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  1. About the Author and the Story
  2. India
  3. Cobra
  4. Prejudice Against Women
  5. Discussion
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About the Author and the Story Mona Gardner, an American woman writer. Most of her short stories were written for the Saturday Evening Post magazine and Collier’s Weekly magazine during the 1930s and 1940s. The Dinner Party first appeared in the Saturday Review of Literature, Vol. 25, No. 5, January 31, 19
  41.

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India
  1.
  2.
  3.
  4.
  5.
  6.
  7.
  8. Location and Capital National Flag British Colony Mahatma Gandhi The Taj Mahal The Victoria Memorial Marriage Sacred Cow
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Location and Capital
India, officially called Republic of India, is a country in southern Asia, located on the subcontinent of India. It is bounded on the north by Afghanistan, China, Nepal, and Bhutan; on the east by Bangladesh, Myanmar (also known as Burma), and the Bay of Bengal; on the south by the Palk Strait and the Gulf of Mann?r (which separates it from Sri Lanka) and the Indian Ocean; and on the west by the Arabian Sea and Pakistan. India is divided into 26 states and 7 union territories. New Delhi is the country’s capital and one of its largest cities.

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National Flag The colors of the Indian flag were taken from the flag of the Indian National Congress. Dark orange represents courage and sacrifice. Green represents faith, fertility, and chivalry ( 骑 士 精 神 ). White represents truth and peace. The emblem (徽章) in the center was added upon independence in 19
  47. It is a Buddhist dharma chakra, or wheel of life, used in India thousands of years ago.

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British Colony
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In the early 18th century, following the decline of the Mughal Empire, Britain expanded its power in India, where British influence had begun in the early 1600s. In 1935 Britain began to relinquish its hold on India and passed legislation providing for autonomous Indian legislative bodies. Executive power remained with the British government, however, until 1947 when the Indian people, under Gandhi’s leadership, won their struggle for independence and British rule in Indian ended.

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Mahatma Gandhi (1869-19
  48) -- Indian Nationalist Leader
The campaign of nonviolent civil resistance organized by Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi against British rule in India led to the country’s independence in 19
  47. A member of the merchant caste(印度世袭阶级), Mohandas K. Gandhi, later called Mahatma [Sanskrit (梵语) for “great soul”], Gandhi studied law in London, England. As a lawyer and later as a political activist, he effectively fought discrimination with the principles of truth, nonviolence, and courage, which he derived (得自) in part from the teachings of Hinduism(印度教).

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The Taj Mahal The Taj Mahal, designed as a tomb for the wife of a 17thcentury Mughal emperor, was constructed by about 20,000 workers from 1631 to 1653 in a city in northern India. The massive domed (穹顶) structure was constructed in the IndoIslamic style, using white marble and inlaid gems (宝石). At each corner is a minaret (prayer tower 尖塔), and passages (段、节) from the Koran (可兰经), the Muslim holy book, adorn (装饰) the outside walls. The bodies of the emperor and his wife remain in a vault (拱顶,地下室)below the building.

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The Victoria Memorial The Victoria Memorial was built to commemorate Queen Victoria’s 25-year reign over India. After the Sepoy Rebellion of 1857, the British government assumed direct control of the country, and in 1876 the British parliament made Victoria the Empress of India. Her reign ended with her death in 19
  01.

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Marriage
During a Sikh (印度锡克教徒) marriage ceremony, the bride and groom in traditional clothing encircle the Sikh Holy Book four times while chanting wedding hymns. Sikhism, a religion that combines elements of Islam and Hinduism, developed in India during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. Today, Sikhs make up more than half the population of Punjab (旁遮 普).

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Sacred Cow
India has more cattle than any other country in the world. As a central part of India’s agrarian (农耕的) economy, cattle haul carts, plow fields and produce milk for dairy products. Considered sacred by many Hindus (印度教徒), cattle are protected from slaughter in most states and are often allowed to roam (闲逛) free.

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Cobra Cobras, found in some parts of Africa and Asia, are poisonous snakes. Most cobras bite their victims and their bite may cause death within a few hours. The king cobra, the largest of all poisonous snakes, may reach a length of 18 ft (
  5.5 m) and feeds chiefly on other snakes. When disturbed, it raises its hooded head to get a better view or to strike. Large individuals may raise themselves to a height of about 1 m (about 4 ft). The Indian cobra is usually 4-5 ft (
  1.2?
  1.6 m) long. The snake’s color ranges from yellowish to dark brown. It has a mark like a pair of spectacles on the back of its hood. It preys on rats and is therefore often found in houses. The Indian cobra and the Egyptian cobra are often displayed by snake charmers. The cobras appear to respond to the music played by the charmer, but, like all snakes, they are deaf and only follow the movements of the charmer.

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Prejudice Against Women
Women have been prejudiced against for centuries perhaps ever since life on earth. They have long been referred to as “weaker sex” or “fairer sex,” considered naturally weaker than men, squeamish, unable to perform the work that requires muscles or pluck the courage to face up to any crisis. As we know, Plato, Aristotle, Shakespeare, and Confucius all made negative remarks about women. And even today, such a prejudice has not entirely been eliminated and the argument in the text shows how hard long-standing prejudices die.

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Discussion
  1. Who do you think are braver, women or men? Please give examples to support your statement.
  2. Do you have the same feeling when you see a woman screaming over an insect and a man screaming over an insect? Why or why not?
  3. Do you think women can do everything men can? Why or why not?
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  1. Questions About the Text
  2. Rearrange the Order of the Pictures
  3. Complete the Missing Information of the Story
  4. True or False
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Questions About the Text
  1. How many persons are mentioned in this story except the servants? Who are they? Twenty one. They are the host, hostess and their guests.
  2. What was the subject of the discussion between the young girl and the major? They had a heated discussion about how women react to a crisis.
  3. How was the American naturalist aware of the existence of a snake? He noticed what was happening to the hostess and the boy.
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Questions About the Text
  4. What did the American naturalist do to get over the crisis? He said that he wanted to know how well they could control themselves and asked them to sit still until he counted up to three hundred.
  5. What do you think of what the hostess did that day? (Open-ended.)
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Rearrange the Order of the Pictures 3 2 5
1
4
6
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Complete the Missing Information of the Story
  1.
  2.
  3.
  4.
  5.
  6.
  7.
  8.
  9.
  10. At the beginning of the story, all the people are sitting in the dining room. A young girl and a major . are discussing a topic The American naturalist sees a strange expression on the hostess’ face . The hostess signals to the native boy . The native boy is surprised and leaves the room . The native boy . puts a bowl of milk on the veranda The American asks people present not to move a muscle when he counts . All the people . sit like stone images while he counts The American . jumps to slam the door The hostess . replies to the American
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True or False
  1. The setting of the story is in India and the time of the story is during the First World War. ( F) It took place before the First World War.
  2. The guests attending the party are the persons with high social status.
  3. The room where the party was held is very big and quite good. (T)
  4. In the discussion, the young girl points out that women are braver than men. The girl only means women are now braver than they were in the past. (F ) ( T)
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  5. When the American naturalist notices a strange expression coming over the hostess’ face, he immediately knows that there is a snake in the room. ( F ) It is not until he sees the boy place a bowl of milk on the veranda that he knows that.
  6. After the American realizes what is happening in the room, he is very astonished. ( T)
  7. The trick the American uses then shows that he is a cowardly man. He is a clever and calm man.
  8. From the last sentence of the story, we can come to the conclusion that the hostess is calmer than the American. ( T) ( F)
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A heated discussion about whether men are braver than women is settled in a rather unexpected way.
Sentence
Word
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The Dinner Party Mona Gardner I first heard this tale in India, where it is told as if true ? though any naturalist would know it couldn’t be. Later someone told me that the story appeared in a magazine shortly before the First World War. That magazine story, and the person who wrote it, I have never been able to track down. The country is India. A colonial official and his wife are giving a large dinner party. They are seated with their guests ? officers and their wives, and a visiting American naturalist ? in their spacious dining room, which has a bare marble floor, open rafters and wide glass doors opening onto a veranda.
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A spirited discussion springs up between a young girl who says that women have outgrown the jumping-on-achair-at-the-sight-of-a-mouse era and a major who says that they haven’t. “A woman’s reaction in any crisis,” the major says, “is to scream. And while a man may feel like it, he has that ounce more of control than a woman has. And that last ounce is what really counts.” The American does not join in the argument but watches the other guests. As he looks, he sees a strange expression come over the face of the hostess. She is staring straight ahead, her muscles contracting slightly. She motions to the native boy standing behind her chair and whispers something to him. The boy’s eyes widen: he quickly leaves the room.
Sentence Word
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Of the guests, none except the American notices this or sees the boy place a bowl of milk on the veranda just outside the open doors. The American comes to with a start. In India, milk in a bowl means only one thing ? bait for a snake. He realizes there must be a cobra in the room. He looks up at the rafters ? the likeliest place ? but they are bare. Three corners of the room are empty, and in the fourth the servants are waiting to serve the next course. There is only one place left ? under the table. His first impulse is to jump back and warn the others,
 

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