Women Half the Sky
Part I Pre-Reading Task
Listen to the recording two or three times and then think over the following questions:

  1. Why can't women be ignored?

  2. What price have women had to pay for their wisdom?

  3. What happens to them if you try to break their will?

  4. Have women realized their dreams?
The following words in the recording may be new to you:
= (infml) going to
a. 战无不胜的
n. 信念
n. 胚胎;萌芽期
Part II
Text A
How do some women manage to combine a full-time job with family responsibilities and still find time for doing other things? Adrienne Popper longs to be like them, but wonders whether it is an impossible dream.
Not long ago I received an alumni bulletin from my college. It included a brief item about a former classmate: "Kate L. teaches part-time at the University of Oklahoma and is assistant principal at County High School. In her spare time she is finishing her doctoral dissertation and the final drafts of two books, and she still has time for tennis and horse riding with her daughters." Four words in that description undid me: in her spare time. A friend said that if I believed everything in the report, she had a bridge in Brooklyn she'd like to sell me.
My friend's joke hit home. What an idiot I'd been! I resolved to stop thinking about Kate's incredible accomplishments and to be suitably skeptical of such stories in the future.
But like a dieter who devours a whole box of cookies in a moment of weakness, I found my resolve slipping occasionally. In weak moments I'd comb the pages of newspapers and magazines and consume success stories by the pound. My favorite superwomen included a politician's daughter who cared for her two-year-old and a newborn while finishing law school and managing a company; a practicing pediatrician with ten children other own; and a television anchorwoman, mother of two preschoolers, who was studying for a master's degree.
One day, however, I actually met a superwoman face to face. Just before Christmas last year, my work took me to the office of a woman executive of a national corporation. Like her supersisters, she has a husband, two small children and, according to reports, a spotless apartment. Her life runs as precisely as a Swiss watch. Since my own schedule rarely succeeds, her accomplishments fill me with equal amounts of wonder and guilt.
On a shelf behind her desk that day were at least a hundred jars of strawberry jam, gaily tied with red-checked ribbons. The executive and her children had made the jam and decorated the jars, which she planned to distribute to her staff and visiting clients.
When, I wondered aloud, had she found the time to complete such an impressive holiday project? I should have known better than to ask. The answer had a familiar ring: in her spare time.
On the train ride home I sat with a jar of strawberry jam in my lap. It reproached me the entire trip. Other women, it seemed to say, are movers and shakers ? not only during office hours, but in their spare time as well. What, it asked, do you accomplish in your spare time?
I would like to report that I am using my extra moments to complete postdoctoral studies in physics, to develop new theories of tonal harmony for piano and horn, and to bake cakes and play baseball with my sons. The truth of the matter is, however, that I am by nature completely unable to get my act together. No matter how carefully I plan my time, the plan always goes wrong.
If I create schedules of military precision in which several afternoon hours are given over to the writing of the Great American Novel, the school nurse is sure to phone at exactly the moment I put pencil to paper. One of my children will have developed a strange illness that requires him to spend the remainder of the day in bed, calling me at frequent intervals to bring soup, juice, and tea.
Other days, every item on my schedule will take three times the number of minutes set aside. The cleaner will misplace my clothes. My order won't be ready at the butcher shop as promised. The woman ahead of me in the supermarket line will pay for her groceries with a check drawn on a Martian bank, and only the manager (who has just left for lunch) can OK the matter. "They also serve who only stand and wait," wrote the poet John Milton, but he forgot to add that they don't get to be superwomen that way.
Racing the clock every day is such an exhausting effort that when I actually have a few free moments, I tend to collapse. Mostly I sink into a chair and stare into space while I imagine how lovely life would be if only I possessed the organizational skills and the energy of my superheroines. In fact, I waste a good deal of my spare time just worrying about what other women are accomplishing in theirs. Sometimes I think that these modern fairy tales create as many problems for women as the old stories that had us biding our time for the day our prince would come.
Yet superwomen tales continue to charm me. Despite my friend's warning against being taken in, despite everything I've learned, I find that I'm not only willing, but positively eager to buy that bridge she mentioned. Why? I suppose it has something to do with the appeal of an optimistic approach to life ? and the fact that extraordinary deeds have been accomplished by determined individuals who refused to believe that "you can't" was the final word on their dreams.
Men have generally been assured that achieving their heart's desires would be a piece of cake. Women, of course, have always believed that we can't have our cake and eat it too ? the old low-dream diet. Perhaps becoming a superwoman is an impossible dream for me, but life without that kind of fantasy is as unappealing as a diet with no treats.
I know the idea of admiring a heroine is considered silly today; we working women are too sophisticated for that. Yet the superwomen I read about are my heroines. When my faith in myself falters, it is they who urge me on, whispering, "Go for it, lady!"
One of these days I plan to phone my former classmate Kate and shout "Well done!" into the receiver. I hope she won't be modest about her achievements. Perhaps she will have completed her dissertation and her two books and moved on to some new work that's exciting or dangerous or both. I'd like to hear all about it. After that I'm going to phone the friend who laughed at me for believing all the stories I hear. Then I'll tell her a story: the tale of a woman who bought her own version of that bridge in Brooklyn and found that it was a wise investment after all.
(1097 words)
New Words and Expressions
alumnus (pl alumni)
n. (esp. AmE) a (male) former student of a school, college or university (男)校友
n. 简报,通讯;会刊;公告
n. a single piece of news; a single article or unit on a list or among a set 一则(消息);一条,一项,一件
a. 博士的
n. (博士)学位论文,专题论文
n. a rough outline or version草稿
undo (undid, undone)
vt. disturb or upset greatly; untie, open 使烦恼,使不安;松开,解开
hit/strike home
(of remarks ,etc.) have the intended effect (言语等)击中要害
n. (colloq) a fool
a. that cannot be believed 难以置信的
a. (in the habit of) doubting that sth. is true, right, etc. 持怀疑态度的,怀疑的
n. a person who eats less food or only certain kinds of food 节食者;忌食某些食物的人
vt. eat (sth.) quickly and in large quantities 狼吞虎咽地吃
n. (AmE) biscuit 饼干
ad. happening sometimes but not very often 偶尔地,间或
occasional a.
v. eat or drink; use up 吃;喝;耗尽;消费
n. a woman having more than ordinary human powers and abilities 具有非凡才能的女性,女强人
n. 政治家;政客
care for
take care of; like or love 照料;喜欢,喜爱
n. 儿科医生
anchorwoman (pl anchorwomen)
n. (广播、电视节目的)女主持人
n. 锚
n. 公司
a. absolutely clean 十分清洁的
a., n. 瑞士的,瑞士人(的)
ad. not happening often 很少,难得
n. the feelings produced by belief that one has done wrong; the fact of having broken the law 内疚;有罪
a. 感到内疚的,感到惭愧的;有罪的
n. 草莓
a. in a cheerful manner 鲜艳地;快乐地
a. 有红格子图案的
n. 丝带,缎带,装饰带
vt. add (sth.) in order to make a thing more attractive to look at 装饰
n. a person who buys goods or service 顾客,客户
n. (人坐着时)大腿的上方,膝上;(旅程的)一段
v. (波浪)拍打
vt. criticize (sb.) for failing to do sth. 责备
movers and shakers
people who have power and a lot of influence 有权有势的人们
n. 理论
a. 音调的,声调的
n. 和谐;协调;一致
n. 棒球
by nature
get one's act together
(infml) organize oneself and one's activities so that one does things in an effective way 将自己的各事安排得有条不紊
a. 军事的,军队的
n. 小说
put pencil/pen to paper
start to write 开始动笔写
n. the remaining time, people or things 剩下的时间(人或物)
at intervals
ad. on or to one side 在一边;向一边
set aside
put (time or money) away for a special purpose 留出
n. 超级市场
a., n. (supposed inhabitant) of the planet Mars 火星的;(假想的)火星人
race the clock
do sth. quickly in order to finish it in the available time 争分夺秒地工作
vt. (fml) have or own 拥有
a. of organizing and arranging things 有关组织方面的
n. 仙人,小精灵
fairy tale
vt. (old use, now used chiefly in the following phrase) wait for 等待
bide one's time
wait patiently for a chance 等待良机
n. 王子;亲王
v. attract; give pleasure to 吸引;迷人
n. pleasing quality; attractiveness 魅力;吸引力
take in
cheat 欺骗
prep. in spite of 尽管;不顾
ad. (infml) extremely, absolutely 极其,非常
a. certain, sure; helpful or constructive 确信的;有益的,建设性的
have sth./little/much to do with 与…有关(几乎无关,很有关系)
achieve/have one's heart's desire 得到心中渴望的东西
a piece of cake
sth. that is very easy to do 不费吹灰之力的事
n. a woman whom people admire for her courage or achievements 女英雄
a. 世故的;老练的;复杂的;尖端的
vi. become weak; hesitate 变弱;犹豫
move on to
stop doing one thing and begin dealing with the next 更换(工作,话题等)
n. putting money in sth. 投资
Proper Names
Adrienne Popper
John Milton
约翰?弥尔顿(1608 ? 16
Language sense Enhancement

  1. Read aloud paragraphs 11-13 and learn them by heart.

  2. Read aloud the following poem:
I Look At Myself In The Mirror Jacki
I look at myself in the mirror,
and what do I really see?
A woman of forty-seven,
or the true essence of me?
I can see me in my twenties,
the mother of children galore,
and there is me in my thirties,
scarred by the loss that I bore.
And there is me in my forties,
older now, tolerant and wise
marked by love and affection,
and bags under my eyes.
So yes that's me in the mirror,
me, as the person I am,
and if I'm no more than an image,
none of it matters a dam!

  3. Read the following quotations. Learn them by heart if you can. You might need to look up new words in a dictionary.
One is not born a woman, one becomes one.
?? Simon de Beauvoir
There is no female mind. The brain is not an organ of sex. As well speak of a female liver.
?? Charlotte Perkins Gilman
What is a woman I assure you, I do not know.... I do not believe that anybody can know until she has expressed herself in all the arts and professions open to human skill.
?? Virqinia Woolf
Men always want to be a woman's first love. Women have a more subtle instinct: what they like is to be a man's last romance.
?? Oscar Wilde

  4. Read the following humorous story for fun. You might need to look up new words in a dictionary.
My wife and her Friend Karen mere talking about their labor-saving devices as they pulled into our driv



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