Lesson 7 Everyday Use by Alice Walker Teaching Points



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Advanced English

  • 《 高 级 英 语 》
  • (第三版)
  • 第一册
  • 主编:张汉熙
  • 外语教学与研究出版社

Lesson 7 Everyday Use

  • by Alice Walker

Teaching Points

  • I. Brainstorming
  • II. Background knowledge
  • III. Language Points
  • IV. Text Analysis and Appreciation
  • V. Comprehension Questions
  • VI. Appreciation of A Short Story
  • VII. Tasks after Class

Brainstorming

  • Look at the pictures, how much do you know about vessels made of wood? Are there any traditional things for everyday use in your family? What are they? Could you tell us their origins?

Background knowledge

  • About the author: Alice Walker (1944-):
  • A poet, novelist and essayist, was born into a poor rural family in Eatonton, Georgia. Her writing career began with the publication of a volume of poetry in 1968, which was followed by a number of novels, short stories, critical essays and more poetry. Now she is regarded as one of the most prominent writers in American literature and a most forceful representative of women’s literature and black literature.

She won the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple (1982), which was praised for its strong characterizations and the clear, musical quality of its colloquial language. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1985.

  • She won the American Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize for her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple (1982), which was praised for its strong characterizations and the clear, musical quality of its colloquial language. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1985.

The Author: Alice Walker (1944-)

  • The Author: Alice Walker (1944-)

Born: February 9, 1944

  • Born: February 9, 1944
  • Eatonton, Georgia, USA
  • Occupation: novelist, short story writer, poet
  • Genres: African American literature
  • Notable work(s): The Color Purple
  • Notable award(s):
  • Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, 1983
  • National Book Award, 1983

Walker, Alice American author and poet, most of whose writing portrays the lives of poor, oppressed African American women in the early 1900s. She wrote most of her first volume of poetry during a single week in 1964; it was published in 1968 as Once. Walker's experiences during her senior year at Sarah Lawrence, including undergoing an abortion and making a trip to Africa, provided many of the book's themes, such as love, suicide, civil rights, and Africa.

  • Walker, Alice American author and poet, most of whose writing portrays the lives of poor, oppressed African American women in the early 1900s. She wrote most of her first volume of poetry during a single week in 1964; it was published in 1968 as Once. Walker's experiences during her senior year at Sarah Lawrence, including undergoing an abortion and making a trip to Africa, provided many of the book's themes, such as love, suicide, civil rights, and Africa.

She won the American Book Award (see National Book Awards) and the Pulitzer Prize for her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple (1982), which was praised for its strong characterizations and the clear, musical quality of its colloquial language. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1985, and Walker's book The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult (1996) contains her notes and reflections on making the film.

  • She won the American Book Award (see National Book Awards) and the Pulitzer Prize for her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple (1982), which was praised for its strong characterizations and the clear, musical quality of its colloquial language. The novel was made into a motion picture in 1985, and Walker's book The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult (1996) contains her notes and reflections on making the film.

Walker’s works:

  • Novels and short story collections
  • The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)
  • Everyday Use (1973)
  • In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women (1973)
  • Roselily (1973)
  • Meridian (1976)
  • The Color Purple (1982)
  • You Can't Keep a Good Woman Down: Stories (1982)
  • Beauty: When the Other Dancer Is the Self (1983)

Am I Blue? (1986)

  • Am I Blue? (1986)
  • To Hell With Dying (1988)
  • The Temple of My Familiar (1989)
  • Finding the Green Stone (1991)
  • Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)
  • The Complete Stories (1994)
  • By The Light of My Father's Smile (1998)
  • The Way Forward Is with a Broken Heart (2000)
  • Now Is The Time to Open Your Heart (2005)
  • Devil's My Enemy {2008}

Poetry collections

  • Poetry collections
  • Once (1968)
  • Revolutionary Petunias and Other Poems (1973)
  • Good Night, Willie Lee, I'll See You in the Morning (1979)
  • Horses Make a Landscape Look More Beautiful (1985)
  • Her Blue Body Everything We Know: Earthling Poems (1991)
  • Absolute Trust in the Goodness of the Earth (2003)
  • A Poem Traveled Down My Arm: Poems And Drawings (2003)
  • Collected Poems (2005)
  • Poem at Thirty-Nine
  • Expect nothing

Non-fiction

  • Non-fiction
  • In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose (1983)
  • Living by the Word (1988)
  • Warrior Marks (1993)
  • The Same River Twice: Honoring the Difficult (1996)
  • Anything We Love Can Be Saved: A Writer's Activism (1997)
  • Go Girl!: The Black Woman's Book of Travel and Adventure (1997)
  • Pema Chodron and Alice Walker in Conversation (1999)
  • Sent By Earth: A Message from the Grandmother Spirit After the Bombing of the World Trade Center and Pentagon (2001)
  • Women
  • We Are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For (2006)
  • Mississippi Winter IV

Theme:

  • Her works typically focus on the struggles of blacks, particularly women, and their struggle against a racist, sexist, and violent society. Her writings also focus on the role of women of color in culture and history. Walker is a respected figure in the liberal political community for her support of unconventional and unpopular views as a matter of principle.

In 1982, Walker would publish what has become her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple. The story of a young black woman fighting her way through not only racist white culture but patriarchal black culture was a resounding commercial success. The book became a bestseller and was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie as well as a 2005 Broadway musical play.

  • In 1982, Walker would publish what has become her best-known work, the novel The Color Purple. The story of a young black woman fighting her way through not only racist white culture but patriarchal black culture was a resounding commercial success. The book became a bestseller and was subsequently adapted into a critically acclaimed 1985 movie as well as a 2005 Broadway musical play.

The Color Purple

  • The Color Purple (1982) has generated the most public attention as a book and as a major motion picture, directed by Steven Spielberg in 1985. Narrated through the voice of Celie, The Color Purple is an epistolary novel—a work structured through a series of letters. Celie writes about the misery of childhood incest, physical abuse, and loneliness in her "letters to God."

After being repeatedly raped by her stepfather, Celie is forced to marry a widowed farmer with three children. Yet her deepest hopes are realized with the help of a loving community of women, including her husband's mistress, Shug Avery, and Celie's sister, Nettie. Celie gradually learns to see herself as a desirable woman, a healthy and valuable part of the universe.

  • After being repeatedly raped by her stepfather, Celie is forced to marry a widowed farmer with three children. Yet her deepest hopes are realized with the help of a loving community of women, including her husband's mistress, Shug Avery, and Celie's sister, Nettie. Celie gradually learns to see herself as a desirable woman, a healthy and valuable part of the universe.

Set in rural Georgia during segregation, The Color Purple brings components of nineteenth-century slave autobiography and sentimental fiction together with a confessional narrative of sexual awakening. Walker's harshest critics have condemned her portrayal of black men in the novel as "male-bashing," but others praise her forthright depiction of taboo subjects and her clear rendering of folk idiom and dialect.

  • Set in rural Georgia during segregation, The Color Purple brings components of nineteenth-century slave autobiography and sentimental fiction together with a confessional narrative of sexual awakening. Walker's harshest critics have condemned her portrayal of black men in the novel as "male-bashing," but others praise her forthright depiction of taboo subjects and her clear rendering of folk idiom and dialect.

African-American Civil Rights Movement

  • The African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968) refers to the reform movements in the United States aimed at outlawing racial discrimination against African Americans and restoring Suffrage in Southern states. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Power Movement, which lasted roughly from 1966 to 1975, enlarged the aims of the Civil Rights Movement to include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from oppression by whites.

Prominent figures of the African-American Civil Rights Movement. Top left: W. E. B. Du Bois; top right: Malcolm X; bottom left: Martin Luther King, Jr.; bottom right: Rosa Parks.

Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. African Americans re-entered politics in the South, and across the country young people were inspired to action.

  • Noted legislative achievements during this phase of the Civil Rights Movement were passage of Civil Rights Act of 1964, that banned discrimination in employment practices and public accommodations; the Voting Rights Act of 1965, that restored and protected voting rights; the Immigration and Nationality Services Act of 1965, that dramatically opened entry to the U.S. to immigrants other than traditional European groups; and the Civil Rights Act of 1968, that banned discrimination in the sale or rental of housing. African Americans re-entered politics in the South, and across the country young people were inspired to action.

African-American history

  • African-American history is the portion of American history that specifically discusses the African American or Black American ethnic group in the United States. Most African Americans are the descendants of captive Africans held in the United States from 1619 to 1865. Blacks from the Caribbean whose ancestors immigrated, or who themselves immigrated to the U.S., also traditionally have been considered African American, as they share a common history of predominantly West African or Central African roots, the Middle Passage and slavery.

It is these peoples, who in the past were referred to and self-identified collectively as the American Negro, who now generally consider themselves African-Americans. It is these peoples whose history is celebrated and highlighted annually in the United States during February, designated as Black History Month.

  • It is these peoples, who in the past were referred to and self-identified collectively as the American Negro, who now generally consider themselves African-Americans. It is these peoples whose history is celebrated and highlighted annually in the United States during February, designated as Black History Month.

African-American culture

  • African-American culture in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of Americans of African descent to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African American culture is rooted in the historical experience of the African American people, including the Middle Passage, and thus the culture retains a distinct identity while at the same time it is enormously influential to American culture as a whole.

African American culture is rooted in Africa. It is a blend of chiefly sub-Saharan African and Sahelean cultures. Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of Americans of African descent to practice their cultural traditions, many practices, values, and beliefs survived and over time have modified or blended with European American culture. There are some facets of African American culture that were accentuated by the slavery period. The result is a unique and dynamic culture that has had and continues to have a profound impact on mainstream American culture, as well as the culture of the broader world.

  • African American culture is rooted in Africa. It is a blend of chiefly sub-Saharan African and Sahelean cultures. Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of Americans of African descent to practice their cultural traditions, many practices, values, and beliefs survived and over time have modified or blended with European American culture. There are some facets of African American culture that were accentuated by the slavery period. The result is a unique and dynamic culture that has had and continues to have a profound impact on mainstream American culture, as well as the culture of the broader world.

After emancipation, unique African American traditions continued to flourish, as distinctive traditions or radical innovations in music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and other fields. While for some time sociologists believed that African Americans had lost most cultural ties with Africa, anthropological field research demonstrated that there is a continuum of African traditions among Africans of the Diaspora. The greatest influence of African cultural practices on European culture is found in the American South.

  • After emancipation, unique African American traditions continued to flourish, as distinctive traditions or radical innovations in music, art, literature, religion, cuisine, and other fields. While for some time sociologists believed that African Americans had lost most cultural ties with Africa, anthropological field research demonstrated that there is a continuum of African traditions among Africans of the Diaspora. The greatest influence of African cultural practices on European culture is found in the American South.

For many years African American culture developed separately from mainstream American culture because of the persistence of racial discrimination in America, as well as African American slave descendants' desire to maintain their own traditions. Today, African American culture has become a significant part of American culture and yet, at the same time, remains a distinct cultural body.

  • For many years African American culture developed separately from mainstream American culture because of the persistence of racial discrimination in America, as well as African American slave descendants' desire to maintain their own traditions. Today, African American culture has become a significant part of American culture and yet, at the same time, remains a distinct cultural body.

African-American literature

  • African-American literature is the body of literature produced in the United States by writers of African descent. The genre traces its origins to the works of such late 18th century writers as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano, reaching early high points with slave narratives and the Harlem Renaissance, and continuing today with authors such as Toni Morrison, Maya Angelou and Walter Mosley being ranked among the top writers in the United States.

Among the themes and issues explored in African American literature are the role of African Americans within the larger American society, African-American culture, racism, slavery, and equality. African American writing has also tended to incorporate within itself oral forms such as spirituals, sermons, gospel music, blues and rap. As African Americans' place in American society has changed over the centuries, so, too, have the foci of African American literature

  • Among the themes and issues explored in African American literature are the role of African Americans within the larger American society, African-American culture, racism, slavery, and equality. African American writing has also tended to incorporate within itself oral forms such as spirituals, sermons, gospel music, blues and rap. As African Americans' place in American society has changed over the centuries, so, too, have the foci of African American literature

Today, African American literature has become accepted as an integral part of American literature, with books such as Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Beloved by Toni Morrison achieving both best-selling and award-winning status.

  • Today, African American literature has become accepted as an integral part of American literature, with books such as Roots: The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Beloved by Toni Morrison achieving both best-selling and award-winning status.

Toni Morrison (1931–)

Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931) is a Nobel Prize-winning American author, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed black characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.

  • Toni Morrison (born Chloe Anthony Wofford on February 18, 1931) is a Nobel Prize-winning American author, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed black characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon, and Beloved, which won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1988.
  • Her work has been performed on stage and in film.

Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928) is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer". She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adulthood experiences. The first, best-known, and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), focuses on the first seventeen years of her life, brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.

  • Maya Angelou (born Marguerite Ann Johnson on April 4, 1928) is an American autobiographer and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer". She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adulthood experiences. The first, best-known, and most highly acclaimed, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (1969), focuses on the first seventeen years of her life, brought her international recognition, and was nominated for a National Book Award.
  • Angelou has had a long and varied career, holding jobs such as fry cook, dancer, actress, journalist, educator, television producer, and film director. Her books and poetry have covered themes such as identity, family, and racism.

Walter Mosley

Walter Ellis Mosley (born January 12, 1952) is a prominent American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles; it is perhaps his most popular work.

  • Walter Ellis Mosley (born January 12, 1952) is a prominent American novelist, most widely recognized for his crime fiction. He has written a series of best-selling historical mysteries featuring the hard-boiled detective Easy Rawlins, a black private investigator and World War II veteran living in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles; it is perhaps his most popular work.
  • His father was African-American and his mother Jewish

Alex Haley

Alexander Murray Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X (written in collaboration with Malcolm X).

  • Alexander Murray Palmer Haley (August 11, 1921 – February 10, 1992) was an American writer. He is best known as the author of Roots: The Saga of an American Family and The Autobiography of Malcolm X (written in collaboration with Malcolm X).

Roots

  • In 1976, Haley published Roots: The Saga of an American Family, a novel based loosely on his family's history, starting with the story of Kunta Kinte, kidnapped in The Gambia in 1767 and transported to the Province of Maryland to be sold as a slave. Haley claimed to be a seventh-generation descendant of Kunta Kinte, and Haley's work on the novel involved ten years of research, intercontinental travel and writing.

Zora Neale Hurston

Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent literary figure during the Harlem Renaissance.

  • Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent literary figure during the Harlem Renaissance.
  • Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891– January 28, 1960) was an American folklorist and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance. Of Hurston's four novels and more than 50 published short stories, plays, and essays, she is best known for her 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God.

Walker's appreciation for her matrilineal literary history is evidenced by the numerous reviews and articles she has published to acquaint new generations of readers with writers like Zora Neale Hurston. The anthology she edited, I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (1979), was particularly instrumental in bringing Hurston's work back into print.

  • Walker's appreciation for her matrilineal literary history is evidenced by the numerous reviews and articles she has published to acquaint new generations of readers with writers like Zora Neale Hurston. The anthology she edited, I Love Myself When I Am Laughing ... and Then Again When I Am Looking Mean and Impressive: A Zora Neale Hurston Reader (1979), was particularly instrumental in bringing Hurston's work back into print.

About the Article

  • Everyday use was published early in Alice Walker’s writing career, appearing in her collection In Love and Trouble: Stories of Black Women in 1973. The work was enthusiastically reviewed upon publication, and Everyday Use has since been called by some critics the best of Walker’s short stories

The Main Idea

  • The story begins with the narrator, a black woman, awaiting the homecoming of her daughter Dee, an educated woman who now lives in the city. Accompanying her is her younger daughter Maggie. As they wait, the narrator reveals details of the family history, specifically the relationship between her two daughters.

To the mother’s surprise, Dee, who has been scornful of the black, is now delighted by the old way of life, and she is even more interested in the old handmade quilts pieced by Grandma. However, these quilts have already been promised to Maggie. Although Maggie is intimidated enough to surrender the beloved quilts to Dee, the mother snatches the quilts form Dee and offers her instead some of the machine-stitched ones, which Dee does not want.

  • To the mother’s surprise, Dee, who has been scornful of the black, is now delighted by the old way of life, and she is even more interested in the old handmade quilts pieced by Grandma. However, these quilts have already been promised to Maggie. Although Maggie is intimidated enough to surrender the beloved quilts to Dee, the mother snatches the quilts form Dee and offers her instead some of the machine-stitched ones, which Dee does not want.

Language Points

  • 1) wavy: characteristic of waves, resembling waves . Here the word describes the marks in wavy patterns on the clay ground left by the broom.
  • 2) an extended living room: an enlarged living room by a new addition to the original space . Extended means prolonged, continued; enlarged in influence , meaning , scope, etc. e.g. extended care: nursing care provided for a limited time after a hospital stay
  • extended family: a group of relatives blood, marriage or adoption, often including a nuclear family, living together, esp. three generations are involved.

3) and the fine sand … groves: Before the word “ lined.” The link verb “is” is omitted. fine “ not coarse, in small particles. e.g. fine cloth, fine sugar

  • 3) and the fine sand … groves: Before the word “ lined.” The link verb “is” is omitted. fine “ not coarse, in small particles. e.g. fine cloth, fine sugar
  • 4) “no” is a word the world never lever learned to say to her: She could always have anything she wanted, and life was extremely generous to her.

5) a T V program of this sort : “This sort” carries a derogatory tone, suggesting that the T V program is of poor or inferior kind.

  • 5) a T V program of this sort : “This sort” carries a derogatory tone, suggesting that the T V program is of poor or inferior kind.
  • 6) In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough. man working hands: The phrase “in real life” is transitional, liking this paragraph and the one above, implying that those T V programs are nothing but make-believe and the narrator is very skeptical of them. In reality she has the typical features of a black working woman.

7) overalls: loose-fitting trousers of some strong cotton-cloth, often with a part extending up over the chest, worn, usually over other clothes, to protect against dirt and wear.

  • 7) overalls: loose-fitting trousers of some strong cotton-cloth, often with a part extending up over the chest, worn, usually over other clothes, to protect against dirt and wear.
  • 8) I am the way … an uncooked barley pancake: My daughter wishes me to have a slender figure and a fair complexion; like an uncooked barley pancake: a simile comparing the skin to barley dough which has a creamy, smooth texture. This sentence suggests that Dee is rather ashamed of having a black working class woman as her mother.

9) Johnny Carson has much to do … witty tongue: Johnny Carson, popular T V talk show star, is famous for his witty and glob tongue. But in this respect, I am far better than he, and he has to try hard if he wants to catch up with me.

  • 9) Johnny Carson has much to do … witty tongue: Johnny Carson, popular T V talk show star, is famous for his witty and glob tongue. But in this respect, I am far better than he, and he has to try hard if he wants to catch up with me.
  • tongue: the act or power of speaking; manner or style of speaking
  • 10) with one foot raised in flight: ready to leave as quickly as possible because of discomfort, nervousness, timidity, etc.

11) Augusta: city in eastern Georgia on the Savanah River. It is obvious that the family lives in the rural area in Georgia, a southern state in America.

  • 11) Augusta: city in eastern Georgia on the Savanah River. It is obvious that the family lives in the rural area in Georgia, a southern state in America.
  • 12) forcing words, lies, other folk’s habits … on us two: The narrator implies that the books Dee read to them were written by the white people and full of their language and ideas, falsehood and their way of life.
  • 13) She washed us … need to know: She imposed on us lots of falsity and so-called knowledge that is totally useless to us. The words washed and burned are used figuratively, indicating large quantities of a destructive nature.

14) At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was:

  • 14) At sixteen she had a style of her own: and knew what style was:
  • (1) At sixteen she had a unique way of doing things.
  • (2) And she know what was the current , fashionable way of dressing, speaking, acting,etc.
  • 15) She stumbles along good-naturedly: She often makes mistakes while reading , but never losing her good temper. stumble: to speak, act or proceed in a confused, blundering manner. e.g. to stumble through a speech.

16) Like good looks … passed her by: She is not bright just as she is neither good-looking nor rich.

  • 16) Like good looks … passed her by: She is not bright just as she is neither good-looking nor rich.
  • 17) Furtive boys in pink shirts hanging about … school:
  • (1) furtive: done or acting in a stealthy manner, as if to hinder observation; surreptitious, stealthy, sneaky
  • (2) hang about: ( or around ) a. to cluster around; b. ( colloquial ) to loiter or linger around
  • (3) washday: a day, of a household are washed

18) I heard Maggie suck in her breath … it sounds like:

  • 18) I heard Maggie suck in her breath … it sounds like:
  • (1) suck in her breath: inhale her breath
  • (2) Uhunnh: an exclamation of a strong negative response
  • 19) You can see me … make it: You can see me trying to move my body a couple of seconds before I finally manage to push myself up.
  • 20) She never takes a shot … included: Every time she takes a picture she makes sure that the house is in it.

21) Meanwhile Asalamalakim is going through motions with Maggie’s hand: Meanwhile Dee’s boyfriend is trying to shake hands with Maggie in a fancy and elaborate way.

  • 21) Meanwhile Asalamalakim is going through motions with Maggie’s hand: Meanwhile Dee’s boyfriend is trying to shake hands with Maggie in a fancy and elaborate way.
  • 22) Maggie’s hand is as limp as a fish … seat: Simile. Maggie’s hand lacks firmness and is cold though she is sweating
  • 23) a Model A car: in 1909 Henry Ford mass-produced
  • 15 million Model T cars and thus made automobiles popular in the States.
  • 24) we got the name out of the way: We overcame the difficulty and managed to pronounce it at last .

25) salt-lick shelters: sheds or tents covering blocks of rock salt placed in a pasture for cattle to lick

  • 25) salt-lick shelters: sheds or tents covering blocks of rock salt placed in a pasture for cattle to lick
  • 26) the greens: green leafy vegetables eaten cooked or raw
  • 27) She talked a blue streak over the sweet potatoes:
  • (1) blue streak: ( colloquial ) anything regarded as like a streak of lightning in speed, vividness, etc. talk a blue streak: to talk much and rapidly
  • (2 ) over: while occupied or engaged in . e.g. to discuss the matter over lunch

28) stroke: to pass one’s hand gently over the surface of something a in caressing

  • 28) stroke: to pass one’s hand gently over the surface of something a in caressing
  • 29) something hit me … of my feet: A metaphor. It shows that one is suddenly filled with a new spirit or a thoroughly thrilling and exciting emotion caused by an entirely new experience.
  • 30) try to make something of yourself, too: try to be successful like me. make: to turn out to be; to prove to have the essential qualities of e.g. He would make a capable leader.

Text Analysis and Appreciation

  • “Everyday Use for Your Grandma” is a short story. The following analysis is to focus the main factors of the short story: plot, characters, point of view, setting, climax, theme and the methods to develop the theme.
  • Plot: Dee’s coming back to fetch Grandma’s everyday use (especially the old quilts) and her changed attitude toward them.

Characters:

  • Characters:
  • 1) Dee — a round character
  • —fashionable, rebellious, strong-minded and ill-temped, a sense of vanity
  • — a symbol of the modern black women
  • — superficial love of black tradition
  • 2) Maggie — a flat character
  • — docile, timid, shy, good-temped, kind-hearted and unselfish, a strong sense of inferiority
  • — inherence of black culture, genuine love of black tradition
  • — a symbol of the tradition black weak women

3)“I” — a flat character

  • 3)“I” — a flat character
  • — uneducated but sensible
  • — physically strong but spiritually weak, a sense of inferiority
  • — cherish “grandma’s everyday use”
  • — a symbol of the black working women: the majority of black women
  • 4) Asalamalakim — a flat character
  • — a black Muslim boy
  • — a symbol of another kind of African culture

Point of view: the first-person narrator

  • Point of view: the first-person narrator
  • Setting:
  • Place —“my courtyard”
  • Time —in the middle of 1960s
  • climax —Dee wanted to take away the old quilts but “I” took them back and gave them to Maggie
  • Theme: — the relationship among the three blacks women and their different attitude towards the old quilts How to deal with the black traditional culture.
  • Methods: flashback, foreshadowing, contrast

Comprehension Questions

  • 1. In real life, what kind of woman is the mother?
  • 2. What kind of woman would Dee like her mother to be?
  • 3. How does the mother act when she meets a stranger white man?
  • 4. What kind of girl is Maggie?
  • 5. Why do you think colored people ask fewer questions in1927?
  • 6. Why does the mother say Dee will bring her friends to visit them? What does this tell about Dee?

Comprehension Questions

  • 7. Why did Dee want the quilt so much?
  • 8. Why did Maggie want the quilt?
  • 9. Why did Dee visit her mother and sister?
  • 10. What is the mother’s feeling towards Dee? How is it changed in the course of the story?
  • 11. What is implied by the subtitle ‘Everyday Use for Your Grandma’?

小说欣赏(《外国文学欣赏与批评》 黄源深 周立人上海外语教育出版社 )

  • 小说(fiction)一词的本义是“散文式的虚构故事”。J. A.柯登所编的《文学术语词典》和伊恩. P>瓦特的《小说的兴起》都对小说作了这样的界定。不论这种界定是否准确,它至少反映了小说的两个特点。一是散文对小说的发展起了一定的作用;二是小说作为一种文学形式,是借助小说家的想象力来完成叙事 这一艺术创作工程的。

同诗歌、戏剧这些古老的文学形式相比,小说在西方文学中是18世纪后期才正式定名的文学形式。

  • 同诗歌、戏剧这些古老的文学形式相比,小说在西方文学中是18世纪后期才正式定名的文学形式。
  • 小说按篇幅的长度可以分为长篇小说、中篇小说、短篇小说和小小说(又名微型小说)。
  • 短篇小说一般比较简单,篇幅在2000至15000字之间。短篇小说有确定的、条理分明的发展线索,相对稳定的结构,在人物、情节、风格和主题等方面往往显示出较高的统一性。它高度概括作品中人物的性格和任务的处境,从而揭示具有“启示”性质的意义,乔伊斯称其为“顿悟”。

小说的构成要素

  • 小说的构成要素一般为背景、氛围和基调、情节和结构,以及人物塑造,叙事角度等几个方面。
  • 1)背景 (setting)
  • 2)氛围(atmosphere)和基调(mood)
  • 3) 情节(plot)和结构
  • 结构模式:矛盾纠葛(complication) 渐强剧情(rising action) 高潮(climax) 渐弱剧情(falling action) 情节的解决(resolution)。
  • 人物塑造(characterization)
  • 叙述角度(point of view)

《英美小说要素解析》 林六晨 上海外语教育出版社

  • 1. Plot: a sequence of interrelated actions or events
  • 2. Characters: The people in fiction
  • 3. Setting: Place and objects in fiction
  • The functions of setting:
  • Setting as a background for action
  • Setting as antagonist
  • Setting as a means of creating appropriate atmosphere
  • Setting as a means of revealing character
  • Setting as a means of reinforcing theme

4. Point of view: The narrative voice

  • 4. Point of view: The narrative voice
  • First person: The choice of point of view is the choice of who is to tell the story, who talks to the reader. Perhaps the first choice might be, “let the protagonist tell his or her own story.” In making this choice, the author decides to employ the first person point of view.
  • Third person: If the narrator is not introduced as a character, and if everything in the work is described in the third person (that is, he, she, it, they), the author is using the third-person point of view. There are three variants: omniscient, limited omniscient, and objective or dramatic.

5. Theme: The meaning and the message in fiction

  • 5. Theme: The meaning and the message in fiction
  • 6. Style: The words that tell the story
  • In its most general sense, style consists of diction (the individual words an author chooses) and syntax (the arrangement of those words and phrases, clauses, and sentences), as well as such devices as rhythm and sound, allusion, ambiguity, irony, paradox, and figurative language.
  • 7. Tone: Attitude and control in fiction

8. Symbolism: A key to extended meaning

  • 8. Symbolism: A key to extended meaning
  • In literature, symbols – in the form of words, images, objects, settings, events and characters – are often used deliberately to suggest and reinforce meaning, to provide enrichment by enlarging and clarifying the experience of the work, and to help to organize and unify the whole.
  • 9. Allegory: A key to extended meaning
  • Allegory (讽喻)is like symbolism in that both use thing to refer to something else. The term is derived from the Greek word allegrein, which means “to speak so as to imply other than what is said”. Allegory tends to be more complex and sustained than symbolism.

Exercises

  • (1) Point out a number of images of animals in describing people
  • (2) Point out the words, sentence, and grammar that suits the background of the mother.

Tasks after Class

  • 1. Describe the three characters in your own words.
  • 2. What did the old quilts stand for?


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