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Lesson 15 The Damned Human Race

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1 Lesson 15 The Damned Human Race
Mark Twain

2 Study Focus 1. To know the background of the essay and introduction of the author. 2. To analyze the features of the essay. (style, tone, diction) 3. To appreciate alliteration and rhyme.

3 Part One Pre-reading Tasks
Introduction to the Author Definition of Black Humor Background of the Text

4 Introduction to Mark Twain
(whose real name was Samuel Clemens) was born in Missouri and grew up close to the banks of the Mississippi River. Clemens started out as a printer, then turned to piloting a steamboat on the Mississippi River until the American Civil War.

5 In 1861, Clemens served briefly as a soldier in the Confederate army
In 1861, Clemens served briefly as a soldier in the Confederate army. Later that year, Clemens moved to Nevada and began writing articles as a newspaper reporter. In 1863, Clemens began signing his articles with the pseudonym Mark Twain. He took it from the call of the pilots on the river steamers, which indicated that the water was twelve feet deep, a safe depth for a steamer.

6 In 1865, Twain finished his first story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County", which became an instant hit. In 1870, Twain married Olivia Langdon, and they later moved to Hartford, Connecticut. In his later years, Twain became a celebrity, becoming known for wearing white suits wherever he went.

7 Although known primarily as a humorist during his life, scholars now regard his work as some of the best and most authentic in American literature. His portraits of pre-civil war America, and his use of spoken language in his novels dominate Twain's legacy. His works are famous for his black humor.

8 Black Humor Black humor is a literary term that refers primarily to a kind of bitter and often outrageous satire. Much black humor is directed against greed, narrow-mindedness, complacency, and hypocrisy.

9 Black humor frequently satirizes society's institutions, including government bureaucracies, the military, and large corporations, depicting them as dehumanizing organizations. Black humorists often attack the absurdity they see in life itself, as well as society's ills. The awareness of human mortality is basic to black humor, giving many of the works a desperate, even hopeless attitude.

10 Main Masterpieces The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County-- a story about fair competition 《加利韦拉县驰名的跳蛙》 The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,1876 The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn The Million-pound Bank-note 《百万英镑》 Roughing It, 1872 《艰苦岁月》 The Gilded Age,1873 《镀金时代》 Life on the Mississippi 《密西西比河上》

11 Supplementary Reading Materials
The Prince and the Pauper,1881 《王子和贫儿》 Following the Equator, 1897 《赤道旅行记》 What Is Man? 长篇论文《人是怎么回事》 The Mysterious Stranger 《神秘的来客》 Autobiography 《自传》

12 Background of the Text The 1890s was a dark and gloomy period for Mark Twain. 1. Because of his unwise investment, he went bankrupt. And in order to pay off his creditors, he undertook a round-the-world speaking tour aimed at making some money. 2. When he had almost completed it, he learned that his favorite daughter, Susy, had died.


14 3. Before he could recover from this, his beloved wife, who had been his first reader for the 34 years of their married life, died too. 4. So, he became more and more bitter and his last writings were savagely satirical and pessimistic.

15 The whole social background----
the three decades after the Civil War of the United States were characterized by cut-throat competition, child labor, robber barons and labor riots, corruption and unethical business practices, spread of the jungle law and racial conflicts and imperialist wars.

16 To Mark Twain, who had always been concerned with the problem of the human conscience, these things revealed the terrible deficiencies of the human race. To remedy this deplorable situation, he began to use his pen as a sharp lance first to pierce the boils of human pomposity.

17 Part Two While-reading Tasks
Preview Questions Structure of the Text Language Study Idiomatic Expressions

18 Preview Questions 1. What is the main idea of this essay?
2. Is Mark Twain serious when he says that he has done many months of painstaking and fatiguing work in the London Zoological Garden? 3. What specific human traits and dispositions does he condemn?

19 Structure of the Text Part I (para. 1-2): the thesis statement and the method of proving it Part II Section 1(para. 3-7): the comparison between the traits and dispositions of man and those of animals Section 2 (para. 8-17): argument about man’s superiority, reasoning ability, and other traits. Part III (para. 18): a brief summing-up

20 Characteristics of the Essay
Mark Twain pretends to be reporting on a scientific experiment, imitating the formal language academics are fond of using, such as big words, long sentences, serious tone, etc. to achieve the humorous effect.

21 Language Study traits and dispositions: characteristics; features
to oblige sb. to do sth.: to force sb. to do sth. renounce (v.) to abandon or reject allegiance (n.) loyalty, esp. to a nation or a cause

22 to proceed toward a conclusion: in the process of coming to a conclusion
to subject sth. / sb. to sth. 沙漠化使这一带的居民饱受煎熬。 The desertification subjected people living in that area to great hardships. 他们遭受了非常残酷的折磨。 They were subjected to very cruel tortures.

23 postulate (fml) n. assumption; theory; hypothesis
to present oneself: to happen or exist 机会来临时,你必须牢牢把握。 When the opportunity presents itself you must seize it and hold it tightly. The British nobility: duke, marquis, earl (count), viscount, baron e.g. the Count of Monte Cristo

24 Grown-up animals and their children
Young bull/ cow calf/ calves goat kid sheep lamb cat kitten chicken/ bird chick duck duckling wolf/ bear cub pig piglet lion goose gosling horse foal, colt dog puppy

25 to be descended from sb. : to be related to sb
to be descended from sb.: to be related to sb. who lived a long time ago 我母亲声称她是亚伯拉罕● 林肯的后代。 My mother claims she is descended from Abraham Lincoln. C.f. These ideas descend from those of the ancient philosophers. rabid (adj.) uncontrollable (related to rabies)

26 to have not scrupled to do sth. : to have not hesitated to do sth
to have not scrupled to do sth.: to have not hesitated to do sth. because of troubled conscience or embarrassment from moral considerations to cheat sb. out of sth.: to trick or deceive sb. in order to get an advantage e.g. to cheat sb. out of his money / job / land c.f. to trick sb. out of sth.

27 to appease: to satisfy or relieve ( hunger, thirst, desire, etc.)
appetite (n.) to have a big/ huge ~ to lose/ ruin/ spoil one’s ~ to give sb. an appetite appetizing (adj.) appetizer (n.)

28 furnish (vt.) to supply, provide
to furnish sb. (with) sth. avaricious: (adj.) extremely fond of accumulating wealth avarice (n.) greed miserly (adj.) tight-fisted, stingy miser (n.) misery (n.) suffering, discomfort

29 harbor (vt.) to keep bad thoughts, fears or hopes in your mind for a long time
我想他对我怀恨在心。 I think he’s harboring some sort of hatred against me. C.f. to harbor criminals / murderers to brood over sth.: to think about sth. for a long time because it makes you angry or worried

30 revenge (n. ) sth. you do in order to punish sb
revenge (n.) sth. you do in order to punish sb. who has harmed or offended you to get / take revenge on sb. 他放火烧了工厂,报复他的老板。 He took revenge on his employers by setting fire to the factory. Hamlet swore he would revenge his father's death. revengeful (adj.)

31 to allow sb. no hand in doing sth. : to deny sb
to allow sb. no hand in doing sth.: to deny sb. the right to participate in doing sth. Pay attention to the different meanings of “loose” He was worried about his son’s loose conduct. He tied a stone to the loose end of the rope and let it down to the ground. She was anxious to cut herself loose from her family.

32 the saving grace: the one good thing that makes sb. or sth. acceptable
Beautiful photography was the saving grace of an otherwise awful film. indecency indecent vulgarity vulgar obscenity obscene to be alive to: to be conscious or aware of

33 Laughing jackass 笑翠鸟

34 to have occasion to do sth: to have the need or necessity to do sth.
prior (n.) the man in charge of a priory, a house for monks which is smaller and less important than an abbey to inquire into sth: to ask questions in order to have more information about sth

35 King John of England (1199-1216)
The youngest son of Henry II. During his brother Richard I’s absence on the third Crusade, John had himself declared king and later held his brother in captivity. He was believed to have murdered his nephew Arthur I of Brittany. This and many other cruel things he did made him extremely unpopular, and finally a civil war resulted during which he died, presumably poisoned.

36 to render sth. useless; to render sb. harmless / untroublesome: to make sth./ sb. useless, etc. / to prevent sb. from making trouble 他太胖了,以致于弯不下腰。 His fatness renders him unable to bend down.  She was rendered a handsome reward for what she did for the company. Rendering poetry into other languages is difficult. 

37 The Middle Ages: from the fall of the western Roman Empire (395 AD) to the Italian renaissance in the 14th century or to the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492. Historians call the early Middle Ages the “Dark Ages” because it was a period marked by confusion, disorder, religious persecution and the breakdown of civilization in Western Europe.

38 King Richard I, King of England ( ), otherwise known as the Lion-hearted. He was the second son of Henry II and the elder brother of King John. A symbol of bravery, he spent only six months of his 10-year reign in the kingdom; the rest he spent on Crusades or as a hostage in Austria.

39 to set fire to sth.: to make sth. start burning
c.f. to make/ light a fire; to build a fire to fine sb. some money for sth. “For having four pheasant eggs in his possession without being able to satisfactorily explain how he got them”: (euphemism) for stealing four pheasant eggs

40 inflict (vt.) to make sb. suffer sth. unpleasant
to inflict sth. on/ upon sb. 他让妻子和孩子受了很多苦。 He inflicted a great deal of suffering on his wife and children. unhumanly moderate: reasonable, not so violent, not so excessive or extreme, unlike human beings c.f. unhuman & inhuman

41 splinter (n.) a small sharp piece of wood, glass, or metal that has broken off a larger piece
E.g. I’ve got a splinter in my finger. splinters of glass to be done doing sth.: to finish doing sth. in that distinction: in that distinguishing factor; in that respect

42 to engage in: to participate in
to deal in: to be occupied in the atrocity of atrocities: the greatest or the worst atrocity atrocious (adj.) Compare the following words: kill, butcher, murder, assassinate, massacre, slaughter

43 “There is not an acre of ground on the globe that is in possession of its rightful owner…”
Not a single piece of land is in the hands of its original owner. Every piece of land has been stolen. to hold sb. in bondage: to keep sb. in the state of being a slave

44 patriot (n.) patriotic (adj.) patriotism (n.) to set oneself apart from others: to make oneself feel that he is different from and better than other people to sneer at: to scorn at; to mock at; to laugh at contemptuously

45 “Man is the only Patriot. …other people’s countries.”
It is claimed that man is the only Patriot. Only man is capable of such a noble sentiment. He keeps himself away from others, occupies a piece of land, calls it his own country, and thinks that he is better than all others, then he puts up a flag and gathers together a group of killers and steals land from others.

46 to work for… with one’s mouth: to pay lip service to…; to give empty promises to…
“and in the intervals between … with his mouth.” And when they are not fighting each other, they will start talking about peace and universal brotherhood, but without any sincerity.

47 to make a graveyard of: to cause the death of many people in this area
to smooth the path to sth.: to make it easy for sb. to do sth. to be at sth.: to be engaged in a certain activity

48 Caesar In the time of the Caesar’s, the early Christians were cruelly persecuted by the Romans.

49 Mohammed The founder of Islam.
In Mohammed’s time, the Muslims were cruelly persecuted.

50 Inquisition Inquiry or investigation. Specifically, it refers to the former court in the Roman Catholic Church directed at the suppression of heresy.

51 Queen Mary: ( ) Commonly known as Bloody Mary, queen of England. In Mary’s day, the Protestants were persecuted.

52 questionable taste: poor judgment on the part of God (God does not seem to know what is good and what is bad)

53 Idiomatic Expressions
to renounce one’s allegiance to the Darwinian theory to subject sb. to sth. to be descended from sth./sb. to have not scrupled to do sth. to cheat sb. out of sth. to harbor insults to brood over injuries to take revenge on sb.

54 by consent of sb. to allow sb. no hand in doing sth. saving grace to be confined to sb. to have occasion to do sth. to inquire into sth. to be fined some money for doing sth. to inflict pain /suffering on sb. to be done doing sth. to make a meal of sth.

55 to hold sb. in bondage to set oneself apart from others to sneer at sb. odds and ends

56 Part III After-reading Discussion
1. What is the statement of the whole essay? 2. Should we take Mark Twain’s views seriously? What is his purpose to write this essay? 3. Mark Twain wrote this essay a century ago. Would you say that the human race has changed for the better or for the worse?

57 Translation (P472) 1. I have to go to the dentist tomorrow. One of my front teeth is loose. 2. Your translation is a bit too loose. You ought to be more faithful to the original. 3. Fashion come and go. A few years ago everybody was wearing tight jeans, but now loose shirts and pants are back. 4. He has a pretty loose tongue. You can’t expect him to keep a secret.

58 5. They know they can always expect us to render assistance to them.
6. The vacation by the seaside rendered her healthy again. 7. They hoped that they could somehow rendered those countries at least neutral. 8. It is really an art to properly render one language into another. 9. How do you render it into easy informal English?

59 10. Harboring a wanted man is a crime, punishable by law.
11. People still harbor a deep suspicion about their motives. 12. In the course of the construction we came across many technical difficulties. 13. In the course of the war, many women went to work in factories to replace the men.

60 14. We must have a good balance between economic development and social justice in the course of modernization. 15. Man is the only animal that makes a moral distinction between right and wrong. 16. This distinction between men and women is artificial, not at all scientific. 17. What is the distinction between macroeconomics and microeconomics?

61 18. Many towns and cities have lost their traditional beauty
18. Many towns and cities have lost their traditional beauty. But Pingyao is an exception in that distinction. Ironically, it has been able to retain its beauty because for years it was too poor to modernize the city. 19. He is one of the most important writers in contemporary China. He has published many works of distinction.

62 P478 1. I think he is very talented as an actor, not as a director, I mean. 2. This information impressed them. But still they seemed suspicious. 3. Nobody said anything. But in the way they looked at me I could see they were all sympathetic.

63 4. The office of chairman of the department is on the first floor, that is, at ground level.
5. The manager says the company has to reduce its labor costs—in other words some of us are going to lose our jobs. 6. Rachel Carson’s style was clear, lively and informative but not preachy. 7. Many students choose Saturday for sports or social activities. Sunday, on the other hand, seems to be the best day for study.

64 8. I couldn’t understand why he was so keen on medicine; but I see it all now.
9. It’s going to look all right, isn’t it? I mean, our going without being invited. 10. You mean it might have been someone else who murdered the boy’s father?

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