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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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unit 3 section a marriage across the nations

New Horizon College English §Book 2

Unit 3 Section AMarriage 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
I. Background Information
  • Trial marriage

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).  


I. Background Information

cohabitation (同居)

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 or gay marriage

I. Background Information

Same-sex marriage or Gay marriage

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.

something related to marriage

I. Background Information

something related to marriage:
  • A newly-married couple live upstairs. They are enjoying their happy married life.
  • She’s still single, she remains unmarried.
  • The married couple are separated because of some severe disagreements, and the children live with the mother. Separated couple usually end up in the divorce.
  • Though they are not married, they’ve been living together for years and have a child now. The child was born out of wedlock, and is therefore a bastard. For the sake of the child, they decide to get married. The priest will join them in wedlock next Sunday.
persons in or outside marriage

I. Background Information

Persons in or outside marriage:

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

proverbs concerning marriage

I. Background Information

Proverbs concerning marriage:
  • It's not beauty but fine qualities, my girl, that keep a husband. ---Euripides
  • Two souls and one thought, two hearts and one pulse.
  • Marriage should be a duet - when one sings, the other claps. ---Joe Murray
  • A good marriage is at least 80% good luck in finding the right person at the right time. The rest is trust.

---Nanette Newman

  • It takes two to make a marriage a success and only one to make it a failure. ---Herbert Samuel
  • The secret of a happy marriage remains a secret.

--- Henry Youngman

proverbs concerning marriage1

I. Background Information

Proverbs concerning marriage:
  • Marriage - a book of which the first chapter is written in poetry and the remaining chapters in prose.

---Beverley Nichols

  • A successful marriage is an edifice(大厦) that must be rebuilt every day. ---Andre Maurois
  • All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble. ---Raymond Hull
  • What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility(不和谐). ---George Levinger
  • Where there's marriage without love, there will be love without marriage. ---Benjamin Franklin
ii text analysis main idea
II. Text Analysis --- main idea
  • What is the main idea of the text?

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.

how the text is organized

II. Text Analysis --- structure

How the text is organized?

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.


II. Text Analysis--Structure

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.

(Para. 1-4)

The mixed marriage of Gail and Mark

(Para. 5-9)

The reaction of Gail’s mother to the marriage

(Para. 10-21)

The response of Gail’s father to the marriage


III. Summary of the passage


_______ 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









III. Summary of the passage


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








III.Summary 0f the passage


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.



to be



grammar language points
Grammar & language points:

ups and downs

be/get involved with

work out

go through

have an effect on


at one’s worst


a father-knows-best attitude

learn of


ups and downs n l2

IV. Grammar & Language Points

ups and downs: n. 盛衰、浮沉 (L2)
  • I’ve had ups and downs all through my life.


  • During our two years together we had experienced the usual ups and downs of a couple learning to know, understand, and respect each other. (L1-2)


Compare: up and downadv.

  • Look at him up and down. 上下打量着他
  • walk up and down in the room 来回踱步
be get involved with give a lot of time effort or attention to l7

IV. Grammar & Language Points

be/get involved with:give a lot of time, effort, or attention to … 热衷于某事, 专心致志于 (L7)
  • To our worry, many middle school students are too involved with computer games to mind their studies.


  • He was involved with working out a plan.


work out develop in a certain way l15 calculate find an answer to plan produce

IV. Grammar & Language Points

work out:develop in a certain way (L15)calculate; find an answer to plan,produce
  • Things will work out for the better in the end.


  • Have you worked out this math problem?


  • Work out the details of the outline.


make everything work out right: make everything develop in the right way

go through experience live through l17

IV. Grammar & Language Points

go through:experience, live through (L17)
  • We went through difficulties while working on this project.


  • He’d gone through ups and downs in life.


(of a law, etc.) to be passed or approved by the law-making body

  • Obama strongly hoped that his new economic stimulus plan would go through Congress.


have an effect on l19

IV. Grammar & Language Points

have an effect on:对…有影响(L19)
  • A growing body of evidence shows that what parents say and do has a subtle effect on their children.


  • Her parents’ painful and bitter marriage had a negative effect on our budding relationship.

她父母痛苦的婚姻 对我们正处于萌芽状态的关系带来了负面的影响。

Similar phrases:

  • have an positive/ negative influence on/over
  • have an impact on
harbor feelings thoughts ideas etc in one s mind over a long period of time l28

IV. Grammar & Language Points

harbor:(feelings, thoughts, ideas, etc.) in one’s mind over a long period of time (L28)
  • harbor a secret hatred against …


  • For years he harbored a secret wish to become a painter.


  • According to the usual practice of voting, the minority is subject to the majority but entitled toharbor reservations about a certain bill.

根据表决惯例, 少数服从多数,但有权对某一议案持保留意见。

at one s worst when one is behaving the worst l39

IV. Grammar & Language Points

at one’s worst:when one is behaving the worst 看到某人最糟糕的一面 (L39)
  • In social contact, everyone desires others to see him at his best rather than at his worst.

在社交中,人人都想要别人看到自己最好的一面而不是最糟糕 的一面。

  • You saw him at his worst.

你们看到他时, 他情绪最糟糕。

  • If you go to London in November, you will see it at its worst. That’s the month of fogs.

你要是11月份去伦敦, 就会发现它最糟糕的样子。11月是…

approach come near or nearer to l43 begin to consider deal with or talk to about

IV. Grammar & Language Points

approach:come near or nearer to 接近; (L43) begin to consider, deal with or talk to about
  • His work is approaching perfection.


  • Did he approach you about lending him money?


  • approach sth with an … attitude


a father knows best attitude

IV. Grammar & Language Points

a father-knows-best attitude:


The formation of “compound adjectives”

  • 由形容词分句转化后移至名词前,如:
  • a father-knows-best attitude→an attitude that a father knows best 知女莫若父的态度
  • I-am-No. 1 attitude:老子天下第一的态度
  • a difficult-to-operate machine → a machine that is difficult to operate
  • hard-to-get magazines → magazines which are hard to get;
  • a not-so-strong politician → a politician who is not so strong
  • 不带“to”的不定式动词转化而成,如: take-homepay 税后实得工资
  • akeep-fit class 体操课
  • aget-acquainted party 旨在结识新朋友的派对
  • 不由成语或惯用语转化后移至名词前,如:a step-by-step procedure 按部就班的步骤
  • an on-the-job training 在职培训
  • a dog-in-the-manger attitude占着毛坑不拉屎的态度
  • a live-and-let-live policy 和平共存的方针
learn of find out about sth learn about l45

IV. Grammar & Language Points

learn of:find out about sth; learn about听说/得知/了解 (L45)
  • I learned of the accident only yesterday.


  • His mother learned of her son’s success in the newspaper.


learn sth about: 了解有关某事的情况

  • What have you learned about this matter?

learn from 从 … 中学习

  • We learn from our experience/ mistakes.
resolve find a solution to l63

IV. Grammar & Language Points

resolve:find a solution to … (L63)
  • The crisis would be resolved peacefully.


  • We must find a way to resolve the problems before it’s too late.


  • If we have to resolve all doubts before we acted, very little would ever get done.


translation of long sentences

V. Difficult sentences & translation

Translation of long sentences:分析+重组





A long



of ideasin










translation of long sentences1

V. Difficult sentences & translation

Translation of long sentences:分析+重组
  • 分析:





  • 重组:


difficult sentences their translation

V. Difficult sentences & translation

Difficult Sentences & Their Translation:

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.

(Para 4)

  • Many couples married for the wrong reasons.
  • Many years later, they found that:
  • they were incompatible (in their marriage life).


  • They hardly took time to know each other. (结果2)
  • They ignored serious personality conflicts. (结果3)
  • They hoped everything would automatically go

right when they lived their married life. (结果4)

  • We learned a lesson from them and wanted to

avoid the mistake they made. (我们吸取教训是因为…)

  • 中文句子往往按先因后果,先条件后结果或时间先后的顺序排列。故英译汉时,要打破英文的句法结构,按中文的逻辑顺序重新将原文的意思翻译出来。



  • (因果顺序:我们要避免重蹈覆辙是因为…)


  • (时间顺序:婚前---婚后---现在)
the 2st sentence of para 4 l15 19

V. Difficult sentences & translation

the 2st sentence of Para 4 (L15-19)

that point: the fact that many couples marry for wrong reasons, only to find out that they are incompatible years later.

  • That point was emphasized by the fact that Gail’s parents, after thirty-five years of marriage, were going through a bitter and painful divorce, which had destroyed Gail and for a time had a negative effect on our budding relationship.

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.


paragraph development argumentation by rejecting sb else s idea presenting one s own idea para 7

For more details

VI. Writing ---paragraph structure analysis

paragraph 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

friends’ opinion

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.)


VI. Writing: argumentation

  • A typical example of argumentation (Para 7)
  • Present original idea :To start with I must admit that at first I harbored reservations about a mixed marriage, prejudices you might even call them.(Para. 7)

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)


VI. Writing: argumentation

  • Outline of “Online Study”

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


VI. Writing: ---expand the outline :

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)


Your Task

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.

wealth and health

VI. Writing --- sample writing

Wealth and Health

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)

vii after reading discussion for oral class
VII. After-reading discussion (For oral class)
  • After reading Section A, Unit 3, you must have got some insights into love and marriage. I’ve got 6 topics for you to discuss or debate.
  • Do you believe in first-sight love? Why or why not?
  • Do you trust the love on the net? Why or why not?
  • Do boys have to pay all the bills when dating with somebody? Why or why not?
  • Is it good for college students to get married at college? Why or why not?
  • Do you think one will lose freedom after getting married? Why or why not?
  • Would you like to marry a man or a girl from another culture? Why or why not?
vii after reading discussion for oral class1
VII. After-reading discussion (For oral class)

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.