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2018高考英语二轮复习阅读理解话题学案(九)社会教育类ppt课件精选教学PPT_图文

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话题学案(九) 社会教育类
“百年大计,教育为本”。教育担负着立德树人、为 国育才的重任。近年来,有关教育的话题越来越多地出现 在高考试题中。教育从大的方面可以分为:家庭教育、学 校教育和社会教育,不要狭隘地理解为单一的学校教育。 一般来说,有关此类话题的文章往往在开头或结尾点明文 章的中心,阅读难度不大。

[高考典例——2016·全国卷Ⅱ阅读理解B] Five years ago, when I taught art at a school in Seattle, I used Tinkertoys as a test at the beginning of a term to find out something about my students. I put a small set of Tinkertoys in front of each student,and said:“Make something out of the
Tinkertoys. You have 45 minutes today — and 45 minutes each day for the rest of the week.”
A few students hesitated to start. They waited to see what the rest of the class would do. Several others checked the instructions and made something according to one of the model plans provided. Another group built something out of their own imaginations.

Once I had a boy who worked experimentally with Tinkertoys in his free time. His constructions filled a shelf in the art classroom and a good part of his bedroom at home. I was delighted at the presence of such a student. Here was an exceptionally creative mind at work. His presence meant that I had an unexpected teaching assistant in class whose creativity would infect (感染) other students.
Encouraging this kind of thinking has a downside. I ran the risk of losing those students who had a different style of thinking. Without fail one would declare, “But I'm just not creative.”

“Do you dream at night when you're asleep?” “Oh, sure.” “So tell me one of your most interesting dreams.” The student would tell something wildly imaginative. Flying in the sky or in a time machine or growing three heads. “That's pretty creative. Who does that for you?” “Nobody. I do it.” “Really — at night, when you're asleep?” “Sure.” “Try doing it in the daytime, in class, okay?”

语篇解读:本文是一篇记叙文。作为一名教师,作者用一种玩
具培养孩子们的创造性和动手能力,其中一个孩子的创造性引
起了作者的注意。
1.The teacher used Tinkertoys in class in order to ________. A.know more about the students B.make the lessons more exciting C.raise the students' interest in art D.teach the students about toy design 解析:细节理解题。从题干的“in order to”判断,本题询问 作者在课堂使用这种玩具的目的,第一段提到“as a test ... to find out something about my students”,由此可知作者的目 的是更多地了解自己的学生。答案:A

2.What do we know about the boy mentioned in Paragraph 3? A.He liked to help his teacher. B.He preferred to study alone. C.He was active in class. D.He was imaginative. 解析:推理判断题。第三段作者描述这个学生,说他特别有 创造性(was an exceptionally creative mind at work),因此选 D项。 答案:D

3.What does the underlined word “downside” in Paragraph 4 probably mean?

A.Mistake.

B.Drawback.

C.Difficulty.

D.Burden.

解析:词义猜测题。前文提到作者很喜爱这个学生,说这个

学生的创造性能够感染其他学生,下文说“冒着失去那些有

不同的思考风格的学生的风险”,根据语境前后的对比判

断,downside的含义应该是drawback“不利条件,缺点”。

答案:B

4.Why did the teacher ask the students to talk about their dreams?
A.To help them to see their creativity. B.To find out about their sleeping habits. C.To help them to improve their memory. D.To find out about their ways of thinking.
解析:推理判断题。作者鼓励学生讲述他们最有趣的梦,然后 鼓励学生说,“白天在课堂上也试一试做梦,好吗?”由此推 断,作者让学生讲述他们的梦,是为了帮助学生看到自己的创 造性,因此选A项。 答案:A

词汇积累 1.major vi. 2.scholarship n. 3.master vt. 4.lecture n. 5.accumulate v. 6.encourage vt. 7.grasp vt. 8.reward vt.

主修 奖学金 精通;掌握 演讲 积累;积聚 鼓励 掌握 奖励

9.develop vt. 10.stand out 11.learn ... by heart 12.educational background 13.form a habit of 14.have a good knowledge of 15.develop one's interest

发展 脱颖而出 背诵,记住 教育背景 养成……的习惯 通晓 培养某人的兴趣

读文技法——主题发散揣度读文法
社会教育类文章一般都在篇首交代写作的主题,读文时 可依据主题进行联想揣度,再结合文中的关键词加以引导和 印证思维,便能较准、较快地理解文意。如本篇文章开头先 介绍对学生进行了一次测试,考生此时就要发挥联想揣度: 为什么要进行这样的测试,怎样测试,有什么效果。再由第 一段的关键词“to find out something about my students”可知 第一段介绍了进行这次测试的原因;由第二段中的关键词
“A few students hesitated; Several others checked; Another group built something”可知第二段是介绍如何测试的;由第 三段中的关键词“infect (感染) other students”可知本段介 绍测试的效果。

题型技法——词义猜测类之猜测单词

[规律方法] (以“高考典例” 第3题为例 )

请点击

31..W常 hat见d设oe问s t方he式underlined word “downside” in Paragraph 4

p(r1o)bTahbley muneadne?rlined word “...” in Paragraph ... probably

Am.Meaisntask_e_. ____.

B.Drawback.

C(.2D)iWffihcuiclthy. of the followDin.g Bisurtdheen.closest in meaning to the

underlined word “...” in Paragraph ...?

(3)What does the underlined word “...” in Paragraph ...

refer to?

2.词义猜测题的5大猜词技巧 (1)利用上下文线索猜测词义 ①重述 作者为了使某一难词或术语的含义更清楚,通常会使用常 用、简明的词或词组对其进行解释,这就是重述。重述部 分通过逗号与句子的其他部分隔开(有时也使用破折号、冒 号、分号或括号)或用信号词引导。常见的信号词有:or, namely, that is, in other words, that is to say, to be more exact, to put in another way等。

②定义 作者常常通过给某些词汇下定义来帮助读者理解词义,尤其在 一些科普类、社科类及与专业内容相关的文章中。下定义时, 作者通常使用信号词,如i.e., is, are, is/are called, mean, refer to, known as等等。 文章对于词义的解释除了直接下定义外,还有一种间接释义 法,即通过描述、介绍、总结等方式,对前面画线单词进行间 接提示,读者可以从中推断词语含义。例如上文第3题,该文画 线词后有这样一句“I ran the risk of losing those students who had a different style of thinking.”,意为“我冒着失去那些有着 不同思考风格学生的风险”。此句就是对画线词“downside”的 间接释义。那么,为什么说有风险呢?第三段最后一句提及, “我”的那位学生有创造力,能够感染别的学生。接下来第四 段第一句和第二句就说鼓励这种思考风格有风险,由此推断, 鼓励单一的思考风格是“有弊端的”,由此可确定答案为B。

③举例 作者常常会通过对某一难词给出具体的例子,帮助考生理解该词 的词义。举例常用的信号词有:such as, such ...as, for example, for instance, like, including, especially等。 ④同义词或近义词 在同一句、同一段或同一篇文章中,作者为了避免语言的单调、 重复,有时会使用意思相同或相近的词。因此,考生只要读懂上 下文,知道其中一个词的意思,就能猜出另外一个词的意思。

⑤反义词 有时作者会用表示对比或转折的信号词连接意思相反的两个词或 句子,这时就可根据反义词线索猜测词义。表示对比或反义的信 号词/词组常见的有:(whether)...or, unlike, but, yet, however, while, although, nevertheless, instead, rather than, in contrast, on the contrary, on the other hand等。

(2)根据语法知识猜测词义 在英语句子中,同位语或同位语从句、定语从句、状语从 句等都起着解释说明、补充或限定的作用,因此也能提供 猜测词义的线索。 (3)根据上下文逻辑猜测词义 有时单词或短语所在的上下文中没有明显的解释说明性线 索,这时可根据上下文的逻辑关系进行推理,以确定某一 难词或短语的意义。

(4)根据构词法猜测词义 英语中的许多词汇,特别是不断出现的新词大多是通过构 词法生成的。因此,可根据前缀、后缀,合成及词性转换 等构词法猜测词义。
(5)根据常识或背景知识猜测词义 有时考生可运用自己的常识或背景知识,根据上下文猜 测词义。

A

文体

词数 建议用时 实际用时 押题指数

记叙文

339

7分钟

★★★

(2017·山东省六校联考)On a typical school night, Jilly Dos

Santos was lucky if she got six hours of sleep. Even when she finished her homework early, she often didn't feel tired enough

to fall asleep. So when her school board planned to change her high school's start time from 7:50 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. — a

full half hour earlier — she was outraged.“I thought it was the

worst idea I'd ever heard,” she says.

Fired up, Jilly used social media to encourage other students to join her in speaking up at the next school board meeting, and she started an online petition (请愿), which got 200-plus signatures. Then, with the help of another student, she put up more than 100 posters on school walls and emailed teachers to spread the word. The fight was on!
The good news is that Jilly wasn't alone — once she started her fight, she became part of a growing movement demanding to start school later. Now, about 43 percent of public high schools in the U.S. start school before 8 a.m., which is earlier than at most workplaces. One big reason schools have historically preferred early start times: They allow outdoor athletic teams to practice after school while the sun is still out.

As she prepared for the school board meeting, Jilly learned all of the ways that more sleep makes for better students. At the school board meeting, Jilly shared what she had learned. “My heart beat so fast,” she admits. But her schoolmates gave her confidence.“About 30 students came to support me.”
Armed with facts, Jilly explained her case convincingly.“The school board liked how I didn't get emotional and just provided evidence. When I presented, I kept thinking,‘If this were a class, what would get me an A?’ instead of ‘How loud can I yell?’”

All of that hard work paid off. The school board decided that instead of making Jilly's high school's start time earlier, they would change the bus schedule and make the start time even later, at 8:55 a.m.
语篇解读:本文是一篇记叙文。美国一位名为Jilly Dos Santos 的高中生呼吁学校推后上课时间。她的努力没有白费,学生们 因此获得了更多的睡眠时间。

1.What does the underlined word “outraged” in Paragraph 1 mean?

A.Angry.

B.Excited.

C.Surprised.

D.Interested.

解析:词义猜测题。由画线词后吉莉所说的话“I thought it

was the worst idea I'd ever heard”以及第二段段首的“Fired

up”可推测,该词意为“愤怒的”。

答案:A

2.Jilly used social media to________. A.win other students' support B.show the importance of sleep C.make her school's plan known D.ask her school to help some students 解析:推理判断题。由第二段第一句中的“encourage other students to join her”和“got 200-plus signatures”可推断,为 了和学校董事会抗争,吉莉在网上发起了请愿活动,以获得 其他同学的支持。
答案:A

3.According to Paragraph 3, why do many schools start school early? A.To save electricity in the evening. B.To encourage students to sleep earlier. C.To spare the time for outdoor practice. D.To make students spend more time at school.
解析:细节理解题。由第三段最后一句“They allow outdoor athletic teams to practice after school while the sun is still out”可 得出答案。
答案:C

4.What did Jilly do before the school board meeting? A.She wrote to newspapers and magazines. B.She studied the advantages of more sleep. C.She visited members of the school board. D.She traveled around schools across the U.S.
解析:细节理解题。由第四段第一句中的“Jilly learned all of the ways that more sleep makes for better students”可得 出答案。
答案:B

文体 说明文

词数 309

B
建议用时 7分钟

实际用时

押题指数 ★★★★

(2017·河南郑州高中毕业年级第一次质量预测) It seems that technology could be changing the places where we live.A project conducted by Johann Siau, a senior lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire's School of Engineering and Technology, has built on the university's InterHome project aimed to create a home that supervises people living at home who are weak or elderly.

“We've developed a wristband type of device (装置),” said
Johann Siau, “which allows us to monitor the condition of an elderly person, or whoever is wearing the device.It allows us to collect data of a person to see if the person has fallen or is away from where they are supposed to be.It connects an elderly person with an assisted living type of device with the InterHome.” The assisted living project is part of the university's wider InterHome project, which is the development of a smart house.The house stores the usage patterns of the person living there and can adapt to making it use as little energy as possible.Connecting the two together and building the service element (元素) allow us to introduce the assisted living idea to care for the elderly.It's very important that these technologies are there to help and support rather than to replace any of the existing services.

The InterHome is not just a prototype (雏形) or a vehicle for research.It's a study tool to help students from different scientific backgrounds learn about and develop technology.The InterHome combines the latest broadband technology, mobile data and communication.Researchers and students make sure that all the technology works together.Students get experience by developing new hardware and software themselves.It requires a variety of skills from students — electronic engineers, computer students, design students and so on.“The present plan we are working on is a smart home project in Watford with some commercial companies,” said Johann Siau.“We are looking at how a smarter home can provide extra value services.”

语篇解读:本文主要介绍了一个旨在为居家老弱人士服务

的智能屋项目。

5.The underlined word “supervises” in Paragraph 1

probably means “________”.

A.watches over

B.gives support to

C.directs

D.comforts

解析:词义猜测题。根据第二段第一句的“allows us to

monitor the condition of an elderly person, or whoever is wearing the device”,并结合画线词所在句子的语境可推 知,supervise, monitor, watch over同义。答案:A

6.What is the InterHome project intended to do? A.Call on the students to care for old people. B.Provide better care and services for the elderly. C.Carry out all the work the existing services do. D.Develop houses that mainly aim to save energy. 解析:细节理解题。根据第一段的“InterHome project aimed
to create a home that supervises people living at home who are weak or elderly”和第二段的倒数第二句“Connecting the two together and building the service element (元素) ...to care for the elderly.”可知,这个项目旨在为老年人提供护理和服务。 答案:B

7.What can we learn about the InterHome project from the article? A.It is a large collection of many existing technologies. B.It is just a platform to help students to do research work. C.It is a smart home project developed by different universities. D.It allows students to put into use and try out what they've learned.

解析:推理判断题。根据最后一段的第二句“It's a study tool to help students from different scientific backgrounds learn about and develop technology.”可推知,这一项目有 利于学生学习和开发技术。 答案:D

8.What is the main purpose of the author in writing this article? A.To build up a new platform for students to develop new technology. B.To show how future buildings will change elderly people's way of life. C.To describe a new project that aims to develop a smart home for the elderly. D.To introduce a new kind of technology to help people to enjoy a better life.

解析:写作意图题。根据第一段的第二句“A project ...has built on the university's InterHome project aimed to create a home that supervises people living at home who are weak or elderly.”并结合全文可知,本文主要介绍了一个旨在为居 家老弱人士服务的智能屋项目。 答案:C

文体 说明文

词数 272

C 建议用时
7分钟

实际用时

押题指数 ★★★★

(2017·江西名校联盟检测)Several decades ago, educators in the USA began to call attention to a national problem: most students leave American schools without the mathematical skills needed for jobs or for higher education.This was especially true for female and minority students.The Educational Testing Service reported that, in an international survey, American teenagers had the lowest math scores.

This situation has been defined as “innumeracy”, or the inability to grasp the basic idea of mathematics.Mathematicians, teachers, and scientists were alarmed by these findings.They looked for the reasons and decided that, in addition to poor education, there are many psychological blocks.

Embarrassment about not knowing math can lead to fear in the classroom.Fear can lead to silence because students do not want to draw attention to their lack of knowledge.As a result, those students fall further and further behind.Low_visibility_ in_the_classroom_has_not_ always_been_recognized_as_a_ silent_call_for_help.

Math educators decided to try to change that.Math reform is beginning with the educators themselves.Teachers are now being trained to recognize and to help students work through “math anxiety” — the roadblock on their way to gaining competence in mathematics.In addition, math textbooks are being updated to help students understand that math is not a sort of foreign language of numbers.Math is a tool that helps us to analyze patterns and structures, and to discover relationships.
Traditional computing skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division are still being taught, of course.However, there is added emphasis on logical thinking and creative problem solving, to which there may be several equally valid solutions.

语篇解读:本文讲述了美国学生无法掌握数学基本概念的现象、 原因及针对这些状况采取的相应的对策。 9.What does the underlined sentence probably mean?
A.Students with low scores fear to ask their teachers for help. B.Poor equipment in classrooms limits teens' chances to
learn. C.Math anxiety, hardly noticed, is actually a silent call for
help. D.Poor-sighted students can't see clearly, which is a silent
call for help.

解析:句意理解题。根据上下文及第三段可知,学生会因自己 不懂某些数学知识感到尴尬,而这又会使他们产生恐惧心理, 恐惧可能导致沉默,因为学生不想让人注意到自己知识匮乏, 相应地,老师也就会忽略学生这方面的不足。由此可知,C项 最能传达该画线句的含义。 答案:C

10.Which may lead to American students innumeracy? A.The methods of teaching. B.The difficulty of math itself. C.Students' lack of interest in math. D.Schools' not attaching enough value to it. 解析:细节理解题。根据第二段中的“in addition to poor education”及第四段的内容尤其是“Math reform is beginning
with the educators themselves.Teachers are now being trained to recognize and to help students ...gaining competence in mathematics.”可知,教学方法可能是美国学 生不能掌握数学基本概念的原因。 答案:A

11.What may be discussed in the following paragraph? A.What to be taught in America's revised math programs. B.How to make math reform actually benefit American students. C.How to improve teens' logical thinking and problem-solving abilities. D.Why traditional computing skills are necessary in mathematics education.

解析:推理判断题。根据最后一段中的“However, there is added emphasis ... equally valid solutions.”可知,文章接下 来可能会陈述有关怎样提高学生的逻辑思维能力及创造性 地解决问题的能力方面的内容,故选C。 答案:C

12.What is the passage mainly about? A.Mathematic skills needed for higher education. B.The features of America's mathematics education. C.Improvements in mathematics education in the US. D.The importance of mathematics education in the US. 解析:主旨大意题。通读全文可知,本文作者就美国学生无 法掌握数学基本概念的现象、原因及针对这些状况采取的相 应的对策进行了陈述,故C项最能概括文章的主要内容。 答案:C

文体 说明文

词数 322

D
建议用时 7分钟

实际用时

押题指数 ★★★★

(2017·太原二模)“Stop all the rushing and screaming:

too much excitement is bad for families.Kids are missing out on an essential life — relaxed down time,” says

Dr.Charlotte Reznick.

“Parents work, and kids do scheduled activities — there's little family time without pressure,” says Reznick.“One parent is taking the son to a soccer game, and the other parent is taking the daughter to her swim meet.Then there's the art class, baseball practice, extra tutoring, and more! By the time the family meet up for dinner, everyone is exhausted.”

All the rushing makes for a short temper.“When parents are reduced to shouting at their children to get them to listen, they lower their own self-esteem as well as losing the respect of their children,” says Dr.Carl Pickhardt.“While parents think it shows they're serious about what they're saying, they are really just showing helpless desperation at not getting their way.”

These days what kids are learning at school and from the outside is a lot greater than it used to be even just a generation ago.
“The problem is that stress relieving activities — reading, taking walks or hot baths, watching the sunset and other activities are not even part of most kids' experience any more,” says Reznick.

“There are so many more social interaction opportunities in our computer age, but not all of them promote meaningful connections, which is another potential outlet for stress,” she says.
One way to relieve stress is a simple technique called “the balloon breath”.It's a great way for everyone to become calm so that they can respond thoughtfully rather than just react.

Here's how to do it.Imagine a deflated (未充气的) balloon in your stomach — about two to three inches below your navel (肚脐).Slowly breathe in to a count of 1 ...2 ...3 ...and feel the lower belly expand, and flatten as you slowly breathe out to a count of 1 ...2 ...3 ...

语篇解读:本文主要讲述了如何缓解孩子们的压力。 13.What can we infer from the second paragraph?
A.Kids can hardly enjoy family time due to heavy burdens. B.Saturday is the only leisurely day of the week for kids. C.The life of kids is becoming rich due to extra classes. D.Parents have no time on weekends to care for their kids. 解析:推理判断题。根据第二段中的“By the time the family meet up for dinner, everyone is exhausted.”和本段的 整体内容可推知,如今孩子们的负担沉重,几乎没有享受
家庭时间,故选A。 答案:A

14.What does Dr.Carl Pickhardt think of parents when they yell? A.They have no self-confidence. B.They take what they say seriously. C.They are always behaving like children. D.They are less respected and seem desperate. 解析:细节理解题。根据第三段的“losing the respect of their children”和最后一句“While parents think it shows ... getting their way.”可知,Dr.Carl Pickhardt认为,父母在大吼大叫 时,孩子们对他们的尊重会减少,也显示出父母无助的绝 望,故选D。 答案:D

15.What is the function of “the balloon breath” according
to the seventh paragraph? A.To make one cool down. B.To test one's patience. C.To raise one's awareness. D.To fill a balloon with air. 解析:细节理解题。根据倒数第二段的第二句“It's a great
way for everyone to become calm so that they can respond thoughtfully rather than just react.”可知,这种方法的作用 是使人们冷静下来,故选A。 答案:A

16.What is the purpose of the author writing this passage? A.To tell educators to be patient. B.To advise parents not to make life too stressful for kids. C.To encourage kids to pursue creativity. D.To show that kids need patience and love from their parents.
解析:写作意图题。通读全文可知,本文主要讲的是如何缓 解孩子们的重压,这是给父母提出的建议,故选B。
答案:B

s, some say she quoted every book of the bible by memory and it took a whole day and awhole night. What is certain is, at the end of it all, Darcus slumped deeper into the recesses of his chair, looked mournfully at the television with whom he had had such an understanding, compassionate relationship so uncomplicated, so much innocent affection and a tear squeezed its way out of its duct and settled in a crag underneath his eye. Then he said just one word: Hmph. Hmph was all Darcus said or ever was to say after. Ask Darcus anything; query him on any subject at any hour of the day and night; interrogate him; chat with him; implore him; declare your love for him; accuse him or vindicate him and he will give you only one answer. "I say, isn't dat right, Darcus?""Hmph.""An' it not," exclaimed Hortense, returning to Clara, having received Darcus's grunt of approval, 'dat young man's soul you boddrin' yourself wid! How many times must I tell you you got no time for bwoys!"For Time was running out in the Bowden household. This was 1974, and Hortense was preparing for the End of the World, which, in the house diary, she had marked carefully in blue biro: i January 1975. This was not a solitary psychosis of the Bowdens.
There were eight million Jehovah's Witnesses waiting with her. Hortense was in large, albeit eccentric, company. A personal l etter had come to Hortense (as secretary of the Lambeth branch of the Kingdom Halls), with a photocopied signature from William J. Rangeforth of the largest Kingdom Hall in the USA, Brooklyn, confirming the date. The end of the world had been officially confirmed with a gold-plated letterhead, and Hortense had risen to the occasion by setting it in an attractive mahogany frame. She had given it pride of place on a doily on top of the television between a glass figurine of Cinderella on her way to the Ball and a tea-cosy embroidered with theTen Commandments. She had asked Darcus whether he thought it looked nice. He had hmphed his assent. The end of the world was nigh. And this was not the Lambeth branch of the church of the Jehovah's Witnesses was to be assured like the mistakes of 1914 and 1925. They had been promised the entrails of sinners wrapped around the trunks of trees, and this time the entrails of sinners wrapped around the trunks of trees would appear. They had waited so long for the rivers of blood to overflow the gutters in the high street, and now their thirst would be satiated. The time had come. This was the right date, this was the only date, all other dates that might have been proffered in the past were the result of some bad calculations: someone forgot to add, someone forgot to minus, someone forgot to carry the one. But now was the time. The real thing, i January 1975.
Hortense, for one, was glad to hear it. The first morning of 1925 she had wept like a baby when she awoke to find instead of hail and brimstone and universal destruction the continuance of daily life, the regular running of the buses and trains. It had been for nothing, then, all that tossing and turning the previous night; waiting for those neighbours, those who failed to listen to your warnings, to sink under a hot and terrible fire that shall separate their skin from their bones, shall melt the eyes i n their sockets, and burn the babies that suckle at their mothers' breasts ... so many of your neighbours shall die that day that their bodies, if lined up side by side, will stretch three hundred times round the earth and on their charred remains shall the true Witnesses of the Lord walk to his side. The Clarion Bell, issue 245 How bitterly she had been disappointed! But the wounds of 1925 had healed, and Hortense was once again ready to be convinced that apocalypse, just as the right holy Mr. Rangeforth had explained, was round the corner. The promise of the 1914 generation still stood: This generation shall not pass, till all these things bejulfilkd (Matthew 24:34). Those who were alive in 1914 would live to see the Armageddon. It had been promised. Born in 1907, Hortense was getting old now, she was getting tired and her peers were dying off like flies. 1975 looked like the last chance. Had not two hundred of the church's best intellectuals spent twenty years examining the bible, and hadn't this date been their unanimous conclusion? Had they not read between the lines in Daniel, scanned for the hidden meaning in Revelation, correctly identified the Asian wars (Korea and Vietnam) as the period spoken of by the angel, 'a time, and times, and half a time'? Hortense was convinced these were the sign of signs. These were the final days. There were eight months to the end of the world. Hardly enough time! There were banners to be made, articles to be written ("Will the Lord Forgive the Onanist?"), doorsteps to be trod, bells to be rung. There was Darcus to think about who could not walk to the fridge without assistance how was he to make it to the kingdom of the Lord? And in all Clara must lend a hand; there was no time for boys, for Ryan Topps, for skulking around, for adolescent angst. For Clara was not like other teenagers. She was the Lord's child, Hortense's miracle baby. Hortense was all of forty-eight when she heard the Lord's voice while gutting a fish one morning, Montego Bay, 1955. Straight away she threw down the marlin, caught the trolley car home and submitted to her least favourite activity in order to conceive the child He had asked for. Why had the Lord waited so long? Because the Lord wanted to show Hortense a miracle. For Hortense had been a miracle child herself, born in the middle of the legendary Kingston earthquake, 1907, when everybody else was busy dying miracles ran in the family. Hortense saw it this way: if she could come into this world in the middle of a ground shaker, as parts of Montego Bay slipped into the sea, and fires came down from the mountains, then nobody had no excuses about nothing no how. She liked to say: "Being' barn is de hardest part! Once ya done dat no problems." So now that Clara was here, old enough to help her with door stepping administration, writing speeches and all the varied business of the church of the Jehovah's Witnesses, she'd better get on with it. No time for boys. This child's work was just beginning. Hortense born while Jamaica crumbled did not accept apocalypse before one's nineteenth birthday as any excuse for tardiness. Yet strangely, and possibly because of Jehovah's well documented penchant for moving in a mysterious manner, it was in performing the business of the Lord that Clara eventually met Ryan Topps face to face. The youth group of the Lambeth Kingdom Hall had been sent door stepping on a Sunday morning, Separating the sheep from the goats (Matthew 25:31-46), and Clara, detesting the young Witness men with their bad ties and softly spoken voices, had set off alone with her own suitcase to ring bells along Creig hton Road. The first few doors she received the usual pained faces: nice women shooing her away as politely as possible, making sure they didn't get too close, scared they might catch religion like an infection. As she got into the poorer end of the street, the reaction became more aggressive; shouts came from windows or behind closed doors. "If that's the bloody Jehovah's Witnesses, tell 'em to piss off!"Or, more imaginatively, "Sorry, love, don't you know what day it is? It's Sunday, in nit I'm knackered. I've spent all week creating the land and oceans. It's me day of rest."At No. 75 she spent an hour with a fourteen-year-old physics whizz called Colin who wanted to intellectually disprove the existence of God while looking up her skirt. Then she rang No. 87. And Ryan Topps answered. "Yeah?"He stood there in all his red-headed, black polo-necked glory, his lip curled in a snarl. "I...!..."She tried desperately to forget what she was wearing: a white shirt complete with throat-ruffle, plaid knee-length skirt and sash that proudly stated nearer my god to thee. "You want som mink said Ryan, taking a fierce drag of a dying cigarette. "Or som mink Clara tried her widest, buck-toothed smile and went on to auto-pilot. "Marnin' to you, sir. I am from de Lambet Kingdom Hall, where we, de Witnesses of Jehovah, are waitin' for de Lord to come and grace us wid his holy presence once more; as he did briefly hot sadly, invisibly in de year of our farder, 1914. We believe dat when he makes himself known he will be bringing wid 'im de tree-fold fires of hell in Armageddon, dat day when precious few will be saved. Are you int' rested in' "Wot?"Clara, close to tears at the shame of it, tried again. "Are you int' rested in de tea chins of Jehovah?""You wot?""In Jehovah in de tea chins of d'Lord. You see, it like a staircase." Clara's last resort was always her mother's metaphor of the holy steps. "I see dat you walkin' down and der's a missin' step comin'. I'm just tellin' you: watch your step! Me jus wan' share heaven wid you. Me nah wan' fe see you bruk-up your legs."Ryan Topps leant against the door frame and looked at her for a long time through his red fringe. Clara felt she was closing in on herself, like a telescope. It was only moments, surely, before she disappeared entirely. "I 'ave some materials of readin' for your perusal' She fumbled with the lock of the suitcase, flipped the catch with her thumb but neglected to hold the other side of the case. Fifty copies of the Watchtawer spilled over the doorstep. "Bwoy, me ky ant do nuttin' right today ' She fell to the ground in a rush to pick them up and scraped the skin off her left knee. "Owl""Your name's Clara," said Ryan slowly. "You're from my school, ain't ya?""Yes, man," said Clara, so jubilant he remembered her name that she forgot the pain. "St. Jude's.""I know wot it's called."Clara went as red as black people get and looked at the floor. "Hopeless causes. Saint of," said Ryan, picking something surreptitiously from his nose and nicking it into a flowerpot. "IRA. The lot of'em."Ryan surveyed the long figure of Clara once more, spending an inordinate amount of time on two sizeable breasts, the outline of their raised nipples just discernible through white polyester. "You best come in," he said finally, lowering his gaze to inspect the bleeding knee. "Put somefin' on that."That very afternoon there were furtive rumblings on Ryan's couch (which went a good deal further than one might expect of a Christian girl) and the devil won another easy hand in God's poker game. Things were tweaked, and pushed and pulled; and by the time the bell rang for end of school Monday Ryan Topps and Clara Bowden (much to their school's collective disgust) were more or less an item; as the St. Jude's phraseology went, they were 'dealing' with each other. Was it everything that Clara, in all her sweaty adolescent invention, had imagined? Well, 'dealing' with Ryan turned out to consist of three major pastimes (in order of importance):
admiring Ryan's scooter, admiring Ryan's records, admiring Ryan. But though other girls might have balked at dates that took place in Ryan's garage and consisted entirely of watching him pore over the engine of a scooter, eulogizing its intricacies and complexities, to Clara there was nothing more thrilling. She learnt quickly that Ryan was a man of painfully few words and that the rare conversations they had would only ever concern Ryan: his hopes, his fears (all scooter-related) and his peculiar belief that he and his scooter would not live long. For some reason, Ryan was convinced of the ageing fifties motto "Live fast, die young', and, though his scooter didn't do more than 22 mph. downhill, he liked to warn Clara in grim tones not to get 'too involved', for he wouldn't be here long; he was 'going out' early and with a 'bang'. She imagined herself holding the bleeding Ryan in her arms, hearing him finally declare his undying love; she saw herself as Mod Widow, wearing black polo-necks for a year and demanding "Waterloo Sunset' be played at his funeral. Clara's inexplicable dedication to Ryan Topps knew no bounds. It transcended his badlooks, tedious personality and unsightly personal habits. Essentially, it transcended Ryan, for whatever Hortense claimed, Clara was a teenage girl like any other; the object of her passion was only an accessory to the passion itself, a passion that through its long suppression was now asserting itself with volcanic necessity. Over the ensuing months Clara's mind changed, Clara's clothes changed, Clara's walk changed, Clara's soul changed. All over the world girls were calling this change Donny Osmond or Michael Jackson or the Bay City Rollers. Clara chose to call it Ryan Topps. There were no dates, in the normal sense. No flowers or restaurants, movies or parties.
Occasionally, when more weed was required, Ryan would take her to visit a large squat in North London where an eighth came cheap and people too stoned to make out the features on your face acted like your best friends. Here, Ryan would ensconce himself in a hammock, and, after a few joints, progress from his usual monosyllabic to the entirely catatonic. Clara, who didn't smoke, sat at his feet, admired him, and tried to keep up with the general conversation around her. She had no tales to tell like the others, not like Merlin, like Clive, like Leo, Petronia, Wan-Si and the others. No anecdotes of LSD trips, of police brutality or marching on Trafalgar Square. But Clara made friends. A resourceful girl, she used what she had to amuse and terrify an assorted company of Hippies, Flakes, Freaks and Funky Folk: a different kind of extremity; tales of hellfire and damnation, of the devil's love of faeces, his passion for stripping skin, for red-hot-poke ring eyeballs and the flaying of genitals all the elaborate plans of Lucifer, that most exquisite of fallen angels, that were set for i January 1975. Naturally, the thing called Ryan Topps began to push the End of the World further and further into the back-rooms of Clara's consciousness. So many other things were presenting themselves to her, so much new in life! If it were possible, she felt like one of the Anointed right now, right here in Lambeth. The more blessed she felt on earth, the more rarely she turned her thoughts towards heaven. In the end, it was the epic feat of long division that Clara simply couldn't figure. So many unsaved. Out of eight million Jehovah's Witnesses, only 144,000 men could join Christ in heaven.
The good women and good-enough men would gain paradise on earth not a bad booby prize all things considered but that still left a few million who failed to make the grade. Add that to the heathens; to the Jews, Catholics, Muslims; to the poor jungle men in the Amazon whom Clara had wept for as a child; so many unsaved. The Witnesses prided themselves on the absence of hell in their theology the punishment was torture, unimaginable torture on the final day, and then the grave was the grave. But to Clara, this seemed worse the thought of the Great Crowd, enjoying themselves in earthly paradise, while the tortured, mutilated skeletons of the lost lay just under the topsoil. On the one side stood all the mammoth quantities of people on the globe, unacquainted with the teachings of the Watchtower (some with no access to a postbox), unable to contact the Lambeth Kingdom Hall and receive helpful reading material about the road to redemption. On the other side, Hortense, her hair all wrapped up in iron rollers, tossing and turning in her sheets, gleefully awaiting the rains of sulphur to pour down upon the sinners, particularly the woman at No. 53. Hortense tried to explain: "Dem dat died wid out de knowing de Lord, will be resurrected and dem will have an udder chance." But to Clara, it was still an inequitable equation. Unbalanceable books. Faith is hard to achieve, easy to lose. She became more and more reluctant to leave the impress of her knees in the red cushions in the Kingdom Hall. She would not wear sashes, carry banners or give out leaflets. She would not tell anyone about missing steps. She discovered dope, forgot the staircase and began taking the lift.
October 1974. A detention. Held back forty-five minutes after school (for claiming, in a music lesson, that Roger Daltrey was a greater musician than Joharm Sebastian Bach) and as a result, Clara missed her four o'clock meeting with Ryan on the corner of Leenan Street. It was freezing cold and getting dark by the time she got out; she ran through piles of putrefying autumn leaves, searched the length and breadth of Leenan, but there was no sign. It was with dread that she approached her own front door, offering up to God a multitude of silent contracts (I'll never have sex, III never smoke another joint, I'll never wear another skin above the knee) if only he could assure her that Ryan Topps had not rung her mother's doorbell looking for shelter from the wind. "Clara! Come out of de cold."It was the voice Hortense put on when she had company an over-compensation of all the consonants the voice she used for pastors and white women. Clara closed the front door behind her, and walked in a kind of terror through the living room, past the framed hologram of Jesus who wept (and then didn't), and into the kitchen.
"Dear Lord, she look like so meting de cat dragged in, hmm?""Mmm," said Ryan, who was happily shovelling a plate of ackee and salt fish into his mouth on the other side of the tiny kitchen table. Clara stuttered, her buck teeth cutting shapes into her bottom lip. "What are you doing here?""Ha!" cried Hortense, almost triumphant. "You tink you can hide your friends from me for ever?
De bwoy was cold, I letim in, we been havin' a nice chat, haven't we young man?""Mmm, yes, Mrs. Bowden.""Well, don' look so shock. You'd tink I was gwan eatim up or so meting eh Ryan?" said Hortense, glowing in a manner Clara had never seen before. "Yeah, right," smirked Ryan. And together, Ryan Topps and Clara's mother began to laugh.
Is there anything more likely to take the shine off an affair than when the lover strikes up a convivial relationship with the lo vee mother? As the nights got darker and shorter and it became harder to pick Ryan out of the crowd who milled outside the school gates each day at three thirty, a dejected Clara would make the long walk home only to find her lover once more in the kitchen, chatting happily with Hortense, devouring the Bowden household's cornucopia of goodies: ackee and salt fish beef jerky, chicken-rice-and-peas, ginger cake and coconut ices. These conversations, lively as they sounded when Clara turned the key in the door, always fell silent as she approached the kitchen. Like children caught out, they would become sullen, then awkward, then Ryan would make his excuses and leave. There was also a look, she noticed, that they had begun to give her, a look of sympathy, of condescension; and not only that they began to comment on her clothing, which had become steadily more youthful, more colourful; and Ryan what was happening to Ryan? shed his polo-neck, avoided her in school, bought a tie.
Of course, like the mother of a drug addict or the neighbour of a serial killer, Clara was the last to know. She had once known everything about Ryan before Ryan himself knew it she had been a Ryan expert. Now she was reduced to overhearing the Irish girls assert that Clara Bowden and Ryan Topps were not dealing with each other definitively, definitely not dealing with each other oh no, not any more. If Clara realized what was happening, she wouldn't allow herself to believe it. On the occasion she spotted Ryan at the kitchen table, surrounded by leaflets and Hortense hurriedly gathering them up and shoving them into her apron pocket Clara willed herself to forget it. Later that month, when Clara persuaded a doleful Ryan to go through the motions with her in the disabled toilet, she squinted so she couldn't see what she didn't want to see. But it was there, underneath his jumper, there as he leant back on the sink was the glint of silver, its gleam hardly visible in the dismal light it couldn't be, but it was the silver glint of a tiny silver cross.
It couldn't be, but it was. That is how people describe a miracle. Somehow the opposites of Hortense and Ryan had met at their logical extremes, their mutual predilection for the pain and death of others meeting like perspective points on some morbid horizon. Suddenly the saved and the unsaved had come a miraculous full circle. Hortense and Ryan were now trying to save her. "Get on the bike."Clara had just stepped out of school into the dusk and it was Ryan, his scooter coming to a sharp halt at her feet.
"Claz, get on the bike.""Go ask my mudder if she wan' get on de bike!""Please," said Ryan, proffering the spare scooter helmet. "Simportant. Need to talk to you. Ain't much time left.""Why?" snapped Clara, rocking petulantly on her platform heels. "You goin' someplace?""You and me both," murmured Ryan. The right place, ope fully"No.""Please, Claz.""No.""Please. "Simportant. Life or death.""Man.. all right. But me nah wearin' dat ting' she passed back the helmet and got astride the scooter 'not mussin' up me hair."Ryan drove her across London and up to Hampstead Heath, the very top of Parliament Hill, where, looking down from that peak on to the sickly orange fluorescence of the city, carefully, tortuously, and in language that was not his own, he put forward his case. The bottom line of which was this: there was only a month until the end of the world.多年前读朱自清的《背影 》,少 不更事 的年龄 ,没有 太多的 感触。
直到父亲老了,岁月在他的鬓角添加 了一笔 又一笔 的沧桑 和白发 ,直到 父亲的 背影不 再挺拔 ,才懂 得朱自 清文中 父亲背 影的含 义……
记忆中的父亲是沉默的,总是忙忙碌 碌,偶 尔闲下 来的时 候,他 会不说 一句话 ,笑眯 眯地坐 在院子 里看着 我们玩 耍。
那是多年以后,关于家最幸福的记忆 。
长大些,离家远了,偶尔回去,父亲 话也很 少,只 是默默 的为我 忙这忙 那。每 一次打 回家电 话,他 会转身 递给妈 妈,总 是用沉 默,代 替了千 言万语 。
年少的记忆中父亲是高大的,很有力 气的样 子,他 可以在 我学习 进步的 时候把 我高高 举起, 他可以 在我不 开心时 抱我转 几圈哄 我开心 ,当我 生病时 ,他可 以在深 夜里背 我跑过 几个站 台飞奔 向医院 。
长大了才发现,父亲其实并不那么高 大,以 至于我 们这些 孩子的 个头一 个个的 都超过 了他, 以至于 在人山 人海中 转身就 被淹没 了,可 就是那 么瘦削 的肩膀 ,是我 心中最 坚实的 依靠。
父亲是严厉的,小时候,他会在我们 逃学的 时候狠 狠的教 训我们 ,会在 我闯祸 的时候 责骂我 们,会 在我骄 傲的时 候,用 严厉的 目光提 醒我。
长大以后才发现,那个永远也不会被 生活的 困境而 击倒的 人,也 会在我 们离家 的时候 默默的 伤感, 也会因 为想念 我们而 偷偷的 擦眼泪 。
那个曾经对我们要求有点苛刻的人, 再也没 有那么 大的力 气了, 不知不 觉中, 父亲就 老了。
时常会因为生活的负累而加快前行的 脚步, 也会因 为工作 而忽略 了健康 。
我知道,有个人,他不在乎我取得多 大成绩 ,他只 关心我 有没有 吃好饭 ,有没 有休息 好,过 得是不 是快乐 。



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