Contents • Pre-reading questions • Background information • Structural analysis of the text • Comprehensive questions • Language Points • Sentence highlights • Language appreciation • Grammar points • Comprehensive questions of Text II
Text I Why I Want a Wife Pre-reading questions 1. What role does a wife usually play in a traditional Chinese family? What role does an American wife usually play in her family? Are there any similarities or differences between them? 2. Is there any change today in women’s status in China and around the world?
Background information • About the text and the author • Judy Syfers, born in 1937 in San Francisco, is a feminist, political and environmental activist, and a freelance writer. Her classic satirical essay “ Why I Want a Wife” was first published in Ms. Magazine in 1971 and was widely circulated in the women’s movement.
Structural analysis The writer uses a______ style. simple, straightforward By mentioning her encounter with a male friend of hers “fresh from a recent divorce,” she introduces her major proposition — wives are taken for granted. Then she supports the argument with seemingly trivial things from daily life, which are carefully arranged so as to contribute to the conclusion. The essay ends with a crisp, one-sentence rhetorical question. • Is the thesis statement stated explicitly? • implied. The wife shoulders various responsibilities but is unfairly treated.
Paragraph 1-2 • The writer introduces her identity in the first paragraph and starts her bitter satire, in the second paragraph, on those men desiring for a wife who fits in with their ideal notions by pretending that she would like to have a wife with all possible virtues.
Paragraph 3-7 • Here Syfers divides a wife's duties and responsibilities into various functions or services according to the ideal notions most men are likely to have for a wife.
Paragraph 8-9 • The writer states a wife’s status in a family.
Rhetorical features of the text • Similar sentence pattern—“I want a wife who…”—repetition It helps to display a sense of necessity and even urgency of having a wife. Here it is used to support the idea forcefully. (the idea that “I want a wife”). It also can be used to make a smooth and natural transition.
Comprehensive questions • Q1: How does the author account for family duties and household chores in a specific way? Sum them up and illustrate them with examples of your own.
Household chores are broken down into three parts according to the husband’s needs. They are looking after his children, meeting his physical needs, and taking care of his social life. First, the wife is supposed to be the nurturing mother of his children-for instance, she has to take leave to nurse the sick child though she cannot lose her job.
Second, the wife must meet the husband’s physical needs such as washing, cleaning, cooking, and she has to be on his beside when he is sick. Third, she must never overlook her duty for her husband’s social life. All these chores are for the benefit of the husband.
Q2: What is a wife supposed to attend to in taking care of a child? • According to Syfers, a wife has to take sole charge of child care while working. She has to feed the children properly and keep them clean; she has to arrange for their schooling and take care of their social life;
she has to keep close track of their medical care and lose time at work when needed to take care of the sick child though she cannot lose her job. In a word, she has to be a full-time mother to her children. As for the father, his role and duty can be overlooked.
Q3: What social duties is a wife required to assume according to the author? • According to Syfers, a wife’s social duties are all directed towards the success of the husband’s social life. She has to make arrangements so that the children won’t be in the way when they have a night out or have guests home.
She has to clean the house, prepare special meals, and attend to the needs of every guest so that they will feel comfortable. Apart from that, she has to understand and accept the fact sometimes her husband needs a night out by himself. As for the wife’s own social life, Syfers mentions nothing, which implies the wife should have no social life of her own at all.
Q4: What does the author say, both explicitly and implicitly, about divorce? • The essay implies that a man or only a man is at liberty to file for a divorce so as to replace the old wife with a new one. A man comes out of a divorce free and fresh while a woman has to take the pain and responsibility to take care of their children solely.
Language points incidentally: • in a way that was not planned, but as a result of something else. • Quite incidentally , I got some information at the party.
ex-wife: former wife ex-: former (and still living) • an ex-minister • an ex-policeman
if need be : if necessary • We will come to your help if need be. • If need be, I can come early tomorrow.
“ I want a wife to keep track of the children’s doctor and dentist appointments.” I want a wife who can accurately remember the appointments with children’s doctor and dentist and contact them on time. Keep track of: to have accurate and up-to-date information about something all the time. e.g. How do you manage to keep track of the latest economic development?
rambling: (of a speech, writing) disordered and wandering • I've just had this rambling, incoherent letter from my sister.
hors d'oeuvres: savory food served in small amounts at the beginning of a meal • replenish : to fill up again • Food stocks should be replenished every morning before opening.
clutter up :to make untidy or confused, especially by filling with useless or unwanted things This room is so impressive that it would be a shame to clutter it up.
entail :to make (an event or action) necessary; to involve • The changed outlook entails higher economic growth than was previously assumed. • Repairing the roof will entail spending a lot of money.
adherence to : acting in accordance (with something); following (something) • He was known for his strict adherence to the rules. • The villagers’adherence to their religious beliefs impressed all the visitors.
monogamy : the custom or practice of having only one wife or husband at one time Mono- (pref): one, single monologue/ monolingual
Paragraphs 8-9 • replace…with: to change one for another, often better, newer, etc. • We’ve replaced those typewriters with computers. • Tourism has replaced agriculture as the nation’s main industry.
Sentence highlights • 1. Not too long ago a male friend of mine appeared on the scene fresh from a recent divorce. (para.2)
2. A wife who will pick up after my children, a wife who will pick up after me. (Para. 4) • 3. And I want a wife who understands that my sexual needs may entail more than strict adherence to monogamy. (Para. 7)
Language Appreciation • 1.I want a wife who will take care of my physical needs. I want a wife who will keep my house clean….(Para.4)
2.I want a wife who will keep my clothes clean, ironed, mended, replaced when need be… I want a wife who will plan the menus, do the …while I do my studying. (Para. 4)
3.I want a wife who takes care of the needs of my guests so that they fell comfortable, who makes sure that they have an ashtray, that they are offered a second helping of the food, that their wine glasses are replenished when necessary, that their coffee is served to them as they like it.(Para.6)
Grammar points • Adverbial of Purpose • There are several ways you can use to express your purpose in a sentence. • The most common way is to use a to-infinitive adverbial. • There are a number of other ways of expressing purposes in English. Some of the most common ones are: with a view to, with the intention of, with the object/aim of and for the purpose of. When you use them, make sure tha the verb is in the –ing form.
Comprehensive questions of Text II • 1. According to Bacon, who is more likely to make great contributions to the public, a married man or a single man? • According to Bacon, a man who has wife and children is at the mercy of his fortune. Burdened by his family, he is less likely to devote himself to great enterprises, therefore, less likely to score great achievements. As a single man, however, can dedicate his whole life to the course of serving the public, he is nmore likely to achieve the greatest fame and do the best work.
2. What is the most important reason for choosing a single life? • The biggest attraction of single life, according to Bacon, is liberty. A man who is sensitive to restriction should choose to be single as marriage is, at best, a certain type of restriction. Of course, single life has other merits such as dedication to one’s work, no family burden, and more charity, but it is liberty that induces many men to remain single throughout their lives.
3. According to Bacon, what kind of man can make good husband? • According to Bacon, men with grave natures, led by social customs, can make faithful and loving husbands such as Ulysses.
4. What role does a wife play at different stages of a man’s life? • Wives, according to Bacon, are “young men’s mistresses; companions for middle age; and old men’s nurses.” A man’s wife plays different roles at different stages of his life.
5. According to Bacon, what kind of men usually have good wives? Do you agree to his opionion? • According to Bacon, bad husbands usually have good wives either because their goodness seems more precious compared with their badness or because the wives take pride in their patience. Once a good woman marries a bad man of her own choice, she will make every effort to make a better man of him.
6. Based on your reading and personal views, decide whether you would like to be married or single in your life.