Contemporary College English Book Four
Unit Four Text A A Drink in the Passage
课程名现代大学英语精读 授课专业及班次 2007本科英语1、2班 称
授课内Unit Four Text A 授课方式及学时 16 容
To grasp some backgrounds of the story,some keys words and commonly-used 目的要
求 sentence patterns.
Special difficulties:the some colloquail language 重点与难
点 Key points:some key words and important sentence patterns
2 hours: the introduction of the background:Apartheid South Africa
4 hours: the explaination of the glossary and the main idea of the text 讲授内
2 hours: the first part of the text:the introduction 容及
时间分2 hours: the second part of the text
配 2 hours: the last part of the text
教 具 Chalk,recorder,blackboard
杨立民. Contemporary College English.北京~外语教学与研究出版
Teaching contents and procedures
?Questions for consideration
1)what do you know about Apartheid South Africa?Do you know its history? 2)Can you introduce the racial separation ? What is your opinion of it? ?Introduction to the background
The story is set against the background of Apartheid South Africa. South Africa was colonized by
ththe British and Dutch in the 17 century.British domination of the Dutch descendants resulted in the Dutch establishin gth enew colonies of Orange Free State and Transvaal.The idcovery of
diamonds in these lands around 1900 led to a British invasion which resulted in the Boer
War.Following independence from Britain, there was a perild of uneasy power-sharing between
the two groups until the 1940s, when the Afrikaner National Party was able to gain a strong
majority. Toward the end of the 1980s, amid increasing racial tension and criticism from the
outside world, Nationalist president F.W.De Klerk started a serious reform.
?the explanation of the new words
A mistake that you make by not noticing sth or by forgetting to do sth, E.g. I didn’t mean to leave the room unlocked. It was just an oversight.
A sharp, angry and official rebuke.
A person of distinction.
Compare: 1 person,2 personage, 3 personnel, 4 personality, 5 personal. I hear that he has very strong backing from a powerful _____. Any _____ could get nervous under those circumstances.
____ department is organizing the training of the new members of staff. Will you do it for me as a ____ favour.
She has a very strong ____.
Keys: 2 1 3 5 4
To feel up to:，pa. 4：
To be well enough to: to be capable of.
E.g. I don’t feel up to a long hike.
A soft fabric, such as silk, or nylon, having a smooth, dense pile and a plain underside
A painted curtain hung at the back of a stage set
Paying compliments; expressing praise or admiration.
Do not mix it up with the complimentary, complementary
The professor is highly ____ about your paper.
The economies of our two countries are highly____.
And all，pa .16：
The whole thing; including everything or everybody mentioned, E.g.
My boss promised to provide me with a computer and all.
，just：around the corner，pa. 18：Very near
e.g The new is around the corner.
To be at one’s ease，pa. 34：
Feeling natural and comfortable; without any embarrassment or discomfort
To get beyond sb:，pa. 51：
To become difficult for sb to understand.
A sociable evening，pa. 72：
An evening characterized by pleasant, informal conversation and companionship.
? the analyses of some important sentences
1. In the year 1960 the Union of South Africa celebrated its Golden Jubilee, and there was a nationwide sensation when the one-thousand-pound prize for the finest piece of sculpture was won by a black man, Edward Simelane.
In the year 1960, the Union of South Africa celebrated its fiftieth anniversary, and there was a
great excitement throughout the country when people heard that the prize for the finest piece
of sculpture was won by a black man.
Golden Jubilee: Jubilee is the celebration of a speical anniversary: silver jubilee (25 th
thanniversary); golden jubilee (50 th anniversary) and diamond jubilee (60 or 75 th
nationwide: throughout the nation
Note that “-wide” is an adjective or adverb suffix meaning throughout, e.g.
Nationwide; worldwide; communitywide; schoolwide.
a sensation: extreme excitement or intereest, e.g.
His speech produced a great sensation (in the audience.)
The new opera did not cause the sensation that had been expected.
2. His work, African Mother and Child, not only excited the admiration, but touched the conscience or heart or whatever it was that responded, of white South Africa.
His sculpture, African Mother and Child, not only won the admiration of the white people for its artisitc merit, but also deeply touched or moved their hearts and conscience because the work made them see the injustice of racial discrimination and the black people’s yearning for a better life for their children.
3. It was by an oversight that his work was accepted…
It was by a careless mistake that his work was accepted, because as a black person, he was not supposed to participate in the competition.
Oversight: a mistake that you make by not noticing sth or by forgetting to do sth, e.g.
I didn't mean to leave the room ulocked. It was just an oversight.
By (an) oversight, the letter was sent unsigned.
4. The committee of the sculpture section received a pricate reprimand for having been so careless as to omit the words “for whites only” from the conditions…
a private reprimand: a private criticsm; a criticism that is not made public
reprimand: a sharp, angry and official rebuke (criticism)
so careless as to omit the words “for whites only” from the conditions: so careless that they forgot to put the words “for whites only” in the conditions for entering the competition
5. a very high personage
a high-ranking official; an important person
personage: a person of distinction
Compare: person, personage, personnel, personality
6. The committee then decided that this prize must be given along with the others, at the public ceremony which would bring this particular part of the celebrations to a close.
To bring sth to a close: to end or conclude sth, e.g.
The government was anxious to bring the hostage crisis to a close.
The surrender of General Lee’s army soon brought the Civil War to a close.
7. …but in certain powerful quarters, there was an outcry against any departure from the “traditional policies” of the country…
… but in certain politically influential circles, there was a strong protest against this decision
as it wsa not in conformity with the traditional, apartheid policies of the country.
quarters: a usually unspecified group of people
I learned the news from some usually well-informed quarters.
He has won some support from business quarters
outcry: a strong protest or objection
There was a public outcry against police brutality.
There was an outcry among the workers when the decision was announced.
departure from: a divergence from a rule or traditional practice
“traditional policies”: They refer to the racist policies which had been in effect for many years.
8. However, a crisis was averted, because the sculptor was “unfortunately unable to attend the ceremony”.
A crisis was avoided because to the relief of the authorities Simelane apologized that be would not be able to attend the ceremony personally to receive the prize.
Notice that what is given here in quotes is the official announcement which was probably not true, and everybody knew it.
9. “I wasn’t feeling up to it.” Simelane said mischievously to me. “My parents, and my wife’s parents, and our priest, decided that I wasn’t feeling up to it. And finally I decided so too.”
When Simelane said mischievously to the author that he wasn't feeling up to it, he meant that he was going to pretend that he was sick and therefore he could not go to the cermoney, and he knew that he was sick and therefore he could not go to the ceremony, and he knew that the author would understand that it was only an excuse. The meaning became even clearer when he
went on to say that his parents and others “decided” that he wasn’t feeling up to it. What they really meant of course was that he should not go to the ceremony as it wsa too risky.
to feel up to: to be well enough to; to be capable of, e.g.
I don’t feel up to a long hike.
I don’t think Ann will feel up to it. She is not as young as she used to be.
mischievously: playfully; teasingly
10. “boys, I’m a sculptor, not a demonstrator.”
Majosi and Sola and the others were obviously well-known anti-apartheid activists. They
wanted him to go to the ceremony for political reasons. But his response was that he was only
a sculptor and he wsa not interested in politics. He did not want to make it a political issue.
boys: my friends
11. “This cognac is wonderful,” he said, “especially in these big glasses. It’s the first time I’ve
such a glass. It’s also the first time I’ve drunk a brandly so slowly.”
Brandy is an expensive drink that was usually consumed by well-to-do white folks in
Apartheid South Africa who would sip slowly from a brandy glass. When a black person like
Simelane ever got a chance to drink brandy, he would usually use a small glass and drink it
quickly for fear that he might be seen and arrested by the police for breaking the law. A
brandy glass is a large one with a wide bowl and narrower top. It is this shape so that the
drinker can appreciate the aroma of brandy.
12. “In Orlando you develop a throat of iron, and you just put back your head and put it down, in
case the police should arrive.”
When black folks in Orlando drank brandy, frequently they had to put back their head and drink
it up in one gulp in order to avoid police detection, and because brandy is a very strong drink,
you gradually develop a very strong throat—like a throat of iron.
Notice that according to apartheid laws, blacks could not remain in the big cities after a certain
hour at night. Orlando must be a small town where blacks live.
13. They gave a window to it, with a white velvet backdrop, if there is anything called white
velvet, and some complimentary words.
They gave a whole window to the sculpture with a white curtain at the back and some words in
praise of the work. The curtain (backdrop) was made of white velvet, if there is such a thing
as white velvet.
Velvet is usually soft and smooth. But in this country of apartheid, it was hard for the sculptor
to associate the color “white” with such qualities as “softness” and “smoothness”.
Notice the sharp contrast of the colors of the backdrop and the scupture. There is something
symbolic about it.
Complimentary: paying compliments; expressing praise or admiration
Do not mix it up with the complementary, which means
14. On my way from the station to the Herald office, I…would only squint at it out of the corner
of my eye.
the station: This obviously refers to the railway station. The sculptor lives in Orlando as he is
not allowed to live in the big city and therefore has to commute by train every day.
The Herald office: We can assume that the sculptor works for a newspaper called The Herald.
To squint at: to look or glance to the side
out of the corner of my eye: Notice in this idiom that it is “my eye”, not “my eyes”.
15. …so I thought I’d go and see the window, and indulge certain pleasurable human feelings.
So I thought I’d go and see the window, and secetly enjoy some pleasant feelings—feelings of
pride for example for my genios.
16. I must have got a little lost in the contemplation of my own genius…
I must have become too absorbed or preoccupied with my own genius…
17. And you know, one doesn’t get called “mate” every day.
In South Africa, a black man does not hear a white man call him “mate”. They are usually
treated very rudely. But this white man was very friendly. Therefore he just couldn't bring
himself to say no to his invitation.
18. Well honestly I didn’t feel like a drink at that time of night, with a white stranger and all, and a
train still to catch to Orlando.
Well, to tell the truth, I didn’t like the idea of having a drink at that time of night. It was getting
late, and I had to catch a train to Orlando before I got into trouble with the police. Besides I
would be drinking with a white stranger and would have to face all the possible
and all: the whole thing: including everything or everybody mentioned, e.g.
My boss promised to provide me with a computer and all.
He ate the whole of the fish, head, tail, bones, and all.
19. “My flat’s just round the corner. Do you speak Afrikaans?”
(just) round the corner: very near
Afrikaans: a Dutch dialect spoken mainly by the white people of Dutch descent in South Africa.
The fact that the sculptor had spoken the language since he was a child showed that although
he was black he was well-educated. In this passage, there was quite a problem for the
sculptor as to what language he should use, as language served as an important social status
20. I couldn’t have told him my name.
Why did Simelane say he couldn’t have told van Renshurg his name?
It might be that Simelane had been acting as if he were admiring somebody else’s work of art
and therefore it would be embarrassing to reveal his true identity. He did not want the other
person to know that he was indulging in admiring his own genius, esp. after hearing the
compliments of this stranger.
21. We didn't exactly walk abreast, but he didn’t exactly walk in front of me.
Is there any symbolic meaning of the sentence? Would it be a problem for them to walk abreast?
A black was not the equal of white so they would never walk side by side a equals.
22. “I wanted a bookshop, like that one there, I always wanted that, ever since I can remember.
But I had bad luck. My parents died before I could finish school.”
Did van Rensburg’s background have anything to do with his appreciation of the sculpture?
23. I said unwillingly, “Yes.” Then I thought to myself, how stupid, for leaving the question open.
Simlane thought it was stupid of him to leave the question open. If he had said “no”, that would
have ended the subject. Now that he had said “yes”, this stranger would naturally want to
know how far he had gone. Answer the question in such a way as to lead to further questions.
24. I was glad to see that the entrance lobby was deserted. I wasn’t at my ease. The lift wsa at
ground level, marked Whites Only.
I was glad to see that there was no one in the wide entrance passage. I was a bit nervous.
to be at one’s ease: feeling natural and comfortable; without any embarrassment or discomfort
lift: (chiefly British) an elevator (AmE)
Similarly flat is also used chiefly in British English. In American English, appartment is more
oftne used. English in South Africa is British English.
ground floor: also British English for what Americans call the first floor
Notice that Simelane wsa il at ease in a place where he was not supposed to be. That was why
he was glad that the lobby was deserted and why he was so anxious to get moving and away
from that ground floor.
25. …and looked at me with a kind of honest, unselfish envy.
… and looked at me in a way that showed that he sincerely envied me. He was not jealous of
26. On the other side were the doors, impoersonal doors.
impersonal doors: The doors looked impoersonal because for one thing, they looked all the
same, this being a cheap apartment building. They had no names or signs on them.
impersonal: showing no emotions or feelings
Notice that the white man was friendly enough to invite Simelane to have a drink, but he was
not ready to invite him into his home.
27. “Sorry there’s no brandy,” he said. “Only wine, Here’s happiness.”
He was sorry that there was no brandy, for brandy is generally considered more expensive stuff.
Here’s happiness: Let’s drink to your happiness. Van Rensburg was proposing a toast.
28. I wasn’t only feeling what you may be thinking, I was thinking that one of the impersonal
doors might open at any moment, and someone might see me in a “white” building, and see
me and van Rensburg breaking the liquor laws of the country.
You may be thinking that it was an insult to have me drink in the passage instead of inviting me
into their apartment, to sit down and drink properly. Yes, I was feeling that way. But there are
something else. I was also afraid that one of the cold, unfriendly doors might open at any
moment and someone might see me in this “whites only” building, drinking with a white man
and breaking the laws on drinking.
29. Anger could have saved me from the whole embarrassing situation, but you know I can’t
easily be angry. Even if I could have been, I might have found it hard to be angry with this
I could have simple left then and there angrily and thus freed myself from the awkward
situation. But you know, I’m not the kind of person who can easily get angry. Even if I could,
I might have found it hard to be angry with this particular man. He seemed so nice to me.
30. … “You know, talk out my heart to him.”
…You know, talk to him heart to heart; tell him everything in my mind freely and fully; pour
out my feelings to him
31. …but not for all the money in the world could I have said to her dankie, my nooi or that
disgusting danke, misses.
Under no circumstances could I have said to her dankie, my nooi or that disgusting dankie,
Apparently, buth “dankie, my nooi” and “ dankie, misses”, something like “Thank you, my
lady”, were considered proper in this context for blacks. But Simelane would not talk like
that. He had his dignity. On the other hand, he could not speak English because the woman
was speaking Afrikaans. So finally he took his chance and used an expression so polite in
Afrikaans that he could have been knocked down for forgetting his place, as such polite
language was supposed to be reserved only for the white people.
High Afrikaans: Afrikaans spoken by educated white Africaners
32. …so I took the risk of it and used the word mevrou, …, “Ek is a dankbarr, Mevrou.”
Mevrou: Madam, a title of respect, clearly inappropriate for a black person to use
Ek is a dankbarr, Mevrou: This must be a very formal form of address.
Obviously, Simelane was caught “between a rock and a hard place”. As an eudcated person, he
had a natural refined manner and was inclined to use a more formal form of address, but as a
black, he was not supposed to.
33. …and van Rensburg, in a strained voice that suddenly came out of nowhere, said, “Our land is
beautiful is beautiful. But it breaks my heart.”
Van Rensburg suddenly appeared and, in a worried voice, said, “Our land if beautiful. But it
breaks my heart.”
out of / from nowhere: happening or appearing suddenly and without warning, e.g.
Mr. Jones was driving too fast on the expressway when a police patrol car appeared out of
nowhere and stopped him.
A stone came out of nowhhere and hit him on the head.
our land: our country
to break one’s heart” to make one extremely sad
34. And I thought the whole thing was mad, and getting beyond me, with me a black stranger
being shown a testimoial for the son of the house.
Why did he say the whole thing was mad and getting beyond him?
testimonial: a formal statement affirming the character or worth of another person
Van Rensburg was the son of the house, and the woman was praising him in front of a black
man, and a stranger at that too. This obviously was very abnormal, and Simelane was
to get beyond sb: to become difficult for sb to understand
35. All of us were full of goodwill, but I was waiting for the opening of one of those impersonal
doors. Perhaps they were too, I don’t know. Perhaps when you want so badly to touch
someone, you don’t care.
All of us were full of warm and friendly feelings toward each other, but I was hoping that one
of those doors would open and someone would come out and see me. Perhaps van Rensburg
and the others were hoping the same thing, I am not quite sure. Perhaps when you want to
reach out so eagerly, you don’t care what might happen.
Notice that at that moment eveybody wanted to forget their racial difference, but the invisible
barrier was still there.
36. We drove up Eloff Street, and he said, “Did you know what I meant?” I wanted to answer him,
but I couldn't, because I didn’t know what that something was. He couldn’t be talking about
being frightened of Orlando at night, because what more could one mean than just that?
We drove up Eloff Street, and he asked, “Did you know what I meant?” He wanted to make
sure that I understood him. Being a black, I knew very well that he couldn’t be talking about
it being dangerous in Orlando at night. He was saying that it was dangerous to break the
Apartheid laws by showing up in Orlando at night. What else could he mean other than that?
I knew he wanted understanding and further communication. I wanted to answer him, but I
couldn't because I didn’t know that he wanted me to say.
37. “You know,” he said, “about our land being beautiful?”
The unfinished words are: but it breaks my heart. Van Rensburg wanted Simelane to know
that he felt sorry about their country’s Apartheid laws.
Notice that throughout the conversation, van Rensburg was expressing his concern about the
sad situation the country was in, and he thoguht that the black man probably would not
understand. The truth of course wsa just the opposite.
38. Yes, I knew what he meant, and I knew that for God’s sake he wanted to touch me too and he couldn’t; for his eyes had been blinded by years in the dark. And I thought it was a pity he was
blind, for if men never touch each other, they’ll hurt each other one day.
Yes, I knew what he meant, and I knew, too, that he really wanted to touch me. But he couldn’t for he had been influenced by racism for so long that he was now unable to see the truth and behave accordingly. And I thought it was a sad thing, because if you don’t understand each other and don’t care for each other, some day you will hurt each other. Racial prejudices are bound to lead to terrible sufferings on both sides.
Touch me: It probably doesn’t mean “physically touch” but “get close to in spirit”.
39. And it was a pity he was blind, and couldn’t touch me, for black men don’t touch white men any more; only by accident, when they make something like Mother and Child.
And it was a pity he could not see the truth and couldn’t open up completely to me and embrace me as his brother, for black people could only touch them by accident as in this case. They would not have had the chance to be moved by the sculpture Mother and Child if it had not been for the oversight.
40. …and my inarticulateness distressed me,
…and my inability to express myself upset me; The fact that I could not clearly express what I was thinking made me upset.
41. “Thank you for the sociable evening.”
a sociable evening: an evening characterized by pleasant, informal conversation and companionship
42….but I was thinking he was like a man trying to run a race in iron shoes, and not understanding why he cannot move.
But I was thinking that he was much like a man trying to run but couldn’t because he was still not completely free from racial prejudices which were dragging his feet like iron shoes.
And the sad thing wsa that he still did not know what was preventing their land, which
otherwise was so beautiful, from becoming a country that would not break his heart. The wall
wsa in his own heart.
P113:Translate P115: Put the most appropriate words in the blanks.
What do you think about racism? What influences will racism bring to us? What can we do to eliminate it?
杨立民. Contemporary College English.北京~外语教学与研究出版社.2008..
史正永《高级英语导读与欣赏》 北京~兴图音像出版社 2006年修订本
李诗平《英语修辞手册》 长沙~湖南人民出版社 1998年第一版