Official 39 Set 5

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  • Q1
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  • Q3
  • Q4
  • Q5
  • Q6
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Thoreau's Ideas about Train

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What does the professor mainly discuss?
  • A. Thoreau’s use of train metaphors

  • B. Thoreau’s complex attitude toward trains

  • C. Events that inspired Thoreau to write his book Walden

  • D. Reasons that Thoreau’s book Walden was popular in the nineteenth century

显示答案 正确答案: B

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    NARRATOR:Listen to part of a lecture in a literature class. The professor is discussing Henry David Thoreau.

    MALE PROFESSOR:Nowadays, trains are pretty much taken for granted.But in the United States, in the first part of the nineteenth century when Thoreau lived,the railroad was a big deal, a technological revolution.It was kinda earth-shattering to ride in a mechanical conveyance,at 50 kilometers an hour in the 1830s.The train-or "iron horse," as people called it-unlocked all sorts of new experiences of time, space...Thoreau himself praised trains for changing the way people experienced their own bodies...for stirring the imagination in new ways.So, in Thoreau's famous book, Walden... As, uh, you know,Walden is one of the central literary texts of the United States from that time period.And in it, Thoreau offers both praise and criticisms of trains.

    Um, Thoreau is sometimes seen as being anti-modern,but he's not.He uses poetic language,descriptive metaphors to inspire,to awe his readers,to communicate the fact that the railroad was a feat of human ingenuity.Thoreau also associates trains with commerce and trade.Though his attitudes toward commerce are complicated,he credits trains for delivering goods that feed and clothe society...things that improve human life.

    But Thoreau also critiques trains on what we could call philosophical grounds.He points out that riding on trains distorts people's experiences of the natural world,trees... wildlife...landscapes just zip right past you.And this is a real problem for him.

    Thoreau also worries that trains had become an "institution" regulating a whole country.He worries about people doing things in "railroad fashion"...conforming to the train's timetable,letting their lives be governed by this mechanical device that's making its way into the fabric of society.

    And he extends this critique to other inventions of the day, like, uh,the penny press,this very fast, steam-driven press.He talks about popular literary genres, like penny newspapers and dime novels,which were being published in mass quantities.He worries about people no longer thinking for themselves and uncritically accepting all this cheap, popular literature...and the trivial details of the news.

    So, Thoreau is offering here a critique of technology that might be relevant for our own times...and I think it's important to take it seriously.When there's a new invention-a new computer or mobile phone technology,some new gadget-there's a tendency to think that we need to have that thing...just as people were doing in the nineteenth century with respect to railroads-[emphasizing] accepting them as a necessity without considering the possible negative consequences or trade-offs that can flow from them.OK, can anybody offer an example of what I'm talking about? Debra?

    FEMALE STUDENT:Yeah. There was this new computer game that my brother just had to have.So, he saved his money and bought it,wh-which was good, I guess, that he saved his money and all.But now, he spends like all his spare time playing that game instead of riding bikes with his friends or reading books,like he used to do.And it's causing some friction between him and our parents.

    FEMALE PROFESSOR:Perfect example, Debra.So this is one way to think about Thoreau's text-not just as an important book in its time-for what it tells us about the nineteenth century-but also as a text that can teach us certain things about ourselves in contemporary society.

  • 旁白:请听一段文学讲座的节选片段。这堂课的教授正在讲Henry David Thoreau。

    教授:当今时代,火车对于我们已经习以为常。但是在19世纪早期的美国,在Thoreau还活着的时候,火车可是一个大发明,一场科技的革新。火车是一种惊世骇俗的用机器运送人的东西,在十九世纪三十年代它的速度是50公里每小时。火车,或者当时人们所称的“铁马”,解锁了各种新的人们对于时间和空间的新体验,Thoreau自己就赞美火车改变了人们经历他们自身移动的方式,以新的方式激发了人们的想象。所以,在Thoreau著名的书Walden里,嗯,你们知道Walden是那个时代美国的主要文学文本之一。在这个文本里,Thoreau既对火车表达了赞美,也提出了批判。

    嗯……Thoreau有时候被视为是反现代化的,但他其实并不是。他用诗一般的语言和描述性的隐喻,来鼓舞他的读者,并且使他们心生敬畏,他传达了这样一个事实,那就是火车是人类智慧的杰作。Thoreau也把火车和商业贸易联系了起来。尽管他对于商业的态度是很复杂的,他还是赞美火车运送了食物和衣物,这些东西使得人类生活质量提高了。

    但是Thoreau也在哲学方面批评了火车。他指出,乘火车旅行会扭曲人们对于自然世界的感受,树木,野生生命,风景就仅仅飞掠而过。这对于他来说很成问题。

    Thoreau也担心,火车已经变成了统治整个国家的一种组织。他担心人们会以一种“火车方式”来做事情,去迎合火车的时间表,让他们的生活被这种机械设施左右,这种生活方式正在渗透进社会的方方面面。

    他还把这种批评扩展到了当时其他的发明,像是廉价报刊,这种非常迅捷的媒体。他谈论过当时流行的文学体裁,就像是廉价报纸和廉价小说,这些东西在被大量出版。他担心人们不再自己思考,不带有批判意识地接受了所有这些廉价的流行文学和鸡毛蒜皮的新闻。

    所以Thoreau提出了一种对于和我们自己时代有关的科技的批评,我觉得我们有必要认真对待他的批评。当出现一个新的发明的时候,比如电脑的新发明或者手机的新科技,或者一些小的机械工具,(一旦有这种新发明出现)我们就会认为我们必须要有这个东西,就像是十九世纪的人对火车所认为的那样,他们在接收之前并没有考虑这些科学技术可能会导致的不良后果。好的。有人可以对于我所说的举个例子吗?Deborah?

    学生:有,我兄弟刚买了个新的电脑游戏。他攒钱买下了它,这很好,我猜他把所有的钱都攒起来花这上面了。但是现在他所有的业余时间都在玩这个游戏,而不是像往常一样,和朋友出去骑自行车或者读书了。这就导致了他和我们父母之间的一些摩擦。

    教授:完美的例子!Deborah。所以这就是我们来思考Thoreau的文字的一种方式,不仅仅把它视为一本当时的著作,让我们了解了十九世纪,同时它还教给我们在当代社会关于我们自己的一些事情。

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  • 本题对应音频:
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    题型分类:主旨题

    音频定位:

    Narrator: Listen to part of the lecture in a literature class. The professor is discussing Henry David Thoreau.

    选项分析:

    开头narrator的话就明确告诉我们是讲一个人Thoreau。结合全部讲座我们可以知道,这篇讲座就是讲了这个人对于火车的各种观点。

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