Lesson Four: The Nightingale and the Rose

  1. Group Work
Ⅰ. Genre and writing device
  1) This is a fairy tale. Fairy tales usually bear the following characteristics: A. They are primarily meant for children. B. They are full of supernatural or magical elements, imaginary persons, animals and objects. C. They use symbols to explain or reveal deeper meanings about life. (That’s why the best fairy tales such as those by Anderson contain deeper meanings and are also eagerly read by adults.) D. They are vivid, simple in narration, which is typical of the oral tradition of fairy tales.
  2) The writing techniques used in the writing include: personification, repetition, inversion, simile and metaphor. Find sentences from the text that contain these devices. A. Personification (treating sth that is without life as a human being or representing it in human from) B. Simile and metaphor Simile: …her voice was like water bubbling from a silver jar. …as white as the foam of the sea… Metaphor: ...and the cold crystal moon C. Repetition D. Inversion Ⅱ. Plot: A young student thought that he was madly in love with the professor’s daughter. He felt miserable because he could not find a single red rose in the whole garden to give to his love, and he knew that without the rose she would not agree to dance with him in the ball to be given by the prince the next day. The Nightingale overheard this and was deeply touched by what she believed was the expression of the young man’s true love. So she decided to help the young man, but she was told that the only way to get a red rose in this cold winter was for her to build it out of her music and her heart’s blood. The Nightingale of course also valued her life, but she was ready to lay down her own life for the happiness of the young couple. She therefore did what she was told to do. The next morning, the most beautiful red rose appeared, but the Nightingale was found dead under the rose-tree. Not knowing what it had cost to produce the rose, the student thought that he was very lucky to find this flower and he immediately plucked it and ran to the professor’s daughter. The professor’s daughter, however, turned him down because she had already agreed to dance with the Chamberlain’s nephew who had given her precious stones. The student was very angry, so he threw the rose away and returned to his reading. Ⅲ. Structure Part 1: Nightingale struck by the “the mystery of love” (Para. 1-
  12) Part 2: Nightingale looking for a red rose to facilitate the love (Para. 13-
  34) Part 3: Nightingale sacrificing her life for a red rose (Para. 35-
  45) Part 4: Student discarding the red rose (Para. 46-
  54) Ⅳ. Symbolic meanings of “Red rose”, “Lizard” “Butterfly” and “Nightingale”
Red rose true love, which needs constant nourishment of passions of the lovers. Lizard cynic (cynical people).cynic: a person who sees little or no good in anything and who has no belief in human progress; person who shows this by sneering and being contemptuous. Nightingale a truthful, devoted pursuer of love, who dares to sacrifice his own precious life Student not a true lover, ignorant of love, not persistent in pursuing love Ⅴ. What meaning did Wilde want to convey in this tale? What do you think is the Wildean attitude toward love, romance, art and philosophy? This is a touching story of love, but not the love between the young student and the professor’s daughter, because neither of them understood what true love is. The girl was interested only in power and money, and the young man, in what he considered practical. The only person who understood love, treasured love, and was ready to sacrifice her life for love was the Nightingale. For her love is eternal music, love is the most precious thing: even more precious than life itself, and true love is always in the giving rather than in the taking. The story however, contains some veiled comments on life. Oscar Wilde advocated the idea of art for art’s sake, so what the student said about the Nightingale’s music (“It has form, but no feelings”) could be viewed as a sarcastic response to the author’s critics. Wilde seemed to be saying here that he was like the Nightingale, singing song after song, producing love and beauty with blood from his heart, and yet the world was too stupid to understand and appreciate him In Wilde’s comments in a letter to one of his friends (May 18
  88), he wrote: The nightingale is the true lover, if there is one. She, at least, is Romance, and the student and the girl are, like most of us, unworthy of Romance. So, at least, it seems to me, but I like to fancy that there may be many meanings in the tale, for in writing it I did not start with an idea and close it in form, but began with a form and strove to make it beautiful enough to have many secrets and many answers. Ⅵ. What is love? Is love better than life, as the Nightingale believed? Interview other students in your group and summarize your ideas.

  2. Language Points
under/ beneath under below over above beneath underneath under under below beneath The four words all mean “in a lower position relatively to some other object or place”. 下方(任何位置)
  1) Below (opposed to above) applies to sth that is anywhere in a lower place than the object of reference. Under (opposed to over) applies to sth which is below in a relatively vertical line and it may imply actual covering. 正下方 c.f. The village is under/ below the plane.
  2) Beneath is an equivalent of both below and under, but it may imply distance between the objects. e.g. the submarine beneath the ship. 距离较远
  3) Underneath is often used in place of under or beneath. It is, however, the preferred term when there
is the intent to imply complete or nearly complete concealment. 完全覆盖 e.g. mines underneath the city/ garments worn underneath a dress
  4) Under is used when there is the intent to express movement from one side to another.从一面到另一面 e.g. The boy crawled under the table.
  5) In its extended sense, beneath frequently suggests social, moral, or general inferiority. 身份地位低下 e.g. She married beneath her./ He consider such a job beneath him. 下嫁/ 有失身份
  6) In their extended sense, under and below agree in expressing inferiority but differ in the immediacy of the relation expressed. Thus one officer may be below another in rank without being under him in immediate subordination.(职位低,不一定是下属)Similarly, with reference to deficiency, below is commonly used in general, under in more specific relations. 表示 “低于” 的时候, below 笼统, under 具体 e.g. those below him (those in a lower or inferior position, rank) 比他职位低的人 those under him (those under his charge) 受他管理的人 below the average standard/ below normal temperatures those under six years of age/ a temperature under 30
  7) Fixed expressions: under cover, under way, under present situations, under construction (Under is more generally used.) blossom
  1) compare flower : a technical term, referring to the part of a plant, often beautiful, which produces seeds bloom : a flower, esp. a large one; a flower grown esp. to be looked at (大的、供观赏)的花 blossom: a flower esp. of a fruit tree
  2) extended use a. flower: the best part, the most perfect 精华部分,精英,最佳部分 e.g. She was in the flower of her youth. 正值豆蔻年华 The flower of the nation’s young men died in that battle. 优秀青年 b. bloom: a time of perfection, vigor or beauty 开花期,繁荣时期,繁盛时期 e.g. the bloom of youth / Our friendship is blooming. c. blossom: sth analogous to a natural blossom (freshness or development) 长成,发展成 e.g. Mozart blossomed (as a composer) very early in life. 在童年就崭露头角 After a shy girlhood, she is blossoming out into a beautiful young woman. 亭亭玉立
  3) Phrase: The roses are in full flower/ bloom/ blossom. (in bud)
  4) Parts of a flower: bud, petal, stalk (花梗), ovary(子房), sepals(花萼), stamens(雄蕊), thorn Plants: daisy, rose, oak-tree, daffodil bosom
  1) compare breast: either of two parts of a woman’s body that produce milk, or the smaller parts on man’s body (Longman) chest: upper front of the body from the neck to the stomach 胸部,胸腔 bosom: woman’s breast, usu. used in its extended meaning: 胸怀,怀抱,关怀
  2) translate: I’ll keep it in my bosom. 牢记心中 He grew up in the bosom of his family. 在家庭的关怀下长大
  1) People in a wedding bride bridegroom bridesmaid best man chilly cool: moderate, refreshing coldness chilly: coldness that makes one shiver (Twenty Years Ago) cold: a general term, sometimes means just a lack of warmth frosty: very cold, cold with frost Other words: icy, frigid, freezing jewels/ plants/ animals jewels opal plants daisy animals (gems) ruby rose amber oak-tree crystal daffodil emeralds Other precious stones: diamond, sapphire, jade, topaz, pearl
a cool breeze 凉爽 a chilly wind 凉飕飕 cold wind 寒风 freezing wind 凛冽的寒风
nightingale lizard butterfly (fly, dragonfly, firefly) dove
  1) compare ebb: (of the tide) go out, recede flow: (of the tide) come in, rise the ebb and flow of (life): the regular increase and decrease of sth, constant fluctuation 消长,兴衰,起伏
  2) examples His courage is ebbing away. The tide is on/ at the ebb. (diminishing, declining) 退潮,每况愈下 My luck fling
  1) compare throw: send sth through the air with a quick movement (general word, often interchangeable with others) cast: throw (formal or old fashion) fling: throw violently hurl: throw with force (over a long distance) toss: throw lightly, in a careless and aimless way e.g. cast a net/ spell/ toss (up) 扔钱币 / toss over
  2) Translate the following sentences, paying attention to the meanings of “fling”. He flung his clothes on the floor with anger. (to throw violently, with force)猛地一扔 She flung herself down on the sofa. (to move violently or quickly) 一把推/扑到在 She flung back her head proudly. (to move violently or quickly) 一甩
He flung himself into the task. (to devote to) 投身 flush
  1) meaning Mary’s face flushed (crimson) with embarrassment. blushed became red
  2) compare The gunshot flushed a nightingale from the bush. (try to capture by forcing out) The bird still fluttered after it had been shot down. (move quickly and lightly up and down) artery artery vein musical instrument musical instrument stringed instrument: harp, violin percussion instrument: drum wind instrument: pipe, horn brass instrument reed instrument
delicate She has a delicate hand = She has a small and beautiful hand. delicate skin/ silk (soft, tender) 柔软的丝绸,娇嫩的皮肤 delicate machine (carefully made, exquisite) 精巧的机器 delicate china (fragile, easy to break or damage) 易碎的瓷器 delicate sense of smell (sharp, sensitive) 敏锐的嗅觉 delicate relationship/ balance/ situation (that needs to be dealt carefully) 微妙的 delicacy: softness, tenderness soar The jet soared into the air. (The jet went up high in the air quickly) 急速升入高空 Prices are soaring. (Prices are rising rapidly.) 物价飞涨 Our spirits soared. (We suddenly feel very happy.) 精神高涨

  3. Expressions
for/ from the want of a red rose because of the lack of a red rose e.g. The plants died for/from want of water. He stayed home for want of anything better to do. They lived in want = They lived in poverty Are you in want of money? = in need of wretched miserable, unhappy
sit lonely (adj.) ?subject complement sit silent the fan of coral (anything resembling a fan) The lizard laughed outright. the mouth of a river burst out laughing. the foot of the page the teeth of a saw Give me a red rose and I will sing you my sweetest song. (as a result of this) Come late again, and you will be fired. nip the buds stop the growth of the buds stain color, dye, tarnish the topmost spray of the rose tree the highest twig (small branch) of the rose tree (which bears buds, leaves or flowers) linger on in the sky stayed in the sky, reluctant to leave It’s body trembled all over with ecstasy All its body trembled with intense delight It will not go with my dress. It will not match my dress. nip sth in the bud stop or destroy sth at an early stage in its development

  4. Dictation

  1. beneath
  2. crimson
  3. bloom
  4. sincerity
  5. instrument
  6. ecstasy
  7. crystal
  8. flush
  9. wretched
  10. vein
  11. dedicate
  12. flutter
  13. cynic
  14. bubble
  15. emerald
  16. linger
  17. jewel
  18. splendid
  19. banish
  20. artificial
The story tells of a young student who thought he was madly in love with the professor’s daughter. He felt miserable because he could not find a single red rose in the whole garden to give to his love, and without the
rose she would not agree to dance with him. The Nightingale overheard this and was deeply touched by what she believed was the expression of the young man’s true love. She decided to help the young man, but she was told that the only way to get a red rose in the severe winter was for her to build it out of her music and her heart’s blood. The Nightingale of course also valued her life, but she was ready to sacrifice her own life for the happiness of the young couple. The next morning, the most beautiful red rose appeare


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