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The Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain's famous novel The Adventures of Tom Sawyer won the hearts of millions of readers, both young and old. Mark Twain wrote about his book as follows: "Most of the adventures in this book are real. One or two were my own experiences, the rest of boys' who were my schoolfriends. Becky Thatcher is Laura Hawkins, Tom Sawyer is largely a self-portrait but Tom Blankenship, who lived just
Doctorate ['doktsnt] of Letters — степень доктора литературы
over the back fence, is the immortal Huckleberry Finn who slept on doorsteps in fine weather and in empty hogsheads in wet. John Biggs was the real, flesh-and-blood version of Joe Harper, the Terror of the Seas. My book is mainly for boys and girls to enjoy, but I hope, men and women will also be glad to read it to see what they once were like".
The plot is full of adventures of smart youngsters and is full of sparkling humour. With Tom's adventures we learn about the life on the Mississippi and that of the provincial town of the USA in the 19th century.
Tom Sawyer, a plain American boy, lives with his younger brother Sid and aunt Polly in St Petersburg, a remote town on the banks of the Mississippi river. Sid is an obedient boy, and he is satisfied with his school and the life of the little town. Tom is quite the opposite of his brother. His close friend is Huck Finn, a boy left by his drunkard of a father. Tom does not like school because of the teachers who beat the pupils. He misses lessons, plays tricks on his teachers, fights his brother Sid. Tom is tired of aunt Polly who wants to make a decent boy of him. From books about Robin Hood, robbers and hidden treasure Tom Sawyer has created an imaginary world which differs from the one he lives in. The novel combines the elements of realism and romanticism. The realistic picture of the small town with its stagnant life is compared with the romantic world of Tom and his friends. The author praises humanism, friendship, courage and condemns injustice, narrowminded-ness and money worship.
condemn [кэп'ёет] v осуждать decent ['di:snt] а хороший drunkard ['drAnkad] n пьяница fence ['fens] n забор hogshead ['Irngzhed] n бочка immortal [i'mo:tl] а бессмертный largely [ 'lard^i] adv в значительной
степени narrowmindedness ['naereu'mamdidnis]
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a story of a little tramp. His father is a drunkard. When he becomes so violent that Huckleberry fears him, the boy runs away from him. Huck finds a canoe and gets into it and paddles to an island on the other side of the river. He thinks he is alone on the island, but he meets there a young Negro slave Jim. Huck is glad to see him there because he always considers him to be his friend. But when he learns that Jim has run away from his owner, he is very sad because it is a sin to help a runaway slave. But Huck promises not to tell anybody about him.
Huckleberry and Jim are the main characters of the book. They sail down the Mississippi, passing big and small towns, numerous villages and farms. The author and his heroes critically view everything they see. They seldom meet good people. Most of all they come across are robbers, murderers, rogues. They do not wish to earn their living honestly.
The white boy and young Negro become very good friends. They help each other in all the troubles. Huck finds Jim to be a kind, brave and good man.
Mark Twain compares the friendly relations between Huck and Jim with the corruption they see in the towns and villages on the shores.
It is to Twain's credit that he has depicted Jim as an honest, kind, sincere and selfless man at the time when the Negroes were
considered inferior to the white people. From the time Jim enters the story in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn the book becomes a social novel. It is a judgement of a certain epoch in America.
In The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain used his wit and humour to show the social evils of his day. The novel marked the growth of Mark Twain's realism.
Mark Twain began writing as a humorist, but later became a bitter satirist. Towards the end of his life he grew more dissatisfied with American mode of life. In his later works his satire becomes very sharp.
credit ['kredit] n заслуга rogue ['гэид] п мошенник
inferior [in'frarra] а низший (по положе- sin [sin] n грех
нию) violent fvaistant] а жестокий
The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
Both books showed contemporary American problems against the historical background.
The Prince and the Pauper is a beautiful fairy-tale about justice and injustice. According to Mark Twain the contrast between poverty and luxury is unjust; the idea that the people from the lowest strata of society are inferior is wrong. He showed that they have as much common sense and wit as their social superiors. The second theme Mark Twain deals with is the corruptive influence of money and flattery on good people.
"Tom Canty liked clothes and ordered more of them. 400 servants he found not enough and made them thrice as many. The flattery of courtiers sounded music to him".
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court is a fantastic novel, a parody on the medieval romance.
Placing a Yankee from the 19th century America into the England of the 6th century the author could compare the Middle Ages and the
contemporary bourgeois system and appreciate the progress made, but he leads us to the conclusion that the main laws are the same — the same power of church, ignorance, the same contrast between the oppressed masses of people and the ruling classes.
Mark Twain proves that there is as little or even less freedom and respect for the rights of man in his own days than there was in the times of feudal despotism.
Mark Twain makes the king travel among the people in the disguise of a peasant. It is the same device used in The Prince and the Pauperwhen the king comes to see by himself how bitter the life of the people was.
Mark Twain was a very good short-story writer as well. The most popular stories are: Running for Governor, An Encounter with an Interviewer, A Chinaman's Letters and some others. They contain sharp criticism of the political life of the country, of the American system of election and the morals and manners of the reactionary press.
Mark Twain was a very good narrator and he wrote as he talked.
appreciate [s'prkjieit] v ценить contemporary [кэп 'temparen] а современный corruptive [кэ'глрйу] а развращающий device [di'vais] n прием (зд. литературный) disguise [dis'gaiz] л измененный костюм in disguise of a peasant переодетый крестьянином flattery ['flffitsn] n лесть
Questions and Tasks
1. Speak about Samuel Clemens's childhood.
2. When did he have to earn his living?
3. Where did he work?
4. Comment on the years Samuel Clemens spent piloting on the Mississippi.
5. When did the writer take the pen-name "Mark Twain"?
6. What does this term mean?
7. What did Clemens do when the Civil War stopped the traffic on the Mississippi?
8. When did Clemens's career as a journalist really begin?
9. What story made him famous?
10. Name Mark Twain's first important book. Comment on it.
11. What novels did he write in the period from 1874 to 1885?
12. What was his last short novel?
13. What Mark Twain's novels won the hearts of millions of readers?
14. What can you say about the plot and the main characters of the The Adventures of Tom Sawyer?
15. Give a brief summary of the contents of the The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
16. Why can The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn be called a social novel?
17. Analyse the novel The Prince and the Pauper and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.
18. Speak on Mark Twain's activities as a short-story writer.
19. What else did he write in the last years of his life?
20. Speak on Mark Twain's place in American and world literature.
O. Henry (1862-1910)
O. Henry is one of the most popular short-story writers. His real name was William Sidney Porter fwiljam 'sidni 'porta]. He was bom in Greensbore, a little town in North Carolina.
His mother died when he was little. His
teen Porter went to Texas.
He changed a variety of jobs, working as a cowboy, miner, clerk and then a teller of a bank. While working at a bank Porter was falsely accused of embezzlement and he left the bank. He went
to Houston where he worked for a Houston newspaper and founded a humorous journal, which he called The Rolling Stone. He worked on the newspaper for nearly a year. Then William porter had to return to the Texas capital Austin to start trial for the embezzlement at the bank. He was not guilty. However, the case was so confused that he considered it better not to go there and he went to South America.
In 1897 he returned to his dying wife to the USA and was arrested on the old charge, tried and sentenced to imprisonment. He spent five years in the Ohio State prison. While in prison he started writing stories. He used the pen-name of O. Henry — from the name of the captain of the prison guard, Orrin Henry.
When O. Henry was released from prison, he went to New York where he continued writing stories. The first of his volumes of short stories was Cabbages and Kings (1904). It was followed by The Four Million (1906), The Trimmed Lamp (1907), Heart of the West (1907), The Voice of the City (1908), The Gentle Grafter (1908), Roads of Destiny (1909), Options (1909) and Strictly Business (1910). The years of hard work and privations had undermined the writer's health and he died in 1910.
O. Henry worked out the various kinds of the short story: the monologue, the dialogue, the adventure story, the anecdote, the psychological story. O. Henry wrote about 150 stories with a New York background. His stories depict the lives of people belonging to different layers of society from businessmen to beggars. Most of his stories are romantic portrayals of the lives of shop girls, poor artists, unhappy lovers. Social criticism in O. Henry's stories is very mild. The writer's interest is not in the social scene but in some unusual incident in the lives of his heroes.
O. Henry's stories are based on plot. Mood and character are of less importance. He was an entertainer, his aim was to amuse and surprise his readers rather than to analyse a human situation. Nevertheless, his stories .attract the readers to this day. He is still a living author. His love for humanity, for the common people, his critical attitude towards injustice appeal readers. O. Henry's works had a great influence on American literature of the 20th century. The most popular O. Henry's stories are: The Ransom of Red Chief in which the two crooks who kidnap a boy for ransom cannot stand his pranks and
are forced to pay his father two hundred and fifty dollars to get rid of
O. Henry's stories are related with skill, humour and feeling.
prank [praerjk] n шалость
rag [raeg] n тряпка
ransom ['raensam] n выкуп
release [n'li:s] v освобождать
rid [rid] v (rid; ridden) освобождать
to get rid of smb избавиться от кого-л. sentence [ 'sentgns] v приговаривать teller ['tela] n кассир в банке trial ['traial] n суд
to stand trial предстать перед судом undermine [^Ands'mam] v разрушать
Question and Tasks
1. Where was William Porter born?
2. What do you know about his parents?
3. When did he leave school?
4. What professions and jobs did he have before he became a writer?
5. What happened when he worked at a bank in Texas?
6. Was he guilty?
7. When was he arrested?
8. When did O. Henry begin writing stories?
9. Why did he take this pen-name?
10. What was the first of his volumes of short stories?
11. What kinds of short story did O. Henry work out?
12. Characterize O. Henry's stories.
13. Name the most popular of them and retell their contents.
Jack London (1876-1916)
Jack London, the famous American novelist and short-story writer, was born in San Francisco, California, on January 12,1876. He was the son of astrologer William Henry Chancy and Flora Willman. When Jack was eight months old, his mother left Chancy, and married John London, whom the boy grew to love more than his own father. Jack took his foster-father's name and this is the one by which history remembers him.
London called his childhood years the hungriest period of his life. So hungry was he that once he stole a piece of meat from a girl's lunch basket. Years later he wrote about his childhood: "I had been poor. Poor I had lived. I had gone hungry on occasion. I had never had toys of playthings like other children. My first memories of life were pinched by poverty. The pinch of poverty had become chronic... And only a child, with a child's imagination, can come to know the meaning of things it has long been denied."
But soon Jack discovered the world of books. In 1885, he was borrowing books from the public library and read everything he could. He read books of adventure, travel and sea voyages. But as John London was often out of work, Jack had had to work since his early childhood to help his father support the family. He got up at 3 a. m. to deliver newspapers, after which he went to school. After school he delivered evening papers. On weekends he worked as a porter or on an ice wagon. Because of financial difficulties, Jack got only a grammar school education. At the age of 13 he continued working as a newspaper boy and performed some other odd jobs. When he had some spare time from his work, he spent on the waterfront. The sea attracted him,
But family affairs went from bad to worse: John London was seriously injured, and now Jack had to provide his family. He found work in a cannery. His pay was very low, and he had to work overtime, standing at his machine for 18 and 20 hours a day. For several months he continued working there but then he joined the oyster pirates and was a sailor on board a schooner bound for Japan. In 1893 he returned to San Francisco. The only job he could find was in a jute mill where he earned one dollar for ten hours a day. After a<lay's work at the factory Jack was very tired and sleepy, but it was at this time that he managed to publish his first story: the newspaper San Francisco Call offered a prize for a descriptive article. Jack's mother made him try for it. The attempt was successful. The first prize was given to Jack'London's 5fory of a Typhoon Off the Coast of Japan (1893). His success in the competition turned his thoughts to writing, but he had to earn his living. He got a job at a power plant, but soon he left the plant and joined an army of the unemployed. He tramped from San Francisco to Washington. Like many others he was arrested and spent a month in jail.
These hardships influenced his outlook. He began thinking of the necessity of improving his education. In 1896, after 3 months of preparatory study, he entered the University in California, but left before the year was up to support his mother and foster-father by working in a laundry. At the same time he decided once again
to try his skill in literature. Working day and night, Jack London wrote poetry, essays and stories, sending them to magazines, but receiving only rejection letters.
Then gold was discovered in the Klondike and Jack set sail for the Alaskan gold fields. He hoped to get money to be able to devote himself to literature. London mined no gold during his year's stay in the Klondike, but his contacts with many different people and his observations gave him a lot of material for many stories.
In 1889 he arrived home to find his father dead.
Jack returned to day labour, and at the same time he was trying to continue his literary work. He felt that in order to become a writer there were two things he had to acquire: knowledge and skill in writing. His reading continued: Kipling and Stevenson were his literary gods. At the cost of tremendous hardships his efforts were rewarded with success. His story To the Man on Trail (1898) was published in the Overland Monthly. In the course of the next four years London published his collection of northern stories (The Son of the Wolf (1900), The God of His Fathers (1901), Children of the Frost (1902), A Daughter of the Snows (1903) and The Call of the Wild (1903)), which brought the writer wide popularity.
London knew the North very well. He had met his characters in real life and knew their aspirations and troubles very well that's why all his personages are so realistically depicted.
In 1902 Jack London visited the capital of England. Out of that experience came the terrible picture of poverty, one of London's most popular books — The People of the Abyss (1903). The writer drew a realistic picture of the misery and suffering of the poor people who lived in the slums of London. The Russian Revolution in 1905 influenced London greatly and led London to a better understanding of class struggle. His new outlook was expressed in his books The War of the Classes (1905), The Iron Heel (1907) and Revolution and Other Essays (1910).
The years 1905- 1910 were the highest point in his political activity.
In 1905 Jack London went on a lecture tour of the country, and made a voyage to the Hawaii. On the deck of his yacht the Snark he began writing Martin Eden, the finest novel he ever wrote.
The years of 1906—1909 were the prime of London's creative work. He wrote some of his best works: The White Fang (1906), The South Sea Tales (1907), Martin Eden (1909) and many other works that brought the author great fame.
Many novels of his later period show that he made a compromise with those whom he had exposed in his previous books. These were his new works The Valley of the Moon (1914), and The Little Lady of the Big House (1916).
During the sixteen years of his literary activities Jack London wrote 19 novels, 18 books of short stories and articles, 3 plays and 8 autobiographical and sociological works. His work is very unequal. He expresses widely differing views of life. However, Jack London must be judged by the books in which he showed all his great talent, the books which brought fame to London's name all over the world.
On November 22, 1916, Jack London was found dead near Santa Rosa, California. Doctors explained his death as an overdose of morphine. It is believed that it may have been taken deliberately as during the year 1916 London felt very ill. He suffered from an incurable disease.
Jack London is one of the most popular writers in the world. He is still widely read. It is his realism and humanism that keep his writings living and fresh today as they were at the beginning of the century.
acquire [a'kwaia] v приобретать aspiration Laespa'reijan] п стремление autobiographical [,o:tau,baiau'greeiikal]
а автобиографический cannery ['кгепэп] л консервный завод compromise ['ктлпргэтатг] v пойти на
hardship fha:djip] л обыкн pi трудности
incurable [m'kjuarabl] а неизлечимый
injure ['mdja] v ранить
jail [dseil] n тюрьма
judge [d$Ad3] v составлять мнение, оценивать
jute [dju:t] n джут
mine [mam] v добывать
morphine ['mo:fi:n] n морфий
occasion [a'kerjan] л случай
odd [t>d] а случайный
outlook ['autluk] n точка зрения; кругозор
overdose fauvadaus] л слишком большая доза
oyster ['oista] л устрица
Martin Eden is an autobiographical novel in which Londontells of his struggle to overcome his lack of knowledge and to turnhimself from a plain sailor into an educated person. But this is asocial novel as well. It shows the fate ofa young man who comesfrom the working class and becomes a famous writer inbourgeois society.
The main characters of the novel are Martin Eden, RuthMorse and her family. Martin saves in a hand-to-hand fight witha group of hooligans a young man named Arthur Morse. Arthurintroduces Martin to his family, and he falls in love with his sisterRuth. Martin thinks the Morses to be the realm of spiritual beautyand intellectual life, and he considers Ruth to personify all thesequalities.
It becomes Martin's desire to be her intellectual equal and tojoin the society she belongs to. He decides to educate himself tobe worthy of Ruth. Martin Eden studies grammar, reads a lot ofbooks. His swift development surprises and interests Ruth. Sherealizes that she is in love with Martin, but her parents have otherplans for her. When Martin runs out of money he setsout as a
common sailor in a ship bound for the South Seas. While on board, a great idea comes to his head — to become a writer. That is a career that will help him to win Ruth.
On his return to Oakland, Martin devotes every minute of his time to writing and studying. He works from early morning till dark and sends the manuscripts to various magazines. His first stories are returned by the publishers, but he keeps on sending them.
In the meanwhile Martin and Ruth are engaged to be married. It is a great blow to Ruth's parents because Eden is a rough sailor. Wishing to have encouragement in his work, Martin shows some of his stories to Ruth. But she has little faith in his power as a writer. Ruth persuades him to give up writing and accept a job at her father's office.
But Martin continues sending his stories to various magazines.
Through unbearable hardships Martin manages to realize his dream. He becomes a famous writer. His stories and novels are now in great demand. Eden becomes rich and popular, but he is not happy. When he gets into "high society" he understands how shallow and hypocritical these people are. He can't understand that those who despised him before his books become popular, now invite him to dinner.
The Morses, hearing of Martin's brilliant career, are not against his union with Ruth. She even visits Martin to reconcile with him. "She is aware of her humiliation but she does not care. However all her efforts are in vain. The charm of love is gone. There is nothing in common between the youth, who was madly in love with Ruth, and the famous writer, tired, exhausted and indifferent. He cannot bring himself to feel sympathy for Ruth and is as unresponsive as a stone."
aware [s'wes] а знающий
to be aware сознавать, отдавать себе отчет charm [tja:m] n очарование convince [kan'vms] v убеждать despise [dis'paiz] v презирать encouragement [т'клпс&тэпГ] п поддержка engagement [m'geictjmsnt] n помолвка exhausted [ig'zo:stid] а измученный humiliation [hju^mili'eijgn] n унижение hypocritical Lhipa'kntikal] а лицемерный inspire [m'spara] v вдохновлять lack [laek] n нехватка narrowness [пэегэипв] п ограниченность overcome ['эшэклт] v(overcame; overcome) преодолеть
Questions and Tasks
personify [p3:'sDnifai] v олицетворять
progressive-minded [pre'gresiVmamdid] а прогрессивно настроенный
realm [relm] n сфера
reconcile freksnsail] v помириться
rough [rAf] а грубый
run out [глп aut] v кончаться
shallow ['/эе1эи] а ограниченный; пустой
share Цеэ] v разделять
spiritual ['spmtjusl] о духовный
unbearable [лп'ЬеэгэЫ] а невыносимый
unresponsive ['Anns'ponsiv] а не реагирующий
vain [vein] о напрасный in vain напрасно
worthy ['\V3:6i] а достойный
6. What novel was written after his visit to London?
7. When was the prime of London's creative work?
8. What works were written in this period of time?
9. Characterise Jack London's literary activities.
10. When did he die?
11. What was the reason of his death?
12. Analyse the novel Martin Eden.
13. What are the main characters of the book?
14. Give a summary of the contents of Martin Eden.
15. Describe the character of Martin Eden.
16. Comment on Jack London's place in American and world literature.
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