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Lesson Six: Blackmail by Arthur Hailey.

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1 Lesson Six: Blackmail by Arthur Hailey

2 Ⅰ. Background Information
1. Introduction of the author Born in Luton, England, in 1920, Arthur Hailey was educated in English schools until fourteen. In 1947 Mr. Hailey emigrated to Canada and became a Canadian citizen. Hailey's best sellers include: Hotel, Airport, Wheels, The Final Diagnosis and The Moneychangers. 2. Introduction of the story The St. Gregory Hotel is the largest in New Orleans, Louisiana. For 4 days from Monday evening to Friday, the hotel goes through a succession of dramatic events. With the hotel’s mortgage due by the weekend and with no chance of getting further renewal, the owner, Warren Trent, reluctantly makes up his mind to sell his hotel to a chain hotel owner, Curtis O’Keefe.     Peter McDermott, the assistant general manager, has to tackle several other knotty problems: handling an attempted rape which has occurred in one of the hotel’s rooms; catching a professional thief operating in the hotel; pacifying a whole convention of several hundred dentists to putting up a member of the convention--a black doctor. Then there is the Duke of Croydon.

3 The Duke is an internationally famous statesman and the newly-appointed British ambassador to Washington. He and his wife occupy the best suite in St. Gergory. On Monday evening while driving back with his wife from a gambling house, the Duke and the Duchess, however, drive away. The hit-and-run becomes top sensational news in New Orleans. The hotel’s chief house detective Ogilvie notices the battered car when it comes back. Instead of reporting this to the police, he goes to see the Duke and the Duchess. He promises to keep quiet about what he knows and asks for a large sum of money in return for the favour.  The Duke, now totally at a loss as to how to act, hides behind the skirt of her wife. The Duchess understands that to get themselves out of this mess, the car has to be driven out of the south where people are alerted about the hit-and-run. So she offers to pay Ogilvie more than he has asked on condition that he drives the car to Chicago up in the north. The greedy detective agrees. At one o’clock Thursday morning Ogilvie gets the car out of the garage. He is seen leaving by one person only, by Peter McDermott, the assistant general manager. Though it strikes him as odd, Peter does not link this up with the hit-and-run until late that afternoon when he witnesses the funeral of the two victims of the accident. He contacts police headquarters right away. By this time, Ogilvie has crossed Louisiana and Mississippi, driving by night and concealing the car by day. He thinks that everything is going smoothly, little knowing that he is already being followed by the Highway patrol cruisers. In Tennessee, he is caught and sent back to New Orleans. At first the Duchess tries to deny everything, but doesn’t succeed in convincing the police. The Duke then decides to go over to police headquarters before they come for him, wishing to save the little shreds of decency left in him. He takes an elevator to go down. This elevator which has been out of order for some time and badly in need of repair breaks down. As it goes down, one set of clamps holds and the other fails. The elevator car twists, buckles and splits open, throwing the Duke nine floors down to the cement ground. He dies instantly.

4 However, the novel ends with a pleasant surprise
However, the novel ends with a pleasant surprise. A sick, old eccentric man staying in the hotel turns out to be an extremely wealthy man from Montreal, Canada. Earlier, he fell seriously ill and was saved by Peter and his girl friend. To show his gratitude and repay their kindness, he buys the hotel from its former owner and makes Peter the new executive vice-president, with complete authority to run the hotel as he thinks fit. 3. Notes: 1) chief house officer: chief detective (employed by the hotel) in charge of hotel security 2) Bedlington terrier: a blue or liver-colored, woolly-coated terrier resembling a small lamb 3) Ogilvie: The author depicts him as a coarse, vulgar and uneducated person. Hence his language is ungrammatical and slangy, e. g. 'There's things it pays to check' for ' there' re things ...'etc. 4) Jaguar: trademark of a British motorcar 5) tables: gambling tables 7) what gives: U. S. colloquialism meaning 'what happens'

5 Ⅱ. Questions after the detailed study of the text
1. Did Ogilvie deliberately delay his call at the Croydon’s suite? Why? 2. Why did the Duchess send her maid and secretary out? 3. What made the Duchess jump to the concution that Ogilvie had come to blackmail them? 4. Why did the Duchess decide to make the detective drive their car north? 5. Did Ogilvie accept the Duchess’ offer?

6 Ⅲ. Analysis and Appreciation of the text
1. The outline of the text Part One (para. ) introduction Part Two (para. ) development Part Three (para. ) climax Part Four (para. ) conclusion 2. Type of literature: a piece of narration ---character, action, conflicts, climax and denouement

7 Ⅳ. Effective Writing Skills
1.making effective use of specific words to make the narration vivid 2.vividly and carefully describing the actions of the characters 3.using the languages which suit the backgrounds of characters

8 Ⅴ.Special difficulties in the text
1. understanding the colloquial, and even slangy English 2. analyzing and commenting on the three characters

9 VI . Detailed study of the text
1. cryptic: adjective mysterious and difficult to understand: I received a cryptic message through the post. 2. frayed: adjective The whole experience left me with frayed nerves (= feeling anxious). 3. dispatch: v. to send something, especially goods or a message, somewhere for a particular purpose: Two loads of woollen cloth were dispatched to the factory on December 12th. 4. errand: noun a short journey either to take a message or to deliver or collect something: I'll meet you at six, I've got some errands to do/run first.

10 5. sardonic: adjective showing a lack of respect in a humorous but unkind way, often because you think that you are too important to consider or discuss a matter: a sardonic smile/look/comment 6. encompass: verb to include, especially a variety of things: The festival is to encompass everything from music, theatre and ballet to literature, cinema and the visual arts. 7. chuckle: verb to laugh quietly: She was chuckling as she read the letter. 8. emission: noun 1). when gas, heat, light, etc. is sent out: The Green Party have called for a substantial reduction in the emission of greenhouse gases by the UK. 2). an amount of gas, heat, light, etc. that is sent out: The increased use of natural gas will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions. 9. wrath: noun extreme anger: The people feared the wrath of God.

11 10. conceal: verb to prevent something from being seen or known about; to hide something: The listening device was concealed in a pen. I tried to conceal my surprise when she told me her age. 11. smug:adjective too pleased or satisfied about something you have achieved or something you know: a smug grin She deserved her promotion, but I wish she wasn't so damned smug about it. 12. oblige: verb to force someone to do something, or to make it necessary for someone to do something: The law obliges companies to pay decent wages to their employees. 13. cluck: verb 1). to make the low interrupted noise that a chicken makes 2). to express disapproval or other emotion by making a short sharp sound with your tongue: to cluck in disapproval/amazement She shakes her head, smiles, and clucks her tongue. 3). to express an unnecessary amount of sympathy, anxiety or approval towards someone: The attendants clucked and fussed over passengers.

12 14. concede: verb 1). to admit, often unwillingly, that something is true: The Government has conceded (that) the new tax policy has been a disaster. 2). to allow someone to have something, even though you do not want to: The president is not expected to concede these reforms. He is not willing to concede any of his power/authority. 3). to admit that you have lost in a competition: He kept on arguing and wouldn't concede defeat. 15. scout : verb to go to look in various places for something you want: She's opened an office in Connecticut to scout out (= discover information about) the east coast housing market. 16. poise: noun calm confidence in a person's way of behaving, or a quality of grace and balance in the way a person holds or moves their body: He looked embarrassed for a moment, then quickly regained his poise. 17. discreet: adjective careful not to cause embarrassment or attract too much attention, especially by keeping something secret: The family made discreet enquiries about his background.

13 18. inevitable: adjective certain to happen and unable to be avoided or prevented: The accident was the inevitable consequence/result/outcome of carelessness. 19. incriminate: verb to make someone seem guilty, especially of a crime: A secret report incriminating the company was leaked last week. He refused to say anything on the grounds that he might incriminate himself. 20. oafish: adjective oafish behavior an oafish young man 21. conspicuous: adjective very noticeable or tending to attract attention, often in a way that is not wanted: In China, her blonde hair was conspicuous. He tried not to look conspicuous and moved slowly along the back of the room. 22. imperious: adjective unpleasantly proud and expecting obedience: an imperious manner/voice She sent them away with an imperious wave of the hand. 23. bulge: verb to stick out in a round shape: Her bags were bulging with shopping. 24. vacillate: verb to be uncertain what to do, or to change frequently between two opinions: Her mood vacillated between hope and despair.

14 VII . Assignment 1. Write a short summary of the story within 400 words. 2. Words for dictating: busted, despairingly, hasty, musing, poise, twig, discreetly, seemingly, eventualities. Inevitable, incriminating, oafish, complication, conspicuous, grotesque, alternative, unequivocal, countenance, Peremptorily, imperious, respite, sullenly, comply, vacillation, bulge

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