New Horizon College English § Book 2. Unit 3 Section A Marriage Across the Nations. Background information Text structure analysis Summary of the passage Grammar & Language points Difficult sentences & Translation Writing skills Topics for discussion. I. Background Information.
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Trial marriage, marriage in a trial and error situation and often a euphemism for cohabitation, is all the rage(流行/风靡一时). It might offer an opportunity for people to find out if the marriage would really work and hence ensure successful marriages.
Nowadays, people are becoming more and more open-minded and have the freedom to love & to be loved without becoming a burden to the other. Living together before marriage is a quite prevalent phenomenon nowadays, especially among the young blood(年轻人).
Though trial marriage is really very controversial, many young people chose to cohabit, which reflects a change from conventional attitudes to marriage. People believe that cohabitation functions well for them to learn more about their partners. Only the couple lives together, can they know each other more deeply and roundly. Merits and demerits will be exposed completely after cohabitation. If one can bear the other one's demerits for a certain period of time, then it will lead to a positive ending. It will not be that easy to divorce after they get married.
Same-sex marriage (SSM) and gay marriage are terms for a legally or socially recognized marriage between two people of the same sex (gays and lesbians). SSM is a relatively new phenomenon in the modern world. The 1st country to legalize SSM was the Netherland, in 2001. Then, 6 other countries have followed suit. SSM has been regarded as a human right to have the benefits of marriage regardless of sexual orientation. Those who oppose SSM often base their opposition on tradition, religious grounds, parenting concerns, or concerns about unintended consequences of SSM. Civil unions between same-sex couples are recognized in sixteen countries.
bachelor/ ～ girl: an unmarried man/girl单身汉/女子
old maid: an old unmarried woman老处女
fiance / fiancee:未婚夫/妻
newlyweds: a couple recently married
spouse: a husband or a wife配偶
widow: a woman whose husband has died
widower: a man whose wife has died
divorcee: a divorced person
ex: someone’s divorced husband or wife
cohabitant: two people of the opposite sex living together
gays / lesbians: male / female lovers of the same sex
--- Henry Youngman
The text is mainly about the mixed marriage between Gail and Mark,andGail’s parents’ reaction toward their wedding plans. Gail and Mark decided to marry after living together for two years. However, they met with some resistance from Gail’s parents. Gail’s mother asked Gail to be sure Mark was the right life-long partner. And Gail’s father quoted statistics to show the difficulties a mixed couple might have in America and persuaded Gail to change her mind.
The text falls into three parts:
1) the mixed marriage of Gail and Mark,
2)mother’s response toward their wedding plans
3)father’s reaction toward their wedding plans
The text is a typical example ofnarration given in the 1st person. Through his narrative, the writer, a black man, tells the reader his mixed marriage and gives a vivid description of the attitudes of his girlfriend’s parents toward a mixed marriage. The narration goes hand in hand withargumentation. This can be seen clearly in the second part.
One of the common ways to present arguments is first to reject some ideas and then present some other ideas. Gail’s mother used this method to ask her daughter to make sure that Mark was her right lifelong partner.
The device “dialogue” is employed here to help depict vividly the contrasts of attitudes between Gail and her father:
Gail’s father tried to persuade Gail to change her mind, but Gail thought they would rather marry now and worry later.
Through narration in the first person, the author tells the reader: To avoid the mistake made by many unhappy mixed marriages, we lived together for two years, which enhanced our love for each other so much that we decided to get married.
The mixed marriage of Gail and Mark
The reaction of Gail’s mother to the marriage
The response of Gail’s father to the marriage
_______ two years living together, a young couple experienced the usual ups and downs ___ they grew to know, understand, and respect each other. They ________ confronted the weaknesses and _________ of each other’s characters. From their _____ and cultural differences they learned
___________ about tolerance, compromise and
The woman’s parents’ bitter, ______ divorce
after 35 years of marriage emphasized the fact
that many couples marry ____ the wrong
reasons: they are incompatible, they hardly take
time to know each other, they _________ serious personality ________ and expect marriage is an automatic way to make everything work out right.
When the daughter mentioned wedding _____ to her family, her mother counseled her to be ______ sure she was doing the right thing. ______ her father learned the boyfriend’s problems with the Citizenship Department, he immediately suspected this black man wanted to marry his daughter ____ to remain in the United States.
Wanting to persuade the daughter to put ____ the marriage until later, the father quoted statistics
showing mixed couples had ______ divorce rates ____ same race couples. He used examples from counseling mixed couples _______ marital difficulties. He told his daughter _____ realistic because people can be very cruel toward children from ______ marriages.
ups and downs
be/get involved with
have an effect on
at one’s worst
a father-knows-best attitude
Compare: up and downadv.
make everything work out right: make everything develop in the right way
(of a law, etc.) to be passed or approved by the law-making body
The formation of “compound adjectives”
learn sth about: 了解有关某事的情况
learn from 从 … 中学习
We wanted to avoid the mistake make by many couples of marrying for wrong reasons, and only finding out ten, twenty, or thirty years later that they were incompatible, that they hardly took the time to know each other, that they overlooked serious personality conflicts in the expectation that marriage was an automatic way to make everything work out right.
right when they lived their married life. (结果4)
avoid the mistake they made. (我们吸取教训是因为…)
that point: the fact that many couples marry for wrong reasons, only to find out that they are incompatible years later.
the fact: Gail’s parents were going through a bitter and painful divorce
which: the parents’ painful divorce that had bad effects over Gail and her relationship with the author at its early stage.
VI. Writing ---paragraph structure analysisparagraph development: argumentation by rejecting sb else’s idea & presenting one’s own idea (Para. 7)
Present somebody’s idea:
The mother presents her original opinion & her
Reject that idea:
The mother corrects her original opinion & her
Present a new idea & support it:
The mother presents her opinion and gives an
example to support it.)
2. Reject the idea:But when I met Mark I found him a charming and intelligent young guy. Any mother would be proud to have him for a son-in-law.(Para. 7)
3. Present others’ opinion :Yes, my friends talk. Some even express shock at what you are doing.(Para. 7)
4. Reject the opinion:But they live in a different world. So, color is not the problem.(Para. 7)
5. Present her new idea:My biggest worry is that you may be marrying Mark for the same wrong reasons that I married your father.(Para. 7)
6. An example to support her new idea:I saw your father as my beloved, my marriage with him as an ideal one. I realized only later that I didn’t my beloved very well when we married.(Para. 7)
Present original ideas:
Some people’s idea: online learning, easy
Reject the idea:
Online learning not as easy as people think.
Present some other idea:
My idea: only a convenient way of education, not an easy way
Facts to support “my idea”:
Online learning require more time & energy
Some people think that online learning would make learning easier for everyone as we can learn at any time and at any place.(sb else’s idea)
But when I started online learning I found it not as easy as others think. (reject that idea)
I would say that online learning is just a convenient way to receive education—not an easier way. (present my own idea)
In fact, many students say it requires much more time & effort. Requirements for online courses are not less than those of any quality program. (facts to support my idea)
Write a paragraph with the following topic:
Wealth and Health
You are advised to start with an opposite idea, and then, challenge and reject the idea, and present your own idea and the supporting details.
You should: firstly, write an outline then, write the whole paragraph.
Some people think that wealth means everything. In their eyes, they can have anything done with money. (sb’s idea) But I don’t think so. (reject that idea) Actually, health is more important than wealth. (my idea) Health is the foundation of one’s success. If you become sick, it is impossible for you to pursue your career successfully. On the other hand, a person suffering from illness can never enjoy his wealth. (support my idea)
You may even have a role-play activity in class. The situation is as follows:
Gail came back home happily and she decided to tell her parents her wedding plan. So she had the following conversation with her mother and her father. Base your conversation on section A, Unit 3.