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Teaching demo -- A Short Story. By Wang Wenli. play. Importance of the work. Best-remembered and most-studied , One of the world’s best short stories. (1924) winning the O’Henry Memorial Prize, the top short story prize in America

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Teaching demo a short story l.jpg

Teaching demo--A Short Story


Wang Wenli

08/09/06 WANG

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08/09/06 WANG

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Importance of the work

Best-remembered and most-studied,

One of the world’s best short stories

  • (1924) winning theO’Henry Memorial Prize, the top short story prize in America

  • Included as a classic into American primary school and high school textbooks and the world’s best short fiction anthologies

  • Adapted into a dozen of films--- the latest one: Lethal Woman (1998); the best-known one: The Most Dangerous Game(1932)

08/09/06 WANG

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Objectives: genre study (review)

Elements of the short story:

  • moral/theme 

  • plot

  • character & characterization 

  • setting 

  • point of view

    (reading technique:close reading)

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Objectives: language & writing

  • style: verbs, syntax, imagery, irony, personification…

  • suspense

  • step-up: repetition, comparison and contrast

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Outline: day 1

  • Lead-in activities: task sheets

  • Objectives

  • Background information

  • Plot, characterization, setting, themes

  • Further questions for discussion: (for day 3)

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Day 2

  • Check on preview: language

  • Detailed study: part by part

    Activities: blank filling,


    translation, etc.

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Day 3:

  • Discussion

  • Sum-up

  • Extra exercise/ Quiz

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Preclass work

  • Group Work:

     Please draw a map of the ship-trap island and mark out Rainsford’s escape route according to the text.

     Study para. 27 and para. 36 carefully. Try to figure out how Rainsford’s tricks work. Demonstrate them in class.

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Preclass work

  • Individual work:

    1) Produce a Venn Diagram to compare Rainsford and Zaroff. Do you think the villain and the hero are radically different? If not, what do they have in common?

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Preclass work: Venn Diagram



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Preclass work

  • Individual work:

    2) stylistic analysis:

    This hunting story is described as a grippinghorror narrative loaded with action. What stylistic features can you find in the text to support this description?

    (verbs, syntax variation, imagery in setting and characterization, suspense, etc.)

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Preclass work

  • Individual work:

    2) stylistic analysis:

    This hunting story is described as a grippinghorror narrative loaded with action. What stylistic features can you find in the text to support this description?

    (verbs, syntax variation, imagery in setting and characterization, suspense, etc.)

08/09/06 WANG

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Lead-in Activities: student representative

Order the Events

_____ Rainsford uses a Ugandan trick and kills Ivan.

_____ General Zaroff invites Rainsford to join his game.

_____ One of Zaroff’s dogs falls into the Burmese tiger pit and dies.

_____ Rainsford and Whitney talk about “Ship Trap Island.”

_____ Rainsford goes back to the chateau and kills General Zaroff.

_____ Rainsford spends the night in a tree.

_____ Rainsford jumps off a cliff

_____ Rainsford falls into the water and swims to the island.

_____ Rainsford makes a Malay man-catcher which hurts General

Zaroff on the shoulder.

08/09/06 WANG

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Malay man-catcher


Ugandan trick

Zaroff's chateau

Ship-trap Island

Caribbean Sea


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Background information

I: Introduction to the author &

his work

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Richard Connell(1893 - 1949)

  • Age 10: covered baseball

    games for his father’s newspaper at the payment of 10 cents for each game

  • Age 16: becamecity editor of the paper

  • Age 22: graduated from Harvard

  • Age 26: married and turned a professional writer

08/09/06 WANG

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  • One of the most prolific short story writers of the 20th century--- over 300 short stories published in top magazines of the time

  • Successful screenwriter and novelist

  • Dozens of movies and TV series based on his stories

  • http://www.intercoursewiththedead.com/concrit.htm

08/09/06 WANG

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Evaluation of the story

  • ‘On one level it is adventure and high drama. On another it tackles questions about man's relation to the lower animals. On still another it evaluates existentialism.’

    --- Dave McCourt

Characterized by lofty or thrilling events/themes

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Historical background: 1920s

  • Big game hunting in African and South American countries is popular with wealthy Europeans and Americans. In 1909, Theodore Roosevelt and his son killed 512 animals on an African safari.

  • Right after WWI, “a war to end all wars”, the Bolshevik revolution that topples the old hierarchy of classes.

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  • How many parts can we divide the story into?

  • In which part is the climax reached?

  • The conclusion/resolution consists of only one sentence. Why?

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  • How is tension built up?

    suspense (study para.19)

    sentence length and type

    (compare paras. 18, 34--36, 38 )

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Kindred spirits志趣相投








Professional hunter,

Obsessed with hunting,

Privileged class, Classist,




Still “normal”, human

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Characterization: the general

  • Why is the general so obsessed with hunting?

  • How do you understand his choice of men as prey?

  • Do his profession and social class help to explain his beliefand behavior?

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Characterization: Rainsford

  • Do you think Rainsford is better than the general?

  • How is he different from traditional heroes?

     ambivalence: similarity to Zaroff

     vehicle of irony: hunter-turned huntee

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  • “The world is made up of two classes--the hunters and the huntees. Luckily, you and I are hunters.”

  • “Who cares how a jaguar feels?"

    "Bah! They've no understanding."

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Characterization: techniques

  • Zaroff


  • Rainsford


What does the difference suggest?

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  • Where is the story set?

    a Caribbean island

    a Gothic chateau

    a jungle and a swamp

  • Do you find any symbolic meaning in this setting?

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  • The hunter and the hunted

  • Social Darvinism

  • Classism, racism, elitism

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Questions for further discussion (day 3)

  • What will happen after Rainsford kills the general? Will he become another Zaroff?

  • Why does the general lose the game? Is he deliberately courting his own destruction?

  • What do you think of hunting, or, war in general, after learning the story?

  • In association with what we have learned in U3 & 4, what does this story say about history and racism?

    (History is written by the winner/the stronger.

    Racism is discrimination based on the classification of people)

08/09/06 WANG

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Detailed study: Part 1 (1-14)

  • In what way does the general speak? What is told by the discrepancy between what he says and what he does?

  • What kind of man is he, judged from his speech? (para. 13)

08/09/06 WANG

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  • Rest with, rest on (para. 6):

    Success in management ultimately _________ sound judgment.

    The final decision __________ the President.

    It ________ the jury to decide the prisoner’s fate.

rests on

rests with

rests with

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  • Venture (para. 6):

    to ~ + n.


    If I may venture an opinion, I’d say the plan needs closer examination.

    to ~ + to-v.


    May I venture to suggest a few improvements?

    to ~ + prep.


    Nobody ventured out of doors during the period of SARS.

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  • Night found him legweary…

    when night came, he was too tired to walk…


    The 21st century has found China


opening wider to the outside world with an unprecedented optimism.

08/09/06 WANG

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Part 2 (15-28)

  • What animals are the two characters compared to separately? (paras. 18, 20, 24, 27)

  • How does Rainsford’s awareness of his situation change step by step?

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  • Verbal phrases:

    plunge along, strike off, stretch out, throw down, spur on

    ___________ by a sharp sense of shame, he had ___________, giving no heed to the passers-by who looked at him strangely. To get away from the hideous scene as far as possible, he _________ from the main street and blundered into one of those dark alleys, at the end of which he ___________ himself behind a trash can and finally ___________in a rest.

08/09/06 WANG

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Strike (para.18)

  • 发现新的办法

    strike _______ a new ___________

  • 想到这个可能,他心里突然充满了恐惧。

    The __________struck terror _____ his heart.

  • 他们都惊呆了,说不出话来。

    They were _________________________.

  • 我觉得很奇怪他居然不愿说出自己的名字。

    It __________________________________________.





struck dumb with amazement

struck me as rather odd that he refused to give his name

08/09/06 WANG

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Ring (para.27)

  • To blow a smoke ring

  • His laugh rings through the jungle

    (review: echo, buzz, thunder)


    The room rang with the laughter of happy children.


    The whole city rang with bad news.


    His words of sympathy ring hollow.

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Part 3 (29--45)

  • Why does the general identify each of his rival’s tricks? Where have you read of a similar plot?

  • How does his estimation of Raisford change gradually?

  • What are the details that hint at his cold-bloodedness?

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  • The pointed stakes found their mark. (para.31)

    hit their target--- “It found the spot all right”(L2)

08/09/06 WANG

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To come upon or discover, especially by chance

  • Hit (para. 36)

    We finally hit the exit after blundering about in the darkness for a long time.


    I hit upon a solution to our problem.


    Many multinationalcompanies were hit hard by the recession.


    Last month’s sales hit a new high.

    a Broadway hit 百老汇热门的戏剧

08/09/06 WANG

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Part 4 (para.46)

  • Who won the game in the end?

  • What might have happened to the general?

  • What moral does the general’s end tell?

  • How would you take up the story?

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  • Summarize the elements of the short story by comparing the lesson with the other short stories we have learned during the year.

  • Find out how the writer steps up the tension by different techniques:

    study paras. 15, 25, 38; paras.16, 24, 33;

    paras. 22-23, 30

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  • His first thought made him feel sick and numb…

    His second thought was even more terrible. It sent a shudder of cold horror through his whole being.

  • He had dug himself in in France when a minute’s delay meant death. That had been a placid pastime compared to his digging now.

Have you read similar writing somewhere else?

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Writing assignment

  • What good writing techniques have you learned from the story?

  • Can you produce a short story with suspense and a surprising ending?

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Check on preview

  • Definition

    1) a wild chance (34)

    a bit of wild grapevine (36)

    2) the dead black eyes (3)

    the trees dead ahead (38)

    3) the baying of the hounds (37)

    a beast at bay (44)

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Lacking animation, dull

  • wild accusations; a wild guess.

  • The party being dead, we left early.

  • dead

    silence, dead sure, the dead of winter/night

Based on little or no evidence or probability; ungrounded

08/09/06 WANG

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Usage of PPT in Intensive Reading

  • Advantages:

    interest, language learning, global understanding

  • Disadvantages:

    distraction, over-reliance, overloading

  • Key points:

    size, text, pictures/audio-visual materials

08/09/06 WANG