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Unit 13. Text I Christmas. Objectives:. 1. Cultural background of Christmas 2. Informal style to reflect a child’s thinking and manner of expression 3. Vocabulary and sentence structures. Teaching Tasks and Process. I. Pre-reading questions. Christmas.

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Unit 13

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Unit 13

Text I



  • 1. Cultural background of Christmas

  • 2. Informal style to reflect a child’s thinking and manner of expression

  • 3. Vocabulary and sentence structures

Teaching Tasks and Process

  • I. Pre-reading questions


  • 1. Christmas---the annual festival of the Christian church commemorating the birth of Jesus; celebrated by most Christians on December 25.

  • 2. Now generally observed in many countries as a legal holiday and an occasion for exchanging gifts or greetings

  • 3. An occasion for family reunions

  • 4. Festive atmosphere in streets and shops, advertisements with Santa Clause and holly wreaths, shop windows beautifully decorated, “commercialized” holiday atmosphere, fountains with background of bright and colorful lights

  • 5. Festive atmosphere at home: Christmas tree decorated with tinsel, candles and gifts, mistletoe hanging in the rooms; holly wreaths placed on doors, Christmas parties, Christmas dinner (turkey or goose), stockings hanging at the foot of children’s beds for Father Christmas, or Santa Clause, to put gifts into them.

The Main Ideas

  • 1. Those were hard times, poor children did not have enough to eat.

  • The boy brought food and money to Sunday school as he was told.

  • 2. The boy did not go to school.

  • Christmas was approaching, but there was no mention of Christmas at home.

  • The boy was frightened and anxious.

  • 3. It was Christmas Eve.

  • The boy asked his parents about Christmas, the parents’ response was queer.

  • 4. The boy began to be aware of the family’s plight.

  • 5. The boy felt the cold emotion of renunciation.

  • 6. Meagre presents in a stocking were found on Christmas morning, but the boy no longer desired anything.

Language Points

  • be worn clear through: be damaged by use or wear

  • The prisoners had got clear away.

  • The car ran clear off the road.

  • The thieves got clear away.

hard times

  • hard times --- times of money shortage, unemployment and times when the poor suffer a great deal. Times, when plural, is used to refer to the conditions of life, the circumstances of a period characterized by certain qualities, or a period of time, more or less definite, associated with certain events, circumstances, etc., e.g., terrible times, bad times, prehistoric times, the good, old times. The hard times mentioned in this excerpt most probably refer to 1893, when the United States suffered from a severe and prolonged depression.

  • Each little boy and girl was to bring money for the poor… The … teacher explained that we were to write our names…

  • Be to is used to refer to instructions to be performed in the future. So the above two verb phrases are equivalent to “must bring money” and “must write” respectively.

have our parents write them

  • have our parents write them --- ask our parents to write them. Have somebody do something means “make somebody do something” or “get / cause somebody to do something”.

  • Governor Rockefeller had a special committee assess the responsibility for the death of Benny Paret.

  • Shaka had his “slayers” kill anyone who could not run fifty miles a day.

I supposed the poor children’s mothers would make potato soup out of them.

  • … out of --- with (a material) / from (a material)

  • The stool was made out of the bits of wood the furniture factory had disposed of.

  • My father was out of work and we hadn’t any money.

  • out of --- without

  • The enemy surrendered as they ran out of rice, water and ammunition.

She wouldn’t tell me how much money she had put in it, but itfelt likeseveral dimes.

  • feel like --- seem like when touched

  • In pitch darkness when the wounded soldier touched the ground, it felt like water

  • Feel like (doing) something means be inclined to do something.

theSanta Clauses and holly wreaths in the advertisements

mychest grew tighter with anxiety

  • I was getting more and more anxious, so much so that I almost felt suffocated / breathless.

  • Explain the sentence: As the day approached, my chest grew tighter with anxiety.

  • As the day drew near, I became more and more uneasy as I didn’t know why my parents kept silent about Christmas.

I waited in painful bewilderment.

  • I waited with a feeling of confusion which was agonizing.

The tendrils of desire unfold their clasp on the outer world of objects, withdraw, shrivel up. Wishes shrivel up, turn black, die.

  • A longing for things, like a threadlike part of a climbing plant, uncurls, reaches out towards the things desired, but unsatisfied, draws back, curls up again, and dies. All longings dry out, turn black and finally vanish into thin air.

Some expressions and sayings related to poverty:

  • 1) live hand-to-mouth

  • 2) eke out a living

  • 3) make both ends meet

  • 4) tighten one’s belt

  • 5) Poverty is no sin.

  • 6) Poverty is not a shame, but feeling ashamed of it is.

  • 7) lead a dog’s life

  • 8) be in financial straits

  • 9) be in a wretched plight

Comments on the Text

  • This story is about how a little boy, who at first had no idea what poverty meant, gradually begins to realize that his family is very poor, how he comes to understand the social and psychological consequences of such a state, and how he grows mature in mind, as it were. The scene of the story is set in the boy’s home at Christmas during the hard times.

  • 1. The story is told in the first person by the child himself. It is informal in style and reflects a child’s thinking and manner of expression.

  • 2. The writer skillfully selects a chain of events for the story to let the reader himself gradually draw the conclusion as to the underlying reason for the selection. Each event seems insignificant by itself, but taken together the events produce a strong effect on the mind of the reader.

  • 3. The writer produces a certain tension in the narrative by keeping the boy in the dark about his own plight while the reader is all the time being told the truth about it. The child moves from one incident to another without realizing that he himself is one of the poor.

  • 4. An apparent stylistic device the writer employs to make his writing forceful is parallelism.

TEXT II Family Christmas


  • 1. How many people are there in the Cratchit family?

  • 2. Where had Bob and Tiny Tim gone?

  • 3. Describe Bob Cratchit’s appearance.

  • 4. What did the family have for their Christmas dinner?

  • 5. What kind of feeling did the family members have towards each other?

  • 6. Does the fact that they were poor make the Cratchit unhappy? Give facts to prove your point.


  • Pre-party Nerves


  • Exercises on the Work Book

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