Unit 4 Everyday Use for Your Grandmama Everyday Use for Your Grandmama 教学目的及重点难点
Objectives of Teaching To comprehend the whole story To lean and master the vocabulary and expressions To learn to paraphrase the difficult sentences To understand the structure of the text To appreciate the style and rhetoric of the passage. Important and Difficult points The comprehension of the whole story The understanding of certain expressions The appreciation of the writing technique Colloquial, slangy or black English Cultural difference between nationalities in the US
IV. Character Analysis Dee: She has held life always in the palm of one hand. "No" is a word the world never learned to say to her. She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature. She was determined to share down any disaster in her efforts. I. Rhetorical devices: Parallelism: chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle Metaphor: She washed us in a river of...burned us... Pressed us ...to shove us away stare down any disaster in her efforts...
Everyday Use for your grandmama -- by Alice Walker
Everyday Use for your grandmama
Alice Walker
I will wait for her in the yard that Maggie and I made so clean and wavy yester day afternoon. A yard like this is more comfortable than most people know. It is not just a yard. It is like an extended living room. When the hard clay is swept clean as a floor and the fine sand around the edges lined with tiny, irregular grooves, anyone can come and sit and look up into the elm tree and wait for the breezes that never
come inside the house. Maggie will be nervous until after her sister goes: she will stand hopelessly in corners, homely and ashamed of the burn scars down her arms and legs, eying her sister with a mixture of envy and awe. She thinks her sister has held life always in the palm of one hand, that "no" is a word the world never learned to say to her. You've no doubt seen those TV shows where the child who has "made it" is confronted, as a surprise, by her own mother and father, tottering in weakly from backstage. (A Pleasant surprise, of course: What would they do if parent and child came on the show only to curse out and insult each other?) On TV mother and child embrace and smile into each other's face. Sometimes the mother and father weep, the child wraps them in her arms and leans across the table to tell how she would not have made it without their help. I have seen these programs. Sometimes I dream a dream in which Dee and I are suddenly brought together on a TV program of this sort. Out of a cark and soft-seated limousine I am ushered into a bright room filled with many people. There I meet a smiling, gray, sporty man like Johnny Carson who shakes my hand and tells me what a fine girl I have. Then we are on the stage and Dee is embracing me with tear s in her eyes. She pins on my dress a large orchid, even though she has told me once that she thinks or chides are tacky flowers. In real life I am a large, big-boned woman with rough, man-working hands. In the winter I wear flannel nightgowns to bed and overalls during the day. I can kill and clean a hog as mercilessly as a man. My fat keeps me hot in zero weather. I can work outside all day, breaking ice to get water for washing; I can eat pork liver cooked over the open tire minutes after it comes steaming from the hog. One winter I knocked a bull calf straight in the brain between the eyes with a sledge hammer and had the meat hung up to chill be-fore nightfall. But of course all this does not show on television. I am the way my daughter would want me to be: a hundred pounds lighter, my skin like an uncooked barley pan-cake. My hair glistens in the hot bright lights. Johnny Car ? son has much to do to keep up with my quick and witty tongue. But that is a mistake. I know even before I wake up. Who ever knew a Johnson with a quick tongue? Who can even imagine me looking a strange white man in the eye? It seems to me I have talked to them always with one toot raised in flight, with my head turned in whichever way is farthest from them. Dee, though. She would always look anyone in the eye. Hesitation was no part of her nature. "How do I look, Mama?" Maggie says, showing just enough of her thin body enveloped in pink skirt and red blouse for me to know she's there, almost hidden by the door. "Come out into the yard," I say. Have you ever seen a lame animal, perhaps a dog run over by some careless person rich enough to own a car, sidle up to someone who is ignorant enough to be kind of him? That is the way my Maggie walks. She has been like this, chin on chest, eyes on ground, feet in shuffle, ever since the fire that burned the other house to the
ground. Dee is lighter than Maggie, with nicer hair and a fuller figure. She's a woman now, though sometimes I forget. How long ago was it that the other house burned? Ten, twelve years? Sometimes I can still hear the flames and feel Maggie's arms sticking to me, her hair smoking and her dress falling off her in little black papery flakes. Her eyes seemed stretched open, blazed open by the flames reflect-ed in them. And Dee. I see her standing off under the sweet gum tree she used to dig gum out of; a look at concentration on her face as she watched the last dingy gray board of the house tall in toward the red-hot brick chimney. Why don't you do a dance around the ashes? I'd wanted to ask her. She had hated the house that much. I used to think she hated Maggie, too. But that was before we raised the money, the church and me, to send her to Augusta to school. She used to read to us without pity, forcing words, lies, other folks' habits, whole lives upon us two, sitting trapped and ignorant underneath her voice. She washed us in a river of make-believe, burned us with a lot of knowledge we didn't necessarily need to know. Pressed us to her with the serious way she read, to shove us away at just the moment, like dimwits, we seemed about to understand. Dee wanted nice things. A yellow organdy dress to wear to her graduation from high school; black pumps to match a green suit she'd made from an old suit somebody gave me. She was determined to stare down any disaster in her efforts. Her eyelids would not flicker for minutes at a time. Often I fought off the temptation to shake her. At sixteen she had a style of her own' and knew what style was. I never had an education myself. After second grade the school was closed down. Don't ask me why. in 1927 colored asked fewer questions than they do now. Sometimes Maggie reads to me. She stumbles along good-naturedly but can't see well. She knows she is not bright. Like good looks and money, quickness passed her by. She will marry John Thomas (who has mossy teeth in an earnest face) and then I'll be free to sit here and I guess just sing church songs to myself. Although I never was a good singer. Never could carry a tune. I was always better at a man's job. 1 used to love to milk till I was hooked in the side in '
  49. Cows are soothing and slow and don't bother you, unless you try to milk them the wrong way. I have deliberately turned my back on the house. It is three rooms, just like the one that burned, except the roof is tin: they don't make shingle roofs any more. There are no real windows, just some holes cut in the sides, like the portholes in a ship, but not round and not square, with rawhide holding the shutter s up on the outside. This house is in a pasture, too, like the other one. No doubt when Dee sees it she will want to tear it down. She wrote me once that no matter where we "choose" to live, she will manage to come see us. But she will never bring her friends. Maggie and I thought about this and Maggie asked me, Mama, when did Dee ever have any friends?" She had a few. Furtive boys in pink shirts hanging about on washday after school. Nervous girls who never laughed. Impressed with her they worshiped the well-turned phrase, the cute shape, the scalding humor that erupted like bubbles in
lye. She read to them. When she was courting Jimmy T she didn't have much time to pay to us, but turned all her faultfinding power on him. He flew to marry a cheap city girl from a family of ignorant flashy people. She hardly had time to recompose herself. When she comes I will meet -- but there they are! Maggie attempts to make a dash for the house, in her shuffling way, but I stay her with my hand. "Come back here," I say. And she stops and tries to dig a well in the sand with her toe. It is hard to see them clearly through the strong sun. But even the first glimpse of leg out of the car tells me it is Dee. Her feet were always neat-looking, as it God himself had shaped them with a certain style. From the other side of the car comes a short, stocky man. Hair is all over his head a foot long and hanging from his chin like a kinky mule tail. I hear Maggie suck in her breath. "Uhnnnh," is what it sounds like. Like when you see the wriggling end of a snake just in front of your toot on the road. "Uhnnnh." Dee next. A dress down to the ground, in this hot weather. A dress so loud it hurts my eyes. There are yel-lows and oranges enough to throw back the light of the sun. I feel my whole face warming from the heat waves it throws out. Earrings gold, too, and hanging down to her shoulders. Bracelets dangling and making noises when she moves her arm up to shake the folds of the dress out of her armpits. The dress is loose and flows, and as she walks closer, I like it. I hear Maggie go "Uhnnnh" again. It is her sister's hair. It stands straight up like the wool on a sheep. It is black as night and around the edges are two long pigtails that rope about like small lizards disappearing behind her ears. "Wa-su-zo-Tean-o!" she says, coming on in that gliding way the dress makes her move. The short stocky fellow with the hair to his navel is all grinning and he follows up with "Asalamalakim, my mother and sister!" He moves to hug Maggie but she falls back, right up against the back of my chair. I feel her trembling there and when I look up I see the perspiration falling off her chin. "Don't get up," says Dee. Since I am stout it takes something of a push. You can see me trying to move a second or two before I make it. She turns, showing white heels through her sandals, and goes back to the car. Out she peeks next with a Polaroid. She stoops down quickly and lines up picture after picture of me sitting there in front of the house with Maggie cowering behind me. She never takes a shot without making sure the house is included. When a cow comes nibbling around the edge of the yard she snaps it and me and Maggie and the house. Then she puts the Polaroid in the back seat of the car, and comes up and kisses me on the forehead. Meanwhile Asalamalakim is going through motions with Maggie's hand. Maggie's hand is as limp as a fish, and probably as cold, despite the sweat, and she keeps trying to pull it back. It looks like Asalamalakim wants to shake hands but wants to do it fancy. Or maybe he don't know how people shake hands. Anyhow, he soon gives up on Maggie. "Well," I say. "Dee."
"No, Mama," she says. "Not 'Dee', Wangero Leewanika Kemanjo!" "What happened to 'Dee'?" I wanted to know. "She's dead," Wangero said. "I couldn't bear it any longer, being named after the people who oppress me." "You know as well as me you was named after your aunt Dicle," I said. Dicie is my sister. She named Dee. We called her "Big Dee" after Dee was born. "But who was she named after?" asked Wangero. "I guess after Grandma Dee," I said. "And who was she named after?" asked Wangero. "Her mother," I said, and saw Wangero was getting tired. "That's about as far back as I can trace it," I said. Though, in fact, I probably could have carried it back beyond the Civil War through the branches. "Well," said Asalamalakim, "there you are." "Uhnnnh," I heard Maggie say. "There I was not," I said, before 'Dicie' cropped up in our family, so why should I try to trace it that far back?" He just stood there grinning, looking down on me like somebody inspecting a Model A car. Every once in a while he and Wangero sent eye signals over my head. "How do you pronounce this name?" I asked. "You don't have to call me by it if you don't want to," said Wangero. "Why shouldn't I?" I asked. "If that's what you want us to call you, we'll call you. " "I know it might sound awkward at first," said Wangero. "I'll get used to it," I said. "Ream it out again." Well, soon we got the name out of the way. Asalamalakim had a name twice as long and three times as hard. After I tripped over it two or three times he told me to just call him Hakim-a-barber. I wanted to ask him was he a barber, but I didn't really think he was, so I don't ask. "You must belong to those beet-cattle peoples down the road," I said. They said "Asalamalakirn" when they met you too, but they didn't Shake hands. Always too busy feeding the cattle, fixing the fences, putting up salt-lick shelters, throwing down hay. When the white folks poisoned some of the herd the men stayed up all night with rifles in their hands. I walked a mile and a half just to see the sight. Hakim-a-barber said, "I accept some of their doctrines, but farming and raising cattle is not my style." (They didn't tell me, and I didn't ask, whether Wangero (Dee) had really gone and married him.) We sat down to eat and right away he said he didn't eat collards and pork was unclean. Wangero, tho
 

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