1. ... sounds, shrieks that came out of the sky and terminate with an explosion. (1) Here the sounds and shrieks refer to the sound of enemy planes and the shrieking sound made by the falling bombs, hence”... sounds and shrieks that came out of the sky”.
shriek: any loud thrill sound suggestive of a scream or outcry to terminate: (fml) to end
2. ... a matter of seconds. (1)
an extremely short period of time.
More examples of “a matter of”:
a matter of time: meaning that sth is certain to happen at some time in the future, e. g. Things will get better: it‟s just a matter of time.
a matter of doing sth: need to do sth as a part or result, e. g.
Learning a language isn‟t just a matter of remembering words.
a matter of course: a usual event; sth natural, e. g.
When I left the house I locked the door as a matter of course.
3. If the sounds continue, the men will be seen scraping the surface of the earth with shovels and burying themselves in it until, like a species of animal, they vanish from sight. (1) Obviously the soldiers are being bombarded. If the sound of planes does not stop, that is, if the planes do not drop their bombs, the men will be seen digging in until they disappear into the foxholes.
to scrape: to remove sth from a surface to vanish: to disappear suddenly
4.There is a brief purring sound, then a rhythmic drumming. (2)
This is a description of the sound of the planes dropping bombs or guns firing shells rhythmically. to purr: to make a low, vibrating sound
to drum: to make a sound like that of a drum
5.The others run forward and crouch in the shelter of the embankment. (2)
shelter: The word “shelter” can be used both as a noun and as a verb. More examples:
They found shelter in a cave.
We took shelter from the rain under a tree.
Many parents try to shelter their children from the outside world. But this is no sound policy. Each year another 15 million people are born, and they all have to be fed, clothed, sheltered, educated and provided with jobs.
embankment: a mound of earth or stone built to support a roadway
6. . .. the life and death of an infantry soldier ... (2)
infantry: In the old days, the armed forces were usually composed of the infantry, the cavalry and the artillery. In modern times, however, the military organization is much more complicated. It consists of the army, the air force, the navy, and the marines as well as many subdivisions. Question: Why is the present tense used in the first three paragraphs?
7.1 was discharged from the U.S. Army in 1945 and went home. (4)
to discharge: to allow or tell (sb) to go
She was discharged from the intensive care unit last week and transferred to a general ward. The judge found him not guilty and discharged him.
The servant was discharged for being dishonest.
8.1 have a vague recollection of sitting with other students in the room ... (4) I seem to remember that I sat with other students in the room
Question: Why can‟ t the author remember clearly? (Because he soon lost consciousness and had to be sent to the hospital suffering from the “soldier‟s heart”.)
recollection: (fml) memory, e. g.
His recollection goes back 80 years.
I have a vivid recollection of the house where I was born.
To the best of my recollection (= If I remember right; but I am not sure) the Norman Conquest of Britain was in 1066.
9. . a. it was the course for upper division students known as the Colloquium.(4) it was the course for students at a more advanced level. upper division: higher grade Note that the author “returned” to the university, which implies that his college education was
disrupted by the war.
colloquium: a conference at which scholars or other experts present and discuss papers on a specific topic. It refers to a seminar here.
10.I was reading furiously about ... everything. (4)
I was reading hungrily about... everything.
Question: Why was he reading furiously? (He wanted to make up for the time he had lost because of the war. )
furiously: Here it means “with unrestrained energy and speed”.
11.One person had it that ... (5)
to have it that... : to say that sth is true, e. g.
One story had it that the rebel leader was never caught. He had disguised himself as a monk and escaped.
We don‟ t know for sure what caused the accident. One rumor has it that the princess was trying too hard to get rid of the photographers.
to have it in sb: (of sb) to have a particular ability, skill or quality, e. g. I never knew he had it in him. His speech was brilliant.
I‟m sure that she has it in her to be a great teacher. All she needs is some experience.
12.A friend would inform me ... and picked up by the police, ... (5)
Here the word would is NOT used to show a repeated or habitual action. It is the past tense form of will, denoting the future in the past.
Compare to another common usage of would:
Occasionally she and Philip would go out and paint pictures.
Whenever something serious happened he would try to cover it up. (In these examples, would is used to denote to repeated or habitual actions.)
to be picked up: to be found and taken somewhere to be questioned, e. g. The boy has been picked up by the police several times for knife-fighting. The police picked him up for speeding. (= arrest)
Compare to some other uses of to pick up:
I found the letter in the street and picked it up. (lift up)
Where did you pick up (= to get, to buy or to find) that lovely old vase? I picked up an American accent while I was in the States.
I just want to pick up today‟s mail. (= to collect)
Don „t worry. I‟ll pick you up (meet you and take you where you are going) at the airport.
The bus stopped and picked up (= to let... get on) three people.
We picked up (= to continue) the story when John left the office.
Domestic consumption is picking up. (= to improve)
Our reform will pick up speed after the Congress. (= to increase)
13. ... as a result of being shot at and shelled for months on end? (7) That is why the affliction is also known as shell shock.
to be shot at: Make sure that students do not mix it up with to be shot, which means to be shot dead.
on end: (of time) without a break; continuously; successively, e. g.
The rain went on for days on end.
She would sit in front of the TV for hours on end if I did not shut it up. In that desert you can drive for miles on end without seeing a single soul. When he was young he would often speak to a large audience for hours on end.
14. ... they were spared a long engagement. (7)
they were lucky that they did not have to fight a long war (The Gulf War started in January 1991 and ended in February the same year.)
to be spared sth: to be allowed not to experience sth difficult or unpleasant, e. g. He was happy that he was spared the shame of having to appear in court. I think she should be spared the pain of seeing her son‟s torn body.
At least in this way I will be spared the trouble of having to do it all over again. engagement: (technical) a battle between two armies or navies, e. g.
Although it was a short engagement, we destroyed a whole enemy division. They tried in vain to engage our troops in a decisive battle.
15.1 would tremble and sweat and, on occasion, pass out. (7)
These are some of the symptoms of the illness referred to as “soldier‟s heart”. to pass out: to faint; to lose consciousness
Suggestion: Hold a brief discussion in class on the symptoms of PTSD (post—trauma stress
on occasion: sometimes, but not very often
16. The patients in this hospital saw very little of the doctors. (8)
The patients in this hospital seldom saw the doctors. They did not get a chance to see the doctor very often.
This implies that the doctors were very irresponsible.
17. ... they ran the ward. (8)
Notice the irony that the ward was run by two brutal guards.
18.Two of the guards were the kind Chekhov describes in “Ward No. 6”. (9)
“Ward No. 6” is a short story written by Chekhov. It describes a ward in a town hospital in
Russia for patients who are suffering from mental illness. It is gloomy, damp, stinking and overcrowded. The ward guards treat the patients as prisoners, beating and abusing them constantly.
Question: What kind of place is the ward the author stayed in as a patient?
19.Once he waggled the stump under my face with a sly smile. (9)
Once he waved what remained of his trigger finger under my nose with a smile that showed he was hiding something from other people.
to waggle: to move sth from side to side with short quick movements
stump: the short part of sb‟s arm, leg, or finger that remains after the rest of it is cut off Notice that the guard was obviously not at all ashamed of his dishonesty.
20.This, he gave me to understand, was why he had been excused from military service. (9) He made me believe that this (the cutting off of his trigger finger) was the reason why he was able to escape being drafted into the army.
to give sb to understand that …: (fml) to make sb believe that sth will happen or is true, e. g. The doctor gave me to understand that my father‟ s days were numbered.
I was given to understand that the terms were negotiable. to excuse sb from sth: to free sb from sth The guard was obviously a draft dodger. He had used dishonest methods (cutting off his finger deliberately) to avoid serving in the army.
Notice the following use of the word service:
I was sent to Germany on military service for two years.
After graduation he decided to join the services. (join the army or navy, etc) Today servicemen are equipped with very sophisticated weapons. (soldiers)
21. He informed me that he was the one who had knocked out my front teeth when I was first brought into the ward. (9)
Compare with the other uses of knock out:
The detective went up to the hooligan and knocked him out.
She was the prettiest woman I had ever seen. She really knocked me out.
It took us three long years to knock out these books.
22.I received shock treatment ... (10)
shock treatment (also: shock therapy): a treatment of mental illness using powerful electric shocks
23.I watched as the current passed through and the body convulsed. (10)
I watched as the flow of electricity ran through the body and the body shook violently. current: a flow of electricity through a wire or circuit; a steady and continuous flowing movement of the water in a river, lake, or sea
to convulse: to shake violently and in an uncontrollable way
24. Speaking only for myself, I think they brought me out of the fog in which I has been walking. (10)
As far as I‟m concerned, I think the shock treatment was effective and it helped me to regain my senses and become normal.
fog: Used metaphorically, it means a state of mental confusion or unawareness. to speak for sb/sth: to express the thoughts, opinions, etc. of sb/sth, e. g.
What others think I do not know, I can only speak for myself.
I believe I‟m speaking for many others present at this meeting when I say that we will never forget the things you have done for us in the past two years.
25.One of the symptoms of my illness had been hearing voices. But one day— and this was after I
came out of the fog and I was quite calm and rational—... I heard a voice say “Praise God, they
resist, they resist!” (11)
One of the symptoms of my illness had been hallucination (hearing or seeing things that were not there). But one day that was after I had recovered I again seemed to hear a voice say “Praise God, they resist!” I was still dreaming of my comrades who were heroically resisting the enemy attack.
26.1 believe with Shakespeare that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in the philosophy of those who serve the world, and who administer its institutions, and grow rich. (11)
I agree with what Shakespeare says, i. e. there are more important things in heaven and in the world, things that are missing in the philosophy of the rich and powerful, things that these people have never dreamed of.
27. For some years I was subject to the sudden onsets I have mentioned … (13)
For a few years I often had the sudden fits or attacks I have mentioned...
to be subject to sth: likely to be affected by sth (unpleasant)
onset: the first attack or the beginning of sth (bad)
28. ... I would keep an eye peeled for an enemy position. (13)
I would be on the alert, watching carefully for an enemy position.
Although the war was long over, his war habits still lingered on. He was still trying to spot an enemy position (阵地).
to keep an eye peeled/open/out for: (infml) to look or watch carefully for; to be on the lookout for
29.1 had to be cleared by their doctor. (14)
I had to go through examinations by their doctor to prove that I was capable of resuming my studies at the university.
to be cleared by sb: to get an official permission from sb
30.You aren‟t going to be so taken up with your music, are you? (14)
You are not going to be so busy with your music, are you? (Now that you intend to work for a university degree.)
Obviously the doctor took the author for somebody else who was extremely fond of music. to be taken up with: to be very busy dealing with sb or sth, e. g.
He won‟t come to the party; he is completely taken up with his homework.
I know that I‟m neglecting my friends. I‟m fully taken up with my own affairs.
31. ... to test my sanity. (14)
to examine and see if I am in my right mind and can think and behave normally and reasonably.
32.1 had seen the common man ... his guts spilled in a road, his limbs strewn in a field. (14) Notice that when the author and the doctor referred to the “common man”, they did not mean the
same thing. Few people understood the veterans‟ mental disturbance or psychological scar.
guts: the bowels 肠子
It is interesting to note that in informal English, guts can also mean courage because people in that culture once believed that the human bowels is the seat of courage.
limbs: arms and legs
to be strewn: to be covered with; to be scattered with; to be spread over with
33.1 didn‟ t have the fascination with gossip that a reporter needs to have (15)
I didn‟t have any interest in gossip. Therefore the job of a reporter did not suit me. The author obviously did not have much respect for reporters, who, in his opinion, are only good at gossip about politicians‟ scandals and nations‟ quarrels.
fascination: great interest; obsession gossip: trivial and idle talk or writing Notice that the author does not seem to have much respect for politicians and international politics either.
34.1 slipped in by a side door, ... wasn‟t so particular about whom they let in. (16)
to slip: to move smoothly, secretly, or unnoticed, e. g.
He slipped out before the lecture was over.
She slipped away without being seen.
to be particular about: to pay too much attention to or to be too concerned with details or niceties; to be fussy about, e. g.
My wife is very particular about her shoes. She doesn‟t trust my taste. I‟ m not very particular about food. I have no special preference.
35. ... from G Company to Battalion. (18)
Compare: army, division, brigade, regiment, battalion, company, platoon, squad
36. ... at close range. (18)
at a short distance; very near
range: the distance over which a particular weapon can hit the target, e. g. This is a long-range missile.
Hold your fire until the enemy soldiers are within range.
37. What have we to complain of who have only known “solder‟s heart”? (19)
Compared with those who died or were seriously maimed in the war, we, who only suffered a “soldier‟s heart” really have no right to complain.
Notice that the relative clause “who have only known „soldier‟s heart” is separated from its antecedent we and placed at the end to avoid top-heaviness.
The order soon came that all civilians should evacuate the village. A terrible thought came to him that maybe the child had been kidnapped.
38. It was hell on earth, but the men who went through it consoled themselves with a thought ... (21)
Although the situation was extremely unpleasant and hard to bear, the men who were suffering it tried to make themselves feel better with the thought...
hell on earth: a metaphorical expression to describe a place or experience that is very unpleasant to go through: to suffer or to experience sth unpleasant, e. g.
Francis, who had gone through so many hard struggles, was not a rebel by nature. You‟ll have to
go through many hard tests to qualify as a member of the special forces.
39. The men and women I worked with in universities were pale and unreal in comparison. They were hollow and filled with words. (22)
Compared to the people with whom I fought side by side during the war, the people I worked with in universities were pale and unreal. They talked a lot, but their words were empty and meaningless because they had not experienced real life.
to be pale in comparison: to seem small or unimportant compared to sb/sth else hollow: without substance or character; empty, shallow, and superficial
40. What was I to think of the new breed of university professors, structuralists, poststructuralists, deconstructionists ... (23)
breed: a particular kind of people or things
Notice that the author clearly opposes the principles and methods of structuralism, poststructuralism and deconstructionism, which were challenging the traditional approaches in linguistics, literature, psychology and anthropology in the 1960s.
The fact that the author finds them distasteful does not mean that they are invalid or untrue. Given the complexity of the issue, however, we do not encourage teachers to dig too deeply into this.
41.As if any life were common! (25)
It is ridiculous to think that any life is common.
as if: used to say that sth is definitely not true, e. g.
Let him go. As if I care!
Don‟t listen to him. As if he knew everything!
42.And they weren‟t stunning physical specimens either, ... for miles at a good pace. (25)
And they were not astonishingly strong or attractive either, (although they could carry heavy things) for miles at a pretty fast speed.
stunning: strikingly attractive
specimen: an individual representative of a type or class; an example; a sample at a good pace: at a satisfactory speed; quite quickly
43.Even at the university there were very few who felt about things as I did. (26) One would expect professors and students in universities to share my feelings. But I find that there are few people even in universities who feel about things as I do.
44. What if the only thing I could do was held in contempt by others, or met with indifference? (27)
What if people should show contempt for my writing—the only thing I can do—or should simply
pay no attention?
to hold sth/sb in contempt: to feel contempt for sb/sth; to despise
45.They were deaf to the music. (27)
My war experience gave me poetry and music. I would never get tired of writing about it. But they just didn‟t care to know what happened in the war.
to be deaf (to): to be unwilling to hear or listen, e. g. He was deaf to all advice. They were deaf to people‟s complaints.
to be deaf to the music: 无动于衷？“我写的东西对于他们”是对牛弹琴？