Lesson 12 The Loons Margaret Laurence Objectives of Teaching 1)Improving students’ ability to read between lines and understand the text properly; 2)Cultivating students’ ability to make a creative reading; 3)Enhancing students’ ability to appreciate the text 4)Helping students to understanding rhetorical devices; 5)Encouraging students to voice their own viewpoint fluently and accurately. Important and Difficult Points 1)understanding the theme of this passage; 2)appreciating the writing style. I. Background information about the author Margaret Laurence is one of the major contemporary Canadian writers. After her marriage, she lived in Africa for a number of years. Her works include A Tree of Poverty(1954), This Side of Jordan(1960), The Tomorrow-Tamer (1963), The Prophet’s Camel Bell(1963), The Stone Angel(1964) and The Fire Dwellers (1969), A Bird in the House (1970), The Diveners (1974). II. Type of writing “The Loons” (1970) is included in the Norton Anthology of Short Fiction, 2nd ed., 1981. III. Background of the story This touching story tells of the plight of a girl from a native Indian family. Her people were marginalized by the white-dominating society. They were unable to exist independently in a respectable and dignified way. They found it impossible to fit into the main currents of culture and difficult to be assimilated comfortably. At school, the girl felt out of place and ill at ease with the white children. When she had grown up she didn’t have any chance to improve her life. In fact her situation became more and more messed up. In the end she was killed in a fire. IV. Detailed Study of the Text 1. shack: a small roughly built house, hut 2. dwelling: n (fml) place of residence; house, flat, etc eg: my dwelling in Kaifeng dwelling-house(esp. law): house used as a residence, not as a place of work 3. belong: to be suitable or advantageous, be in the right place eg: I don't belong in a big city like this. He doesn't belong in the advanced learners’ class. She refuses to go abroad: She belongs here. IV. Detailed Study of the Text 4. odd: not regular, occasional, casual, occasional, random eg: odd jobs His life was not dull with the odd adventure now and then. 5. relief: aid in the form of goods, coupon or money given, as by a government agency, to persons unable to support themselves eg: a relief lawyer on relief: receiving government aid because of poverty, unemployment, etc. IV. Detailed Study of the Text 6. …with a face that seemed totally unfamiliar with laughter, would knock at the doors of the town’s brick houses… This suggests that the Tonnerres had lived a very miserable life. They had never experienced happiness in their whole life. The “brick houses” indicates the wealthy people’s home. IV. Detailed Study of the Text 7. flare: 1) burn brightly but briefly or unsteadily eg: The match flared in the darkness. flare up: burn suddenly more intensely eg: The fire flared up as I put more logs on it. 2) reach a more violent state; suddenly become angry eg:Violence has flared up again. He flares up at the slightest provocation. 3) (of an illness)recur, happen again eg: My back trouble has flared up again. 8. dogged: determined; not giving up easily eg: a dogged defence of the city Although he's less talented, he won by sheer dogged persistence. V.Organization of the story Part I. (Paras 1-2): Introduction of the novel---the general background. Part II. (Para.3-4) The whole story Section 1. Para.3 (p.206) – Para.6 (p.208) Introducing the heroine Piquette. Section 2. Para.7 (p.208) – Para.2 (p.214) Days together with Piquette at Diamond Lake Section 3. Para.3 (p. 214) – Para.2 (p.217) Second meeting with Piquette several years later Section 4. Para.3 (p.217) – Para.4 (p.218) Piquette’s death Part III. (Para. 5 on page 218 – end). Analogy VI.Rhetorical devices Hyperbole …dresses that were always miles too long. …those voices belonged to a world separated by aeons from our neat world Metaphor …the filigree of the spruce trees daughter of the forest I tried another line A streak of amber Personification The two grey squirrels were still there, gossiping… The news that somehow had not found its way into letters. I tried another line a streak of amber VI.Rhetorical devices Transferred epithet All around, the spruce trees grew tall and close-set, branches blackly sharp against the sky which was lightened by a cold flickering of stars. I was ashamed, ashamed of my own timidity, the frightened tendency to look the other way. My brother, Roderick, who had not been born when we were here last summer, sat on the car rug in the sunshine and examined a brown spruce core, meticulously turning it round and round in his small and curious hands. VI.Rhetorical devices Metonymy Those voices belonged to a world separated by aeons from our neat world of summer cottages and the lighted lamps of home. (our modern civilization) Synecdoche the damn bone’s flared up again VII.Rhetorical devices Metonymy Those voices belonged to a world separated by aeons from our neat world of summer cottages and the lighted lamps of home. (our modern civilization) Synecdoche the damn bone’s flared up again VII. The theme of the story The death of the heroine is like the disappearance of the loons on Diamond Lake. Just as the narrator’s father predicted, the loons would go away when more cottages were built at the Lake with more people moving in. The loons disappeared as nature was ruined by civilization. In a similar way, the girl and her people failed to find their positions in modern society. VIII. Questions for discussion How is the diasappearance of the loons related to the theme of this story?
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