Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 1 of 8
Lecture 8 Topic/Title Lesson 8 Loneliness…American Malady
Teaching Students study the sample of definition and learn to write the essay
Aims/Objectives of definition.
1. The organization of the essay
Teaching Points 2. The analysis of some sentences
2. The analysis of diction
Teaching Discussion Methods
Time Allowance 80 minutes
Teaching I. About the author
Procedures: CARSON McCULLERS
1. Background Carson McCullers was born Lula Carson
Smith in Columbus, Georgia, on February 2. Organization 19, 1917. Her small but significant body of
work includes five novels, two plays, twenty 3. Sentence short stories, over two dozen nonfiction
pieces, a book of children's verse, a small 4. Diction number of poems, and an unfinished autobiography.
Most famous for her novels The Heart is a Lonely Hunter《心是孤
独的猎人》(《天涯何处觅知心》！电影，, Reflections in a Golden Eye
《黄金眼的倒影》 《禁房情变》！电影，, The Member of the Wedding
《婚礼的成员》《婚礼的参加者》！电影，, The Ballad of the Sad Cafe
《伤心咖啡馆之歌》, and Clock Without Hands《没有指针的钟》,
McCullers was also a playwright and a short story writer.
McCullers' life was blighted by a series of
cerebral strokes caused by misdiagnosed and
untreated childhood case of rheumatic fever. The first
stroke occurred when she was only 24 years old, and
within several years she was completely paralyzed on
her left side. McCullers suffered a final stroke in
August, 1967 and died at age 50 on September 29,
麦卡勒斯在她一首名为《抵押的心》！The Mortgaged Heart，的诗
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 2 of 8 人物很多是压抑的、卑贱的、肮脏的(甚至是残障的。其中(一些人整日
II. About the text
1. The text is from The Mortgaged Heart
The Mortgaged Heart is an important
collection of Carson McCullers’s work,
including stories, essays, articles, poems,
and her writing on writing. These pieces,
written mostly before McCullers was
nineteen, provide invaluable insight into
her life and her gifts and growth as a writer. The collection also contains the working outline of "The
Mute," which became her best-selling novel The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. As new generations of readers continue to discover her work,
Carson McCullers’s celebrated place in American letters survives more surely than ever. Edited by McCullers’s sister and with a new introduction by Joyce Carol Oates, The Mortgaged Heart will be an
inspiration to writers young and old.
The Mortgaged Heart
The dead demand a double vision. A furthered zone,
Ghostly decision of apportionment. For the dead can claim
The lover's senses, the mortgaged heart.
Watch twice the orchard blossoms in gray rain
And to the cold rose skies bring twin surprise.
Endure each summons once, and once again;
Experience multiplied by two--the duty recognized.
Instruct the quivering spirit, instant nerve
To schizophrenic master serve,
Or like a homeless Doppelgänger
Blind love might wander.
The mortgage of the dead is known.
Prepare the cherished wreath, the garland door.
But the secluded ash, the humble bone--
Do the dead know?
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 3 of 8 2. The structure of the text:
The topic sentence: It has been said that loneliness is the great
In sentence 1, she gives a prelude: eight million people live in New
York. So, people should not feel lonely.
In sentence 2, to our surprise, we find that her friend lived in New
York for the purpose of “being so alone”, which is a
paradox, and the key word “alone” appears last in this
In sentence 3, she begins to repeat the key term: “the aloneness”.
(While …my friend…., many Americans….)
In sentence 4, repeating “loneliness”, she gives the topic sentence.
In sentence 5, repeating “loneliness”, she asks a question about
In sentence 6, she answers the question: the nature of this loneliness
is a quest of identity.
The topic sentence: the will of the individual to claim his identity
Supporting sentence: From infancy to death, the human being is
obsessed by these dual motives.
Example: During the first weeks the baby compares the difference
between his own body and the objects around
The topic sentence: Consciousness of self is the first abstract
problem that the human being solves.
Consciousness of self (identity):
----removes us from lower animals
----develops with constantly shifting emphasis through all our years
----maturity is the history of those mutations that reveal the relation
between himself and the world
The topic sentence: The sense of moral isolation is intolerable to us.
Supporting sentence: After the first establishment of identity there
comes the imperative need to lose the sense of
separateness and to belong to something larger
and more powerful
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 4 of 8
The topic sentence: To belong to We is a universal need; not to
belong to We makes you too lonesome.
Example: the lovely 12-year-old girl in The Member of the Wedding
The topic sentence: Love is the bridge that leads from the I sense to
---opens a new relation
---motivates the yes responses and the sense of wider communication
---casts out fear
---respond in a new way to nature and may even write poetry
---find contentment, courage
---no longer fear the age-old haunting question: “Who am I?” “Why
am I?” “Where am I going?”
---can be honest and charitable
The topic sentence: For fear is a primary source of evil.
Supporting sentence: When the question “Who am I?” recurs and is
not answered, then there come fear and frustration.
Xenophobic individual: can only reject and destroy
Xenophobic nation: makes war
The topic sentence: The loneliness of Americans does not have its source in xenophobia. But we tend to seek out things as individuals, alone.
Supporting sentence: The European, secure in his family ties and
rigid class loyalties, knows little of the moral loneliness that is native
to us Americans.
Example in contrast:
The European artists---form groups, aesthetic schools
The American artists---the eternal maverick: not only from society in
the way of all creative minds, but within the orbit of his own art.
The topic sentence: Thoreau took to the woods to seek the ultimate
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 5 of 8
meaning of his life.
His creed: simplicity
His manner of living: to live, on purpose, a simple life without any
possessions except what was absolutely
necessary. And in this way the true value of his
life could show itself freely.
His objective: to back the world into a corner. And in that way did he
discover “what a man thinks of himself, that it
is which determines, or rather indicates his
The topic sentence: Thomas Wolf turned to the city and in his
wanderings around New York he continued his
frenetic and lifelong search for the lost brother,
the magic door. (See Notes 11)
His objective: to back the world into a corner.
His experience: “That silent meeting [that] is the summary of all the
meetings of men’s lives.”
Summery: Everywhere we Americans are always seeking. But the
answer waits in each separate heart.
---of our own identity
---the way by which we can master loneliness
---to feel that at last we belong
Reader and Purpose
2) No. Her purpose is not merely to define the term “loneliness”. By
the psychological analysis of the lonely Americans, she intends to
offer a way for them of curing this malady.
3) Carson wants to convey her idea that everyone is trying to seek for
an ideal world, a world which should belong to him, yet it is now lost. But by the constant seeking, man can find the true meaning and
value of his life.
2) In paragraph 1,
Sentence 1---eight million people
Sentence 2---being so alone
Sentence 3---to be alone, the loneliness
Sentence 4---that loneliness
Sentence 5---this loneliness
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 6 of 8
1) In paragraph 1, the internal coherence is achieved by repetition of key terms. Every sentence contributes to the topic idea of the
paragraph: “the great American malady”.
2) In paragraph 6,
Sentence 1: Love------love
Sentence 2: Love------
Sentence 3: The love------
Sentence 4: Love-----; it (=love) ------
Sentence 5: Love------fear-----
Sentence 6: fear------fear
3) In paragraph 8,
The loneliness of Americans----seek out things as individuals, alone
The European----knows little of the moral loneliness
The European artists----forms groups or schools
The Americans artist----the eternal maverick
1) Yes, her sentences are generally long. Many of her sentences have more than 20 words (about 4 lines).
Yes, there are some short, incisive sentences:
Para. 1: the last 3 sentences
Para. 3: the first 2 sentences
Para. 4: the last sentences
Para. 5: the last 2 sentences
Para. 7: the first sentence
12. The author establish the connections
1) between loneliness and identity:
A quest for “identity” is the nature of “loneliness”.
2) between I and We:
“I” (individual) belong to “we” (something larger and more powerful).
If “I” separates from “we”, “I” will be lonely. “I”, an individual, finds his identity only in “we”.
3) between the lack of a sense of identity and fear:
The lack of a sense of identity is the cause of fear.
4) between fear and hatred or destruction:
Fear is the cause of hatred or destruction.
5) Between Thoreau’s search and Thomas Wolfe’s:
The purpose of the search of Thoreau is to find the ultimate meaning
of life in solitude.
The purpose of the search of Thoreau is to find the lost “American Dream”, the way to Heaven, the happiness, and the way of curing
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 7 of 8 13 Comment
1) The first sentence in paragraph 1
The original sentence is better. By using an imperative sentence after
the dash, the original sentence makes the reader involved in this issue, forces him to think of the fact that the number of people living in New York is really large. Whereas the revision is a simple, direct, factual, declarative sentence, which just give us the fact---the number
of people living in New York.
2) The first sentence in paragraph 4
The original sentence is better, because
a) The original is one sentence that tells of one thing in a logical and
chronological order. But the revision is arranged in two sentences, thus cutting the logic of the two parts, and what is more, the two sentences are not in chronological order.
b) The first part of the original sentence serves as transition from the previous paragraph.
c) In the revision, the word “also” weakens and separates the logical
3) The first sentence in paragraph 10
The original sentence is better, because
a) In the original, the phrase “On the other hand” is put at the very
beginning of the first sentence of the paragraph, and used as transition from the previous paragraph to compare Thoreau’s search
and that of Wolf’s. While in the revision, this phrase is put at the end of the sentence, which loses the function of comparison and transition.
b) The original is arranged in one sentence which tells of one thing, while the revision is arranged in two sentences, which is not necessary.
1) malady---an illness, often used figuratively
2) ricochets---the oblique rebound or skipping of a bullet or stone, etc. after stiking a surface at an angle.
3) mutations---alteration, generic change
4) xenophobic---adjective of xenophobia which refers to an
unreasonable fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners
5. maverick---It originally means an unbranded animal, especially a strayed calf, formally the legitimate property of the first person who branded it. The word is also used colloquially and metaphorically to refer to a person who takes an independent stand, as in politics, refusing to confirm to that of his party or group.
6) orbit--- The basic meaning is the path of one body in its revolution
Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 8 of 8 round another. Here, it is used figuratively to mean the area within which one person can have an effect upon others or the range of one’s experience or activity.
7) “modus vivendi”---See note 9
1) bounds---the jumping or springing back or up (of a ball) again from the ground, the meaning is more literal, while
ricochets--- the sudden jumping change in the direction of a moving object such as a stone or bullet while it hits a surface at an angle, which is more suitable to figuratively refer to the sudden changes of our desires and reflections in the text.
2) changes--- the action becoming different, it is too general here;
mutations----changes in form, quality, nature or character, more complicated changes, more suitable to the complicated changes of an individual’s manner or character in the text.
3) result---what happens because of an action or event, it is too general;
Corollary---more specifically refers to something that naturally follows from something else
4) hateful---adjective of hate, a common word referring to anything that is very unpleasant to one’s experience;
xenophobic---more specifically referring to an unreasonable fearful or hateful feeling of strangers or foreigners, which is more to
the writer’s intention.