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大学英语精读第五册 Unit 2

2011-07-26    来源:    【      美国外教 在线口语培训

                 UNIT 2

TEXT

Beginning with the earliest pioneers, Americans have always highly valued their freedoms, and fought hard to protect them. And yet, the author points out that there is a basic freedom which Americans are in danger of losing.
    What is this endangered freedom? For what reasons could freedom-loving Americans possibly let this freedom slip away? And what-steps can they take to protect it ---- their fifth freedom?

            The Fifth Freedom
                    by Seymour St . John
   
    More than three centuries ago a handful of pioneers crossed the ocean t Jamestown and Plymouth in search of freedoms they were unable to find in their own countries, the freedoms of we still cherish today: freedom from want, freedom from fear, freedom of speech, freedom of religion. Today the descendants of the early settlers, and those who have joined them since, are fighting to protect these freedoms at home and throughout the world.
    And yet there is a fifth freedom - basic to those four - that we are in danger of losing: the freedom to be one's best. St. Exupery describes a ragged, sensitive-faced Arab child, haunting the streets of a North African town, as a lost Mozart: he would never be trained or developed. Was he free? "No one grasped you by the shoulder while there was still time; and nought will awaken in you the sleeping poet or musician or astronomer that possibly inhabited you from the beginning." The freedom to be one's best is the chance for the development of each person to his highest power.
    How is it that we in America have begun to lose this freedom, and how can we regain it for our nation's youth? I believe it has started slipping away from us because of three misunderstandings.
First, the misunderstanding of the meaning of democracy. The principal of a great Philadelphia high school is driven to cry for help in combating the notion that it is undemocratic to run a special program of studies for outstanding boys and girls. Again, when a good independent school in Memphis recently closed, some thoughtful citizens urged that it be taken over by the public school system and used for boys and girls of high ability, what it have entrance requirements and give an advanced program of studies to superior students who were interested and able to take it. The proposal was rejected because it was undemocratic! Thus, courses are geared to the middle of the class. The good student is unchallenged, bored. The loafer receives his passing grade. And the lack of an outstanding course for the outstanding student, the lack of a standard which a boy or girl must meet, passes for democracy.
    The second misunderstanding concerns what makes for happiness. The aims of our present-day culture are avowedly ease and material well-being: shorter hours; a shorter week; more return for less accomplishment; more softsoap excuses and fewer honest, realistic demands. In our schools this is reflected by the vanishing hickory stick and the emerging psychiatrist. The hickory stick had its faults, and the psychiatrist has his strengths. But hickory stick had its faults, and the psychiatrist has his strengths. But the trend is clear. Tout comprendre c'est tout pardoner (To understand everything is to excuse everything). Do we really believe that our softening standards bring happiness? Is it our sound and considered judgment that the tougher subjects of the classics and mathematics should be thrown aside, as suggested by some educators, for doll-playing? Small wonder that Charles Malik, Lebanese delegate at the U.N., writes: "There is in the West" (in the United States) "a general weakening of moral fiber. (Our) leadership does not seem to be adequate to the unprecedented challenges of the age."
    The last misunderstanding is in the area of values. Here are some of the most influential tenets of teacher education over the past fifty years: there is no eternal truth; there is no absolute moral law; there is no God. Yet all of history has taught us that the denial of these ultimates, the placement of man or state at the core of the universe, results in a paralyzing mass selfishness; and the first signs of it are already frighteningly evident.
    Arnold Toynbee has said that all progress, all development come from challenge and a consequent response. Without challenge there is no response, no development, no freedom. So first we owe to our children the most demanding, challenging curriculum that is within their capabilities. Michelangelo did not learn to paint by spending his time doodling. Mozart was not an accomplished pianist at the age of eight as the result or spending his days in front of a television set. Like Eve Curie, like Helen Keller, they responded to the challenge of their lives by a disciplined training: and they gained a new freedom.
    The second opportunity we can give our boys and girls is the right to failure. "Freedom is not only a privilege, it is a test," writes De Nouy. What kind of a test is it, what kind of freedom where no one can fail? The day is past when the United States can afford to give high school diplomas to all who sit through four years of instruction, regardless of whether any visible results can be discerned. We live in a narrowed world where we must be alert, awake to realism; and realism demands a standard which either must be met or result in failure. These are hard words, but they are brutally true. If we deprive our children of the right to fail we deprive them of their knowledge of the world as it is.
    Finally, we can expose our children to the best values we have found. By relating our lives to the evidences of the ages, by judging our philosophy in the light of values that history has proven truest, perhaps we shall be able to produce that "ringing message, full of content and truth, satisfying the mind, appealing to the heart, firing the will, a message on which one can stake his whole life." This is the message that could mean joy and strength and leadership -- freedom as opposed to serfdom.

NEW WORDS

    cherish
vt. care for tenderly; keep alive 爱护,珍爱;抱有,怀有
    religion
n.  宗教
    settler
n.  a person who has settled in a newly developed country; colonist 移民;殖民者
    sensitive
a.  quick to receive impressions; easily hurt or offended 敏感的
    sensitive-faced
a.  having a sensitive face
    Arab
n., a. 阿拉伯人(的);阿拉伯的
    haunt
vt. visit often
    lost
a.  not used, won, or claimed; ruined or destroyed physically or morally
    grasp
vt. seize firmly with the hand(s) or arm(s); understand with the mind 抓住,抱住;理解,掌握
    nought
n.  (old use or lit) nothing; zero
    awaken
vt. arouse from sleep; make active
    musician
n.  a composer or performer of music
    inhabit
vt. live or dwell in
    regain
vt. gain or get again; get back
    democracy
n.  government by the people, esp. rule by the majority
    principal
n.  head of a school
    combat
vt. n. fight; struggle
    notion
n.  idea; belief; opinion
    undemocratic
a.  not democratic; not in accordance with the principles of democracy
    independent
a.  not subject to control or rule by another; not depending on others for support
    independent school
    a private school, not controlled by the public
    urge
vt. present, advocate or demand earnestly; push or drive
    loafer
n.  a person who spends time idly 游手好闲的人
    lack
n.  not have; have less than enough of
    avowedly
ad. as declared openly or frankly   
    softsoap
a.  姑息的,软言相劝的
    realistic
a.  having or showing an inclination to face facts and to deal with them sensibly practical
    hickory
n.  山核桃(木)
    hickory stick
    山核桃木做的教鞭
    classics
n.  the language and literature of ancient Greece and Rome
    doll
n.  a small-scale figure of a human being, used as a child's plaything
    Lebanese 
n., a. 黎巴嫩人(的);黎巴嫩的
    delegate
n.  a person sent with power to act for another; representative 代表
    U.N., the
    the United Nations 联合国
    weaken
vt. make or become weak(er)
    fiber
n.  a person's inner character; quality; strength
    leadership
n.  power of leading; the qualities of a leader
    unprecedented
    having no precedent 无先例的,空前的
    influential
a.  having or exerting influence
    tenet
n.  a principle or belief held by a person or organization 信条,原则
    eternal
a.  having no beginning and no end; lasting forever 永恒的;不朽的
    denial
n.  a refusal to admit the truth of a statement or to grant sth. asked for
    ultimate
n.  fundamental principle; final point or result
    placement
n.  an act or instance of placing, esp. the assignment of a person to a suitable place
    core
n.  the most important or central part of anything 核心
    paralyze
vt. make powerless or unable to act, move or function 使麻痹,使瘫痪
    selfishness
n.  a concern for one's own welfare or advantage at the expense or in disregard of others
    selfish
a. 
    consequent
a.  following as a consequence
    curriculum
n.  a course of study, esp. the body of courses offered in a school or college (学校的全部)课程
    capability
n.  power of doing things 能力,才能
    paint
v.  make a picture (of) with paint
    doodle
vi. draw irregular lines, figures, etc. aimlessly while thinking about sth. else 心不在焉地乱写乱画
    pianist
n.  person who plays the piano
    discipline
vt. apply discipline to
    regardless
a.  having or taking no regard; careless 不关心的;不留心的
    visible
a.  capable of being seen; apparent
    discern
vt. see, notice, or understand, esp. with difficulty; perceive
    realism
n.  accepting and dealing with life and its problems in a practical way, without being influenced by feelings or false ideas
    relate
vt. connect in thought or meaning
    fire
vt. inspire; stimulate or inflame
    stake
vt. risk (money, one's life, etc.) on a result; bet 把...押下打赌
    oppose
vt. set oneself against; set up against 反对;使对抗
    serfdom
vt. the state or fact of being a serf; slavery 农奴的境遇;奴役

PHRASES & EXPRESSIONS
 
a handful of
    a small amount or number of
in search of
    trying to find
cry for
    cry in an attempt to get; demand urgently; need badly
pass for
    be (mistakenly) accepted or considered as
make for
    help cause sth. to happen
small wonder /little
wonder / no wonder
    naturally; it is not surprising
regardless of
    without worrying about to taking into account
relate to / with
    show a link or connection between
in the light of
    taking into account; considering
stake on
    risk (one's money, reputation, life, etc.) on
as opposed to
    in contrast to

PROPER NAMES

    Seymour St. John
    西摩.圣约翰
    Jamestown
    詹姆斯敦
    Plymouth
    普利茅斯
    St.Exupery
    圣.埃克休帕里
    Mozart
    莫扎特
    Memphis
    孟菲斯
    Charles Malik
    查尔斯.马立克
    Arnold Toynbee
    阿诺德.汤因比
    Michelangelo
    米开朗琪罗
    Eve Curie
    伊芙.居里
    De Nouy
    德.纽伊



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