Lesson Six Death of a Pig
E. B. White
After studying this essay, students will be able to:
1. grasp the theme of the short story (the pain and suffering brought about by death and this insecure, suffering world to animals and humans alike; relationship between animals and human beings)；
2. identify and appreciate the author’s humorous tone in dealing with this heavy and profound topic (achieved mostly through pompous and exaggerative language);
3. appreciate other features and writing techniques of the story (the free and smooth style, the careful choice of words, description of details, the use of parallelism, imagery and allusion, parody, etc.);
4. conduct a series of reading, listening, speaking and writing activities related to the theme of the unit.
Time allotment: The teaching plan is to be carried out with 7 periods.
Information on the author
Refer to Note 1
This essay is a typical example of narration based on the author’s own experience. That is to say, this is a real story rather than a fiction. Unlike the previous five lessons, this essay has not much background information. Therefore, we will simple go into the text body and try to share the subtle feeling of the author, paying special attention to the humorous style of writing.
The narration generally follows a chronological order except for the first three paragraphs. So, there is no need to analyze the overall pattern. We shall
1. I spent several days and nights in mid-September….none left to do the accounting
The use of a long and involved sentence and formal words (e.g. ailing pig, feel driven to, account for, this stretch of time, etc.) conveys a sense of pseudo-solemnity and creates humor. Usually the death of a pig does not require such a serious treatment. Similar examples can be found in Pride and Prejudice, a novel of Austin famous for its humor and irony, such as “it is a truth universally acknowledged,...