6. Living in the Present(introduction and conclusion )
About one of man’s frailties Thomas Wolfe wrote, “He talks of
the future and he wastes it as it comes.” The observation is related to
a principle by which I try (without always succeeding) to live. I believe in living in the present because it is futile;无用； to dwell on
the past, to worry about the future, or to miss anything in the only reality I know.
It is futile to dwell on the past. What existed or happened in the past may have been beautiful or exciting and may now bring profound and precious memories; but the past is dead, and it is not healthy for living spirits to linger over a world inhabited by ghosts. The past may also be a place of horror, of regret, of spilled milk, of unfortunate deeds that “cannot be undone,” of sad words like “might
have been.” However, it is painful and pointless to fixate;依恋； on a
period that cannot be relieved or repaired. It is unproductive self-punishment. The past must be kept in its place, outlived and outgrown.
It is also useless to worry about the future. Why fly to heaven before it is time? What anxious visions haunt;萦绕； the person who
thinks too much about the future? He may envision;想象？幻想； the
horrible mushroom cloud; the earth shriveling from the radiation;
the overpopulated, abused earth gone dead. He may imagine his own life going awry;出错？失误；？ appointments missed; advancements
given to someone else; his house burned to the ground; his love lost; everything in his life as in a nightmare, slipping away from him. There is no end to the disasters a person can worry about when he focuses anxiously on the future. There are events in his future, including his own demise;死亡？终结；, over which he has little or no
control, but he can ruin his life worrying about them. There are some disasters he may be able to prevent, but he must do that by living well in the present, not simply by worrying about the future.
The present moment, which is even now moving into the past, is the reality I know, and I don’t want to miss it. The wild-cherry cough
drop dissolving in my mouth is sweet and soothing. Even my sore throat and back-ache have meaning. The cool night air, the crackling noise of my furnace, my cat yawning and stretching—these are the
tangible有形的； realities I can recognize. They exist in this moment, together with my own breathing, the warm lamp overhead, the jerking of my typewriter. Among with these are the realities of other people and of all life on this earth, which matters to me now, not at some past or future time.
Everyone needs a sense of history, I think, particularly a feeling
for his own roots, but history needs to keep its distance to be appreciated. It is also vital to have some sense of direction, which means making plans for the future but not becoming preoccupied with them. What is most important, I believe, is living in the present, that is, being alive now.
1. Find out the thesis statement and tell whether the thesis is emphasized or not?
2. How does the essay end? Does it give you a sense a completion? 3. What strategy does it use?
7.Big Ideas in Small Words;Example；
In English, most often short words are as good as long ones, and simple words like “bright sun,” “fresh air,” and “sweet home” are best of
all. Though small, these words can meet our needs with grace, charm and
(express clearly) big things like: strength, and can cast a clear light on
war and peace, love and hate, and life and death.
As has been said in THE MIRACLE OF LANGUAGE by Richard Lederer, many of the pithy(terse and forcible) proverbs use very simple
words in the expression of excellent ideas, “ Where there is a will, there is
a way” , “Rome was not built in a day”, “ Two heads are better than one”,
to name only a few.
Many of the ancient poets and orators recognized the power of small
words in making a straight line between two minds. Several hundred years ago, William Shakespeare used small simple words in his play
KING LEAR. “And my poor fool is hang’d ! No, no ,no life! Why should
a dog, a horse, a rat have life, and thou no breath at all?…”
In the Bible, with which many English speakers are familiar, the short words which describe the beginning of human life sound like this: And God said, Let there be light, and there was light. And God saw the light, that it was good.
Modern great leaders or poets have also been using simple English
words in their speeches or writings. During Word War II when Hitler was nearly occupying the whole of Europe, and many people thought the end of mankind was drawing near, Winston Churchill responded in his ringing
words: “ let’s fight by the sea, land, and air, with all our might and with all the strength that God can give us.” A tit-for-tat(针锋相对) struggle
was forged;carried on steadily；, and Hitler was defeated. And now let’s
hear what Robert Frost said in his poem THE DEATH OF THE HIRED
MAN, “Home is the place where , when you have to go there, they have to take you in.” Even more terse words are probably ten two–letter words
by William H. Johnson when he described his secret of success, “ If it is
to be, it is up to me.”
Many of us tend to use long words to speak our minds, if they say just what we want, that’s okay. But if big words make the way dark for those who hear what we say and read what we write, we might as well as use small words. Like fast friends, they won’t let us down.
Questions for study:
1. How does the writer open the essay?
2. What is the topic sentence of paragraph 2?
3. Why does the writer cite Shakespeare and the Bible?
4. How many examples are given in paragraph 5 and how different the
examples in this paragraph from the ones in paragraph 4?
What point is the writer making by giving the many examples? Are they relevant?
8. Individualism and Collectivism(comparison and contrast)
America’s individualist culture springs from a 2,000 years tradition of Roman and Greek arts, philosophy and government, as well as the moral and legal traditions of Christianity. By contrast, China’s culture, including its arts,
philosophy, and government is rooted in the Confucian ethic, Taoism, Buddhism, and more recently, Chinese Socialism.
(roots of American individualism and the Chinese collectivism)
American individualism ( “me” ism) and Chinese
collectivism (“we’ ism) are poles apart. For millennia, millions of Chinese have coped with limited land and resources. Economic and social imperatives coupled with Confucian, Buddhist and Taoist ethics, have constrained Chinese to subordinate individual goals to societal needs. Centuries of collective culture made some of Chinese socialism historically inevitable.
(the causes for Chinese collectivism )
By contrast, it is obvious why Americans are the most individualist people on earth. Mere centuries ago, Europeans settled a vast, relatively unpopulated continent, where they enjoyed unprecedented freedom and opportunity as their
government mobilized them to settle the frontier. Though America’s frontiers have vanished, the frontier mentality of individualism remains the emotional and philosophical cornerstone of American culture.
(the causes of the American individualism)
Individualism and collectivism permeate (penetrate) every aspect of Eastern and Western culture, influencing American and Chinese economics, politics, morals and values, and especially communication patterns. This is important, for research has proved that the number one cause of failure in international business and relations is not economics or even business but cross-cultural communication. And culture is often the culprit behind the miscommunication.
(the significance of knowing about differences between ……..)
9. People on the Slopes(classification)
When I first learned to ski, I was amazed by the shapes who whizzed by me and slipped down trails marked only by a black diamond signifying “ most difficult,” while others careened
awkwardly down the “bunny slopes.” These skiers, I discovered,
could be divided into distinct categories—for my own entertainment
and for the purpose of finding appropriate skiing partners.
First are the poetic skiers. They glide down the mountainside
silently with what seems like no effort at all. They float from side to side on the intermediate slopes, their knees bent perfectly above parallel skis, while their sharp skills allow them to bypass slower skiers with safely executed turns at remarkable speeds.
The crazy skiers also get down the mountain quickly, but with a lot more noise attending their descend. At every hill, they yell a loud
“Yahoo!” And slam their skis into the snow. These go-for-broke athletes always whiz by faster than everyone else, and they especially seem to love the crowded runs where they can slide over the backs of other people’s skis. I often find crazy skiers in mangled messes at the bottoms of steep hills, where they are yelling loudly, but not the famous “Yahoo!”
After being overwhelmed by the crazy skiers, I am always glad
to find other skiers like myself: the average ones. We are polite on the
slopes, concentrate on improving our technique with every run, and ski the beginner slopes only at the beginning of the day to warm up. We go over moguls (small hills) much more cautiously than the crazy or poetic skiers, but still seek adventure with a slight jump or two a day. We remain a silent majority on the mountain.
Below us in talent, but much more evident on the mountainside, are what I call eternal beginners. These skiers stick to the same
beginner slope almost every run of every day during their vacation. Should they venture onto an intermediate slope, they quickly assume the snowplow position (a pigeon-toed stance) and never leave it. Eternal beginners weave from one side of the run to the other and hardly ever fall, because they process so slowly; however, they do yell quite a bit at crazies who like to run over the backs of their skis.
Having always enjoyed people-watching, I have fun each time I am on the slopes observing the myriad of skiers around me. I use these observations to pick out possible ski partners for myself and
others. Science my mother is an eternal beginner, she has more fun
skiing with someone who shares her interests than my dad, who is a poetic skier with solitude on his mind. After taking care of my Mom. I am free to find a partner I’ll enjoy. My sister, the crazy skier of the
family, just heads for the rowdiest group she can find! As the years go by and my talents grow, I am trusting my perceptions of skier types to help me find the right partner for life on and off the slopes. No
doubt watching my fellow skiers will always remain an enjoyable pastime.
10..Losers in Life(classification)
Life is like a hurdle races; people in life are like runners in a hurdle race. They have to overcome difficulties as the runners have to jump over the hurdles on the track. Some runners cannot pass the hurdles. They fall to the ground and lose the race. It is also true of people in life. People may be defeated by difficulties and setbacks and become losers too. How they react to failures and what attitudes they adopt determine their meaning of life.
Some people, who have been defeated by difficulties, stand up again and go on with their struggle, may be called “Run-on Losers.”
On the race track, we often see some competitors fall heavily to the ground while others dash ahead. The one who falls has little chance to win. But he stands up, and resumes the run, disregarding the pain of bruises. Spectators applaud for him although he does not win the race. “Run-on Losers” mind little whether they win or not. They stick