Unit 4:
America as a Collage
UNIT 4: AMERICA AS A
COLLAGE

CULTURAL BACKGROUND
 PRE-READING
 DETAILED-READING
 AFTER-READING
Cultural Background:

Map of the U.S.A.
 Pluralism
 Multiculturalism
 A nation of immigration
Map of the USA (50 states)
pluralism

Pluralism refers to the acceptance of many different groups in
society or many different schools of thought in an intellectual or
cultural discipline.
 Although America’s culture is becoming more uniform, its society
remains a diverse mix of ethnic, racial, and religious groups. The
US is a pluralistic society, meaning it is composed of many
nationalities, races, religions, and creeds. Some of the people
who immigrated to America embraced the opportunity to leave
old cultures behind and to remake themselves unencumbered by
past traditions and and loyalties. Others found that the liberties
promised under the Bill of Rights allowed for distinctiveness
rather than uniformity, and they have taken pride in preserving
and celebrating their origins. Many Americans find that pluralism
adds to the richness and strength of the nation’s culture.
Multiculturalism

Multiculturalism is a concept with many
meanings. But it often refers to acceptance
of immigrant and minority groups as
distinct communities, distinguishable from
the majority population. Like bilingualism,
multiculturalism provokes debate.
Advocated of multiculturalism believe that
members of minority groups should enjoy
equal rights in American society without
giving up their diverse ethnic cultures.
A nation of immigration

Although the US has been shaped by successive waves
of immigrants, Americans have often viewed
immigration as a problem. Established Americans
often look down on new immigrants. The cultural
habits of immigrants are frequently targets of
established community. Despite such
tensions,economic needs have always forced
Americans to seek immigrants as laborers and settlers,
and economic opportunities have beckoned foreigners.
The vast majority of immigrants to the US have come
in search of jobs and the chance to create a better life
for themselves and their families. In all of American
history, less than 10 percent of immigrants have come
for political or religious reasons.
I.
Pre-reading
1) Listen to the recording 2 or 3 times and then think over the
questions on Page 108.
2) Some questions on the text to check their comprehension.
Q1: According to the author, why is America not in
decline?
Q2: Who bring such a culture to America?
Q3: What attracts them to America?
3) Do Cloze A on P126 to get the main idea of the text.
4) Divide the text into several parts.
II. Detailed Reading

Part 1
 Part 2
 Part 3
paras 1-5
paras 6-21
paras 22-24
Part 1

L2
 L4
 L5
 L8
 L12
 L14
 L25
 L26
 L27
paras 1-5
in decline
characteristic
dynamism
paralyze
precedent
sense
pluralism
leave behind
mentality
Questions for Part 1:

Why is it hard to think of America in
decline?
 What thesis does Paul Kennedy advance in
his book? Does the author agree with him?
 Why does the author think that America will
not follow historical precedent that all
powerful nations declined?
 What is the main idea of Part1?
L2

in decline
in decline / on the decline: losing strength
e.g.
The working population is in decline.
the death rate of heart disease is on the decline.
In our town, interest in sports is on the decline.


decline
e.g.
n.
decline
v. move from a better to a worse position, or
from higher to lower
e.g.
His power / health / influence has begun to decline now that he is old.
The old man declined rapidly and soon died.
There is a sharp decline in prices / birth rate /
his health / his influence / power
to refuse, usu. politely; be unwilling
e.g.
We decline their invitation to go to the party / offer of a lift.
The minister declined to make a statement to the newspapers.
L4

characteristic
characteristic n.
e.g.
a special and easily recognized quality of sb. or sth.
A useful characteristic of the cat is its ability to catch and kill mice.
Genes determine the characteristics of every living thing.
The capacity to think is the distinctive characteristic of human beings.

character
n. the combination of qualities which makes a thing,
event, place, etc. different from another
e.g.
The furniture in his apartment was pretentious and without character.
This town isn’t interesting. Let’s go somewhere else with more character.

feature
e.g.
n. a (typical or noticeable) part or quality
Wet weather is a feature of life in Scotland.
The island’s chief feature was its beauty.
L5

dynamism
dynamism n. (in a person) the quality of being
dynamic
 dynamic
a. (of people, ideas,etc.) full of or
producing power and
activity
e.g.
a dynamic person / a dynamic
period in history
 dynamics n. the science that deals with matter
in movement
L8

paralyze
paralyze / se
v.
to cause (some or all of the body
muscles) to become uncontrollable
e.g. A stroke paralyzed half his face.
He is paralyzed from the waist down.
v.
to make ineffective; cause to stop working
e.g. The electricity failure paralyzed the train service.
The city was paralyzed by general strikes.

paralysis / ses n.
e.g. He is suffering from paralysis of the lower limbs /
the arm.
paralysis of industry by strikes
L12

precedent
precedent
n.
earlier happening, decisions or customs
used as a guide / an example or rule; present / future actions
e.g. The Supreme Court has already set a precedent for dealing with
similar cases.
Don’t take / use this as a precedent for disobeying me again.
The appointment of female CEO in the company is without
precedent.

precede
v.
e.g. A precedes B in the alphabet.
She preceded him across the street.
The eldest prince precedes all men except the King.
precedence/cy
n.
e.g. Ladies shall have the precedence.
A recent poll reported that people gave precedence to the control
of inflation.
L14

have a / the sense that
e.g.

feel /believe/ realize that
I have a sense that something is wrong with my car.
to bring sb. to his senses
e.g.

have a sense
They threw cold water on his face to bring him to senses.
Time will bring you to your senses. (understand)
to come to one’s senses
e.g.
She soon came to her senses in hospital.
Don’t act so foolishly. Come to your senses.

in all senses / in every sense
e.g.

in no sense
e.g.

The election was in every sense fair.
His mind is in no sense brilliant.
make sense
e.g.
A sentence must make sense.
What he said doesn’t make sense.
L25

pluralism
pluralism
n.
the principle that people of different races,
religions, and political beliefs can live together peacefully in the
same society
e.g.
plural
e.g.
political pluralism / ideological pluralism
a. involving more than one person or thing
a plural ending / citizenship / system of
education
singular
opp.
e.g.
“Electronics” is plural in form but takes a
singular verb.
L26
leave behind

leave behind

leave about / around
fail or forget to take or bring
e.g. It’s a fine day. You can leave your umbrella behind.
He went off in a hurry and left behind his key.
abandon, discard
e.g. In their withdrawal, much of the heavy equipment had to be left behind.
e.g. The child left toys about.

leave alone
e.g. He is busy. We’d better leave him alone.

/ Leave the puppy alone.
leave go / hold of
e.g. Leave go of my hair. (stop holding)

leave off
 leave out
 leave over
e.g.
It’s time to leave off work.
e.g.
Nobody speaks to him; he’s always left out.
e.g.
We’ll leave this pie over for tomorrow.
L27

mentality
mentality
the abilities and powers of the mind
e.g.
a man of average / high / weak mentality
She was so paralyzed with fear that her
mentality went to pieces.
characteristic attitude of mind; way
of thinking
e.g.
I can’t understand the mentality of
anyone who likes to watch.
Don’t have the try-your-luck mentality.
Part 2

Section 3
L76

facility
Paras 11 –14
Section 2
L56

Paras 6 – 10
Section 1
L37

paras 6-21
Section 4
ultra
Paras 15 –16
constructive
Paras 17 – 21
L86 possibility
L95 offend
L102 prospective
L86 conception
L100 sense
L102 submerge
Questions for part 2

What is the characteristic of the city Los Angeles? / In
what way is the city Los Angeles different from other cities?
(Section1)
 What can you infer from the example of a PC company in
Orange County?
(Section2)
 What is the difference in the relations between developed
and underdeveloped worlds now and before?
(Section3)
 Who was Jose Vasconcelos? What did he write about in
the book mentioned in this section?
(Section4)
L37

facility
facility ability to do or perform sth. easily
e.g.
He has great facility in learning
languages.
She plays the piano with facility.
Practice gives a wonderful facility.
L56

ultra-
ultra
prefix
beyond; very
e.g. ultra clean / cold / critical / fashionable / fast /
high / modern
an ultrafast computer / ultrahigh skyscrapers /
an ultramodern automobile
ultraconservatism / ultraism / ultraist / ultra
rightist (leftist) / ultranationalist
 supergreater or more than usual
e.g. the superpowers / market / man / nature / speed /
star
L76

constructive
constructive a.
serving a useful purposes; helping to improve
or develop sth; helpful
e.g. John made a number of very constructive suggestions at the
meeting.
Criticism is welcome only when it is constructive criticism.
constructive response / use of one’s leisure time

construct
v.
e.g. construct a ship / a road / a bridge / a budget
 construction n.
e.g. a construction site / ship construction / capital construction /
socialist construction
L86

possibility
possibility
(often pl.)
power of developing, growing, or being useful in the future
e.g.
He is a man of possibilities. (prospective)
The house is in bad condition, but it has
possibilities if it’s properly repaired.
L86

conception
conception
general understanding, idea
e.g. Different people have different conceptions of what love is.
Having studied history, I have some / a / a clear conception of what
life was like in the past.
I have no conception (of) what he means / why he left home.
the act of forming an idea, plan, etc.
e.g. At the moment of its conception, every detail of a great musical
work would become clear in Mozart’s mind.

concept
a general idea, thought, or understanding
e.g. He speaks in concepts rather than specifics.
new concept furniture / a concept car
L95

offend
e.g.
offend
v.
hurt the feelings of
His words/ rudeness offended many people.
He was deeply offended at their refusal to come / that
they refused to come.
cause displeasure
e.g.
The smell offended him.
Cruelty offends many people.
Some music offends, rather than pleases the ear.

offence / se
n.
e.g.
One cannot hear such a remark without offence.
 offensive
a.
e.g.
offensive behavior / remarks / sight / odour
The advertisements were offensive to women.
L100

sense
in the sense
as far as … is concerned
e.g.
In the academic sense, this article
is not well written.
In the environmental sense, the plan to
build a chemical factory is a disaster.

in a / one sense
in one way of speaking, partly
e.g.
You are right in a sense, but you don’t
know all the facts.
L102
perspective

n.
perspective
e.g.
the way in which a
matter is judged, view
He tends to view most issues from
a religious perspective.
The novel Harry Potter is written
from the perspective of a child.
This report may have given me a
distorted perspective.
L102

submerge
submerge
v.
to (cause to) go under the surface of water
e.g. The ship / submarine submerged, then rose to the
surface.
The stream overflowed and submerged the farmland.
to cover or completely hide
e.g. Her happiness at seeing him submerged her former worries.
His talent was submerged by his shyness.
She was eager to submerge herself in the feminist movement.

subprefix
under; below
e.g.subzero, submarine, subsoil, subway, subaverage
Part 3

L108
 L112
paras. 22-24
combination
stagnant
Questions for Part 3

Questions for Part 3:
Q1:What makes the diverse races and
cultures exist in America harmoniously?
Q2:In what way is the combination of
culture and space important to immigrants
to America?
L108

combination
combination the act of combining;
the state of being combined
e.g.

The color purple is a combination of red and blue.
The combination of flour and water makes paste.
combine
v. to (cause to) come together, untie,
act together, or join together
e.g.

They combined their efforts to a common end.
They combine theory with practice.
The two countries combined together against their enemy.
combined a.
e.g. His talents and sense of responsibility combined got him
the job.
L112

stagnant
stagnant
a. (as of water) not flowing or moving,
and often bad-smelling
e.g. a stagnant pool of water
They tried to drain stagnant pools where mosquitoes breed.
not developing or growing; inactive
e.g.

a stagnant economy / society / mind
During the summer, business is often stagnant.
We have to combine our efforts to put some life back into our industry.
stagnate
v.
e.g. The economy stagnated as a result of these tax measures.
The negotiations stagnated.

stagnation n.
e.g. Industrial stagnation inevitably leads to the loss of jobs.
AFTER READING
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
Charles Darwin, the famous biologist, was deeply interested in the
_____ of animals and plants.
A) specific
B) characteristic C) peculiar
D) particular
Many of the earliest _____ into the United States established large
plantations.
A) emigrants
B) emigrations C) immigrants D) migrants
These goods are _____ for export, though a few of them may be
sold on the home market.
A) essentially B) completely
C) necessarily D)remarkably
Failure usually comes in _____ with misfortunes.
A) combination B) relation
C) connection D) association
High interest rates _____ people from borrowing money.
A) dissuade
B) disturb
C) distract
D) discourage
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
6.
A _____ speaker, the senator often persuades her colleagues to
change their votes.
A) energetic
B) dynamic C) vigorous D) lively
7. The new government follows a(an) foreign policy.
A) bellicose
B) pugnacious C) contentious D) aggressive
8. The climber was _____.
A) paralyzed
B) numbed
C) deadened D) desensitized
9. He finished his _____for master’s degree last month.
A) thesis
B) treatise
C) discourse D) disquisition
10. Mr. Thompson gave all the _____ papers of his grandfather to the
public library according to this grandfather’s will.
A) history
B) historic
C) historical D) historically
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
11. He cannot go for he has a _____ engagement.
A) previous
B) prior
C) preceding D) foregoing
12. It’s very difficult to understand the _____of people who say such
things.
A) heart
B)mind
C) head
D) mentality
13. The day before her accident, she had a(an) _____ of something
horrible.
A) auspice
B) boding
C) premonition D) portent
14. We should _____ every opportunity to learn more.
A) use
B) grasp
C) exploit
D) make
15. He has given us lots of ______ suggestions,from which we
benefited a lot.
A) helpful
B) useful
C) destructive D) constructive
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
16. Hurricanes are killer winds, and their _____ power lies in the
physical damage they can do.
A. cumulative B. destructive C. turbulent D. prevalent
17. They tossed your thoughts back and forth for over an hour, but still
could not make _____ of them.
A. impression B. comprehension
C. meaning D. sense
18. Someday software will translate both written and spoken language
so well that the need for any common second language could
_____ .
A. descend
B. decline
C. deteriorate D. depress
19. We must learn to see things in their right _____ and avoid making
mistakes.
A. prospective B. prosperity C. perspective D. permissive
20. The talk dwells too much _____ the economic aspects of the
problem.
A. on
B. in
C. to
D. for
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
21. _____ popular belief that classical music is too complex, it
achieves a simplicity that only a genius can create.
A. Subject to
B. Contrary to C. Familiar to D. Similar to
22. They’re being very _____ about their holiday plans.
A. mysterious B. ethnic
C. arbitrary
D. obvious
23. The residents in the neighborhood all _____ the council’s decision
to close the small dye factory.
A. certified
B. accredited C. applauded D. ratified
24. My memory of the devastating earthquake is only a _____.
A. shady
B. shadowy
C. obscure
D. blur
25. I don’t want to lend any money to him; he’s already in debt
_____ me.
A. to
B. for
C. of
D. with
Vocabulary Exercises for Unit 4
26. He _____ other dramatists.
A. shortens
B. dwarfs
C. smalls
D. fights
27. The use of steam _____ many other reforms.
A. originate
B. originate in C. originate from D. originate to
28. Many English words are _____ from Latin.
A. got
B. obtained C. acquired
D. derived
29. There is a _____ of cruelty in his character.
A. characteristic B. quality
C. feature
D. streak
30. I don’t think it is wise of you to _____ your greater knowledge in
front of the director, for it may offend him.
A. show up
B. show out C.show off
D. show in
Key to
Vocabulary Exercise for Unit 4
1. B
6. B
11. A
16. B
21. B
26. B
2. C
7. D
12.D
17.D
22.A
27.A
3. A
8. A
13.C
18.B
23.C
28.D
4. A
9. A
14.C
19.C
24.D
29.D
5. D
10.C
15.C
20.A
25.A
30.C
What do you think will make
Shanghai a more cosmopolitan
city in the world?
 Discuss the city in terms of her historical, cultural and
economic developments as well as her geographical
location, population and educational institutions.
 What else do you think will contribute to the
development of Shanghai into a more cosmopolitan
city?
 Compared with other cosmopolitan cities in the world,
Shanghai needs to improve in certain areas so as to
become an international center of finance and
commerce in the new century. What are these areas?
Topic:
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