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新视野大学英语_新视野大学英语4读写教程课文unit5 Choose to Be Alone on Purpose

新视野大学英语_新视野大学英语4读写教程课文unit5 Choose to Be Alone on Purpose

Section A:
Choose to Be Alone on Purpose
Here we are, all by ourselves, all 22 million of us by recent count, alone in our rooms, some of us liking it that way and some of us not. Some of us divorced, some widowed, some never yet committed.
Loneliness may be a sort of national disease here, and it's more embarrassing for us to admit than any other sin. On the other hand, to be alone on purpose, having rejected company rather than been cast out by it, is one characteristic of an American hero. The solitary hunter or explorer needs no one as they venture out among the deer and wolves to tame the great wild areas. Thoreau, alone in his cabin on the pond, his back deliberately turned to the town. Now, that's character for you.
Inspiration in solitude is a major commodity for poets and philosophers. They're all for it. They all speak highly of themselves for seeking it out, at least for an hour or even two before they hurry home for tea.
Consider Dorothy Wordsworth, for instance, helping her brother William put on his coat, finding his notebook and pencil for him, and waving as he sets forth into the early spring sunlight to look at flowers all by himself. “How graceful, how benign, is solitude,” he wrote.
No doubt about it, solitude is improved by being voluntary.
Look at Milton's daughters arranging his cushions and blankets before they silently creep away, so he can create poetry. Then, rather than trouble to put it in his own handwriting, he calls the girls to come back and write it down while he dictates.
You may have noticed that most of these artistic types went outdoors to be alone. The indoors was full of loved ones keeping the kettle warm till they came home.
The American high priest of solitude was Thoreau. We admire him, not for his self-reliance, but because he was all by himself out there at Walden Pond, and he wanted to be. All alone in the woods.
Actually, he lived a mile, or 20 minutes' walk, from his nearest neighbor; half a mile from the railroad; three hundred yards from a busy road. He had company in and out of the hut all day, asking him how he could possibly be so noble. Apparently the main point of his nobility was that he had neither wife nor servants, used his own axe to chop his own wood, and washed his own cups and saucers. I don't know who did his laundry; he doesn't say, but he certainly doesn't mention doing his own, either. Listen to him: “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Thoreau had his own self-importance for company. Perhaps there's a message here. The larger the ego, the less the need for other egos around. The more modest and humble we feel, the more we suffer from solitude, feeling ourselves inadequate company.
If you live with other people, their temporary absence can be refreshing. Solitude will end on Thursday. If today I use a singular personal pronoun to refer to myself, next week I will use the plural form. While the others are absent you can stretch out your soul until it fills up the whole room, and use your freedom, coming and going as you please without apology, staying up late to read, soaking in the bath, eating a whole pint of ice cream at one sitting, moving at your own pace. Those absent will be back. Their waterproof winter coats are in the closet and the dog keeps watching for them at the window. But when you live alone, the temporary absence of your friends and acquaintances leaves a vacuum; they may never come back.
The condition of loneliness rises and falls, but the need to talk goes on forever. It's more basic than needing to listen. Oh, we all have friends we can tell important things to, people we can call to say we lost our job or fell on a slippery floor and broke our arm. It's the daily succession of small complaints and observations and opinions that backs up and chokes us. We can't really call a friend to say we got a parcel from our sister, or it's getting dark earlier now, or we don't trust that new Supreme Court justice.
Scientific surveys show that we who live alone talk at length to ourselves and our pets and the television. We ask the cat whether we should wear the blue suit or the yellow dress. We ask the parrot if we should prepare steak, or noodles for dinner. We argue with ourselves over who is the greater sportsman: that figure skater or this skier. There's nothing wrong with this. It's good for us, and a lot less embarrassing than the woman in front of us in line at the market who's telling the cashier that her niece Melissa may be coming to visit on Saturday, and Melissa is very fond of hot chocolate, which is why she bought the powdered hot chocolate mix, though she never drinks it herself.
It's important to stay rational.
It's important to stop waiting and settle down and make ourselves comfortable, at least temporarily, and find some grace and pleasure in our condition, not like a self-centered British poet but like a patient princess sealed up in a tower, waiting for the happy ending to our fairy tale.
After all, here we are. It may not be where we expected to be, but for the time being we might as well call it home. Anyway, there is no place like home.

英语学习

Section A:
Choose to Be Alone on Purpose
Here we are, all by ourselves, all 22 million of us by recent count, alone in our rooms, some of us liking it that way and some of us not. Some of us divorced, some widowed, some never yet committed.
Loneliness may be a sort of national disease here, and it's more embarrassing for us to admit than any other sin. On the other hand, to be alone on purpose, having rejected company rather than been cast out by it, is one characteristic of an American hero. The solitary hunter or explorer needs no one as they venture out among the deer and wolves to tame the great wild areas. Thoreau, alone in his cabin on the pond, his back deliberately turned to the town. Now, that's character for you.
Inspiration in solitude is a major commodity for poets and philosophers. They're all for it. They all speak highly of themselves for seeking it out, at least for an hour or even two before they hurry home for tea.
Consider Dorothy Wordsworth, for instance, helping her brother William put on his coat, finding his notebook and pencil for him, and waving as he sets forth into the early spring sunlight to look at flowers all by himself. “How graceful, how benign, is solitude,” he wrote.
No doubt about it, solitude is improved by being voluntary.
Look at Milton's daughters arranging his cushions and blankets before they silently creep away, so he can create poetry. Then, rather than trouble to put it in his own handwriting, he calls the girls to come back and write it down while he dictates.
You may have noticed that most of these artistic types went outdoors to be alone. The indoors was full of loved ones keeping the kettle warm till they came home.
The American high priest of solitude was Thoreau. We admire him, not for his self-reliance, but because he was all by himself out there at Walden Pond, and he wanted to be. All alone in the woods.
Actually, he lived a mile, or 20 minutes' walk, from his nearest neighbor; half a mile from the railroad; three hundred yards from a busy road. He had company in and out of the hut all day, asking him how he could possibly be so noble. Apparently the main point of his nobility was that he had neither wife nor servants, used his own axe to chop his own wood, and washed his own cups and saucers. I don't know who did his laundry; he doesn't say, but he certainly doesn't mention doing his own, either. Listen to him: “I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude.”
Thoreau had his own self-importance for company. Perhaps there's a message here. The larger the ego, the less the need for other egos around. The more modest and humble we feel, the more we suffer from solitude, feeling ourselves inadequate company.
If you live with other people, their temporary absence can be refreshing. Solitude will end on Thursday. If today I use a singular personal pronoun to refer to myself, next week I will use the plural form. While the others are absent you can stretch out your soul until it fills up the whole room, and use your freedom, coming and going as you please without apology, staying up late to read, soaking in the bath, eating a whole pint of ice cream at one sitting, moving at your own pace. Those absent will be back. Their waterproof winter coats are in the closet and the dog keeps watching for them at the window. But when you live alone, the temporary absence of your friends and acquaintances leaves a vacuum; they may never come back.
The condition of loneliness rises and falls, but the need to talk goes on forever. It's more basic than needing to listen. Oh, we all have friends we can tell important things to, people we can call to say we lost our job or fell on a slippery floor and broke our arm. It's the daily succession of small complaints and observations and opinions that backs up and chokes us. We can't really call a friend to say we got a parcel from our sister, or it's getting dark earlier now, or we don't trust that new Supreme Court justice.
Scientific surveys show that we who live alone talk at length to ourselves and our pets and the television. We ask the cat whether we should wear the blue suit or the yellow dress. We ask the parrot if we should prepare steak, or noodles for dinner. We argue with ourselves over who is the greater sportsman: that figure skater or this skier. There's nothing wrong with this. It's good for us, and a lot less embarrassing than the woman in front of us in line at the market who's telling the cashier that her niece Melissa may be coming to visit on Saturday, and Melissa is very fond of hot chocolate, which is why she bought the powdered hot chocolate mix, though she never drinks it herself.
It's important to stay rational.
It's important to stop waiting and settle down and make ourselves comfortable, at least temporarily, and find some grace and pleasure in our condition, not like a self-centered British poet but like a patient princess sealed up in a tower, waiting for the happy ending to our fairy tale.
After all, here we are. It may not be where we expected to be, but for the time being we might as well call it home. Anyway, there is no place like home.

英语学习

Section B:
Roommate Conflicts
Identical twins Katie and Sarah Monahan arrived at Pennsylvania's Gettysburg College last year determined to strike out on independent paths. Although the 18-year-old sisters had requested rooms in different dorms, the housing office placed them on the eighth floor of the same building, across the hall from each other. While Katie got along with her roommate, Sarah was miserable. She and her roommate silently warred over matters ranging from when the lights should be turned off to how the furniture should be arranged. Finally, they divided the room in two and gave up on oral communication, communicating primarily through short notes.
During this time, Sarah kept running across the hall to seek comfort from Katie. Before long, the two wanted to live together again. Sarah's roommate eventually agreed to move out. “From the first night we lived together again, we felt so comfortable,” says Sarah. “We felt like we were back home.”
Sarah's ability to solve her dilemma by rooming with her identical twin is unusual, but the conflict she faced is not. Despite extensive efforts by many schools to make good roommate matches, unsatisfactory outcomes are common. One roommate is always cold, while the other never wants to turn up the furnace, even though the thermometer says it's minus five outside. One person likes quiet, while the other person spends two hours a day practicing the trumpet, or turns up his sound system to the point where the whole room vibrates. One eats only organically produced vegetables and believes all living things are holy, even ants and mosquitoes, while the other likes wearing fur and enjoys cutting up frogs in biology class.
When personalities don't mix, the excitement of being away at college can quickly grow stale. Moreover, roommates can affect each other's psychological health. A recent study reports that depression in college roommates is often passed from one person to another.
Learning to tolerate a stranger's habits may teach undergraduates flexibility and the art of compromise, but the learning process is often painful. Julie Noel, a 21-year-old senior, recalls that she and her freshman year roommate didn't communicate and were uncomfortable throughout the year. “I kept playing the same disk in my CD player for a whole day once just to test her because she was so timid,” says Noel. “It took her until dinner time to finally change it.” Although they didn't saw the room in half, near year's end, the two did end up in a screaming fight. “Looking back, I wish I had talked to her more about how I was feeling,” says Noel.
Most roommate conflicts spring from such small, irritating differences rather than from grand disputes over abstract philosophical principles. “It's the specifics that tear roommates apart,” says the assistant director of residential programs at a university in Ohio.
In extreme cases, roommate conflict can lead to serious violence, as it did at Harvard last spring: One student killed her roommate before committing suicide. Many schools have started conflict resolution programs to calm tensions that otherwise can build up like a volcano preparing to explode, ultimately resulting in physical violence. Some colleges have resorted to “roommate contracts” that all new students fill out and sign after attending a seminar on roommate relations. Students detail behavioral guidelines for their room, including acceptable hours for study and sleep, a policy for use of each other's possessions and how messages will be handled. Although the contracts are not binding and will never go to a jury, copies are given to the floor's residential adviser in case conflicts later arise. “The contract gives us permission to talk about issues which students forget or are afraid to talk about,” says the director of residential programs.
Some schools try to head off feuding before it begins by using computerized matching, a process that nevertheless remains more of a guessing game than a science. Students are put together on the basis of their responses to housing form questions about smoking tolerance, preferred hours of study and sleep, and self-described tendencies toward tidiness or disorder. Parents sometimes weaken the process by taking the forms and filling in false and wishful data about their children's habits, especially on the smoking question. The matching process is also complicated by a philosophical debate among housing managers concerning the flavor of university life: “Do you put together people who are similar — or different, so they can learn about each other?” A cartoon sums up the way many students feel the process works: Surrounded by a mass of papers, a housing worker picks up two selection forms and exclaims, “Likes chess, likes football; they're perfect together!”
Alan Sussman, a second-year student, says, “I think they must have known each of our personalities and picked the opposite,” he recalls. While Sussman was neat and serious about studying, his roommate was messy and liked to party into the early hours of the morning. “I would come into the room and find him pawing through my desk, looking for postage for a letter. Another time, I arrived to find him chewing the last of a batch of chocolate chip cookies my mother had sent me. People in the hall were putting up bets as to when we were going to start slapping each other around,” he says. Against all odds, the two ended up being friends. Says Sussman: “We taught each other a lot — but I would never do it again.”

英语学习

Section C:
An Indian Arranged Marriage
We sat around the dining table, my family and I, full to bursting from yet another home-cooked South Indian dinner. It was my younger brother who asked the question.
“Shoba, why don't you stay back here in India for a few months? So we can try to get you married.”
Three pairs of eyes stared at me across the width of the table. I sighed. Here I was, at the tail end of my vacation after graduate school. I had an airplane ticket to New York from India in 10 days. I had accepted a job at an artist's colony in the U.S. My car and most of my possessions were with friends in America.
“It's not that simple,” I said. “What about my car…?”
“We could find you someone in America,” my dad replied. “You could go back to the States.”
They had thought it all out. This was a plot. I frowned at my parents angrily.
Oh, another part of me rationalized, why not give this arranged-marriage thing a shot? It wasn't as if I had a lot to go back to in the States. Besides, I could always get a divorce.
Stupid and dangerous as it seems looking back, I went into my marriage at the age of 25 without being in love. Three years later, I find myself enjoying my relationship with this brilliant man who talks about the yield curve and other financial statistics, who prays when I drive, and who tries bravely to remember the names of the modern artists I adore.
My enthusiasm for arranged marriages is that of a recent convert. True, I grew up in India, where arranged marriages are common. My parents' marriage was arranged, as were those of my aunts, cousins and friends. But I always thought I was different. I flourished as a foreign student at an American university, where individualism was expected and women's rights encouraged. As I experimented with being an American, I bought into the American value system.
I was determined to fall in love and marry someone who was not Indian. Yet, somehow, I could never manage to. Oh, falling in love was easy. Sustaining it was the hard part.
Arranged marriages in India begin with matching the horoscopes (星座) of the man and the woman. Those who prepare the horoscopes look for balance so that the woman's strengths balance the man's weaknesses and man's strengths balance the woman's weaknesses. Once the horoscopes match, the two families meet and decide whether they are compatible. It is assumed that they are of the same religion and social level.
While this eliminates risk and helps to insure that the man and woman will be similar in background and outlook, the theory is that the personalities of the couple provide enough differences to make the relationship interesting. Whether or not this is true, the high success rate of arranged marriages in different cultures — 90 percent in Iran, 95 percent in India, and a similar high percentage among Hasidic Jews (哈西德派犹太教徒) in New York and among Turkish and Afghan Muslims (阿富汗穆斯林教徒) — gives one pause.
Although our families met through a mutual friend, many Indian families meet through advertisements placed in national newspapers.
My parents made a formal visit to my future husband's house to see whether Ram's family would treat me well. My mother insists that “you can tell a lot about the family just from the way they serve coffee”. The house had a lovely flower garden. The family liked gardening. Good.
Ram's mother had worked for the United Nations on women's-rights issues. She also wrote funny columns for Indian magazines. She would be supportive. She served strong South Indian coffee in the traditional steel cups instead of china; she would be a balancing influence on my youthful radicalism.
Ram's father had supported his wife's career even though he belonged to a generation of Indian men who expected their wives to stay at home. Ram had a good role model. His sister was a doctor in the United States. Perhaps that meant he was used to strong, achieving women.
Nov. 20, 1992. Someone shouted, “They're here!” My cousin gently nudged me out of the bedroom into the living room.
“Why don't you sit down?” a voice said.
I looked up and saw a square face and smiling eyes anxious to put me at ease. He pointed me to a chair. Somehow I liked that. The guy was sensitive and self-confident.
He looked all right. Could stand to lose a few pounds. I liked the way his lips curved to meet his eyes. Thick hair, commanding voice, strong laugh. To my surprise, the conversation flowed easily. We had a great deal in common, but his profession was very different from mine. I learned that he had an MBA (工商管理硕士学位) from an American university and had worked on Wall Street before joining a financial consulting firm.
Two hours later, Ram said: “I'd like to get to know you better. Unfortunately, I have to be back at my job in the United States, but I could call you every other day. No strings attached, and both of us can decide where this goes, if anywhere.”
I didn't dislike him.
He called 10 days later. About a month later he asked me to marry him, and I accepted. I am convinced that our successful relationship has to do with two words: tolerance and trust.

英语学习
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