ACEW Lecture 8 Lesson 8

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ACEW Lecture 8 Lesson 8

    Lv Jun Advanced English Writing Page 1 of 8

    Lecture 8 Topic/Title Lesson 8 LonelinessAmerican 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




    Carson McCullers,的小说使读者深入体会到书中人物孤独、隔绝、易



    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 poem:

    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:

    Paragraph 1

    The topic sentence: It has been said that loneliness is the great

    American malady.

    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.

Paragraph 2

    The topic sentence: the will of the individual to claim his identity

    and belong.

    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

    him---self consciousness

Paragraph 3

    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

Paragraph 4

    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

Paragraph 5


    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

Paragraph 6

    The topic sentence: Love is the bridge that leads from the I sense to

    the We.


    ---opens a new relation

    ---is affirmation

    ---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

Paragraph 7

    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.

    The corollary:



    ---racial hate

    Xenophobic individual: can only reject and destroy

    Xenophobic nation: makes war

Paragraph 8

    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.

Paragraph 9

    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


Paragraph 10

    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 mens lives.

    Paragraph 11

    Summery: Everywhere we Americans are always seeking. But the

    answer waits in each separate heart.

    The answer:

    ---of our own identity

    ---the way by which we can master loneliness

    ---to feel that at last we belong

III. Questions

    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

     Sentence 6---identity


    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 Thoreaus search and Thomas Wolfes:

    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 Thoreaus search

    and that of Wolfs. 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 ones 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 individuals 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 ones experience;

     xenophobic---more specifically referring to an unreasonable fearful or hateful feeling of strangers or foreigners, which is more to

    the writers intention.

IV. Assignment




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