The Fourth of July By Audre Lorde
Discussion of Paragraph One 1. When and where did the writer's family go for a visit? The writer's family went to Washington D.C. at the beginning of the summer when the writer graduated from the eighth grade and her elder sister from high school.
2. Why did the family go on a Fourth of July trip? The family went on a Fourth of July trip for two reasons. The main reason was that the writer and her sister had just graduated from school and the trip was taken as an event to mark their graduation and regarded as their graduation present. The other reason was that the Fourth of July is the National Day in the USA, the day on which America won independence and freedom. As a way of celebration, most Americans will take trips to various places.
Analysis of Paragraph One The first paragraph presents the background information, which tells us the circumstances under which the author's family were going to take the Washington trip and why.
Language Work suppose:believe, accept as true; pretend that sth. is true; take sth. as a fact e.g.: (1) I don't suppose for a minute that he will agree. (2) Everyone supposes him to be poor, but he is in fact very wealthy. (3) Suppose that you had a million pounds -- How would you spend it?
be supposed to do sth.: be expected or required to do sth.e.g.:(1) Am I supposed to clean all the rooms or just this one?(2) You are supposed to pay the bill by Friday.(3) You are not supposed to play football in the classroom.(4) Students are not supposed to whisper or talk while the teacher is lecturing.
fabled:famous in fables; legendarye.g.:(1) There are some fabled cities in that small country.(2) The scientist went to investigate about the fabled fish in Lake Kanas.(3) The deserted house is fabled to have been inhabited by ghosts.
Discussion of Paragraph Two-Six 1. Why had the family always gone on the milk train when they used to go to the Connecticut shore? Because the milk train was cheaper. The fact that the family had always traveled on the cheap milk train implies that the family was rather poor.
2.Why did the writer say that her first trip to Washington D.C. was a mobile feast? Because the writer started eating as soon as they were ensconced in their seats on the train and she did not stop eating until somewhere after Philadelphia.
3.Give a list of the different foods the writer's mother had prepared and packed. The writer's mother had roasted two chickens and packed slices of brown bread and butter and green pepper and carrot sticks. There were iced cakes with scalloped edges, a spice bun and rock cakes, iced tea in a wrapped mayonnaise jar, sweet pickles, dill pickles, and peaches with the fuzz still on them.
4.Why did the writer's mother prepare a variety of foods for the trip? There were probably two reasons. On the one hand, by taking a variety of food with them on the trip, the family members could save some money, for dining car food was too expensive. On the other hand, as black people, they were not allowed into railroad dining cars at that time.
5.Why had the writer's elder sister been prevented from going to Washington D.C. with her high school classmates? Because she was black and all her classmates were white and they would be staying in a hotel which did not rent rooms to Negroes.
Language Work milk train: a train that chiefly carries milk, usu. very early in the morning in the air: in the sky; prevalent; gaining currency; not decided, indefinite
feast:an unusually large or elaborate meal; 盛宴， (fig.) sth. that pleases the mind or the senses with its richness or variety; a religious festival celebrated with rejoicing.e.g.: immovable feast 固定的（宗教）节日The food on the table is actually a feast for eyes as well as for palate（味觉）.（餐桌上的食物不仅赏心悦目，而且味道不错。）The picture is a feast of colors. The melody is a rare feast
ensconce vt. (esp. passive) establish or settle oneself or sb. in a safe and comfortable placee.g.:(1) At night in winter, the young couple are happily ensconced by the fire, each reading a good book. (2) We have ensconced ourselves in the most beautiful villa in the South of France.(3) As soon as he was ensconced in the sofa, he fell into a deep slumber.
daintyadj. (of things) small and pretty; (of people) neat and delicate in build or movement; fastidious esp. about food. （娇美的）e.g.:(1) The bowls are all made of dainty porcelain.(2) She is a dainty girl, but she is very capable.(3) Mrs. Smith is very dainty about food.
scallopvt. decorate with a row of curves forming an edge or pattern on pastry（油酥面点，各式烘烤糕点）, etc.e.g.:(1) They decorated the cake with scalloped edges.(2) His parents had scalloped his birthday cake.
marigold n. any of various types of a garden plant with orange or yellow flowers(金盏花；金盏菊；万寿菊) e.g.:(1) The garden is very beautiful with so many marigolds in full bloom.(2) His birthday cake was scalloped with marigolds.
rock-cake n.a small currant cake with a hard rough crust 岩皮饼(一种表面粗硬的小甜饼) mayonnaise jar a container used to hold thick creamy sauce made of egg-yolks, oil and vinegar, used esp. on cold foods such as salads; dish made with this.(蛋黄酱)e.g.: Eggnog is made with mayonnaise and hard-boiled eggs.
pickle n. food, esp. marinated vegetables, i.e., vegetables preserved in vinegar or salt water; particular vegetables preserved this way.（腌菜，泡菜）e.g.(1)I like red cabbage pickle.(2) His hometown, Yangzhou, is famous for pickles.dill n. a herb with scented leaves and seeds used for flavoring pickles(莳萝，小茴香)
fuzz n. fluff; fluffy or frizzled hair; short, fine hair that sticks up，coat.e.g(1) A peach skin is covered with fuzz.(2) His chest is covered with fuzz.glycerine n. a thick sweet colorless liquid made from fats and oils used in medicines, toilet products and explosives(甘油；丙三醇)
bruise n. an injury caused by a blow or knock to the body or to a fruit, discoloring the skin but not breaking ite.g.:(1)He was covered in bruises after falling off his bicycle.(2)The young man had a few cuts and bruises but nothing serious.v. cause a bruise or bruises on sth.; show the effect of a blow or knocke.g.: (1) He fell and bruised his legs. (2) Her face was badly bruised in the crash. (3) Peaches bruise easily.
for the umpteenth timefor numerous times; for countless times, 无数次e.g.:(1) For the umpteenth time, I tell you I don't know. (2) The thief stole mobile phones for the umpteenth time.umpteen. (infml) numerous, too many to counte.g.: (1) Umpteen of them left. (2) She had umpteen reasons for being late.
in private:with no one else presente.g.(1) She asked to see him in private.(2) The manager wanted to talk to her inprivate.avow vt. (fml) admit; declare sth. openly; state firmly and openlye.g.(1) He avowed his belief, faith and conviction at the conference. (2) She avowed herself to be a generous woman, but in fact she wasn't.
overnight adv. & adj. during or for the night; suddenly or very quicklye.g.(1)He stayed overnight at a friend's house.(2) She became a celebrity overnight.(3) They had an overnight stop in Rome.(4) It was an overnight success.measly adj. ridiculously small in size, amount and valuee.g.(1)He gave us measly little portions of the cake. (2) What a measly birthday present!
Sentence Understanding In fact, my first trip to Washington was a mobile feast. Actually, my first trip to Washington was a wonderful or elaborate meal that we enjoyed in the chugging train. Indeed, my first trip to Washington was like a very pleasant or very agreeable feast, because I started eating as soon as we were comfortably settled in our seats and did not stop until somewhere after Philadelphia.
Analysis of Paragraph 2-6 This part mainly tells the readers the preparations made for the trip, in particular, the large amount and variety of food the author's mother had prepared for the family, which actually turned their first trip on a passenger train to Washington into a real mobile feast. Part of the reason for doing so was that her mother knew only too well that it would be an unpleasant experience if they should go to eat in the dining car. A previous event was related in the 6th paragraph, revealing the reason why the author's sister Phyllis had not been able to go to Washington together with her classmates.
We still take among-you to Washington ?We will still take you, all three of you, to Washington ?among-you: your kind; you in a groupnot just for an overnight in some measly fleabag hotel not merely staying for one night in a small, lousy hotel The word overnight is usually an adverb or adjective, meaning for or during the night; however, it is used as a noun, which is very rare, meaning an overnight stay.
Discussion of Paragraphs7~17 Why did the writer spend the whole next day after Mass squinting up at the Lincoln Memorial? And why had Marian Anderson sung at the Lincoln Memorial after the D.A.R. refused to allow her to sing in their auditorium because she was Black?
Both the writer and Marian Anderson are black. The writer spent the whole next day after Mass squinting up at the Lincoln Memorial because it was Lincoln, the American President, who liberated the blacks in America, who advocated freedom for the colored and who even sacrificed his life for the emancipation of the black people. Both the writer and Marian Anderson cherished the memory of this great man. Marian Anderson had sung at the Lincoln Memorial, also because she wanted to spread Lincoln's noble ideas, to show that his noble ideas had not been realized and to call on people to fight against racial discrimination and segregation so as to make Lincoln's noble thought come true and win liberation and freedom for the black people.
(2)Why was the writer squinting? The writer was squinting because she was in that silent agony that characterized all of her childhood summers, from the time school let out in June to the end of July, brought about by her dilated and vulnerable eyes exposed to the summer brightness. In other words, she was squinting because she was suffering realistically from the dazzling sunlight and mentally from the suffocating white domination.
(3)Why didn't't the author's parents approve of sunglasses? Was it just because they were too expensive? The expense may not be the real reason. Wearing sunglasses will make the dazzling light milder. What her parents were really saying was that they wanted their kids to realize to the fullest extent the injustice that was inflicted upon the black people.
(4) Do you find some symbolic meaning in Paragraph 11? Yes.While squinting up at monuments to freedom and past presidencies and democracy, the writer was wondering why the light and heat were both so much stronger in Washington D.C. than back home in New York City. Even the pavement on the streets was a shade lighter in color than back home. Here, most probably, the white light and heat and the white pavement on the streets symbolize the white domination. Actually, the writer was wondering why the white domination or racial discrimination was even stronger in Washington D.C. than back home in New York City.
(5)Why did the writer's father decree another treat? Moved by their historical surroundings and the heat of the early evening, her father decreed yet another treat. Also, it was because he had a great sense of history, a flair for the quietly dramatic and a strong sense of a special occasion and a trip.
(6) What was it that the waitress at the ice-cream counter was saying to the family? She said, "I kin give you to take out, but you can't eat here." In other words, the waitress said clearly that the writer and her family could be allowed to take the food out, but not to eat it in the ice-cream store.
(7) How did the family feel when they marched out of the store? They felt indignant and outraged. (8) What was the writer's strong feeling? The writer felt extremely indignant and outraged. She was particularly hurt and responded to it indignantly: "But we hadn't done anything!" "This wasn't right or fair!" "Hadn't I written poems about freedom and democracy for all?"
Language Work an extra cot for me:an additional smaller bed for me cot n. a bed for a young child, usu. with sides to protect the child from falling out; simple narrow bed e.g.(1)The baby is slumbering in the cot. (2) A camp bed or a bunk bed on a ship is a typical cot. (3) Cot is a word in British English, while crib (only for babies) is a word in American English.
a back-street hotel:ahotel located on a by-street away from the main streetsMassn. celebration of Christ‘s Last Supper, esp. in the Roman Catholic Churche.g.: (1)They go to Mass regularly.(弥撒)(2) The priest says two Masses each day.
be in real estate:deal in real property or immovable property, consisting of land, buildings, etc.; engage in the business of selling houses, land for building, etc.e.g.:(1)That businessman has been in real estate for 20 years, thus becoming a wealthy man.(2)Those who have engaged in real estate are all in possession of plenty of property.
D.A.R.an acronym for Daughters of the American Revolutioncorollan. a whorl or whorls of petals forming the inner envelope of a flower 花冠travesty n. absurd imitation of or inferior substitute for; distortione.g.:(1)The trial was a travesty of justice. (2) In their view, the play was a travesty of the truth.
squint vi. look at sth. with eyes half shut or turned sideways, or through a narrow openinge.g.: (1)We have to squint in the bright sunlight.(2)She squinted through the letterbox.agony:极度的痛苦或创痛，（在口语中）艰辛e.g.: She went through agony writing this paper.(她写得很艰苦)（常用于复数）临死前的痛苦
dilate v. (cause sth.) to become wider, larger or further opene.g.:(1)The pupils of your eyes dilate when you enter a dark room. (2) The horse dilated its nostrils.vulnerable adj. that which can be hurt, wounded, or injured; exposed to attack or dangere.g.:(1)Young birds are vulnerable to predators. (2) Cyclists are more vulnerable than motorists.(3) The election defeat puts the party leader in a vulnerable position.
flair n. a natural ability to do sth. well; original and attractive qualitye.g.:(1)She doesn't't show much flair for the piano.(2)She has a real flair for languages.specialnessn. a state of being particular, being out of the ordinary; peculiarity
outragevt. (esp. passive) shock or offend sb; upset sb. greatlye.g.:(1)They were outraged by the announcement of massive price increases.(2) What they did outraged public opinion.guilty silence:silence affected by a sense of guilte.g.:(1)Here, the word guilty is used as a transferred epithet.
Sentence Understanding I was squinting because I was in that silent agony that characterized all of my childhood summers, from the time school let out in June to the end of July, brought about by my dilated and vulnerable eyes exposed to the summer brightness. As they were often exposed to the summer brightness, my eyes became larger and wider and more vulnerable, which made me suffer silently and terribly throughout all of my childhood summers, from the time school let out in June to the end of July. As I was in that silent agony, my eyes were half shut or turned sideways while looking at things.
Even the pavement on the streets was a shade lighter in color than back home. Even the footpath or sidewalk on the streets was slightly lighter in color than back home.
We were a proper caravan, mother bright and father brown, the three of us girls step-standards in-between. We were just like a group of tourists traveling together across a desert, feeling hot and thirsty, mother in possession of a bright complexion, father a brown complexion, and the three of us girls looking neither bright nor brown, but in gradual shades from bright to brown. caravan n. a group of people (e.g. merchants, gypsies, etc.) traveling together across a place such as a desert e.g.: A caravan of merchants was traveling on camels across the desert.
My father decreed yet another treat. My father decided to give us another special treat,something that was unexpected and that was not always available. decree vt. order sth. as if by an official command or decision e.g.: (1) The governor decreed a day of mourning. (2) Fate decreed that they would not meet again.
Indoors, the soda fountain was dim and fan-cooled, deliciously relieving to my scorched eyes. Inside the store, the soda fountain was glum and gloomy and cooled by electric fans, which agreeably relieved my eyes of the strong sunlight and heat outdoors. fan-cooled adj. cooled by blowing a current of air on with or as if with a fan my scorched eyes: my eyes affected by strong light and heat; my eyes injured by heat
Corded and crisp and pinafored, the five of us seated ourselves one by one at the counter. Still wearing our well-tied, smoothly-ironed outer garments, the five of us seated ourselves one by one on counter stools. corded adj. tied, bound, or connected by thick strings or laces crisp adj. with a stiff, uncreased, or unspoiled surface; well-ironed pinafored adj. wearing a sleeveless, collarless outer garment that is usu. tied at the back