industry is currently enjoying something of a renaissance. Figure: be important figure (as sth) (in / among sth) Environmental issues figured prominently in the talks. Reform now figures high on the agenda. The question of the peace settlement is likely to figure prominently in the talks. My feelings about the matter didn't seem to figure at all. Paraphrase: “In grave discussions….reason or science.”

  8. Paragraphs 1-2 Paraphrase: In serious discussions of “the renaissance of the irrational”in our time, people don’t think that superstition is a great threat to reason or science.

  9. Paragraphs 1-2 parapsychology:noun [uncount]the study of unusual mental abilities that cannot be explained by traditional science such as knowing what will happen in the future,telepathy and psychokinesis transcendental meditation:a method of calming the mind and becoming relaxed by silently repeating a special word or series of words many times 超在禅定派 [Transcendental Meditation (TM)]

  10. Paragraphs 1-2 deplore :v [Tn] be shocked or offended by (sth); condemn She deplored his scandalous actions. Like everyone else, I deplore and condemn this killing. unacknowledged :adj not fully recognized or appreciated an unacknowledged master of his craft Her contribution to the research went largely unacknowledged.

  11. Paragraphs 1-2 hold (on/over sb/sth)influence He has a tremendous hold over his younger brother. Admit to: ~ to sth/doing sthrecognize or acknowledge sth as true, often reluctantly; confess sth George would never admit to being wrong. I reluctantly admitted to being nervous about the test. naivete [nɑ:'i:vtei] == naivetyn[U] dangerous political naivety

  12. Paragraphs 1-2 manifestation: A manifestation of something is one of the different ways in which it can appear. (FORMAL) Different animals in the colony had different manifestations of the disease. =demonstration, display, exhibit, exhibition, show. Alive:active; lively You seem very much alive today. flourishing: mproving, growing, or succeeding steadily: =booming, boomy, prospering, prosperous, roaring, thrifty, thriving. indisputable :that cannot be disputed or denied indisputably the best tennis player in the world This painting is indisputably one of his finest works. learned: a learned person knows a lot about one or more subjects, especially academic subjects:

  13. Paragraph 3 Questions 1: What does the author imply when he says “ he did not smile until I asked him what he was doing”? 2: How do you understand “ with a wink”?

  14. Paragraph 3 theologians: A theologian is someone who studies the nature of God, religion, and religious beliefs. observance: [U] ~ (of sth)keeping or observing a law, custom, festival, holiday, etc the observance of school rules the observance of New Year's Day as a public holiday. Vain: 1: useless or futile a vain attempt in the vain hope of persuading him 2: having too high an opinion of one's looks, abilities, etc; conceited

  15. Paragraph 4 Questions 1: Explain" a humble appeal to Fate to declare itself." 2: How should the expression "Almost, but not quite" be interpreted in its context?

  16. Paragraph 4 divination n [U] foretelling the future bysupernatural means oracle1: In ancient Greece, an oracle was a priest or priestess who made statements about future events or about the truth. 2: person considered able to give reliable advice My sister's the oracle on beauty matters. Scorn: to feel or show that you think sb/sth is stupid and you do not respect them or it. She scorned all my offers of help. Such methods are scorned by reputable practitioners.

  17. Paragraph 4 toss: If you toss something somewhere, you throw it there lightly, often in a rather careless way. He screwed the paper into a ball and tossed it into the fire. He tossed Malone a can of beer, and took one himself. humble 1: not proud and not thinking you are better than other people He was a genuinely humble man. 2:simple and with only basic equipment or features They lived in a humble two-roomed apartment. Paraphrase: Another learned professor...tossing a coin.

  18. Paragraph 4 Paraphrase: Another knowledgeable professor I know, who would sneer at solving a problem by tossing a coin.

  19. Paragraph 4 appeal:[n]appeal (to sb) (for sth) request for help or sympathy Her eyes held a look of silent appeal. appeal to sb to do sth  an appeal to the army to not use too much force resolve: solve or settle (problems, doubts, etc) resolve an argument, a difficulty, a crisis Her arrival did little to resolve the situation.

  20. Paragraph 4 I Ching :an ancient Chinese book, also known as the Book of Changes, which some people believe helps you to understand events happening in your life and tells you what will happen in the future. To use the I Ching, you throw a set of sticks or coins, and the patterns that they make are connected to specific parts of the book which explain the meaning of each pattern.

  21. Paragraph 4 absolve :to say publicly that someone is not guilty or responsible for something absolve sb from/of sth He cannot be absolved of all responsibility for the accident. The report absolves the pilot from any blame for the crash. rationalist: If you describe someone as rationalist, you mean that their beliefs are based on reason and logic rather than emotion or religion. Paraphrase: there are thousands of people...absolve them of superstition.

  22. Paragraph 4 Paraphrase: there are thousands of people on this continent who are fascinated by the I Ching,and their level of education seems high enough to free them from superstition.

  23. Paragraphs5-6 Questions 1: Why did the examination candidates have the third form of superstition? 2: Why did the engineering student tuck a $2 bill under a candlestick in the chapel? 3: Explain" modest idolatry". 4: Explain" he did not think he was pricing God cheap."

  24. Paragraphs5-6 idolatry:1:Worship of idols. 2:Blind or excessive devotion to something. juju:a type of magic from West Africa that uses objects with special powers modest:not very large, expensive, important, modest improvements / reforms He charged a relatively modest fee. The research was carried out on a modest scale.

  25. Paragraphs5-6 oxymoron:a figure of speech which combines two words that seem to be the opposite of each other to produce a special effect. An oxymoron can be formed through the following ways: 1: adj. + n. Proud humility Painful pleasure A thunderous silence A cheerful pessimist A living death She read the long-awaited letter with a tearful smile. The mother is undergoing the joyful pain, and the painful joy of childbirth.

  26. Paragraphs5-6 oxymoron 2: adj.+ adj. Sour-sweet days Bitter-sweet memories 3: adv. + adj. A wisely stupid idea A mercifully fatal blow Falsely true words 4: n.+n. A love-hate relationship A life-and-death struggle 5: adv. + present participle Changelessly changing 6: v. + adv. Shine darkly Die merrily Groan loudly 7: of-phrase The feather of lead The sound of silence

  27. Paragraphs5-6 Tuck: to put sth into a small space, especially to hide it or keep it safe or comfortable: She tucked her hair (up) under her cap. The letter had been tucked under a pile of papers. She took off her glasses and tucked them in her pocket. Tuck your gloves in your pocket so that you don't lose them. Eventually I found the certificate tucked under a pile of old letters. Tuck your chair in (= put it so that the seat of it is under the table) so that no one trips over it. altar: a holy table in a church or TEMPLE chapel :[C]a small building or room used for Christian worship in a school, prison, large private house, etc

  28. Paragraphs5-6 bribery :noun[U]Bribery is the act of offering someone money or something valuable in order to persuade them to do something for you. She was arrested on bribery charges. allegations of bribery and corruption He was jailed on charges of bribery We tried everything - persuasion, bribery, threats.  deity n (a) [C] god or goddess Roman deities Paraphrase: Investigation ... help.

  29. Paragraphs5-6 Paraphrase: Investigation disclosed that a student majoring in engineering, worried about a girl, thought God might help him if he could offer Him money.

  30. Paragraph 7 Questions 1: Tell us the main idea of this paragraph. 2: Explain "a submerged river of crude religion",its figure of speech and inner meaning. 3: What does the author say about the Latin word supersisto in relation with human psychology?

  31. Paragraph 7 submerged1: If something is submerged, it is below the surface of some water. My right toe struck against a submerged rock. 2: hidden, suppressed,obscure submerged emotions personal lives submerged by professional responsibilities crude: simple and not very accurate In crude terms, the causes of mental illness seem to be of three main kinds. chronicle: a written record of historical events. a chronicle of the French Revolution

  32. Paragraph 7 bounds:[plural] limits that affect and control what can happen or what people are able to do within bounds: Students are allowed, within reasonable bounds, to use calculators in class. within the bounds of something: a decision that is not within the bounds of the mayor's authority We are here to make sure that the police operate within the bounds of the law. beyond/outside the bounds of something: investment advice that goes beyond the bounds of good sense

  33. Paragraph 7 root sth out:destroy sth completely determined to root out corruption Mr. Smith has been appointed to root out cheating in the examinations. Paraphrase: Most people...want to do so.

  34. Paragraph 7 Paraphrase: Most people can control their terror, but they cannot get rid of it, and they don't seem to want to do so.

  35. Paragraph 8 Questions 1: Explain "the teaching of formal religion takes a sociological form". 2: Tell us the main idea of this paragraph. 3: Why does the author mention the psychoanalysts? 4: explain " calling a superstition a compulsion neurosis does not banish it".

  36. Paragraph 8 resume :if you resume an activity, or if it resumes, it begins again or continues after an interruption to resume talks / negotiations She resumed her career after an interval of six years. [V -ing] He got back in the car and resumed driving. watchful :paying attention to what is happening in case of danger, accidents, etc Her expression was watchful and alert. The children played under the watchful eye of their teacher. minatory:adj (fml ) threatening minatory actions, gestures, etc .

  37. Paragraph 8 placate: v [T] to make someone stop feeling angry  These changes did little to placate the unions. He smiled, trying to placate me... Calm down pacify Cajole:If you cajole someone into doing something, you get them to do it after persuading them for some time.by pleasant talk and (sometimes false) promises It was he who had cajoled Garland into doing the film. He cajoled Mr Dobson to stand for mayor. He really knows how to cajole people into doing what he wants.

  38. Paragraph 8 unbidden:(usually used after the verb) without being asked, invited or expected He walked into the room unbidden. The memories came back to her unbidden and unwanted. devout:adj sincerely religious; pious a devout Muslim, prayer

  39. Samuel Johnson Samuel Johnson,often referred to as Dr Johnson, was an English author who made lasting contributions to English literature as a poet, essayist, moralist, literary critic, biographer, editor and lexicographer. After nine years of work, Johnson's A Dictionary of the English Language was published in 1755; it had a far- reaching effect on Modern English and has been described as "one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship."This work brought Johnson popularity and success.

  40. Paragraph 8 psychoanalyst: A psychoanalyst is someone who treats people who have mental problems using psychoanalysis. Compulsion: a strong desire to do sth, especially sth that is wrong, silly or dangerous He felt a great compulsion to drive too fast. Obsessions and compulsions often develop in people who live stressful lives. neurosis :mental illness that causes depression or abnormal behaviour, often with physical symptoms but with no sign of disease banish: If you banish something unpleasant, you get rid of it. a public investment programme intended to banish the recession. Our new cream can help banish acne and smooth away your wrinkles.

  41. Paragraphs 9-10 Questions 1: How does the author prove that people of all races are superstitious? 2: What does the author mention astrology? 3: Which of the four forms of superstition does the case of Dr. Samuel Johnson belong to ? 4: Explain" When has the heart of men given a damn for science?"

  42. Paragraphs 9-10 A depth of : the great strength of a feeling: I found it hard to understand the depth of her love for this man. Orthodox: accepting and obeying traditional religious beliefs and practices Charm: object worn because it is believed to protect the wearer and bring good luck doorpost:one of the two upright pieces of wood at the sides of a door paraphrase: Many superstitions ...race or creed

  43. Paragraphs 9-10 Paraphrase: Many superstitions are so common and so old that they must have been deeply rooted in the human mind. They have nothing to do with race or religious belief.

  44. Paragraphs 9-10 sneeze:make a sneeze With all that dust about, he couldn't stop sneezing. hasten: If you hasten to do something, you are quick to do it. Scientists have hastened to challenge his findings. lest: for fear that, in case Helen turned the radio down lest she should miss the phone ringing. She turned away from the window lest anyone see them. He gripped his brother's arm lest he be trampled by the mob. Lest anyone should doubt my story, I have brought documents to attest to its truth.

  45. Paragraphs 9-10 come by sth:to manage to get sth Jobs are hard to come by these days. Antedate:be before (sth/sb) in time This event antedates the discovery of America by several centuries. Charity: society or organization for helping the needy Many charities sent money to help the victims of the famine. proliferate :to increase rapidly in number or amount Synonym: MULTIPLY Books and articles on the subject have proliferated over the last year. Small businesses have proliferated in the last ten years.

  46. Paragraph 8

  47. Paragraphs 9-10 astrology:the study of the movement of the stars and planets and how some people think they influence people's characters and lives sober: A sober person is serious and thoughtful. We are now far more sober and realistic. Scorn: to refuse to have or do sth because you are too proud scorn to ask for help He scorns telling lies.

  48. Paragraphs 9-10 philter ['filtə] n. a magic drink that makes someone fall in love count sb/sth among sb/sth:be regarded/regard sb/sth as one of the stated group I no longer count him among my friends. He counts John Lennon among his musical influences. Feature: (in newspapers, television, etc) special or prominent article or programme (about sb/sth) This magazine will be running a special feature on education next week. discredit: v [Tn]damage the good reputation of (sb/sth) The Government was discredited by the scandal. Paraphrase: The fashion magazines...popular features.

  49. Paragraphs 9-10 Paraphrase: Astrology columns are considered one of the highlights of the fashion magazines.

  50. Paragraph 11 yearning :~ (for sb/sth)~ (to do sth) a strong and emotional desire a yearning for a quiet life She had no great yearning to go back. have/take a hand in sth: participate in sth; be partly responsible for sth I bet he had a hand in it.