Unit 11
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Unit 11. Text I A Friend in Need. Cultural Background. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

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Unit 11

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Unit 11

Unit 11

Text I

A Friend in Need


Cultural background

Cultural Background

  • Somerset Maugham (1874-1965)

  • British novelist, playwright and short story writer. He was best known for his novels, and his novel Of Human Bondage (1915) has strong autobiographical elements. Besides, Maugham was expert in short story writing, which was known for plots and story telling skills. He has written 100 short stories, dealing with spies, and the domestic and overseas life of the English people, of which our text was one.


Questions for discussion

Questions for Discussion

  • Judging from the title, what do you expect the text to be about?

  • What are some of the qualities you look for in a real friend?

  • Have you got a friend like that? If you have, tell us something about your friend.


Main idea

Main Idea

  • This is a story about Edward Hyde Burton, a ______, who appeared ________and his namesake Lenny Burton. Lenny Burton was a young man good at ______ but he had no steady job. One day Lenny went to Edward Burton to ask ______. Burton told him that if he could _______ , he would ______. Burton knew it would be _______ for Lenny to do so. Lenny accepted the challenge and _____. When Edward Burton was asked about it, he replied _________.


Style of writing

Style of Writing

  • This text is another piece of persuasive writing. Maugham uses narration—a story within a story—as his technique to convince the reader of his point of view, that first impressions of a person are often more wrong than right.


Language points

Language Points

  • They are more (right)than (wrong)--- they are right more than they are wrong

  • Their research work demonstrates more accuracy than originality.

  • On hearing this, he felt more offended than flattered.


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  • for my own part--- as far as I am concerned, speaking for myself

  • For my own part, I don’t mind having one more lesson on ecosystem.

  • For my own part, I am in favor of using some euphemisms to avoid unpleasantness of daily life.


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  • in accordance with sth.---in agreement with sth./ in harmony with sth.

  • Every citizen should act in accordance with the law.

  • His actions are not always in accordance with his words.

  • Every thing goes on in accordance with the plan.


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  • strike---impress, have an effect on the mind or the body

  • How does this idea strike you?

  • This plan strikes me as ridiculous.

  • What struck me was that he was not telling the truth.

  • An idea suddenly struck me. (occurred to me)

  • The room strikes you as warm and comfortable when you enter.


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  • kind, kindly, kindliness

  • kind—helpful;interested in the happiness of others; showing sympathy, thoughtfulness or love and care for others

  • kindly—friendly, pleasant

  • kindliness—friendliness, pleasantness

  • She is a kind old woman.= She is a kind-hearted and sympathetic old woman.


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  • She is a kindly old woman.=She is a friendly and amiable old woman.

  • His kind criticism at last made her realize the seriousness of her mistakes. (善意的批评)

  • kindly criticism(和风细雨般的批评)


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  • spicy –hot, flavored with sth., exciting or interesting because somewhat improper

  • Sichuan dishes are known to be hot and spicy.

  • The newspaper offers spicy details of the film star’s love affairs.


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  • something of an athlete—rather an athlete, a fairly good athlete

  • She is something of a pianist.

  • The soldier found himself something of a hero.

  • presently—soon, shortly, immediately, at the present time

  • We were not sure if Peter would come to the party. Presently he appeared.

  • Presently I heard her leave the house.

  • She’s presently working on her PhD.

  • Presently we have no vacancy in the office.


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  • What do you say to sth?—How about--?/ Would you like sth?

  • What do you say to a cup of coffee?

  • remit (vb.)—forgive, excuse payment of a debt, a punishment (remission n.); send money by post (remittance n.)

  • His prison sentence has been remitted.(赦免)


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  • The taxes have been remitted.

  • Kindly remit by check. (汇款)

  • When can you remit me the money?

  • He has got a remission of six months. (减刑)

  • Who has gained remission from tax payment? (减免税)

  • Please return the completed form with your remittance. (汇款)


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  • instinct—aptitude, gift

  • Birds can fly by instinct.

  • My first instinct was to refuse, but on second thoughts I accepted.

  • broke—(sl) penniless

  • He was stony/flat broke after his failure in the stock market.


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  • credit—belief of others that payment will be made later

  • No credit is given at this shop. (payment must be in cash)

  • His credit is good only for $50.

  • If you are rich, you can get unlimited credit.

  • buy/sell sth. on credit


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  • be down and out 穷困潦倒

  • Out of work and with a big family to support, he was down and out.

  • all to pieces –have a breakdown (身体、精神)崩溃

  • When he heard the news, he went to pieces.

  • After the accident, she seemed to have gone to pieces.


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  • be driving at sth. ---trying to say/do

  • I wish I knew what they were really driving at.

  • He talked on and on, but nobody seemed to understand what he was driving at.

  • Note: This phrase is always used in the present continuous tense , the object is always “what”

  • Compare: drive sth, home (make sth. understood)

  • To drive home the point he was making, the speaker produced some official statistics.


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  • on account of---because of

  • We didn’t have a good time because the picnic was held in the gym on account of the rain.

  • It is a great pity that baby died eight days after it was born on account of illness.


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  • be taken aback---be shocked or confused esp. by sth. unpleasant or unexpected

  • The teacher was quite taken aback by his student’s retort.

  • She was taken aback by her son’s rude way of speaking.


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  • dissipate –scatter, dispel, disperse,waste foolishly

  • The mist quickly dissipated as the sun rose.

  • Her son’s letter dissipated all her fears and anxiety.

  • He soon dissipated his fortune. (挥霍)

  • dissipated adj. 挥霍的,放荡的

  • He led a dissipated life.

  • A life of dissipation is harmful both to himself and his family.


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  • constitution 宪法;体质,体格;结构

  • Britain has an unwritten constitution, and US has a written one.

  • The scientists studied the constitution of the solar spectrum. 太阳光谱的构成

  • Only people with a robust constitution can manage to do the work.


Text ii

Text II

  • Nicholas Monsarrat (1910-1979)

  • Nicholas Monsarrat, British author, was educated at Cambridge where he studied law, and then spent two years in a solicitor’s office.He joined the Royal Navy during World War II, and was later sent to such countries as South Africa and Canada. His works include several outstanding books about the sea, and his most famous novel is The Cruel Sea (1951), one of the classic novels of the Second World War, which gives a vivid account of life aboard a small ship in wartime North Atlantic, and depicts the fierce battle between the British and the German navy.


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  • The Cote d’Azur, Cap d’Antibes蔚蓝海岸

  • It is a magnificent peninsula, consisting of a narrow strip of land along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, in Southern Europe, and famous resorts lining the French Riviera.

  • Port 波尔葡萄酒

  • A type of wine. It used to be customary for women to leave the dining-room and let the men drink and discuss politics or business after dinner.


The dinner party

The Dinner Party

  • This is a short story about ruined friendship. My uncle, a rich man in the lavish pride of manhood, once on his fifty-fifth birthday invited his old friends to a dinner party for twelve people. All the guests present were distinguished in fame, wealth or rank. In the middle of the party, the guests took turns to admire a rare solitaire diamond ring of a princess. But later, the ring was nowhere to be found, however hard they searched the dining-room. Since nobody else had entered or left the


Unit 11

  • room, one of the intimate friends must have stolen the ring. Some guests asked to be searched, but my uncle insisted that there would be no searching in his house. And he promised to make amends for the loss of the diamond ring. After this incident, my uncle’s world was overturned. He never returned to his lonely house where the dinner party was hosted, and when he died, he was a comparatively poor man.


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