Unit 7On Not Answering the Telephone 郧阳师专英语系综合英语教研室
Background knowledge • The Author: • William Plomer (1903-1973), South African writer born of English parents. His works include novels, short stories, poems and biographies, but he is best known for his short stories.
Four types of the text • Description(描述) is painting a picture in words of a person, place, object, or scene. • Narration (记叙)writing includes stories , real or imaginary, biographies, histories, new items, and narrative poems. • Exposition(说明) is perhaps the type of writing that is more frequently used by a student, a scientist, or a professional, exposition means expounding or explaining. • Argumentation(议论) essay tries to make the reader agree with its point of view and support it, to persuade him to change his mind or behavior, and to approve a policy or a course of action that it proposes.
Type of Reading One Apart from a debatable point, sufficient evidence, clear logic and good use of the other three types of writing---description, narration, and especially the various method of exposition are also indispensable for a well-written argumentative essay. Argumentation frequently makes use of the other three types of writing---description, narration, and above all exposition, for argumentation and exposition are very closely related.
Type of Reading One It is obvious that good logic is even more important to argumentation than any other types of writing. There are generally two ways of reasoning: (a) Inductive reasoning When you use induction, you start with facts and proceed from facts to a general conclusion. In other words, you move from specific examples to a general statement.
Type of Reading One Here is an example of a syllogism: A. All human beings make mistakes. B. X is a human being. C. Therefore, X makes mistakes. From the above example we can see that the major premise must be an accepted generalization, and the minor, a factual example of that generalization. If A and B are true, C the conclusion is bound to be true.
Type of Reading One (b) Deductive reasoning The process is just the opposite of inductive reasoning---it moves from a general statement to a specific conclusion. It works on the model of syllogism---a three-part argument in which there are two statements, known as the major premise and the minor premise, and a conclusion.
Writing style and structure of Reading One • This text is an argumentative essay in which the writer argues for a proposition: that it is unnecessary to have a telephone because it brings more trouble than help. The way he develops his argument is inductive, that is, he uses large numbers of examples to prove his point. • This essay can be divided into three major parts: • 1. Introduction. (para.1) • The writer puts forward a premise on with he bases his argument. The sentence “I just haven’t got a telephone.”most clearly establishes the subject and draws the reader into the essay. • 2. The Body (paras. 2-6)
Writing Style and Structure of Reading One (1) Para 2 a. The writer can live a normal life without a telephone. b. A telephone is a pest and a time-waster. (2) Para 3 To have a telephone at home is a nuisance. (3) Para 4 Without a telephone, news either good or bad, will reach anyone just as quickly. (4) Para 5 To have one’s name and address printed in a telephone
Writing Style and Structure of Reading One directory will bring one a world of troubles. (5) A telephone at home is not of much use even in case of emergency. 3. Conclusion (para 7) The last paragraph makes a convincing finish in which the writer draws a conclusion from his preceding argument.
Questions 1. Does the title of the text strike you as unusual? Would you be inclined not to answer a telephone call at any time? 2. Does the title tell you what kind of writing the passage is, a narrative or an argument? 3. What do you think is the writer’s intention in writing this article? Is he commenting on some people’s unwillingness to answer the telephone or is he himself giving some reasons for not answering the telephone?
Questions 4. Can you imagine some of the things the writer might mention in his article? 5. What does the ending of the text suggest to you? 6. What kind of person do you think the writer is?
Detailed Study of Reading One I. Language Points: I.1. If, at the end of a conversation somebody says to me, “As soon as I know, I’ll ringyouup”, he is taking too much for granted. (lines1-2) I.1.(a.) If you ring somebody up, you phone him or her. ring back. If you ring someone back, you phone them, either because they phoned you earlier when you were not there, or because you did not finish an earlier conversation on the phone. eg. He asked if you’ ring him back when you got in. ring off. When you ring off at the end of a telephone call, you put down your receiver.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.1. (b.) …, he is taking too much for granted. he is too sure of himself about my owing a telephone. I.2. Not because I pretend to be wise or pose as unusual. Not because I pretend to be wise or uncommon/out of ordinary. (lines 4-5)
Detailed Study of Reading One I.3. Because I think it is a pest and a time-waster. (lines 6-7) time-waster This is a compound noun formed by a noun and another noun with the suffix “–er”. More examples of compound noun of this type: eye-opener, old-timer, six-footer, four-wheeler, stay-a-whiler, me-first-er, me-most-er, tryer-outer
Detailed Study of Reading One I.4. …, as when you keep ringing a number that is alwaysengaged. an engaged number is a telephone or telephone line that is already being used. I.5. When you do get into the box, you are half asphyxiated by stale, unventilated air, flavoured with cheap face-powder and chain-smoking. (lines11-12) a). half asphyxiated half died of breathing in smoke or poisonous gas
Detailed Study of Reading One • I.5.(b.) ventilate • To ventilate a room or building means to allow fresh air to get into it. • I.5.(c.) flavoured with cheap face-powder and chain-smoking. • mixed with the odour of women’s low quality face-powder and that of men’s cigarettes…
5. and by the time you have begun your conversation your back is chilled by the cold looks of somebody who is fidgeting to take your place.(lines 12-14) fidget When people fidget, they keep moving their hands or feet or changing their position slightly, because they are nervous or bored, etc.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.6. …, you will admit that it tends to ring when you least want it to ring; (lines 15-16) More examples with least: He came out when I least expected it. That was the least of her worries.
Detailed Study of Reading One Least is also used in these phases: I.6.(a) You can use notin the least and not the least bit for emphasizing a negative meaning. eg. I don’t mind in the least. She wasn’t the least bit jealous. I.6.(b) You can use to say the least to suggest that a situation is actually much more extreme or serious than you say it is. eg. …a development which will have, to say the least, intriguing effects.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.6.(c) You can use least of all after a negative statement to emphasize that it applies especially to a particular person or thing. eg. Nobody seemed amused, least of all Jenny. I.6.(d) You can use not least when giving an important example or reason. eg. The programme was moving, not least because the narrator had the best voice in broadcasting.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.6.(e) the least said the better 言多必失 eg. These being troubled times, the least said the better. I.7. Think of the proverb: “Ill news travels apace.” (line 24) Ill news travels apace 好事不出门, 坏事传千里 You can also say: Bad news has wings. Bad news travels quickly. Ill news flies fast. apace---at a fast pace or quickly. This word is archaic and is usually only used in this proverb. I.8. And think of the saying: “ The truth will out.” (line 25) The truth will become known sooner or later.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.9. Perhaps you have been indiscreet enough to have your name and number printed in the telephone directory, a book a large circulation,… (line 27-28) I.9.(a.)indiscreet not careful I.9.(b.) a large circulation a large number of copies read
Detailed Study of Reading One I.10. …, a successful book so often reprinted as to make any author envious, a book more in evidence than Shakespeare or the Bible (lines 28-30) I.10.(a.) so…as to…如此…以至于 eg. The terms in questions are so well known as to require no explanation. I.10.(b.) in evidence可见的, 明显的, 显眼的 The first signs of spring are in evidence. Violence was particularly in evidence in the towns.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.11. It serves you right if you find it impossible to escape from some idle or inquisitive chatterbox. (lines 30-31) It is your own fault if you… I.12. …or from some reporter bent on questioning you about your own affairs … (line 32) …or from some reporter kept on asking you…
Detailed Study of Reading One I.13. Is there any conclusion to be drawn from my obstinacy and willfulness, my escapism, if you like to call it that? (line 39) I.13.(a.) willful or wilful willful actions or attitudes are done or expressed deliberately, esp. with the intention of hurting someone.
I.13.(b.) escapism Escapism consists of thoughts or activities that involve pleasant or fantastic ideas instead of the uninteresting or unpleasant aspects of life. eg. Thinking about the future is a form of escapism. escapist eg. …an escapist fantasy… His pleasures are mostly escapist.
Detailed Study of Reading One I.14. I admit that in different circumstances---if I were a tycoon, for instance, or bed-ridden, I might find a telephone essential. (line 42) I.14.(a) tycoon businessman or industrialist with great wealth and power
Detailed Study of Reading One I.14.(b) bed-ridden卧床不起的 This is a compound adjective formed by a noun and an -ed participle. More examples of compound adjectives of this type: weather-beaten 饱经风霜的, panic-stricken 惊慌失措
Detailed Study of Reading One II. Writing techniques 1. Exaggeration This is a figure of speech by which something exaggerated out of proportion for special or comic effect. Examples of exaggeration: a.) I think it is a pest (and a time-waster.) (Para. 2) b.) Have you never rushed dripping from the bath, or chewing from the table, or dazed from the bed, only to be told that you are a wrong number? (Para. 3) c.) It will all be the same in a hundred years’ time. (Para. 3)
Detailed Study of Reading One II. Writing techniques 1. Exaggeration d.) When you do get into the box, you are half asphyxiated by stale, unventilated air, flavored with cheap face-powder and chain-smoking; and by the time you have began your conversation your back is chilled by the cold looks of somebody who is fidgeting to take your place. (Para. 2)
Detailed Study of Reading One II. Writing Techniques 2. Reversal of the reader’s expectation This is a kind of rhetorical device the writer often uses to achieve humour so that the reader will laugh or feel funny or amused. An example of reversal of the reader’s expectation: I have just been handed a slip of paper to say that somebody is waiting to speak to me on the telephone. I think I’d better answer it. After all, one never know, it may be something important. (Para. 7)
Detailed Study of Reading One II. Writing Techniques 3. Striking comparison This is also a stylistic device the writer uses by making a strong comparison between one item which the reader is unfamiliar with and other items that he knows well to achieve argumentative purpose.
Detailed Study of Reading One II. Writing Techniques 3. Striking comparation An example of striking comparison: Perhaps you have been indiscreet enough to have your name and number printed in the telephone directory, a book with a large circulation, a successful book so often reprinted as to make any author envious, a book more in evidence than Shakespeare and the Bible,…(para. 5)
Detailed Study of Reading One III. Homework 1. Complete all the exercises in the workbook. 2. Write an argumentation of no less than 300 words about the “pros” or “cons” of one habitual behaviour or personal preference. 3. Preview Reading I of Unit 8.