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Unit 7 Beauty Susan Songtag Teaching objectives: I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work. III. Comprehension of the text. IV. Organization.

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Presentation on theme: "Unit 7 Beauty Susan Songtag Teaching objectives: I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work. III. Comprehension of the text. IV. Organization."— Presentation transcript:

1 Unit 7 Beauty Susan Songtag Teaching objectives: I. Analysis of the concept of beauty. II. Library work. III. Comprehension of the text. IV. Organization and development. V. Language points. VI. Exercises VII. Further readings

2 I. Background knowledge: Definition of beauty. Greeks:universe: a delight Beauty a perceptual experience of pleasure, meaning or satisfaction.perceptual pleasuremeaningsatisfaction Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is studied as part of aesthetics, sociology, social psychology and culture. As a cultural creation, beauty has been extremely commercialized.aesthetics sociologysocial psychologyculturecommercialized


4 . "beauty" was used to mean "women," not muscular or strong. body's contours( ): precise technical specification for softness and curvature( ), glossy hair, and lots of it - red lips, a small delicate nose, a face wide at the temples and narrow at the jaw, a dainty neck.

5 2.History of beauty : Aesthetics, branch of philosophyphilosophy (1)Plato Plato's thinking had a marked ascetic strain.Plato (2)Aristotle Aesthetics was inseparable from morality and politics.Aristotle (3)Neoplatonism a life of sense through a rigorous( )ascetic discipline.. Symmetry youthfulness Symmetryyouthfulness

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11 Bacons Mottoes Of Beauty VIRTUE is like a rich stone, best plain set Beauty is as summer fruits, which are easy to corrupt, and cannot last. if it light well, it maketh virtue shine, and vices blush.,,

12 (4)Johann Gottlieb Fichte beauty a moral virtue.Johann Gottlieb Fichte (5)in the 18th and 19th centuries art as imitation of nature. Jane Austen and Charles Dickens in England and dramatists such as Alexandre Dumas presented realistic accounts of middle-class lifeJane AustenCharles DickensAlexandre Dumas

13 (6) Henrik Ibsen, criticize society and so lead to reform.Henrik Ibsen In the 19th century, in painting. French impressionists (7)the impressionist objective was to capture the fleeting moment, the optical sensation produced by a chance effect of weather, light, or movement. pointillism 19 ·

14 The Circus by Georges Seurat

15 Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte

16 Seurats Trombonist French artist Georges Seurats drawing of a trombonist (1887-1888) in chalk and conte.

17 (8) art for art's sake (9)John Dewey, human experience disconnected, fragmentary, full of beginnings without conclusions (10)Marxism and Freudianism:John Dewey Marxism art is great only when it is progressive, Sigmund Freud art therapeutic use Sigmund Freud James Joyce The stream-of- consciousness James Joyce

18 (11)Existentialism: A philosophy that emphasizes the uniqueness and isolation of the individual experience in a hostile or indifferent universe, regards human existence as unexplainable, and stresses freedom of choice and responsibility for the consequences of one's acts.

19 l'existence précède l'essence



22 4.Susan Sontag (January 16, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was an American literary theorist, novelist, filmmaker, and political activist.January 161933 December 282004American literary theoristnovelistfilmmaker political activist

23 II.Library work Find out about the difference between Roman Catholicism and Protestantism in the Christian religion(para.4) Roman Catholic Church is Christian church headed by the Pope, the Bishop of Rome. Roman Catholics may be simply defined as Christians in communion with the Pope.

24 Roman Catholicism holds that the Pope and the Bishops have in varying degrees the spiritual authority Christ assigned to his apostles. The voice of the Pope is regarded as infallible when speaking on matters of faith and morals.

25 Protestantism is a special development within Christianity. It is distinct from Roman Catholicism in that it breaks from papal obedience. Protestantism is widely practiced in most northwestern European countries except southern Germany, Ireland, France, and Belgium.

26 What is the definition of pagan? In what ways is a pagan different from either a Catholic or a Protestant? A pagan is one of a people or community professing a polytheistic religion, i.e., a religion based on the belief in more than one god. Ancient Romans and Greeks were pagans. A pagan is different from a Roman Catholic and a Protestant in that the latter believe in only one god.

27 III. Organization and development: 1.What can we infer from this etymological study of the word? To Sontag, the change that has occurred in the meaning of the word is not merely an instance of semantic narrowing, but,more significantly, an instance of the distortion of the lexical meaning of a word which has been inflicted upon it by social prejudice. It is just such social prejudice that the author aims to expose and denounce.

28 2.Can you find where? Her point is made especially clear in the last and conclusive paragraph. This is a justifiable alternative because of the complicated nature of the issue she deals with in the essay.

29 IV. Answer the following questions. 1.How does the notion of beauty held by the ancient Greeks basically differ from the modern one? For the ancient Greeks beauty embraces both inside and outside excellence, a combination of a persons virtue and good looks. In present-day English beauty refers exclusively to the good looks of a female.

30 2.What does the word paradoxical (para.1) mean? Contradictory.

31 In the overall sense of the word, i.e.,overall excellence. We are more aware (than the ancient Greeks) of the aspects beauty has, which we think distinguishable and should be distinguished. 3.In what sense is the word beauty used in the sentence we are wary of the enchantments of beauty (para.2) ? And how do you interpret the sentence?

32 4. Did the limitation Christianity placed on the meaning of the word beauty give it any sexual bias? No. It was limited to superficial enchantment only.

33 5. What does Sontag mean by And beauty has continued to lose prestige(para.3)? It has lost prestige when its meaning was narrowed down from overall excellence to superficial enchantment. And it further lost prestige when the superficial enchantment it referred to became associated with the fair sex only.

34 6.Do you think Sontag will agree that handsome means to men what beautiful does to women? Not quite, handsome does not have the demeaning overtones beautiful has.

35 7. Why does Sontag think that regarding women as the beautiful sex is detrimental to both the notion of beauty and that of women (para.4) It depreciates the notion of beauty itself, and implies a sexually unfair judgment of women.

36 8.Explain It does not take someone in the throes of advanced feminist awareness to perceive that…(para5) One does not have to be a feminist who is painfully aware of the many social biases women have to put up with to perceive that. In other words, virtually anyone can perceive that Songtags purpose here is to show the obviousness of the phenomenon.

37 9.What does Sontag refer to by stereotypes in the last sentence of para.5? And what have they to do with the mixed reputation beauty enjoys? Fixed notions of the two sexes; what people generally think a man or a woman should be like. The association of beauty with nice looks but dependence and inability, and disassociation with intellect and success give it a mixed reputation.

38 10.How does Sontag show linguistically in para.5 that social convention plays a role in maintaining feminine stereotypes? Use of the passive : women are taught ; use of indefinite pronouneverybody.

39 11.Can you think of any concrete example of what Songtag calls a flattering idealization of their sex(para.6)? What effect does such idealization have on women? Winners of a beauty contest, Miss America, sex symbols, Marylin Monroe,some fashion models. Women are encouraged to look as attractive as possible, given the models of what they should and could possibly look like.

40 12.Constrasting para. 6 with para.7,do you think (Sontags ) society is fair in its expectations of men and women with regard to their looks? Definitely not. For women perfection is the goal; for men a small imperfection is considered favourably.

41 13.What critical view does Songtag take of Cocteaus remark The privileges of beauty are immense(para.8)? Refer to the paragraph. 14. What /Who has made it a womans duty to preen? If a woman succeeds in keeping herself look nice, how would she expect society in general to asses her? Social conventions.Her good looks conceal an empty mind ;superficial allurement is the best asset she can claim.

42 15. Do you agree with Songtag that it is dangerous to consider persons as split between what is inside and what is outside? It is not totally irrational to consider the inside and outside of a person separately for they do not always go together (as in the case of Socrates). However, danger arises when the two aspects are placed at opposite ends and regarded as incompatible. This will entail an erroneous notion of women.

43 16. To get women out of the trap they are caught in, Sontag suggests that they get some critical distance from that excellence and privilege which is beauty(para.10).What do you think this means ? Disassociate themselves from the notion of beauty as far as possible; de- emphasize the notion of beauty in their life.

44 17What does the mythology of the feminine (para.10) mean? The traditional /conventionalized but false/ not well-grounded notion of what women should be like.

45 How do you interpret the last sentence of the essay? There should be something we can do so that beauty will not be an exclusive superficial feature of women, (let it be shared by men, too); and women will be beautiful in the true sense of the word.

46 V. Paraphrase the following: One of Socrates main pedagogical acts was to be ugly---- and teach those innocent, no doubt splendid-looking disciples of his how full of paradoxes life really was.(ll6-8) The contrast between Socrates outward ugliness and his inner strengths served to draw the attention of his naïve and handsome followers to the fact that there were many such strange contrasts in the world.

47 We not only split off--- with the greatest facility ----the inside (character, intellect) from the outside(looks); but we are actually surprised when someone who is beautiful is also intelligent, talented, good.(ll10-12) We tend to resist the idea that inside beauty (character,intellect) can coexist with outside beauty(looks) in one single person, and are in fact taken aback to meet one who is beautiful both inside and outside.

48 Associating beauty with women has put beauty even further on the defensive, morally.(ll18-19) Beauty, when considered in relation to a female, involves a judgment of not only looks but also character and intellect, making itself a much more controversial issue.

49 If a woman does real work---- and even if she has clambered up to a leading position in politics, law, medicine, business, or whatevershe is always under pressure to confess that she still works at being attractive.(ll61- 63) However successful a woman may be in her career as a politician, lawyer, doctor, businesswoman, or whatever, she unavoidably feels compelled to admit to making an effort to look attractive.

50 One could hardly ask for more important evidence of the dangers of considering persons as split between what is inside and what is outside than that interminable half –comic half-tragic tale the oppression of women.(ll66-68)

51 The biased attitude towards women –the long story of which is both lamentable and laughable--- is the most powerful proof as to how harmful it can be to judge a person by refusing to put into consideration both inner beauty and outer beauty together.







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