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Social Life (Unit 4)

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Unit IV. Love. Marriage. Family in Russia.

 

Text I

1. Listen to the text and answer the questions:

Marriage

One evening, although he was nervous, Joe decided to propose to his girlfriend, Linda. She accepted his proposal, they became engaged and he gave her a ring. After a year they had saved enough money to get married (they were both over 18 so they did not need their parents' consent). Some people have a religious ceremony with a priest, but Joe and Linda decided on a civil ceremony in a registry office. On the day of the wedding Linda, the bride, was very calm, but Joe, the bridegroom, was nervous. Afterwards, at the reception, speeches were made and the guests drank a toast to the happy couple, who finally left for a honeymoon in Spain.

 

Words: consent, religious ceremony, civil ceremony, bride, bridegroom, a toast to…, honeymoon

 

Questions

1. Why was Joe nervous one evening? 2. Did Linda accept his proposal? 3. How old were the young people when they got married? 4. Did they have a religious or a civil ceremony? 5. Where did the newly married couple go after the wedding reception?

 

2. Read and translate the text using the dictionary if necessary.

Text II

Marriage: Convenience over Romance

Why should we disconnect love and convenience, especially while thinking about the essence of human actions and feelings concerning such a conventional thing as marriage? There is obviously no denying the fact that love implies convenience in almost all its manifestations. What is more, we are either involved in this matter or observe it everyday when watching TV, reading newspapers, books (in many cases pulp fiction). Nowadays we face a tendency that people confuse these two ideas: love and convenience; and do not feel ashamed of the fact that these notions - wide apart as the poles in many respects -are treated as one. Not that love has lost its significance for modern society, but it has acquired some new, fresh meaning.

Together with this change we can speak about changes in family life as a consequence of the first change. Any idea aimed at lauding traditional family values may be interpreted as a desire to impose some old-fashioned views and a bound-to-fail style of living upon the new 'sufficiently mature and experienced' generation. One may think that young people, being on the threshold of matrimony, exclude any idea of romance (love) as the basis of their decision. In many cases the answer is yes - which is quite true. I strongly believe that such people can be called happy. To be always reasonable is a great quality which only few of us possess; while others in their turn simply pretend that they are such. But it should be mentioned that fools who believe in love do exist. They consider themselves to be the centre of the universe; they believe in chivalry. Just for fun I'd like to quote how one muser calls his sweetheart: 'You are a comet in the world of fading stars; you are moonlight; you are the blue in my ocean; you are the sky in my night, and the cornucopia of stars I see in the Texas sky.

Much sparkling dew on the nape of a rose..'. I have nothing against him if he can provide his wife with financial security, which is certainly of primary importance for marital success.

I suppose I have made myself quite clear: that nowadays the overwhelming evidence is that only convenience (or love in its new. meaning) matters when people contemplate marriage. Here it is possible to speak of any form of convenience: emotional security, mutual understanding, self-reliance, cultural similarities, intellectual community, promoting a career, coming into money. When hurrying into matrimony a person, should keep his eyes open and realize what he will get put of this marriage. It should be his main concern, and only after that he can give way to feelings, emotions. I think that only such couples who marry for convenience and advantage establish a life-long union which makes all other people envious. What may be called cynicism or egotism in this situation is the only means to survive in the world and it is the only reality that exists.

So marriage is no longer that hackneyed idea that when people love each other they should marry and live happily, and have a lot of children and be proud of them and serve them as a model of their future life. It makes me sick! A nice fairy tale, isn't it? I already imagine how some people, begin sobbing while reading these lines. I feel only pity for them. I haven't met such 'exhibits' in my life and I hope I won't. Strange as it may seem - their stupidity can break my heart.

Marriage is business, so treat it accordingly! Invest your money in convenience and you will derive your profit, that is marital success!

 

Vocabulary Practice

 

1. Answer the following questions:

a)   Are you sure that love implies conveniences in almost all its manifestations?

b)   Can we say that all of us are involved in this matter every day?

c)   What tendency do we face now?

d)   Did love loose its significance for modern society?

e)   Did young people exclude any idea of romance (love) as the basis of their decision before marriage?

f)    Do young people still believe in love, chivalry?

 

2. Put questions to the text.

 

3. Give the definitions of the following words:

Marriage, proposal, couple, to engage, wedding.

 

4. Translate the words and word-combinations:

folks, household, tribe, clan, descendant, ancestor, forefather, heredity, hereditary, paternal, one’s own flesh and blood, in-laws

 

5. Make up sentences of your own using the words below:

to date smb., to be smb’s. date, to go out with smb., to court smb., boyfriend, girlfriend, bridegroom, bride, fiancée, newlyweds, marriage knot, single, spouse, divorced, separated, bachelor, spinster, old maid.

 

Speech exercises

 

1. Discuss the statements about marriage which express different opinions:

a)   Society wouldn’t exist without marriage.

b)   Marriage is unnecessary.

c)   Marriage is important for the children.

d)   Marriage keeps couples together.

e)   A marriage license is a worthless piece of paper.

f)    Marriage restricts freedom.

g)   A lot of married people get divorced.

 

2. Comment on these points:

a)   Husbands and wives who both work should share domestic chores.

b)   The problems of having granny in the family.

c)   Courses on marriage and family matters in secondary school might be helpful in preserving the family.

d)   Home life feels the stress of the social life.

e)   Divorce is morally wrong and marriage should be preserved at all costs.

f)    Marriages at later ages are more stable.

g)   Love begins at home.

 

FAMILY LIFE IN HISTORICAL CONTEXT

PRE-READING ACTIVITIES

I. A Lesson in History

1. Research general information characterizing the fourteenth century; describe the most important events in Russia and in Britain in that period.

2. Who were the rulers of these countries?

 

II. Learn the following words and phrases:

without doubt, to be hard, to obey smb., to trust, disobedient, exhausting, the wife of a noble, responsibilities, to be in charge of, a harvest, to run the household, manor, to improve smth., wealth, to look after children.

 

Text III

Family Life in the Late Middle Ages

Little is known about the life of English women in the Middle Ages, but without doubt it was hard. The Church taught that women should obey their husbands. It also spread two very different ideas about women: that they should be pure and holy like the Virgin Mary; and that, like Eve, they could not be trusted and were a moral danger to men. Such religious teaching led men both to worship and also to look down on women, and led women to give in to men's authority.

Marriage was usually the single most important event in the lives of men and women. But the decision itself was made by the family, not the couple themselves. This was because by marriage a family could improve its wealth and social position. Everyone, both rich and poor, married for mainly financial reasons. Once married, a woman had to accept her husband as her master. A disobedient wife was usually beaten. It is unlikely that love played much of a part in most marriages.

The first duty of every wife was to give her husband children, preferably sons. Because so many children died as babies, and because there was little that could be done if a birth went wrong, producing children was dangerous and exhausting. Yet it is was the future for every wife from twenty or younger until she was forty.

The wife of a noble had other responsibilities. When her lord was away, she was in charge of the villagers, the harvest and the animals. She also had to defend the manor if it was if was attacked. She had to run the household, welcome visitors, and store enough food, including salted meat, for winter. She was expected to have enough knowledge of herbs and plants to make suitable medicines for those in the village who were sick. She probably visited the poor ant sick in the village, showing that the rulers "cared" for them. She had little time for her own children, who in any case were often sent away at the age of eight to another manor, the boys to "be made into men".

Most women, of course, were peasants, busy making food, making cloth and making clothes from the cloth. They worked in the fields, looked after the children, the geese, the pigs and the sheep, made the cheese and grew the vegetables. The animals probably shared the family shelter at night. The family home was dark and smelly. A woman's position improved if her husband died. She could get control of the money her family had given the husband at the time of marriage, usually about one-third of his total land and wealth. But she might have to marry again: men wanted her land, and it was difficult to look after it without the help of a man.

 

READING ACTIVITIES

I. Read the text Divide it into parts; make a plan of the text.

 

II. Find the answers to the following questions:

a. What was the position of the Church towards to a woman in the family?

b. What was the most wide spread reason for marriage in those times?

с. What were the main responsibilities of the wife in the family?

d. When could a woman gain control of her family's income?

 

III. Give the English equivalents to the Russian words and word-combinations.

Уезжать, соленое мясо, соответствующие медикаменты, убогие и больные, делить кров, получить контроль над деньгами, одна треть земли и состояния, вести домашнее хозяйство, чистый и святый, моральное искушение, поклоняться.

 

IV. Find the word-combinations with the verb to make, learn them.

 

V. Match the words with the same meanings.

wealthy

responsibility

noble

to be sick

duty

upper class

to be ill

rich

to improve

to make better

 

VI. Make a list of responsibilities: of the wife of a noble; of the wife of a peasant.

 

Примеры устных заданий:

-   поиск дополнительной информации о событиях данного исторического отрезка времени в странах: Россия, Британия, США. Как события в стране нашли отражения в укладе быта и семьи этих стран;

-  ролевая игра: утро в семье феодала; в семье крестьянина;

-  поиск и использование картинок для описания жизни людей в данный период;

-  экскурсия по музею, по историческим залам;

-  игра "Путешествие во времени" с использованием различных форм диалогов (запрос информации, сообщение информации, взаимный обмен информацией, обмен впечатлениями, мнения);

 

Assignments

 

1. Look at the picture “Unequal Marriage” by V.V. Pukirev and describe it using a dictionary if necessary

 

Картина В. Пукирева "Неравный брак" (1862)

“Unequal Marriage” by V.V. Pukirev (1862, STG)

 

2. Answer the following questions:

a)   Have you ever seen the picture before?

b)   What do you know about Russian painting in the XIX century?

c)   When was this painting completed?

d)   Where was this canvas exhibited before P. Tretyakov bought it for his gallery in 1871?

e)   What other canvases of this painter do you know?

 

3. Comment on the following quotations:

a)   Love cannot be forced.

b)   Love is not all cakes and ail. (Love is not a bed of roses).

c)   There is no such thing as love.

d)   People are born to be happy.

 

4. Solve the problems:

a)   What problems face this young woman in her marriage?

b)   Your best friend is going to marry a man who is old enough to be her father. What would you advice her?

c)   Say what you would do if you were in the girl’s position?

d)   Are there any changes in the people’s perception of unequal marriage nowadays?

e)   Say if you can approve of the girl’s actions. Give your arguments.

f)    What problems of social life do women try to solve agreeing to unequal marriages?

 

5. Письменные задания:

-   составление сводных и сравнительных таблиц жизненного уклада в семье в различные периоды, в разных странах;

-   написание рефератов и сочинений по темам: "Влияние политической жизни в стране на жизнь и быт в семье: "Глобальные исторические изменения и их влияние на жизнь людей в разных странах. Сравнительный анализ", "Если бы я мог путешествовать во времени, я бы....";

-   написание рекламных проспектов, рассказывающих о залах музея посвященных различным историческим эпохам.

Аналогичная работа предлагается по темам: "The Family in the Stuart Age"; "The Tudors' Century"; "The 18th Century Family"

 

A Project Work

 

1. Look at the famous painting “Before Marriage”, by F. Zhuravlyov (1874) and describe it using a dictionary.

 

Ф. Журавлев "Перед венцом" (1874)

“Before Marriage”, by F. Zhuravlyov (1874)

 

2. Find out information about F. Zhuravlyov and his works.

 

3. Write down an essay on topic: “The 19th Century Family in Russia”

 

4. Compare the paintings “Before Marriage” and “An Unequal Marriage” and write down your own opinion on women’s position in a Russian family in the 19th century.

 

5. Use the following proverbs in situations of your own:

  • Marriages are made in heaven.

  • A good husband should be deaf and a good wife should be blind.

  • Love – for pleasure, marriage – for convenience.

 

Assignments

 

Text IV

Pavel Andreyevich FEDOTOV

(1815-1852)

 

It was by an unorthodox route that Pavel Fedotov, officer of the household troops in the Finland regiment, became an artist. Born in the outskirts of Moscow, the son of a retired lieutenant, his childhood was spent in poverty. The boy would sit for whole days on a hay-shed, observing all that was going on in the neighbouring yards and streets. These first childhood impressions left their mark on Fedotov's creative work: 'The store of observations made at the very start of my life,' he wrote later, 'constitute the basis for my talent.'

His father wanted to see him in a military career, and at the age of ten he was sent to the Moscow Cadet Corps. This was the start of years of monotonous and wearisome training. But it was then that the boy's artistic bent revealed itself. His first essays—portraits of friends and caricatures—proved successful. On finishing the Cadet Corps in 1833, Fedotov was appointed to the household troops of the Finland regiment in St. Petersburg, where he served for ten years (1834-44). Nicholas I's army was plagued by endless reviews and manoeuvres and a mania for parades. As a distraction from the boredom and monotony. Fedotov read a lot, studied languages, took an interest in music and wrote poetry; but as before his main hobby was painting and drawing. At around this time he started attending evening classes at the Academy of Arts. His pencil brought to life scenes of senseless, exhausting drills; the themes of his drawings and water-colours were military exercises and camp service.

The more time and effort Fedotov put into his artistic hobby, the more clearly he realised that he would have to choose between painting and a military career. He was forced to give even more thought to the matter by a letter from the well-known fable-writer Ivan Krylov, who, having been impressed by the talent of the young officer, strongly advised him to give up military service and 'dedicate yourself to your true calling—the depiction of the life of the people'.

 

Vocabulary Practice

 

1. Read and translate the text using a dictionary if necessary.

 

2. Find in the text the English equivalents to the Russian words and word combinations:

кадет, офицер, лейтенант, полк, военная карьера, служить, армия, маневры, парад.

 

3. Give Russian equivalents to the following words and combinations according to the text:

artist, childhood, poverty, impressions, creative work, observations, to constitute the basis for one’s talent, portrait, caricatures, to write poetry, to study languages, main hobby, to attend evening classes, to bring to life, to be impressed by.

 

4. Put questions to the text.

 

5. Look at the “Self-portrait” and describe the artist, his appearance, character.

 

Speech Exercises

 

1. Translate the text and make up a dialogue.

Text V

 

In 1847 Fedotov painted The Fastidious Bride, based on Krylov's fable of the same title. Now this painting is exhibited in the State Tretyakov Gallery. The characters are described with ruthless satire: the old maiol, her bridegroom - a fashionably dressed hunchback - and the overjoyed parents. The work is a brilliant example of Fedotov's painting skills. The years of intensive work had not been in vain: the artist had learned to convey the material texture of objects with great virtuosity - from the sheen of mahogany and the rippling of the bride's silk dress to the gilding on the frames and the soft nap of the carpets.

Composition was becoming one of the most important expressive factors in Fedotov's work, serving to bring out the main idea and concentrate the attention on the chief protagonists. The plot of the picture is made easily, it is brilliantly painted in accordance with the protagonists and living conditions, it is clearly readable by the witnessers what is on in the room, what was before and what will be next moment. The place of action is drawn with few details only, but it is done skillfully. Thus Fedotov is seen here as a real master, who is able to achieve mole in art. In this painting for the first time the artist has come closely to ideal, when the quality itself provokes to enjoy this work of art apart from the unattractiveness of the subject.

 

П. Федотов "Разборчивая невеста" (1847)

“Fastidious Bride”, by P. Fedotov (1847)

 

2. Read the questions and answer them:

1.   What is the name of this painting?

2.   Who is the painter of the canvas "The Major's Marriage Proposal"? (1848)

3.   When was this painting completed?

4.   Where is the canvas exhibited?

5.   Did the painting "The Major's Marriage Proposal" bring Fedotov widespread fame?

6.   What genre does this picture belong to?

7.   What is the main idea of the canvas?

8.  Can we say the major tries to improve his circumstances by marring a rich merchant's daughter?

9.   Where does the action take place?

10. Is the family in the merchant's house getting ready to receive the suitor?

11. Why does an ordinary, undistinguished episode from the merchant-class life take an universal meaning in this painting?

12. Is Fedotov ridiculing the merchant's vanity, the major's profit seeking, the bride's air and graces or the mother's coarseness?

13. The object of Fedotov's criticism was the morality of people of different classes, wasn't it?

14. Did the artist criticise people who turned marriage into a profitable exercise, into a deal?

15. Can we say it was a condemnation of the seamy side of everyday life which astonished nobody in Russia of Nicholas reign?

16. Do we realize that what was going on was a shameless, horrifying trade in people?

17. Did Fedotov's talent manifest itself with enormous power in this painting?

18. Is its composition remarkably lively, natural and simple?

19. Are the dramatic persons closely linked with one another?

20. Can we almost read a narrative of the life, morals and mores of a merchant family looking at this canvas?

21. The figures are characterized by their gestures particularly, aren't they?

 

П. Федотов "Сватовство Майора" (1848)

“The Major’s Marriage Proposal” by P. Fedotov (1848)

 

3. Role-Plays:

-   игры-загадки. Работа по группам. Одна группа показывает или рассказывает исторические сценки, связанные с бытом. Другая группа определяет эпоху и страну.

-   игра "А что у вас?". Класс делится на две группы - представителей двух стран. I группа: У нас в XIV веке муж - хозяин и господин в семье. А у вас?

 

4. Write down a composition about woman’s role in a family life in Russia.

 

6. Comment on these points:

a)   What do you think is the best age for a girl (a boy) to get married?

b)   What makes a family happy?

c)   What is an ideal family to your mind?

d)   Are you for or against marriage bureau?

e)   Should young people think over the proposal very carefully? Why?

 

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