Unit Eight Text I: Why Nothings Works
Pre-reading Brainstorming:
What do you think are the factors related to good quality of products? Have you got anything, say, a fountain pen, a cassette recorder, or a watch , which goes out of order or fails to work ? Do you ever ask why it doesn’t work? What are the possible causes? How much do you know about Murphy’s Law?
Murphy’s Law (墨菲法则 一种认为凡有可能出差错的事终将出差错 墨菲法则:一种认为凡有可能出差错的事终将出差错 墨菲法则
的俏皮法则) 的俏皮法则
认识自己,敢于面对现实,敢于跟自己过不去,才会克服自身的弱点,才是大勇。); “If you’re feeling good, don’t worry, you’ll soon get over it.”(“如果你自己觉得很 得意,别忙,你的感觉很快就会成为过去”,即应宠辱不惊); “A short cut is the longest distance between two points.”(“抄近路是两点之间最 长的距离”。看人家喜欢抄近路,走小路,省不少时间,但有时在比较陌生的地方, 反而会迷路,绕来绕去走许多冤枉路); “ The other line always move faster.”(“排队时另一条永远走得快些。” 去邮局、 机场、超市付帐,你挑了最短的一条排,偏偏打头的那位慢条斯理,折腾了半天,毫 不动弹。你看准隔壁那条动得快,于是一个箭步移过去,想不到等到你附上队尾,这 一条又是寸步难移。); “ You will always find something in the last place you look.(走便天涯无觅处,寻 来全不费工夫)”
This is a humorous maxim declaring, in general, that if anything can go wrong, it will. The law originated in 1949 with Captain ED Murphy, an aircraft engineer. Referring to a technician, he said, “If there is any way to do it wrong, he will.” The project manager, George E. Nichols, assigned the name “Murphy’s Law” to that and similar statement. Additional forms of Murphy’s Law “To know yourself is the ultimate aggression.”(意为:战胜别人容易,而知道自己、

  1) Main Idea: No matter how advanced the technology, quality demands intelligent, motivated human thought and action (l.13-
  15) and the heeds to a constant quality problem.
  2) Purpose of writing and Tone: To trace the cause of the shoddy goods problem.
Thread of Harris's causal analysis: He first of all makes it clear that the cause is basically human rather than technological. Then instead of plunging immediately into such likely causes as unskilled labor and lack of responsibility, he turns to look at what made the artifacts of primitive cultures so reliable in quality, the very lack of which is the cause of shoddy products in modern industrialized society.
Organization and Development: (P
  1)Theme: No matter how advanced the technology, quality demands intelligent, motivated human thought and action; (P2-
  4)Some reflection about primitive cultures to help illustrate the theme; (P
  5) In our era of industrial mass production and marketing, quality is a constant problem due to withering away of intimate sentimental and personal bonds.
CF: Outline of the text by XU
para. 1-2: Quality is not determined by technology alone. para. 3: The author explains the source of quality, and the formation of social relationship between producer and consumer. Para.4: The whole paragraph is an illustration of the difference made by the Intimate, permanent and caring relationship between the producer and the consumer. Para.
  5. The alienation of the producer feels for consumer has caused the problem of shoddy products. I.e. (
  1) the quality has nothing to do with personal intellect /profits, so why should I care about whether the product will last or not? (
  2) profit making is more important
Difficult Sentences for Translation (E-C)
Much of human existence consists of efforts aimed at making sure that things don’t go wrong, fall apart, break down, or stop running until a decent interval has elapsed after their manufacture. Forestalling Murphy’s Law as applied to products demands intelligence, skill, and commitment. A single visit to a museum which displays artifacts史前古器 物 used by simple preindustrial societies is sufficient to dispel the notion that quality is dependent on technology. Since each new employee contributes a diminished share to the overall production process, alienation from the company and its product are (is) likely to increase along with the neglect or even purposeful sabotage of quality standards.
Post reading Activities:
Class discussion In this exposition passage, what is the point that the writer intends to explain? What role does Murphy’s Law play in the present writing? What is your personal view on the cause of shoddy goods? written Assignment Write an essay on one of the following topics. Try to use causal analysis and examples to develop your thesis. Cheating in exams Discipline in study habits.
Text Ⅱ: The Plot Against People
PrePre-reading Brainstorming: Brainstorming:
  1) What are inanimate objects? How do you classify these objects?
  2) According to your own experience, can the objects that easily get lost be easily broken? learning objectives Learn to successfully classify categories To appreciate the humorous tone in the essay. And learn to use certain linguistic devices such us exaggeration and talking about trivial matters in serious terms, to achieve humorous effects.
Main Idea of the passage: Inanimate objects are classified scientifically into three categories those that break down, those that get lost, and those that don’t work, and the goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately to defeat him. The tone of this text is clearly humorous
Structure of the passage:
  1) Thesis statement: classification; (p2-
  5) About those that break down ((p6-
  10) About those that get lost (p11-
  14) About those that don’t work
  1. Three categories of inanimate objects i.e. those that break down , those that get lost , and those that don’t work. para.2-4: Objects (automobiles, washing machines, lawn mowers, furnaces, TV sets, tape recorders , slide projectors, etc) and characteristics (break down when they are most needed ) of the first category. para.5 : transitional paragraph. para6-
  10. :Objects (keys, gloves, pliers , women’s purses, etc.) and characteristics (develop a secret method of locomotion by which they are able to hide from human eyes/ ) of the second category. para.11-12: Objects (barometers, car clocks, cigarette lighters, flashlights and toy-train locomotives , etc.) and characteristics (usually work for the first few hours after being brought home, and then never work again) of the third class. para.13-14: the author tries to impress the reader that his classification is scientifically well ? grounded
Comprehension Questions & Writing Skills:
essay developed by classification Those that break down, those that get lost, and those that don't work. personifies some inanimate objects e. g., "the method each object uses to achieve its purpose" (para.
  1) "climb," "burrow," and "travel" (para.
  7). personification of inanimate objects, Making trivialities sound serious & Exaggerations, to contribute to the humorous tone ". . . in its single-minded determination" (para.
  7). "Scientists have been struck by the fact . " (para.
  8) "Some people have reached advanced ages without ever seeing some of these objects barometers, for examplein working order." (para.
Difficult Sentences for Translation
The goal of all inanimate objects is to resist man and ultimately to defeat him, and the three major classifications are based on the method each object uses to achieve its purpose. After all, they point out, a furnace could infuriate a man even more thoroughly by getting lost than by breaking down, just as a glove could upset him far more by breaking down than by getting lost. The most interesting holds that the things that don’t work have attained the highest state possible for an inanimate object, the state to which things that break down and things that get lost can still only aspire.
Topics for Post-reading Discussion
  1.what are the three categories of things discussed in the passage?
  2.And on what basis does the author classify the three categories?
  3.Can you identify the tone of the passage? And how does the author achieve the effect?
  4.Describe your personal experiences of getting irritated by the faults of inanimate objects.
Unit Nine Text I: Where is the News Leading us?
Teaching objectives
Understand the role of the news media in social life. Develop an ability to criticize the social function of the news media. Learn to use argument in combination with other expository means.
Warm-up questions
What’s the meaning of “media” or “mass media”? Do you agree that most people are strongly influenced by the media? How? To what extend are you influenced by the media? How do you define “news”? How does the author define “news”? Do you find more “good news” or “bad news” in Chinese media? What about the case in western media? Is it true that “bad news” attracts more attention? Why? What difference does it make if media are “disaster-prone” or “progress-prone”? How does the author explain this? Do you agree with the author’s opinion? What do you think is the author’s view on the obligations of the media? What do you understand are the obligations of the media?
The word media is the plural form of medium. It is the main means of mass communication ( especially television, radio, and newspapers ) regarded collectively. Traditionally, the word media is used with a plural verb. In practice, the word is now considered a collective noun, and therefore it is now acceptable for it to take either a singular or a plural verb. The mass media is another way of saying media . “The medium is the message” (Marshall McLuhan,191119
  80) one’ life-style is determined by what one has been taught to do. This statement summarizes the author’s view of the potent influence of mass media (television, Internet, newspapers magazines, etc.)
With a critical attitude towards the mass media, the writer tries to get his argument across: the responsibility of the news media is to search out and report on important eventwhether or not they come under the heading of conflict, confrontation, or catastrophe.
Structure of the passage:
  9) Leading readers to the conclusion / Cousins' argument; (P10-
  13) Strengthening the viewpoint by examples; Organization of the text by XU: Part I: (Para 1 -
  4) Introducing the topic by referring to a question raised in a public symposium (“Why are the newspapers and the television news programs so disaster-prone?”) Part II: (Para 5 --
  10) By defining the word “news”, the author explains why “bad news” is always reported while “good news” overlooked. He goes on to point out the adverse consequence of such practice Part III: (Para 11-
  13) The author argues that the media are obliged to serve as the “public philosopher”, responsible for affecting the public attitude in the right manner. (obligations of the media) And this explains why progress (“good news” ) should be reported.
Argument in association with other expository devices
Narration: happenings at the symposium; descriptions of the two speakers, questions raised at the symposium, etc. Definition: “news”, “civilization”, “progress”, “ positive news” Cause-and-effect Cause: people being over-informed about disasters while under-informed about progress; Effect: a public mood of defeatism and despair, detrimental to society; inhibiting progress Exemplification: nitrogen fixation, which is not eruptive, but which will make a contribution to human life and progress. Quotation: from Walter Lippmann an
Difficult Sentences for Translation
The other was … a newsman to the coretough, aggressive, and savvy in the ways and means of solid reporting. Generally, it comes in bits and pieces, very little of it clearly visible at any given moment, but all of it involved in the making of historical change for the better. An unrelieved diet of eruptive news depletes the essential human energies a free society needs The time has come to consider the existence of a large area of human happenings that legitimately qualify as news With an accurate report of the good life in the good society, we can begin to use the news as Bernard de Chartres suggested we use historyboosting ourselves up on our experiences, “like dwarfs seated on the shoulders of giants,” enabled, thus, “to see more things than the Ancients and things more distant.”
Journalists are said to be the “public’s philosopher”, i.e. they are responsible for affecting our attitudes. How do you define a good journalist? Explain how the journalists should behave in order to best fulfill their role. If you were a journalist, what aspect of social life will you focus on, the positive or the negative side? Why? Journalists are often tempted to hunt for sensational news, but in searching for such news they may have to intrude into people’s privacy. How can a journalist solve this dilemma? Is there any guideline for him to follow?
Text II: Should the Press be Human?
Teaching objectives Examine



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