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Методические указания по курсу

Методические указания по курсу

«Анализ текста»

для студентов специальности

«Переводчик в сфере профессиональной коммуникации»

(английский язык)

3-е издание



Иваново 2015


Составитель: И.В. Ермакова

Редактор: Т.В. Смирнова


Данное пособие разработано по курсу «Анализ текста» 1 этап для специальности «Переводчик в сфере профессиональной коммуника-ции». Пособие может быть предложено тем, кто занимается по учебнику Э.П. Ельниковой «Keep up Your English», так как, на наш взгляд, является его логическим дополнением.

Целью пособия является знакомство с образцами классической и современной англоязычной литературы, развитие навыков устного и письменного анализа текста, совершенствование навыков работы с толковыми английскими словарями.

Предложенные рассказы – фабульны, легко поддаются пересказу, интересны для обсуждения и, таким образом, должны служить одной из основных задач пособия – стимулировать устную речь в виде связного, логически-стройного высказывания.

Задача пособия также состоит в том, чтобы познакомить студентов с основными особенностями употребления некоторых слов и словосочетаний, вызывающих затруднения ввиду несовпадения их объема значений в английском и русских языках, тем самым предупредить возникновение типичных языковых ошибок.


Утверждены цикловой методической комиссией ИВТФ








Unit I. Learning English through Classics…………………………….4



Unit II. Reading and Analysis…………………………………………20



Unit III. Learning Vocabulary……………...…………………………46



Appendix. Summary and Essay Writing……………………………..62



“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Why Can’t the English?


Place: London, Covent Garden Market.



Look at her – pris’ner of the gutters;

Condemned by ev’ry syllable she utters.

By right she should be taken out and hung

For the cold-blooded murder of the English tongue!





Higgins. (Imitating her)

Aoooow! Heavens, what a noise!

This is what the British population

Calls an element’ry education.



Come, sir, I think you picked a poor example.



Did I?

Hear them down in Soho Square

Dropping “H”s everywhere,

Speaking English any way they like.

(To one of the costermongers at the fire).

You, sir, did you go to school?



Whatya tike me fer, a fool?


Higgins. (To Pickering).

No one taught him “take” instead of “tike”.

Hear a Yorkshireman, or worse,

Hear a Cornishman converse.

I’d rather hear a choir singing flat.

Chickens cackling in a barn…

(Pointing to Eliza).

Just like this one -!






I ask, you, sir, what sort of word is that?

It’s “Aooow” and “Garn” that keep her in her place.

Not her wretched clothes and dirty face!


Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?

This verbal class distinction by now should be antique.

If you spoke as she does, sir,

Instead of the way you do,

Why, you might be selling flowers, too.



I beg you pardon, sir!



An Englishman’s way of speaking absolutely classifies him.

The moment he talks he makes some other Englishman despise him.

One common language I’m afraid we’ll never get,

Oh, why can’t the English learn to set

A good example to people whose English is painful to your ears?

The Scotch and the Irish leave you close to tears.

There even are places where English completely disappears.

In America, they haven’t used it for years!

Why can’t the English teach their children how to speak?

Norwegians learn Norwegian; the Greeks are taught their Greek.

In France every Frenchman knows his language from “A” to “Z”.

The French never care what they do, actually, as long as they pronounce it properly.

Arabians learn Arabian with the speed of summer lightning.

The Hebrews learn it backwards, which is absolutely frightening.

But use proper English, you’re regarded as a freak.

Why can’t the English,

Why can’t the English learn to speak?


Assignment for song 2:

Find the Russian equivalents for the English words and word combinations from the song:

to desire nothing more than; to live exactly as you like and do precisely what you want; to live one’s life without strife; one’s serenity (sabbatical) is through if …; an ordinary man; to redecorate one’s home from the cellar to the dome; to be up against the wall; to have something in mind; to invite eternal strife; a gentle man; an even-tempered man; a good-natured man; a patient man; down to one’s fingertips; to complain of (about); not to let an insulting remark escape the lips; to be a man of grace and polish; not to speak above a hush; to use the language that would make a sailor blush; to plunge in a knife; to tie the knot around the neck; a pensive man; to meditate; to contemplate; to jabber; to chatter.

I Shall Never Let a Woman in My Life


I’m an ordinary man;

Who desires nothing more

Than just an ordinary chance

To live exactly as he likes

And do precisely what he wants.

An average man am I

Of no eccentric will;


Who likes to live his life

Free of strife,

Doing whatever he thinks is best for him.

Just an ordinary man.

But let a woman in your life

And your serenity is through!

She’ll redecorate your home

From the cellar to the dome;

Then go on to the enthralling

Fun of overhauling



Let a woman in your life

And you are up against the wall!

Make a plan and you will find

She has something else in mind;

And so rather than do either

You do something else that neither

Likes at all.


You want to talk of Keats or Milton;

She only wants to talk of love.

You go to see a play or ballet

She spends it searching for her glove.


Let a woman in your life

And you invite eternal strife!

Let them buy their wedding bands

For those anxious little hands;

I’d be equally as willing

For a dentist to be drilling

Than to ever let a woman in my life!


I’m a very gentle man;

Even-tempered and good-natured,

Whom you never hear complain;

Who has the milk of human kindness

By the quart in ev’ry vein.


A patient man am I

Down to my fingertips:

The sort who never could,

Ever would

Let an insulting remark escape his lips.

A very gentle man.


But let a woman in your life

And patience hasn’t got a chance.

She will beg you for advice;

Your reply will be concise.

And she’ll listen very nicely

Then go out and do precisely

What she wants!


You were a man of grace and polish

Who never spoke above a hush.

Now all at once you’re using language

That would make a sailor blush.


Oh, let a woman in your life

And you are plunging in a knife!

Let the others of my sex

Tie the knot – around their necks;

I’d prefer a new edition

Of the Spanish Inquisition

Than to ever let a woman in my life!


I’m a quiet living man

Who prefers to spend the evenings

In the silence of his room;

Who likes an atmosphere as restful

As an undiscovered tomb.


A pensive man am I

Of philosophic joys;

Who likes to meditate.


Free from humanity’s mad, inhuman noise.

Quiet living man.


But let a woman in your life

And your sabbatical is through!

In a line that never ends

Come an army of her friends;

Come to jabber and to chatter

And to tell her what the matter

Is with you.


She’ll have a booming, boisterous family

Who will descend on you on masse.

She’ll have a large Wagnerian mother

With a voice that shatters glass!


I shall never let a woman in my life!

Assignment for song 3:

Find in the song the English for:


правдивый, честный (3); благородный, великодушный; похлопать кого-либо по спине (выразить кому-либо одобрение); походить на кого-либо; мужчинам так легко угодить; чувствовать себя свободно; один на миллион; время от времени; в общем и целом; сомневаться в правдивости; вести размеренный образ жизни; помогать в трудную минуту; быть готовым поднять чье-либо настроение (помочь избавиться от грусти); привести в порядок волосы (мысли).




Text Interpretation


Reading a piece of fiction we participate in the adventures and the imaginary experiences of imaginary people. There are two main types of literature: literature of escape and literature of interpretation. Escape literature has its only object – pleasure. It is created to entertain readers. A story becomes interpretative as it illuminates some aspects of human life or behavior. An interpretative story presents an insight into the nature and conditions of our existence. It gives us a keener awareness of what it is to be a human being in the Universe. It helps us to understand other people and ourselves.

In the text interpretation the reader gets an insight into the plot, the composition, the idea and themes, the problems and facts of life and the characters.

Plot is a sequence of events of which a story is composed. It is the easiest element in fiction to comprehend and put into words. The plot may include what a character does as well as what he says or thinks. But it leaves our descriptions and analyses concentrating on major happenings. The plot may include one or many episodes.

The development of the plot depends on the conflict. The conflict may be physical, mental and emotional. It may be of three types:

1. MAN against MAN (the main character is in conflict with some other person or group of persons);

2. MAN against ENVIRONMENT (the main character is in conflict with external force, e.g. Nature, fate, society, etc.);

3. MAN against HIMSELF (the main personage is in conflict with his own qualities of character).

In some stories the conflict is single, clear-cut and easily identified. In others it is multiple, various and subtle.

The central character in the conflict whether he be a sympathetic or an unsympathetic person, is referred to as the protagonist. The forces arrayed against the protagonist whether persons, things, conventions of society or traits of his own character, are the antagonists.

Reading for character is more difficult than reading for the plot. Anyone can repeat what a person has done in a story, but considerable skill may be needed to describe what a person is.

An author may present his character directly and indirectly. In direct presentation he tells us straight out what a character is like or someone in the story tells us about it. In indirect presentation the author shows us the character in action. We conclude what a character is like from what he thinks or says or does.

All fictional characters may be classified as static (who are the same sort of people at the beginning or at the end of the story) and developing or dynamic (if they undergo a permanent change for the better or for the worse). The characters are flat if they are characterized by one or two traits and round if they are many-sided. Stock-character is the stereotyped figure who has occurred so often in fiction that his nature is immediately known (the cruel stepmother, the beautiful modest girl or the brilliant detective with eccentric manners, etc.).

The setting of a story is the place and time in which the story happens. Whatever the details of setting are, they have an impact on the characters. The details that are used to sketch a setting need not to be only visual, for the author may successfully appeal to any of our senses. For example, the sense of sound might be important in a story about a violent storm.

Every kind of fiction has a structural design, which is called the composition. There are three main elements in the composition: the exposition (the necessary preliminaries to the action in which the theme or subject is presented; it may be detailed and concentrated in one place or scattered all through the story); the climax (the highest point of the story); the outcome (the unwinding of the action, the events immediately following the climax and bringing the action to an end).

The theme of a piece of fiction is its controlling idea or its central insight, its central purpose. In getting at the theme it’s better to ask not “What does the story teach? ” but “What does it reveal? ” There are no prescribed methods for discovering the theme. Sometimes the best approach is to explore the nature of the central conflict and its outcome. Sometimes the title may provide an important clue. Sometimes it may be the revelation of a human character. Sometimes the theme is explicitly stated by the author or by one of the characters. More often it is implied, or expressed implicitly.

As the theme is a complete idea, it should be stated in a complete sentence. For example, the theme may be expressed in the following form “Motherhood has more frustrations than rewards.”

Some readers consider the terms “moral” and “theme” to be interchangeable. Sometimes they really are and the theme of the story may be expressed as a moral principle without doing violence to the story. So in fables, the theme is a moral.

The terms “theme” and “subject” are also sometimes interchangeable. E.g. “What is the subject/theme of the book? ” or “I have read several books on that subject/theme.” However, they are not synonyms. “Theme” is more general than “subject”. Subject is a specific situation on series of events. Compare:

a) - What is the book about?

- … a famous architect who gives up his career and goes to Africa where gets involved in the war of a leper colony.

- That’s unusual subject

b) The theme of loneliness is one to which the author often returns in his novels and stories.

If we want to focus on the tone of a story, we should identify the following terms.

Humour is the quality of being amusing or comical. It usually causes laughter or smile.

Irony is a contrast between appearance and reality. The discrepancy is between what is said or done and what is implied or expected. E.g. “It must be delightful to find oneself in a foreign country without a penny in one’s pocket.” So irony makes it possible to suggest meanings without stating them.

Satire is writing that uses wit and humour to ridicule vices, follies, stupidities, and abuses. Satirists, by directing their barbs toward those they view as offenders, hope to improve the situation – to reform the individuals, groups, or humanity as a whole. Satire may be gentle and amusing or it may be cruel or even vicious. Whatever its tone, satire is usually subtle enough to require the reader to make at least a small mental leap to connect it with its target.

As for sarcasm, it is a sharply mocking or contemptuously ironic remark intended to wound another.

Phrases for Rendering

1. The author reveals the drawbacks (demerits) of …; preaches a humane (altruistic, considerate, merciful, etc.) attitude to …; mocks at; criticizes; ridicules; makes a laughing stock of; idealizes; glorifies; declares; proclaims; wants to make us: think, meditate on, ponder over, feel ashamed for smb./sth.; arouses in us a feeling of (guilt, regret, remorse, sympathy, etc.); expresses some interesting ideas about/on (family life).

2. The author is sure (unlikely, likely) to make us reconsider our attitude to, look inside ourselves, reveal the inner motives of, take sides with, take up a firm attitude, not to jump at conclusions, etc.

3. The idea of (individual responsibility) is introduced right at the beginning and developed throughout the book. The idea of (racial equality) is never explicitly stated/expressed, but it is implicit in all his works.

4. The author raises; deals with; dwells on; touches upon the problem of …

5. The story entitled (headlined) … is about …

The subject matter of the story is sentimental, tragic, banal, romantic, dramatic, etc.

6. The scene is laid; the setting of the story is; the action takes place; the events unfold, the plot runs as follows; the plot centers on the fate (relations, behavior), round the events; the plot unfolds this way.

7. The author creates/evokes an atmosphere of (mystery and suspense) from the very first page. The light-hearted atmosphere of the book makes it ideal holiday reading. The spirit of the book stayed with me for a long time.

8. I share the author’s opinion (doubts, hesitation, meditation, etc.).

I strongly disagree with the author’s opinion (view).

I also feel very strong about smth. (charity, mercy, compassion, humanness, etc.).

That remains to be seen if …

It would be right/wrong to assume that …

It is fair/unfair to suggest that …


Story (Book) Review

I. Introducing the author: his biography and literary heritage (if the information is available).

II. Identifying the main elements of the story:

1. What problems does the story deal with?

2. When and where is the scene in the story laid?

3. Who are the main characters?

III. Assessing the story:

1. What type of literature does the story belong to?

2. How are the characters presented (directly or indirectly)?

3. Are they typical representatives of their social stratum?

4. What is the nature of conflict(s) the characters face?

5. Is the theme of the story significant in human, social and moral terms? Is it stated explicitly or implicitly?

6. Are the elements of composition easily defined?

7. What is the tone of the story (sad, pessimistic, encouraging, light, romantic, pathetic, humorous, satirical or sarcastic)?

8. Are the style and the language that the story is written in vivid and expressive?

IV. Sharing your impressions of the story, emotional response and feelings the story evokes:

1. Did you enjoy reading the story?

2. Is it involving, interesting and captivating?

3. Is the plot dynamic?

4. Do the characters seem to you true to life?

5. Would you like to read some other stories by this author?



Speak on the following stories according to the given outline. Use in your text interpretation the suggested phrases for rendering.


William Saroyan





It is the opinion of my grandmother, God I bless her, that all men should labor, and at the table, a moment ago, she said to me: You must learn to do some good work, the making of some item useful to man, something out of clay, or out of wood, or metal, or cloth. It is not proper for a young man to be ignorant of an honorable craft. Is there anything you can make? Can you make a simple table, a chair, a plain dish, a rug, a coffee pot? Is there anything you can do?

And my grandmother looked at me with anger.

I know, she said, you are supposed to be a writer, and I suppose you are. You certainly smoke enough cigarettes to be anything, and the whole house is full of the smoke, but you must learn to make solid things, things that can be used, that can be seen and touched.

There was a king of the Persians, said my grandmother, and he had a son, and this boy fell in love with a shepherd’s daughter. He went to his father and he said, My lord, I love a shepherd’s daughter, and I would have her for my wife. And the king said, I am a king and you are my son and when I die you shall be king, how can it be that you would marry the daughter of a shepherd? And the son said, My lord, I do not know but I know that I love this girl and would have her for the queen.

The king said that his son’s love for the girl was from God, and he said, I will send a message to her. And he called a messenger to him and he said, Go to the shepherd’s daughter and say that my son loves her and would have her for his wife. And the messenger went to the girl and he said, The king’s son loves you and would have you for his wife. And the girl said, What labor does he do? And the messenger said, Why, he is the son of the king; he does no labor. And the girl said, He must learn to do some labor. And the messenger returned to the king and spoke the words of the shepherd’s daughter.

The king said to his son, The shepherd’s daughter wishes you to learn some craft. Would you still have her for your wife? And the son said, Yes, I will learn to weave straw rugs. And the boy was taught to weave rugs of straw, in patterns and in colors and with ornamental designs, and at the end of three days he was making very fine straw rugs, and the messenger returned to the shepherd’s daughter, and he said, These rugs of straw are the work of the king’s son.

And the girl went with the messenger to the king’s palace, and she became the wife of the king’s son.

One day, said my grandmother, the king’s son was walking through the streets of Bagdad, and he came upon an eating place which was so clean and cool that he entered it and sat at a table.

This place, said my grandmother, was a place of thieves and murderers, and they took the king’s son and placed him in a large dungeon where many great men of the city were being held, and the thieves and murderers were killing the fattest of the men and feeding them to the leanest of them, and making sport of it. The king’s son was the leanest of the men, and it was not known that he was the son of the king of the Persians, so his life was spared, and he said to the thieves and murderers, I am a weaver of straw rugs and these rugs have great value. And they brought him straw and asked him to weave and in three days he weaved three rugs, and he said, Carry these rugs to the palace of the king of the Persians, and for each rug he will give you a hundred gold pieces of money. And the rugs were carried to the palace of the king, and when the king saw the rugs he saw that they were the work of his son and he took the rugs to the shepherd’s daughter and he said, These rugs were brought to the palace and they are the work of my son who is lost. And the shepherd’s daughter took each rug and looked at it closely and in the design of each rug she saw in the written language of the Persians a message from her husband, and she related this message to the king.

And the king, said my grandmother, sent many soldiers to the place of the thieves and murderers, and the soldiers rescued all the captives and killed all the thieves and murderers, and the king’s son was returned safely to the palace of his father, and to the company of his wife, the little shepherd’s daughter. And when the boy went into the palace and saw again his wife, he humbled himself before her and he embraced her feet, and he said, My love, it is because of you that I am alive, and the king was greatly pleased with the shepherd’s daughter.

Now, said my grandmother, do you see why every man should learn an honorable craft?

I see very clearly, I said, and as soon as I earn enough money to buy a saw and a hammer and a piece of lumber I shall do my best to make a simple chair or a shelf for books.


Questions on comprehension:

1. What is the narrator’s profession? In his grandmother’s opinion, what should he be doing instead?

2. In what way does the grandmother attempt to make her point to the narrator?

3. Explain how the king’s son wins the hand of the shepherd’s daughter and how he engineers his own rescue from the den of thieves. What is the moral of the story, according to the narrator’s grandmother?

4. At the end of the story, what does the narrator promise his grandmother he will do?

5. What do you think the narrator feels toward his grandmother? Do you think he accepts her opinion of the kind of work he does? Why or why not?

6. Besides the craft that he learns, what other talents and abilities enable the king’s son to win his freedom from the thieves? In what ways might these talents make the king’s son resemble the narrator?

Questions for discussion:

1. Would you argue that writing is also “an honorable craft” producing “solid things, things that can be used”? Why or why not?

2. In what way is the narrator’s promise to his grandmother at the end of the story a “whimsical wink”?

3. What is the stated theme of “The Shepherd’s Daughter”? Be sure to look for a complete sentence that states the story’s theme and takes the narrator’s viewpoint into account.

4. Explain how the story about the king’s son develops the theme stated in the frame of “The Shepherd’s Daughter.”






“My aunt will be down presently, Mr. Nuttel, ” said a very self-possessed young lady of fifteen. “In the meantime you must try and put up with me.”

Framton Nuttel endeavored to say the correct something which should duly flatter the niece of the moment without unduly discounting the aunt that was to come. Privately he doubted more than ever whether these formal visits on a succession of total strangers would do much towards helping the nerve cure which he was supposed to be undergoing.

“I know how it will be, ” his sister had said when he was preparing to migrate to this rural retreat; “You will bury yourself down there and not speak to a living soul, and your nerves will be worse than ever from moping. I shall just give you letters of introduction to all the people I know there. Some of them, as far as I can remember, were quite nice.”

Framton wondered whether Mrs. Sappleton, the lady to whom he was presenting one of the letters of introduction, came into the nice division.

“Do you know many of the people round here? ” asked the niece, when she judged that they had sufficient silent communion.

“Hardly a soul, ” said Framton. “My sister was staying here, at the rectory, [1] you know, some four years ago, and she gave me letters of introduction to some of the people here.”

He made the last statement in a tone of distinct regret.

“Then you know practically nothing about my aunt? ” pursued the self-possessed young lady.

“Only her name and address, ” admitted the caller. He was wondering whether Mrs. Sappleton was in the married or widowed state. An un-definable something about the room seemed to suggest masculine habitation.

“Her great tragedy happened just three years ago, ” said the child; “that would be since your sister’s time.”

“Her tragedy? ” asked Framton. Somehow in this restful country spot tragedies seemed out of place.

“You may wonder why we keep that window wide open on an October afternoon, ” said the niece, indicating a large French window[2] that opened on to a lawn.

“It is quite warm for the time of the year, ” said Framton; “but has that window got anything to do with the tragedy? ”

“Out through that window, three years ago to a day, her husband and her two young brothers went off for their day’s shooting. They never came back. In crossing the moor[3] to their favorite snipe-shooting[4] ground they went all three engulfed in a treacherous piece of bog. It had been that dreadful wet summer, you know, and places that were safe in other years gave way suddenly without warning. Their bodies were never recovered. That was the dreadful part of it.” Here the child’s voice lost its self-possessed note and became falteringly human. “Poor aunt always thinks that they will come back some day, they and the little brown spaniel that was lost with them, and walk in at that window just as they used to do. That is why the window is kept open every evening till it is quite dusk. Poor dear aunt, she has often told me how they went out, her husband with his white waterproof coat over his arm, and Ronnie, her youngest brother, singing, ‘Bertie, why do you bound? ’ as he always did to tease her, because she said it got on her nerves. Do you know, something on still, quiet evenings like this, I almost get a creepy feeling that they will all walk in through that window –“

She broke off with a little shudder. It was a relief to Framton when the aunt bustled into the room with a whirl of apologies for being late in making her appearance.

“I hope Vera has been amusing you? ” she asked.

“She has been very interesting, ” said Framton.

“I hope you don’t mind the open window, ” said Mrs. Sappleton briskly. “My husband and brothers will be home directly from shooting, and they always come in this way. They’ve been out for snipe in the marshes today, so they’ll make a fine mess over my poor carpets. So like you menfolk, isn’t it? ”

She rattled on cheerfully about the shooting and the scarcity of birds, and the prospects for duck in the winter. To Framton it was all purely horrible. He made a desperate but only partially successful effort to turn the talk on to a less ghastly topic. He was conscious that his hostess was giving him only a fragment of her attention, and her eyes were constantly straying past him to the open window and the lawn beyond. It was certainly an unfortunate coincidence that he should have paid his visit on this tragic anniversary.

“The doctors agree in ordering me complete rest, and absence of mental excitement, and avoidance of anything in the nature of violent physical exercise, ” announced Framton, who labored under the tolerably widespread delusion that total strangers and chance acquaintances are hungry for the least detail of one’s aliments and infirmities, their cause and cure. “On the matter of diet they are not so much in agreement, ” he continued.

“No? ” said Mrs. Sappleton, in a voice which only replaced a yawn at the last moment. Then she suddenly brightened into alert attention – but not to what Framton was saying.

“Here they are at last! ” she cried. “Just in time for tea, and don’t they look as if they muddy up to the eyes! ”

Framton shivered slightly and turned towards the niece with a look intended to convey sympathetic comprehension. The child was staring out through the open window with dazed horror in her eyes. In a chill shock of nameless fear Framton swung round in his seat and looked in the same direction.

In the deepening twilight three figures were walking across the lawn towards the window. They all carried guns under their arms, and one of them was additionally burdened with a white coat hung over his shoulders. A tired brown spaniel kept close at their heels. Noiselessly they neared the house, and then a hoarse young voice chanted out of the dusk: “I said, Bertie, why do you bound? ”

Framton grabbed wildly at his stick and hat. The hall door, the gravel drive, and the front gate were dimly noted stages in his headlong retreat. A cyclist coming along the road had to run into the hedge to avoid imminent collision.

“Here we are, my dear, ” said the bearer of the white mackintosh, [5] coming in through the window; “fairly muddy, but most of it’s dry. Who was that who bolted out as we came up? ” “A most extraordinary man, a Mr. Nuttel, ” said Mrs. Sappleton; “could only talk about his illness, and dashed off without a word of good-by or apology when you arrived. One would think he had seen a ghost.”

“I expect it was the spaniel, ” said the niece calmly. “He told me he had a horror of dogs. He was once hunted into a cemetery somewhere on the banks of the Ganges[6] by a pack of pariah[7] dogs, and had to spend the night in a newly-dug grave with the creatures snarling and grinning and foaming just above him. Enough to make any one lose their nerve.”

Romance at short notice was her specialty.


Questions on comprehension:

1. Why is Framton visiting the countryside?

2. How does Vera explain the fact that the window is left open? What is the real explanation?

3. Why does Framton rush from the house? How does Vera explain his departure to her aunt?

4. What traits in Framton’s personality might make him accept Vera’s story?

Questions for discussion:

1. Explain how the way in which Vera presents her story to Framton makes it seem more believable.

2. What effect did Vera’s first story have on you? What about her second story?

3. What word other than romance could you apply to Vera’s activities? Why do you think the narrator chose this word?

4. Give another example of the power of the imagination. Do you think everyone is susceptible to the power of suggestion? Explain.

5. Look up the meaning of the name Vera. How might Saki’s choice of this name be an example of verbal irony?

6. In what way is the story’s last line ironic?

7. Find two other ironic statements in the story.





The Plot

One bright summer afternoon just after Whitsun Sir Giles Fortescue was found murdered in his study at the Grange, Barnham. An Indian dagger removed from the wall had been plunged into his back as he sat writing at his desk. His old butler, who had served him faithfully for many years found him and estimates the time of his death at 15.45 hours as he had just heard the clock strike the quarter. The family doctor later confirmed the time at the autopsy.


The Suspects

Detective Inspector Sludge, after extensive interviews with all those known to be near the scene of the crime at the fatal time, finally eliminated all the household on the grounds of long and faithful service and lack of motive. He narrowed the field down to the three guests who had been staying with Sir Giles at the time.

All three guests knew that they were named as beneficiaries in the will in which Sir Giles had accounted for his very considerable estate since he had read the will to them the evening before.

All three suspects had gone out that afternoon. Accounts of their activities derived from Inspector Sludge’s notes are given below in alphabetical order.

1. Colonel Adams, a retired officer of the Indian army, was helped with his fishing tackle by the butler to the 14.57 bus travelling to Plumtree Halt. From this bus he claims he caught the train to Snitterton Bay for the day. There he fished for the entire day and saw no one. He retains half his return ticket as proof that he was on the train. No one at the station remembers him but it was very busy that day with day-trippers.

2. Miss Blake, a young lady of 22, left the house to go shopping in Barnham village at 15.15. She was given a lift to the bus stop outside the Grange gates by Mr Clarke. He saw her onto the 15.20 bus. A dress shop assistant remembers serving her at 15.30 and a post office assistant sold her some stamps at 16.05. She claims she was having tea in between these two visits but no one remembers her at the tea-shop as it was very crowded that day. She met no one other than Mr Clarke that afternoon before returning to the Grange.

3. Mr. Clarke, a young aspiring executive of 26, went out in his red sports car to see an antique dealer with whom he had an appointment for 16.00 at Mulchester, 15 miles away. The butler saw him drive away at 15.35. The antique dealer says he was on time for his appointment.



Extract from the Barnham District Bus and Train Timetable


I. Buses
Barnham dep. 14.52 Plumtree Halt dep. 15.12
The Grange dep. 14.57 The Grange dep. 15.20
Plumtree Halt arr. 15.07 etc. every hour Barnham arr. 15.25
II. Trains
Plumtree Halt dep. 15.10 Snitterton Bay dep. 13.40
Snitterton Bay. arr. 16.15 etc. every hour Plumtree Halt arr. 14.45

I. Solve the psychology quiz by answering the following questions.


1. Colonel Adams

Inspector Sludge: If he committed the murder? How would he have done it?

Police Constable: If he had done it, he ….

Inspector Sludge: How could he have got back to the Grange in time?

Police Constable: He…

Inspector Sludge: If he had done this? Would anyone else have seen him?

Police Constable: If he had done this? … seen him when ….

Therefore he … (could have / couldn’t have) done it.

2. Miss Blake

Inspector Sludge: If she had committed the murder, how would she have done it?

Police Constable: If she had done it? She (have to) …

Inspector Sludge: At what time would she have done it?

Police Constable: She … between … and ….

Inspector Sludge: How would she have got back to the Grange?

Police Constable: She could …

Inspector Sludge: If she had done this, would she have had enough time?

Police Constable: It seems (likely/unlikely) that she … unless she (run) all the way.


3. Mr. Clarke

Inspector Sludge: If she had committed the murder? How would he have done it?

Police Constable: If he had done it? He probably (leave) his car … and ….

Inspector Sludge: If he had done this, would he have still been in time for his appointment?

Police Constable: He… not … in time for his appointment unless he … 15 miles in less than 15 minutes.

Inspector Sludge: If he had done this, at about what time would he have crossed the bridge?

Police Constable: He (cross) the bridge at about …


II. Express your own opinion of the case.





Here was once a farmer called Jack o’Kent who had a small piece of land near Kentchurch in Herefordshire; he grew enough to support himself and his family, though he did but poorly at the best of times.

One morning when he was ploughing his field he had just reached the end of the furrow and was turning the horse round when he looked up and saw a Boggard, standing with his arms folded and feet planted far apart and scowling down at him.

“This is my land, ” he growled. “What are you doing on it? ”

The farmer was secretly very frightened, but he answered quietly,

“You haven’t been here for so long, I was ploughing it up for you, ready for this year’s crops.”

“It’s mine, ” answered the Boggard, scratching his shaggy chest, “but you can work it for me.”

“That will suit me, ” said the farmer, gaining confidence. “Suppose we share it. I do the work and you give me half the crop for my wages.”

The Boggard laid a dark, horny hand on the plough and said,

“How are you going to share the crop? ”

Jack the farmer thought a moment.

“This year, ” he replied, “you take everything above ground and I take the roots – you have the Tops and I the Butts.”

This seemed to satisfy the Boggard who agreed to come in the autumn to collect his share of the crop. The farmer watched him lumber away over the ploughed field, look for the stile which couldn’t find, and blunder through a gap in the hedge.

The crop that year was turnips. When the Boggard came to claim his half of the crop he got the leaves and the weeds while Jack the farmer carted off all the fine round roots and stored them in his barn.

The Boggard was angry and puzzled, but could not deny that the agreement had been kept. He rootled about among the heap of turnip leaves and cadlock hoping to find something of value, but in vain. At last he said,

“Next year we’ll have it the other way round. You’ll have Tops and I’ll keep Butts.”

The farmer readily agreed. This time he ploughed and harrowed the ground most carefully and sowed a fine crop of wheat.

The Boggard arrived just as the harvest wagon was taking the last golden load across the field. All the harvesters – men, women, boys and girls – were singing as the big shire mare lifted her fairy feet, solemnly and carefully dragging the precious sheaves towards the farmyard.

Only gradually did the Boggard realize he had been tricked. The stubble and the corn-roots were even less use than the turnip leaves. It was not worth his while to plough them on.

But everyone was very kind to him at the Harvest Home and he drank a great deal, scoffed some hot bag-puddings, and even tried to dance a sort of a jig, but fell down before he had reached the capers. Then he sat quietly in a corner watching the merry-makers until at last the party was over and all the harvesters had gone home.

“See here, Jack, ” he said to the farmer, ‘I think you’ve got some pins about you, lad. Next time we’ll share the crop above ground.”


He laid his great paw on the farmer’s shoulder and looked down earnestly into his face.

“We’ll start reaping together and each shall have whatever he reaps.”

Jack o’Kent accepted this arrangement and the Boggard stumbled off.

The next year wheat was grown and a fine upstanding field it was, rippling like a golden sea in the breeze.

But the farmer had been to the blacksmith and got him to make some iron rods about three feet long and as thick as a clay pipe shank. These rods he stuck into the ground at irregular intervals in the Boggard’s half of the wheat field.

The time for the reaping match arrived. Each reaper sharpened his scythe well beforehand and when the church clock struck five they both began to reap. The farmer got on well; his scythe went swishing through the straw, and the corn fell down with a rustle at every stroke.

But the Boggard did not get on so fast. He had not reaped a dozen yards before the blade of his scythe was hacked in several places.

“Hey, I must stop and wiffle-waffle, ” he cried, by which he meant he must whet his scythe with his hone.

The farmer laughed and went on reaping – he had already covered twice as much ground as his rival.

“This corn must be full of real tough burdocks with old stalks like sticks of iron, ” complained the Boggard, looking ruefully at the jagged edge of his scythe.

The farmer was away down the field almost out of earshot by now. The sun was getting higher and the dew on the corn had dried. But the Boggard could make no progress at all, for his battered scythe would not reap even when he had a clear patch of corn. He flung it down on the stubble.

“You can take your mucky old land, and keep it! ” he said in despair. “I won’t have any more to do with it. I’m as sick as a toad of it, and of you an’ all.”

And off he went and never came back and the farmer never saw him again. But he kept the Boggard’s jagged scythe and hung it in his barn.

And now his grandson shows it proudly to his friends to testify to the truth of the story, and he warns young fanners not to be frightened by bullies, for a wise man will get the better of them.


Questions on comprehension and for discussion:

1. What makes Jack o’Kent a typical folktale hero?

2. Do you recognize the plot of this tale? Are there any differences in comparison with the Russian folktale?

3. What kind of words and phrases are repeated through the tale? What is the artistic effect of these repetitions?


George Mikes

1912 - 1987


By means of posters, advertisements, lectures and serious scientific books, people are taught how to avoid or cure flu, smallpox, a broken ankle and mumps; at the same time the major part of the world’s literature (which is not to be confused with world literature), almost all the films, magazine stories and radio plays persuade you in an indirect way to catch a much more dangerous disease than any illness, universally known under the name of love.

The main symptoms of the disease are those:

1) The germ – a charming young lady in some cases, not so charming and not so young in others – makes the silliest and most commonplace remarks and you consider her wittier than Oscar Wilde, deeper than Pascal and more original than Bernard Shaw.

2) She calls you Pootsie, Angelface and other stupid and humiliating names; you are enchanted and coo with delight.

3) She has no idea what is the difference between UNESCO and LCC[8] and you find this disarmingly innocent.

4) Whenever she flirts with others and is rude and cruel to you, you buy her a bunch of flowers and apologize to her. If she misbehaves seriously, you buy her jewelry.

The overwhelming majority of novels, short stories, films, etc. teach you that this dangerous mental and physical ailment is something glorious, desirable and romantic. Who are you to question the wisdom of this teaching? You are expected to take the lesson of these high authorities to heart and believe that the world is mostly inhabited by lovers who commit murders and murderers who fall in love.

The least intelligible thing of all is the fact that love is constantly confused with marriage. Even if we accept the thesis that love is alright because it is a “natural thing” we should, I think, insist that it should be kept out of marriage. You are supposed to choose your future spouse when you are absolutely incapable of so doing. You have to choose her or him when you are in love, i.e. when you think silliness wisdom, affectation real charm, selfishness a good joke and a pretty face the most desirable of all human attributes. You would never send a deaf man to buy gramophone records, a blind man to buy you paintings and an illiterate man to choose your books; but you are expected to choose the person whom you are going to hear more than your favourite records, see oftener than any of your pictures and whose remarks will be more familiar to you than the pages of your most treasured book – in a state of deafness, blindness and illiteracy. You may be fortunate: there are a great number of good records, pictures and books around and even the deaf, blind and the illiterate may make a lucky shot. You may discover that there is nothing much in your choice, except that you bought a rousing march[9] instead of a pastorale, an impressive battle scene instead of a still life, and a copy of War and Peace instead of The Ideal Husband. Or else, in two years time, you may realize that silk stockings and the films she likes – or the game of billiards he is so terribly fond of – are not the only things that excite you and that to be called “Pootsie” over the age of thirty-five is slightly inappropriate. You may wish your wife knew that Vladivostok is not an illness of which Napoleon died after the siege of Sebastopol. But then it is too late.

I suggest:

1) Any propaganda inciting to love (in films, short stories, novels, paintings, etc.) should be made a criminal offence. The author of such a piece should be sent to a desert island with his beloved for five years.

2) Any person falling in love should be sent to quarantine in a similar way.

3) Love should be abolished altogether.



Comment on the author’s view of love and marriage.


Kate Chopin




Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed”. He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.

When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free! ” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial.

She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

“Free! Body and soul free! ” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door – you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richard stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his gripsack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richard’s quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

But Richard was too late.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills.


Questions on comprehension:

1. The major divisions of the story are marked by movements from downstairs to upstairs to downstairs again. What is the difference between the kind of action that takes place in the two locations?

2. What important things do we learn about Mrs. Mallard from the very brief description of her face? How does this description help us understand what she has been and what she might be?

3. Why does Chopin contrast Mrs. Mallard’s profound grief with the details of the scene she sees through the bedroom window?

Questions for discussion:

1. What attitudes distinguish the points of view of Mrs. Mallard and those who are concerned with her welfare?

2. What do we discover about the connection between freedom and death during the “hour” of the story?


Prereading Tasks


1. You are going to read the text about two American presidents Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy. Do you know when each of these men was President of the United States? Do you know what was happening in the country while they were in office? Do you know how each men died?

2. Look at the italicized words and explain their meaning. Read the text and find similarities in the destinies of Kennedy and Lincoln.


John F. Kennedy and Abraham Lincoln lived in different times and had very different family and educational backgrounds. Kennedy lived in the 20th century; Lincoln lived in the 19th century. Kennedy was born in 1917, whereas Lincoln was born more than 100 years earlier, in 1809. As for their family backgrounds, Kennedy came from a rich family, but Lincoln’s family was not wealthy. Because Kennedy came from a wealthy family, he was able to attend expensive private schools. He graduated from Harvard University. Lincoln, on the other hand, had only one year of formal schooling. In spite of his lack of formal schooling, he became a well-known lawyer. He taught himself law by reading law books. Lincoln was, in other words, a self-educated man.

In spite of these differences in Kennedy and Lincoln’s backgrounds, some interesting similarities between the two men are evident. In fact, books have been written about the strange coincidences in the lives of these two men. For example, take their political careers. Lincoln began his political career as a U.S. Congressman. Similarly, Kennedy also began his political career as a Congressman. Lincoln was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives in 1847, and Kennedy was elected to the House in 1947. They went to Congress just 100 years apart. Another interesting coincidence is that each man was elected President of the United States in a year ending with the number 60. Lincoln was elected President in 1860, and Kennedy was elected in 1960; furthermore, both men were President during years of civil unrest in the country. Lincoln was President during the American Civil War. During Kennedy’s term of office civil unrest took the form of civil rigths demonstrations.

Another striking similarity between the two men was that, as you probably know, neither President lived to complete his term in office. Lincoln and Kennedy were both assassinated while in office. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas, after only 1, 000 days in office. Lincoln was assassinated in 1865 a few days after the end of the American Civil War. It is rather curious to note that both presidents were shot while they were sitting next to their wives.

These are only a few examples of the uncanny-the unusual-similarities in the destines of these two Americans, men who had a tremendous impact on the social and political life of the United States and the imagination of the American people.


I. Translate the following facts into English.


а) Убийца Линкольнa (John Wilkes Booth) родился в 1839 году. Убийца Кеннеди (Lee Harvey Oswald) родился в 1939 году. Они родились с разницей в сто лет.

б) Убийцы обоих президентов сами тоже были убиты. Оба до суда и оба в пятницу.

в) Личного секретаря А.Линкольна звали Ф.Кеннеди, а личного секретаря Д.Кеннеди звали Э.Линкольн. Оба личных секретаря отговаривали президентов: первого от поездки в оперу, а второго от поездки в Даллас.



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