2 Ⅰ. Background Information 1. Introduction of the authorMargaret Laurence is one of the major contemporary Canadian writers. She was born in Neepawa, Manitoba, a province in SC Canada, and was educated at the university of Manitoba.Margaret Laurence’s imaginative dealing with Africa life established her reputation as a writer before she began to publish fiction with a Canadian background. Her first novel about Canada, the Stone Angel (1964) is a remarkable book, demonstrating superbly her ability to create characters.2. Introduction of the novelThe Loons (1970) is included in the Norton Anthology of the Short Fiction, 2nd Edition, This touching story tells of the plight of Piquette Tonnerre, a girl from a native Indian Family. Her people were marginalized by the white-dominating society. They were unable to exist independently in a respectable and dignified way. They found it impossible to fit into the main currents of culture and difficult to be assimilated comfortably.
3 4) C. P. R. : Canadian Pacific Railroad At school, Piquette felt out of place and ill at ease with the white children. When she had grown up she did not have any chance to improve her life. In fact her situation became more and more messed up. In the end she was killed in a fire. Her death is like the disappearance of the loons on Diamond lake. Just as the narrator’s father predicted, the loons would go away when more cottages were built at the lake with more people moving in. the loons disappeared as nature was ruined by civilization. In a similar way, Piquette and her people failed to find their position in modern society.3. Notes1) Rid: Louis Rid ( ) led two rebellions of Indians and Metis (people of mixed French and Indian blood) in and The latter rebellion was crushed in the battle of Batoehe, Manitoba, and Riel was executed.2) patois: dialect 4) broken English: English that is imperfectly spoken with mistakes in grammar and syntax3) neither flesh, fowl, nor good salt herring; also 'neither fish, flesh, nor fowl' meaning 'not anything definite or recognizable'4) C. P. R. : Canadian Pacific Railroad5) Mountie: a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police6) Nash: a former make of automobiles
4 Ⅱ. Questions after the detailed study of the text 1. What would happen sometimes to old Jules or his son Lazarus on Saturday nights?2. Why did the doctor propose taking Piquette to Diamond Lake for the summer?3. What was the cottage on the lake called? What was the scenery there like?4. Why did the narrator ask Piquette respectfully. “I bet you know a lot about the woods and all that. Eh.”?
5 Ⅲ. Analysis and Appreciation of the text 1. The outline of the text2. Type of literature – novel
6 Ⅳ. Effective Writing Skills 1. making effective use of specific adjective2. using many elliptical and short sentences to achieve certain effect
7 Ⅴ.Special difficulties in the text 1. paraphrasing some sentences2. dangling modifiers3. illogical and faulty parallelism4. translating some sentences
8 VI . Rhetorical Devices1. simile2. antithesis3. assonance
9 VII . Detailed study of the text 1. the scrub oak: Oak is a large tree, Scrub oak is short, stunted oak tree.2. chokecherry: North American wild cherry tree3. thicket: a thick growth of shrubs, underbrush or small trees4. clearing: an area of land cleared of trees5. shack: a small house or cabin that is crudely built and furnished, shanty6. chinked with mud: closed the narrow openings with mud7. Metis: people of mixed French and India blood8. entered their long silence: put down, repressed
10 9. as the Tonnerres had increased… and rusty tin cans: 1). The Yonnerres had increased: the Tonnerre family had become larger2). Settlement: a small or isolated community, cillage3) added to: expanded4). A chaos of lean-tos: a disorderly place crowded with sheds having a one-slope roof. Level-to: shed with a one-slope roof, the upper end of the rafters resting against an external support, such as trees or the wall of a building10. half-breed: a person whose parents are of different ethnic types, esp. an offspring of a North American India and a person of European ancestry.11. patois: a form of language, differing from the accepted standard, as a provincial or local dialect12. Cree: a member of a North American India people, living mainly in the Canadian Prairie Provinces13. obscenities: offensive, repulsive remarks or ideas14. they did not belong among the Cree…: they did not have a proper and suitable place among the cree…
11 15. odd jobs: jobs that are not regular but occasional, incidental 16. section hands (also section gang) a crew of persons who do the maintenance work on a railroad section17. on relief: receiving government aid because of poverty, unemployment, etc, relief: aid in the form of goods or money given, as by a government agency, to persons unable to support themselves18. one of the Tonnerre youngster, with a face…: One of the Tonnerre youngsters, who looked deadly serious, never laughed.19. for sale: to be sold, offered for purchase.20. bruised wild strawberries: wild strawberries with injured surface. Bruise: to injure the surface or the outside of so that there is spoilage, abrasion, denting, etc. e.g. bruised peaches, a bruised auto fender.21. lure: suggest an irresistible force, as desire, greed, curiosity, etc, in attracting someone, esp. to something harmful or evil
12 22. rather: more likely / exactly / truly 23. swam like a dog: swam heartily with all my might24. thrash: move wildly / violently about; fish ~ in the net25. output: I was swimming so energetically and wildly that I didn’t feel cold at all26. squash flat: crush or force into a flat shape, press into a flat mass27. sullen: silently showing dislike or hostility or lack of cheerfulness and interest28. lore: all knowledge or learning having to do with a particular subject, esp. of a traditional nature29. shrug: a gesture to show indifference to things around or lack of interest30. so what: even if so, what then; then why is that important; even if you are interested in this place, why should I care about it
13 31. distant voice: she said this in a detached manner, there’s a lack of participation and involvement in her tone; she is absent-minded while talking with me32. point: cape; a piece of land with a sharp end stretching out into the water33. hang around: stay near a place or person with no clear purpose or activity34. dogged: obstinate, unyielding, not giving up easily35. goddamn: even a small, unimportant amount36. as an Indian…dead loss: it is useless to go to Piqutte for information of Indians, though she is an Indian37. scramble: crawl hurriedly38. overhung: stand out over39. pier: bridge-like framework built out into the sea where boats can stop40. crash: move noisily41. bracken: growth of large, coarse, weedy ferns
14 42. cold flickering: the sight of the flickering starlight makes you feel cold; synesthesia (a sensation produced in one mood when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when hearing of a certain sound induces a vision of a certain color)43. flicker: shine with unsteady wavering light44. phantom birds: ghostlike birds that seem to appear to the sight but have no physical existence45. still: flat, with no motion or sound46. ululating: loud sound of wailing and lamenting47. plaintive: sad, melancholy48. chilling mockery: a cold, discouraging sense of scorn for or laughing at sth.49. voice of angels (the sound of loons) can only be found in the fairyland, paradise, heaven; the birds must have sounded like that before their habitat is disturbed by human beings, but now their peaceful life is disturbed or spoiled by the presence of mankind; a situation similar to that of Indians, both are turned into a minority group, deprived of the original living place and driven somewhere else, association between Piquette and loons
15 50. it only strikes you…loons: it is the sound of loons alone that impresses you that way; you will think of this only when hearing the sound of loons51. suspect: think it probable or likely; anticipate52. I am saying sth. against my own will. I am afraid that her presence might spoil my experience. I would rather she was absent.53. a bunch of; a number of54. squawk: make a loud rough-sounding, harsh cry
16 VIII. AssignmentWrite a short composition on either of the two topics:1). My childhood2). A Summer holiday