Detailed Study

Unit Two Everyday Use
Alice Walker
Alice Walker
• Alice Malsenior Walker (1944) is an American author, poet,
and activist. She has written
both fiction and essays about
race and gender. She is best
known for the critically acclaimed
novel The Color Purple (1982)
for which she won the Pulitzer
Prize for Fiction.
Alice Walker
Alice Walker's most significant
novel is The Color Purple,
published in 1982, which won
all the three major book awards in
America--the Pulitzer, the National
Book Award and the National
Book Critics Circle Award. The
novel was an instant bestsell and
made into an equally successful
movie in 1985, directed by Steven
Spielberg and staring Whoopi
Alice Walker
Alice Walker is at her
best when portraying
people living in the rural
areas where the writer
was born and grew up. as
a black writer, Walker is
particularly interested in
examining the relationships among the blacks
Alice Walker's other works
The Third Life of Grange Copeland (1970)
Meridian (1976)
The Temple of My Familiar (1989)
Possessing the Secret of Joy (1992)
By the Light of My Father's Smile (1998)
Detailed Study
• Wavy: characteristic of waves, resembling waves.Here
the word describes the marks in wavy patterns on the
clay ground left by the broom.
• an extended living room: an enlarged living room by a
new addition to the original space. Extended means
prolonged, continued; enlarged in influence, meaning,
scope, etc.
• extended care: nursing care provided for a limited time
after a hospital stay
• extended family:a group of relatives by blood, marriage
or adoption, often including a nuclear family, living
together, esp. three generations are involved.
Detailed Study
When the hard clay...never come inside the house.
Clay:sticky earth that becomes very hard when baked.
Fine: not coarse, in very small particles or grains
fine cloth
fine sugar
Be lined with: mark sth with lines.
A face is lined with age and worry.
Groove: long narrow cut in the surface
Their wheels left grooves in the ground.
Breeze: light wind
Detailed Study
She will stand...a mixture of envy and awe.
Homely: plain not good-looking not attractive
Be ashamed of: feel shame or embarrassment about sth
He's extremely ashamed of his behavior last night.
Scar:a permanent mark left on your skin after a
wound or cut has healed
• Eye: look at sb/sth carefully, observe
• Awe:feelings of respect and slight fear;
Detailed Study
• She thinks her sister...learned to say to her.
• paraphrase: She thinks that her sisiter has a firm
control of her life. Dee could always have anything she
wanted, and life was extremely generous to her.
Detailed Study
You've no doubt...from backstage.
Make it: succeed, be successful
confronted: brought face to face.
as a surprise: unexpectedly
totter: be unsteady on one's feet; stagger
backstage: behind the stage in a theatre, especially in the
actors' dressing rooms
Detailed Study
Out of a dark and soft-seated...tacky flowers.
limousine: a large and very comfortable car, driven by a
Usher: to take or show sb where they should go
The secretary ushered me into his office.
Sporty: someone who is sporty likes sport and is good at it
Pin: to attach sth onto another thing with a pin, etc:
Tacky: cheap, badly made and/or lacking in taste:
Johnny Carson
Johnny Carson:John William "Johnny"
Carson (October 23, 1925 – January 23,
2005) was an American television host
and comedian, known as host of The
Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for
30 years (1962–1992).
Orchid: plant with brightly coloured flowers of unusual shapes.
Detailed Study
In real life I am a hands.
The phrase"in real life" is transitional, linking this
paragraph and the one above, implying that those TV
programs are nothing but make-believe and the narrator
is very skeptical of them. In reality she has the typical
features of a black working woman.
Detailed Study
I am the uncooked barley pancake.
like an uncooked barley pancake: a simile comparing the
skin to barley dough which has a creamy, smooth
texture. this sentence suggests that Dee is rather
ashamed of having a black working-class woman as her
Paraphrase: My daughter wishes me to have a slender
figure and a fair complexion.
Detailed Study
Johnny Carson has ...witty tongue.
Witty: able to say or write clever, amusing things, clever
and funny.
tongue: the act or power of speaking; manner or style of
Paraphrase: Johnny Carson, popular TV talk show star, is
famous for his witty and glib tongue. But in this respect,
I am far better than he, and he has to try hard if he wants
to catch up with me.
Detailed Study
with one foot raised in flight.
ready to leave as quickly as possible because of
discomfort,nervousness, timidity,etc.
with my head turned...from them
in order to avoid them as much as possible, also from
discomfort, shyness,etc.
Detailed Study
Have you ever Maggie walks.
Lame: (of people or animals) unable to walk well because
of an injury to the leg or foot:
My horse had gone lame
Run over: (of a vehicle or its driver) knock sb down and
pass over (a part of) his body.
He ran over a six-year-old child as he was driving back
from a party.
sidle up: to move up sideways, esp. in a shy or stealthy
Detailed Study
Chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle.
shuffle: to change or shift repeatedly from one position to
paraphrase: Maggie is so shy that she never raises her
head or eyes when looking at and talking to people, and
she is always so nervous and restless that she is unable
to stand still.
Detailed Study
Sometimes I can papery flakes.
If something is smoking, smoke is coming from it.
The chimney was smoking fiercely.
papery: thin, light like paper
flakes: a small thin mass
flakes of snow
Grammatical feature: Nominative Absolute Construction
Detailed Study
Her eyes seemed stretched...brick chimney.
stretched open, blazed open: wide open to the fullest
And Dee: an elliptical sentence. And there was Dee.
Stand off: to stand away, in a distance.
a sweet gum tree: a large North American tree of the witch
hazel family, with alternate maple-like leaves, spiny
fruit balls.
Dingy:dark and often also dirty.
Fall in:collapse
Sweet Gum Tree
Detailed Study
forcing words, lies, other folk's habits...on us two.
The narrater implies that the books Dee read to them
were written by the white people and full of their
language and ideas, falsehood and their way of life.
Other folks refer to the white people. By reading those
books, Dee forced them to accept the white people's
views and values.
force sth on sb: to make sb accept sth that they do not want
to force your attentions / opinions on sb
Detailed Study
sitting trapped, and igmorant underneath her voice.
trap: keep (sb) in a place from which he wants to move but
They were trapped in the burning hotel.
Her reading was like a trap, and we were like animals
caught in the trap, unable to escape. Underneath her
voice suggests a repressive and imposing quality in her
Detailed Study
she washed us...need to know
make-believe (disapproving) imagining or pretending
They live in a world of make-believe.
Paraphrase: She imposed on us lots of falsity and socalled knowledge that is totally useless to us.
The words washed and burned are used figuratively,
indicating large quantities of a destructive nature.
Detailed Study
Pressed us to her...about to understand.
Press: to pull us firmly to her; force us to listen to her
Shove away: to push sb/sth in a rough way
dimwit:If you say that someone is a dimwit, you mean that
they are ignorant and stupid. (INFORMAL)= idiot
Paraphrase: she forced us to listen to her reading books in
a serious and strick way, however, when we nearly
understood books, she deserted us away, which made us
feel like fools.
Detailed Study
She was determined...temptation to shake her.
stare down: to stare back at another until the gaze of the
one stared at is turned away.
disaster: personification
Flicker: move back and forth lightly and quickly
At a time: at a time in sequence; separately
Fight back: suppress (feelings, etc)
fighting down a sense of disgust
temptation:a strong desire to have or do something even
though you know you should not do sth
Detailed Study
Paraphrase: Dee was determined to face up and defeat
any disaster with her efforts.She was undaunted with a
strong character. She would look at anybody steadily
and intently for a long time. Often I wanted so much to
shake her, but I restrained myself.
Detailed Study
At sixteen she ....knew what style was.
Some expressions with the word style:
in style: in a fashionable and luxurious way
The lady lives in style
out of style: out of fashion
Is the long skirt out of style this year?
Paraphrase: At sixteen she had a unique way of doing
things, and she knew what was the current, fashionable
way of dressing, speaking, acting,etc.
Detailed Study
She stumbles along...quickness passed her by.
stumble: to speak, act or proceed in a confused, blundering
to stumble through a speech
A good-natured person or animal is naturally friendly and
does not get angry easily.
Quickness:Someone or something that is quick moves or
does things with great speed.
Paraphrase: She often makes mistakes while reading, but
never losing her good temper. She is not bright just as
she is neither good-looking nor rich.
Detailed Study
They don't make shingle roofs...on the outside.
shingle: a thin wedge-shaped piece of wood, slate, etc. laid
with others in overlapping rows as a roof.
a portholes in a ship: small openings in a ship's side
letting in light and air.
Rawhide:natural leather that has not had any special
shutter: movable screen that can be closed over a window
to keep out light or thieves
The shop-front is fitted with rolling shutters.
Detailed Study
Furtive boys in pink...bubbles in lye.
Furtive: behaving in a way that shows that you want to
keep sth secret and do not want to be noticed.
She cast a furtive glance over her shoulder.
Hang about: to spend a lot of time with sb
washday:the day each week when you wash your clothes
impress : if a person or thing impresses you, you feel
admiration for them or it.
a well-turned phrase is one that is expressed well.
Scalding:If criticism is scalding, it is very strong or fierce.
Detailed Study
When she was courting...time to recompose herself.
faultfinding:the practice of looking for mistakes in
everything and criticizing people or things because of
them, especially in an unfair way
flashy:attractive but not in good taste; showy
flashy clothes, flashy jewellery
Recompose: restore composure
Detailed Study
Maggie attempts to the sand with her toe.
Make a dash: you run there very quickly, for example to
escape from someone or something.
When the police arrived he made a bolt for the door.
I stay her with my hand: I stop her from rushing off with
my hand.
stay: to stop, halt or check
Who could explain the purpose of the simple present
tense in this paragraph?
Detailed Study
From the other side of the car...your foot on the road.
stocky: a stocky person has a body that is broad, solid, and often short.
kinky: full of short, twisty curls, tightly curled.
mule: an animal that is the offspring of a donkey and a horse.
Suck in: to pull air or smoke into your lungs:
suck in one's breath
wriggle: (cause sth to) make quick, short, twisting and turning movements.
Stop wriggling (about) and sit still!
Like when you see...on the road.
An elliptical sentence.
It is the kind of disgusted response you have when you see the
wriggling end of a snake just in front of your foot on the road.
Detailed Study
A dress so loud it hurts...heat waves it throws out.
loud: attracting attention by being unpleasantly colorful
and bright.
a loud pattern.
throw back: reflect
paraphrase: There are bright yellow and orange colored
patterns which shine even more brightly than the sun.
Detailed Study
The dress is loose ..disappearing behind her ears.
The dress is loose and flows: The dress is loose and moves
gently and smoothly.
It is her sister's hair: this time it is her sister's hairstyle
that makes Maggie utter an exclamation of dislike and
that rope about: that move about like rope
pigtail:a hairstyle in which the hair is tied at each side of
the head and hangs loose.
Rhetorical Device: simile
Detailed Study
Since I am stout...goes back to the car.
stout:slightly fat.
something of : to some degree
She found herself something of a celebrity.
I'm something of an expert on antiques.
sandal: type of open shoe consisting of a sole held on to
the foot by straps or cords
Detailed Study
Out she peeks next...cowering behind me.
Polaroid camera:camera that can produce photographs
within seconds after the picture has been taken
stoop: to bend your body forwards and downwards:
She stooped down to pick up the child.
line sth up: arrange or organize sth
I've got rather a lot lined up (ie I'm very busy) this week.
Cower: to bend low and/or move backwards because you
are frightened:
A gun went off and people cowered behind walls and under
Detailed Study
Meanwhile Asalamalakim is ...trying to pull it back.
go through motions with:pretend to do sth; do sth but without
sincerity or serious intention.
He went through the motions of welcoming her friends but then
quickly left the room.
Limp:lacking strength or energy
a limp handshake, gesture, response
pull (sb) back: (cause sb to) retreat; withdraw (sb)
The army pulled back after the battle.
Paraphrase: Meanwhile Dee's boyfriend is trying to shake
hands with Maggie in a fancy and elaborate way. Maggie's
hand lacks firmness and is cold though she is sweating.
Rhetorical device: simile
Detailed Study
It looks like up on Maggie.
Fancy: extravagant or exaggerated
fancy ideas, prices
He don't know: Ungrammatical spoken english.
Give up on: no longer believe that sb is going to be
successful; lose hope in sb
His teachers seem to have given up on him.
Paraphrase: however, he soon stops trying to shake
hands with Maggie in that elaborate manner
Detailed Study
"There you are" "There I was not"
there you are: a colloquial expression, meaning
1) here is what you wanted
There you are! a nice cup of tea.
2) I told you so
There you are. I knew I was right.
the second meaning suits the context. Dee's boyfriend
means " That's what I expected. I knew you couldn't trace it
further back.
There I was not: NO such expression. Here the mother is
playing on "there you are," meaning you are not right.
Actually, I could have carried it further back if I wanted.
Model A car
In 1909 Henry Ford massproduced 15 million Model T
cars and thus made automobiles
popular in the States. In 1928
the Model t was discontinued
and replaced by a new design-the Model A-- to meet the needs
for growing competition in car
Detailed Study
Every once in a while he and Wangero sent eye signals
over my head
Paraphrase: Now and then he and Dee communicated
through eye contact in a secretive way.
We got the name out of the way:
Paraphrase: We overcame the difficulty and managed to
pronounce it at last.
trip over: mispronounce, fail to say sth correctly.
Detailed Study
Wangero, though, went on...sweet potatoes.
the intestines of hogs especially
when prepared as food
Talk a blue streak:
to talk much and rapidly
over: while occupied or engaged in
Sweet Potatos
Detailed Study
She jumped up...I want the dasher,too.
churn: machine in which milk or cream is beaten to make
clabber: thickly curdled sour milk
whittle: ~ A (from B)~ B (into A)
to form a piece of wood, etc. into a particular shape by
cutting small pieces from it:
He whittled a simple toy from the piece of wood.
Detailed Study
After dinner Dee...two quilts.
rifle through: If you rifle through things or rifle them, you
make a quick search among them in order to find
something or steal something.
I discovered my husband rifling through the filing cabinet
hang back: to remain in a place after all the other people
have left
dishpan: a large plastic container that you wash dishes in.
Out came Wangero with two quilts: inverted sentence
Detailed Study
She held the quilts securely in her arms, stroking them.
This sentence shows how she cherished the quilts and how
determined she was to have them ,later, we will learn that
the mother offered Dee a quilt when she went away to
college. At that time she thought the quilts were oldfashioned. Note the change in Dee's attitudes toward the
quilts.And explain the reason why her attitude has
experienced such great change.
Detailed Study
Some of the put them to everyday use.
Hand down to sb:If you hand down something such as
knowledge, a possession, or a skill, you give or leave it to people
who belong to a younger generation.
clutch: to hold someone or something firmly, for example
because you are afraid or in pain, or do not want to lose them
Women clutched small children as they left.
Gasp:to take a quick deep breath with your mouth open,
especially because you are surprised or in pain
She gasped at the wonderful view.
Sting: to touch your skin or make a very small hole in it so that
you feel a sharp pain
Backward:Having only a limited ability to learn and understand
Detailed Study
a kind of dopey, hangdog look.
dopey: mentally slow or confused;stupid
hangdog: ashamed and cringing
a hangdog expression
This was the way she knew God to work.
paraphrase: This was the way she knew how God worked.
Try to make something of yourself,too.
paraphrase: try to be successful like me.
make: to turn out to be
He would make a capable leader.
Thank You
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