Unit 6 Women, Half the sky



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Unit 6 Women, Half the sky

Objectives: Students will be able to

  • Grasp the main idea and structure of the text;
  • Appreciate how the author achieves coherence for her essay;
  • Master key language points and grammatical structures in the text;
  • Write a summary of the text.
  • Before Reading
  • 1. Background Information
  • 2. Warm-up Questions
  • Feminism
  • The Brooklyn Bridge
  • Feminism
  • In the 1960s feminism(=the belief that women and men are equal in abilities and should have equal rights and chances) became the subject of intense debate when the women’s liberation movement encouraged women to reject their traditional supporting roles and to demand equal status and equal rights with men in areas such as employment and pay.
  • Since then the gender gap between the sexes has been reduced.Feminism has brought about many changes in the English language. Many words for job titles that included “man” have been replaced, for example “police officer” is used instead of “policeman” and “chairperson” for “chairman”.

“He” is now rarely used to refer to a person when the person could be either a man or a woman. The title “Ms” is used for women instead of “Miss” or “Mrs.”, since it does not show whether a woman is married or not.

  • “He” is now rarely used to refer to a person when the person could be either a man or a woman. The title “Ms” is used for women instead of “Miss” or “Mrs.”, since it does not show whether a woman is married or not.

The Brooklyn Bridge (布鲁克林大桥)

  • The bridge over the East River in New York City that connects Manhattan with Brooklyn. It was opened in 1883 and has a length of 1595 feet(486 meters). The expression selling the Brooklyn Bridge to somebody means tricking them in a deal.
  • Warm-up Questions:
  • 1.Is your mother busy? What are her main tasks in daily life?
  • 2. If your mother has a full-time job, can she manage family responsibilities and still find time for doing other things?
  • Global Reading
  • Part Division of the Text:
  • Parts
  • Paragraphs
  • Main Ideas
  • Part 1
  • Paras1-3
  • Despite her friend’s advice, the author, unable to resist the temptation,falls for superwomen stories again.
  • Part 2
  • Paras4-7
  • Her encounter with a superwoman and
  • its impact on her.
  • Part 3
  • Paras8-11
  • She tells about what prevents her from becoming a superwoman herself.
  • Part 4
  • Paras12-14
  • Part 5
  • Para 15
  • She comes to the conclusion that to her, admiring a heroine is sth worth doing.
  • While reading tasks
  • 1.What is “the Brooklyn Bridge”?
  • It means something impossible, an incredible story.

2.What about Kate in the item stuck the author most?(para1)

  • Kate teaches part-time at the University of Oklahoma and is assistant principal at County High School. In her spare time she is finishing her doctoral dissertation and the final drafts of two books, and she still has time for tennis and horse riding with her daughters.
  • 3.What did she think of her friend’s joke at first?(para2)
  • My friend’s joke hit home.
  • What an idiot I’d been!

4.Did she change her mind then?In what way?(para3)

  • Yes, she did. She found her resolve slipping occasionally. In weak moments she read many success stories in newspapers and magazines.
  • 5.Who were her favorite superwomen? (para3)
  • Her favorite superwomen included a politician’s daughter, a practicing pediatrician and a television anchorwoman

6.Why did the author feel guilty after she met the woman executive?(para4)

  • Because her own schedule rarely succeeds, the woman executive’s accomplishments make her feel guilty.

7. What do you think is the author’s profession?

  • 7. What do you think is the author’s profession?
  • I think she is a writer by profession
  • 8.What is the author doing in her spare time? (Para 8)
  • She is using her extra moments to complete postdoctoral studies in physics, to develop new theories of tonal harmony for piano and horn, to bake cakes and play baseball with her sons.

9.According to the author what usually stands in her way of fulfilling her plans?

  • Her personal matters often prevent her from carrying out her plans. You can find some examples in paras9-10.

  • 10. What does the author think she is lacking in as far as being a superwoman is concerned?
  • She thinks she is lacking in the organizational skills and the energy of those superwomen.
  • 11.Why is she still so fascinated by modern superwomen tales?
  • Because such stories often have an optimistic approach to life.(para12)

12.In her eyes, what are the positive sides of superwomen stories?

  • 12.In her eyes, what are the positive sides of superwomen stories?
  • Superwomen stories always urge her to achieve her own success.

Language points

  • 1. item n.
  • 1) a single piece of news
  • Examples:
  • There is a fascinating news item in today’s China Daily.
  • While Jennie scanned the newspaper, a strange item of news attracted her attention.
  • 2) a single article or unit on a list or among a set
  • Example:
  • There are at least 50 items on her Christmas shopping list.

2. undo vt.

  • 2. undo vt.
  • 1) (fml) disturb or upset greatly
  • Examples:
  • My daughter’s idea about wealth undid me.
  • The sight of the animal’s suffering undid me.
  • 2) untie, open
  • Examples:
  • It’s so warm inside. He undid his coat and took it off.
  • Would you please undo this knot for me?
  • 3. …she had a bridge in Brooklyn she’d like to sell me: suggesting that she thought the author so gullible that she could be persuaded to buy the bridge from her. Here she deliberately played on the meaning of the expression selling the Brooklyn Bridge to somebody.

4. hit/strike home: have the intended effect

  • 4. hit/strike home: have the intended effect
  • Eg: His criticism hit home, I was really selfish.
  • I could see from her expression that his comments had hit home.
  • 5. incredible: adj. that can’t be believed (synonym: unbelievable)
  • Eg: It seemed incredible that people would still want to play soccer during a war.
  • The boy runs at an incredible speed--- even faster than many adults.
  • 6. skeptical: (in the habit of ) doubting that sth. is true, right, etc.( followed by about/of, spelled sceptical in British English)
  • Eg: Some scientists think average global temperatures have risen due to the greenhouse effect. Others are skeptical of global warming.
  • He is absolutely convinced that the plan will work, but I’m still skeptical about it.

7.consume:

  • 7.consume:
  • 1) eat or drink
  • Eg: Michael consumes nearly a pound of cheese per day.
  • 2) use up
  • Eg: some of the most efficient refrigerators consume 70 percent less electricity than traditional models.
  • If consumers(消费者) don’t consume, then workers don’t work.
  • 8. care for:
  • 1) take care of
  • Eg: The college students volunteered to care for the elderly in their community.
  • 2) like or love (used in negative or interrogative sentences否定句或疑句)
  • Eg: I don’t care much for country music.

9. rarely: not happening often

  • 9. rarely: not happening often
  • Eg: Rarely have I seen a student who is so absorbed in history.
  • 10. …I wondered aloud: If you wonder aloud, you express your thoughts as they occur to you, rather than thinking first and then speaking.
  • 11.lap:
  • 1) the flat area formed by your thighs when you are sitting down
  • Eg; Sitting on her mother’s lap, the little girl was very quiet.
  • 2) a part of a long journey, between two points where you stop
  • Eg: The first lap of our trip is from New York city to Boston.

12.reproach: criticize (sb. ) for failing to do sth. ( used in the pattern : reproach sb. for sth.)

  • 12.reproach: criticize (sb. ) for failing to do sth. ( used in the pattern : reproach sb. for sth.)
  • Eg: She loved her boyfriend so much that she didn’t reproach him for breaking his promise.
  • He reproached himself constantly for not having visited his sick mother before she died.
  • 13. theory: a formal idea or set of ideas that is intended to explain sth.
  • Eg: Einstein formulated the theory of relativity in 1905. ( in theory: under ideal conditions; theoretically)
  • Eg: In theory every one has equal rights.
  • A school dental service exists in theory, but in practice, there are few dentists to provide service.

14.harmony:

  • 14.harmony:
  • 1) pleasant combination of different notes of music played at the same time
  • Eg: We appreciated very much the composer’s beautiful harmonies in the last movement.
  • The kids are singing in harmony.
  • 2)a state or condition of agreement, cooperation. or peacefulness
  • Eg: Since they moved to this community they have lived in harmony with their neighbors.
  • 15.by nature: as a result of inborn or inherent qualities; innately
  • Eg: She is by nature a polite person.
  • I am not by nature a violent man, but these insults were more than I could bear.

16.get one’s act together: (infml) organize oneself and one’s activities so that one does things in an effective way

  • 16.get one’s act together: (infml) organize oneself and one’s activities so that one does things in an effective way
  • Eg: Steve will have to get his act together if he is going to pass the exam. He can’t just sit about doing nothing all day.
  • “ Come on, you two, get your act together or we’ll miss the bus,” she shouted at the children as they slowly put on their coats.
  • 17. put pencil to paper: start to write
  • Eg: When I put pencil to paper yesterday, vivid memories came flooding back of my first day in school.

18.at intervals: (1) sth. That happens at intervals happens occasionally; sth. that exists at intervals exists here and there.

  • 18.at intervals: (1) sth. That happens at intervals happens occasionally; sth. that exists at intervals exists here and there.
  • The interview continued, with Smith breaking off at intervals to consult his notes.
  • Trees have been planted at intervals along the waterfront.
  • (2) used to state the precise gap in time or distance between things
  • There were red warning lights at intervals along the street.
  • She woke him for his medicines at intervals throughout the night.
  • Phrases :
  • at intervals of每隔 at long intervals偶尔;间或 at short intervals 常常 at regular intervals 每隔一定时间,每隔一定距离

19.set aside: (1) put (time or money )away for a special purpose

  • 19.set aside: (1) put (time or money )away for a special purpose
  • I have a little money set aside for emergencies.
  • (2) disregard
  • We should try and set aside our past hostilities.
  • (3)(law) reject
  • The court has set aside the conviction.
  • 20. race the clock: do something quickly in order to finish it in the available time
  • The deadline will be due tomorrow. We have to race the clock.

21. possess: (fml) have or own

  • 21. possess: (fml) have or own
  • The number of nations that possess nuclear weapons is on the rise.
  • He was possessed by the desire to be rich.
  • Phrases: be possessed with/by被(鬼怪,思想)迷住,缠住 be possessed of拥有,具有 possess sb. of sth.使某人拥有某物
  • Cf.: possess, own
  • Possess 既可指某人对某物具有所有权与支配权,也可指具有才能,特点,品质,性格等; own 表示合法或天生的拥有某物,不能用抽象意义
  • The English language possesses a vivid saying to describe this sort of situations.
  • The boss owned several busy stores in the town.
  • 22. charm: (1)v. attract, give pleasure to
  • Her graciousness charmed everyone at the party.
  • be charmed by/with 醉心于,被迷住
  • (2)n. attractiveness
  • The town, clean and quiet, has a charm you could not find in a big city.

23. take in:

  • 23. take in:
  • (1) (usu. Passive) cheat or deceive
  • He is taken in by a confident artist.
  • (2) receive as a guest or an employee
  • He has nowhere to live, so we took him in.
  • (3) reduce in size; make smaller or shorter
  • The tailor took in the waist on the pair of pants.
  • (4) include
  • You should take in every aspect when you want to solve the problem.
  • (5) understand
  • The kid can’t take in the meaning of the word.
  • 24. positive: adj. certain, sure; helpful or constructive
  • We need more positive evidence to prove his innocence.
  • Try to have positive attitudes on everything.
  • The battery has a negative and a positive terminal.

25. have sth./little/much to do with:

  • 25. have sth./little/much to do with:
  • Hard work has a great deal to do with her success.
  • 26. a piece of cake: sth. that is very easy to do
  • ---What do you think of this exam?
  • ---It’s a piece of cake.
  • 27. sophisticated: adj.
  • (1) worldly-wise; showing knowledge of the world.
  • a sophisticated girl; a sophisticated columnist
  • (2) advanced or complicated
  • the latest and most sophisticated technology
  • I can’t work this sophisticated new equipment.
  • 28. move on to: stop doing one thing and begin dealing with the next
  • We are about to move on to the next chapter.
  • Text analysis
  • As mentioned in Writing Strategy for this unit, there are three main ways of achieving coherence: the use of transitional words and phrases, the repetition of key words and phrases, and the use of parallel structure.
  • .
  • First, Text A does employ such transitional words like but, however, yet. Paras8 to 10 provide a good example of using transitional phrases and sentences, so much so that we can consider this section a mini-essay. Ss read Paras8,9 and 10 to taste the smooth transitional skills used by the author.
  • Second, the most striking feature of Text A is the repetition of key words and phrases. The occurrences of the phrase Brooklyn Bridge or the bridge weave the essay into a coherent piece. Synonyms like superwoman, superwomen, heroine, supersisters, and superheroines appear five times to remind readers of the topic of this essay. The five instances where the phrase “in her spare time” is used emphasize the amazing fact that some super-capable women can still find spare time in their tight schedule.
  • Third, there is no strictly parallel structure in this essay. However, some may regard the comparison between “my” daily struggle and the achievements of Kate L., the daughter of a politician, the woman executive, etc, as parallel.
  • Interestingly, the author uses many words and phrases related to food. For example, a piece of cake, you can’t eat the cake and have it too, strawberry jam, a whole box of cookies, soup, juice, tea, a dieter, a diet without treats, the old low-dream diet, to devour, to bake cakes. Don’t they reflect the traditional role of women as food-providers?

After Reading

  • I. Useful Expressions
  • 1. combine…with…; 2. long to do sth;
  • 3.an alumni bulletin; 4.assistant principal;
  • 5.in one’s spare time;
  • 6. doctoral dissertation;
  • 7.have time for tennis and horse riding
  • 8. hit home; 9. be skeptical of /about sth;
  • 10.care for; 11. law school ;

12. a television anchorwoman;

  • 12. a television anchorwoman;
  • 13.study for a master’s degree;
  • 14.a woman executive;
  • 15.as precisely as a Swiss watch;
  • 16.wonder aloud;
  • 17.have a familiar ring;
  • 18.on the train ride home;
  • 19.movers and shakers;
  • 20.Postdoctoral studies in physics;
  • 21.by nature;

22.get one’s act together;

  • 22.get one’s act together;
  • 23.schedules of military precision;
  • 24.put pencil/pen to paper;
  • 25.at frequent intervals;
  • 26.set aside (time, money, etc);
  • 27.as promised; 28. OK the matter;
  • 29.race the clock; 30.if only;
  • 31.the organizational skills; 32.take in
  • 33.have sth/much/nothing to do with;

34.an optimistic approach to life;

  • 34.an optimistic approach to life;
  • 35.achieve one’s heart’s desire(s)
  • 36.a piece of cake;
  • 37.have the cake and eat it too;
  • 38.too sophisticated for that;
  • 39.well done; 40.be modest about sth;
  • 41.move on to sth; 42.a wise investment;
  • 43.after all; 44. bide one’s time
  • II. Write a summary of the text on your own.
  • III. Preview Text B

Language points of Text B

  • 1. take/get/gain credit (for sth.): get honor, praise or approval
  • He got credit for devising a new engine.
  • 2. quit :(quit or quitted) v. stop; give up; leave
  • Don’t quit love with hate. 不要恩将仇报。
  • You must quit England and live in a warmer country.
  • I’ve given my secretary notice to quit.
  • Usage: quit doing sth.(接动名词做宾语) /
  • quit to do sth.(接不定式做目的状语)
  • Quit working. 停止工作
  • Quit to go abroad. 辞职去国外

3.reaction: n. something that you feel or do because of something that has happened or been said

  • 3.reaction: n. something that you feel or do because of something that has happened or been said
  • What was Jeff's reaction when you told him about the job?
  • reaction to the government's reaction to the fuel crisis
  • bring/provoke/produce a reaction
  • The news brought an angry reaction from unions.
  • somebody's first/immediate reaction
  • His first reaction was to deny everything.
  • instinctive/gut reaction (=what you immediately feel before you have time to think)
  • My gut reaction was not to trust him.
  • There were mixed reactions (=different people reacting in different ways) to the strike.
  • in reaction to something .An emergency fund was set up in reaction to the famine.

4. plead: (pleaded or pled ) v. give (sth.) as an excuse or explanation, esp. for doing sth. wrong; make repeated urgent requests (for sth.)

  • 4. plead: (pleaded or pled ) v. give (sth.) as an excuse or explanation, esp. for doing sth. wrong; make repeated urgent requests (for sth.)
  • They asked him to pay for the damage but he pleaded poverty.
  • The boy pleaded for another chance to pass the test.
  • plead with somebody (to do something) Moira pleaded with him to stay.
  • 5. temporary: adj. lasting for a short time
  • I'm living with my parents, but it's only temporary.
  • You might want to consider temporary work until you decide what you want to do.
  • She was employed on a temporary basis

6. renew: vt. (1)start (sth.) again; give new energy to

  • 6. renew: vt. (1)start (sth.) again; give new energy to
  • Local people have renewed their efforts to save the school.
  • renew a friendship/acquaintance etc (=become friendly with someone again)
  • (2) to arrange to borrow a library book for a further period of time
  • renew a book
  • 7. soak up: take in, absorb
  • He used her handkerchief to soak up the blood.
  • This factory soaks up surplus labor.

7. weigh down: make unhappy and worried, etc.

  • 7. weigh down: make unhappy and worried, etc.
  • He was weighed down with worries.
  • Chinese people were weighed down by “the three big mountains” before liberation.
  • 8. expense: spending of money; cost
  • at great/considerable/vast expense
  • Conference rooms were equipped at great expense.
  • Julie's parents had spared no expense for her wedding (=they spent all the money necessary to buy the best things).
  • at somebody's expense
  • a) if you do something at someone's expense, they pay for you to do it:
  • Her mansion was refurnished at taxpayers' expense.
  • b) if you make jokes at someone's expense, you laugh about them and make them seem stupid or silly:
  • Louis kept making jokes at his wife's expense.

9. stir: vt. to move a liquid or substance around with a spoon or stick in order to mix it together:

  • 9. stir: vt. to move a liquid or substance around with a spoon or stick in order to mix it together:
  • Stir the paint to make sure it is smooth.
  • stir something with something
  • She stirred her coffee with a plastic spoon.
  • stir something in/into something
  • Stir a cup of coffee into the mixture
  • stir somebody/something up : to deliberately try to cause arguments or bad feelings between people:
  • John was always stirring up trouble in class.
  • Dave's just trying to stir things up because he's jealous.

10. seek after/for: try to find or obtain

  • 10. seek after/for: try to find or obtain
  • We must seek for a solution to the problem
  • These articles are much sought after.
  • 这些商品很受人欢迎。

  • Thank you for your excellent cooperation!


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