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Unit 8. You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine. Contents. Unit 8 You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine. Background Information Pre-reading Activities Organization of the Text Language Points Post-reading Activities. Background Information 1. William Saroyan(1908-1981).

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Unit 8

Unit 8

You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine


Contents
Contents

Unit 8 You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine

  • Background Information

  • Pre-reading Activities

  • Organization of the Text

  • Language Points

  • Post-reading Activities


Background information 1 william saroyan 1908 1981
Background Information1. William Saroyan(1908-1981)

  • is one of the most colorful contemporary American writers. His works include short stories, novels, and plays. was born in Fresno, Calif., the son of Armenian immigrants. As a young man, he received little formal education but he decided to make himself a writer. He used his Armenian background in many of his stories about his family and neighbors. The novel The Human Comedy, from which our text is taken, was published in 1943. It is about ordinary people in a small California town trying to understand and manage, as fear and death touch their lives.


2 mexican americans
2. Mexican-Americans

  • Mexican-Americans refer either to native born Mexicans who have immigrated to America and become citizens of the United States or to native born Americans whose ancestors emigrated from Mexico. Many Mexican-Americans live in the Southwestern States, the region where our story takes place.

  • Unlike immigrants to the US from European countries, Mexican-Americans have been somewhat slow to become “Americanized” as a result of being shut out socially and economically.

  • Most Mexicans are Roman Catholics and the Mexican family is noted for its closeness and emphasis on strong ties or bonds among its members.


3 western union
3. Western Union

  • Western Union (Western Union Telegraph Company) is the principal telegraph company in the United States. At the present time, on top of delivery through the post office, Western Union is introducing a fast service by telephoning you and reading you your telegram message. If you wish to have a copy of the telegram, the local Western Union office will mail it to you. For out-going telegrams a similar service has been introduced.

  • When a person in military service was killed during World War II, the War Department (now the Department of Defense) sent a telegram to the most immediate family members notifying them of the death. Citizens with relatives serving in the armed forces hoped they would never have to answer their doorbell to find a uniformed telegram messenger. The arrival of a messenger would surely mean the loss of a person near and dear.


Pre reading
Pre-reading

Introductory Remarks

  • The story is originally part of a novel, which is to a certain extent autobiographical. The author, William Saroyan, worked in a San Francisco telegraph office at one point in his life. It is not surprising then that the events described are so realistic. The present selection describes in all vividness a young man who suddenly finds himself in a situation he is not prepared to cope with and a woman who gives at the sad news of her son’s death.


Warm up activity
Warm-up Activity

  • Act out the story in the textbook according the following script:

    (Knock at the door.)

    H: Is there anybody in the house?

    (The door is opened.)

    S: Oh! (studying Homer’s eyes) You have a telegram? Who is it for?

    H: Mrs. Rosa Sandoval, 1129 G Street. Are you Mrs. Sandoval?(Delivering the telegram.)

    S: Please, please come in. I cannot read English. I am Mexican. I read only “La Prensa’ which comes from Mexico City. (She pauses a moment but continues before Homer can speak.) You must open the telegram and read it to me.


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H: Yes, ma’am. (Opening the telegram with nervous fingers.)

S: Who sent the telegram – my son Juan Domingo?

H: No, ma’am, the telegram is from the War Department.

S: War Department?

H: (Mumbling swiftly) Your son is dead. Maybe it’s a mistake. Everybody makes a mistake, Mrs. Sandoval. Maybe it wasn’t your son. Maybe it was somebody else. The telegram says it was Juan Domingo. But maybe the telegram is wrong.

S: (Pretending not to hear) Oh, don’t be afraid. Come inside, come inside. I will bring you candy.

(Mrs. Sandoval takes the boy’s arm, brings him to the table, and makes him sit down.)


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S: All boys like candy. I will bring you candy. fingers.)

(Homer takes a piece of candy, puts it into his mouth, and tries to chew.)

S: You would not bring me a bad telegram. You are a good boy – like my little Juanito when he was a little boy. Eat another piece. (She makes the boy take another piece of candy.) It is our own candy, made from cactus. I made it for my Juanito when he came home, but you eat it. You are my boy, too. (Suddenly she begins to sob, holding herself in as if weeping were a disgrace.)

H: (Feeling awkward, frustrated and embarrassed, murmuring to himself) What can I do? What can I do? I’m only the messenger.


Organization of the text
Organization of the Text fingers.)

  • Line A:

    The messenger (Homer) – delivered a telegram to Mr. Rosa Sandoval – felt a little awkward when seeing the old lady – read the telegram for the old lady – felt greatly sorry for the bad news that he brought that her son has been dead in the war – wanted to comfort the lady but felt out of his ability


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  • Line B: fingers.)

    The Mexican woman (Mrs. Rosa Sandoval) – shocked to see the messenger – asked the young man to read the telegram for her because she couldn't read English – pretended not to hear when the messenger read the bad news for her – offered the young man the candy and talked to him as if nothing happened – made the messenger in the embarrassment


Language points
Language Points fingers.)

Para. 1

1. He knew almostimmediatelythat someone was inside the house.

  • immediately:at once

  • E.g. – Relief work started immediately after the earthquake.

    – Where are you going? The meeting will begin immediately.


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2. …he was fingers.)mosteagerto see who this person would be…

  • A.most:

  • “Most” here is a word indicating an advanced degree, meaning “very”. It is not a superlative of comparison.

  • E.g. – She was most happy to help us.

    – Sam will be most disappointed when they leave .

    – Professor Smith is a most learned scholar, I should say.

  • B.eager:full of strong wish

  • E.g. – Soldiers are eager for any news from home.

    – Mr. Young is eager to succeed in his field.


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3. …who fingers.)was now tohear ofmurder in the world andto feel it in herself…

  • A.be to:

  • The “be + infinitive” structure is often used to express an action planned to take place soon. The structure can also be used in the past to indicate “destiny” – things which were sure to happen in the future.

  • E.g. – The premier is to visit the United States next year.

    – I felt nervous because I was soon to leave home for the first time in my life.

    – When we said goodbye, I thought it was forever. But we were to meet again, many years later, under very strange circumstances.


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  • B. fingers.)hear of:hear aboutaof his

  • E.g. – As soon as I heard rrival I hastened to meet him.

    – Have you ever heard of a poet by the name of Prior?

    – The librarian had never heard of the book I wanted.

  • C.to feel it in herself:to feel deep down the horror caused by murder or the effects of murder


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4. The door was fingers.)nota long time opening…

  • Not:expresses simple negation, but is used here for the stylistic effect of understatement. But for this effect, the author could very well have written “The door opened immediately…”

  • E.g. – The sum I inherited was not a fortune.

    – The movie isn’t bad.


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5. …as if, fingers.)whoever she was…

  • whoever: no matter who

  • E.g. – Whoever made the mistake will surely be punished.

    – Information will be given to whoever inquires.


Para 2
Para. 2 fingers.)

1. …so that now,after years of it, her lips were set in a gentle and saintly smile.

  • A. after years of it:after years of being patient

  • B.set: put into a fixed position

  • E.g. – Her eyes were set in a look of surprise.

    – His jaw was set firmly in anger.


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2. …the appearance of a messenger at the front door is full of terribleimplications.

  • implications:sth. hinted but not stated

  • E.g. – A good diplomat should be able to tell the implication behind a statement.

    – Her face grew white immediately after understanding the implication of the news.


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3. Homer knew that Mrs. Rosa Sandoval was full of terribleshocked to see him.

  • shock:

  • (v.) cause unpleasant or angry surprise (to sb.)

  • E.g. – I was shocked at the news of her arrest / to hear of her arrest.

    – Mrs. Ernest was shocked to find her daughter in bikini.


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  • (1) sudden disturbance of feelings full of terrible

  • (n.)

  • E.g. – Mrs. Ernest never recovered from the shock.

    – The news was such a great shock that she dropped her cup.

  • (2) violent blow or shaking

  • E.g. – Mental patients receive electric shocks as a kind of treatment.

    – The shock of the bomb can be felt from a distance.


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4. Her first word was the first word of all surprise. She said “Oh”…

  • (Paraphrase:) All expressions of surprise can begin with the interjection “Oh!”

  • E.g. – Oh, wonderful!

    – Oh, how terrible !

    – Oh, yeah?


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5. Before she spoke again she studies Homer’s eyes… said “Oh”…

  • study: examine carefully

  • E.g. – He studied her face with interest.

    – The doctor studied the shape of the wound.


Para 4
Para. 4 said “Oh”…

1. His work was to deliver telegrams.

  • deliver:

  • (1) take sth. to the place where it must go

  • E.g. – As a rule the newspaper boy delivers papers to the door.

    – I’d like you to deliver a message for me.


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  • (2) give forth in words said “Oh”…

  • E.g. – The audience waited in eagerness for him to deliver his opinion.

  • (2) help a woman in childbirth

  • E.g. – In Thailand , policemen must learn how to deliver babies in case of emergency.


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2. He felt said “Oh”…awkward and almost as if he alone were responsible for what had happened.

  • A.awkward:

  • (1) uncomfortable

  • E.g. – I am awkward in front of the camera.

    – The professor’s question was met with an awkward silence.


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  • (2) clumsy; having little skill said “Oh”…

  • E.g. – Having visited China for several times, he is no longer awkward with chopsticks.

    – She started painting just a year ago, so her painting are still awkward.


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3. At the same time he wanted to said “Oh”…come right out and say…

  • come (right) out: be direct or straight forward

  • E.g. – She came (right) out and asked me to leave the room.

    – They will come right out and demand food if you don’t feed them.


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4. …but it is only because it is my work to said “Oh”…do so.

  • “Do”acts as a substitute verb for the main verb “bring”. Since this “do” is transitive, it requires an object which may be one of the usualsubstitute words such as “it”, “that”, or “so”.

  • E.g. – He eventually escaped, although I don’t know how he managed to do it.

    – They say they will increase pensions. If they do so, it will make a bid difference to old folks.


Para 6
Para. 6 said “Oh”…

1. Heextendedthe telegram to the Mexican woman…

  • extend:

  • (1) hold out

  • E.g. – The baby extended her arms to embrace the mother.

    – The hostess extended her hand in greeting.


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  • E.g. – I plan to extend my stay in France to two months. said “Oh”…

  • (2) make longer

    – The subway will soon be extended to the suburbs.

  • (3) communicate with words, gestures, etc.

  • E.g. – The Prime Minister extended warm welcome to the foreign guests.

    – Thank you for the invitation you extended to me.


Para 8
Para. 8 said “Oh”…

1. She paused a moment and looked at the boy…

  • pause:

  • (v.) stop for a short time

  • E.g. – The professor paused a moment to wipe sweat off his face.

    – He paused to feel his key before shutting the door.

  • (n.) a brief stop

  • E.g. – Push the “pause” button if you want to finish another thing first.

    – The dying patient expressed his wills with pauses for breath.


Para 11
Para. 11 said “Oh”…

1. But now the woman interrupted him.

  • interrupt:

  • (1) stop by breaking in

  • E.g. – The normal TV program was interrupted by a special news report.

    – Unlike Chinese teachers, American teachers welcome students to interrupt the class with questions at any time .

    – Sorry to interrupt but there is am emergency case, Dr. Samuel.


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Para 13
Para. 13 interrupted by heavy snow.

1. He opened the telegram with nervous fingers.

  • nervous:

  • (1) uneasy

  • E.g. – She was nervous of / about speaking to such a large audience.

    – The boy grew nervous when the girl he loved came near .

    – I am nervous from having a large sum of cash on me.

  • (2) of the nerve

  • E.g. – There is something wrong with your nervous system if you often sleep badly.


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2. …and tried to smooth it out. interrupted by heavy snow.

  • smooth out: make smooth(er); take wrinkles out of

  • E.g. – She smoothed out a table-cloth .

    – The husband smoothed out the ball of crushed paper and read it.


Para 14
Para. 14 interrupted by heavy snow.

1. “No, ma’am.” Homer said. “The telegram is from the War Department.”

  • department: a division of a government, business, university, etc.

  • E.g. – Mrs. Shirley became spokeswoman for the Department of Justice in 1987.

    – Those who are interested in the job please write to our Human Resources Department .

    – How many departments are there in your university.


Para 16
Para. 16 interrupted by heavy snow.

1. Homer said swiftly…

  • swiftly: quickly.

  • E.g. – An efficiency expert solves problems swiftly.

    – Seeing no one around, the beggar took a loaf of bread from the counter swiftly.


Para 21
Para. 21 interrupted by heavy snow.

1. …put it into his mouth, and tried to chew.

  • chew: crush and grind food into little bits in one’s mouth

  • E.g. – The baby has not grown any tooth yet, so it is unable to chew.

    – I always have my steak well done, because I have no patience with chewing.


Para 24
Para. 24 interrupted by heavy snow.

1. Now suddenly she began to sob,holding herself inas if weeping were adisgrace.

  • A.hold in:restrain; keep in

  • E.g. – She managed to hold in the laughter until he had gone.

    – Eventually their grief could be held in no longer .

    – He was raging inside, but he held himself in.


  • Unit 8


    Unit 8

    2. …and if she had asked him to his country.take the place of her son…

    • take the place of: replace

    • E.g. – George took the place of Edward as Captain of the team.

      – Plastics have taken the place of many conventional materials.

      – Remember always that nothing, not even the highest natural ability, will take the place of persistent hard work.


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    3. …he meant to begin correcting what could not be corrected…

    • This is intentionally ambiguous. It might refer to the fact that Homer could not be her son; or that her son could not be brought back to life; or that Homer would never know how to help her; or that no one could help Mrs. Sandoval at this time.


    Unit 8

    4. What the hell can I do? corrected…

    • By using the expression “the hell”, the boy is showing his impatience and frustration at being unable to make the woman less happy.


    Post reading activities
    Post-reading Activities corrected…

    • Group discussion

    • 1. What do you think of Homer? What do you think makes him speak or act as he does? Do you think he is able to make Mrs. Sandoval feel better about his son’s death?

    • 2. What does Mrs. Sandoval do to make Homer feel less uneasy and awkward in her home? Why do you think she does these things?

    • 3. What does the title “You Go Your Way, I’ll Go Mine” imply and how does it fit into the story?


    Comprehension of the text
    Comprehension of the Text corrected…

    1. When Homer knocked at the door to Mrs. Rosa Sandoval’s house _______

    a. he knew that no one was at home.

    b. he was eager to see who Mrs. Sandoval was.

    c. he didn't know anything about the contents of the telegram.

    d. he lost his sense of hearing momentarily.

    2. Homer felt ________ about delivering the telegram to Mrs. Sandoval.

    a. awkward b. blameless c. angry d. happy

    b

    a


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    b corrected…

    3. Mrs. Sandoval _______

    a. didn't have any idea what was in the telegram.

    b. knew that the message was not a welcome one.

    c. was expecting good news in the telegram.

    d. knew that the telegram was from his son.

    4. Before he opened the telegram, Homer ________

    a. didn't know what news was in it.

    b. wondered what news was in it.

    c. knew what news was in it.

    d. didn't care what news was in it.

    c


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    b corrected…

    5. Homer read the telegram to Mrs. Sandoval because ______

    a. he wanted to.

    b. she couldn't read English.

    c. she was crying and couldn't read it.

    d. it was his duty as a messenger to do so.

    6. Mrs. Sandoval was _______ Homer because of the news in the telegram.

    a. angry with b. sorry for

    c. afraid of d. doubtful about

    b


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    d corrected…

    7. Homer knew he would stay with Mrs. Sandoval for a short time because _______

    a. it was his duty to do so.

    b. she was crying.

    c. he wanted to be her son.

    d. he wanted to make her less unhappy.

    8. Mrs. Sandoval pretended not to hear when Homer read her the telegram. This is because ________

    a. when the truth is too painful, people tend to disbelieve it.

    b. her mind simply rejected it as impossible

    c. she wanted to give Homer a piece of her own candy first.

    d. she wanted Homer to read the telegram once again.

    a