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Part II Reading Comprehension and Language Activities.

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1 Part II Reading Comprehension and Language Activities

2 ★ Important cultural information about the three sisters of the Brontes 1.Charlotte Bronte: born on 21 April 1816 in Thornton, Yorkshire, England. She died on 31 March 1855 from complications during pregnancy. Her most famous work is Jane Eyre.

3 2.Emily Bronte: born on 30 July 1818 and died on 19 December 1848 from tuberculosis. Her best-known work is Wuthering Heights. 3.Anne Bronte: born on 17 January 1820 and died on 28 May 1948 from influenza. Her best-known work is Agnes Grey.

4  The three sisters Charlotte, Emily and Anne first published their poetry under pseudonyms: Poems by Currer. Ellis and Acton Bell was released in 1846, selling only a few copies. The two sisters, Emily and Charlotte, had almost simultaneously written what later became known as two of the great novels of English literature. Charlotte's novel Jane Eyre was published in 1847,shortly after

5 Emily's Wuthering Heights. Jane Eyre was an immediate success and Charlotte went on to publish Shirley (1848) and Villette (1853). She outlived her sisters but still was only 38 when she died during pregnancy.

6  The three sisters all lived a tragic life, dying very young. Charlotte was the only one of the sisters to marry. Her novel The Professor was written before Jane Eyre but not published until 1857. As children the three precocious sisters and their brother Branwell dreamt up and wrote intricate histories of the fantasy kingdoms of Angria and Gondal; Legends of Angria, a collection of Charlotte's childhood writings, was published in 1933.

7  Emily began writing Wuthering Heights in 1845 and it was published late in 1847. The book's troubled lovers, Catherine Earnshaw and the stormy Heathcliff, have become famous figures in literature.

8 1.brain has supplanted brawn: Brawn refers to physical strength while brain indicates intellectual power. With fewer people in agriculture, intelligence is now valued more than muscular strength. Also, notice that brain and brawn is a case of alliteration – a rhetorical device that involves two or more stressed syllables with the same sound at the initial positions. Sometimes, the two words in alliteration are antonymous or synonymous in meaning, e.g. friend and foe; weal and woe; penny wise, pound foolish; he is all fire and fight. Note to the text:

9 2.cultural preferences: traditionally biased opinion in favor of something/some type of people. 3.the weaker sex: (or fair sex) females. The term presupposes that women are weaker than men and is thus considered as carrying undertones of sex discrimination. It also places emphasis on the fact that a woman should be beautiful and is considered worthless if she is not.

10 4.dismissing too casually the gifts of… ignoring or belittling the talent of… 5.hoarded their pennies: saved every penny. The verb hoard indicates the thrifty life the family led in order to save money to support the son. pack him off to: send him to (preparing the luggage and providing fare for him). E.g. When the Christmas season was over, the parents packed the children off to the boarding school.

11 7.London’s Royal Academy of Arts: principal British art organization, located in London, established for the purpose of improving and encouraging painting, sculpture, and architecture in Great Britain. The art schools of the academy are now open to post- graduate students. 7.London’s Royal Academy of Arts: principal British art organization, located in London, established for the purpose of improving and encouraging painting, sculpture, and architecture in Great Britain. The art schools of the academy are now open to post- graduate students. 8.If art was his calling, he dialed a wrong number: He believed that art was to be his path in life, but the writer believes that this choice was wrong.

12 9.hightailed it home: (slang) went or ran back home like a defeated dog in a great hurry. 10.the family landed Branwell a job…: the family found a job for Branwell. 11.squelched their own goals: sacrificed their own ambitions 12.farming themselves out: going out to work for a wage

13 13.Branwell turned to alcohol …: Branwell became addicted to alcoholic drink. Turn to something/doing something means to direct one’s attention to and begin to do it regularly. For example, Since you don’t have a gift for music, you’d better turn to painting. 14.and eventually died as he had lived: a failure: He died a failure just as he was a failure when he was alive.

14 15.less fiction than autobiography: the books they wrote were more like stories of their own experiences and life (i.e. autobiography), than made up stories about imaginary people and events (i.e. fiction) 16.if only: The phrase expresses a regretful wish which often requires the past perfect tense in the clause after it. For example: If only Mr. Bronte had sent the three daughters to the Royal Academy of Arts.

15 17.spiritual qualities: quality ( 素质 ) when applied to people is a countable noun for denoting a person’s upbringing, characteristics and attributes. For example, The two candidates share many of the same qualities: generosity, modesty and integrity. Quality (品质; 质量) is used as an uncountable noun with reference to the grade of excellence or the standard of something. For example, The material is of poor quality.

16 put away our passé prejudices: to cast away our old prejudices against females. Passé is a French word meaning past, and is in regular use in the English language. 19.putting all of his eggs in one male basket: putting all his hopes on his son Branwell. The expression is derived from the saying putting all one’s eggs in one basket, which means to depend entirely on the success of one scheme, plan, etc.



19 Summarize the story The text presents a tragic story of the consequences of sex prejudice through describing the tragic fate of three gifted girls: Anne, Emily, and Charlotte Bronte in the history of English literature. They sacrificed much of their literary talent, youth and energy for their brother who turned out to be a failure.

20 ◆ The second to fifth paragraphs Mr. Bronte invested all his hopes and the family’s in the boy while the gifts of the three girls were left unattended to. The son was sent to the best art school and later given intellectual work as a tutor. In spite of the selfless sacrifices of his three sisters, he turned out to be a failure both in his career, and in life. Summarize the paragraphs

21 ◆ The sixth to eighth paragraphs This section is about the three girls’ sustained efforts at literary creation, their remarkable achievements despite their initial setback and the prevalent sex discrimination of society, and their early death as a result of their years of sacrifice for their brother.

22 Do the exercise


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