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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

Teaching demo--A Short Story


Wang Wenli

08/09/06 WANG



08/09/06 WANG

importance of the work
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

objectives genre study review
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
Objectives: language & writing
  • style: verbs, syntax, imagery, irony, personification…
  • suspense
  • step-up: repetition, comparison and contrast

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outline day 1
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
Day 2
  • Check on preview: language
  • Detailed study: part by part

Activities: blank filling,


translation, etc.

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day 3
Day 3:
  • Discussion
  • Sum-up
  • Extra exercise/ Quiz

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preclass work
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 work10
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?

08/09/06 WANG

preclass work venn diagram
Preclass work: Venn Diagram



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preclass work12
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

preclass work13
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

lead in activities student representative
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





Malay man-catcher


Ugandan trick

Zaroff's chateau

Ship-trap Island

Caribbean Sea


08/09/06 WANG

background information

Background information

I: Introduction to the author &

his work

08/09/06 WANG

richard connell 1893 1949
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

  • 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

evaluation of the story
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

08/09/06 WANG

historical background 1920s
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.

08/09/06 WANG

  • 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
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?

08/09/06 WANG

characterization rainsford
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

08/09/06 WANG

  • “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."

08/09/06 WANG

characterization techniques
Characterization: techniques
  • Zaroff


  • Rainsford


What does the difference suggest?

08/09/06 WANG

  • 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?

08/09/06 WANG

  • The hunter and the hunted
  • Social Darvinism
  • Classism, racism, elitism

08/09/06 WANG

questions for further discussion day 3
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

detailed study part 1 1 14
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

  • 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.

08/09/06 WANG

  • 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

part 2 15 28
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?

08/09/06 WANG

  • 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

strike para 18
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

ring para 27
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.

08/09/06 WANG

part 3 29 45
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?

08/09/06 WANG



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

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

08/09/06 WANG


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

part 4 para 46
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?

08/09/06 WANG

sum up
  • 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

08/09/06 WANG

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?

08/09/06 WANG

writing assignment
Writing assignment
  • What good writing techniques have you learned from the story?
  • Can you produce a short story with suspense and a surprising ending?

08/09/06 WANG










08/09/06 WANG

check on preview
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)

08/09/06 WANG


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

usage of ppt in intensive reading
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