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An Integrated English Course Book 4 Unit Fourteen
Text I The Idiocy of Urban Life Pre-reading questions: 1.Where do you prefer to live, in the city or in the country? Why? 2.Do you think the urban life is idiotic or stupid? Why or why not? 3.What does the author mean by “the idiocy of urban life”?
Text Structure What type of writing is the text? Narration, exposition or argumentation? What’s the thesis? How many parts can the text be divided into? What’s the main idea of each part? (p. 218)
Argumentation; 3 parts Part I (Paragraphs 1-2): introduction -- the author presents the thesis of his argument: aggressively individualistic and atomized urban life today goes against both the purpose of the city and the human nature, and thus is foolish. Part II (Paragraphs 3-9) -- the author provides evidences for the idiocy of urban life. Part III (Paragraph 10) -- the author reiterates his point.
Part I (Paragraphs 1-2) Q: What animal is mentioned in this part? For what purpose? In this part, the author contrasts human beings with rats in terms of their urban lives. It starts with a description of a civil urban life at night, when rats are active in the city. Then it is contrasted with the urban life of human beings. Finally the writer presents the thesis of his argument: aggressively individualistic and atomized urban life today goes against both the purpose of the city and the human nature, and thus is foolish.
Language work 1. civil: 市民的，公民的 polite and formal 礼貌的，文明的； His manner was civil, though not particularly friendly. He’d been careful to be civil to everyone.
lone -- adj [attrib 作定语 ] :without companions; solitary 1. 孤单的, 无伴的 In that cloudy sky only one lone star could be seen. 在那多云的天上, 只能看到孤零零的一颗星星。 a lone figure trudging through the snow 在雪地里独自跋涉的人. 2. 寂寞的 She lived a lone life after her daughter's death. 她在女儿死后过着孤寂的生活。 3. (idm 习语 ) a lone wolf: person who prefers to be, work, etc alone 好孤独自处﹑ 独自工作等的人. > loner n (infml 口 ) person who avoids the company of others 喜 独处者 ; 不合群者 : She's been a loner all her life. 她一生离群索居.
2. cruises easily through blinking traffic lights: -- moves easily through traffic lights that turn red and green alternately Cruise: (of a vehicle or its driver) travel (at an efficient speed) The plane is cruising at an altitude of 35,000 feet. We’re planning to spend our retirement cruising on luxury liners around the world.
(1) Urban life, during…is urbane. Rats make city life orderly and courteous when they dominate the city deep at night. Urbane: adj (fml sometimes derog 文, 有时 作贬义 ) well-mannered 有礼貌的 ; 温文尔 雅的 an urbane man, wit, smile, conversation 彬彬 有礼的男子﹑ 风趣的人﹑ 微笑﹑ 交谈 Neil was urbane, witty, direct, and honest.
3. during an insomniac night -- during a sleepless night. The word “insomniac” here is used as a transferred epithet to modify something inanimate. More examples of transferred epithet: Even so, the risk of discovery was beginning to cause Pettit sleepless nights. He threw a reassuring arm round my shoulder. …lazy line;…fidgety taxis (Unit 2)
rat race -- fierce competition ； the unpleasant situation experienced by people working in big cities, when they continuously compete for success and have a lot of stress in their lives 你死我活的竞争 Dad wants to get out of the rat race and move back to his hometown. 父亲想离开无休无止的竞争, 回到他的故乡。
Questions for discussion 1.What is the purpose of the city? And what is the human nature? 2.What is urban life like at night? 3.What does the author think of the human urban life?
What is the purpose of the city? And what is the human nature? Are cities social places? Is man a social animal? Human beings are thought to be gregarious and interdependent, and are supposed to congregate in large cities.
What is urban life like at night? Urban life at night is quiet and orderly. Occasional footsteps echo along the sidewalks; a car comes out of silence now and then. In general, the din ( a loud unpleasant noise that continues for a long time ) of the day has slid into the tranquility of the night.
What does the author think of the human urban life? Compared with the gregarious life of rats, human life in the city is individualistic and competitive, and thus idiotic.
Part II (Paragraphs 3-9) The author provides evidences for the idiocy of urban life. Question: How are evidences classified? Paragraphs 3 and 4 discuss the pretense of city dwellers when they try to live outside the city boundaries; Paragraphs 5 and 6 put forward the point that city work is much less meaningful than farming; Paragraph 7 proves that the city dwellers live and work in an unreal environment; and Paragraphs 8 and 9 show the damage done by the office work to the physical conditions of the workers.
Suburbs, exurbs, rururbs urb=urban=city Ex+urban=exurb=outside the city Rural+urban=rururb=between rural and urban (ways of life) Word formation: blending 混成法；混合法 E.g.Smog=smoke+fog; motel=motor+hotel
Language work 5. rubs to some: -- rubs as called by some people 6. disdain: think oneself superior to; reject 轻蔑 / 鄙视 The older musicians disdain the new, rock-influenced music. Our new neighbours seem to be disdaining to speak to us. Syn. scorn, despise, contempt (n.)
7. simulation: -- imitation of the conditions of (a situation etc.); resemblance I was quite deceived by her simulation of sorrow. Simulate: imitate; give the appearance of 冒充，模仿 In cheap furniture, plastic is often used to simulate wood. Anne simulated pleasure at seeing Simon, but really she wished he hadn’t come.
modest (a) not large in amount, size, etc; moderate （数量﹑ 体积等）不大的, 适度的, 中等的 : live on a modest income 靠不高的收入生活 a modest improvement, success 一定程度的改善﹑ 成功. (b) not showy or splendid in appearance; not expensive 不浮夸的 ; 朴素的 ; 不豪华的 : live in a modest little house 住在朴素的小房子里. ~ (about sth) (approv 褒 ) having or showing a not too high opinion of one's abilities, qualities, etc; not vain or boastful 谦 逊的 ; 不虚夸的 ; 质朴的 : be modest about one's achievements 对自己的成就很谦逊. -- rather shy; not putting oneself forward; bashful 羞怯 / 腼腆的 : Might I make a modest suggestion? 我可以提个小小的建议吗 ?
8. in the richer ones further out: -- in the richer suburbs farther away from the city boundary 9. prim new trees: neatly pruned or trimmed new trees prim 1) neat 整洁的 a prim garden 2) very formal and correct in behaviour and easily shocked by anything rude 拘谨的, 古板的 You can't tell that joke to her-- she's much too prim and proper. 可别给她讲那样的笑话 -- 她这人过於古 板和认真.
pretence (US pretense) n 1. (a) [U] deception; make-believe 虚假 ; 虚伪 ; 假装 ; 做作 : Their friendliness was only pretence. 他们的友谊完全是虚假的. Their way of life was all pretence. 他们的生活方式都很做作. (b) [sing] ~ of sth false show of sth 假象 ; 假相 : a pretence of strength, grief, sleep 有力量﹑ 伤心 / 睡觉的假象. 2. (a) [C] ~ to sth: claim to (merit, honour, etc) 声称 ; 自称 ; 标 榜 : I have no pretence to being an expert on the subject. 我并不自命是这方面的专家. (b) [U] (fml 文 ) ostentation; pretentiousness 炫耀 ; 虚夸 : an honest, kindly man without pretence 诚实而不做作的好心人.
Manhattan an island and borough of New York City in New York Bay, between the Hudson River and the East River. It is the business and cultural centre of New York City. When people say that they have visited New York, they often mean that they have been to Manhattan.
Long Island an island in the US that contains the New York City boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn. Further east it has many other towns and cities, some of which are by the sea and popular in summer.
(4) City dwellers take the city with them… City dwellers create all kinds of city vogues (or fashions) in the country, for they will not live without these fashionable things.
dry goods; strip dry goods 干货 ; 布匹 ; 纺织品 ; 现成衣服 1) goods such as tobacco, tea, and coffee that do not contain liquid 2) AmE things that are made from cloth such as clothes, sheets, and curtains strip: long narrow piece (of material, etc) or area (of land, etc) 狭长的一块（材料﹑ 土地等） : a strip of paper 一张纸条 a strip of land suitable for a garden 适合做园子的一块狭长土地
Questions for discussion 1) What is the author’s evidence that city dwellers try to simulate rural life? 2) What is it that attracts city dwellers to the country? Can their dream come true? Why or why not?
1) What is the author’s evidence that city dwellers try to simulate rural life? The evidence includes the artificially made greenery that imitates features of the countryside: patches of grass in suburbs, broader spreads in the richer ones, prim new trees planted along the streets, and a pretense to bosky woodlands.
2) What is it that attracts city dwellers to the country? Can their dream come true? Why or why not? It is the solitude there that attracts city dwellers to the country. City dwellers intend to enjoy the quietness by moving outside the city boundaries, but their dreams cannot come true, because wherever they go, they take the city with them, spoiling the solitude as a result.
Paragraphs 5-6 The author puts forward the point that city work is much less meaningful than farming. Why? How is city work different from farming?
Pointless: with little or no sense, aim or pupose 无意义的，无目标的 It is pointless to have a car if you cannot drive it! 假若不会开汽车, 有辆汽车又有什麽用呢 ? frenzy: -- uncontrolled and excited behaviour or emotion, which is sometimes violent 狂怒 ; 狂 热 A gunman killed ten people in a murderous frenzy today in that city. The speaker worked the crowd up into a (state of) frenzy. 演讲者煽动起群众疯狂的情绪.
11.... to the rush-hour traffic into the city there is now added a rush-hour traffic out to the suburbs in the morning: -- This is a partly inverted sentence, whose normal order is: there is now a rush-hour traffic out to the suburbs in the morning added to the rush-hour traffic into the city.
Questions for discussion What characteristics does the author think city work has? According to the author, which is more meaningful, city work or farming? Why?
What characteristics does the author think city work has? City work, according to the author, is not part of home life and is characterized by pointless frenzy and joylessness.
Paragraphs 7 Paragraph 7 proves that the city dwellers live and work in an unreal environment.
12. scandal 1) something that causes a public feeling of outrage or indignation 丑事 ; 丑闻 The minister was forced to resign after a scandal involving him and another minister’s wife. Their affair created a scandal in the office. 2) malicious gossip 流言蜚语 ; 闲话 Someone must have been spreading scandal.
(7) These windows are a scandal… Paraphrase: These windows are disgraceful because they put the lives of office workers in danger if a fire should occur. (7)..no true sense of the rhythms of the season is to be had… Paraphrase:... a lawn in the backyard and a few tall and thin trees struggling for life are not enough to give the dweller any true sense of the season changes.
Questions for discussion 4) What is the most symbolic lunacy of all urban life? Why? 5) Why cannot city dwellers have any true sense of season changes?
4) What is the most symbolic lunacy of all urban life? Why? The most symbolic lunacy of all urban life is the fact that windows don’t open in the modern office building in the city. This is because the windows there miss most of their purposes: they provide workers with no chance of truly communicating with nature outside and they even endanger the lives of workers in case of fire.
5) Why cannot city dwellers have any true sense of season changes? Because they are submerged in an artificial environment and have no chance to communicate with nature. The windows of their office do not open, and a lawn in the backyard and a few trees are far from enough to give them a true sense of the rhythms of the seasons.
Paragraphs 8-9 Paragraphs 8 and 9 show the damage done by the office work to the physical conditions of the workers.
… the rural life that has been surrendered for the city lights: -- the rural life that has given way to the city lights Surrender 1. ~ (oneself) (to sb) stop resisting an enemy, etc; yield; give up 停止抵抗 ; 投降 ; 屈服 ; 放弃 : The hijackers finally surrendered (themselves) to the police. 劫机者终於 向警方投降了. 2. ~ sth/sb (to sb) (fml 文 ) give up possession of sth/sb when forced by others or by necessity; hand sth/sb over 被迫放弃对某 物 [ 某人 ] 的控制权 ; 交出某事物 [ 某人 ]: They surrendered their guns to the police. 他们向警方交出枪枝. 3. (phr v) surrender (oneself) to sth (fml or rhet usu derog) allow (a habit, an emotion, an influence, etc) to control what one does 听任（某习惯﹑ 感情﹑ 影响等）摆布 : He surrendered (himself) to despair and eventually committed suicide. 他陷於绝望, 终於自杀了
carry oneself: （ no passive) hold or move one's head or body in a specified way 使头 或身体呈现某种姿态 : She carries herself well. 她体态优美. She carried herself straight and with confidence. cut down: 削减 ; 砍倒 ; 缩短 He cut down on coffee and cigarettes, and ate a balanced diet. A vandal ( 破坏他人或公共财产者 )with a chainsaw ( 电锯 ) cut down a tree.
Question for discussion 6) What causes Americans to be the most round-shouldered in the world?
It is the office work that makes Americans the most round-shouldered in the world. The work gives no exercise to the worker because it demands little physical exertion on the one hand, and on the other, it requires long-time sitting with the same posture, damaging the body of the worker.
Part III (Paragraph 10) In this part, the writer summarizes the idiocy of urban life and the ultimate reasons for this phenomenon. 1.Which sentence summarizes the idiocy of urban life? 2.How does the author account for the idiocy of urban life? On the one hand, city dwellers try to simulate rural life, and on the other hand, they disdain and mock this life.
Language work 15. slumping along their streets: -- walking with stooping head and shoulders ( 弯腰曲背） along their streets 16. scurry: -- run or move hurriedly, especially with short quick steps 急跑，碎步跑 We all scurried for shelter when the storm began. Suddenly, he jumped to his feet and scurried out of the room.
17. far less the sky: -- looking at the sky far less than they did their buildings rewarding adj (of an activity, etc) worth doing; satisfying （指活动等）值得做的, 令人满意的 : a rewarding film, study, trip 有益的影片﹑ 研究 ﹑ 旅行 Gardening is a very rewarding pastime. 园艺 劳动是非常有益的消遣.
Question for discussion What is the example of a Douglas fir used to illustrate? It is used to illustrate that city dwellers ridiculously imitate rural life and have no true communications with nature.
Text comprehension Exercise III (p. 217) 1. What is the purpose of mentioning rats as true city dwellers? The author mentions rats at the beginning of the article for the purpose of contrasting rats with human beings. In a sense, both rats and human beings are city dwellers, but there are differences between them in terms of life in the city. As natural inhabitants of the city, rats are social creatures and lead a stable urban life. By contrast, most human dwellers do not enjoy the urban life but live outside the city boundaries; and they live an individualistic and atomized rather than gregarious life. Therefore, relatively speaking, rats are true city dwellers.
2. What is the idiocy of the city dwellers’ trying to live outside the city boundaries? The idiocy of the practice lies in the pretence of the city dwellers. For one thing, they disdain rural life on the one hand, and on the other hand they try to simulate it by creating large or small patches of greenery around their suburb, exurb or rururb residences. For another, while they intend to live a rural life by going to the country, they have in fact spoiled the natural features of the rural areas and created urban surroundings where they have settled down. As a result their purpose fails in the end.
3. Why does the author call the city dweller’s journey to work “the first idiocy of his day’? The author’s saying so reflects his attitude towards the office work in the city. Unlike farming which is part of the rural home life, joyless work in the city is separated, both physically and emotionally, from the home life and consequently causes unnecessary frenzy. The worker’s going to and from work wastes a lot of time and thus is pointless, and yet the worker “not only accepts but even seeks” it. Hence the idiocy of “the journey to work”.
4. How do you understand the sentence “The city dweller reels from unreality to unreality through each day…”? The quoted statement describes in what environment the city dweller lives and works. With the windows that never open, the modern office, artificially cooled in summer and heated in winter, alienates the worker from the true natural world. The home surroundings are no better. They provide the dweller with no true sense of the seasons either. In general, the city dweller is removed from nature and submerged in a man-made environment every day.
5. What accounts for the fact that “Americans are most round-shouldered people in the world”? This phenomenon is caused by the demerits of the office work. Compared with the physical labor in the rural life, the office work in the city needs very little physical exertion, but it requires long-time sitting with the same posture every day. Even the after-work exercises cannot compensate for the damage done to the physical construction of the worker during the work hours. This accounts for the round- shoulderedness of Americans.
Paraphrase 1. Rats make city life orderly and courteous when they dominate the city deep at night. 2. City dwellers create all kinds of city vogues in the country, for they will not live without these fashionable things. 3. These windows are disgraceful because they put the lives of office workers in danger if a fire should occur. 4.... a lawn in the backyard and a few spindle- shaped trees struggling for life are not enough to give the dweller any true sense of the season changes.
Structural analysis of the text Part I: Paragraphs 1-2, in which the author presents the thesis of his argument: aggressively individualistic and atomized urban life goes against both the purpose of the city and the human nature, and thus is foolish. Part II: Paragraphs 3-9, in which the author provides evidences for the idiocy of urban life. Part III: Paragraph 10, in which the author reiterates his thesis, i. e. urban life is idiotic.
Rhetorical features of the text The following italicized words and expressions are used to express the author’s attitude towards city life: The Idiocy of Urban Life (title)... urban life today is aggressively individualistic and atomized. Cities are not social places. lunacy of modem city life create simulations of (rural life) a pretence to bosky woodlands
... city dwellers take their filth with them.... they maintain the pointless frenzy of their work hours in their hours off. work at their play with the same joylessness These windows are a scandal...... the urban worker has no knowledge of the seasons. fetid central heating no true sense of the rhythms of the seasons The city dweller reels from unreality to unreality...... city dwellers don’t know (a Douglas fir) once had roots.
Vocabulary exercises -I 1. propaganda work on paper 2. fierce competition among people 3. foolishness/stupidity 4. the senseless turmoil 5. something disgraceful 6. with bent shoulders
Grammar exercises -II 1. Object: It was some detective stories that she would like to read. 2. Adverbial: It is only when one is ill that one realizes the value of health. 3. Subject: It was John who painted a lovely picture. Object: It was a lovely picture that John painted.
4. Subject: It was Bill who released the chairman’s illness to the reporters at the party last night. Direct object: It was the chairman’s illness that Bill released to the reporters at the party last night. Adverbial of place: It was at the party that Bill released the chairman’s illness to the reporters last night. Adverbial of time: It was last night that Bill released the chairman’s illness to the reporters at the party.
Grammar exercises -III 1. A. It emphasizes that he only said he wasn’t coming and implies he didn’t say anything else. B. This sentence simply tells what he said. 2. A. The elements in this sentence appear in the normal sentence order. B. The fronted subject receives more focus than the normal subject. It suggests that the speaker did not expect the mischievous boy to stand in the corner.
3. A. It is an affirmative imperative. B. It is more emphatic because the word “Do” is used. 4. A. In this sentence “his book” refers to a book of somebody the speaker has in mind. B. The emphatic “own” highlights Jim’s book. It seems that the speaker was annoyed that Jim was always borrowing the speaker’s book or somebody else’s book.
Grammar exercises -IV 1. Do be civil this time. 2. Even the victims themselves can’t explain how the accident occurred. 3. John I can comprehend; but the others speak gibberish. 4. Ambitious she must have been, or she wouldn’t have come. 5. His face not many admired, while his character still fewer could praise. 6. They have promised to finish the work, and finish it they will. 7. Hidden in the cellar were several barrels of wine. / It was several barrels of wine that were hidden in the cellar. 8. What he was doing was making a plan.
Translation -I 1. The government spared no effort to support our environmental protection projects. 2. She had no knowledge of Chinese history, geography and culture before she came to China. 3. The fire that broke out in the kindergarten endangered 23 children’s lives. 4. We tried our best to head Henry off the topic, because we knew he would reveal confidential information.
5. The sonorous voice of the speaker is echoing round the hall. 6. Industry/Diligency and loyalty sometimes compensate for the lack of ability. 7. As far as I know, he was one of the few people who got out of the rat race. 8. He left a few men behind to clean up the last of the enemy positions.
Dictation In one sense,/ we can trace all the problems of the American city/ back to a single starting point:/ we Americans don’t like our cities very much./ That is,/ on the face of it,/ absurd./ After all,/ more than three- fourths of us now live in cities,/ and more are flocking to them every year./ We are told/ that the problems of our cities/ are receiving more attention in Washington,/ and scholarship has discovered a whole new field in urban studies./ Nonetheless,/ it is historically true:/ in the American psychology,/ the city has been a basically suspect institution,/ filled with the corruption of Europe,/ totally lacking that sense of spaciousness/ and innocence of the frontier/ and the rural landscape.
Text II The City 1. It is consistently believed that the city is characterized by injustice and it is a place full of corruption, filth, disease, vice, licentiousness, subversion and high prices. By contrast, the country is considered free and natural. 2. According to the author, Thomas Jefferson was the first major thinker to express a clear antipathy to city life because he frequently witnessed the sharp contrast between the rich and the poor in European cities such as London and Paris and advocated an escape from the injustice of the European cities to get real freedom in the new world.
3. The author is dissatisfied with the current condition of the urban life in America and unhappy with the strong anti- urban attitude that has existed in the mainstream of American thinking for about 200 years, His dissatisfaction can be sensed throughout the text, especially in the last sentence of the text; “And we are paying for that attitude in our cities today.”
Oral practice 1.Desmond Morris said, “Clearly, then, the city is not a concrete jungle, it is a human zoo.” Please comment. (concrete jungle: a typical modern city with a dense mass of ugly high-rise concrete buildings and in which life is bewildering and sometimes violent ) 2.Nowadays college graduates are encouraged to serve the country or the northwest. What’s your opinion?