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Table of contents :
Table of Contents
Part I: Man
The Baby Who Came to Stay
Disciplining Children
The Tables Turned
His Own Boss
Lost in the Fog
Shakespeare's Sister
The Problem That Has No Name
The Ascent of Man
Man on the Moon
Julius Caesar—Hero or Villain?
What Body Language Tells Us?
The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life
The Effects of Sympathy in the Distresses of Others
How Do You Know It's Good?
How to Write a Rotten Poem With Almost No Effort?
A Few Kind Words for Superstition
The Greek Myth of Winter
What Is Poverty?
Importance of Vietnam
Eight Signposts to Salvation
Why Don't We Complain?
The Invisible Peasants
The Discus Thrower
Darkness at Noon
Silk Workers
Part II: Animals
One Mixed-Up Chick
The Birds
Jim Baker on Bluejays
Part III: Further Readings
Good Souls
On Permission to Write
Does America Still Exist?
The Cosmic Prison
The Virtues of Ambition
Building Satisfaction
Decline and Fall of Teaching History
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Simple Prose Texts

Compiled by: Abbas-Ali Rezai, PhD

Helen Oliyaie-Niya

Tehran 2020/1398

The Organization for Researching and Composing University Textbooks in the Humanities (SAMT) Institute for Research and Development in the Humanities




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Simple Prose Texts Compiled by: Abbas-Ali Rezai, PhD & Helen Oliyaie-Niya Edited by: The Editorial Staff of SAMT 1st Impression: Winter 1998/1377 18th Impression: Winter 2020/1398 Print Run: 3000 Price: 150000 Rials Typesetting and Lithography: SAMT Printing and Binding: Mash`ar Ji Jylr Q{ j, jt cv{,$' :cs S t≤ t J y) cS9) d'9) '(o)) : $ c jts ' [email protected] J{




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All rights reserved. No part of this "SAMT" publication may be translated, adapted, reproduced or copied nor its conceptual framework may be used in any form or by any means, graphic, electronic, mechanical, including photocopying, recording, taping or information storage or otherwise, etc. without prior written permission from the publisher. Also the key to the exercises is not allowed to be published by any means.

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Table of Contents Preface

1 Part I: Man

The Baby Who Came to Stay


Disciplining Children


The Tables Turned


His Own Boss


Lost in the Fog


Shakespeare's Sister


The Problem That Has No Name


The Ascent of Man


Man on the Moon


Julius Caesar —Hero or Villain?


What Body Language Tells Us?


The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life


The Effects of Sympathy in the Distresses of Others


H ow Do You Know It's G ood7


How to Write a Rotten Poem With Almost No Effort?


A Few Kind Words for Superstition


The Greek Myth of Winter


What Is Poverty?


Importance of Vietnam

80 85

Eight Signposts to Salvation Why Don't We Complain? The Invisible Peasants The Discus Thrower

90 99 103

Darkness at Noon Silk Workers

108 112 V

Part II: Animals

One Mixed-Up Chick The Birds Jim Baker on Bluej ays

119 123 128 Part III: Further Readings

Good Souls


On Permission to Write Does American Still Exist? The Cosmic Prison The Virtues of Ambition Appetite Building Satisfaction Decline and Fall of Teaching History

136 141 145 148 153 155 157




Preface This book has been designed for a two-credit-course of Simple Prose Texts for Literature and TEFEL majors. It contains a variety of narrative, argumentative, expository and descriptive teas and also a. variety of subjects some of which have been given to students as fieldwork to make sure that the contents are appealing to Iranian students culturewise. In the compilation of the materials and composition of different parts, and especially comprehensive questions, the main objectives of the course have been met. However, we have not treated the book only as a reading book; therefore, its general design was based on the intention to enhance students' lingual skills of reading, speaking, writing, and inevitably listening. Thus we have born in mind two facts: First, the fact that two or three courses of reading precede this course; second, the fact that this book is supposed to prepare literature-major-students for a book like Advanced Prose edited by Dr. Honarvar and published by SAMT.Thus this book is bound to include more profound and perceptive texts and subtle styles than other reading texts for beginning students. The parts and chapters of the book have been classified thematically— Man and Animals—which roughly follow the general cycle and the general themes of human life in the first part and leads down to the next link in the Chain of Creation, namely Animals, in the second part. Each unit has been also divided into five sections of `Words to Watch', `Understanding the Writer's Ideas', `Building Up Vocabulary', `Understanding the Writer's Techniques', and finally `Writing Projects'. Each unit gives the instructor enough chance for maneuvering. In the section of `Words to Watch', the significant and new words of the text have been isolated from the text. Yet to avoid spoonfeeding students, we leave the responsibility of looking up the words to the students themselves. This provides them with an opportunity to find the meaning of words in their appropriate contexts. In `Understanding the Writer's Ideas', the text has been treated mainly as a reading text. In this section, the comprehension of the students is tested; detailed questions cover almost all the significant parts of the text. Since the texts are generally selected from up-to-date and genuine sources, the 1

students will certainly come across statements or phrases used by native speakers which sound quite strange to them. In the part of `Building Up Vocabulary', we have tried to list some of the most important statements. Students are supposed to rewrite them in their own words or discuss them in class to find appropriate English equivalents for them. Sometimes it may seem inevitable to give students a few hints in their mother tongue or to explain the social or emotional context in which that specific statement is used. Such discussions and associations will help students learn these statements by heart. The instructors may want to ask students to write their own statements and use the expressions or axioms which have occurred in the main text for further practice. In `Understanding the Writer's Techniques', we have tried to push students toward something more than just comprehending the ideas; they move from `what' to `how' the writer expresses what he wants to communicate with his/her reader. In this part students become acquainted with such terms as tone, mood, irony, satire, sarcasm, paradox, metaphor, rhetorical questions and the underlying implications which these elements reveal. They also come to discover some of the elements in the general organization of the expository and argumentative discourse which make them effective and persuasive. The instructors are also responsible to draw the students' attention to some subtle techniques that the writers employ to arouse the reader's curiosity— suspense — and to convince him/her; the more precise analysis, the better the students' appreciation of the text and the course. Discussing and challenging the above issues of writing, an effective piece of prose, students will be hopefully encouraged to practice similar techniques in the section of `Writing Projects'. Having experienced the methods used by the writers of the model texts, students will be more at ease to handle similar subjects suggested in `Writing Projects'. An attempt has also been made to accord the subjects with our students' culture and mentality. The intention is to provoke our students to select only one of the alternatives and to express what they feel about the subject. Instructors are supposed to leave them free to have their own discussions and creativities; this practice of self-assertiveness may give them a chance to feel more self-confident and may lead to their creative achievements. The last part of `Further Readings' provides students with some more texts which they can deal with in the same manner they have treated the model texts. Nevertheless, the above points are only suggestions and the instructors may use their own creative methods. In the end, we will gladly welcome any suggestion for the amendment of this book. Abbass-Ali Rezai Helen Oliyaie-Niya 2




The Baby Who Came to Stay Danny Seifer When we presented our two sons, Andrew, nine, and Mark, six, with a baby brother, they were immediately enchanted with him. Being modern parents, we had read all about sibling jealousy, so we were convinced that this reaction was unnatural. Older brothers or sisters can't be expected to receive a new baby with open arms. After all, he cries, he usurps the parents' time and attention, he and his paraphernalia are ever in evidence. Naturally, the older children feel insecure, resent the baby bitterly. But, after weeks of unperturbed behaviour, there was Mark, the middle problem child, still cooing over baby Jeffrey. "Perhaps Mark has an unshakeable basic sense of security," I said anxiously to my wife. "Oh, no," she said, "it's just a false front. He needs reassuring." Maxine had digested her book learning on false fronts, too. Some children, it seems, don't show their jealousy of a new baby because they are afraid of losing their parents' love. Hiding their distress, they may even pretend to like the little monster. Parents must be on their toes for these clues. Such a child needs large doses of reassurance. Maxine walked over to Mark. "Darling," she said, "Daddy and I want you to know that we love you just as much as ever. Nothing can change that." "I know, I know," Mark said impatiently, freeing himself from her kiss. "Please, Mummy— I want to play with Jeff!" Maxine returned to my side, a hurt look on her face. "What do you make of that!" she said. "He's never pushed me away before." "Don't worry, dear," I consoled. "The baby's only a few weeks old. There's still time for Mark to develop the normal disturbed reaction." A few days later I had occasion to remind Andrew that, although he was the eldest son, he was still our baby. Obviously annoyed, he shifted his shoulder from under my comforting arm and said, "How do you expect me to be a big brother to Jeff if you think I'm a baby, too?" 3

As the months flew by, the situation grew worse. Jeffrey remained apparently unresented— and the focus of his brothers' attentions. They prodded us into changing his nappies or feeding him when he merely whimpered. They discussed his growth, informed us of each new trick or sound, notified us of his discomfort and reminded us of our neglect when we delayed even a few moments in giving him attention. Then one day Mark suggested that Maxine and I go away for a while; Andrew and he would take care of their brother. This was the last straw. We had evidently made the boys over-conscientious in their efforts to accept the baby. It was time for them to face facts. I would explain that it's only natural for us to love Jeffrey as much as we love them, that parents have enough love to go round, that it's normal for older children to feel some jealousy of a baby, that we understand. I summoned the boys. "Sit down, Andrew. You too, Mark. Mother and I have something to say to you." Andrew gave Mark a wise look, and Mark nodded in return. Then Andrew broke in: "Look, Daddy—we know what you want us for, so let me talk first. You and Mummy don't want us to fuss over Jeff so much 'cause you're jealous!" "What! Why ..." I looked at Maxine, only to see that she, too, was hopelessly taken aback. "That's all right," continued Andrew. "I expect you think we don't love you any more. But we do —don't we, Mark?" "You bet," Mark said. "Who would feed us?" And then Maxine and I were treated to a couple of generous kisses as Andrew had the last word: "Don't be cross with Jeffrey. I expect he just likes little boys better than old people."

Words to Watch enchanted sibling usurp paraphernalia resent

unperturbed cooing monster prod

whimper over-conscientious to fuss over something to be cross with someone

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What is the parents' main concern? 2. How do the parents account for elderly children's jealousy?


3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

Does the narrator really mean that the new child is a `little monster'? What does Maxine, the mother, say to Mark? What is Mark's initial reaction to Maxine's reassuring him of their love? Why are the parents waiting for Mark's developing the `normal disturbed reactions'? Why is Andrew annoyed by his mother's reminding him of their love for him? Why are the parents surprised at Jeffrey's remaining unresented and the focus of his brother's attention? How did Andrew and Mark treat the new baby? H ow did they take care of him? What do Mark and Andrew accuse their parents of? Why is Maxine taken aback by Andrew's comment? Do you know any term which can best describe the outcome of the story?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. ... he and his paraphernalia are ever in evidence. 2. Maxine had digested her book learning on false fronts, too. 3. Parents must be on their toes for these clues. 4. This was the last straw. 5. ... that parents have enough love to go round. 6. "You and Mummy don't want us to fuss over Jeff so much 'cause you're jealous!" 7. She. was taken aback. 8. "Don't be cross with Jeffrey."

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. H ow does the writer provoke our interest in the story at the beginning of the story? 2. Explain the effect of the writer's technique in focusing on unexpected responses of Mark and Andrew. 3. Discuss any turning point you find in the story and its significance.

Writing Projects 1. Write your own reminiscence of the time you were jealous of a little baby in the family. You can also benefit from others' experience in this respect. 2. Write about your own experience of once finding children's behaviour unexpectedly good or bad. 5

Disciplining Children John Holt

A child, in growing up, may meet and learn from three different kinds of disciplines. The first and most important is what we might call the Discipline of Nature or of Reality. When he is trying to do something real, if he does the wrong thing or doesn't do the right one, he doesn't get the result he wants. If he doesn't pile one block right on top of another, or tries to build on a slanting surface, his tower falls down. If he hits the wrong key, he hears the wrong note. If he doesn't hit the nail squarely on the head, it bends, and he has to pull it out and start with another. If he doesn't measure properly what he is trying to build, it won't open, close, fit, stand up, fly, float, whistle, or do whatever he wants it to do. If he closes his eyes when he swings, he doesn't hit the ball. A child meets this kind of discipline every time he tries to do something, which is why it is so important in school to give children more chances to do things, instead of just reading or listening to someone talk (or pretending to). This discipline is a great teacher. The learner never has to wait long for his answer; it usually comes quickly, often instantly. Also it is clear, and very often points toward the needed correction; from what happened he cannot only see that what he did was wrong, but also why, and what he needs to do instead. Finally, and most important, the giver of the answer, call it Nature, is impersonal, impartial, and indifferent. She does not give opinions, or make judgments; she cannot be wheedled, bullied, or fooled; she does not get angry or disappointed; she does not praise or blame; she does not remember past failures or hold grudges; with her one always gets a fresh start, this time is the one that counts. The next discipline we might call the Discipline of Culture, of Society, of What People Really Do. Man is a social, a cultural animal. Children sense around them this culture, this network of agreements, customs, habits, and rules binding the adults together. They want to understand it and be a part of it. They watch very carefully what people around them are doing and want to do the same. They want to do right, unless they become convinced they can't 6

do right. Thus children rarely misbehave seriously in church, but sit as quietly as they can. The example of all those grownups is contagious. Some mysterious ritual is going on, and children, who like rituals, want to be part of it. In the same way, the little children that I see at concerts or operas, though they may fidget a little, or perhaps take a nap now and then, rarely make any disturbance. With all those grownups sitting there, neither moving nor talking, it is the most natural thing in the world to imitate them. Children who live among adults who are habitually courteous to each other, and to them, will soon learn to be courteous. Children who live surrounded by people who speak a certain way will speak that way, however much we may try to tell them that speaking that way is bad or wrong. The third discipline is the one most people mean when they speak of discipline —the Discipline of Superior Force, of sergeant to private, of "you do what I tell you or I'll make you wish you had." There is bound to be some of this in a child's life. Living as we do surrounded by things that can hurt children, or that children can hurt, we cannot avoid it. We can't afford to let a small child find out from experience the danger of playing in a busy street, or of fooling with the pots on the top of a stove, or of eating up the pills in the medicine cabinet. So, along with other precautions, we say to him, "Don't play in the street, or touch things on the stove, or go into the medicine cabinet, or I'll punish you." Between him and the danger too great for him to imagine we put a lesser danger, but one he can imagine and maybe therefore want to avoid. He can have no idea of what it would be like to be hit by a car, but he can imagine being shouted at, or spanked, or sent to his room. He avoids these substitutes for the greater danger until he can understand it and avoid it for its own sake. But we ought to use this discipline only when it is necessary to protect the life, health, safety, or well-being of people or other living creatures, or to prevent destruction of things that people care about. We ought not to assume too long, as we usually do, that a child cannot understand the real nature of the danger from which we want to protect him. The sooner he avoids the danger, not to escape our punishment, but as a matter of good sense, the better. He can learn that faster than we think. In Mexico, for example, where people drive their cars with a good deal of spirit, I saw many children no older than five or four walking unattended on the streets. They and istoou dUoui i:als, L11Gy knew what to do. A ehild whose life is full of the threat and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. There is no way for him to grow up, to learn to take responsibility for his life and acts. Most important of all, we should not assume that having to yield to the threat of



our superior force is good for the child's character. It is never good for character. To bow to superior force makes us feel impotent and cowardly for not having had the strength or courage to resist. Worse, it makes us resentful and vengeful. We can hardly wait to make someone pay for our humiliation, yield to us as we were once made to yield. No, if we cannot always avoid using the Discipline of Superior Force, we should at least use it as seldom as we can.

Words to Watch slanting surface squarely swing impartial wheedle bully

grudge contagious fidget courteous sergeant spank

unattended impotent cowardly resentful vengeful

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What does the writer mean by `the Discipline of Reality'? 2. Give a few examples he uses for `the Discipline of Reality'. 3. Does the writer believe that children should only learn reading and listening at school? 4. Which discipline does he call `a great teacher'? 5. How does this teacher teach that is more effective than other teachers' methods? 6. What does the writer call `Nature'? Which Nature does he mean? 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

What is `the Discipline of Culture'? How do children confront the adults' world? How do children act to understand the adults' world? Does the writer believe that children are mischievous? How do children imitate others? What is `the Discipline of Superior Force'? Does the writer believe that such a discipline is unnecessary or destruc-

14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

tive? What can `the Discipline of Superior Force' do for children? Why do we have to threaten our children sometimes? Should we always impose this discipline on children? Why does the writer give the example of Mexico? How do constant threats and punishments affect children's character?


Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. b. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

If he doesn't hit the nail squarely on head, it bends. ... it is important in school to give children more chances to do things. She cannot be wheedled, bullied or fooled. She does not remember past failures or hold grudges; with her one always gets a fresh start. The example of all those grownups is contagious. Some mysterious rituals are going on ... . They rarely make any disturbance. There's bound to be some of this in a child's life. ... fooling with pots on the top of a stove. I saw many children ... walking unattended on the streets. A child whose life is full of threats and fear of punishment is locked into babyhood. To bow superior force makes us feel impotent and cowardly for not having had the strength or courage to resist. We can hardly wait to make someone pay for our humiliation.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Discuss the way the writer establishes his thesis and the way he develops it. 2. Discuss the way the writer uses examples in each paragraph. How relevant are the examples? 3. Write an outline of the whole essay— of its main idea and supporting ideas. 4. Studying your outline, see what kind of paragraph development does the author use in his essay? Descriptive, narrative, or argumentative?

Writing Projects 1. Following the same pattern of the model essay, define discipline in your country or environment. Are there points which you want to add to or delete from the model passage? 2. Write an essay based on your own observation of or experience with well-disciplined or ill-disciplined children.


The Tables Turned Jan Needle The figure along the way moved from behind an old outside lay, full into Bernard's view. He knew him! He was in the same class! It was a bloke called Shofiq, or something. Shofiq Rahman, or something. The two little girls who'd looked familiar clicked. They were his sisters, all dressed up in silk pyjamas while Shofiq wore jeans and a jumper. Blimey— evenin this weather he never had a coat on, just jeans and a jumper. Bernard watched with extra interest, because he knew Shofiq. Not to talk to, of course, because he didn't talk much, not even in class, when Miss told him to. He was very quiet, and very dark brown, and he had a funny smell to him, like an Indian restaurant, like all the Pakis. But he'd thumped some lad once, not so long ago, and none of the kids that liked to bash up the blackies ever touched him. He couldn't take on Bobby Whitehead though, that was obvious. Bobby Whitehead was the champ, he was an ace fighter. Bernard felt very excited, his chest got tight. This lad was coming along fast now, and he had a dirty great wallbrick in his mitt. Suddenly there was a big row. He looked back over the wall in time to see Bobby Whitehead, and Patsy Broome, and the three little' uns, all leap out from their hidey hole and start bunging bricks. The air was full of them, and the little Pakistani kids just stood there for something like ages, with the rocks flying past t sir ears and bouncing off the soggy ground all round them. It was a miracle that none of them got hit, but they didn't seem to have the sense to do anything about it. Bernard the Black H and almost forgot he was only there as a spy. He very nearly leapt up and yelled at them to run. Bobby Whitehead and his lot were yelling all right, though. And they started to move slowly forward as they kept up the bombardment of stones. Some of the little kids started to dart about, as if they didn't know which way to turn. Bernard saw a rock bounce off the shoulder of a little girl of about five, and she fell into the cold mud, crying. Another little girl bent down to try and help her, with her long black pigtail hanging right down into a puddle. Two of the boys had started to pelt across towards the wire fence, and the hail of 10

bricks followed them. It was a real rout. Out of the corner of his eye again, Bernard saw a flashing movement at the same time as he heard a loud shout. He turned right, to see the Shofiq lad come roaring out of the garden of an old dumpy house like an express train. He'd dropped the wallbrick and picked up something that looked like a length of old rubber hose. It was about ten feet long, and grey, and an inch thick. What's more, he was swinging it round his head, round and round, faster and faster, as he ran. Bernard was amazed. The lad was swaying with the weight of the h ose whizzing round his head, sort of rocking as he ran. If it had gone much faster he would have taken off for sure, he looked so much like a helicopter. He shot towards Bobby Whitehead's lot at a terrific lick, yelling the top of his head off as he ran. The hail of rocks at the little kids stopped. They all got their wits back at once, even the girl that had been hit. They flashed across the croft bawling, a group of little frightened mice. Bobby Whitehead shouted something, and Patsy Broome bent down to pick up a lump of iron at her feet. But it was too late, much too late. Bernard watched fascinated as the Pakistani lad got closer. The little'uns dropped their bricks and ran. Pat looked at Bobby and she'd gone white. He just stared, shocked, as the helicopter whirled towards him. He opened his mouth. Patsy pulled back her arm as if she was going to bung the lump of iron, then she dropped it. She started to back away. She looked terrified. The whooshing noise of the whirling hosepipe came clearly to Bernard's ears. The Pakistani lad's mouth was open, his face all twisted up. Big Patsy turned on her heels and ran. It was obvious to Bernard that Bobby Whitehead was going to scarper too, it just had to happen. But he didn't get the chance. His gob was still wide open and he looked as if he'd wet himself. As he half turned, looking to where Pat was whistling over the croft towards the school, the helicopter arrived. As Bobby got his legs into action the hosepipe-end came whirling round, whooshing as it came. The tail-end of it caught him right across the side of the head, and he went down into a puddle with an icy splash. Bernard, his own mouth wide open in admiration and horror, looked at the still form of the terrible Bobby Whitehead. His face was like a sheet and he wasn't moving. From under the hair above his ear a long curtain of blood started to flow. The Pakistani lad had let go of the hosepipe and rubbed his hands on his jeans. He walked over to Bobby Whitehead's body and looked down at it. Then he looked towards the school and started to walk towards it. He was still 11

panting, but that was all. Bernard skirted the fallen giant and scuttled in by a different gate. He felt quite peculiar; not at all like a secret agent.

Words to Watch lay bloke click jumper thump bash up mitt (mitten) bung

soggy lot dart about pelt hail rout dumpy rubber hose

whiz croft twisted up lump whirl scarper whooshing pant

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

From whose view is the story presented? What did Shofiq's clothing suggest about him? Why did Bernard assume that all Pakistanis smelled the same? Why did the other children leave Shofiq alone? Explain what happened in paragraphs 4 and 5 starting with "Suddenly there was a big row." 6. What were Bernard's feelings when he saw the bricks flying round the little Pakistani kids? 7. How does Shofiq look like a helicopter? 8. Why does the author say the children were "a group of little frightened mice"? 9. What was the reaction of Bobby and others as they saw Shofiq advancing toward them? 10. Apart from the sight of Shofiq advancing on them, what else do you think had an effect on Bobby and Patsy? 11. What were Bernard's feelings as he looked at the `still form of the terrible Bobby Whitehead'? 12. What were Shofiq's feelings about Bobby's still body? 13. Why was Bernard feeling `quite peculiar'? 14. What are your feelings about what Shofiq did?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. He couldn't take on Bobby Whitehead through. 12

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

... the little Pakistani kids just stood there for something like ages. They didn't seem to have the sense to do anything about it. Some of the little kids started to dart about. It was a rout. He shot toward Bobby Whitehead's lot at a terrific lick, yelling the top of his head off as he ran. They all got their wits back at once. They flashed across the croft bawling, a group of little frightened mice. She started to back away. The Pakistani lad had let go of the hosepipe.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Explain what `scarper' and `gob' mean. What kind of words are they? Find some other examples of words like these in the passage. 2. Why does the writer say Bobby's face was `like a sheet'? 3. Why was the blood like a `long curtain'? 4. Explain about the comparisons that the writer uses to describe Shofiq's attack on his enemies. 5. Read the first sentences of each paragraph and discuss the way they start and the effect they achieve to build up suspense. 6. Discuss the effectiveness of those words or expressions which represent movement or sound in the passage. 7. Discuss the last picture given about Bobby Whitehead in the last lines. 8. Explain about the title given to the passage `The Tables Turned'.

Writing Projects 1. Write a story about a person bullied by others. 2. Write about your personal experience of witnessing some foreigners or strangers being treated in the same way that Pakistani children were. 3. Have you ever taken side with someone who has been bullied or have you seen anyone who has done so? Describe how it was.


His Own Boss Norman Nicholson It was not until my father was an old man that I began to understand something of his quiet contentment. As a boy, I saw the shop merely as small, dark and stuffy, a place I was expected to keep out of. Later, I began to see it as my father must have seen it. For, small as it was, it, too, was made to measure. Everything was in its place. My father claimed that he could walk into the shop in the dark, and `put his hand on' any article required, almost to the precise colour and size. The two sides of the shop were fitted with shelves, all of them packed with labelled boxes, tight and neat as a beehive. Not one cubic foot of space was wasted. There were green boxes for the shirts; deep brown boxes for the caps; narrow boxes for the ties; shallow, square, white boxes for the collars—plain, high, starched collars, butterfly collars, pointed turn-downs and rounded turndowns, and even a few clerical collars. The hats were kept separately in ovalshaped boxes which, piled one on the other, made a fine Solomon's temple pillar from floor to ceiling, while overcoats and raincoats and ready-made jackets hung in a tall showcase on the wall opposite the counter. When a customer wanted to try on a suit or a pair of trousers, my father would snap the lock and hang a green paper blind over the glass window of the door, turning the shop temporarily into a private fitting room. By the time I had reached my teens, the old rolls of cloth for suitings and the old-fashioned tailor's dummies, which my father had inherited from his days with Seth Slater, had all been thrown out at my mother's persuasion. She was responsible, too, for the new, lighter, less cluttered and, as she would have said, `more artistic' appearance of the shop window. And how greatly my father came to rely on her, in such things, became clear when she was ill and went into hospital for three months. My father was seventy-five at the time, still reluctant to give up the shop, but he now found himself needing to dress the window without her help for the first time for many years. He went upstairs to the storeroom and there dug out three or four old mufflers of a 14

type which had not been worn for at least a quarter of a century,. These he carefully folded into a kind of Chinese lantern shape, which he had learned from Mr. Slater around the turn of the century, and hung them confidently along the back of the shop window. The date was 1953. My father's daily routine was as methodical as the lay-out of his shop. He used to keep open from eight-fifteen to seven o'clock in his early days, and from nine to five-thirty after 1945. And the shop really was open throughout those hours: no closing for lunch, except, again, in later years. When he came into the house at meal-times, he would switch on a little battery-worked bell, which rang when the door opened, and when the bell rang, he would drop his knife and fork and go immediately to the shop. Often, he had taken only a couple of mouthfuls when the bell rang, and by the time he had served his customer, the meal was cold. During the Christmas shopping week, it was almost impossible to eat at all. The blessed respite from all this came on Sundays and Wednesday Early Closing. Sunday, of course, was everybody's day off, but Wednesday afternoon was the tradesmen's own privilege. I learned, as a very young child, to look forward to the peace which came over the house on Wednesday afternoon. To other boys, holiday times meant bustle and stir, the shops lit up and the streets crowded; to me they meant quietness. Even today, when I visit a town for the first time, I prefer to on an Early Closing Day. I enjoy seeing the shops empty, the shop doors shut, the streets uncrowded. In later years, when I was lying ill in the bedroom two storeys above the shop, I would often start up with a little thrill of pleasure when I heard the yale lock click into place at twelve-thirty on Wednesday. `Early Closing', I would say to myself, and lie back on the pillow, determined to enjoy it. After my father died, in 1954, the shop was let to various tenants for a period of nearly twenty years, and when the last tenant left, and the shop became once more part of the house —which, after all, is what was intended when it was built in 1880—I felt as if the week had become a perpetual Bank Holiday. I used often to go and sit in the old empty shop-space, just for the pleasure of thinking that the room was now my own, and that people would not crowd it up for the Christmas Eve or walk in at any time of the day to ask the price of a handkerchief. For Wednesday seemed to be a quite special kind of Red Letter Day— one not shared by the public, but private and peculiar to my father and me. If Sunday was the Lord's Day, Wednesday was our day. I could not, of course, foresee that many of my adult years were to be a succession of Early Closing Days, a life on short-time, but my father and his eager anticipation of 15

Wednesday afternoon had already begun to prepare me for it. He taught me to enjoy the quiet. Not many one-man shops remain today, even in the small towns, and few tradesmen still live above or behind their own shop. Economically, my father was an anachronism, belonging to the tail-end of a tradition which went back right to the time of The Shoemaker's Holiday. The independence he prided himself on was always precarious and, perhaps, even an illusion, but it seemed real enough to him. He could do as he liked in his own shop. He had to kowtow to nobody. And he had his own way of running the business which not even my mother understood. No article on the counter or in the window had a price tag, except in code, and I fancy that my father often adjusted the price to suit the customer, charging a country gentleman more than one of his fellow tradesmen. There is a story— which I can scarcely believe! — of three men, a bank manager, a local industrialist and a shopkeeper, who once met in a pub and found that each had bought exactly the same kind of hat from my father but at three quite different prices. I do know, however, that he would sometimes enter less in his ledger than the amount he had actually received, and that the extra unaccounted five or ten shillings gradually added up to enough to pay for our week at Blackpool in the summer. I think he managed to persuade himself that the holiday cost him nothing! One moment is engraved deeply on my memory because I know it was engraved on his. It was when I was still quite a young boy, and a plump, cocksure commercial traveller blustered into the shop. "I want to see the boss," he said. My father tilted back his head, peering condescendingly over his pince-nez. "I'm the boss," he said. "I'm my own boss." He had disciplined his life for fifty years in order to be able to make that reply. He had worked ten and sometimes twelve hours a day as a young man, Saturdays included; he had refused the offers of a multiple firm; he had run all the financial risks of the Depression and the two wars. And he had no doubt that it had been well worth it. At one time, when she wanted to move to the south of England, my mother tried to persuade him to ask her wealthy cousin to find him a situation in the large Bournemouth shop of which he was part owner, but my father would not hear of it. He wanted to be his own boss. If it comes to that, so do I.

Words to Watch stuffy snap


dummies cluttered

to dress (the window) mufflers

lantern lay out respite bustle thrill anticipation

anachronism precarious kowtow to charge someone engraved bluster

plump cocksure peer pince-nez condescendingly

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12.

What is the narrator's feeling toward his father's shop? In what way was the shop `made to measure'? Why was this appropriate? What would the father do when a customer wanted to try on a suit? What influence did the narrator's mother have on the shop? Why does the narrator say `the date was 1953'? In what way did the narrator feel differently about holidays? Why? Why did the narrator's father look forward to Wednesday with eager anticipation? In what ways was the narrator's father an anachronism? Explain what this `independence' meant that the narrator's father could have. Why did the narrator's father `sometimes enter less in his ledger than the amount he had actually received'? In your opinion, what did the narrator's father feel when he said "I'm my own boss"? In what ways do you think the narrator was influenced by his father in his attitude toward life?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. It was made to measure. 2. The independence he prided himself on was always precarious and, perhaps, even an illusion, but it seemed real enough to him. 3. He had disciplined himself for fifty years to be able to make that reply. 4. To other boys holiday times meant bustle and stir. 5. He has his own way of running the business.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What impression is intended by the comparison `tight and neat as a beehive'? 17

2. How can you tell from the description in the second paragraph that this was not a modern shop? 3. What does the account given tell you about the attitude of the narrator's father toward his work? Give reasons for your answer. 4. What image of the commercial traveller is created by the use of the words `plump', `cocksure', and `blustered'?

Writing Projects 1. Write down the thoughts and feeling of someone in his or her retirement looking back over his or her working life. 2. Write about the pleasure of retirement and old age. 3. Can you account for the fact that grandparents can sometimes be more understanding toward young people than parents?


Lost in the Fog Ivan Southall Alison saw the signpost coming up before her father spotted the fork in the road. The transport's progress was laborious. "There, Dad," she said sharply. He jabbed almost nervily at the brake pedal. "Good, good. Can you read it?" "r4 o." His grunt was half-sigh and he applied the handbrake to assist his foot pressure. It was a big vehicle and a deceptively steep slope. The headlights shone into timber, into trees that looked like ghosts; a flood of light diffused by fog and further diffused by the windscreen constantly misting over. "Can you see it now?" "No, Dad. It's washed-out. Old, I guess." "Let's hope the blamed thing's not so old as to be unreadable." There was a thin quality about his voice that she had heard only rarely, each occasion so long ago it was astonishing she remembered it. Or was her `remembering' nothing but fancy? Once when he had had to tell her that her mother had `gone away' and would not be back, and later when he had left her at boarding school for the first time of her life. With the thinness his diction became coarse. "Hop out," he said, "and have a look. Be careful, love. The steps'11 be slippery." It was like stepping into a freezer, but less foggy than she had thought. It was the cab that made it seem worse, the misting up, the smear of the windscreen wipers. "Do you want the torch?" "No, Dad." The road was sticky beneath her feet, glazed with red mud (she thought it was red, and shuddered, as red as blood), and the air was sharp with pungent diesel fumes pouring from the exhaust into the fog. Lying beyond the note of


the engine was a disturbingly deep stillness, as though the world had shrunk to the limits defined by the lights. Only a fool would venture beyond the lights. There was nothing out there where the stillness began. It was a signpost with three arms. To Hamer, back down the road along which they had come, 27 miles; to Lookout, 3 miles; to Lakeside, 5. It was old, faded, leaning, and not as firm in the ground as it should have been. She gave it a wobble, then headed back for the warmth of the cab and thankfully shut the door on the night. She was shivering intensely and felt sore in the stomach. "Well?" "Hamer 27. Lookout 3. Lakeside 5." "Lakeside! Where the devil's that?" Alison had no opinion. "Which way?" "To the right." "You're sure? The post was loose." "The third arm pointed back to Hamer, Dad; so the others must have been right." "O.K.," he said, "I suppose that makes sense. Pull out the map, love." "Can't you turn on the fork? Whouldn't it be better to go back?" "I'm not turning here, not on your life. Wed be over the edge. If we had wings we could take off into space with a running jump." His finger tips drummed the wheel. He looked a different sort of man. "Dad, do you think we ought to stop here?" "I'm nuts," he said, not hearing her. "But what else could I have done? I had to keep going once I'd started. I've got to find somewhere to turn. Blast the fog." It was not like Dad to swear or to involve her in his anxieties. "How am I going to get out of this place?" "Dad," she said, "stop here. I'm worried about the cold. You don't have to keep going because of me. Please!" His voice dropped suddenly to a lower but harder level. "What about the map, love?" She spread it on the seat where he could see it, but he started wiping the windscreen with a cloth. "Leave me out of it," he said, "you're navigator for tonight. My job's the road. Find Lakeside for me. Tell me where it is." "I can't, Dad." She almost Was afraid to say it. "There's nothing near H amer with a name like that." 20

"There must be." "There isn't." "No road even?" "Not on the map. Really there isn't. I suppose the scale's too small. It's only a track. Maybe it's not important enough to put on the map." "All right, love; I believe you; don't flap." "There's a dam." "Is there? Cot a name on it?" "Nothing. Only Dam. Nothing else." "That's got to be it, then, hasn't it? L akeside's got to be a park beside the dam or something of the sort. That woman in the car came from somewhere. It'd be odd if she came from Fred's." "The Lookout's closer. Perhaps she came from there." "If she did it's our bad luck. I'm not aiming to get stuck on a mountain top. This is no Mini we're pushing love. We don't turn these things on a three penny bit. Belt, love! Buckle it up." The headlights swung across foliage and the high fronds of ferns, bluntly, like searchlight cones on clouds, that she had seen in old television films about London in the war. It was a trick of the fog, but the transport seemed to grope giddily into the air, not along the ground. Then the lights came down out of the turn and rolled like masses of smoke on to the road ahead. It made her head spin. The way to Lakeside appeared to be downhill, but the hands of the clock surprised her more; green hands gleaming in the dark; they stood at twenty-five minutes to two. Thereafter she pretended to watch the clock because she was frightened to look out front. She glanced at Dad from the corners of her eyes. There he sat as he had sat before, back straight (was it a pose?) arms like boughs of trees, but different. His voice was thin. His manner was coarse. Words uttered by him were not the words he had thought. All she had seen of him in fourteen years was a mask.

Words to Watch grunt spot laborious smear torch

jab nervily steep wobble navigator

diffuse to mist hop out to grope giddily 21

pungent shrink fern

foliage frond

pose venture

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

What is meant by "the transport's progress was laborious"? Why did the man apply the handbrake? What two factors made visibility poor? "There was a thin quality about his voice." Explain what she means and why Alison should be concerned about it. What is meant by "his diction became coarse"? Give an example. Why did Alison shudder? In your own words, describe Alison's feelings and thoughts when she found herself outside the cab. How did Alison know that the signpost had not been moved? How can you tell that the man was getting anxious? What evidence was there that Lakeside existed? What did the headlights remind Alison of? Compare the different ways Alison and her Dad reacted to the situation they found themselves in. What did Alison discover about her father at this moment of crisis?



Rewrite the following statements 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.


Building Up Vocabulary words:

I'm nuts. Blast the fog. Leave me out of it. My job's age road. I'm not aiming to get stuck to a mountain top. I suppose that makes sense. It made her head spin.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Comment on the comparison "it was like stepping into a freeze" or on the description "grope giddily into the air." 2. Find statements in the passage which represent Alison's anxiety and fear. 3. The last sentence of this passage very well concludes the whole passage and its purpose. How does the writer show that mask was uncovered?


Writing Projects 1. Write a story about a personal experience in which someone has been caught in the fog, flood, earthquake or an avalanche. Express your feelings then. 2. Write about an experience according to which you come to discover something startling about someone you thought you knew very well before.


Shakespeare's Sister Virginia Woolf It would have been impossible, completely and entirely, for any woman to have written the plays of Shakespeare in the age of Shakespeare. Let me imagine, since facts are so hard to come by, what would have happened had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister, called Judith, let us say. Shakespeare himself went, very probably—his mother was an heiress—to the grammar school, where he may have learnt Latin— Ovid, Virgil and H orace— and the elements of grammar and logic. He was, it is well known, a wild boy who poached rabbits, perhaps shot a deer, and had, rather sooner than he should have done, to marry a woman in the neighbourhood, who bore him a child rather quicker than was right. That escapade sent him to seek his fortune in London. He had, it seemed, a taste for the theatre; he began by holding horses at the stage door. Very soon he got work in the theatre, became a successful actor, and lived at the hub of the universe, meeting everybody, knowing everybody, practising his art on the boards, exercising his wits in the streets, and even getting access to the palace of the queen. Meanwhile his extraordinarily gifted sister, let us suppose, remained at home. She was as adventurous, as imaginative, as agog to see the world as he was. But she was not sent to school. She had no chance of learning grammar and logic, let alone of reading Horace and Virgil. She picked up a book now and then, one of her brother's perhaps, and read a few pages. But then her parents came in and told her to mend the stockings or mind the stew and not moon about with books and papers. They would have spoken sharply but kindly, for they were substantial people who knew the conditions of life for a woman and loved their daughter— indeed, more likely than not she was the apple of her father's eye. Perhaps she scribbled some pages up in an apple loft on the sly, but was careful to hide them or set fire to them. Soon, however, before she was out of her teens, she was to be betrothed to the son of a neighbouring woolstapler. She cried out that marriage was hateful to her, and for that she was severely beaten by her father. Then he ceased to scold her. He begged her 24

instead not to hurt him, not to shame him in this matter of her marriage. He would give her a chain of beads or a fine petticoat, he said; and there were tears in his eyes. How could she disobey him? How could she break his heart? The force of her own gift alone drove her to it. She made up a small parcel of her belongings, let herself down by a rope one summer's night and took the road to London. She was not seventeen. The birds that sang in the hedge were not more musical than she was. She had the quickest fancy, a gift like her brother's, for the tune of words. Like him, she had a taste for the theatre. She stood at the stage door; she wanted to act, she said. Men laughed in her face. The manager— a fat, loose-lipped man —guffawed. He bellowed something about poodles dancing and women acting—no woman, he said, could possibly be an actress. He hinted —you can imagine what. She could get no training in her craft. Could she even seek her dinner in a tavern or roam the streets at midnight? Yet her genius was for fiction and lusted to feed abundantly upon the lives of men and women and the study of their ways. At last —for she was very young, oddly like Shakespeare the poet in her face, with the same grey eyes and rounded brows— at last Nick Greene the actor-manager took pity on her; she found herself with child by that gentleman and so— who shall measure the heat and violence of the poet's heart when caught and tangled in a woman's body? —killed herself one winter's night and lies buried at some cross-roads where the omnibuses now stop outside the Elephant and Castle. That, more or less, is how the story would run, I think, if a woman in Shakespeare's day had had Shakespeare's genius. But for my part, I agree with the deceased bishop, if such he was— it is unthinkable that any woman in Shakespeare's day should have had Shakespeare's genius. F or genius like Shakespeare's is not born among labouring, uneducated, servile people. It was not born in England among the Saxons and the Britons. It is not born today among the working classes. H ow, then, could it have been born among women whose work began, according to Professor Trevelyan, almost before they were out of the nursery, who were forced to it by their parents and held to it by all the power of law and custom? Yet genius of a sort must have existed among women as it must have existed among the working classes. Now and again an Emily Brontë or a Robert Burns blazes out and proves its presence. But certainly it never got itself on to paper. When, however, one reads of a witch being ducked, of a woman possessed by devils, of a wise woman selling herbs, or even of a very remarkable man who had a mother, then I think we are on the track of a lost novelist, a suppressed poet, of some mute and inglorious Jane Austen, some Emily Brontë who dashed her brains out on the moor or mopped and mowed about the highways crazed with the torture that her gift 25

had put her to. Indeed, I would venture to guess that Anon, who wrote so many poems without signing them, was often a woman.

Words to Watch poach escapade hub wits agog

betroth substantial woolstapler loose lipped guffaw

bellow poodles dancing lusted abundantly tangled

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. Did Shakespeare actually have a sister named Judith? 2. What kind of education does the writer say Shakespeare received? What kind would Judith receive? 3. What was Shakespeare's mother? 4. What kind of person Shakespeare is supposed to be? 5. What was Shakespeare's first job? 6. Did Shakespeare remain at the same job? 7. Why does the writer usually use the expression `let us suppose' when she refers to Shakespeare's sister? 8. How would Shakespeare's sister, Judith, study? 9. What would probably Judith have to do at home? 10. How would Judith marry? 11. What would the father do if Judith refused to marry? 12. What would Judith do, give up or struggle? How? 13. How would others react to her affection for theatre? 14. What kind of end does the writer, Virginia Woolf, predict for Judith? 15. Why does the writer compare the genius of women with that of working class? 16. What does Professor Trevelyan say about women? 17. What kind of genius could have existed among women? 18. What was the torture Emily Brontë had to undergo? 19. What does the word `Anon' stand for? 20. Why does the writer think that some writers wrote poems without signing them?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. Facts are so hard to come by. 26

2. 3. 4. 5.

not moon about with books and papers She scribbled some pages up in an apple loft on the sly. before she was out of her teens That is how the story would run.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer establish her attitude from the very first sentence? 2. Why does she say that "facts are so hard to come by"? 3. How does the conditional sentence structure "what would have happened had Shakespeare had a wonderfully gifted sister" contribute to the purpose of the writer? 4. What kind of tone does the passage bear? Is it sombre or sardonic? Discuss those details which help you discover the writer's tone. 5. What kind of picture does the writer give us of probable plight of women in Shakespeare's time or of the writer's own time? Does she see any difference between Shakespeare's time and her own time regarding women's situation? 6. Discuss the writer's effect of comparisons made in the last paragraph. 7. How does the writer conclude the essay?

Writing Projects 1. Can you also write a very short essay about the same subject or something similar in a similar manner? First decide on your tone, a satiric or a stern one. 2. Can you relate the experience expressed in this essay to something which has happened to you or to someone you know? 3. Are women in your country (or city) forced to marry the way Judith was?


The Problem That Has No Name Betty F riedan Gradually I came to realize that the problem that has no name was shared by countless women in America. As a magazine writer I often interviewed women about problems with their children, or their marriages, or their houses, or their communities. But after a while I began to recognize the telltale signs of this other problem. I saw the same signs in the suburban ranch houses and split-levels on Long Island and in New Jersey and Westchester County; in colonial houses in a small Massachusetts town; on patios in Memphis; in suburban and city apartments; in living rooms in the Midwest. Sometimes I sensed the problem, not as a reporter, but as a suburban housewife, for during this time I was also bringing up my own three children in Rockland County, New York. I heard echoes of the problem in college dormitories and semiprivate maternity wards, at PTA meetings and luncheons of the League of Women Voters, at suburban cocktail parties, in station wagons waiting for trains, and in snatches of conversations overhead at Schrafft's. The groping words I heard from other women, on quiet afternoons when children were at school or on quiet evenings when husbands worked late, I think I understood first as a woman long before I understood their larger social and psychological implications. Just what was this problem that has no name? What were the words women used when they tried to express it? Sometimes a woman would say, "I feel empty somehow ... incomplete." Or she would say, "I feel as if I don't exist." Sometimes she blotted out the feeling with a tranquilizer. Sometimes she thought the problem was with her husband, or her children, or that what she really needed was to redecorate her house, or move to a better neighborhood, or have an affair, or another baby. Sometimes, she went to a doctor with symptoms she could hardly describe: "A tired feeling ... I get so angry with the children it scares me ... I feel like crying without any reason." (A Cleveland doctor called it `the housewife's syndrome.') A number of women told me about great bleeding blisters that break out on their hands and arms. "I call it 28

the housewife's blight," said a family doctor in Pennsylvania. "I see it so often lately in these young women with four, five and six children who bury themselves in their dishpans. But it isn't caused by detergent and it isn't cured by cortisone." Sometimes a woman would tell me that the feeling gets so strong she runs out of the house and walks through the streets. Or she stays inside her house and cries. Or her children tell her a joke, and she doesn't laugh because she doesn't hear it. I talked to women who had spent years on the analyst's couch, working out their `adjustment to the feminine role', their blocks to `fulfillment as a wife and mother.' But the desperate tone in these women's voices, and the look in their eyes, was the same as the tone and the look of other women, who were sure they had no problem, even though they did have a strange feeling of desperation. A mother of four who left college at nineteen to get married told me: I've tried everything women are supposed to do —hobbies, gardening, pickling, canning, being very social with my neighbors, joining committees, running PTA teas. I can do it all, and I like it, but it doesn't leave you anything to think about— any feeling of who you are. I never had any career ambitions. All I wanted was to get married and have four children. I love the kids and Bob and my home. There's no problem you can even put a name to. But I'm desperate. I begin to feel I have no personality. I'm a server of food and a putter-on of pants and a bedmaker, somebody who can be called on when you want something. But who am I?

A twenty-three-year-old mother in blue jeans said: I ask myself why I'm so dissatisfied. I've got my health, fine children, a lovely new home, enough money. My husband has a real future as an electronics engineer. He doesn't have any of these feelings. He says maybe I need a vacation, let's go to New York for a weekend. But that isn't it. I always had this idea we should do everything together. I can't sit down and read a book alone. If the children are napping and I have one hour to myself I just walk through the house waiting for them to wake up. I don't make a move until I know where the rest of the crowd is going. It's as if ever since you were a little girl, there's always been somebody or something that will take care of your life: your parents, or college, or falling in love, or having a child, or moving to a new house. Then you wake up one morning and there's nothing to look forward to. A young wife in a Long Island development said: I seem to sleep so much. I don't know why I should be so tired. This house


isn't nearly so hard to clean as the cold-water flat we had when I was working. The children are at school all day. It's not the work. I just don't feel alive.

Words to Watch telltale ranch houses split-level patio maternity luncheon

snatches groping blot out tranquilizer blisters blight

adjustment fulfillment desperate pickling canning napping

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16.

Do only a few American women have this unnamed `problem'? What does the writer usually do? What does she discover in her enquiries? Does the place where women live have anything to do with their `problem'? Does the writer deal with this `problem' as a reporter? H ow do we find out that the author of this article may share this problem with other women? What are the expressions women use to express what they feel? How do some women try to get rid of this desperation? How do they try to fill their lives? What do the women's psychological state do to their health? How do some women react to their frustration when the feeling grows too strong? Does the writer find any difference between those American women who work in the house with those who work out of the house? What kind of life does the woman, who thinks `she has no personality' lead? Does poverty have anything to do with this `problem'? How does the twenty-three-year-old mother in blue jeans analyze the women's present situation? Why does the last woman quoted in the passage does not feel alive? Does she have any shortcoming in her life?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. But after a while I began to recognize the telltale signs of this other problem. 30

2. I was also bringing up my three children. 3. She blotted out the feeling with a tranquilizer. 4. I don't make a move when I know where the rest of the crowd is going.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the title arouse the reader's curiosity about the subject? 2. How do you think that the technique of a story writer would differ from this writer? 3. What could possibly substitute these direct quotations, reported by the writer, in a narrative or a fictional story? 4. How does the writer make her report objective and documentary?

Writing Projects 1. Can you write a report about women you have met or interviewed and have shared the same feelings with these women? (written by women students) 2. Are our women's reactions to their personal responsibilities as `housewives' much different from the women discussed in this essay? Explain why.


The Ascent of Man Jacob Bronowski Man is a singular creature. He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals: so that, unlike them, he is not a figure in the landscape —he is a shaper of the landscape. In body and in mind he is the explorer of nature, the ubiquitous animal, who did not find but has made his home in every continent. It is reported that when the Spaniards arrived overland at the Pacific Ocean in 1769 the California Indians used to say that at full moon the fish came and danced on these beaches. And it is true that there is a local variety of fish, the grunion, that comes up out of the water and lays its eggs above the normal high-tide mark. The females bury themselves tail first in the sand and the males gyrate round them and fertilise the eggs as they are being laid. The full moon is important, because it gives the time needed for the eggs to incubate undisturbed in the sand, nine or ten days, between these very high tides and the next ones that will wash the hatched fish out to sea again. Every landscape in the world is full of these exact and beautiful adaptations, by which an animal fits into its environment like one cog-wheel into another. The sleeping hedgehog waits for the spring to burst its metabolism into life. The humming-bird beats the air and dips its needle-fine beak into hanging blossoms. Butterflies mimic leaves and even noxious creatures to deceive their predators. The mole plods through the ground as if he had been designed as a mechanical shuttle. So millions of years of evolution have shaped the grunion to fit and sit exactly with the tides. But nature —that is, biological evolution —has not fitted man to any specific environment. On the contrary, by comparison with the grunion he has a rather crude survival kit; and yet —this is the paradox of the human condition— one that fits him to all environments. Among the multitude of animals which scamper, fly, burrow and swim around us, man is the only one who is not locked into his environment. His imagination, his reason, his emotional subtlety and toughness, make it possible for him not to accept the


environment but to change it. And that series of inventions, by which man from age to age has remade his environment, is a different kind of evolution —not biological, but cultural evolution. I call that brilliant sequence of cultural peaks The Ascent of Man.

Words to Watch ascent gifts ubiquitous grunion high-tide mark gyrate

incubate cog-wheel metabolism mimic noxious predators

mole plod shuttle kit scamper burrow

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

What makes man unique among animals? How is man different from other animals? How is man the `explorer of nature'? How true was the Indians' story about the fish which danced on the beaches? What do female grunions do? What do the male grunions do? What is the role of the moon in the fishes' laying eggs? Name a few of the adaptations which animals make to fit into their environment. Why do butterflies mimic leaves? What does the writer mean when he compares the mole to a mechanical shuttle? What makes man fit to all environments? What has made man not to be the slave of his environment physically? Does man adapt himself to his environment? What kind of evolution does man undergo? Why does the writer give the title of `The Ascent of Man' to his essay?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. He has a set of gifts which make him unique among the animals. 2. ... because it gives the time needed for the eggs to incubate undisturbed in the sand. 33

3. Butterflies mimic leaves and even noxious creatures to deceive their predators. 4. ... he has a rather crude survival kit. 5. .., man is the only one who is not locked into his environment.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer support his main idea with objective examples? What is the point he means to prove? 2. How convincing is the writer's argument? How does he make it persuasive? 3. Discuss the paradox with which the author starts his article.

Writing Projects In this essay, the writer deals with the `Ascent' of man scientifically. How do you see man as a sublime creature? H ow have man's imagination, reason, and toughness contributed to his greatness?


Man on the Moon "That's one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind." These were the words that Neil Armstrong spoke on July 20, 1969, as he took his first step on the moon. The moon landing was the pinnacle of achievement for the Apollo space program. For eight years, scientists had labored to make the landing a reality. Meticulous planning went into every phase of the historic voyage. The moon rocket had to be thrust into space with exceedingly high force. It had to withstand the enormous variations of temperature and pressure in outer space. Spacesuits were carefully designed to protect astronauts from the cold and to supply them with air. Finally the date for the moon landing was set for February 1967. But tragedy interrupted the planned chronology. During a takeoff practice, fire broke out in a cabin, killing three astronauts. Saddened by this event, the scientists augmented their safety precautions. The moon landing was rescheduled for 1969. On July 16, 1969, thousands gathered at Cape Kennedy to watch the launch of the moon rocket. The countdown began: "Thirty seconds ... twenty seconds ... ten ... five, four, three, two, one. We have ignition!" A great storm of red and orange flame poured out of the rocket, giving it the dynamic force to thrust into the sky. Ten thousand gallons of cool water sprayed it to mitigate the intense heat. For almost nine seconds, the rocket stood in its own ignition flames, then it slowly pulled away from earth. Inside, astronauts Neil Armstrong, Edwin Aldrin, and Michael Collins lay strapped to their seats as the rocket accelerated into outer space. F or four days the rocket made its way toward the moon. On the journey, the men became accustomed to weightlessness and enjoyed walking on the walls and ceiling of their spaceship. They took pictures of the earth from 60,000 and 150,000 miles away and transmitted them back home. On July 19 the Columbia started to circle the moon. On the thirteenth orbit, while the Columbia was on the far side of the moon and out of radio


contact with the earth, the men separated the small spaceship Eagle from the Columbia. Mission Control in Houston waited breathlessly. Would the Eagle be launched successfully? The wait to establish contact again seemed endless. Suddenly listeners on earth heard Armstrong say, "The Eagle has wings." Armstrong and Aldrin were making their way toward the moon's surface. But one crisis remained. Armstrong saw that the Eagle was heading toward a huge crater. He grabbed control and quickly steered the ship to another spot. "The Eagle has landed," proclaimed Armstrong. Armstrong and Aldrin prepared for their walk on the moon by donning heavy helmets and oxygen tanks. They slowly emptied the spacecraft of oxygen until the air pressure inside it equaled that of the moon. The hatch opened and Armstrong stepped out. Back on earth, a worldwide television audience of 600 million people watched him take the first footstep. A spacesuited man walked on a grey powdery surface against a black sky. Every step made a footprint. The moon was a dead world, and no extraterrestrial creatures or plants greeted Armstrong. The moon's gravity was only one-sixth as strong as gravity on earth. The spacesuits that weighed 180 pounds on earth here weighed only 30 pounds. Armstrong and Aldrin could easily hop and leap many feet. The astronauts brought to the moon items that had belonged to men who died breaking the frontiers of space, including Yuri G agarin, the first Russian space explorer. The United States astronauts thus indicated that the moon belonged to all mankind and should not become involved in territorial disputes between nations. The astronauts gathered samples of moon dust and moon rock. Then, twenty-one hours after landing, the Eagle flew off to rejoin the Columbia in outer space. On July 24, the Columbia landed back on earth. However, it would be three weeks before the astronauts could parade through adulatory crowds. The men were first isolated to make sure that they had not brought any harmful germs or chemicals back to earth. On their release, the three were invited to dinner at the White House. This was the first of many accolades. In the years that followed, the United States made other landings on the moon. Each successive mission brought back more information. Space science has developed rapidly, and the rocket that first carried men to the moon is now obsolete. However, the `one giant leap' will always hold a special place in our memory. 36

Words to Watch pinnacle meticulous thrust into withstand chronology augment ignition

mitigate strapped accelerate launch crisis crater donning

extraterrestrial territorial adulatory accolades successive obsolete

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. Explain the significance of the very first sentence quoted from Neil Armstrong. 2. What were the difficulties of this space program stated in the second paragraph? 3. What were the astronauts to be protected against? 4. What happened to the program set for 1967? 5. What did the scientists do after the tragedy? 6. Why did they have to pour gallons of water? 7. Why were the astronauts strapped to their seats? 8. Why was the radio contact cut off a while? 9. What did Armstrong mean by "The Eagle has wings"? 10. What was the crisis when Aldrin and Armstrong were heading toward the moon's surface? 11. Why did they empty the spacecraft of oxygen? 12. What was going on back on earth when landing on the moon was in progress? 13. How did the moon look to the television audience? 14. Who and what lived on the moon? 15. How is the gravity of the moon different from that of the earth? 16. How did the astronauts prove that the moon does not belong to one nation? 17. Who was the first frontier of space? What happened to him? 18. What did the astronauts gather? 19. When did the Columbia land back on earth? 20. Were the astronauts immediately received by the crowds of waiting people? Why or why not? 21. Where did the astronauts go first after their release? 22. Was this landing the first and the last one?


23. Did the other astronauts use the same rocket which took man to the moon? 24. Is this space journey memorable just for the excitement it brought people of the world? 25. Does the passage celebrate this success as a nationalistic triumph or as a universal one? Explain.

Building Up Vocabulary I. Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. The moon landing was the pinnacle of achievement for the Apollo space program. 2. Meticulous planning went into every phase of the historic voyage. 3. But tragedy interrupted the planned chronology. 4. Saddened by this event, the scientists augmented their safety precautions. 5. Ten thousand gallons of cool water sprayed it to mitigate the intense heat. 6. ... the rocket accelerated into space. 7. "The Eagle has landed," proclaimed Armstrong. 8. This was the first of many accolades. 9. The rocket ... is now obsolete. 10. It had to withstand the enormous variations of temperature and pressure in outer space. 11. The moon landing was rescheduled for 1969. 12. ... it slowly pulled away from earth. 13. They lay strapped to their seats. 14. A sp acesu it e d man walked on a grey powdery surface against a black sky. 15. The moon ... should not become involved in territorial disputes between nations. 16. No extraterrestrial creatures or plants greeted Armstrong. 17. ... it would be three weeks before the astronauts could parade through adulatory crowds. II. Write sentences with the following words: pinnacle, meticulous, withstand, augment, mitigate, crisis, dispute, obsolete, accelerate, and precaution.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer start the passage to make it more effective? 2. Discuss the way the writer draws the reader's attention to the sensitivity of such an epoch making exploit? 3. Discuss the technique the author uses to transfer to the reader the excitement the space voyage to the moon had brought all the space scientists.


Specify the paragraph which is the climax of this suspense. 4. What kind of order —chronological or spatial —dominates the whole essay? What is the effect of this kind of order? 5. Although the essay could be a technical or professional one, it is understandable and readable to every non-professional reader. What do you think is the main purpose and the main technique to guarantee such an appeal?

Writing Projects 1. In a similar way, write about a memorable event like one crucial event or moment of the revolution or a war operation. 2. Write about an important achievement in your life or someone else's life.


Julius Caesar—Hero or Villain? Although the famous Roman Julius Caesar lived two thousand years ago, his legend lives on in the annals of history. Some historians see him as a power-hungry villain. Others feel he was a reformer whose brutal assassination almost destroyed Rome. H owever, there is unanimity of opinion on one issue: Caesar was a unique and towering figure. Born about 100 B.C., Caesar came from a noble, but poor, family. At the time, the rulers of Rome were divided into two parties. The aristocratic party wanted to keep power in its own hands. The radical party wanted the support of the people, many of whom had lost their lands and were living in poverty in Rome. Caesar joined the radical cause. A successful Roman leader had to conquer new lands and to help expand the republic. Caesar made conquests of great magnitude. He decimated resisting forces in Gaul (now Belgium and France) and added this territory to the Roman empire. He invaded England, where he met strange tribes who painted their bodies and worshiped trees. Caesar was anxious to tell the Romans of his conquests. Although the seven books he wrote about the wars in Gaul tell an interesting story, his selfpraise can become monotonous. On the other hand, he could be brief at times, as in his most famous statement, `Veni, vidi, vici' (I came, I saw, I conquered). A decade of conquest gained Caesar considerable political power. He had formed a ruling `triumvirate' in 60 B.C. with Crassus and Pompey. Later, after Crassus's death, Caesar and Pompey started to fight for the leadership of Rome. At first Caesar felt ambivalent about attacking his former friend. Then he decided that he must do it. In the first act of the conflict, Caesar crossed the Rubicon River in 49 B.C. to challenge Pompey. (To this day the phrase `crossing the Rubicon' means to take an irreversible step.) Caesar's victory over Pompey is recorded in a trilogy, his Commentary on the Civil War. His triumph gave him a monopoly on Roman leadership, and he took the title of dictator. 40

Despite his busy career, Caesar took time for several romantic interests, among them the Egyptian Queen Cleopatra. Caesar aroused considerable disapproval when he invited her to Rome. In his short time as dictator, Caesar accomplished many reforms. He extended Roman citizenship to the whole of Italy. He improved the disintegrating condition of farmers by giving land to soldiers who had served under him. His integrity in keeping promises to his soldiers gained him the loyalty of poorer citizens. H owever, Caesar's reform of the calendar had the most longlasting effects. He replaced an inaccurate calendar with the improved Julian version. In a more trivial action, he named the month of his birth, July, after himself. Unfortunately, Caesar's successes made him many enemies. He was the victim of the perennial problem of successful people: the jealousy of others. Caesar had shown magnanimity in not executing old enemies, but they now started to plot against him. Jealousy increased as some thought he might crown himself as emperor. One nobleman, Cassius, was particularly angry over his own loss of power and prestige. Cassius plotted to assassinate Caesar, and week by week his list of treacherous conspirators grew. The day of Caesar's murder was planned for March 15, 44 B.C. Legend records that Caesar was warned to `beware the Ides of March', but decided to face his fate. The assassins gathered on the floor of the Senate building. When Caesar entered, they attacked him with daggers. Caesar resisted until he saw that his old friend, Brutus, had turned against him. "Et tu, Brute" (You too, Brutus) was his expression of anguish as he submitted to the weapons of his murderers.

Words to Watch villain annals assassination unanimity towering figure radical magnitude decimated m on of on ous

triumvirate ambivalent irreversible trilogy commentary monopoly disintegrate integrity loyalty

in accurate perennial magnanimity execute plot dagger anguish submit

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What are the contradictory ideas about Julius Caesar?


2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11.

What is the idea on which all historians agree? What was Caesar's family background? Why did he join the radical party? What was the objective of aristocratic party? What were Julius Caesar's victories? Why did Julius write books? What picture did he present of himself in his books? What was `triumvirate'? What happened after the death of Crassus? What does the fact that Caesar's crossing Rubicon has changed to a proverb show about his action? 12. How did the conflict between Pompey and Caesar end? 13. Who was Cleopatra? 14. What were Caesar's accomplishments during his emperorship? 15. Why is the month July named so? 16. Describe the nature of relationship between Caesar and his soldiers. 17. Why did Caesar have many enemies as well as many friends? 18. According to the text, what was the result of Julius' generosity toward his old enemies? 19. Why was Cassius angry? 20. When was Caesar murdered? 21. What was Caesar warned against? 22. Why didn't Caesar heed the warning? 23. Who was among his assassins? 24. What was Caesar's last statement? 25. Do you judge Caesar as a `hero' or a `villain'?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. There is unanimity of opinion on one issue. 2. Caesar made conquests of great magnitude. 3. He decimated resisting forces in Gaul. 4. ... his self-praise can become monotonous. 5. At first Caesar felt ambivalent about attacking his former friend. 6. Caesar's victory ... is recorded in a trilogy. 7. He improved the disintegrating condition of farmers ... . 8. His integrity in keeping promises to his soldiers gained him the loyalty of poorer citizens. 42

He replaced an inaccurate calendar with the improved Julian version. He was the victim of perennial problem of successful people. Caesar had shown magnanimity in not executing old enemies. .... his list of treacherous conspirators grew. "You too, Brutus?" was his expression of anguish as he submitted to the weapons of his murderers. 14. .... his legend lives on in the annals of history. 15. Caesar was anxious to tell the Romans of his conquests. 16. His triumph gave him a monopoly on Roman leadership. 17. Caesar aroused considerable disapproval when he invited Cleopatra to Rome. 18. ... they now started to plot against him.

9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Read the passage carefully and discuss the way the writer has organized the characteristics of Julius Caesar as a hero or villain. 2. Specify the topic sentence of each paragraph and the way the paragraphs are developed.

Writing Projects 1. Write a similar essay about a historical, religious, or political figure whom you consider a `hero'. 2. Write an essay about a person about whom you have ambivalent feelings: On the one hand, she/he seems admirable, on the other, detestable.


What Body Language Tells Us? The posture of your body, where you place your arms, and how you walk may reveal more to others than the words you are speaking. Many people do not realize how effectively body language communicates. A first-grade teacher stands by the door smiling and greeting the children with friendly words. If her arms are crossed, however, she is inadvertently communicating another message. Crossed arms can indicate negative feelings, and the children will probably see her as a foe rather than a friend. In a nearby high school, a student sits in math class, his body straight, his hands folded, fixing a tenacious stare on the teacher. Is he paying attention? No! His lack of movement indicates that his thoughts are far away. If the student were interested in the lesson, he would move and react. Only an inexperienced teacher would make the deduction that a student who remains static is thinking about math. In contrast to the math student's rigid posture, tilting one's head indicates friendliness and interest. A student who tilts his head and sits on the edge of his chair is paying attention to a lecture. People often tilt their heads slightly to show interest in members of the opposite sex. Enlarged pupils in one's eyes also indicate this interest. Smiling is a body language behavior with a hidden message. Most people believe that smiling indicates happiness. But scientists observing animals have found that another conclusion may be more tenable: Smiling indicates apology, or the wish to avoid an attack. A gorilla often smiles when showing stronger animals that it doesn't want to fight. A person who has accidentally transgressed social custom by hitting a stranger with an elbow will give a transitory smile that requests the injured person not to start a fight. Hands communicate much body language. An open-handed gesture is conducive to friendliness. Perhaps this is the origin of the handshake, in which people open their hands to each other. Arms folded on the chest, however, indicate defensiveness. Baseball fans have seen this behavior many times when an umpire makes a call that a team 44

manager wants him to retract. As the manager approaches, the formerly neutral umpire undergoes a transformation into an adversary simply by folding his arms. Abstaining from movement, he listens to the manager's arguments. Finally, the umpire shows his rejection just by turning his back. The dejected manager walks back to the dugout, shrugging his shoulders. Walking styles can also communicate messages. We have all seen the controlled and measured walk of a person trying to appear dignified and circumspect. People who are distraught often walk slowly, with their heads down and their hands clasped behind their backs. The person with energy and will power moves rapidly, hands swinging freely from side to side. Those who walk with their hands in their pockets may be perverse and critical of others. People who look toward the ground may be trying to circumvent the glances of others. Body language sends out powerful messages. The next time you shake hands, tilt your head, or fold your arms, think about what you are wordlessly telling another person.

Words to Watch posture crossed inadvertently tenacious deduction static tilt tenable

transgress conducive defensiveness umpire retract adversary dejected

shrug dugout obst ain circumspect distraught perverse circumvent

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

What does the author believe about body language? What do usually crossed arms communicate? How does an interested student act in math class? How does a teacher find out that a student is not paying attention? What does tilting one's head indicate? How do people show their happiness? Give three examples of transgressing social customs. H ow do body gestures function in animals? What do people mean when they shake hands? What do folding arms, turning back, and shrugging shoulders indicate in baseball? 45

11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

How do distraught people walk? How does a dignified person walk? What do swinging hands indicate? How do perverse people walk? What do people mean to do when they look toward the ground?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. If her arms are crossed, however, she is inadvertently communicating another message. 2. ... a student sits in math class ... fixing a tenacious stare on the teacher. 3. ... another conclusion may be more tenable. 4. An open-handed gesture is conducive to friendliness. 5. Baseball fans have seen this behavior many times when an umpire makes a call that a team manager wants him to retract. 6. The dejected manager walks back to the dugout, shrugging his shoulders. 7. We have all seen the ... walk of a person trying to appear dignified and circumspect. 8. People who are distraught often walk slowly ... . 9. People who look toward the ground may be trying to circumvent the glances of others. 10. Only an inexperienced teacher would make the deduction that ... . 11. As the manager approaches, the formerly neutral umpire undergoes a transformation into an adversary simply by folding his arms. 12. Those who walk with their hands in their pockets may be perverse and critical of others. 13. A person who has accidentally transgressed social custom ... will give a transitory smile ... .

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Read the essay carefully and state its thesis or main idea. 2. How is the essay divided into the main points which it discusses? Make an outline from the essay. 3. Read each paragraph and specify its topic sentence (the location of the topic sentence may vary from one paragraph to the other). Determine the number of supporting examples which are given in each paragraph. 4. In which paragraph does the writer shift from one subject to another? How does he indicate this transition? 46

5. Discuss the effectiveness of the concluding paragraph as the restatement of the main ideas of the essay.

Writing Projects 1. Concentrating on the same body gestures the passage discusses, write an essay and discuss what they communicate in our own culture. 2. Write a similar essay about facial expressions which can sometimes communicate more than words like poking one's tongue, winking, grinning, raising eyebrows, scowling (or frowning), sneering, scratching one's head, or pouting (make sure to make an outline first). 3. Write an essay contrasting the meaning these body gestures communicate in Iran and in the Western culture.


The Rewards of Living a Solitary Life May Sarton The other day an acquaintance of mine, a gregarious and charming man, told me he had found himself unexpectedly alone in New York for an hour or two between appointments. He went to the Whitney and spent the `empty' time looking at things in solitary bliss. For him it proved to be a shock nearly as great as falling in love to discover that he could enjoy himself so much alone. What had he been afraid of, I asked myself? That, suddenly alone, he would discover that he bored himself, or that there was, quite simply, no self there to meet? But having taken the plunge, he is now on the brink of adventure; he is about to be launched into his own inner space, space as immense, unexplored and sometimes frightening as outer space to the astronaut. His every perception will come to him with a new freshness and, for a time, seem startlingly original. For anyone who can see things for himself with a naked eye becomes, for a moment or two, something of a genius. With another human being present vision becomes double vision, inevitably. We are busy wondering, what does my companion see or think of this, and what do I think of it? The original impact gets lost, or diffused. "Music I heard with you was more than music." Exactly. And therefore music itself can only be heard alone. Solitude is the salt of personhood. It brings out the authentic flavor of every experience. "Alone one is never lonely: the spirit adventures, walking/In a quiet garden, in a cool house, abiding single there." Loneliness is most acutely felt with other people, for with others, we suffer from our differences of taste, temperament, mood. Human intercourse often demands that we soften the edge of perception, or withdraw at the very instant of personal truth for fear of hurting, or of being inappropriately present, which is to say naked, in a social situation. Alone we can afford to be wholly whatever we are, and to feel whatever we feel absolutely. That is a great luxury! For me the most interesting thing about a solitary life, and mine has been 48

that for the last twenty years, is that it becomes increasingly rewarding. When I can wake up and watch the sun rise over the ocean, as I do most days, and know that I have an entire day ahead, uninterrupted, in which to write a few pages, take a walk with my dog, lie down in the afternoon for a long think (why does one think better in a horizontal position?), read and listen to music, I am flooded with happiness. I am lonely only when I am overtired, when I have worked too long without a break, when for the time being I feel empty and need filling up. And I am lonely sometimes when I come back home after a lecture trip, when I have seen a lot of people and talked a lot, and am full to the brim with experience that needs to be sorted out. Then for a little while the house feels huge and empty, and I wonder where my self is hiding. It has to be recaptured slowly by watering the plants, perhaps, and looking again at each one as though it were a person, by feeding the two cats, by cooking a meal. It takes a while, as I watch the surf blowing up in fountains at the end of the field, but the moment comes when the world falls away, and the self emerges again from the deep unconscious, bringing back all I have recently experienced to be explored and slowly understood, when I can converse again with my hidden powers, and so grow, and so be renewed, till death do us part.

Words to Watch gregarious solitary bliss bore plunge brink

launch into astronaut startlingly diffused solitude

abiding acutely intercourse recapture surf

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

What kind of person is the writer's friend? What does the writer's friend discover? Was his experience pleasant or unpleasant? What has been the friend afraid of? What is a person's self compared to? What is good about being alone as opposed to being with a companion? What does the writer mean by `naked eye'? Why does the writer believe that solitude is the salt of personhood?


9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15.

What do you call a statement like `Alone one is never lonely'? Why does the writer believe that we are lonely with others? Why do we withdraw in a social situation? Why does a solitary life seem `rewarding' to the writer? When does the writer feel really lonely? How does the author find his own self? What does he feel when he finds his `self? J

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. But having taken the plunge, he is now at the brink of adventure. 2. Loneliness is most acutely felt with other people. 3. Human intercourse often demands to soften the edge of perception. 4. I am full to the brim with experience that needs to be sorted out.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. The writer bases his argument on an odd notion. What is this notion? 2. Discuss the way the writer uses paradoxes. Where are these paradoxes used in the passage?

Writing Projects 1. Write a very short essay about the time you have been among the crowd and have felt more secure among people. 2. Express your feeling about the time that you have also enjoyed solitude more than society.


The Effects of Sympathy in the Distresses of Others Edmund Burke


examine this point concerning the effect of tragedy in a proper manner, we must previously consider, how we are affected by the feelings of our fellow creatures in circumstances of real distress. I am convinced we have a degree of delight, and that no small one, in the real misfortunes and pains of others; for let the affection be what it will in appearance, if it does not make us shun such objects, if on the contrary it induces us to approach them, if it makes us dwell upon them, in this case 1 conceive we must have a delight or pleasure of some species or other in contemplating objects of this kind. Do we not read the authentic histories of scenes of this nature with as much pleasure as romances or poems, where the incidents are fictitious? The prosperity of no empire, nor the grandeur of no king, can so agreeably affect in the reading, as the ruin of the state of Macedon, and the distress of its unhappy prince. Such a catastrophe touches us in history as much as the destruction of Troy does in fable. Our delight in cases of this kind, is very greatly heightened, if the sufferer be some excellent person who sinks under an unworthy fortune. Scipio and Cato are both virtuous characters; but we are more deeply affected by the violent death of the one, and the ruin of the great cause he adhered to, than with the deserved triumphs and uninterrupted prosperity of the other; for terror is a passion which always produces delight when it does not press too close, and pity is a passion accompanied with pleasure, because it arises from love and social affection. Whenever we are formed by nature to any active purpose, the passion which animates us to it, is attended with delight, or a pleasure of some kind, let the subject matter be what it will; and as our Creator has designed we should be united by the bond of sympathy, he has strengthened that bond by a proportionable delight; and there most where our sympathy is most wanted, in the distresses of others. If this passion was simply painful, we would shun with the greatest care all persons and places that could excite such a passion; as, some who are so far gone in indolence as not to endure any strong impression actually do. But the case is widely different 51

with the greater part of mankind; there is no spectacle we so eagerly pursue, as that of some uncommon and grievous calamity; so that whether the misfortune is before our eyes, or whether they are turned back to it in history, it always touches with delight. This is not an unmixed delight, but blended with no small uneasiness. The delight we have in such things, hinders us from shunning scenes of misery; and the pain we feel, prompts us to relieve ourselves in relieving those who suffer; and all this antecedent to any reasoning, by an instinct that works us to its own purposes, without our concurrence.

Words to Watch distress fictitious prosperity proportionable indolence

spectacle calamity shunning prompt concurrence

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What does the writer think we feel about others' distresses? 2. Why does the author bring up the question of others' distress at all? 3. To what does `such subjects' in the statement "if it does not make us shun such subjects" refer? 4. What is supposed to make us shun `such subjects'? 5. According to the writer, which stories do we enjoy most? Why? b. H ow does the writer draw a distinction between fable and history? 7. In what cases does the writer think we delight in the sufferer's pain? 8. What does he mean that terror produces delight if `it does not press too close'? 9. In the writer's opinion, what is the origin of pity? 10. What does the writer say about our `Creator'? 11. What would we naturally do if the `passion' for the distress of others were painful? 12. According to the author's view, which plays do we enjoy most? 13. Is this delight in others' misfortune a pure delight? 14. Does the writer mean to show how evil man is? What is his main purpose of such an argument?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. ... let the affection be what it will in appearance.


2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

... if it induces us to approach them ... . ... if it makes us to dwell upon them ... . Such a catastrophe touches us in history as much as in fable. Our delight ... is very greatly heightened. ... if the sufferer be some excellent person who sinks under unworthy situation ... . ... when it does not press too close ... . Whether the misfortune is before our eyes, or whether they are turned back to it in history. The delight ..., hinders us from shunning scenes of misery. Pain prompts us to relieve ourselves in relieving those who suffer.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Check the meaning of paradox in a literary dictionary. Then discuss the way the basis of the argument in the passage is paradoxical. 2. Reread the passage carefully and rewrite the sentences in such a way that you only write the main sentences and eliminate those phrases or clauses which are non-essential to the main idea of the sentence. Then examine the way the style of writing is different from, for example, journalistic style in the newspapers. 3. How are the author's examples of Cato and Scipio relevant to his discussion? How do the examples support his thesis? Explain.

Writing Projects 1. What do you feel about Burke's argument in the above passage? 2. Write about what you feel when you watch a tragedy and see the hero undergo pain.


How Do You Know It's Good? M arya M an n es ►Suppose there were no critics to tell us how to react to a picture, a play, or a new composition of music. Suppose we wandered innocent as the dawn into an art exhibition of unsigned paintings. By what standards, by what values would we decide whether they were good or bad, talented or untalented, successes or failures? How can we ever know that what we think is right? For the last fifteen or twenty years the fashion in criticism or appreciation of the arts has been to deny the existence of any valid criteria and to make the words `good' or `bad' irrelevant, immaterial, and inapplicable. There is no such thing, we are told, as a set of standards, first acquired through experience and knowledge and later imposed on the subject under discussion. This has been a popular approach, for it relieves the critic of the responsibility of judgment and the public of the necessity of knowledge. It pleases those resentful of disciplines, it flatters the empty-minded by calling them open- minded, it comforts the confused. Under the banner of democracy and the kind of equality which our forefathers did not mean, it says, in effect, "Who are you to tell us what is good or bad?" This is the same cry used so long and so effectively by the producers of mass media who insist that it is the public, not they, who decides what it wants to hear and see, and that for a critic to say that this program is bad and this program is good is purely a reflection of personal taste. Nobody recently has expressed this philosophy more succinctly than Dr. Frank Stanton, the highly intelligent president of CBS television. At a hearing before the Federal Communications Commission, this phrase escaped him under questioning: "One man's mediocrity is another man's good program." There is no better way of saying "No values are absolute." There is another important aspect to this philosophy of laissez faire: It is the fear, in all observers of all forms of art, of guessing wrong. This fear is well come by, for who has not heard of the contemporary outcries against who later were called great? Every age has its arbiters who do not grow with their times, who cannot tell evolution from revolution or the difference between frivolous faddism, 54

amateurish experimentation, and profound and nacessary change. Who wants to be caught flagrante delicto with an error of judgment as serious as this? It is far safer, and certainly easier, to look at a picture or a play or a poem and to say "This is hard to understand, but it may be good," or simply to welcome it as a new form. The word `new'— in our country especially—has magical connotations. What is new must be good; what is old is probably bad. And if a critic can describe the new in language that nobody can understand, he's safer still. If he has mastered the art of saying nothing with exquisite complexity, nobody can quote him later as saying anything. But all these, I maintain, are forms of abdication from the responsibility of judgment. In creating, the artist commits himself; in appreciating, you have a commitment of your own. For after all, it is the audience which makes the arts. A climate of appreciation is essential to its flowering, and the higher the expectations of the public, the better the performance of the artist. Conversely, only a public ill-served by its critics could have accepted as art and as literature so much in these last years that has been neither. If anything goes, everything goes; and at the bottom of the junkpile lie the discarded standards too. But what are these standards? How do you get them? How do you know they're the right ones? H ow can you make a clear pattern out of so many intangibles, including that greatest one, the very private I? Well for one thing, it's fairly obvious that the more you read and see and hear, the more equipped you'll be to practice that art of association which is at the basis of all understanding and judgment. The more you live and the more you look, the more aware you are of a consistent pattern— as universal as the stars, as the tides, as breathing, as night and day— underlying everything. I would call this pattern and this rhythm an order. Not order —an order. Within it exists an incredible diversity of forms. Without it lies chaos—the wild cells of destruction— sickness. It is in the end up to you to distinguish between the diversity that is health and the chaos that is sickness, and you can't do this without a process of association that can link a bar of Mozart with the corner of a Vermeer painting, or a Stravinsky score with a Picasso abstraction; or that can relate an aggressive act with a Franz Kline painting and a fit of coughing with a John Cage composition. There is no accident in the fact that certain exnrPcsinns of art live for all time and that others die with the moment, and although you may not always define the reason, you can ask the questions. What does an artist say that is timeless; how does he say it? How much is fashion, how much is merely re55

flection? Why is Sir Walter Scott so hard to read now, and Jane Austen not? Why is baroque right for one age and too effulgent for another? Can a standard of craftsmanship apply to art of all ages, or does each have its own, and different, definitions? You may have been aware, inadvertently, that craftsmanship has become a dirty word these years because, again, it implies standards—something done well or done badly. The result of this convenient avoidance is a plenitude of actors who can't project their voices, singers who can't phrase their songs, poets who can't communicate emotion, and writers who have no vocabulary—not to speak of painters who can't draw. The dogma now is that craftsmanship gets in the way of expression. You can do better if you don't know how you do it, let alone what you're doing. I think it is time you helped reverse this trend by trying to rediscover craft: the command of the chosen instrument, whether it is a brush, a word, or a voice. When you begin to detect the difference between freedom and sloppiness, between serious experimentation and egotherapy, between skill and slickness, between strength and violence, you are on your way to separating the sheep from the goats, a form of segregation denied us for quite a while. All you need to restore it is a small bundle of standards and a Geiger counter that detects fraud, and we might begin our tour of the arts in an area where both are urgently needed: contemporary painting. I don't know what's worse: to have to look at acres of bad art to find the little good, or to read what the critics say about it all. In no other field of expression has so much double-talk flourished, so much confusion prevailed, and so much nonsense been circulated: further evidence of the close interdependence between the arts and the critical climate they inhabit. It will be my pleasure to share with you some of this double-talk so typical of our times. Item one: preface for a catalogue of an abstract painter: "Time-bound meditation experiencing a life; sincere with plastic piety at the threshold of hallowed arcana; a striving for pure ideation giving shape to inner drive; formalized patterns where neural balances reach a fiction." End of quote. Know what this artist paints like now? Item two: a review in the Art News: "... a weird and disparate assortment of material, but the monstrosity which bloomed into his most recent cancer of aggregations is present in some form everywhere ... ." Then, later, "A gluttony of things and processes terminated by a glorious constipation." Item three, same magazine, review of an artist who welds automobile fragments into abstract shapes:


"Each fragment ... is made an extreme of human exasperation, torn at and fought all the way, and has its rightness of form as if by accident. Any technique that requires order or discipline would just be the human ego. No, these must be egoless, uncontrolled, undesigned and different enough to give you a bang— fifty miles an hour around a telephone pole ... ." "Any technique that requires order or discipline would just be the human ego." What does he mean —"just be"? What are they really talking about? Is this journalism? Is it criticism? Or is it that other convenient abdiction from standards of performance and judgment practiced by so many artists and critics that they, like certain writers who deal only in sickness and depravity, "reflect the chaos about them"? Again, whose chaos? Whose depravity? I had always thought that the prime function of art was to create order out of chaos— again, not the order of neatness or rigidity or convention or artifice, but the order of clarity by which one will and one vision could draw the essential truth out of apparent confusion. I still do. It is not enough to use parts of a car to convey the brutality of the machine. This is as slavishly representative, and just as easy, as arranging dried flowers under glass to convey nature. Speaking of which, i.e., the use of real materials (burlap, old gloves, bottletops) in lieu of pigment, this is what one critic had to say about an exhibition of Assemblage at the Museum of Modern Art last year: Spotted throughout the show are indisputable works of art, accounting for a quarter or even a half of the total display. But the remainder are works of non-art, anti-art, and art substitutes that are the aesthetic counterparts of the social deficiencies that land pepole in the clink on charges of vagrancy. These aesthetic bankrupts


have no legitimate

ideological roof over their heads and not the price of a square intellectual meal, much less a spiritual sandwich, in their pockets.

I quote these words of John Canaday of The New York Times as an example of the kind of criticism which puts responsibility to an intelligent public above popularity with an intellectual coterie. Canaday has the courage to say what he thinks and the capacity to say it clearly: two qualities notably absent from his profession. Next to art, I would say that appreciation and evaluation in the field of music is the most difficult. For it is rarely possible to judge a new composition at one hearing only. What seems confusing or fragmented at first might well become clear and organic a third time. Or it might not. The only salvation here for the listener is, again, an instinct born of experience and association which allows him to separate intent from accident, design from experimentation, and 57

pretense from conviction. Much of cotemporary music is, like its sister art, merely a reflection of the composer's own fragmentation: an absorption in self and symbols at the expense of communication with others. The artist, in short, says to the public: If you don't understand this, it's because you're dumb. I maintain that you are not. You may have to go part way or even halfway to meet the artist, but if you must go the whole way, it's his fault, not yours. Hold fast to that. And remember it too when you read new poetry, that estranged sister of music. A multitude of causes, unknown to former times, are now acting with a combined force to blunt the discriminating powers of the mind, and, unfitting it for all voluntary exertion, to reduce it to a state of almost savage torpor. The most effective of these causes are the great national events which are daily taking place and the increasing accumulation of men in cities, where the uniformity of their occupations produces a craving for extraordinary incident, which the rapid communication of intelligence hourly gratifies. To this tendency of life and manners, the literature and theatrical exhibitions of the country have conformed themselves.

This startlingly applicable comment was written in the year 1800 by William Wordsworth in the preface to his "Lyrical Ballads"; and it has been cited by Edwin Muir in his recently published book "The Estate of Poetry." Muir states that poetry's effective range and influence have diminished alarmingly in the modern world. He believes in the inherent and indestructible qualities of the human mind and the great and permanent objects that act upon it, and suggests that the audience will increase when "poetry loses what obscurity is left in it by attempting greater themes, for great themes have to be stated clearly." If you keep that firmly in mind and resist, in Muir's words, "the vast dissemination of secondary objects that isolate us from the natural world," you have gone a long way toward equipping yourself for the examination of any work of art. When you come to theatre, in this extremely hasty tour of the arts, you can approach it on two different levels. You can bring to it anticipation and innocence, giving yourself up, as it were, to the life on the stage and reacting to it emotionally, if the play is good, or listlessly, if the play is boring; a part of the audience organism that expresses its favor by silence or laughter and its disfavor by coughing and rustling. Or you can bring to it certain critical faculties that may heighten, rather than diminish, your enjoyment. You can ask yourselves whether the actors are truly in their parts or merely projecting themselves; whether the scenery helps or hurts the mood; whether 58

the playwright is honest with himself, his characters, and you. Somewhere along the line you can learn to distinguish between the true creative act and the false arbitrary gesture; between fresh observation and stale cliche; between the avant-garde play that is pretentious drivel and the avant-grade play that finds new ways to say old truths. Purpose and craftsmanship —end and means—these are the keys to your judgment in all the arts. What is this painter trying to say when he slashes a broad band of black across a white canvas and lets the edges dribble down? Is it a statement of violence? Is it a self-portrait? If it is one of these, has he made you believe it? Or is this a gesture of the ego or a form of therapy? If it shocks you, what does it shock you into? And what of this tight little painting of bright flowers in a vase? Is the painter saying anything new about fl owers? Is it different from a million other canvases of flowers? Has it any life, any meaning, beyond its statement? Is there any pleasure in its forms or texture? The question is not whether a thing is abstract or representational, whether it is `modern' or conventional. The question, inexorably, is whether it is good. And this is a decision which only you, on the basis of instinct, experience, and association, can make for yourself. It takes independence and courage. It involves, moreover, the risk of wrong decision and the humility, after the passage of time, of recognizing it as such. As we grow and change and learn, our attitudes can change too, and what we once thought obscure or `difficult' can later emerge as coherent and illuminating. Entrenched prejudices, obdurate opinions are as sterile as no opinions at all. Yet standards there are, timeless as the universe itself. And when you have committed yourself to them, you have acquired a passport to that elusive but immutable realm of truth. Keep it with you in the forests of bewilderment. And never be afraid to speak up.

Words to Watch resentful banner succinctly mediocrity arluters frivolous faddism abdication

junkpile intangible diversity effulgent baroque inadvertently egotherapy sickness

prevail abstract painter piety hallowed arcama ideation disparate assortment 59

gluttony constipation exasperation depravity rigidity brutality slavishly in lieu of pigment

vagrancy fragmented conviction to blunt torpor gratify dissemination rustling

stale avant-garde dribble humility entrenched obdurate elusive

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. Does the writer in the first paragraph suggest that we do need standards to judge art or we do not? 2. Does the author support or criticize contemporary criticism? 3. According to the writer, does modern criticism act responsibly? 4. What are the consequences of having no specific criterion to evaluate works of art? 5. What does the writer feel about the producers of mass media? Do they act properly? Where do their policies lead the public? 6. What is laissez faire and why does the writer feel that in today's criticism this criterion is dominant? 7. In the writer's opinion, what does the word `new' mean? 8. What does the writer call `abdication of responsibility'? 9. What is the public's commitment? Why does the writer believe that "it is the audience which makes the arts"? 10. What should we do to be good critics? 11. What is the core of understanding and judgment? 12. What does the writer call `order'? 13. What does the writer compare order and chaos to? 14. How does the writer define timelessness? 15. Why `craftsmanship has become a dirty word'? What is the writer's attitude toward this situation? 16. What solution does the writer suggest? 17. In the first half of the essay, in which area of art does the writer seem to be more interested? 18. What is the writer's purpose of quoting statements in paragraph 12, 14, 16, and 17? 19. What does the writer conclude about these quotations? 20. How does the writer define art?


21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30.

What does the quotation following paragraph 19 suggest? Why is the evaluation of music difficult? What attitude does the writer express about contemporary musicians? What is the idea expressed in the passage quoted from Wordsworth? How does the writer respond to it? To what purpose does Muir use Wordsworth's statement? What are the `two different levels' on the basis of which you can watch a play? List the criteria you should bear in mind when you watch a play. What are the purpose and craftsmanship? What is finally the writer's own position in the last paragraph? What is the writer's advice to any audience of art?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. ... this phrase escaped him. 2. This fear is well come by ... . 3. Conversely, only a public ill-served by its critics could have accepted as art and as literature so much in these last years that has been neither. 4. If anything goes, everything goes; and at the bottom of the junkpile lie the discarded standards too. 5. ... you are on your way of separating the sheep from the goats. 6. In no other field of expression has so much double-talk flourished, so much confusion prevailed and so much nonsense been circulated. 7. ... an absorption in self and symbols at the expense of communication with others. 8. Entrenched prejudices, obdurate opinions are as sterile as no opinions at all.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What technique does the writer employ to start the essay (quotation, question, exclamation, or contrast)? 2. Explain the meaning and the effect of the statement "suppose we wandered innocent as the dawn ...". 3. Explain about the tone of the writer in the first two paragraphs and the way this tone prevails all throughout the essay. 4. In this essay the writer asks too many questions. Does she really crave for an answer? What purpose do the questions serve? 61

5. How does the writer employ quotations? Do all the quotations support the writer's own stand point? 6. Why doesn't the writer from the very beginning express and establish her own position and instead uses an ironic tone with too many questions, suppositions, and quotations? 7. Explain about the paradoxes posed in paragraph 8. 8. What is the comparison made in the last paragraph?

Writing Projects Attempt to write an article about the position of arts in your own country and express your own viewpoint about it.


How to Write a Rotten Poem With Almost No Effort? Richard H owey


you want to write a poem. You've had a rotten day or an astounding thought or a car accident or a squalid love affair and you want to record it for all time. You want to organize those emotions that are pounding through your veins. You have something to communicate via a poem but you don't know where to start. This, of course, is the problem with poetry. Most people find it difficult to write a poem so they don't even try. What's worse, they don't bother reading any poems either. Poetry has become an almost totally foreign art form to many of us. As a result, serious poets either starve or work as account executives. There is no middle ground. Good poets and poems are lost forever simply because there is no market for them, no people who write their own verse and seek out further inspiration from other bards. Fortunately, there is a solution for this problem, as there are for all imponderables. The answer is to make it easy for everyone to write at least one poem in his life. Once a person has written a poem, of whatever quality, he will feel comradeship with fellow poets and, hopefully, read their works. Ideally, there would evolve a veritable society of poet-citizens, which would elevate the quality of life worldwide. Not only that, good poets could make a living for a change. So, to begin. Have your paper ready. You must first understand that the poem you write here will not be brilliant. It won't even be mediocre. But it will be better than 50% of all song lyrics and at least equal to one of Rod McKuen's best efforts. You will be instructed how to write a four-line poem but the basic structure can be repeated at will to create works of epic length. The first line of your poem should start and end with these words: "In the of my mind." The middle word of this line is optional. Any will It word do. would be best not to use a word that has been overdone, such as `windmills' or `gardens' or `playground'. Just think of as many nouns as you can and see what fits best. The rule of thumb is to pick a noun that seems


totally out of context, such as `filing cabinet' or `radiator' or `parking lot'. Just remember, the more unusual the noun, the more profound the image. The second line should use two or more of the human senses in a conflicting manner, as per the famous, "listen to the warm." This is a sure way to conjure up `poetic' feeling and atmosphere. Since there are five different senses, the possibilities are endless. A couple that come to mind are `see the noise' and `touch the sound'. If more complexity is desired other senses can be added, as in `taste the color of my hearing', or `I cuddled your sight in the aroma of the night'. Rhyming, of course, is optional. The third line should be just a simple statement. This is used to break up the insightful images that have been presented in the first two lines. This line should be as prosaic as possible to give a `down-to-earth' mood to the poem. An example would be `she gave me juice and toast that morning', or perhaps `I left for work next day on the 8:30 bus'. The content of this line may or may not relate to what has gone before. The last line of your poem should deal with the future in some way. This gives the poem a forward thrust that is always helpful. A possibility might be, `tomorrow will be a better day', or `I'll find someone sometimes', or `maybe we'll meet again in July'. This future-oriented ending lends an aura of hope and yet need not be grossly optimistic. By following the above structure, anyone can write a poem. For example, if I select one each of my sample lines, I come up with: In the parking lot of my mind, I cuddled your sight in the aroma of the night. I left for work next day on the 8:30 bus, Maybe we'll meet again in July. Now that poem (like yours, when you're finished) is rotten. But at least it's a poem and you've written it, which is an accomplishment that relatively few people can claim. Now that you're a poet, feel free to read poetry by some of your more accomplished brothers and sisters in verse. Chances are, you'll find their offerings stimulating and refreshing. You might even try writing some more of your own poems, now that you've broken the ice. Observe others' emotions and experience your own —that's what poetry is all about. Incidentally, if you find it impossible to sell the poem you write to Bobby Goldsboro or John Denver, burn it. It will look terrible as the first page of your anthology when it's published.


Words to Watch resounding squalid pounding account executive

bards imponderable elevate mediocre

conjure up cuddle aroma aura

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. In the author's view, when may a person wish to write a poem? What is usually the problem for such a person? 2. Is really the problem with poetry or with people? What is people's problem? 3. Why should poets starve? 4. What is the writer's solution? 5. What does one feel if s/he succeeds in writing a poem? 6. As the writer gives instructions, he seems to criticize too. What and whom does he criticize? 7. Reading the author's instructions, list those points or issues which he considers significant in writing a poem. 8. What does the writer mean that "the more unusual the noun, the more profound the image"? 9. What does the writer emphasize in paragraph 6? 10. Do you find any statement that can be taken seriously about poetry? 11. Why should the `poet' burn his `poem'? 12. If such a poem should be burnt, why does the writer bother at all to give us instructions. What is his main purpose?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. You want to organize those emotions which are pounding through your veins. 2. You've had a rotten day. 3. It won't be even mediocre. 4. It would be best not to use a word that has been overdone. 5. The rule of thumb is to pick a noun that seems totally out of context. 6. ... to give a `down-to-earth' mood to the poem. 7. Chances are, you'll find their offerings stimulating and refreshing. 8. You might even try writing some more of your own poems, now that you've broken the ice. 65

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. In your opinion, is the writer serious or humorous? How do you know? 2. Find ideas, statements or words which prove that the writer is serious or humorous. 3. Every piece of writing is supposed to be persuasive. What does the writer persuade us to? 4. The writer poses a problem and then offers a solution. How practical is the solution? Can we consider this as a technique? What is the effect of the essay on the reader? 5. Discuss the tone (the writer's attitude toward the subject matter) in paragraphs 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. 6. Discuss the effect of the last paragraph regarding the purpose of the writer. How does it contribute to his purpose?

Writing Projects 1. Write something similar giving instructions about cooking a `flavorable' dish. 2. Write something serious or humorous about modern poetry in your own country.


A Few Kind Words for Superstition Robertson Davies


grave discussions of `the renaissance of the irrational' in our time, superstition does not figure largely as a serious challenge to reason or science. Parapsychology, UFO's, miracle cures, transcendental meditation and all the paths to instant enlightenment are condemned, but superstition is merely deplored. Is it because it has an unacknowledged hold on so many of us? Few people will admit to being superstitious; it implies naivete or ignorance. But I live in the middle of a large university, and I see superstition in its four manifestations, alive and flourishing among people who are indisputably rational and learned. You did not know that superstition takes four forms? Theologians assure us that it does. First is what they call Vain Observances, such as not walking under a ladder, and that kind of thing. Yet I saw a deeply learned professor of anthropology, who had spilled some salt, throwing a pinch of it over his left shoulder; when I asked him why, he replied, with a wink, that it was "to hit the Devil in the eye." I did not question him further about his belief in the Devil: but I noticed that he did not smile until I asked him what he was doing. The second form is Divination, or consulting oracles. Another learned professor I know, who would scorn to settle a problem by tossing a coin (which is a humble appeal to Fate to declare itself), told me quite seriously that he had resolved a matter related to university affairs by consulting the I Ching. And why not? There are thousands of people on this continent who appeal to the I Ching, and their general level of education seems to absolve them of superstition. Almost, but not quite. The I Ching, to the embarrassment of rationalists, often gives excellent advice. The third form is Idolatry, and universities can show plenty of that. If you have ever supervised a large examination room, you know how many jujus, lucky coins and other bringers of luck are placed on the desks of the candidates. Modest idolatry, but what else can you call it? The fourth form is Improper Worship of the True God. A while ago, I 67

learned that every day, for several days, a $2 bill (in Canada we have $2 bills, regarded by some people as unlucky) had been tucked under a candlestick on the altar of a college chapel. Investigation revealed that an engineering student, worried about a girl, thought that bribery of the Deity might help. When I talked with him, he did not think he was pricing God cheap, because he could afford no more. A reasonable argument, but perhaps God was proud that week, for the scientific oracle went against him. Superstition seems to run, a submerged river of crude religion, below the surface of human consciousness. It has done so far as long as we have any chronicle of human behavior, and although I cannot prove it, I doubt if it is more prevalent today than it has always been. Superstition, the theologians tell us, comes from the Latin supersisto, meaning to stand in terror of the Deity. Most people keep their terror within bounds, but they cannot root it out, nor do they seem to want to do so. The more the teaching of formal religion declines, or takes a sociological form, the less God appears to great numbers of people as a God of Love, resuming his older form of a watchful, minatory power, to be placated and cajoled. Superstition makes its appearance, apparently unbidden, very early in life, when children fear that stepping on cracks in the sidewalk will bring ill fortune. It may persist even among the greatly learned and devout, as in the case of Dr. Samuel Johnson, who felt it necessary to touch posts that he passed in the street. The psychoanalysts have their explanation, but calling a superstition a compulsion neurosis does not banish it. Many superstitions are so widespread and so old that they must have risen from a depth of the human mind that is indifferent to race or creed. Orthodox Jews place a charm on their doorposts; so do (or did) the Chinese. Some peoples of Middle Europe believe that when a man sneezes, his soul, for that moment, is absent from his body, and they hasten to bless him, lest the soul be seized by the Devil. How did the Melanesians come by the same idea? Superstition seems to have a link with some body of belief that far antedates the religions we know— religions which have no place for such comforting little ceremonies and charities. People who like disagreeable historical comparisons recall that when Rome was in decline, superstition proliferated wildly, and that something of the same sort is happening in our Western world today. They point to the popularity of astrology, and it is true that sober newspapers that would scorn to deal in love philters carry astrology columns and the fashion magazines count them among their most popular features. But when has astrology not been


popular? No use saying science discredits it. When has the heart of man given a damn for science? Superstition in general is linked to man's yearning to know his fate, and to have some hand in deciding it. When my mother was a child, she innocently joined her Roman Catholic friends in killing spiders on July 11, until she learned that this was done to ensure heavy rain the day following, the anniversary of the Battle of Boyne, when the Orangemen would hold their parade. I knew an Italian, a good scientist, who watched every morning before leaving his house, so that the first person he met would not be a priest or a nun, as this would certainly bring bad luck. I am not one to stand aloof from the rest of humanity in this matter, for when I was a university student, a gypsy woman with a child in her arms used to appear every year at examination time, and ask a shilling of anyone who touched the Lucky Baby; that swarthy infant cost me four shillings altogether, and I never failed an examination. Of course, I did it merely for the joke— or so I thought then. Now, I am humbler.

Words to Watch transcendental deplored unacknowledged naIvete indisputably theologians vain observance absolve idolatory jujus tucked under altar

chapel bribery deity oracle submerged chronicle prevalent resuming minatory placated cajoled unbidden

devout compulsion banished bless antedates charity proliferate yearning parade aloof swarthy humbler

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What does the writer mean by superstition `having an unacknowledged hold' on us? 2. Why do people deny being superstitious? 3. What are the four manifestations of superstition? 4. What did the professor of anthropology do to repel Devil?


5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14.

What is consulting oracles? What does idolatory mean and how do even graduate students appeal to? Why does man appeal to superstition? Did the engineering student feel that he had done something blasphemous? Why not? What does the writer see as the cause of the reinforcement of superstition? Why does the write: give the example of Dr. Samuel Johnson? List the superstitious beliefs brougth up in the whole essay? Does the writer believe that superstition has become popular in our time and world? Does the writer deny his inclination toward superstition? What does the writer mean by the last sentence: "Now, I am humbler"? In what sense is he humbler?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Is it because it has an unacknowledged hold on so many of us? (He) would scorn to settle a problem by tossing a coin. Most people keep their terror within bounds, but they cannot root it out. When has the heart of given a damn for science? How did the Melanesians come by the same idea?

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What is the situational irony with which the writer starts? 2. Detect the tinge of satire running through the essay. Underline or specify those parts or sentences which have an ironic or satiric appeal. 3. What does the essay satirize in man? 4. Notice the way the writer starts with the denial of superstition's being a threat, whereas he ends up showing how it is a threat. Why does he do so?

Writing Projects Write an essay about some of the superstitious beliefs in your country or community.


The Greek Myth of Venter The ancient Greeks and Romans lived in a world that was very different from the one we inhabit. Having few protections against harsh weather, earthquakes, or disease, they were awed by these forces. Perhaps to gain a feeling of power, the Greeks invented a story to account for the cold weather of winter. Since human beings are congenitally self-centered, it was natural for them to assume that nature was controlled by gods who thought and behaved in human ways. The story of winter is an example of Greek anthropomorphism. The legend of the genesis of winter concerns Persephone, the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. The story also illustrates a common problem of the human psyche, a mother-in-law's resentment of her son-in-law. One day long ago, the lovely Persephone was vivaciously running through fields of flowers in Sicily, when she was seen by Hades, king of the underworld. Tantalized by her beauty, he was unable to resist temptation. He seized her, dragged her into his chariot, and carried her off to the underworld, where he made her his bride. Back on Mount Olympus, the home of the gods, pandemonium broke loose as Persephone's mother, Demeter, frantically tried to get her back. She asked Zeus, the renowned king of the gods, to help her. But even Zeus could not control the maverick god Hades, when he was in his underworld kingdom. In desperation, Demeter assaulted the usual victim —the earth. She declared that there would be eternal winter. She replaced the sunlight and warmth vital to growing plants with darkness and cold. The world was soon on the brink of starvation. Zeus appealed to Hades, who finally agreed to let Persephone return to her mother, as long as the bride had not eaten anything. Demeter ng " But what what had Perc.epho„e been doi doing Demeter was trying to release her? Sitting unhappily in the underworld, she had led a spartan existence, refusing all the luxuries that Hades offered. She had eaten no food —except for seven pomegranate seeds. Alas! Persephone had eaten only a nominal i/K~.

11 K\.►







1e V





amount, but she had eaten. Hades did not have to let her go. Zeus and Demeter quickly thought of another arrangement, which proved to be viable. For nine months of the year, Persephone would live with her mother and for three months she would live with Hades. Just as Persephone's life was divided, Demeter decreed that for nine months the earth would have good weather, and for three months it would have winter. Although this arrangement was not a panacea, it was a relief from endless winter. And that is how, according to the Greeks, winter and summer came to alternate.

Words to Watch congenitally self-centered anthropomorphism genesis psyche vivaciously

pandemonium frantically

sp art an pomegranate

ren owned maverick desperation brink

nominal viable decree panacea


Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. How did the ancient Greeks and Romans feel about natural forces? 2. Why did the ancients invent stories about natural forces? 3. Why did they think that the world is controlled by gods who behaved in human way? 4. Who was Persephone? 5. What does the story of winter represent? 6. When was Persephone seen by Hades? 7. Why did Hades seize Persephone?


8. What did Persephone's mother Demeter do? 9. What was the consequence of Demeter's attempt to get her daughter back? Whom did Demeter appeal to? What was the result? 11. What happened to the earth? 12. What was Hades condition for releasing Persephone? 13. H ow did Persephone react to H ades? 14. What did Persephone eat? 15. What was the new arrangement set by Demeter and Zeus? 16. How did the new arrangement work? 72

Building Up Vocabulary I. Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. The story of winter is an example of anthropomorphism. 2. The legend of the genesis of winter concerns Persephone. 3. The story illustrates a common problem of human psyche ... . 4. She asked Zeus, the renowned king of the gods, to help her. 5. She replaced the sunlight and warmth vital to growing plants with darkness and cold. 6. She had led a spartan existence. 7. Persephone had eaten only a nominal amount. 8. Their plan proved viable. 9. They were awed by these forces. 10. The Greeks invented a story to account for the cold weather of winter. 11. ... a mother-in-law's resentment of her son-in-law. 12. ... human beings are congenitally self-centered. 13. The world was soon on the brink of starvation. 14. The lovely Persephone was vivaciously running through fields of flowers. 15. Demeter frantically tried to get her back. 16. Tantalized by her beauty, he was unable to resist temptation. 17. He seized her, dragged her into his chariot. 18. Even Zeus could not control the maverick god. 19. ... pandemonium broke loose. II. Write sentences with the following words: vivaciously, viable, vital, desperation, resent(ment), nominal, psyche, and luxury.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. Discuss the way the writer has divided the essay into paragraphs according to the narration of the story. 2. Determine the topic sentence of each paragraph.

Writing Projects 1. In a similar way, write an essay about another myth you remember or you have heard. You can refer to a book of mythology, find a myth, and then reconstruct it into a simple essay. 2. Write an essay about a legend or a folkloric story you have heard (it can be a story from your own hometown, region or tribe).


What Is Poverty? Jo Goodwin Parker You ask me what is poverty? Listen to me. Here I am dirty, smelly, and with no `proper' underwear on and with the stench of my rotting teeth near you. I will tell you. Listen to me. Listen without pity. I cannot use your pity. Listen with understanding. Put yourself in my dirty, worn out, ill-fitting shoes, and hear me. Poverty is getting up every morning from a dirt- and illness-stained mattress. The sheets have long since been used for diapers. Poverty is living in a smell that never leaves. This is a smell of urine, sour milk, and spoiling food sometimes joined with the strong smell of long-cooked onions. Onions are cheap. If you have smelled this smell, you did not know how it came. It is the smell of the outdoor privy. It is the smell of young children who cannot walk the long dark way in the night. It is the smell of the mattresses where years of `accidents' have happened. It is the smell of the milk which has gone sour because the refrigerator long has not worked, and it costs money to get it fixed. It is the smell of rotting garbage. I could bury it, but where is the shovel? Shovels cost money. Poverty is being tired. I have always been tired. They told me at the hospital when the last baby came that I had chronic anemia caused from poor diet, a bad case of worms, and that I needed a corrective operation. I listened politely—the poor are always polite. The poor always listen. They don't say that there is no money for iron pills, or better food, or worm medicine. The idea of an operation is frightening and costs so much that, if I had dared, I would have laughed. Who takes care of my children? Recovery from an operation takes a long time. I have three children. When I left them with `Granny' the last time I had a job, I came home to find the baby covered with fly specks, and a diaper that had not been changed since I left. When the dried diaper came off, bits of my baby's flesh came with it. My other child, was playing with a sharp bit of broken glass, and my oldest was playing alone at the edge of a lake. I made twenty-two dollars a week, and a good nursery 74

school costs twenty dollars a week for three children. I quit my job. Poverty is dirt. You can say in your clean clothes coming from your clean house, "Anybody can be clean." Let me explain about housekeeping with no money. For breakfast I give my children grits with no oleo or cornbread without eggs and oleo. This does not use up many dishes. What dishes there are, I wash in cold water and with no soap. Even the cheapest soap has to be saved for the baby's diapers. Look at my hands, so cracked and red. Once I saved for two months to buy a jar of Vaseline for my hands and the baby's diaper rash. When I had saved enough, I went to buy it and the price had gone up two cents. The baby and I suffered on. I have to decide every day if I can bear to put my cracked sore hands into the cold water and strong soap. But you ask, why not hot water? Fuel costs money. If you have a wood fire it costs money. If you burn electricity, it costs money. H of water is a luxury. I do not have luxuries. I know you will be surprised when I tell you how young I am. I look so much older. My back has been bent over the wash tubs every day for so long, I cannot remember when I ever did anything else. Every night I wash every stitch my school age child has on and just hope her clothes will be dry by morning. Poverty is staying up all night on cold nights to watch the fire knowing one spark on the newspaper covering the walls means your sleeping child dies in flames. In summer poverty is watching gnats and flies devour your baby's tears when he cries. The screens are torn and you pay so little rent you know they will never be fixed. Poverty means insects in your food, in your nose, in your eyes, and crawling over you when you sleep. Poverty is hoping it never rains because diapers won't dry when it rains and soon you are using newspapers. Poverty is seeing your children forever with runny noses. Paper handkerchiefs cost money and all your rags you need for other things. Even more costly are antihistamines. Poverty is cooking without food and cleaning without soap. Poverty is asking for help. Have you ever had to ask for help, knowing your children will suffer unless you get it? Think about asking for a loan from a relative, if this is the only way you can imagine asking for help. I will tell you how it feels. You find out where the office is that you are supposed to visit. You circle that block four or five times. Thinking of your children, you go in. Everyone is very busy. Finally, someone comes out and you tell her that you need help. That never is the person you need to see. You go see another person, and after spilling the whole shame of your poverty all over the desk between you, you find that this isn't the right office after all —you must repeat the whole process, and it never is any easier at the next place. 75

You have asked for help, and after all it has a cost. You are again told to wait. You are told why, but you don't really hear because of the red cloud of shame and the rising cloud of despair. Poverty is remembering. It is remembering quitting school in junior high because `nice' children had been so cruel about my clothes and my smell. The attendance officer came. My mother told him I was pregnant. I wasn't, but she thought that I could get a job and help out. I had jobs off and on, but never long enough to learn anything. Mostly I remember being married. I was so young then. I am still young. For a time, we had all the things you have. There was a little house in another town, with hot water and everything. Then my husband lost his job. There was unemployment insurance for a while and what few jobs I could get. Soon, all our nice things were repossessed and we moved back here. I was pregnant then. This house didn't look so bad when we first moved in. Every week it gets worse. Nothing is ever fixed. We now had no money. There were a few odd jobs for my husband, but everything went for food then, as it does now. I don't know how we lived through three years and three babies, but we did. I'll tell you something, after the last baby I destroyed my marriage. It had been a good one, but could you keep on bringing children in this dirt? Did you ever think how much it costs for any kind of birth control? I knew my husband was leaving the day he left, but there were no goodbyes between us. I hope he has been able to climb out of this mess somewhere. He never could hope with us to drag him down. That's when I asked for help. When I got it, you know how much it was? It was, and is, seventy-eight dollars a month for the four of us; that is all 1 ever can get. Now you know why there is no soap, no needles and thread, no hot water, no aspirin, no worm medicine, no hand cream, no shampoo. None of these things forever and ever and ever. So that you can see clearly, I pay twenty dollars a month rent, and most of the rest goes for food. For grits and cornmeal, and rice and milk and beans. I try my best to use only the minimum electricity. If! use more, there is that much less for food. Poverty is looking into a black future. Your children won't play with my boys. They will turn to other boys who steal to get what they want. I can already see them behind the bars of their prison instead of behind the bars of my poverty. And my daughter? At best, there is for her a life like mine. But you say to me, there are schools. Yes, there are schools. My children have no extra books, no magazines, no extra pencils, or crayons, or paper and most important of all, they do not have health. They have worms, they have infections, they have pink-eye all summer. They do not sleep well on the floor, 76

or with me in my one bed. They do not suffer from hunger, my seventy-eight dollars keeps us alive, but they do suffer from malnutrition. Oh yes, I do remember what I was taught about health in school. It doesn't do much good. In some places there is a surplus commodities program. Not here. The country said it cost too much. There is a school lunch program. But I have two children who will already be damaged by the time they get to school. But, you say to me, there are health clinics. Yes, there are health clinics and they are in the towns. I live out here eight miles from town. I can walk that far (even if it is sixteen miles both ways), but can my little children? My neighbor will take me when he goes, but he expects to get paid, one way or another. I bet you know my neighbor. He is that large man who spends his time at the gas station, the barbershop, and the corner store complaining about the government spending money on the immoral mothers of illegitimate children. Poverty is an acid that drips on pride until all pride is worn away. Poverty is a chisel that chips on honor until honor is worn away. Some of you say that you would do something in my situation, and maybe you would, for the first week or the first month, but for year after year after year? Even the poor can dream. A dream of a time when there is money. Money for the right kinds of food, for worm medicine, for iron pills, for toothbrushes, for hand cream, for a hammer and nails and a bit of screening, for a shovel, for a bit of paint, for some sheeting, for needles and thread. Money to pay in money for a trip to town. And, oh, money for hot water and money for soap. A dream of when asking for help does not eat away the last bit of pride. When the office you visit is as nice as the offices of other governmental agencies, when there are enough workers to help you quickly, when workers do not quit in defeat and despair. When you have to tell your story to only one person, and that person can send you for other help and you don't have to prove your poverty over and over and over again. I have come out of my despair to tell you this. Remember I did not come from another place or another time. Others like me are all around you. Look at us with an angry heart, anger that will help you help me. Anger that will let you tell of me. The poor are always silent. Can you be silent too?

Words to Watch stench ill-fitting illness-stained

sour milk privy chronic anemia

Granny grits oleo 77


attendance officer





gnats rags


sheeting spilling


Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. How does the writer describe poverty in paragraph 1? 2. Why does the writer want the reader to listen without pity? 3. What is the relationship between the writer's request in question 2 and his request from the reader to put himselflherself in her place? 4. Why do the mattresses smell? What happened to their sheets? 5. Why does everything smell of onions? 6. Who is `outdoor privy' associated with? 7. Why does the house smell of sour milk? Why can't the refrigerator be fixed? 8. Who is the personification of poverty? 9. Why did the writer have chronic anemia? 10. What does she mean when she says "the poor are always polite?" 11. Why didn't the writer have a corrective operation? Give more than one reason. 12. How did Granny take care of children? 13. Why did she quit her job? 14. What does the writer mean that "Anybody can be clean"? 15. H ow does she wash the dishes? 16. Why are her hands red and cracked? 17. Why did she destroy her marriage? What was the problem between her and her husband? Does she hate her husband for that? 18. How much help did she get from the government? How did she spend it? 19. What kind of future does the writer predict for her sons or daughter? Is 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26.

there any difference between their destiny? Why do her children have pink-eyes all summer? Why can't she use this `surplus commodities program'? Why can't she go to the health clinics? What kind of person is the neighbor? How do you classify him? What comparisons does the writer use in paragraph 13? What kind of dream can the poor have? Is it realized? What bothers the writer about going to the governmental agencies?


27. According to the last paragraph, what was the motivation and purpose of the writer to write an essay like this? 28. What do you feel about the content of this essay? Do you think that such depressing subjects should not be tried by the writers? Why or why not?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. It is the smell of milk which has gone sour ... . 2. This does not use up many dishes. 3. I hope he has been able to climb out of this mess somewhere. 4. He never could hope with us to drag him down. 5. ... they do suffer from malnutrition. 6. A dream of when asking for help does not eat away the last bit of pride. 7. I have come out of my despair to tell you this.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. 2. 3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

The writer starts her essay with a question. What is its effect? What does the writer do in the rest of the first paragraph? Can poverty be tired? What is the device used in paragraph 3? As you read on, you might have noticed that the sentences are very short sometimes. What effect do you think the writer achieves by using this technique? What device is used in "poverty is dirt"? Ask your instructor to explain it for you. Discuss the relationship between the writer's first paragraph and statement like "you say to me, there are schools," or "you say to me, there are clinics," etc. Can you think of the word `even' used in paragraph 14, "Even the poor can dream"? Underline all the rhetorical questions in the passage and discuss their effectiveness (check the meaning of rhetorical question if you do not know its meaning).

Writing Projects 1. How do you define poverty? You can write about your own concept of poverty. 2. Can you write a short essay about poverty the way you have felt it, seen it or heard about it?


Importance of Vietnam Martin Luther King, JR. Since I am a preacher by trade, I suppose it is not surprising that I have seven major reasons for bringing Vietnam into the field of my moral vision. There is at the outset a very obvious and almost facile connection between the war in Vietnam and the struggle I, and others, have been waging in America. A few years ago there was a shining moment in that struggle. It seemed as if there was a real promise of hope for the poor —both black and white —through the poverty program. There were experiments, hopes, new beginnings. Then came the buildup in Vietnam and I watched the program broken and eviscerated as if it were some idle political plaything of a society gone mad on war, and I knew that America would never invest the necessary funds or energies in rehabilitation of its poor so long as adventures like Vietnam continued to draw men and skills and money like some demonic destructive suction tube. So I was increasingly compelled to see the war as an enemy of the poor and to attack it as such. Perhaps the more tragic recognition of reality took place when it became clear to me that the war was doing far more than devastating the hopes of the poor at home. It was sending their sons and their brothers and their husbands to fight and to die in extraordinarily high proportions relative to the rest of the population. We were taking the black young men who had been crippled by our society and sending them eight thousand miles away to guarantee liberties in Southeast Asia which they had not found in southwest Georgia and East Harlem. So we have been repeatedly faced with the cruel irony of watching Negro and white boys on TV screens as they kill and die together for a nation that has been unable to seat them together in the same schools. So we watch them in brutal solidarity burning the huts of a poor village, but we realize that they would never live on the same block in Detroit. I could not be silent in the face of such cruel manipulation of the poor. My third reason moves to an even deeper level of awareness, for it grows out of my experience in the ghettos of the North over the last three years-


especially the last three summers. As I have walked among the desperate, rejected and angry young men I have told them that Molotov cocktails and rifles would not solve their problems. I have tried to offer them my deepest compassion while maintaining my conviction that social change comes most meaningfully through nonviolent action. But they asked —and rightly so —what about Vietnam? They asked if our own nation wasn't using massive doses of violence to solve its problems, to bring about the changes it wanted. Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today—my own government. For the sake of those boys, for the sake of this government, for the sake of the hundreds of thousands trembling under our violence, I cannot be silent. For those who ask the question, "Aren't you a civil rights leader?" and thereby mean to exclude me from the movement for peace, I have this further answer. In 1957 when a group of us formed the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, we chose as our motto: "To save the soul of America." We were convinced that we could not limit our vision to certain rights for black people, but instead affirmed the conviction that America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. In a way we were agreeing with Langston Hughes, that black bard of Harlem, who had written earlier: O, yes, I say it plain, America never was America to me, And yet I swear this oath — America will be! Now, it should be incandescently clear that no one who has any concern for the integrity and life of America today can ignore the present war. If America's soul becomes totally poisoned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. It can never be saved so long as it destroys the deepest hopes of men the world over. So it is that those of us who are yet determined that America will be are led down the path of protest and dissent, working for the health of our land. As if the weight of such a commitment to the life and health of America were not enough, another burden of responsibility was placed upon me in 1964; and I cannot forget that the Nobel Prize for Peace was also a commission —a commission to work harder than I had ever worked before for `the brotherhood of man'. This is a calling that takes me beyond national all81

egiances, but even if it were not present I would yet have to live with the meaning of my commitment to the ministry of Jesus Christ. To me the relationship of this ministry to the making of peace is so obvious that I sometimes marvel at those who ask me why I am speaking against the war. Could it be that they do not know that the good news was meant for all men —for Communist and capitalist, for their children and ours, for black and for white, for revolutionary and conservative? Have they forgotten that my ministry is in obedience to the one who loved his enemies so fully that he died for them? What then can I say to the `Vietcong' or to Castro or to Mao as a faithful minister of this one? Can I threaten them with death or must I not share with them my life? Finally, as I try to delineate for you and for myself the road that leads from Montgomery to this place I would have offered all that was most valid if I simply said that I must be true to my conviction that I share with all men the calling to be a son of the living God. Beyond the calling of race or nation or creed is this vocation of sonship and brotherhood, and because I believe that the Father is deeply concerned especially for his suffering and helpless and outcast children, I come tonight to speak for them. This I believe to be the privilege and the burden of all of us who deem ourselves bound by allegiances and loyalties which are broader and deeper than nationalism and which go beyond our nation's self-defined goals and positions. We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy, for no document from human hands can make these humans any less our brothers.

Words to Watch waging eviscerate rehabilitation devastating crippled solidarity ghetto conviction

massive dose purveyor descendants loosed schackles bard incandescently

integrity autopsy dissent creed deem allegiance

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What is the speaker's profession? 2. Why does Luther King bring up the subject of Vietnam? 3. What is the struggle he talks about?


4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17.

What was poverty program? Why was it promising? What happened to the program and why? What is Vietnam war compared to? How is the comparison appropriate? What was the role of black people in the war? What is ironic about blacks' participation in Vietnam war? Why couldn't Luther King remain silent`? What did King advise the angry young black men? Were these men convinced by King's reason for nonviolence? Give your reasons. Why does Luther King quote Langston Hughes' poem? What does the poem imply? What does King claim to be his main concern? Who won the Nobel Prize for Peace and what does King feel about it? What does King mean when he names Castro, Mao, or the `Vietcong'? What cause has brought King to give a speech? In the last paragraph, does King provoke a nationalistic struggle?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. Then came the buildup in Vietnam. 2. It grows out of my experience. 3. Their questions hit home. 4. America would never be free or saved from itself unless the descendants of its slaves were loosed completely from the shackles they still wear. 5. If America's soul becomes totally passioned, part of the autopsy must read Vietnam. 6. I must be true to my conviction.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. This piece is in the form of speech. How does the writer relate the subject to his main profession as a preacher in the first paragraph? 2. Considering the topic sentences of the paragraphs, see how King continues his justifications in the second, third, and fourth paragraphs? What specific sentence structure does he use? 3. Discuss the effectiveness of his last concluding paragraphs (the last four paragraphs). 4. Isolate some of the writer's metaphors and discuss their effectiveness. 5. How does the quotation from Hughes' poem support his later argument?


Writing Projects 1. Select one paragraph in this speech and analyze it in details. What is the main point or thesis of the paragraph? What are the supporting and secondary points? 2. Pick up a contemporary political issue and apply King's argument to it. 3. If you were to construct an argument against King's position, what would your major points be?


Eight Signposts to Salvation Alan Paton Does a ruling group change towards those it rules because of considerations of justice? The answer is, almost certainly, no. Does it change because of internal and external pressures? Possibly, yes. This second answer is not wholly encouraging. If the internal and external pressures become really dangerous, it may be too late to change. The people exerting the pressures may no longer care if you change. The time has come to destroy you. But the answer is not wholly discouraging. A ruling group may consent to change while it can still influence the situation. It may realise that the way to survival no longer lies in resistance to change. It may see the clouds on the horizon and know what they mean. There is a not very nice picture that comes often to my mind. A man lives in a house full of possessions. The poor and the angry and the dispossessed keep knocking at the door. Inside some members of his family urge him to open the door and others tell him that he must never open the door. Then comes the final imperious knock, and he knows at last that he must open. And when he opens, it is Death who is waiting for him. And the man is me, my wife, our children; he is the White man; above all he is the Afrikaner. But I am not writing to spread gloom. I am writing especially for those inside the house who are telling the man to open the door. I am writing for white students and priests and newspapermen and trade unionists, for the young people of the United Party and the National Party and the Progressive Party, for all those who are working for change in this implacable land. Why on earth do they do it? They do it because of those strange unweighable and immeasurable things like hope and faith. And I admire them for it in this faithless world where for many nothing exists that cannot be weighed and measured, a world that believes in so little. What a strange thing, to have been away from South Africa for some 85

months, from its threats and bannings and denial of passports, and its implacability, and then to want to get back to it again! Some people would say: Of course, you want to get back to your White comforts and privileges. Whatever truth there is in this it's not true enough. You want to get back because it's there that your life has meaning. You want to get back to those stubborn things which are the very stuff of your life. You want to get back to the students and the priests and the newspapermen. They make you feel you are alive more than all the sights of Paris and London and even Copenhagen. These young White people, the Young Turks, the young UPs and Progs and Nats, what do they want? Well, at least it is clear what a great many of them want. They want nothing less than a new country. They have realised that White leadership and AngloAfrikaner solidarity and Afrikaner supremacy don't mean anything anymore. Nothing means anything at all if its architects and planners are all White. I am no longer a party man, and I must confess my impatience with those who think that any existing political party can possibly hold the best, wisest, most practicable solution for our problems, or can possibly know the best, wisest, most practicable way towards such a solution. Some of the computerlike arguments between party and party are exasperating. The house is burning down and the would-be saviours are arguing about what colour to choose for the buckets. I don't expect younger White people to rush into a new party. But I do expect them to drop these useless recriminations. They must not shun one another. One thing binds them together that is greater than any loyalty to any party, and that is loyalty to their country and all its people. Are there any things they might all agree about? I believe so and here they are. But I do not dogmatise about them. 1. The days of White domination are over. 2. The days of unilateral White political decisions are over. 3. The progress of the homelands to political independence —however much may be left to be desired —is irreversible. 4. The possibility that all or most of the homelands will eventually form a Black Federation must be recognised. 5. The possibility that the Black Federation may itself offer to federate with `White' South Africa must be recognised. 6. If it does not make this offer, or if the offer is refused, then the final ex86

tinction of `White' South Africa will be assured. 7. The offer will not be made if `White' South Africa is not prepared to begin the dismantling of the machinery of apartheid. 8. It is the political constitution of the future `White' South Africa that is the supreme political question facing all White people, especially young White people. When I say `young', I don't mean only students. I mean all who are young enough to know that we must change or die. The problem of `White' South Africa is that there are: Some four million Whites. Some two million Coloured people. Some 750,000 Asians. Some eight million Africans. According to Nationalist theory these eight million Africans are `temporary sojourners'. They really belong somewhere else. But at least six million are permanent residents, except for the fact that no urban African has any real sense of permanence. Four million Whites therefore constitute a third of the population of `White' South Africa. The days of their domination are over. They are faced with the problem —the magnitude of which cannot be exaggerated—of constructing a social order in which justice will be done to all. And they cannot construct it unilaterally. Better wages, the quality of education, the quality of housing, the preservation of family life, all are important. But they are no longer gifts to be given by Whites to Blacks. I beg to close with three questions to all White people who understand that we change or die. Is there any future for apartheid in `White' South Africa? Is Afrikaner-English co-operation good enough, and is Afrikaner-English-Coloured-Asian co-operation not unattainable, but downright dangerous? Is there any place for the qualified franchise in `White' South Africa, or is it only another of these unilateral gifts? Change is in the air. It will come whether we White people like it or not. It won't —it cannot —be completely safe, completely sure, completely satisfying. But it will be safer and surer and more satisfying if we take our share in bringing it about in the company of all our fellow South Africans.

Words to Watch consent dispossessed imperious solidarity

gloom trade unionist implacable unilateral

banning denial stuff dismantling


supremacy exasperating recrimination shun dogmatise

irreversible federate offer extinction dismantling

sojourners magnitude qualified franchise

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What do the first two sentences of the first paragraph reveal about the writer's attitude toward the present ruling class? 2. What do the third and fourth sentences of the first paragraph show about the writer's attitude? 3. What is the writer's indirect suggestion in the first paragraph? Does it suggest a kind of threat to the ruling group? 4. Why does the writer say that the `yes' answer is not encouraging? 5. When is the ruling group in South Africa going to be destroyed? 6. Why is the `yes' answer not wholly discouraging? 7. What does the writer imply at the end of the second paragraph? Does he mean that the ruling group should and would resist? 8. What does it mean that "it may see the clouds on the horizon and know what they mean"? 9. What does the writer mean by `Death'? 10. Can we recognize the race of the writer from the fourth paragraph? 11. What is the writer's opinion about students, priests, and newspapermen? Does he consider them against or for freedom? 12. What does the pronoun `they' at the beginning of paragraph 8 refer to? 13. What does the writer mean when he says "for many nothing exists that canJ

not be weighed or measured"? 14. Is there actually something that exists but cannot be weighed? 15. Whom does the writer talk about in paragraph 9? What does this paragraph reveal on the part of the writer? 16. What does the writer feel about South Africa? 17. Does the writer agree that all the law makers in Africa should be white? 18. What does the writer feel about his former party? 19. What does the writer mean by the last sentence of paragraph 13? 20. What is the writer's purpose by listing these eight items? 21. What do the statistics in paragraphs 15-19 lead us to? 22. What do the blacks demand for a better life? Are these rights or gifts granted to them? 23. What is the idea of the last paragraph? 88

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. It may realise that the way to survival no longer lies in resistance to change. 2. But I am not writing to spread gloom. 3. They must not shun one another. 4. I beg to close with three questions. S. Change is in the air.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer put forth the main issue of this essay? How do the questions and answers function in the establishment of the main argument? 2. What is the paradox of the second paragraph? 3. How does the last sentence of the second paragraph predict the main idea of the third paragraph? 4. The third paragraph in a beautiful analogy explains what is stated in the previous paragraph. What does it mean? Who does the man represent and who do `the poor and the angry and the dispossessed' represent? What does `Death' symbolize? 5. What is the effect of paragraph 7 which consists of one short question? 6. Does `you' in paragraph 10 really mean you the reader? Why does the writer use this pronoun instead of `I' or `One' or `everybody'? 7. What effect does the writer mean to achieve again by giving paragraph 11 only one interrogative sentence? 8. Why does the writer separate paragraph 11 from paragraph 12, whereas the latter is an answer to the former one and should normally follow the preceding one? 9. Explain about the tone of the writer in paragraph 20, especially about the statement with a different print. 10. What do we usually call the questions in paragraph 22? What is their effect? 11. How does the author conclude his essay?

Writing Projects 1. How would you defend your own or others' rights in an essay? Choose a topic in which you are interested like right of women, of the oppressed, or of the poor, etc. 2. Treat the same subject of the essay in a different tone or method.


Why Don't We Complain? William F. Buckley, Jr. It was the very last coach and the only empty seat on the entire train, so there was no turning back. The problem was to breathe. Outside, the temperature was below freezing. Inside the railroad car the temperature must have been about 85 degrees. I took off my overcoat, and a few minutes later my jacket, and noticed that the car was flecked with the white shirts of the passengers. I soon found my hand moving to loosen my tie. From one end of the car to the other, as we rattled through Westchester County, we sweated; but we did not moan. I watched the train conductor appear at the head of the car. "Tickets, all tickets, please!" In a more virile age, I thought, the passengers would seize the conductor and strap him down on a seat over the radiator to share the fate of his patrons. He shuffled down the aisle, picking up tickets, punching cornmutation cards. No one addressed a word to him. He approached my seat, and I drew a deep breath of resolution. "Conductor," I began with a considerable edge to my voice ... . Instantly the doleful eyes of my seatmate turned tiredly from his newspaper to fix me with a resentful stare: what question could be so important as to justify my sibilant intrusion into his stupor? I was shaken by those eyes. I am incapable of making a discreet fuss, so I mumbled a question about what time we were due in Stamford (I didn't even ask whether it would be before or after dehydration could be expected to set in), got my reply, and went back to my newspaper and to wiping my brow. The conductor had nonchalantly walked down the gauntlet of eighty sweating American freemen, and not one of them had asked him to explain why the passengers in that car had been consigned to suffer. There is nothing to be done when the temperature outdoors is 85 degrees, and indoors the air conditioner has broken down; obviously when that happens there is nothing to do, except perhaps curse the day that one was born. But when the temperature outdoors is below freezing, it takes a positive act of will on somebody's part to set the temperature indoors at 85. Somewhere a valve was turned too 90

far, a furnace overstocked, a thermostat maladjusted: Something that could easily be remedied by turning off the heat and allowing the great outdoors to come indoors. All this is so obvious. What is not obvious is what has happened to the American people. It isn't just the commuters, whom we have come to visualize as a supine breed who have got on to the trick of suspending their sensory faculties twice a day while they submit to the creeping dissolution of the railroad industry. It isn't just they who have given up trying to rectify irrational vexations. It is the American people everywhere. A few weeks ago at a large movie theatre I turned to my wife and said, "The picture is out of focus." "Be quiet," she answered. I obeyed. But a few minutes later I raised the point again, with mounting impatience. "It will be all right in a minute," she said apprehensively. (She would rather lose her eyesight than be around when I make one of my infrequent scenes.) I waited. It was just out of focus—not glaringly out, but out. My vision is 20-20, and I assume that is the vision, adjusted, of most people in the movie house. So, after hectoring my wife throughout the first reel, I finally prevailed upon her to admit that it was off, and very annoying. We then settled down, coming to rest on the presumption that: a) someone connected with the management of the theatre must soon notice the blur and make the correction; or b) that someone seated near the rear of the house would make the complaint in behalf of those of us up front; or c) that —any minute now—the entire house would explode into catcalls and foot stamping, calling dramatic attention to the irksome distortion. What happened was nothing. The movie ended, as it has begun just out of focus, and as we trooped out, we stretched our faces in a variety of contortions to accustom the eve to the shock of normal focus. I think it is safe to say that everybody suffered on that occasion. And I think it is safe to assume that everyone was expecting someone else to take the initiative in going back to speak to the manager. And it is probably true even that if we had supposed the movie would run right through the blurred image, someone surely would have summoned up the purposive indignation to get up out of his seat and file his complaint. But notice that no one did. And the reason no one did is because we are all increasingly anxious in America to be unobtrusive, we are reluctant to make our voices heard, hesitant about claiming our rights; we are afraid that our cause is unjust, or that if it is not unjust, that it is ambiguous; or if not even that, that it is too trivial to justify the horrors of a confrontation with Author91

ity; we will sit in an oven or endure a racking headache before undertaking a head-on, I'm-here-to-tell-youcomplaint. That tendency to passive compliance, to a heedless endurance, is something to keep one's eyes on — in sharp focus. I myself can occasionally summon the courage to complain, but I cannot, as I have intimated, complain softly. My own instinct is so strong to let the thing ride, to forget about it —to expect that someone will take the matter up, when the grievance is collective, in my behalf—that it is only when the provocation is at a very special key, whose vibrations touch simultaneously a complexus of nerves, allergies, and passions, that I catch fire and find the reserves of courage and assertiveness to speak up. When that happens, I get quite carried away. My blood gets hot, my brow wet, I become unbearably and unconscionably sarcastic and bellicose; I am girded for a total showdown. Why should that be? Why could not I (or anyone else) on that railroad coach have said simply to the conductor, "Sir"—I take that back: that sounds sarcastic—"Conductor, would you be good enough to turn down the heat? I am extremely hot. In fact, I tend to get hot every time the temperature reaches 85 degr—" Strike that last sentence. Just end it with the simple statement that you are extremely hot, and let the conductor infer the cause. Every New Year's Eve I resolve to do something about the Milquetoast in me and vow to speak up, calmly, for my rights, and for the betterment of our society, on every appropriate occasion. Entering last New Year's Eve I was fortified in my resolve because that morning at breakfast I had had to ask the waitress three times for a glass of milk. She finally brought it —after I had finished my eggs, which is when I don't want it any more. I did not have the manliness to order her to take the milk back, but settled instead for a cowardly sulk, and ostentatiously refused to drink the milk —though I later paid for it--rather than state plainly to the hostess, as I should have, why I had not drunk it, and would not pay for it. So by the time the New Year ushered out the Old, riding in on my morning's indignation and stimulated by the gastric juices of resolution that flow so faithfully on New Year's Eve, I rendered my vow. Henceforward I would conquer my shyness, my despicable disposition to supineness. I would speak out like a man against the unnecessary annoyances of our time. Forty-eight hours later, I was standing in line at the ski repair store in Pico Peak, Vermont. All I needed, to get on with my skiing, was the loan, for one minute, of a small screwdriver, to tighten a loose binding. Behind the counter in the workshop were two men. One was industriously engaged in servicing the complicated requirements of a young lady at the head of the line, and 92

obviously he would be tied up for quite a while. The other—"Jiggs," his workmate called him —was a middle-aged man, who sat in a chair puffing a pipe, exchanging small talk with his working partner. My pulse began its telltale acceleration. The minutes ticked on. I stared at the idle shopkeeper, hoping to shame him into action, but he was impervious to my telepathic reproof and continued his small talk with his friend, brazenly insensitive to the nervous demands of six good men who were raring to ski. Suddenly my New Year's Eve resolution stuck me. It was now or never. I broke from my place in line and marched to the counter. I was going to control myself. I dug my nails into my palms. My effort was only partially successful. "If you are not too busy," I said icily, "would you mind handing me a screwdriver?" Work stopped and everyone turned his eyes on me, and I experienced that mortification I always feel when I am the center of centripetal shafts of curiosity, resentment, perplexity. But the worst was yet to come. "I am sorry, sir," said Jiggs deferentially, moving the pipe from his mouth. "I am not supposed to move. I have just had a heart attack." That was the signal for a great whirring noise that descended from heaven. We looked, stricken, out the window, and it appeared as though a cyclone had suddenly focused on the snowy courtyard between the shop and the ski lift. Suddenly a gigantic army helicopter materialized, and hovered down to a landing. Two men jumped out of the plane carrying a stretcher, tore into the ski shop, and lifted the shopkeeper onto the stretcher. Jiggs bade his companion goodby, was whisked out the door, into the plane, up to the heavens, down —we learned —to a near-by army hospital. I looked up manfully—into a score of man-eating eyes. I put the experience down as a reversal. As I write this, on an airplane, I have run out of paper and need to reach into my briefcase under my legs for more. I cannot do this until my empty lunch tray is removed from my lap. I arrested the stewardess as she passed empty-handed down the aisle on the way to the kitchen to fetch the lunch trays for the passengers up forward who haven't been served yet. "Would you please take my tray?" "Just a moment, sir!" she said, and marched on sternly. Shall I tell her that since she is headed for the kitchen anyway, it could not delay the feeding of the other passengers by more than two seconds necessary to stash away my empty tray? Or remind her that not fifteen minutes ago she spoke unctuously into the loudspeaker the words undoubtedly devised by the airline's highly paid public relations counselor: "If there is anything I or Miss 93

French can do for you to make your trip more enjoyable, please let us—" I have run out of paper. I think the observable reluctance of the majority of Americans to assert themselves in minor matters is related to our increased sense of helplessness in an age of technology and centralized political and economic power. For generations, Americans who were too hot, or too cold, got up and did something about it. Now we call the plumber, or the electrician, or the furnace man. The habit of looking after our own needs obviously had something to do with the assertiveness that characterized the American family familiar to readers of American literature. With the technification of life goes our direct responsibility for our material environment, and we are conditioned to adopt a position of helplessness not only as regards the broken air conditioner, but as regards the overheated train. It takes an expert to fix the former, but not the latter; yet these distinctions, as we withdraw into helplessness, tend to fade away. Our notorious political apathy is a related phenomenon. Every year, whether the Republican or the Democratic Party is in office, more and more power drains away from the individual to feed vast reservoirs in far-off places; and we have less and less say about the shape of events which shape our future. From this alienation of personal power comes the sense of resignation with which we accept the political dispensations of a powerful government whose hold upon us continues to increase. An editor of a national weekly news magazine told me a few years ago that as few as a dozen letters of protest against an editorial stance of his magazine was enough to convene a plenipotentiary of the board of editors to review policy. "So few people complain, or make their voices heard," he explained to me, "that we assume a dozen letters represent the inarticulated views of thousands of readers." In the past ten years, he said, the volume of mail has noticeably decreased, even though the circulation of his magazine has risen. When our voices are finally mute, when we have finally suppressed the natural instinct to complain, whether the vexation is trivial or grave, we shall have become automatons, incapable of feeling. When Premier Khrushchev first came to this country late in 1959 he was primed, we are informed, to experience the bitter resentment of the American people against his tyranny, against his persecutions, against the movement which is responsible for the great number of American deaths in Korea, for billions in taxes every year, and for life everlasting on the brink of disaster; but Khrushchev was pleasantly surprised, and reported back to the Russian people that he had been met with 94

overwhelming cordiality (read: apathy), except, to be sure, for "a few fascists who followed me around with their wretched posters, and should be horsewhipped." I may be crazy, but I say there would have been lost more posters in a society where train temperatures in the dead of winter are not allowed to climb to 85 degrees without complaint.

Words to Watch flecked rattle virile shuffle commutation doleful sibilant intrusion stupor fuss nonchalantly gauntlet consign furnace overstocked maladjusted supine hectoring

irksome contortion initiative blurred unobtrusive racking compliance intimated complexus of nerves bellicose girded sulk ostentatiously despicable impervious reproof brazenly mortification

centripetal perplexity whirring hover stretcher whisk out stash away unctuously notorious apathy drain away dispensation convene plenipotentiary persecution brink cordiality J

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8.

Why was there `no turning back' for the writer? Why couldn't he breathe? What is the writer's main complaint at the end of the first paragraph? What does the writer expect the passengers to do? Explain in your own words. What does the writer mean to tell the conductor? Why does he change his mind about complaining to the conductor? What question does he ask? What does he do finally? How does the writer relate the matter of temperature to the matter of his complaint? 95

9. What solution does the writer suggest in paragraph 3? 10. Explain about the idea expressed in paragraph 4. 11. What does the writer mean about telling the story of the movie he watched with his wife. What was the story? 12. What was wrong with the narrator's eyes? 13. How does the writer's wife react? 14. What does the writer expect the audience to do this time? 15. What did everybody in the theatre expect? 16. In the writer's opinion, what causes so much conservativism in Americans? 17. What does the writer tell us about his instinct? What kind of person is he? 18. What happens to the writer when he loses his control? 19. What does the writer decide to do on every New Year's Eve? 20. What does Milquetoast mean? (Consult American Heritage Dictionary) 21. What happens to the writer at breakfast in the restaurant? Why is he mad at himself? Specify the words or phrases he uses which show his indignation? 22. What does the writer mean when he says "the gastric juices of resolution" flow "faithfully on New Year's Eve"? 23. Why does the writer grow furious about the worker at the workshop? 24. How does the workman react to him? Who was the worker's partner? 25. What does the writer do this time? 26. What answer does he receive from the partner? What does he witness? 27. How is the writer disappointed? 28. Why does the writer say that "I put the experience down as a reversal"? 29. Where is the writer when he writes this essay? 30. What irony does he find in the stewardess' treatment? 31. What or whom does the writer blame for Americans' inassertiveness? 32. How does the writer relate his subjects to the politics in paragraph 20? 33. How does the editor's comment (the editor of the national weekly news magazine) support the author's attitude? 34. How does the writer warn Americans? What may happen to them? 35. How does his story about Khrushchev develop his idea about Americans' supineness?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. There was no turning back. 2. I drew a breath of resolution.


3. I began with a considerable edge to my voice. 4. What question could be so important as to justify my sibilant intrusion upon his stupor? 5. I asked a question about what time we were due in Stamford. 6. I raised the point again with mounting impatience. 7. I finally prevailed upon her to admit that it was off, and very annoying. 8. ... everyone was expecting someone else to take the initiative. 9. ... someone surely would have summoned up the purposive indignation to get up out of his seat and file his complaint. 10. We are all increasingly anxious in America to be unobtrusive. 11. I get quite carried away. 12. ... I catch fire and find the reserves of courage and assertiveness to speak up. 13. I am girded for a total showdown. 14. ... by the time the New Year ushered out the Old ... . 15. I rendered my vow. 16. ... I would conquer ... my despicable disposition to supineness. 17. ... good men who were raring to ski ... .

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer start the essay to arouse our curiosity? 2. Discuss the effectiveness of the first paragraph which describes the narrator's feeling. 3. How does the last clause of the first paragraph put forth the main issue of the essay? 4. What is the function of the parenthetical statement at the end of paragraph 2? 5. What picture does the writer give in the first sentence of paragraph 3. Explain about its effect. Do you find any sarcastic phrase? 6. The tone tends to become more intensely humorous in paragraph 3. Explain about it. 7. What do we call the situation in which the writer complains about Americans' fear of complaint, whereas he himself keeps quiet when he is supposed to speak up? 8. How does the experience presented in paragraph 5 contribute to the enhancement of the writer's main thesis? 9. Paragraph 6, although very short, is very effective. Explain about its effectiveness and its humorous impact on the reader. 97

10. In paragraph 10, what does the writer intend to do by giving the sentence within the dashes? 11. Why does he use imperative form in the last sentence of paragraph 10? 12. What analogy does the writer use in paragraph 12? What does it mean? 13. Why does the writer mix narrative form with argumentative form?

Writing Projects 1. Contrast Americans with Iranians in the matter of self-assertiveness. 2. Have you ever had a similar experience to that of the author? Write an essay about it (determine your tone before you start to write a grave or a humorous one).


The Invisible Peasants George Orwell


people who work with their hands are partly invisible, and the more important the work they do, the less visible they are. Still, a white skin is always fairly conspicuous. In northern Europe, when you see a labourer ploughing a field, you probably give him a second glance. In a hot country, anywhere south of Gibraltar or east of Suez, the chances are that you don't even see him. I have noticed this again and again. In a tropical landscape one's eyes take in everything except the human beings. It takes in the dried-up soil, the prickly pear, the palm tree and the distant mountain, but it always misses the peasant hoeing at his patch. He is the same colour as the earth, and a great deal less interesting to look at. It is only because of this that the starved countries of Asia and Africa are accepted as tourist resorts. No one would think of running cheap trips to the Distressed Areas. But where the human beings have brown skins their poverty is simply not noticed. What does Morocco mean to a Frenchman? An orangegrove or a job in Government service. Or to an Englishman? Camels, castles, palm trees, Foreign Legionnaires, brass trays and bandits. One could probably live there for years without noticing that for nine-tenths of the people the reality of life is an endless, back-breaking struggle to wring a little food out of an eroded soil. Most of Morocco is so desolate that no wild animal bigger than a hare can live on it. Huge areas which were once covered with forest have turned into a treeless waste where the soil is exactly like broken-up brick. Nevertheless a good deal of it is cultivated, with frightful labour. Everything is done by hand. Long lines of women, bent double like inverted capital L's work their way slowly across the fields, tearing up the prickly weeds with their hands, and the peasant gathering lucerne for fodder pulls it up stalk by stalk instead of reaping it, thus saving an inch or two on each stalk. The plough is a wretched wooden thing, so frail that one can easily carry it on one's shoulder, and fitted underneath with a rough iron spike which stirs the soil to a depth of about


four inches. This is as much as the strength of the animals is equal to. It is usual to plough with a cow and a donkey yoked together. Two donkeys would not be quite strong enough, but on the other hand two cows would cost a little more to feed. The peasants possess no harrows, they merely plough the soil several times over in different directions, finally leaving it in rough furrows, after which the whole field has to be shaped with hoes into small oblong patches to conserve water. Except for a day or two after rainstorms there is never enough water. Along the edges of the fields channels are hacked out to a depth of thirty or forty feet to get at the tiny trickles which run through the subsoil. Every afternoon a file of very old women passes down the road outside my house, each carrying a load of firewood. All of them are mummified with age and the sun, and all of them are tiny. It seems to be generally the case in primitive communities that the women, when they get beyond a certain age, shrink to the size of children. One day a poor old creature who could not have been more than four feet tall crept past me under a vast load of wood. I stopped her and put a five-sou piece (a little more than a farthing) into her hand. She answered with a shrill wail, almost a scream, which was partly gratitude but mainly surprise. I suppose that from her point of view, by taking any notice of her, I seemed almost to be violating a law of nature. She accepted her status as an old woman, that is to say as a beast of burden. When a family is travelling it is quite usual to see a father and a grown-up son riding ahead on donkeys, and an old woman following on foot, carrying the baggage. But what is strange about these people is their invisibility. For several weeks, always at about the same time of day, the file of old women had hobbled past the house with their firewood, and though they had registered themselves on my eyeballs I cannot truly say that I had seen them. Firewood was passing—that was how I saw it. It was only that one day I happened to be walking behind them, and the curious up-and-down motion of a load of wood drew my attention to the human being beneath it. Then for the first time I noticed the poor old earth-coloured bodies, bodies reduced to bones and leathery skin, bent double under the crushing weight. Yet I suppose I had not been five minutes on Moroccan soil before I noticed the overloading of the donkeys and was infuriated by it. There is no question that the donkeys are damnably treated. The Moroccan donkey is hardly bigger than a St. Bernard dog, it carries a load which in the British Army would be considered too much for a fifteen-hands mule, and very often its pack-saddle is not taken off its back for weeks together. But what is peculiarly pitiful is that it is the most


willing creature on earth, it follows its master like a dog and does not need either bridle or halter. After a dozen years of devoted work it suddenly drops dead, whereupon its master tips it into the ditch and the village dogs have torn its guts out before it is cold. This kind of thing makes one's blood boil, whereas —on the whole —the plight of the human beings does not. I am not commenting, merely pointing to a fact. People with brown skins are next door to invisible. Anyone can be sorry for the donkey with its galled back, but it is generally owing to some kind of accident if one even notices the old woman under her load of sticks.

Words to Watch hoeing patch resort bandits wring

eroded lucerne fodder harrow furrow

oblong mummified hobble infuriate

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. What is the important work the peasants do? 2. Why does the writer say that in tropical areas one hardly notices the peasants? 3. What do the Europeans feel about the Asians and Africans? 4. What is the main struggle of Asian or African people? 5. How is Morocco cultivated? 6. How does the writer feel about African peasants? Give your reasons. 7. How does the writer describe the conditions of farmers and farming in African or Asian countries? 8. How do the women look and why? 9. How does the woman react when the writer pays her? 10. How does the woman feel about her own plight? 11. Does the writer worry about peasants and women in Morocco only? 12. What is it that the writer believes makes `one's blood boil'? 13. What do we understand when the writer says "I am not commenting, merely pointing to a fact."

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. A white skin is always fairly conspicuous. 101

2. No one would think of running cheap trips to the distressed areas. 3. It seems to be generally the case in primitive communities that the women, when they get beyond a certain age, shrink to the size of children. 4. People with brown skins are next door to invisible.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

Explain about the significance of the first sentence. Explain about the writer's tone. Have the peasants been really invisible? Shall we take the last sentence of the passage literally or ironically? Discuss the writer's language. Is it simple, elegant or flowery?

Writing Projects 1. In a similar way to the writer's, describe a scene you have seen in another country or in your own country. 2. Write an essay on the problems and suffering of being poor. If you please, you can also write a story with a destitute narrator.


The Discus Thrower Richard Selzer I spy on my patients. Ought not a doctor to observe his patients by any means and from any stance, that he might the more fully assemble evidence? So I stand in the doorways of hospital rooms and gaze. Oh, it is not all that furtive an act. Those in bed need only look up to discover me. But they never do. From the doorway of Room 542 the man in the bed seems deeply tanned. Blue eyes and close-cropped white hair give him the appearance of vigor and good health. But I know that his skin is not brown from the sun. It is rusted, rather, in the last stage of containing the vile repose within. And the blue eyes are frosted, looking inward like the windows of a snowbound cottage. This man is blind. This man is also legless —the right leg missing from midthing down, the left from just below the knee. It gives him the look of a bonsai, roots and branches pruned into the dwarfed facsimile of a great tree. Propped on pillows, he cups his right thigh in both hands. Now and then he shakes his head as though acknowledging the intensity of his suffering. In all of this he makes no sound. Is he mute as well as blind? The moon in which he dwells is empty of all possessions —no get-well cards, small, private caches of food, day-old flowers, slippers, all the usual kickshaws of the sickroom. There is only the bed, a chair, a nightstand, and a tray on wheels that can be swung across his lap for meals. "What time is it?" he asks. "Three o'clock." "Morning or afternoon?" "Afternoon." He is silent. There is nothing else he wants to know. "How are you?" I say. GGtj 71_


VV ll V iJ


iL :



_ _t_



"It's the doctor. How do you feel?" He does not answer right away.

"Feel?" he says.


"I hope you feel better," I say. I press the button at the side of the bed. "Down you go," I say. "Yes, down," he says. He falls back upon the bed awkwardly. His stumps, unweighted by legs and feet, rise in the air, presenting themselves. I unwrap the bandages from the stumps, and begin to cut away the black scabs and the dead, glazed fat with scissors and forceps. A shard of white bone comes loose. I pick it away. I wash the wounds with disinfectant and redress the stumps. All this while, he does not speak. What is he thinking behind those lids that do not blink? Is he remembering a time when he was whole? Does he dream of feet? Of when his body was not a rotting log? He lies solid and inert. In spite of everything, he remains impressive, as though he were a sailor standing athwart a slanting deck. "Anything more I can do for you?" I ask. For a long moment he is silent. "Yes," he says at last and without the least irony. "You can bring me a pair of shoes." In the corridor, the head nurse is waiting for me. "We have to do something about him," she says. "Every morning he orders scrambled eggs for breakfast, and, instead of eating them, he picks up the plate and throws it against the wall." "Throws his plate?" "Nasty. That's what he is. No wonder his family doesn't come to visit. They probably can't stand him any more than we can." She is waiting for me to do something. "Well?" "We'll see," I say. The next morning I am waiting in the corridor when the kitchen delivers his breakfast. I watch the aide place the tray on the stand and swing it across his lap. She presses the button to raise the head of the bed. Then she leaves. In time the man reaches to find the rim of the tray, then on to find the dome of the covered dish. He lifts off the cover and places it on the stand. He fingers across the plate until he probes the eggs. He lifts the plate in both hands, sets it on the palm of his right hand, centers it, balances it. He hefts it up and down slightly, getting the feel of it. Abruptly, he draws back his right arm as far as he can. There is the crack of the plate breaking against the wall at the foot of his 104

bed and the small wet sound of the scrambled eggs dropping to the floor. And then he laughs. It is a sound you have never heard. It is something new under the sun. It could cure cancer. Out in the corridor, the eyes of the head nurse narrow. "Laughed, did he?" She writes something down on her clipboard. A second aide arrives, brings a second breakfast tray, puts it on the nightstand, out of his reach. She looks over at me shaking her head and making her mouth go. I see that we are to be accomplices. "I've got to feed you," she says to the man. "Oh, no you don't," the man says. "Oh, yes I do," the aide says, "after the way you just did. Nurse says so." "Get me my shoes," the man says. "Here's oatmeal," the aide says. "Open." And she touches the spoon to his lower lip. "I ordered scrambled eggs," says the man. "That's right," the aide says. I step forward. "Is there anything I can do?" I say. "Who are you?" the man asks. In the evening I go once more to that ward to make my rounds. The head nurse reports to me that Room 542 is deceased. She has discovered this quite by accident, she says. No, there had been no sound. Nothing. It's a blessing, she says. I go into his room, a spy looking for secrets. He is still there in his bed. His face is relaxed, grave, dignified. After a while, I turn to leave. My gaze sweeps the wall at the foot of the bed, and I see the place where it has been repeatedly washed, where the wall looks very clean and very white.

Words to Watch furtive vile repose bonsai pruned into facsimile inert

caches (of food) kicksh aw stumps scab glazed shard

athwart aide probe heft accomplice propped


Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Why does the doctor spy on his patients? How does the man in Room 542 look? What is wrong with him? What does he suffer from? Does he have many visitors? Does he speak a lot? What is his answer to the doctor's greetings? What does the doctor do with his wounds? What does the doctor think about him when dressing his wound? What does the nurse feel about him? Why? What does he do with his plate? How does he act? Does it have anything to do with the title? What does the nurse try to do with the man? What happens to the man? What does the nurse feel about what happens to the man? What does the writer mean that he was a "spy looking for secrets?" How does the man look when the doctor sees him for the last time? How do you feel about the man? Do you dislike him or pity him? Why? Is there something that the nurse and the second aide do not understand but the doctor does? Is there anything funny about the story? Is there anything sad? What?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. Ought not a doctor to observe his patients by any means and from any stance? 2. Is he remembering a time when he was whole? 3. He lies solid and inert. 4. It is something new under the sun. 5. She looks over at me shaking her head and making her mouth go. 6. I see that we are to be accomplices.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What does provoke the reader's curiosity in the first paragraph? 2. Is the doctor's initial responsibility toward his patients (described in the first paragraph) supported and preserved to the end of the story?


3. How does the physical description of the man in Room 542 affect us? 4. How do the dialogues work? What do they show us about the patient? About the doctor or the nurse? 5. What difference would it make if the writer instead of giving dialogues simply told us what he wanted to say? Which do you like better? Discuss.

Writing Projects Write your own personal experience with a disabled man or woman. How was s/he similar to or different from the man in this story?


Darkness at Noon Harold Krents Blind from birth, I have never had the opportunity to see myself and have been completely dependent on the image I create in the eye of the observer. To date it has not been narcissistic. There are those who assume that since I can't see, I obviously also cannot hear. Very often people will converse with me at the top of their lungs, enunciating each word very carefully. Conversely, people will also often whisper, assuming that since my eyes don't work, my ears don't either. For example, when I go to the airport and ask the ticket agent for assistance to the plane, he or she will invariably pick up the phone, call a ground hostess and whisper: "Hi, Jane, we've got a 76 here." I have concluded that the word `blind' is not used for one of two reasons: Either they fear that if the dread word is spoken, the ticket agent's retina will immediately detach, or they are reluctant to inform me of my condition of which I may not have been previously aware. On the other hand, others know that of course I can hear, but believe that I can't talk. Often, therefore, when my wife and I go out to dinner, a waiter or waitress will ask Kit if "he would like a drink" to which I respond that "indeed he would." This point was graphically driven home to me while we were in England. I had been given a year's leave of absence from my Washington law firm to study for a diploma in law degree at Oxford University. During the year I became ill and was hospitalized. Immediately after admission, I was wheeled down to the X-ray room. Just at the door sat an elderly woman —elderly I would judge from the sound of her voice. "What is his name?" the woman asked the orderly who had been wheeling me. "What's your name?" the orderly repeated to me. "Harold Krents," I replied. "Harold Krents," he repeated. "When was he born?"


"When were you born?" "Nov. 5, 1944," I responded. "Nov. 5, 1944," the orderly intoned. This procedure continued for approximately five minutes at which point even my saint-like disposition deserted me. "Look," I finally blurted out, "this is absolutely ridiculous. Okay, granted I can't see, but it's got to have become pretty clear to both of you that I don't need an interpreter." "He says he doesn't need an interpreter," the orderly reported to the woman. The toughest misconception of all is the view that because I can't see, I can't work. I was turned down by over forty law firms because of my blindness, even though my qualifications included a cum laude degree from Harvard College and a good ranking in my Harvard Law School class. The attempt to find employment, the continuous frustration of being told that it was impossible for a blind person to practice law, the rejection letters, not based on my lack of ability but rather on my disability, will always remain one of the most disillusioning experiences of my life. Fortunately, this view of limitation and exclusion is beginning to change. On April 16, the Department of Labor issued regulations that mandate equalemployment opportunities for the handicapped. By and large, the business community's response to offering employment to the disabled has been enthusiastic. I therefore look forward to the day, with the expectation that it is certain to come, when employers will view their handicapped workers as a little child did me years ago when my family still lived in Scarsdale. I was playing basketball with my father in our backyard according to procedures we had developed. My father would stand beneath the hoop, shout, and I would shoot over his head at the basket attached to our garage. Our next-door neighbor, aged five, wandered over into our yard with a playmate. "He's blind," our neighbor whispered to her friend in a voice that could be heard distinctly by Dad and me. Dad shot and missed. I did the same. Dad hit the rim. I missed entirely. Dad shot and missed the garage entirely. "Which one is blind?" whispered back the little friend. I would hope that in the near future when a plant manager is touring the factory with the foreman and comes upon a handicapped and nonhandicapped person working together, his comment after watching them work will be, "Which one is disabled?" 109

Words to Watch to date narcissistic enunciate invariably

retina graphically to wheel down intone

blurt out disillusioning mandate hoop

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.

What is the writer's main complaint in the first paragraph? How is he dependent? What is not narcissistic? What is people's wrong assumption about the writer? Why do they whisper when they talk about him? How do ticket agents react to the writer as a blind man? What could number `76' mean? Is the word `blind' annoying to the writer? According to the author, why do people avoid uttering the word `blind'? From the examples the writer gives, what conclusion he is getting at? What does the writer mean to do by saying to the waiter/waitress "indeed he would"? What was the writer doing at Oxford? What does the short dialogue between the two women show? How does the writer react to the people in the hospital? After the writer's angry response, does the elderly woman stop talking to the other woman as an interpreter? How does the writer's blindness affect his professional life? What was his bitter experience concerning his job? Was he unqualified to work? What is the writer's specialization? Has there been any law to alleviate the limitations imposed on the disabled? What does the writer look forward to? What does the author mean by telling the story of his childhood? What conclusion do you draw from his childhood's memory? How does the writer relate his memory of childhood to his present state? Is the writer only concerned with his own disposition as a blind man?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. To date it has not been narcissistic. 110

2. 3. 4. 5.

Very often people will converse with me at the top of their lungs. This point was graphically driven home to me ... . ... even my saint-like disposition deserted me. I was turned down by over fifty law firms.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What does the title mean? What is the term for a phrase like `Darkness At Noon'? How is it related to the whole essay? 2. Why does the writer start his third paragraph (and later ones) with an example? 3. How does the writer switch into a new subject in paragraph 4? 4. What does `This point' in paragraph 5 refer to? 5. What is the effect of paragraph 14 with one sentence only? 6. How does the writer use his memoir to conclude his essay? 7. Express your response to the last paragraph. Is this way of ending the essay appealing to you?

Writing Projects 1. In a short essay, write about your observations concerning people's treatment of the handicapped. 2. Does `disability' mean `inability'? Discuss.


Silk Workers Agnes Smedley Just as I arrived in Canton in the hot summer months of 1930, another General was killed by his bodyguard for the sake of the fifty Chinese dollars offered by a rival General. Such events had begun to strike me as sardonic. The Kwangtung Provincial Government was semi-independent, but in the hands of generals who took by violence what they considered their share in the loot of the south. They whirled around the city in bullet-proof cars with armed bodyguards standing on the running boards. Such was the spirit of the generals and of the officials whom they brought to power with them. I interviewed them all and put no stock in what they said. They treated me magnificently, for foreign journalists seldom or never went south in the hot summer months. So I had a Government launch to myself, with an official guide to show me factories, paved roads, new waterworks and the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. For truth I depended on Chinese university professors, an occasional newspaper reporter or editor, teachers and writers, the German Consul in Canton —and on my own eyes and ears. The real reason I went south in the hottest part of the year was to study the lot of the millions of `silk peasants' in a silk industry which was rapidly losing its American markets to Japanese magnates. But I did not wish to see the silk regions as a guest of the powerful Canton Silk Guild, for the Guild, after all, was like a big laughing Buddha, naked to the waist, his fat belly hanging over his pajama belt. At last I found a group of Lingnan Christian University professors who were engaged in research in the industry. One young expert was leaving for the Shuntek silk region for a six weeks' inspection tour. I went with him to the Canton Silk Guild, where he argued with a suspicious Guild official until given permission to travel on Guild river steamers and enter the region in which millions of peasants toiled. There the millionaires of the South Seas had erected many large filatures; the spinners were all young women. Next day the young expert and I boarded a river steamer. Some twenty or 112

thirty Guild merchants were the only other passengers. The steamers had armor plating and machine-guns to protect the merchants from `bandits'. The `bandits', I learned, were peasants who took to the highway for a part of each year in order to earn a living. I once calculated that, if these `bandits' had attacked and captured our steamer, they would have secured enough food to feed a whole village for months. At meal times the merchants hunched over the tables, eating gargantuan meals and dropping the chicken bones on the floor. They talked of silk, money, markets, and of how much their firms were losing. The silk industry was indeed fighting for its life, but if there were losses, it clearly did not come out of the hides of these men. I pined a little for Jesse Janes. My young escort was awed by these men, but when he spoke of the silk peasants or the girl filature workers, hostility and contempt crept into his voice. His particular hatred seemed to be the thousands of women spinners, and only with difficulty could I learn why. He told me that the women were notorious throughout China. They refused to marry, and if their families forced them, they merely bribed their husbands with a part of their wages. The most such a married girl would do was bear one son; then she would return to the factory, refusing to live with her husband any longer. The Government had just issued a decree forbidding women to escape from marriage by bribery, but the women ignored it. "They're too rich —that's the root of the trouble!" my young escort explained. "They earn as much as eleven dollars a month, and become proud and contemptuous." He added that on this money they also supported parents, brothers and sisters, and grandparents. "They squander their money!" he cried. "I have never gone to a picture theater without seeing groups of them sitting together, holding hands." Until 1927, when they were forbidden, there had been Communist cells and trade unions in the filatures, he charged, and now these despicable girls evaded the law by forming secret `Sister Societies.' They had even dared strike for shorter hours and higher wages. Now and then two or three girls would commit suicide together because their families were forcing them to marry. For weeks my escort and I went by foot or small boat from village to village, from market town to market town. The fierce sun beat down upon us until our clothing clung to our bodies like a surgeon's glove and the perspiration wilted our hat bands and our shoes. At night we took rooms in village inns or pitched our camp beds under mosquito nets in family temples. All the roads and paths were lined with half-naked peasants bending low under huge


baskets of cocoons swung from the ends of bamboo poles. Market towns reeked with the cocoons and hanks of raw silk piled up to the rafters in the warehouses. Every village was a mass of trays on which the silkworms fed, tended night and day by gaunt careworn peasants who went about naked to the waist. At first curiously, then with interest, my escort began to translate for me as I questioned the peasants on their life and work. Their homes were bare huts with earthen floors, and the bed was a board covered by an old mat and surrounded by a cotton cloth, once white, which served as a mosquito net. There was usually a small clay stove with a cooking utensil or two, a narrow bench, and sometimes an ancient, scarred table. For millions this was home. A few owned several mulberry trees —for wealth was reckoned in trees. But almost all had sold their cocoon crops in advance in order to get money or food. If the crop failed, they were the losers. Wherever we traveled the story was the same: The silk peasants were held in pawn by the merchants and were never free from debt. Only as we neared big market towns, in which silk filatures belched forth the stench of cocoons, did we come upon better homes and fewer careworn faces. The daughters of such families were spinners. It was then that I began to see what industrialism, bad as it had seemed elsewhere, meant to the working girls. These were the only places in the whole country where the birth of a baby girl was an occasion for joy, for here girls were the main support of their families. The hatred of my escort for these girls became more marked when we visited the filatures. Long lines of them, clad in glossy black jackets and trousers, sat before boiling vats of cocoons, their parboiled fingers twinkling among the spinning filaments. Sometimes a remark passed along their lines set a whole mill laughing. The face of my escort would grow livid. "They call me a running dog of the capitalists, and you a foreign devil of an imperialist! They are laughing at your clothing and your hair and eyes'" he explained. One evening the two of us sat at the entrance of an old family temple in the empty stone halls of which we had pitched our netted camp cots. On the other side of the canal rose the high walls of a filature, which soon began pouring forth black-clad girl workers, each with her tin dinner pail. All wore wooden sandals which were fastened by a single leather strap across the toes and which clattered as they walked. Their glossy black hair was combed back and hung in a heavy braid to the waist. At the nape of the neck the braid was 114

caught in red yarn, making a band two or three inches wide— a lovely splash of color. As they streamed in long lines over the bridge arching the canal and past the temple entrance, I felt I had never seen more handsome women. I urged my young escort to interpret for me, but he refused, saying he did not understand their dialect. He was so irritated that he rose and walked toward the town. When he was gone, I went down the steps. A group of girls gathered around me and stared. I offered them some of my malt candy. There was a flash of white teeth and exclamations in a sharp staccato dialect. They took the candy, began chewing, then examined my clothing and stared at my hair and eyes. I did the same with them and soon we were laughing at each other. Two of them linked their arms in mine and began pulling me down the flagstone street. Others followed, chattering happily. We entered the home of one girl and were welcomed by her father and mother and two big-eyed little brothers. Behind them the small room was already filled with other girls and curious neighbors. A candle burned in the center of a square table surrounded by crowded benches. I was seated in the place of honor and served the conventional cup of tea. Then a strange conversation began. Even had I known the most perfect Mandarin, I could not have understood these girls, for their speech was different from that spoken in any other part of the country. I had studied Chinese spasmodically—in Manchuria, in Peking, in Shanghai —but each time, before I had more than begun, I had had to move on to new fields, and all that I had previously learned became almost useless. Shanghai had its own dialect, and what I had learned there aroused laughter in Peking and was utterly useless in the south. Only missionaries and consular officials could afford to spend a year in the Peking Language School. Journalists had to be here, there, and everywhere. I therefore talked with the filature girls in signs and gestures. Did I have any children, they asked, pointing to the children. No? Not married either? They seemed interested and surprised. In explanation I unclamped my fountain pen, took a notebook from my pocket, tried to make a show of thinking, looked them over critically, and began to write. There was great excitement. A man standing near the door asked me something in Mandarin and I was able to understand him. I was an American, a reporter, he told the crowded room. Yes, I was an intellectual —but was once a worker. When he interpreted this, they seemed to find it very hard to believe. 115

Girls crowded the benches and others stood banked behind them. Using my few words of Mandarin and many gestures, I learned that some of them earned eight or nine dollars a month, a few eleven. They worked ten hours a day—not eight, as my escort had said. Once they had worked fourteen. My language broke down, so I supplemented it with crude pictures in my notebook. How did they win the ten-hour day? I drew a sketch of a filature with a big fat man standing on top laughing, then a second picture of the same with the fat man weeping because a row of girls stood holding hands all around the mill. They chattered over these drawings, then a girl shouted two words and all of them began to demonstrate a strike. They crossed their arms, as though refusing to work, while some rested their elbows on the table and lowered their heads, as though refusing to move. They laughed, began to link hands, and drew me into this circle. We all stood holding hands in an unbroken line, laughing. Yes, that was how they got the ten-hour day! As we stood there, one girl suddenly began to sing in a high sweet voice. Just as suddenly she halted. The whole room chanted an answer. Again and again she sang a question and they replied, while I stood, excited, made desperate by the fact that I could not understand. The strange song ended and they began to demand something of me. They wanted a song! The Marseillaise came to mind, and I sang it. They shouted for more and I tried the Internationale, watching carefully for any reaction. They did not recognize it at all. So, I thought, it isn't true that these girls had Communist cells! A slight commotion spread through the room, and I saw that a man stood in the doorway holding a flute in his hand. He put it to his lips and it began to murmur softly. Then the sound soared and the high sweet voice of the girl singer followed. She paused. The flute soared higher and a man's voice joined it. He was telling some tale, and when he paused, the girls' voice answered. It was surely some ballad, some ancient song of the people, for it had in it the universal quality of folk-music. In this way I spent an evening with people whose tongue I could not speak, and when I returned to my temple, many went with me, one lighting our way with a swinging lantern. I passed through the silent stone courtyards to my room and my bed. And throughout the night the village watchman beat his brass gong, crying the hours. His gong sounded first from a distance, passed the temple wall, and receded again, saying to the world that all was well. I lay thinking of ancient things ... of the common humanity, the goodness and unity of the common people of all lands.


Words to Watch sardonic loot put no stock in launch lot filature gargantuan

hide pine for concubine despicable wilt reek

rafter pawn stench affront spasmodically gong

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. Why does the writer say that "such events had begun to strike me as sardonic"? What does the writer imply about the `spirit' of the generals at the end of the first paragraph? 2. Whom does the writer trust most? 3. What does the writer mean by including the detail about the expert's arguing with the Guild official? 4. What picture does the writer present of the Guild and the merchants in paragraphs 3, 4, and 5? 5. What does the attitude of the escort show? How do you evaluate his attitude? What are his charges against women workers? 6. What does the escort mean to gain by quoting the girls in paragraph 13? 7. What kind of picture does the writer present concerning the spinners? 8. Where in the text is the perception of the writer different from what the escort reported to her? 9. Why is the birth of a girl a pleasant event for the families? 10. How does the writer communicate with the women workers? 11. What is the significance of the man's crying to the world that all is well? 12. What does the expert mean when he says, "They are too rich —that's the root of the trouble"? How do doing important work and earning money shape the lives of these young women?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: I. My language broke down, so I supplanted it with crude pictures in my notebook. 2. Again and again she sang a question and they replied, while I stood, excited, made desperate by the fact that I could not understand. 3. I ... tried to make a show of thinking. 117

4. On the other side of the canal rose the high walls of filature, which soon began pouring forth black-clad girl workers, each with her tin dinner pail.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What kind of response dose the event expressed at the beginning of the essay provoke in you? 2. How is the tone of the writer established in the first paragraph? 3. How is the first sentence of the second paragraph related to the idea of the first paragraph? 4. What method of development is used in paragraph 9? 5. What is the relationship between the last paragraph and the previous five paragraphs? 6. Throughout the essay, some paragraphs are conspicuously shorter than others. What are the main ideas of these paragraphs? What kind of effect does the writer achieve by using this technique? 7. Pick up the passages which are highly descriptive and discuss the effect these passages cause. 8. Why does Smedley (the writer) take time to discuss the feuding generals, the young expert, and the silk merchants before getting to the heart of her story, meeting the silk workers?

Writing Projects 1. What can we infer about Agnes Smedley from `Silk Workers'? 2. What can we infer about life in China in 1930 from this small glimpse? 3. Can you similarly picture a place you have visited as vividly as Smedley? A factory, a market place or any other place which has left a strong effect on you. 4. Write an essay entitled for example `Carpet Weavers in the Past'. 5. Write a short essay about how once your observations of a place or community differed from what you had heard before.




One Mixed-Up Chick Elaine E vain Oliver was one of the experiments conducted by our daughter, Peggy.. in her veterinary studies at college. Something went wrong and all of the chicken embryos succumbed before reaching term. All except Oliver. From his first cheep it was impossible not to love this yellow ball of fluff on two spindly legs. During his first two weeks, Peggy was obliged to feed the chick every hour. She made a paste from cornmeal and water, then offered a fingertipful to Oliver, which he pecked at enthusiastically. Soon Oliver was given free rein. He wandered from room to room, pecking at anything that shined: mirrors, keys, teeth. Peggy's call of `Oliver' would bring him running. But then he had an encounter with authority. He was kicked off campus for eating all the prize worms in the school greenhouse. Oliver was three weeks old when Peggy brought him home. She knew that at our house Oliver would be loved. Peggy had been bringing stray animals home all her life, and her three brothers contributed their share of furred and feathered house guests. "How come you named him Oliver?" Michael, our ten-year-old, was his usual critical self. "It looks like a girl. It's all yellow." "All baby chicks are yellow," replied Peggy. "H ow can you be sure it's a boy?" "There are ways of determining sex other than by colour," Peggy retorted with scientific finality. At the time of Oliver's arrival, our adopted residents numbered five: Jimbeau, a French poodle; Abraham and Lincoln, black and white Scottish terriers• terriers; _




._. ,

Sybil Sybil, a mist coloured » v

_ _ ,


_ v









Angora Angora _ _





cat cat,


and and


Chico Chico, _





parrot aa parrot .


auctioned V


because of his vulgar vocabulary. The terriers accepted Oliver with quiet cordiality. Sybil enjoyed playful games of hit and run —she'd hit, and Oliver would run. Chico, enraged at the


potential challenge to his position, cursed whenever Oliver scurried past his cage. After Peggy returned to school, Oliver picked Jimbeau as surrogate parent. It was a relationship not altogether greeted with glee by Jimbeau. But the poodle's aloofness fascinated Oliver; he followed him everywhere. When Jimbeau, tiring of the constant chirping, tried to find refuge behind the sofa, Oliver followed. Jimbeau retreated to the bathroom, closing the door with his paws. Oliver waited outside, pocking his bill beneath the door to reassure Jimbeau he was still there. Jimbeau then made a dash for the yard through a swinging dog panel. Oliver quickly followed. In time, Jimbeau reluctantly took up the role of foster father, permitting Oliver to cling to his back while he made his yard inspections, even allowing him to nestle beneath his chin while he dozed. Oliver never perched when he slept; instead he would fl op over on his side when tired, stretching out his legs in imitation of his beloved Jimbeau. Oliver eventually developed a taste for music. When Eric, our 12-year-old, sat down to play the organ, Oliver positioned himself on top of it, moving from side to side to the music. A change in rhythm seldom caught him off guard —after a few measures, he usually caught up. One April afternoon, Eric came home to find what he thought was a candy Easter egg on the kitchen table. It was small and almost blue in colour. Once the egg was in his mouth, Eric recognized the error of his ways. Michael was right: Oliver was a she. Oliver seemed ashamed that the secret was out. Whenever she felt an egg coming on, she'd sit quietly in a corner until the thing was expelled, then get as far away from the dismal object as possible. It was an identity crisis. Oliver's demise was sudden. One day, I found her lying on the living-room floor. We buried Oliver with full honours in the yard. For days Jimbeau moped beside the grave, only in death being able to admit his love. The household hasn't been the same since Oliver's passing. That chicken was one of a kind, proof that every creature can share the wonderful experience we call love —even a hen convinced she's a dog.

Words to Watch veterinary studies succumb spindly fluff 120

peck retort auction off terrier

cordiality scurry surrogate aloofness

foster father doze

perch demise


Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20.

Where did Oliver come from? What was wrong with the chicken embryos? How did Oliver look? How did Peggy feed Oliver? Where was Oliver put? Was it placed in a cage? Why was Oliver kicked off campus? What was the brothers' share of furred and feathered house guests? What did Michael think? What was Peggy's theory about determining the sex of a chicken? Why was Chico auctioned off? How was Oliver received by other terriers? Why did Chico curse Oliver? How did Jimbeau treat Oliver? What fascinated Oliver about Jimbeau? How did Oliver react to music? How did Eric find out about Oliver's sex? How would Oliver react to eggs? Why? What happened to Oliver? What was Jimbeau's reaction to Oliver's demise? What does the writer conclude?

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

All of the chicken embryos succumbed reaching term. Soon Oliver was given free rein. Oliver picked Jimbeau as a surrogate parent. ... even allowing him to nestle beneath his chin while he dozed. Peggy retorted with scientific finality. Chico was enraged at the potential challenge to his position.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. How does the writer build up the reader's curiosity at the beginning of the passage? 2. The second paragraph starts with a phrase instead of a sentence. What is its effect? 121

3. Read the passage carefully and discuss the way the writer gives the animals human characteristics. 4. How does the writer arouse our pity for Oliver and Jimbeau at the end?

Writing Projects 1. Try to write a passage about the behavior of a pet you have yourself had or someone you know has had. 2. Do you know an animal which was similarly convinced that it is of another kind? 3. Write a passage about the way the death of a pet has affected you in childhood. Try to express your feelings then.


The Birds Daphne du Maurier Nat, tramping home across the fields and down the lane to his cottage, saw the birds still flocking over the western hills, in the last glow of the sun. No wind, and the grey sea calm and full. Campion in bloom yet in the hedges, and the air mild. The farmer was right, though, and it was that night the weather turned. Nat's bedroom faced east. He woke just after two and heard the wind in the chimney. Not the storm and bluster of a sou'westerly gale, bringing the rain, but east wind, cold and dry. It sounded hollow in the chimney, and a loose slate rattled on the roof. Nat listened, and he could hear the sea roaring in the bay. Even the air in the small bedroom had turned chill: A draught came under the skirting of the door, blowing upon the bed. Nat drew the blanket round him, leant closer to the back of his sleeping wife, and stayed wakeful, watchful, aware of misgiving without cause. Then he heard the tapping on the window. There was no creeper on the cottage walls to break loose and scratch upon the pane. He listened, and the tapping continued until, irritated by the sound, Nat got out of bed and went to the window. He opened it, and as he did so something brushed his hand, jabbing at his knuckles, grazing the skin. Then he saw the flutter of the wings and it was gone, over the roof, behind the cottage. It was a bird, what kind of bird he could not tell. The wind must have driven it to shelter on the sill. He shut the window and went back to bed, but feeling his knuckles wet put his mouth to the scratch. The bird had drawn blood. Frightened, he supposed, and bewildered, the bird, seeking shelter, had stabbed at him in the darkness. Once more he settled himself to sleep. Presently the tapping came again, this time more forceful, more insistent, and now his wife woke at the sound and turning in the bed said to him, "See to the window, Nat, it's rattling." "I've already seen to it," he told her, "there's some bird there, trying to get 123

in. Can't you hear the wind? It's blowing from the east, driving the birds to shelter." "Send them away," she said, "I can't sleep with that noise." He went to the window for the second time, and now when he opened it there was not one bird upon the sill but half a dozen; they flew straight into his face, attacking him. He shouted, striking out at them with his arms, scattering them; like the first one, they flew over the roof and disappeared. Quickly he let the window fall and latched it. "Did you hear that?" he said. "They went for me. Tried to peck my eyes." He stood by the window, peering into the darkness, and could see nothing. His wife, heavy with sleep, murmured from the bed. "I'm not making it up," he said, angry at her suggestion. "I tell you the birds were on the sill, trying to get into the room." Suddenly a frightened cry came from the room across the passage where the children slept. "It's Jill," said his wife, roused at the sound, sitting up in bed. "Go to her, see what's the matter." Nat lit the candle, but when he opened the bedroom door to cross the passage the draught blew out the flame. There came a second cry of terror, this time from both children, and stumbling into their room he felt the beating of wings about him in the darkness. The window was wide open. Through it came the birds, hitting first the ceiling and the walls, then swerving in midflight, turning to the children in their beds. "It's all right, I'm here," shouted Nat, and the children flung themselves, screaming, upon him, while in the darkness the birds rose and dived and came for him again. "What is it, Nat, what's happened?" his wife called from the further bedroom, and swiftly he pushed the children through the door to the passage and shut it upon them, so that he was alone now, in their bedroom, with the birds. He seized a blanket from the nearest bed, and using it as a weapon flung it to right and left about him in the air. He felt the thud of bodies, heard the fluttering of wings, but they were not yet defeated, for again and again they returned to the assault, jabbing his hands, his head, the little stabbing beaks sharp as a pointed fork. The blanket became a weapon of defence; he wound it about his head, and then in greater darkness beat at the birds with his bare hands. He dared not stumble to the door and open it, lest in doing so the birds should follow him. 124

How long he fought with them in the darkness he could not tell, but at last the beating of the wings about him lessened and then withdrew, and through the density of the blanket he was aware of light. He waited, listened; there was no sound except the fretful crying of one of the children from the bedroom beyond. The fluttering, the whirring of the wings had ceased. He took the blanket from his head and stared about him. The cold grey morning light exposed the room. Dawn, and the open window, had called the living birds; the dead lay on the floor. Nat gazed at the little corpses, shocked and horrified. They were all small birds, none of any size; there must have been fifty of them lying there upon the floor. There were robins, finches, sparrows, blue tits, larks and bramblings, birds that by nature's law kept to their own flock and their own territory, and now, joining one with another in their urge for battle, had destroyed themselves against the bedroom walls, or in the strife had been destroyed by him. Some had lost feathers in the fight, others had blood, his blood, upon their beaks. Sickened, Nat went to the window and stared out across his patch of garden to the fields. It was bitter cold, and the ground had all the hard black look of frost. Not white frost, to shine in the morning sun, but the black frost that the east wind brings. The sea, fiercer now with the turning tide, white-capped and steep broke harshly in the bay. Of the birds there was no sign. Not a sparrow chattered in the hedge beyond the garden gate, no early missel-thrush or blackbird pecked on the grass for worms. There was n o sound at all but the east wind and the sea. Nat shut the window and the door of the small bedroom, and went back across the passage to his own. His wife sat up in bed, one child asleep beside her, the smaller in her arms, his face bandaged. The curtains were tightly drawn across the window, the candles lit. Her face looked garish in the yellow light. She shook her head for silence. "He's sleeping now," she whispered, "but only just. Something must have cut him, there was blood at the corner of his eyes. Jill said it was the birds. She said she woke up, and the birds were in the room." H is wife looked up at Nat, searching his face for confirmation. She looked terrified, bewildered, and he did not want her to know that he was also shaken, dazed almost, by the events of the past few hours. "There are birds in there," he said, "dead birds, nearly fifty of them. Robins, wrens, all the little birds from hereabouts. It's as though a madness seized them, with the east wind." He sat down on the bed beside his wife, and 125

held her hand. "It's the weather," he said. "it must be that, it's the hard weather. They aren't the birds, maybe, from here around. They've been driven down, from up country." "But Nat," whispered his wife, "it's only this night that the weather turned. There's been no snow to drive them. And they can't be hungry yet. There's food for them, out there, in the fields." "It's the weather," repeated Nat. "I tell you, it's the weather." His face too was drawn and tired, like hers. They stared at one another for a while without speaking.

Words to Watch tramping



flock over


bluster gale

knuckles grazing

thud fretful whirring




rattle chill draught



roused stumbling

white-capped chattered




Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. Why was it to some extent unexpected that `the weather turned'. 2. What is meant by `aware of misgiving without cause'? 3. What signs are there in this extract up to the line, "I can't sleep with that noise," that Nat and his wife underestimated the danger? 4. What further sign of this is there in the next twelve lines? 5. Describe how Nat attacked the birds in the children's bedroom. What happened to the `living birds'? What particularly `shocked and horrified' Nat about the dead birds? What did Nat find strange when he looked out of window? Explain the meaning of the word `garish'. Why do you think Nat did not want his wife to know that `he was also shaken'? 11. What explanation did Nat give for the birds' behavior? 12. What evidence is there to support Nat's explanation? 13. Try to explain why this incident should be so frightening. lo.

6. 7. 8. 9.


Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. There was no creeper on the cottage walls to break loose and scratch upon the pane. 2. ... jabbing at his knuckles, grazing the skin. 3. Once more he settled himself to sleep. 4. Dawn and the open window called the birds.

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. What is unusual about the second and the third sentences of this passage? What effect do these sentences have? 2. What is the effect of the opening sentences of the second paragraph? 3. What is the effect of not stating definitely that `it was a bird' up to the third paragraph? 4. Is there anything ironic in Nat's words about the birds that they were "Frightened, he supposed, and bewildered"? 5. Comment on the effectiveness of the comparison `sharp as a pointed fork'. 6. What is the effect of the last sentence of this extract? 7. Reread the passage and pay close attention to the word choice (diction). See how many words you find which imply kinds of motion or sensory impressions. What is the effect of such words? What kind of writing do you have in front of you.

Writing Projects 1. Write a story in which something we consider as being harmless or friendly to human beings suddenly turn hostile and threatening. 2. Write about a similar incident which has frightened you or someone you know. 3. Write a story about someone performing a brave act under conditions of great personal danger. 4. Write about an incident in which one's action of self-defence turns to an unexpected violence.


Jim Baker on Bluejays Samuel L. Clemens (Mark Twain) Animals talk to each other, of course. There can be no question about that, but I suppose there are very few people who can understand them. I never knew but one man who could. I knew he could, however, because he told me so himself. He was a middle-aged, simple-hearted miner who had lived in a lonely corner of California among the woods and mountains a good many years, and had studied the ways of his only neighbors, the beasts and the birds, until he believed he could accurately translate any remark which they made. This was Jim Baker. According to Jim Baker, some animals have only a limited education and use only very simple words, and scarcely ever a comparison or a flowery figure; whereas certain other animals have a large vocabulary, a fine command of language and a ready and fluent delivery; consequently these latter talk a great deal; they like it, they are conscious of their talent, and they enjoy `showing off'. Baker said that after long and careful observation, he had come to the conclusion that the bluejays were the best talkers he had found among the birds and beasts. Said he: "There's more to a bluejay than any other creature. He has got more moods, and more different kinds of feelings than other creatures; and, mind you, whatever a bluejay feels, he can put into language. And no mere commonplace language, either, but rattling, out-andout booktalk—and bristling with metaphor too —just bristling! And as for command of language —why you never see a bluejay get stuck for a word. No man ever did. They just boil out of him! And another thing: I've noticed a good deal and there's no bird, or cow, or anything that uses as good grammar as a bluejay. You may say a cat uses good grammar. Well, a cat does—but you let a cat get excited once; you let a cat get to pulling fur with another cat on a shed, nights, and you'll hear grammar that will give you the lockjaw. Ignorant people think it's the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating but it ain't so; it's the sickening grammar they use. Now I've never heard a jay use bad grammar but very seldom, and when they do, they are as ashamed as a human, they shut right down and leave. 128

"You may call a jay a bird. Well, so he is, in a measure —because he's got feathers on him, and don't belong to no church, perhaps, but otherwise he is just as much a human as you be. And I'll tell you for why. A jay's gifts and instincts and feelings and interests cover the whole ground. A jay hasn't got any more principle than a Congressman. A jay will lie, a jay will steal, a jay will deceive, a jay will betray; and four times out of five, a jay will go back on his solemnest promise. The sacredness of an obligation is a thing which you can't cram into no bluejay's head. Now on top of all this there's another thing, a jay can outswear any gentleman in the mines. You think a cat can swear. Well, a cat can, but you give a bluejay a subject that calls for his reservepowers and where is your cat? Don't talk to me —I know too much about this thing. And there's yet another thing, in the one little particular of scolding— just good, clean, out-and-out scolding--a bluejay can lay over anything, human or divine. Yes, sir, a jay is everything that a man is. A jay can cry, a jay can laugh, a jay can feel shame, a. jay can reason and plan and discuss, a jay likes gossip and scandal, a jay has got a sense of humor, a jay knows when he is an ass just as well as you do —maybe better. If a jay ain't human, he better take in his sign, that's all."

Words to Watch flowery bristle solemnest

cram outswear

scolding scandal

Understanding the Writer's Ideas 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. S. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13.

What does the writer believe about animals? Who could understand animals? Who was Jim Baker? Where did Jim Baker live? Who were Baker's neighbors? How does Baker divide animals concerning their language? Which group likes to show off? What does Baker think of bluejays? In Baker's opinion, what kind of grammar do the cats use? What do ignorant people think about cats? To whom does Baker liken the bluejays? Why does Baker prefer bluejays to any other creature? What does he mean "a jay can outswear any gentleman in the mines"? 129

Building Up Vocabulary Rewrite the following statements in your own words: 1. ... whereas certain other animals have a large vocabulary, a fine command of language and a ready and fluent delivery. 2. ... bristling with metaphors too. 3. Well, so he is, in a measure ... . 4. The sacredness of an obligation is a thing which you can't cram into no bluejay's head. 5. A jay can outswear any gentleman in the mines. 6. Well, a cat can, but you give a bluejay a subject that calls for his reservepowers and where is your cat? 7. A bluejay can lay over anything. 8. If a jay ain't (is not) human, he better take in his sign ... .

Understanding the Writer's Techniques 1. As far as the writer's technique is concerned, what is the role of Jim Baker? 2. Is the writer really concerned with animals? What kind of tone does he employ? 3. Why does he contrast bluejays and cats? Should we take him literally? 4. Why doesn't Twain directly state what he means to say? What would be missing if he did so? 5. Can you distinguish the literal meaning from the figurative one? 6. What does the writer mean by giving a bluejay human personality? What is its effect?

Writing Projects 1. Have you read anything like the above passage in your native language? What was it about? Explain. 2. Rewriting the passage, strip it out of its comparisons. In other words, paraphrase it so that it directly expresses what the writer probably means. Then compare it with the text. Does it become better or worse? Why?



Good Souls Dorothy Parker

All about us, living in our very families, it may be, there exists a race of curious creatures. Outwardly, they possess no marked peculiarities; in fact, at a hasty glance, they may be readily mistaken for regular human beings. They are built after the popular design; they have the usual number of features, arranged in the conventional manner; they offer no variations on the general run of things in their habits of dressing, eating, and carrying on their business. Yet, between them and the rest of the civilized world, there stretches an impassable barrier. Though they live in the very thick of the human race, they are forever isolated from it. They are fated to go through life, congenital pariahs. They live out their little lives, mingling with the world, yet never a part of it. They are, in short, Good Souls. And the piteous thing about them is that they are wholly unconscious of their condition. A Good Soul thinks he is just like anyone else. Nothing could convince him otherwise. It is heartrending to see him, going cheerfully about, even whistling or humming as he goes, all unconscious of his terrible plight. The utmost he can receive from the world is an attitude of good-humored patience, a perfunctory word of approbation, a praising with faint damns, so to speak —yet he firmly believes that everything is all right with him. There is no accounting for Good Souls. They spring up anywhere. They will suddenly appear in families which, for generations, have had no slightest stigma attached to them. Possibly they are throw-backs. There is scarcely a family without at least one Good Soul somewhere in it at the present moment —maybe in the form of an elderly aunt, an unmarried sister, an unsuccessful brother, an indigent cousin. No household is complete without one. The Good Soul begins early; he will show signs of his condition in extreme youth. Go now to the nearest window, and look out on the little chil-


dren playing so happily below. Any group of youngsters that you may happen to see will do perfectly. Do you observe the child whom all the other little dears make `it' in their merry games? Do you follow the child from whom the other little ones snatch the cherished candy, to consume it before his streaming eyes? Can you get a good look at the child whose precious toys are borrowed for indefinite periods by the other playful youngsters, and returned to him in fragments? Do you see the child upon whom all the other kiddies play their complete repertory of childhood's winsome pranks—throwing bags of water on him, running away and hiding from him, shouting his name in quaint rhymes, chalking coarse legends on his unsuspecting back? Mark that child well. He is going to be a Good Soul when he grows up. Thus does the doomed child go through early youth and adolescence. So does he progress towards the fulfillment of his destiny. And then, some day, when he is under discussion, someone will say of him, "Well, he means well, anyway." That settles it. For him, that is the end. Those words have branded him with the indelible mark of his pariandom. He has come into his majority; he is a full-fledged Good Soul. The activities of the adult of the species are familiar to us all. When you are ill, who is it that hastens to your bedside bearing molds of blancmange, which, from infancy, you have hated with unspeakable loathing? As usual, you are way ahead of me, gentle reader —it is indeed the Good Soul. It is the Good Souls who efficiently smooth out your pillow when you have just worked it into the comfortable shape, who creak about the room on noisy tiptoe, who tenderly lay on your fevered brow damp cloths which drip ceaselessly down your neck. It is they who ask, every other minute, if there isn't something that they can do for you. It is they who, at great personal sacrifice, spend long hours sitting beside your bed, reading aloud the continued stories in the Woman's Home Companion, or chatting cozily on the increase in the city's death rate. In health, as in illness, they are always right there, ready to befriend you. No sooner do you sit down, than they exclaim that they can see you aren't comfortable in that chair, and insist on your changing places with them. It is the Good Souls who just know that you don't like your tea that way, and who bear it masterfully away from you to alter it with cream and sugar until it is a complete stranger to you. At the table, it is they who always feel that their grapefruit is better than yours and who have to be restrained almost forcibly from exchanging with you. In a restaurant the waiter invariably makes a mistake and brings them something which they did not order —and which they re-


fuse to have changed, choking it down with a wistful smile. It is they who cause traffic blocks, by standing in subway entrances arguing altruistically as to who is to pay the fare. At the theater, should they be members of a box-party, it is the Good Souls who insist on occupying the rear chairs; if the seats are in the orchestra, they worry audibly, all through the performance, about their being able to see better than you, until finally in desperation you grant their plea and change seats with them. If, by so doing, they can bring a little discomfort on themselves—sit in a draught, say, or behind a pillar —than their happiness is complete. To feel the genial glow of martyrdom —that is all they ask of life ... . The lives of Good Souls are crowded with Occasions, each with its own ritual which must be solemnly followed. On Mother's Day, Good Souls conscientiously wear carnations; on St. Patrick's Day, they faithfully don boutonnieres of shamrocks; on Columbus Day, they carefully pin on miniature Italian flags. Every feast must be celebrated by the sending out of cards— Valentine's Day, Arbor, Groundhog Day, and all the other important festivals, each is duly observed. They have a perfect genius for discovering appropriate cards of greeting for the event. It must take hours of research. If it's too long a time between holidays, than the Good Soul will send little cards or little mementoes, just by way of surprises. He is strong on surprises, anyway. It delights him to drop in unexpectedly on his friends. Who has not known the joy of those evening when some Good Soul just runs in, as a surprise? It is particularly effective when a chosen company of other guests happens to be present —enough for two tables of bridge, say. This means that the Good Soul must cut in at intervals, volubly voicing his desolation at causing so much inconvenience, and apologizing constantly during the evening. His conversation, admirable though it is, never receives its just due of attention and appreciation. He is one of those who believe and frequently quote the exemplary precept that there is good in everybody; hanging in his bedchamber is the whimsically phrased, yet vital, statement, done in burned leather— "There is so much good in the worst of us and so much bad in the best of us that it hardly behooves any of us to talk about the rest of us." This, too, he archly quotes on appropriate occasions. Two or three may be gathered together, intimately discussing some mutual acquaintance. It is just getting really absorbing, when comes the Good Soul, to utter his dutiful. "We mustn't judge harshly— after all, we must always remember that many times our own actions may be misconstrued." Somehow, after several of these little re133


minders, there seems to be a general waning of interest; the little gathering breaks up, inventing quaint excuses to get away and discuss the thing more fully, adding a few really good details, some place where the Good Soul will not follow. While the Good Soul pitifully ignorant of their evil purpose glows with the warmth of conscious virtue, and settles himself to read the Contributors' Club, in the Atlantic Monthly, with a sense of duty well done ... . Good Souls are no mean humorists. They have a time-honored formula of fun-making, which must be faithfully followed. Certain words or phrases must be whimsically distorted every time they are used. "Over the river," they dutifully say, whenever they take their leave. "Don't you cast any asparagus on me," they warn, archly; and they never fail to speak of "three times in concussion." According to their ritual, these screaming phrases must be repeated several times, for the most telling effect, and are invariably followed by hearty laughter from the speaker, to whom they eternally new. Perhaps the most congenial role of the Good Soul is that of advice-giver. He loves to take people aside and have serious little personal talks, all for their own good. He thinks it only right to point out faults or bad habits which are, perhaps unconsciously, growing on them. He goes home aid laboriously feel that writes long, intricate letters, invariably beginning, "Although you this is no affair of mine, I think that you really ought to know," and so on, indefinitely. In his desire to help, he reminds one irresistibly of Marcelline, who used to try so pathetically and so fruitlessly to be of some assistance in arranging the circus arena, and who brought such misfortunes on his own innocent person thereby. The Good Souls will, doubtless, gain their reward in Heaven; on this earth, certainly, theirs is what is technically known as a rough deal. The most hideous outrages are perpetrated on them. "Oh, he won't mind," people say. "He's a Good Soul." And then they proceed to heap the rankest impositions upon him. When Good Souls give a party, people who have accepted weeks in advance call up at the last second and refuse, without the shadow of an excuse save that of a subsequent engagement. Other people are invited to all sorts of entertaining affairs; the Good Soul, unasked, waves them a cheery good-bye and hopes wistfully that they will have a good time. His is the uncomfortable seat in the motor; he is the one to ride backwards in the train; he is the one who is always chosen to solicit subscriptions and make up deficits. People borrow his money, steal his servants, lose his golf balls, use him as a sort of errand boy, leave him flat whenever something more attractive offers—and carry it all off with their cheerful slogan, "oh, he won't mind—he's a Good Soul."


And that's just it —Good Souls never do mind. After each fresh atrocity they are more cheerful, forgiving and virtuous, if possible, than they were before. There is simply no keeping them down —back they come, with their little gifts, and their little words of advice, and their little endeavors to be of service, always anxious for more. Yes, there can be no doubt about it —their reward will come to them in the next world. Would that they were even now enjoying it!


On Permission to Write Cynthia Ozick In a small and depressing city in a nearby state there lives a young man (I will call him David) whom I have never met and with whom I sometimes correspond. David's letters are voluminous, vehemently bookish, and —in obedience to literary modernism —without capitals. When David says "I," he writes "i." This does not mean that he is insecure in his identity or that he suffers from a weakness of confidence —David cannot be characterized by thumbnail psychologizing. He is like no one else (except maybe Jane Austen). He describes himself mostly as poor and provincial, as in Balzac, and occasionally as poor and black. he lives alone with his forbearing and bewildered mother in a flat `with imaginary paintings on the walls in barren rooms', writes stories and novels, has not yet published, and appears to spend his days hauling heaps of books back and forth from the public library. He has read, it seems, everything. His pages are masses of flashy literary allusions—nevertheless entirely lucid, witty, learned, and sane. David is not exactly a crank who writes to writers, although he is probably a bit of that too. I don't know how he gets his living, or whether his letters romanticize either his poverty (he reports only a hunger for books) or his passion (ditto); still, David is a free intellect, a free imagination. It is possible that he hides his manuscripts under a blotter, Jane-Austenly, when his mother creeps mutely in to collect his discarded socks. (A week's worth, perhaps, curled on the floor next to Faulkner and Updike and Cummings and Tristram Shandy. Of the latter he remarks: "a worthy book, dare any man get offspring on less?") On the other hand, David wants to be noticed. He wants to be paid attention to. Otherwise, why would he address charming letters to writers (I am not the only one) he has never met? Like Joyce in `dirty provincial Dublin', he says, he means to announce his `inevitable arrival on the mainland.' A stranger's eyes, even for a letter, is a kind of publication. David, far from insisting on privacy, is a would-be public man. It may be that he pants after fame. And yet in his immediate position —his secret literary life, whether or 136

not he intends it to remain secret —there is something delectable. He thirsts to read, so he reads; he thirsts to write, so he writes. He is in the private cave of his freedom, an eremite, a solitary; he orders his mind as he pleases. In this condition he is prolific. He writes and writes. Ah, he is poor and provincial, in a dim lost corner of the world. But his lonely place (a bare cubicle joyfully tumbling with library books) and his lonely situation (the liberty to be zealous) have given him the permission to write. To be, in fact, prolific. I am not like David. I am not poor, or provincial (except in the New York way), or unpublished, or black. (David, the sovereign of his life, invents an aloofness from social disabilities, at least in his letters, and I have not heard him mythologize `negritude'; he admires poets for their words and cadences.) But all this is not the essential reason I am not like David. I am not like him because I do not own his permission to write freely, and zealously, and at will, and however I damn please; and abundantly; and always. There is this difference between the prolific and the non-prolific: The prolific have arrogated to themselves the permission to write. By permission I suppose I ought to mean inner permission. Now `inner permission' is a phrase requiring high caution: it was handed to me by a Freudian dogmatist, a writer whose energy and confidence depend on regular visits to his psychoanalyst. In a useful essay called `Art and Neurosis', Lionel Trilling warns against the misapplication of Freud's dictum that "we are all ill, i.e., neurotic," and insists that a writer's productivity derives from "the one part of him that is healthy, by any conceivable definition of health ... that which gives him the power to conceive, to plan, to work, and to bring his work to a conclusion." The capacity to write, in short, comes from an uncharted space over which even all-prevailing neurosis can have no jurisdiction or dominion. "The use to which [the artist] puts his power ... may be discussed with reference to his particular neurosis," Trilling concedes; yet Trilling's verdict is finally steel: "But its essence is irreducible. It is, as we say, a gift." If permission to write (and for a writer this is exactly equal to the power to write) is a gift, then what of the lack of permission? Does the missing `Go ahead' mean neurosis? I am at heart one of those hapless pre-moderns who believe that the light bulb is the head of a demon called forth by the light switch, and that Freud is a German word for pleasure; so I am not equipped to speak about principles of electricity or psychoanalysis. All the same, it seems to me that the electrifying idea of inward obstacle —neurosis—is not nearly so often responsible for low productivity as we are told. Writer's permission is not something that is switched off by helpless forces inside the 137

writer, but by social currents—human beings and their ordinary predilections and prejudices—outside. If David writes freely and others don't, the reason might be that, at least for a while, David has kidnapped himself beyond the pinch of society. He is Jane Austen with her hidden manuscript momentarily slipped out from under the blotter; he is Thoreau in his cabin. He is a free man alone in a room with imaginary pictures on the walls, reading and writing




in a private rapture. There are some writers who think of themselves as shamans, dervishes of inspiration, divinely possessed ecstatics—writers who believe with Emerson that the artist "has cast off the common motives of humanity and has ventured to trust himself for a taskmaster": himself above everyone. Emerson it is who advises writers to aspire, through isolation, to "a simple purpose ... as —in reply to every contingency— strong as iron necessity is to others," and exhorts, "O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, I have lived with you after appearances hitherto. Henceforward I am the truth's." These shamanwriters, with their cult of individual genius and romantic egoism, may be self-glamorizing holy madmen, but they are not maniacs; they know what is good for them, and what is good for them is fences. You cannot get near them, whatever your need or demand. O father, O mother, O wife, O brother, O friend, they will tell you —beat it. They call themselves caviar, and for the general their caviar is a caveat. Most writers are more modest than this, and more reasonable, and don't style themselves as unbridled creatures celestially privileged and driven. They know that they are citizens like other citizens, and have simply chosen a profession, as others have. These are the writers who go docilely to gatherings where they are required to marvel at every baby; who yield slavishly to the ukase that sends them out for days at a time to scout a samovar for the birthday of an elderly great-uncle; who pretend to overnight guests that they are capable of sitting at the breakfast table without being consumed by print; who craftily let on to in-laws that they are diligent cooks and sheltering wives, though they would sacrifice a husband to a hurricane to fetch them a typewriter ribbon; and so on. In short, they work at appearances, trust others for taskmasters, and do not insist too rigorously on whose truth they will live after. And they are honorable enough. In company, they do their best to dress like everyone else: if they are women they will tolerate panty hose and highheeled shoes, if they are men they will show up in a three-piece suit; but in either case they will be concealing the fact that during any ordinary row of days they sleep in their clothes. In the same company they lend themselves,



decade after decade, to the expectation that they will not lay claim to unusual passions, that they will believe the average belief, that they will take pleasure in the average pleasure. Dickens, foreseeing the pain of relinquishing his pen at a time not of his choosing, reportedly would not accept an invitation. "Thank God for books," Auden said, "as an alternative to conversation." Good-citizen writers, by contrast, year after year decline no summons, refuse no banquet, turn away from no tedium, willingly enter into every anecdote and brook the assault of any amplified band. They will put down their pens for a noodle pudding. And with all this sterling obedience, this strenuous courtliness and congeniality, this anxious flattery of unspoken coercion down to the third generation, something goes wrong. One dinner in twenty years is missed. Or no dinner at all is missed, but an `attitude' is somehow detected. No one is fooled; the cordiality is pronounced insincere, the smile a fake, the goodwill a dud, the talk a fib, the cosseting a cozening. These sweating citizen-writers are in the end always found out and accused. They are accused of elitism. They are accused of snobbery. They are accused of loving books and bookishness more feelingly than flesh and blood. Edith Wharton, in her cool and bitter way, remarked of the literary life that "in my own family it created a kind of restraint that grew with the years. None of my relations ever spoke to me of my books, either to praise or to blame — they simply ignored them; ... the subject was avoided as if it were a kind of family disgrace, which might be condoned but could not be forgotten." Good-citizen writers are not read by their accusers; perhaps they cannot be. "If I succeed," said Conrad, "you shall find there according to your deserts: encouragement, consolation, fear, charm —all you demand—and, perhaps, also that glimpse of truth for which you have forgotten to ask." But some never demand, or demand less. "If you simplified your style," a strict but kindly aunt will advise, "you might come up to par," and her standard does not exempt Conrad. The muse-inspired shaman-writers are never called snobs, for the plain reason that no strict but kindly aunt ever get within a foot of any of them. But the good-citizen writers—by virtue of their very try at citizenship —are suspect and resented. Their work will not be taken for work. They will always be condemned for not being interchangeable with nurses or salesmen or schoolteachers or accountants or brokers. They will always be found out. They will always be seen to turn longingly after a torn peacock's tail left over from a fugitive sighting of paradise. They will always have hanging from a back 139

pocket a telltale shred of idealism, or a cache of a few grains of noble importuning, or, if nothing so grandly quizzical, then a single beautiful word, in Latin or Hebrew, or else they will tip their hand at the wedding feast by complaining meekly of the raging horn that obliterates the human voice; or else they will forget not to fall into Mon- taigne over the morning toast; or else they will embarrass everyone by oafishly banging on the kettle of history; or else, while the room fills up with small talk, they will glaze over and inwardly chant "This Lime-Tree Bower My Prison"; or else —but never mind. What is not understood is not allowed. These citizen-pretenders will never be respectable. They will never come up to par. They will always be blamed for their airs. They will always be charged with superiority, disloyalty, coldness, want of family feeling. They will always be charged with estranging their wives, husbands, children. They will always be called snob. They will never be granted the permission to write as serious writers are obliged to write: fanatically, obsessively, consumingly, torrentially, above all comically—and for life. And therefore: enviable blissful provincial prolific lonesome David!


Does America Still Exist? Richard Rodriguez For the children of immigrant parents the knowledge comes easier. America exists everywhere in the city— on billboards, frankly in the smell of French fries and popcorn. It exists in the pace: traffic lights, the assertions of neon, the mysterious bong-bong-bong through the atriums of department stores. America exists as the voice of the crowd, a menacing sound —the high nasal accent of American English. When I was a boy in Sacramento (California, the fifties), people would ask me, "Where you from?" I was born in this country, but I knew the question meant to decipher my darkness, my looks. My mother once instructed me to say, "I am an American of American descent." By the time I was nine or ten, I wanted to say, but dared not reply, "I am an American." Immigrants come to America and, against hostility or mere loneliness, they recreate a homeland in the parlor, tacking up postcards or calendars of some impossible blue— lake or sea or sky. Children of immigrant parents are supposed to perch on a hyphen between two countries. Relatives assume the achievement as much as anyone. Relatives are, in any case, surprised when the child begins losing old ways. One day at the family picnic the boy wanders away from their spiced food and faceless stories to watch other boys play baseball in the distance. There is sorrow in the American memory, guilty sorrow for having left something behind —Portugal, China, Norway. The American story is the story of immigrant children and of their children —children no longer able to speak to grandparents. The memory of exile becomes inarticulate as it passes from generation to generation, along with wedding rings and pocket watches— like some mute stone in a wad of old lace. Europe. Asia. Eden. But, it needs to be said, if this is a country where one stops being Vietnamese or Italian, this is a country where one begins to be an American. America exists as a culture and a grin, a faith and a shrug. It is clasped in a 141

handshake, called by a first name. As much as the country is joined in a common culture, however, Americans are reluctant to celebrate the process of assimilation. We pledge allegiance to diversity. America was born Protestant and bred Puritan, and the notion of community we share is derived from a seventeenth-century faith. Presidents and the pages of ninth-grade civics readers yet proclaim the orthodoxy: We are gathered together— but as individuals, with separate pasts, distinct destinies. Our society is as paradoxical as a Puritan congregation: We stand together, alone. Americans have traditionally defined themselves by what they refused to include. As often, however, Americans have struggled, turned in good conscience at last to assert the great Protestant virtue of tolerance. Despite outbreaks of nativist frenzy, America has remained an immigrant country, open and true to itself. Against pious emblems of rural America —soda fountain, Elks hall, Protestant church, and now shopping mall —stands the cold-hearted city, crowded with races and ambitions, curious laughter, much that is odd. Nevertheless, it is the city that has most truly represented America. In the city, however, the millions of singular lives have had no richer notion of wholeness to describe them than the idea of pluralism. "Where you from?" the American asks the immigrant child. "Mexico," the boy learns to say. Mexico, the country of my blood ancestors, offers formal contrast to the American achievement. If the United States was formed by Protestant individualism, Mexico was shaped by a medieval Catholic dream of one world. The Spanish journeyed to Mexico to plunder, and they may have gone, in God's name, with an arrogance peculiar to those who intend to convert. But through the conversion, the Indian converted the Spaniard. A new race was born, the mestizo, wedding European to Indian. Jose Vasconcelos, the Mexican philosopher, has celebrated this New World creation, proclaiming it the `cosmic race'. Centuries later, in a San Francisco restaurant, a Mexican-American lawyer of my acquaintance says, in English, over salade nicoise, that he does not intend to assimilate into gringo society. His claim is echoed by a chorus of others (Italian-Americans, Greeks, Asians) in this erg of ethnic pride_ The melting pot has been retired, clanking, into the museum of quaint disgrace, alongside Aunt Jemima and the Katzenjammer Kids. But resistance to assimilation is characteristically American. It only makes clear how inevitable the 142

process of assimilation actually is. For generations, this has been the pattern. Immigrant parents have sent their children to school (simply, they thought) to acquire the `skills' to survive in the city. The child returned home with a voice his parents barely recognized or understood, couldn't trust, and didn't like. In Eastern cities —Philadelphia, New York, Boston, Baltimore —class after class gathered immigrant children to women (usually women) who stood in front of rooms full of children, changing children. So also for me in the 1950s. Irish-Catholic nuns. California. The old story. The hyphen tipped to the right, away from Mexico and toward a confusing but true American identity. I speak now in the chromium American accent of my grammar school classmates— Billy Reckers, Mike Bradley, Carol Schmidt, Kathy O'Grady ... . I believe I became like my classmates, became German, Polish, and (like my teachers) Irish. And because assimilation is always reciprocal, my classmates got something of me. (I mean sad eyes; belief in the Indian Virgin; a taste for sugar skulls on the Feast of the Dead.) In the blending, we became what our parents could never have been, and we carried America one revolution further. "Does America still exist?" Americans have been asking the question for so long that to ask it again only proves our continuous link. But perhaps the question deserves to be asked with urgency—now. Since the black civil rights movement of the 1960s, our tenuous notion of a shared public life has deteriorated notably. The struggle of black men and women did not eradicate racism, but it became the great moment in the life of America's conscience. Water hoses, bulldogs, blood —the images, rendered black, white, rectangular, passed into living rooms. It is hard to look at a photograph of a crowd taken, say, in 1890 or in 1930 and not notice the absence of blacks. (It becomes an impertinence to wonder if America still exists.) In the sixties, other groups of Americans learned to champion their rights by analogy to the black civil rights movement. But the heroic vision faded. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had spoken with Pauline eloquence of a nation that would unite Christian and Jew, old and young, rich and poor. Within a decade, the struggles of the 1960s were reduced to a bureaucratic competition for little more than pieces of a representational pie. The quest for a portion of power became an end in itself. The metaphor for the American city of the 1970s was a committee: one black, one woman, one person under thirty ... . 143

If the small town had sinned against America by too neatly defining who could be an American, the city's sin was a romantic secession. One noticed the romanticism in the antiwar movement —certain demonstrators who demonstrated a lack of tact or desire to persuade and seemed content to play secular protestants. One noticed the romanticism in the competition among members of `minority groups' to claim the status of Primary Victim. To Americans unconfident of their common identity, minority standing became a way of asserting individuality. Middle-class Americans— men and women clearly not the primary victims of social oppression —brandished their suffering with exuberance. The dream of a single society probably died with The Ed Sullivan Show. The reality of America persists. Teenagers pass through big-city high schools banded in racial groups, their collars turned up to a uniform shrug. But then they graduate to jobs at the phone company or in banks, where they end up working alongside people unlike themselves. Typists and tellers walk out together at lunchtime. It is easier for us as Americans to believe the obvious fact of our separateness —easier to imagine the black and white Americas prophesied by the Kerner report (broken glass, street fires) —than to recognize the reality of a city street at lunchtime. Americans are wedded by proximity to a common culture. The panhandler at one corner is related to the pamphleteer at the next who is related to the banker who is kin to the Chinese old man wearing an MIT sweatshirt. In any true national history, Thomas Jefferson begets Martin Luther King Jr. who begets the Gray Panthers. It is because we lack a vision of ourselves entire —the city street is crowded and we are each preoccupied with finding our own way home —that we lack an appropriate hymn. Under my window now passes a little white girl softly rehearsing to herself a Motown obbligato.


The Cosmic Prison Loren Eiseley


name is a prison, God is free," once observed the Greek poet Nikos Kazantzakis. He meant, I think, that valuable though language is to man, it is by very necessity limiting, and creates for man an invisible prison. Language implies boundaries. A word spoken creates a dog, a rabbit, a man. It fixes their nature before our eyes; henceforth their shapes are, in a sense, our own creation. They are no longer part of the unnamed shifting architecture of the universe. They have been transfixed as if by sorcery, frozen into a concept, a word. Powerful though the spell of human language has proven itself to be, it has laid boundaries upon the cosmos. No matter how far-ranging some of the mental probes that man has philosophically devised, by his own created nature he is forced to hold the specious and emerging present and transform it into words. The words are startling in their immediate effectiveness, but at the same time they are always finally imprisoning because man has constituted himself a prison keeper. He does so out of no conscious intention, but because for immediate purposes he has created an unnatural world of his own, which he calls the cultural world, and in which he feels at home. It defines his needs and allows him to lay a small immobilizing spell upon the nearer portions of his universe. Nevertheless, it transforms that universe into a cosmic prison house which is no sooner mapped than man feels its inadequacy and his own. He seeks then to escape, and the theory of escape involves bodily flight. Scarcely had the first moon landing been achieved before one U.S. senator boldly announced: "We are the masters of the universe. We can go anywhere we choose." This statement was widely and editorially acclaimed. It is a striking example of the comfort of words, also of the covert substitutions and mental projections to which they are subject. The cosmic prison is not made less so by a successful journey of some two hundred and forty thousand miles in a cramped and primitive vehicle. To escape the cosmic prison man is poorly equipped. He has to drag por-


tions of his environment with him, and his life span is that of a mayfly in terms of the distances he seeks to penetrate. There is no possible way to master such a universe by flight alone. Indeed such a dream is a dangerous illusion. This may seem a heretical statement, but its truth is self-evident if we try seriously to comprehend the nature of time and space that I sought to grasp when held up to view the fiery messenger that flared across the zenith in 1910. "Seventy-five years," my father had whispered in my ear, "seventy-five years and it will be racing homeward. Perhaps you will live to see it again. Try to remember." And so I remembered. I had gained a faint glimpse of the size of our prison house. Somewhere out there beyond a billion miles in space, an entity known as a comet had rounded on its track in the black darkness of the void. It was surging homeward toward the sun because it was an eccentric satellite of this solar system. If I lived to see it it would be but barely, and with the dimmed eyes of age. Yet it, too, in its long traverse, was but a flitting mayfly in terms of the universe the night sky revealed. So relative is the cosmos we inhabit that, as we gaze upon the outer galaxies available to the reach of our telescopes, we are placed in about the position that a single white blood cell in our bodies would occupy, if it were intelligently capable of seeking to understand the nature of its own universe, the body it inhabits. The cell would encounter rivers ramifying into miles of distance seemingly leading nowhere. It would pass through gigantic structures whose meaning it could never grasp —the brain, for example. It could never know there was an outside, a vast being on a scale it could not conceive of and of which it formed an infinitesimal part. It would know only the pouring tumult of the creation it inhabited, but of the nature of that great beast, or even indeed that it was a beast, it could have no conception whatever. It might examine the liquid in which it floated and decide, as in the case of the fall of Lucretius's atoms, that the pouring of obscure torrents had created its world. It might discover that creatures other than itself swam in the torrent. But that its universe was alive, had been born and was destined to perish, its own ephemeral existence would never allow it to perceive. It would never know the sun; it would explore only through dim tactile sensations and react to chemical stimuli that were borne to it along the mysterious conduits of the arteries and veins. Its universe would be centered upon a great arborescent tree of spouting blood. This, at best, generations of white blood cells by enormous labor and continuity might succeed, like astronomers, in charting. They could never, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination, be aware 146

that their so-called universe was, in actuality, the prowling body of a cat or the more time-enduring body of a philosopher, himself engaged upon the same quest in a more gigantic world and perhaps deceived proportionately by greater vistas. What if, for example, the far galaxies man observes make up, across void spaces of which even we are atomically composed, some kind of enormous creature or cosmic snowflake whose exterior we will never see? We will know more than the phagocyte in our bodies, but no more than that limited creature can we climb out of our universe, or successfully enhance our size or longevity sufficiently to thrust our heads through the confines of the universe that terminates our vision. Some further `outside' will hover elusively in our thought, but upon its nature, or even its reality, we can do no more than speculate. The phagocyte might observe the salty turbulence of an eternal river system, Lucretius the fall of atoms creating momentary living shapes. We suspiciously sense, in the concept of the expanding universe derived from the primordial atom —the monobloc— some kind of oscillating universal heart. At the instant of its contraction we will vanish. It is not given us, nor can our science recapture, the state beyond the monobloc, nor whether we exist in the diastole of some inconceivable being. We know only a little more extended reality than the hypothetical creature below us. Above us may lie realms it is beyond our p owe r to grasp.


The Virtues of Ambition Joseph Epstein Ambition is one of those Rorschach words: define it and you instantly reveal a great deal about yourself. Even that most neutral of works, Webster's, in its Seventh New Collegiate Edition, gives itself away, defining ambition first and foremost as "an ardent desire for rank, fame, or power." Ardent immediately assumes a heat incommensurate with good sense and stability, and rank, fame, and power have come under fairly heavy attack for at least a century. One can, after all, be ambitious for the public good, for the alleviation of suffering, for the enlightenment of mankind, though there are some who say that these are precisely the ambitious people most to be distrusted. Surely ambition is behind dreams of glory, of wealth, of love, of distinction, of accomplishment, of pleasure, of goodness. What life does with our dreams and expectations cannot, of course, be predicted. Some dreams, begun in selflessness, end in rancor; other dreams, begun in selfishness, end in largeheartedness. The unpredictability of the outcome of dreams is no reason to cease dreaming. To be sure, ambition, the sheer thing unalloyed by some larger purpose than merely clambering up, is never a pretty prospect to ponder. As drunks have done to alcohol, the single-minded have done to ambition —given it a bad name. Like a taste for alcohol, too, ambition does not always allow for easy satiation. Some people cannot handle it; it has brought grief to others, and not merely the ambitious alone. Still, none of this seems sufficient cause for driving ambition under the counter. What is the worst that can be said— that has been said— about ambition? Here is a (surely) partial list: To begin with, it, ambition, is often antisocial, and indeed is now outmoded, belonging to an age when individualism was more valued and useful than it is today. The person strongly imbued with ambition ignores the collectivity; socially detached, he is on his own and out for his own. Individuality and ambition are firmly linked. The ambitious individual, far from identi148

fying himself and his fortunes with the group, wishes to rise above it. The ambitious man or woman sees the world as a battle; rivalrousness is his or her principal emotion: the world has limited prizes to offer, and he or she is determined to get his or hers. Ambition is, moreover, jesuitical; it can argue those possessed by it into believing that what they want for themselves is good for everyone —that the satisfaction of their own desires is best for the commonweal. The truly ambitious believe that it is a dog-eat-dog world, and they are distinguished by wanting to be the dogs that do the eating. From here it is but a short hop to believe that those who have achieved the common goals of ambition —money, fame, power —have achieved them through corruption of a greater or lesser degree, mostly a greater. Thus all politicians in high places, thought to be ambitious, are understood to be, ipso facto, without moral scruples. How could they have such scruples— a weighty burden in a high climb— and still have risen as they have? If ambition is to be well regarded, the rewards of ambition —wealth, distinction, control over one's destiny—must be deemed worthy of the sacrifices made on ambition's behalf. If the tradition of ambition is to have vitality, it must be widely shared; and it especially must be esteemed by people who are themselves admired, the educated not least among them. The educated not least because, nowadays more than ever before, it is they who have usurped the platforms of public discussion and wield the power of the spoken and written word in newspapers, in magazines, on television. In an odd way, it is the educated who have claimed to have given up on ambition as an ideal. What is odd is that they have perhaps most benefited from ambition —if not always their own then that of their parents and grandparents. There is a heavy note of hypocrisy in this; a case of closing the barn door after the horses have escaped —with the educated themselves astride them. Certainly people do not seem less interested in success and its accoutrements now than formerly. Summer homes, European travel, BMWs—the locations, place names and name brands may change, but such items do not seem less in demand today than a decade or two years ago. What has happened is that people cannot own up to their dreams, as easily and openly as once they could, lest they be thought pushing, acquisitive, vulgar. Instead we are treated to fine pharisaical spectacles, which now more than ever seem in ample supply: the revolutionary lawyer quartered in the $250,000 Manhattan condominium; the critic of American materialism with a Southampton summer home; the publisher of radical books who takes his meals in three-star restaurants; the journalist advocating participatory democracy in all phases of 149

life, whose own children are enrolled in private schools. For such people and many more perhaps not so egregious, the proper formulation is, "Succeed at all costs but refrain from appearing ambitious." The attacks on ambition are many and come from various angles; its public defenders are few and unimpressive, where they are not extremely unattractive. As a result, the support for ambition as a healthy impulse, a quality to be admired and inculcated in the young, is probably lower than it has ever been in the United States. This does not mean that ambition is at an end, that people no longer feel its stirrings and promptings, but only that, no longer openly honored, it is less often openly professed. Consequences follow from this, of course, some of which are that ambition is driven underground, or made sly, or perverse. It can also be forced into vulgarity, as witness the blatant pratings of its contemporary promoters. Such, then, is the way things stand: on the left angry critics, on the right obtuse supporters, and in the middle, as usual, the majority of earnest people trying to get on in life. Many people are naturally distrustful of ambition, feeling that it represents something intractable in human nature. Thus John Dean entitled his book about his involvement in the Watergate affair during the Nixon administration Blind Ambition, as if ambition were to blame for his ignoble actions, and not the constellation of qualities that make up his rather shabby character. Ambition, it must once again be underscored, is morally a two-sided street. Place next to John Dean Andrew Carnegie, who, among other philanthropic acts, bought the library of Lord Acton, at a time when Acton was in financial distress, and assigned its custodianship to Acton, who never was told who his benefactor was. Need much more be said on the subject than that, important though ambition is, there are some things that one must not sacrifice to it? But going at things the other way, sacrificing ambition so as to guard against its potential excesses, is to go at things wrongly. To discourage ambition is to discourage dreams of grandeur and greatness. All men and women are born, live, suffer, and die; what distinguishes us one from another is our dreams, whether they be dreams about worldly or unworldly things, and what we do to make them come about. It may seem an exaggeration to say that ambition is the linchpin of society, holding many of its disparate elements together, but it is not an exaggeration by much. Remove ambition and the essential elements of society seem to fly apart. Ambition, as opposed to mere fantasizing about desires, implies work and discipline to achieve goals, personal and social, of a kind society cannot 150

survive without. Ambition is intimately connected with family, for men and women not only work partly for their families; husbands and wives are often ambitious for each other, but harbor some of their most ardent ambitions for their children. Yet to have a family nowadays —with birth control readily available, and inflation a good economic argument against having children — is nearly an expression of ambition in itself. Finally, though ambition was once the domain chiefly of monarchs and aristocrats, it has, in more recent times, increasingly become the domain of the middle classes. Ambition and futurity— a sense of building for tomorrow— are inextricable. Working, saving, planning—these, the daily aspects of ambition —have always been the distinguishing marks of a rising middle class. The attack against ambition is not incidentally an attack on the middle class and what is stands for. Like it or not, the middle class has done much of society's work in America; and it, the middle class, has from the beginning run on ambition. It is not difficult to imagine a world shorn of ambition. It would probably be a kinder world: without demands, without abrasions, without disappointments. People would have time for reflection. Such work as they did would not be for themselves but for the collectivity. Competition would never enter in. Conflict would be eliminated, tension become a thing of the past. The stress of creation would be at an end. Art would no longer be troubling, but purely celebratory in its functions. The family would become superfluous as a social unit, with all its former power for bringing about neurosis drained away. Longevity would be increased, for fewer people would die of heart attack or stroke caused by tumultuous endeavor. Anxiety would be extinct. Time would stretch on and on, with ambition long departed from the human heart. Ah, how unrelievedly boring life would bed There is a strong view that holds that success is a myth, and ambition therefore a sham. Does this mean that success does not really exist? That achievement is at bottom empty? That the efforts of men and women are of no significance alongside the force of movements and events? Now not all success, obviously, is worth esteeming, nor all ambition worth cultivating. Which are and which are not is something one soon enough learns on one's own. But even the most cynical secretly admit that success exists; that achievement counts for a great deal; and that the true myth is that the actions of men and and


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is likely to be deranging. It is, in its implications, to remove all motive for competence, interest in attainment, and regard for posterity. We do not choose to be born. We do not choose our parents. We do not


choose our historical epoch, the country of our birth or the immediate circumstances of our upbringing. We do not, most of us, choose to die; nor do we choose the time or conditions of our death. But within all this realm of choicelessness, we do choose how we shall live: courageously or in cowardice, honorably or dishonorably, with purpose or in drift. We decide what is important and what is trivial in life. We decide that what makes us significant is either what we do or what we refuse to do. But no matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. And as we decide and choose, so are our lives formed. In the end, forming our own destiny is what ambition is about.


Appetite Laurie Lee one of the major pleasures in life is appetite, and one of our major duties should be to preserve it. Appetite is the keenness of living; it is one of the senses that tells you that you are still curious to exist, that you still have an edge on your longings and want to bite into the world and taste its multitudinous flavours and juices. By appetite, of course, I don't mean just the lust for food, but any condition of unsatisfied desire, any burning in the blood that proves you want more than you've got, and that you haven't yet used up your life. Wilde said he felt sorry for those who never got their heart's desire, but sorrier still for those who did. I got mine once only, and it nearly killed me, and I've always preferred wanting to having since. For appetite, to me, is this state of wanting, which keeps one's expectations alive. I remember learning this lesson long ago as a child, when treats and orgies were few, and when I discovered that the greatest pitch of happiness was not in actually eating a toffee but in gazing at it beforehand. True, the first bite was delicious, but once the toffee was gone one was left with nothing, neither toffee nor lust. Besides, the whole toffeeness of toffees was imperceptibly diminished by the gross act of having eaten it. No, the best was in wanting it, in sitting and looking at it, when one tasted an inexhaustible treasure-house of flavours. So, for me, one of the keenest pleasures of appetite remains in the wanting, not the satisfaction. In wanting a peach, or a particular texture or sound, or to be with a particular friend. For in this condition, of course, I know that the object of desire is always at its most flawlessly perfect. Which is why I would carry the preservation of appetite to the extent of deliberate fasting, simply because I think that appetite is too good to lose, too precious to be bludgeoned into insensibility by satiation and over-doing it. For that matter, I don't really want three square meals a day— I want one huge, delicious, orgiastic, table-groaning blow-out, say every four days, and 153

then not be too sure where the next one is coming from. A day of fasting is not for me just a puritanical device for denying oneself a pleasure, but rather a way of anticipating a rare moment of supreme indulgence. Fasting is an act of homage to the majesty of appetite. So I think we should arrange to give up our pleasures regularly— our food, our friends, our lovers — in order to preserve their intensity, and the moment of coming back to them. For this is the moment that renews and refreshes both oneself and the thing one loves. Sailors and travellers enjoyed this once, and so did hunters, I suppose. Part of the weariness of modern life may be that we live too much on top of each other, and are entertained and fed too regularly. Once we were separated by hunger both from our food and families, and then we learned to value both. The men went off hunting, and the dogs went with them; the women and children waved goodbye. The cave was empty of men for days on end; nobody ate, or knew what to do. The women crouched by the fire, the wet smoke in their eyes; the children wailed; everybody was hungry. Then one night there were shouts and the barking of dogs from the hills, and the men came back loaded with meat. This was the great reunion, and everybody gorged themselves silly, and appetite came into its own; the long-awaited meal became a feast to remember and an almost sacred celebration of life. Now we go off to the office and come home in the evenings to cheap chicken and frozen peas. Very nice, but too much of it, too easy and regular, served up without effort or wanting. We eat, we are lucky, our faces are shining with fat, but we don't know the pleasure of being hungry any more. Too much of anything—too much music, entertainment, happy snacks, or time spent with one's friends—creates a kind of impotence of living by which one can no longer hear, or taste, or see, or love, or remember. Life is short and precious, and appetite is one of its guardians, and loss of appetite is a sort of death. So if we are to enjoy this short life we should respect the divinity of appetite, and keep it eager and not too much blunted. It is a long time now since I knew that acute moment of bliss that comes from putting parched lips to a cup of cold water. The springs are still there to be enjoyed —all one needs is the original thirst.


Building Satisfaction Andy Rooney For most of the last month I've been putting up a small building. I am not experienced in putting up buildings. My new structure is just behind the building we call the garage at our summer place. I don't know why we call that the garage, though, because it used to be an icehouse and has been full of tools for several years. If Americans have a little bit of land near their house, they're possessed to put buildings on it. Most American farms, where there's plenty of land, are a cluster of haphazardly erected little buildings adjacent to the house and the barn. Most of the buildings were put up by someone who had an idea for their use at the time but that time has passed and they are now mostly used for what could only be called miscellaneous. When I started my building I was going to use it for storing garden tools and a small tractor/lawnmower but now I think I may use it as a place in which to write. I'm getting to like it too much to just keep garden tools in. My building is five-sided, eight feet tall at the sides and twelve feet tall at the crown of the roof in the middle. It's about twelve feet across although in a pentagon no side is directly opposite any other side so it's hard to measure that dimension. The base is on heavy, flat stones and the timbers are treated five-by-fives. The uprights and the roof members are two-by-fours. The sides are three-quarter-inch plywood, which I covered with tarpaper and then red cedar shingles. The floor is rough oak I bought from a farmer who has a little sawmill, and now I think if I'm going to use it as an office, I'll insulate and panel the interior. Don't ask me why I decided on a five-sided building and don't get thinking I'm any expert. I've bungled so many things putting it up that I'd be embarrassed to have a real carpenter see it. But it's up and it's mine and I built it and I had a wonderful time doing it. It was very hard work. Every morning I'd get up at 6:15 and go to the garage/icehouse and write until about 8:30 and then go into the house and 155

have breakfast. After breakfast I'd start on my building. Every evening at about 6:30 my wife would yell out the back door for me to quit. I'd work a little while longer, trying to anticipate how long I could stretch it out before she got really-mad at me, then I'd go to the house, dripping wet with perspiration. I'd take a shower, have a drink, eat dinner and by 10:30 drop into bed. It isn't often that I mix that much manual labor with writing and it got me thinking about which of the two is more satisfying. Writing is a great satisfaction to me but it's a wonderful feeling to go to bed dog-tired and twitching in every muscle after a long day's physical work in which you accomplished something. It always strikes me as surprising that it's so pleasurable to be physically tired from having used your muscles excessively. It makes me wish writing involved some kind of manual labor more strenuous than typing. If I got stiff writing, it might be even more satisfying. Standing back and looking at my odd-shaped building, I've been impressed with how much like my writing it is. It's a little crude and not very well finished but it's direct and original. My satisfaction in making it springs from the same well, too. For a man or a woman to take any raw material like lumber or words and shape these formless materials into a pattern that bears the stamp of his or her brain or hand, is the most satisfying thing to do in the whole world. It's what's wrong with cake mixes. When, out of a scrambled mess of raw materials, some order starts to emerge and it is an order you have imposed on those materials, it's a good feeling. It was nothing and now it's something. For me, writing in the early morning and working on my building the rest of the day was the ultimate vacation and I never worked harder in my life. Now I'm back at work and I can relax a little.


Decline and Fall of Teaching History Diane R avitch During the past generation, the amount of time devoted to historical studies in American public schools has steadily decreased. About 25 years ago, most public high-school youths studied one year of world history and one of American history, but today, most study only one year of ours. In contrast, the state schools of many other Western nations require the subject to be studied almost every year. In France, for example, all students, not just the collegebound, follow a carefully sequenced program of history, civics and geography every year from the seventh grade through the 12th grade. Does it matter if Americans are ignorant of their past? Does it matter if the general public knows little of the individuals, the events and the movements that shaped our nation? The fundamental premise of our democratic form of government is that political power derives from the informed consent of the people. Informed consent requires a citizenry that is rational and knowledgeable. If our system is to remain free and democratic, citizens should know not only how to judge candidates and their competing claims but how our institutions evolved. An understanding of history does not lead everyone to the same conclusions, but it does equip people with the knowledge to reach independent judgments on current issues. Without historical perspective, voters are more likely to be swayed by emotional appeals, by stirring commercials, or by little more than a candidate's good looks or charisma. Because of my interest as a historian of education in the condition of the study of history, I have been involved during the last year, in collaboration with the National Assessment of Educational Progress, in planning a countrywide study of what 17-year-olds know about American history. In addition, my contacts with college students during the last year and discussions with other historians have led me to believe that there is cause for concern. On the college lecture circuit this past year, I visited some 30 campuses, ranging from large public universities to small private liberal-arts colleges. Repeatedly, I was astonished by questions from able students about the most 157

elementary facts of American history. At one urban Minnesota university, none of the 30 students in a course on ethnic relations had ever heard of the Supreme Court's Brown v. Board of Education decision of 1954, which held racial segregation in public schools unconstitutional. At a university in the Pacific Northwest, a professor of education publicly insisted that high-school students should concentrate on vocational preparation and athletics, since they had the rest of their lives to learn subjects like history `on their own time'. The shock of encountering college students who did not recognize the names of eminent figures like Jane Addams or W. E. B. Du Bois led me to conduct an informal, unscientific survey of professors who teach history to undergraduates. "My students are not stupid, but they have an abysmal background in American, or any other kind of, history," said Thomas Kessner, who teaches American history at Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn. "They never heard of Daniel Webster; don't understand the Constitution; don't know the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties." This gloomy assessment was echoed by Naomi Miller, chairman of the history department at Hunter College in New York. "My students have no historical knowledge on which to draw when they enter college," she said. "They have no point of reference for understanding World War I, the Treaty of Versailles or the Holocaust." More than ignorance of the past, however, she finds an indifference to dates and chronology or causation. "They think that everything is subjective. They have plenty of attitudes and opinions, but they lack the knowledge to analyze a problem." Professor Miller believes that "we are in danger of bringing up a generation without historical memory. This is a dangerous situation."


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