Detailed Analysis

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A Drink in the Passage
Alan Paton
A Drink in the Passage
Unit 15
W arming up
B ackground
T ext Analysis
R einforcement
A Drink in the Passage
Unit 15
Questions/Activities
Check-on Preview
Objectives
Warming up
Warming up
Questions / Activities
Retell the story from van Rensburg’s point of view.
Warming up
Check-on Preview
Give the implied meaning of the following sentences.
…boys, I’m a sculptor, not a demonstrator. (para. 4)
You know it’s by one of your own boys, don’t you? (para. 12)
She knows it won’t be an easy life. (para. 14)
Well honestly I didn’t feel like a drink at that time of night…”
(para. 16)
5. I said unwillingly, “Yes.” (para. 27)
6. Our land is beautiful. But it breaks my heart. (para. 44)
1.
2.
3.
4.
Warming up
Objectives
1. Content:
•
•
•
Know briefly South Africa’s apartheid history.
Learn about the plight of the blacks under apartheid laws and
policies.
Understand the tragic psychological effect of racial
segregation on both races.
2. Language:
•
•
Understand the use of symbols.
Appreciate the beauty of simple, unadorned language style.
A Drink in the Passage
Unit 15
Author
Background
History
Setting
Background
Author
• A science teacher in high school.
His Life
• Principal of a reform school.
• Drawn into the political arena, first
president of the Liberal Party of
South Africa.
Alan Paton
(1903-1988)
Background
Author
His Works
• First novel: Cry, the Beloved Country (1948), a success,
leading him to become a professional writer.
• Second novel: Too Late the Phalarope (1953).
• The present story is selected from Tales from a Troubled
Land (1961, a collection of his short stories).
His Achievements
Background
Author
• An important South African novelist
and political activist.
• Received numerous awards and
honorary degrees, accepted as an
authoritative and objective interpreter
of South Africa.
• Cry, the Beloved Country has become
an international classic.
Background
Setting
The story is set against the background of apartheid South Africa.
apartheid: apartness, referring to the racial
segregation implemented in South African
history
Background
History
A Brief History of South Africa
• Local people: Bantu-speaking tribes.
• European settlers (1652): the Dutch, known as Boers or
Afrikaners, speaking Afrikaans.
• British settlers (1820): discovery of gold and diamond → the
Anglo-Boer wars.
• Victory of the British → the establishment of the Union of
South Africa (1910), dominated by the British.
• The Afrikaners National Party gained majority in the
government (1940s) → implemented Apartheid.
Background
History
• In 1961, the Afrikaners gained final victory → founded the
Republic of South Africa, withdrawing from the Common
Wealth.
• Toward the end of the1980s, De Klerk’s reform, lifting the
ban on ANC, releasing Nelson Mandela.
• In 1994, Mandela was elected President → Apartheid came
to an end.
A Drink in the Passage
Unit 15
Theme
Text Analysis
Structure
Detailed
Analysis
Text Analysis
Theme
Questions for thinking:
• Why a drink?
• Why in the passage?
• What does that show?
• Why couldn’t they touch each other?
Text Analysis
Structure
I. Introduction: the issue at the sculpture competition and
how the drink of cognac reminded the sculptor of his
story (paras. 1-6)
II. A drink in the passage and how both Simelane and van
Rensburg found it hard for blacks and whites to touch
each other (paras. 7-76)
A. (paras. 7-36): Simelane’s meeting with van Rensburg and
his acceptance of van Rensburg’s invitation to a drink
B. (paras. 37-65): A drink in the passage
C. (paras. 66-76): Simelane’s departure and how they both
felt about not being able to touch each other
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Discussion
1. What made Simelane’s sculpture such a great success?
What’s about it that appealed not only to the blacks but to the
whites as well?
2. How come such an important honor was given to a black
sculptor in a country notorious for racial prejudice? How was
the decision received? What does this incident reveal about
the situation in the 1960s in South African society? Pick up
clues provided in the story.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Discussion
3. What would have happened if Simelane had attended the
ceremony personally? How was the crisis averted? He said,
“boys, I’m a sculptor, not a demonstrator.” Does that mean
that he was too coward or unconscious of the plight of the
blacks under the apartheid policies?
4. What do you think is the relationship between the narrator
and Simelane? Describe the occasion when Simelane related
the story to the narrator. Why did he say that it was the first
time he had had such a glass? What was so special about the
glass? Why did he say that it was also the first time he had
drunk cognac so slowly?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Different
Wineglasses
cognac
champagn
wine
martini
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Words & Expressions (1)
sensation (para. 1)
• produce/cause/create sensation
The moon landing in 1969 caused a worldwide sensation.
 Other meanings:
One sign of a heart attack is a tingling sensation in the left arm.
Caroline had the sensation that she was being watched.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Words & Expressions (2)
oversight (para. 2)
• Cf. mistake, error, blunder, slip, lapse, oversight
Your essay was not marked due to my oversight.
 Other meaning:
He has general oversight of all training courses.
reprimand (para. 2)
• Cf. criticize, blame, scold, condemn, denounce, reprimand
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Words & Expressions (3)
condition (para. 2)
• condition for
They set/laid down strict conditions for using their
information.
• condition of
The allies insisted on free elections as a condition of their
continued support.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Words & Expressions (4)
personage (para. 2)
• Cf. person, personage, personnel, personality
bring…to a close (para. 2)
• Similar expressions: draw/come to a close; draw/call sth to a
close
The event occurred at the time when the Stone Age was
drawing to a close.
It’s time to call this meeting to a close.
At last I drew my visit to a close.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Words & Expressions (5)
quarters (para. 3)
• from quarters
Offers of financial help came from the most unexpected
quarters.
• in (some) quarters
Concern has been expressed in some quarters about this policy.
departure from (para. 3)
This approach represents a radical departure from the previous
policy.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part I: Exercise
Translation
1. 他的意外出现在小镇上引起了很大的轰动。(sensation)
His unexpected appearance created a great sensation in the
town.
2. 由于令人遗憾的疏忽,完整的说明书没有随产品同来。
(oversight)
By an unfortunate oversight, full instructions do not come
with the product.
3. 我们发现这里明显地背离了宣言的精神和条文。
(departure)
Here we find a decided departure from the spirit and the
letter of the Declaration.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Discussion
1. How did the bookshop exhibit Simelane’s sculpture? How
do you understand his words “with a white velvet backdrop,
if there is anything called white velvet…”?
2. Why do you think van Rensburg would like to invite
Simelane for a drink?
3. Was Simelane happy about the invitation? Why? What made
him accept the invitation?
4. Why did they have all the discussion about language? Why
didn’t they speak Afrikaans in the first place?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Discussion
5. Simelane said, “We didn’t exactly walk abreast, but he didn’t
exactly walk in front of me.” Is there anything that he wanted
to convey by describing how they walked?
6. Why was van Rengsburg interested in Simelane’s educational
background? Did Simelane tell him the truth? Why did he
say that he was a fool to leave the question open?
7. Was Simelane disappointed to find that van Rensburg’s
building was not one of those luxurious places? Describe
how each of them felt at the moment.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Words & Expressions (1)
indulge (para. 9)
• vt. indulge sb
She did not believe in indulging the children with presents.
• vi. indulge in
Eva had never been one to indulge in self-pity.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Words & Expressions (2)
just round the corner (para. 18)
They lived in Chestnut Street round the corner.
The kids go to school just round the corner.
 other meaning:
The fortune-teller told Jane that there was an adventure for
her just round the corner.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Words & Expressions (3)
at ease (para. 34)
• feel/look at (one’s) ease
• put/set sb at his/her ease
The joke that the interviewer cracked instantly put me at
ease.
• feel/look ill at ease
You always look ill at ease in a suit.
• Cf. with ease
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (A): Exercise
Translation
1. 这笔遗产使他能够尽情投入他热爱的艺术中。(indulge)
The inheritance enabled him to indulge his passion for art.
2. 经济复苏很快就会到来。(just round the corner)
Economic recovery is just round the corner.
3. 她在陌生的环境中感到不大自在。(at ease)
She didn’t feel completely at (her) ease in strange
surroundings.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (B): Discussion
1. How did Simelane feel when he realized that they were
going to drink in the passage? Was he afraid to drink in the
passage? Why (not)? Why did he say that anger could have
saved him from the whole embarrassing situation?
2. Simelane was afraid of breaking the liquor laws of the
country, what do you think the laws stipulated? Why do you
think there were such laws?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (B): Discussion
3. How did van Rensburg and his family treat their guest on the
whole? Why did they keep him in the passage instead of
bringing him into their apartment? (If you invite someone to
your place, would you keep them in the passage?)
4. Why did he have so much difficulty in choosing a proper
expression to address the white woman?
5. What did van Rensburg mean by “Our land is beautiful. But
it breaks my heart.”?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (B): Discussion
6. Why did Simelane say “the whole thing was mad, and
getting beyond me”? (para.51)
7. Why did Simelane keep referring to the “impersonal doors”?
What does it mean? He said he was waiting for the opening
of one of those impersonal doors. Was he no longer afraid of
being seen in a “white” building, breaking the liquor laws?
8. How would you describe Simelane’s feelings while drinking
in the passage?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Sceneries of South Africa
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (B): Words & Expressions
out of nowhere (para. 44)
Mr. Jones was driving too fast on the expressway when a
police patrol car appeared out of nowhere and stopped him.
Houses had sprung up out of nowhere on the hills.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (C): Discussion
1. When they drove up Eloff Street, van Rensburge said, “Did
you know what I meant?” What was he referring to? Did
Simelane know what he was referring to?
2. How do you interpret Simelane’s words in para. 70, “his
eyes had been blinded by years in the dark”? Why is it that
“if men never touch each other, they’ll hurt each other one
day”? And why is it that “black men don’t touch white men
any more”?
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (C): Discussion
3. Why was Simelane inarticulate at the end of the story?
4. Why did Simelane say that van Rensburg “was like a man
trying to run a race in iron shoes, and not understanding
why he cannot move”?
5. Why did Simelane’s wife weep when she heard the story?
6. Examine the role of liquor in the story and discuss its
function as a symbol.
Text Analysis
Detailed Analysis
Part II (C): Words & Expressions
weep (para. 75)
• Cf. cry, blubber, sob, wail, whimper
A Drink in the Passage
Unit 15
Summary
Reinforcement
Discussion
Reinforcement
Summary
Literary Techniques
1. The use of symbols:
items being symbolized—the sculpture, white velvet, the
way they walked, the drink, the blindness
2. Simile and metaphor:
his eyes had been blinded by years in the dark
he was like a man trying to run a race in iron shoes
3. Simple language:
unadorned, with an exotic flavor of African language and
Afrikanns
Reinforcement
Discussion
1. Is it easy to detect the existence of racial (or religious)
prejudice? Why or why not?
2. Does racism only involve governments and politicians? Do
you find any racial or ethnic or regional prejudice in the
people around you?
3. What are the consequences of prejudice and discrimination?
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