4 Pre-Text Questions What do you know about the author? What kind of writing is this one?Why does Mencken uses such a pathological term like libido?What does the title the libido for the ugly mean?Who has the so-called libido for the ugly?Who or what is the target of Mencken’s verbal attack?What kind of writing is this one?What is the theme of this essay?
5 Detailed Study of the Text About the authorPittsburghSteel City / Smoky CityWestmorland countyWhat route did the author take in this traveling?Here was the very heart of industrial America, the center of itsmost lucrative and characteristic activity, the boast and prideof the richest and grandest nation ever seen on earth—andhere was a scene so dreadfully hideous, so intolerably bleakand forlorn that it reduced the whole aspiration of man to amacabre and depressing joke.Notice the many literary devices employed here.What are they?metaphorparallel constructionhyperboleantithetical contrast
6 the boast and pride of the richest …on earth the U. S., the richest and grandest nation ever seen on earth,both boasts about and feels proud of this center of industrialactivityit reduced the whole aspiration of man to a … jokethat this scene makes all human endeavors to advance andimprove their lot appear as a ghastly, saddening jokebe reduced to begging/tears/silence/despair/obedienceshadow/subjectionthey would have disgraced a race of alley catseven homeless, mongrel cats would feel ashamed to live inWhat does Mencken describe in paragraph 1?What is his purpose?What is the purpose of Mencken saying I am not speaking ofmere filth at the beginning of the second paragraph?
7 agonizing uglinessugliness that caused great pain to the viewerWhat literary device is used here?transferred epithetthat did not insult and lacerate the eyeHow could a house insult and lacerate the eye?What’s Mencken’s real intention of saying so?What literary device is used?they were among the most pretentiousmarked by an extravagant outward showone blinked before them as one blinks before a man withhis face shot awayWhat kind of image will be initiated in the readers’ mind byreading this clause? What effect does the author intend toproduce?
8 A few linger in memory, horrible even there: Some of the houses remain in one’s memory and later whenone pictures them in one’s mind, they still appear to behorribleAfter the colon, what does Mencken go on to say?How many examples does he give us?What literary device is used when describing the building?dormer-windowa bare leprous hilla hillside was bare and looked as repulsive as the skin of aleperWhat will a bare leprous hill look like?Could you describe the church and the hill in your own words?rat trap
9 There was not one that was not misshapen, and there was not one that was not shabby.What literary device is used in order to emphasize misshapenand shabby ?double negativesrepetition of the same structural patternnot uncomelylitotesan affirmative is expressed by negating its oppositeThe country itself is not uncomely, despite the grime of theendless mills.The country itself is pleasant to look at, despite the sooty dirtspread by the innumerable mills in this region.It is, in form, a narrow river valley, with deep gullies runningup into the hills.
10 solid blocksWhat’s the function of the if clause?What is Mencken’s idea of decent houses in this area?chaletWhat did he find instead?What do the houses look like?on their low sides they bury themselves swinishly in the mudWhat are these houses compared to?They lean this way and that, hanging … precariously.They tilt in one direction or another, clinging to theirfoundation unstably.with dead and eczematous patches of paint peeping throughthe streaksIn this phrase, what is compared to what?
11 All the houses are smeared with sooty dirt, and some paint which is not covered up by the soot looks like dried-up scalesformed on the skin by eczema.Now and then there is a house of brick.What can we infer from this sentence?patinaWhat kind of egg would it be which is long past all hope orcaring ?Red brick, even in a steel town, ages with some dignity.Red brick, even in a steel town, looks quite respectable withthe passing of time.What is the author’s suggestion about the color of houses?But in Westmoreland…that uremic yellow.But it seems that people in Westmoreland county prefer thatyellow color produced by the disease uremia.
12 How many places are mentioned in the following sentences? Pullmanthe malarious tidewater hamletsmalaria infested small village near the sea affected by therise and fall of tidesThey are incomparable in color, and they are incomparablein design.What literary device is used in this sentence?sarcasmThe color and design were so bad that one couldn’t find anywhich was worse.It is as if some titanic and aberrant genius,…the making of them.It is as if some genius of great power, who didn’t like to do theright things and who was an inflexible enemy of man, employedall the cleverness and skill of hell to build these ugly houses.
13 But in the American village and small town the pull is always toward ugliness,…an eagerness bordering upon passion.But in the American village and small town, the drive/drawingpower is always towards ugliness, and in that Westmorelandvalley people have given in to this appeal eagerly or almostpassionately.What literary device is used?sarcasmIt is incredible that mere ignorance should have achieved suchmasterpieces of horror.It is hard to believe that people built such horrible houses justbecause they did not know what beautiful houses were like.What does ignorance mean here?What literary device is used?sarcasm irony
14 It is impossible to put down the wallpaper…to mere inadvertence, or to the obscene humor of the manufacturers.to attribute sth. to sth.It is impossible to attribute the wallpaper that makes theaverage American home at the lower middle class look sougly to mere oversight, or to the indecent humor of themanufacturers.Such ghastly designs, …give a genuine delight to a certaintype of mind.It’s clear that the horribly ugly designs on the wallpaper givereal delight to a certain type of mind.They meet, in some unfathomable way, its obscure andunintelligible demands.These ugly designs, in incomprehensive some way, satisfy thehidden and unintelligible demands of this type of persons.What kind of people does Mencken mock at?
15 What kind of demands do these people have? Why does Mencken classify their demands as obscure andunintelligible ?Guest, Edgar AlbertWhat opinion does Mencken have toward theology and EdgarA. Guest’s poems?Thus I suspectWhat can we learn from this thus ?Why does Mencken call the residents in Westmoreland thehonest folk and the 100% Americans ?sarcasm ironywith eyes openwith full understanding of what is involvedMencken uses this word “mellow” ironically.What does he really mean?to let deteriorate, to let it go from bad to worse
16 Parthenonbesides it, the Parthenon would no doubt offend themParthenon is noted for its perfect simplicity of design and theharmony of its proportions and remains a masterpiece ofGreek architecture. Why would such a building offend them?They like things ugly and do not know what is beautiful. Ifone were to put a beautiful building like the Parthenon there,they would feel offended.they made it perfect in their own sight by putting a completelyimpossible penthouse, painted a staring yellow, on top of it.penthousenot capable of being endured; hard to tolerateone will feel uncomfortable as embarrassed to look atWhat rhetorical device is used in this sentence?ridicule