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Lesson 14 Argentina Bay By Herman Wouk
Objectives of Teaching • To comprehend the whole text • To lean and master the vocabulary and expressions • To learn to paraphrase the difficult sentences • To understand the structure of the text • To appreciate the style and rhetoric of the passage.
Background about the author • Herman Wouk (1915- ) is an American novelist. He is better known for his epic war novels. • After graduation from Columbia University, he became a radio scriptwriter. Though he achieved considerable social and financial success in the radio show business world, he found both the work and environment unsatisfying. He enlisted in the navy after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and spent three years as an officer on a destroyer-minesweeper in the pacific.
Background about the author • Much of Aurora Dawn (1947极光), the first novel of the New York advertising world, was written while Wouk was in service. • With the publication of his first novel in 1947, Herman Wouk began a career in letters which has brought him renown, the Pulitzer Prize and a long international audience for his books and plays. • His latest book is War and Remembrance (1978) which is the sequel to The Winds of War (1971), a work of equal size and scope, picturing the global conflict from Pearl Harbor to the fall of Nazi Germany and the Japanese surrender.
Background about the author • He has published nine additional works of fiction, nonfiction and drama, including The City Bay (1948), The Caine Mutiny (1951, Pulitzer Prize), Marjorie Morningstar (1955), This is My God (1959), Youngblood Hawke (1962),and Don’t Stop the Carnival (1965).
Pulitzer Prize: • Joseph Pulitzer was an American newspaper publisher and the founder of the Pulitzer Prize. Today there are Pulitzer Prizes for distinguished works in American fiction, drama, history, biography and autobiography, nonfiction, poetry and music. Joseph Pulitzer founded the Pulitzer Prize in 1903 because he believed in encouraging excellence in the arts and journalism. He gave Columbia University $2, 000,000. Part of it was for the Prizes and part for the creation of the Columbia School of Journalism. Joseph Pulitzer died on Oct. 29, 1911.
About the book: • The Winds of War is fiction, and all the characters and adventures involving the Henry family are imaginary. But the history of the war in this romance is offered as accurate; the statistics, as reliable; the words and acts of the great personages, as either historical or derived from accounts of their words and deeds in similar situations. (from Herman Wouk’s Foreword to The Winds of War).
A note on the story: • The story describes the Roosevelt-Churchill conference in August 1941. • Understandably, it was held in the utmost secrecy, and it was not given to anybody but the top few what was going on inside the conference room—nor to Victor Pug Henry, a navy captain and presidential aide, but not ranking high enough to be a participant.
A note on the story: • However, Victor Henry is in a way the narrator of this story, which develops only as he, a mid-ranking officer, sees it develop. • If the story had been told through the eyes of Roosevelt or Churchill or Harry Hopkins for that matter, it could have achieved a lot more grasp and made a more factual narrative; but it would not have been imaginative literature, but a workaday journalism. • The Winds of War, this story has been shown on the television. It follows an American naval family that is caught up in the events preceding the attack on Pearl Harbor which got the U.S. involved in the Second World War. It is a great miniseries because it blends fact and fiction so well.
Questions: • What was the book about? • Where and when did the story take place? • Who were the main characters? • What was the author showing through the story? • Who told the story? • What do you think of the book?
Detailed study • 1. Argentina Bay • What do you get to know from the section? • Background / introduction. • The story took place at Argentia Bay in Newfoundland, Canada. The time was at nine o’clock. The story involved Winston Churchill and American President Roosevelt.
2. Gray peace…Argentina Bay • Gray peace, Haze and mist, and in primeval hush: The three expressions in this para. gives us an idea a quite, significant place. • pervade: to spread through, saturate or permeate every part of it; spread all over the place; fill in air A heavy, musty odor pervades the railroad waiting room. It is pleasant to live in the environment where this positive spirit pervades. The odor of jasmine pervades the room. An unpleasant smell pervades the house. He worked so hard that weariness pervaded his whole body. A strong sense of patriotism pervades his writings.
-wildness: desolate expanse, waste, uninhabited land • -ring: Here it means to make a ring round or surround • Ring the spelling mistakes with red ink. • Police ringed the building. • An old house ringed with trees • Argentia Bay was surrounded by a vast expanse of wild uninhabited land where there was no human activity. The whole place looked gray and it was very quiet there.
3. to await the arrival of Winston Churchill • “Wait,” the commoner word, can be followed by an infinitive but not a gerund while “await” can be followed by a gerund but not an infinitive. • I shall await hearing from you. • I shall wait to hear from you. • 4. Haze… a tint of green. • -haze: light thin mist or smoke • Haze… mist… fog: • Fog is the thickest in degree
-blend: go well together; cause to mix together • How well their voices blend! • Those two colors blend well. • A blends with B. • These houses seem to bend well with the trees and the countryside. • Their voices blend well with each other. • How well the new curtains blend with the rug!
Thin smoke and mist mixed making everything look gray. • -tint of green: shade or slight degree of green color (esp. pale or delicate). • Sailors and officers… loudspeaker squawks. • -go about their chores: be in the habit of doing their routine work. • go about: move from place to place; to do; to perform • He often goes about in public. • Working for an international company he goes about quite a lot. • Be careful not to catch the flu! There is a lot of it going about this winter.
-piping: the sound of a boatswain’s whistle • a chief seaman’s • -squawk: (esp. of some birds) to make a loud rough sounding cry; loud harsh sound • Sailors and officers were carrying on their routine duties with whistling and loudspeaker noises in the background. (It gives a vivid description of the orderly peaceful life of the American sailors, which stands sharply in contrast to the life on the war-battered British warships).
6. But a primeval hush… normal ships noises: • -primeval: ancient; primitive • -a primeval hush: like the silence in very ancient times when the world was first created • -lie heavy: • Money lying idle in the bank • The snow lay thick on the ground. • The escaped prisoners had to lie low for months. • The book lay open on the table.
With the routine chores going on, some noise could be heard on the ships in the Bay, but beyond that (but outside the range of the noise) it was all tranquility. • Note the author’s description of Argentia Bay: Peace pervaded/ tinged by wilderness/ a primeval hush outside the range of the ships’ noises. • The author took great pains to describe the peace and hush of the Bay to prepare the readers for the coming of a big event, just like the momentary silence before a thunderstorm.
7. At nine o’clock…like snakeskin: • -battleship: the largest kind of warship, with the biggest guns and heaviest armour • -camouflage: disguised, concealed • The military vehicles were camouflaged. • The hunters were camouflaged with branches. • -swirls: twists and curls • At nine o’clock, three destroyers came rapidly in sight, immediately followed by a camouflaged battleship painted in snakeskin-colored twists and curls.
8. This was HMS Prince of Wales, bigger… Bismarck. • -HMS: His (Her) Majesty’s Service, Ship, or Steamer • Prince of Wales: The ship was sunk by the Japanese in the South China Sea in December 1941. • Bismarck: German battleship of 45,000 tons, completed early in 1940, for operations against British convoys in the North Atlantic. In an encounter with British fleet on 24 May, 1940, it sank the British cruiser Hood and damaged the Prince of Wales; the Bismarck was also hit by the guns of the Prince of Wales. The Bismarck was finally sunk on 27 May, 1940. • By mentioning “hit the Bismarck” the author indicates the battleship was not only majestic-looking, but also battle-proven.
9. As it steamed past…“God Save the King.”: • - the Augusta: the American cruiser • -a brass band: a body of musicians, performs on wind and striking instruments • -symphony orchestra: a body of musicians chiefly on string instruments • - The Star-Spangled Banner: This is the official national anthem of the United States, by a Bill which passed the Senate on 3 March, 1931. • -quarter-deck: part of the highest level of a ship, used only by officers
-strike up: to begin to play; to start to make a friendship with • We struck up an acquaintance with each other on the ship. • Note: Salutes at sea originally took two forms, the firing of guns and the striking of topsails, the latter when within the territorial waters of the warship being saluted. Navies have a variety of salutes for officers of rank and ships of foreign nations, varying between gun salutes, guards and bands, guards without bands, bugle calls, and piping the side, according to rank and circumstances. Here the playing of the national anthem was not a welcoming ceremony. It was a mutual salute since the two heads of states were on board the ships.
-God Save the King: the British national anthem. It is usual in Britain to play the tune whenever the monarch appears in public. • 10. Pug Henry…Summer Wells: • -Pug Henry: Victor Pug Henry, a navy captain and presidential aide • He is in a way the narrator of this story, and the hero of the book The Winds of War. • -awning: movable covering, esp. one made of canvas used to protect shop windows, shipdecks, etc. from sun or rain
-rig(ged): to supply (esp. a person or ship) with necessary things (ropes, sails, etc.). Here, to set up hastily or as a makeshift • -turret: a low heavy-armored steel dome, that spins round to allow its guns to aim in any direction • -august: causing feelings of great respect; noble and grand; venerable for reasons of age or high rank • -admiral: a man who commands a large number of warships and who holds a very high rank or the highest rank in the navy • -general: an officer of very high rank in the army or American air force
11. Churchill was plain to see…gesturing with a big cigar. • Churchill could be seen clearly since he was only five hundred yards away…. • -odd blue costume: Actually Churchill was wearing a Navy uniform but here the author used “odd/ strange or rather, to mean fanny” and “costume” to achieve a kind of comical effect. • -gesturing with a big cigar: movement of the hand holding a cigar to convey friendly feeling
12. The president towered over everybody,… resembled him. • -stiff on braced legs: Roosevelt was stiff on braced legs. That is, he had to wear steel braces on his legs, because an attack of polio in 1921 had paralysed him from the waist. • -brace: to make stronger (something used fro supporting, stiffening or fastening) • His weak back was heavily braced. • A brace is a metal device that is sometimes fastened to a child’s teeth in order to help them grow straight. • A brace is a device attached to a part of a person’s body, for example to a weak leg, in order to strengthen or support it.
13. Roosevelt’s large pink face was self-consciously grave: • Roosevelt put on a grave expression because the band was playing the national anthem and he knew he was wearing a grave expression. • 14. “Well! I’ve never heard… and Roosevelt laughed too. • “My country ‘Tis of thee’” is the first line of “America” which is sung to the music of the British national anthem, “God Save the King (Queen). (The tune of “America” is the same with the tune of “God Save the King.” When the band played the British anthem, Roosevelt humorously took it for “America.” • This is where the joke lies. Actually, some American patriots claim the tune was American in origin, and was appropriated by the British.
15. The squeal of boatswain’s pipes…deck. • -squeal: to make a long very high sound or cry • The children squealed with delight. • -compare: • squeal: long and sharp sound • squawk: loud and rough sound • scream: thin and sharp sound • shriek: sudden loud sound • screech: unpleasant high-pitched sound • -boatswains’ pipes: boatswains’ whistle; silver whistle used in giving orders to the crew of a ship
-dress parade: requiring or permitting formal dress, a dress affair, a dress dinner • -broke up the dress parade: ended the formal inspection
2. Harry Hopkins • Why was Pug sent over to the Prince of Wales? • 16. Harry Hopkins: (1890-1946) • American social worker and public administrator, intimate associate and adviser of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce (1938-40). As the personal representative of President Roosevelt, he went on missions to London and Moscow, conferring with Churchill and Stalin. He also attended the major war conferences at Washington, Casablanca, Quebec, Cairo, Tehran, and Yalta ( in Russia).
17. Admiral King beckoned to Pug. • -Admiral King: Ernest Joseph King (1878-1956), American naval officer. He was appointed commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic fleet (1949) and of the entire U.S. fleet (Dec. 1941). He served (March, 1942- Dec., 1945) as chief of naval operations during World War II. He was appointed (Dec. 1944) admiral of the fleet (five-star rank).
18. Take my barge… put yourself at Mr. Harry Hopkins’s service. • - A barge is a boat with a flat bottom. Barges are used for carrying heavy loads, esp. on canals. • - a motorboat carried by naval ships for the use of officers • - put sb. at sb’s service: to get ready to obey orders or be used by sb. ; to get ready to serve or cooperate with one; to put sb./sth. at sb’s disposal • Do whatever Mr. Harry Hopkins might ask you to do.
-at one’s service: • I’ll be entirely at your service in three minutes. • “Now I am at your service,” the dentist told the next patient. • My car is at your service. • He put a car and driver at the visitor’s service. 19. expedite: fml. to make (a plan or arrangement) go faster; to do or perform sth. quickly and efficiently
Notice Admiral King’s words: “beckoned,” “Put you at Mr Harry Hopkins service. The president desires to…so expedite.” His words are serious, formal and show his position. Here we have the first of the personalities whom the author took great pains to describe. These indicate the gesture, the language, of a superior officer, very mindful of his rank and very aloof/reserved/not friendly. 20. Aye aye, sir. Aye is a nautical term, meaning yes.
21. Why did Henry think he went from peace to war when he passed from the Augusta to the Prince of Wales? The author has employed a few metaphors here to bring out the complete change of atmosphere. The Augusta is an American cruiser and at that time the United States nominally was not at war with Hitler while the Prince of Wales was a British battleship and Britain had been fighting against Hitler’s Germany for over a year. Hence the statement “from America to England and from peace to war.”
22. It was a shocking jump: pun • This refers to the crossing from the Augusta to the Prince of Wales, from Peace to War. • 23. King’s spick-and-span flagship belonged to a different world than the storm-whipped British vessel. • - spick-and-span: (only in the phrase) bright, clean, and tidy; neat and clean; very neat or smart and new • He moved in a spick-and-span flat. • The house should always be kept spick-and-span.
Why did King’s spick-and-span flagship belong to a different world? • - flagship: the ship that carries the commander of a fleet and displays his flag. • Paraphrase: Compared with the British vessel which had gone through many a battle and weathered the storm, the Augusta which was new and clean and which carried King seemed to be from another world. • Henry wanted to show that the contrast between the two ships was such that they seemed to be from entirely different worlds.
24. the accommodation ladder was salt-crusted: a ladder or stairway hung over a ships’ side, usu. at the gangway (opening in a ship’s side movable bridge from this to the land跳板通道) • salt-crusted /covered • There was a hard layer of salt on the surface of the accommodation ladder, showing that is had been through a long sea-voyage.
25. Even the main battery guns looked pitted and rusty: • -battery guns: a number of big guns fixed in a warship or fort. • -pit: mark with small scars • The deeply pitted surface of the metal. • Why is the word “even” used here? The main battery guns are the main weapons on a battleship so it was most surprising that there was rust on these guns. This probably shows that they have no time to clean the battery. They were busy.
26. Pug was aghast to see cigarette butts… scuppers. • -aghast: adj. suddenly filled with great surprise, fear, and shock • She was aghast when she was told of her husband’s huge gambling debts. • -scupper: n. opening in a ship’s side to allow water to run off the deck.
27. droves of bluejackets were doing an animated scrub-down: • -drove: 1) a moving crowd of people cf. throng • Droves of people are very large numbers of them. • They came in droves to see Australian’s natural wonder. Droves of sightseers • The tourists came in droves. • 2) a group of esp. farm animals driven in a body: a drove of cattle • -bluejacket: an enlisted man in the U.S. or British army; metonymy • A group of British navy men were cleaning the deck in a spirited way. • animated scrub-down: transferred epthet
28. On the superstructure…Bismark’s salvos • - superstructure: that part of a ship, esp. of a warship, above the main deck • -raw: imperfectly prepared; lacking normal or usual finish • -welded: jointed • -sticking plaster: adhesive material for covering a slight wound, usu. a thin cloth gummed on one side • Cf. Band-aid; bandage • -salvos: simultaneous discharge of artillery or other firearms, esp. as salute, or in sea-fight.
At places on the part above the main deck there were new welds. These were damages caused by the gunfire of the German battleship Bismarck. The welds looked like sticking plaster put to new wounds. • The author is comparing the steel patches to sticking plasters and the damages on the ship to wounds of the human body. Metaphor.
29. “Ah, yes Captain Henry”: Ah, so you are Captain Henry. • 30. quartermaster: a nautical /sailing term, meaning a petty officer or mate who attends to the ship’s compass, navigation, signals etc. • 31. fittings: the fixtures, furnishings or decorations of a house, office, automobile, etc.; pl. sth. necessary that is fixed into a building but able to be moved • 32: “Hello there, Pug.” there, an interjection, calling the attention of someone
33. …in a blaze of worldwide newspaper attention • Hopkins flew to London in late July and arranged with Churchill the date and rendezvous of the conference between Roosevelt and Churchill. Then he took a British flying boat to Moscow to hold talks with Stalin. His visits to London and Moscow were widely covered by newspapers all over the world. • -in a / the blaze of: metaphor; in the blaze of publicity/fury /anger/effort
34. Am I riding over with you?Am I to take the barge and go over to the Augusta with you? • 35. on his bunk in a small cabin off the wardroom • -bunk: a narrow bed that is usu. fixed to the wall (as on a ship or train) • -wardroom: room on a warship for an officer to live in • -off the wardroom: next to the wardroom; not attached to the wardroom • off the main street, not on the main street
35. in one he carefully placed…; in the other he threw… as they came to hand: • Note the contrast between “he carefully placed papers..” and “he threw clothes…as they came to hand”: He was very careful, very meticulous about official papers but very careless about his own things. This throws light on the character of Hopkins. • -come to hand: to be found without one’s having to make a special search.
36. A bent figure with a gray double-breasted suit flapping loosely on him: • -double-breasted suit: a suit with a double row of buttons • -flapping: moving slowly up and down or backwards and forwards • This shows that Hopkins was very thin and the suit was loose on him. • 37. He’s having the time of his life. • He’s having a rare experience of pleasure in his life; he’s having the best time of his life. • The time of one’s life: (colloq.) an experience of great pleasure for one
38. Churchill’s like a boy going on his 1st date: • Churchill was very anxious to meet Roosevelt. The anxiety was similar to that one had when one was going to meet a girl friend for the 1st time. Churchill’s mood (state of mind) was that of a boy going on his first date with a girl.