Text A
Writing for Myself
Text A Writing for Myself
Part I
Part II
Part III
Pre- reading questions
1. If you are required to write a composition,
whom do you write it for? Yourself or your
2. Have you ever written anything for
yourself? If yes, what’s your topic?
3. Have you ever thought of becoming a
writer? How about now?
Spaghetti and the proper way of
Spaghetti is the Italian-style thin
noodle, cooked by boiling and
served with sauce. Usually you
would put a fork into a plate of
spaghetti, turn the fork several
times so that spaghetti will wind
around the fork, then place the
fork into your mouth. It’s
impolite to suck.
Russell Baker
born in Loudoun County,
Virginia. After graduating
from Johns Hopkins
University with a degree
in English he worked as a
reporter for the
Baltimore Sun from 194754, starting as a police
reporter and working his
way up through the ranks
to London correspondent
and to White House
Russell Baker
He joined the New York Times in 1954 in Washington
and covered the White House, Congress, State
Department and politics. In 1962 he began writing his
"Observer" column for the New York Times op-ed
page and continued to write that column for 36 years
until Dec. 25, 1998. In his farewell column, he noted
that he had written some 3 million words.
Russell Baker
Baker won a Pulitzer Prize
for commentary in 1979,
and another in 1983, for
biography, for his memoir,
"Growing Up." In addition
to that memoir, which
became a best-seller,
Baker has published more
than a dozen other books,
including, "There's a
Country in My Cellar,"
"Poor Russell’s Almanac,"
and "Russell Baker’s Book
of American Humor."
Russell Baker
He served as a member of the Pulitzer Prize
Board in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He is a
member of the American Academy of Arts and
Letters, and a Fellow of the American Academy
of Arts and Sciences.
Since 1993, he has been the host of Masterpiece
Theatre on PBS, where he introduces the
wonderful dramas that appear on that program.
Baker eventually returned to his Virginia roots—
Leesburg, Virginia, the town he affectionately
called Burgville in his columns.
Pulitzer prizes
awarded annually for outstanding achievements in journalism,
literature, and music. Named after Joseph Pulitzer (18471911), the Hungarian-born US newspaper publisher, the prizes
were established by Pulitzer's will.普利策奖一年一度颁发给在
Text organization
Part I: Baker was bored by everything associated with
English courses, including writing.
Part II: Baker found himself attracted by one
particular topic and wrote about it for his own joy.
Part III: The experience of writing the essay helped
him discover his talent for writing and realize what
he wished to do in life.
Pair work
1. How did baker used to feel about English
2. When did he begin to think it possible for
him to become a writer?
3. What did Baker hear about Mr. Fleagle?
4. What was his own impression(印象)of his
new English teacher?
5. Why did he put off the writing assignment
till the last minute?
6. What was the topic that held his attention?
Pair work
7. Why did he want to write about that topic?
8. What did he think Mr. Fleagle would do if he were
to write the essay the way he wanted? Why?
9. What was Baker prepare for when he found all
the papers were given back but his?
10 What was Mr. Fleagle’s announcement?
11. Whose essay was Mr. Fleagle reading to the
class? How did the class respond(反应)?
12. Why did Baker feel so delighted?
Para. 1
1. When did the author’s dream of
becoming a writer seem possible?
2. Why had he felt bored by everything
associated with English courses?
Para. 2
1. What did the students think of Mr.
2. According to Mr. Baker, which word
would vividly describe Mr. Fleagle?
3. How many “prim” is used in this
Para. 3
1. What can we learn from the word
“prepared for”?
2. What are the words that show the
author has no interest in the composition?
Para 4
What kind of dish was spaghetti in those
What can we infer from the word “vivid”?
What is the possible relationship between
“I” and “Doris”?
Para. 5
What words suggest that the author is
thinking of sth. in the past?
Pick out the phrases which show that the
author only writes for himself.
Why did the author repeatedly emphasize
that it is written for himself?
Try to find out the repetitions used in this
Para.. What does the writer want to convey?
Para. 6
Supposing there were still enough time,
would the author write another one?
Para. 8
1) Even Mr. Fleagle stopped … smile.: Even Mr. Fleagle
stopped twice or three time to prevent himself from smiling.
☆ hold back: prevent the expression of (feelings, tears, etc.)
e.g. People could hardly hold back their anger when they
found that millions of dollars of public funds had been used
to build luxurious houses for city officials.
1). Can you imagine the scene of the classroom?
The class:
Mr. Fleagle:
2). What do you think of the composition?
Para. 9
1) In the eleventh grade … calling.: In the eleventh grade,
and one might say at the last
possible moment, I had found something I had wished to take
up as a career.
☆ the eleventh hour: the last moment before sth important
e.g. The president’s visit was called off at the eleventh hour.
(Here ‘calling’ means profession or trade.)
1. What’s the essence of an essay according to the author?
2. Read the first paragraph again to understand coherence of
the article.
synonymous words and phrases.
dull, lifeless, cheerless, tedious
turn out. Write, compose, put down
anticipate, prepare for
formal, rigid, prim, correct, proper, respectable
vivid memories of sth. Come flooding back to sb.,
sth. Reawakes in one’s mind, sb. recalls sth.
Recapture, relive
Pleasure, delight, happiness
Contempt, ridicule
Topic, title
According to the text, please decide
whether the following statements are True
(T) or False (F).
Para. 1-2
1. The author always enjoyed his English
Classes in high school.
2. He wanted to become a writer since he
was little.
 3. The author’s third-year English teacher
would most likely make the English class
even more boring
 4. The word “primly” has a negative
Para. 3-5
5. For a long time Mr.Fleagle proved to be
tedious and boring.
6. Almost all the topics the teacher asked
the class to write were tedious and boring.
7. Baker picked the topic “ The Art of
Eating Spaghetti” because he liked to eat
8. The author wrote the essay for the
Para. 6-9
9. Baker turned in the paper on eating spaghetti
because he felt he wrote a good essay.
10. Mr. Fleagle read out loud Baker’s essay
because he thought the essay was well written.
11. The whole class did not seem to like Baker’s
12. The teacher’s comments on essay seemed to
change Baker’s attitude toward writing.
Pair work
One of you asks the first six questions
and the other answers. Starting from
question 7,change roles. When you have
finished, the teacher may want to put
some of the questions to you for a check.
Group work
Break into small groups and discuss the
following questions. Later the teacher may
want to ask some of you to report the
answers of your group to the class.
Group work
1. As a student, Baker was long bored by
writing compositions. Later, however, his
attitude changed completely. What do you
think brought about this change?
2. Mr. Fleagle says” it’s of the very
essence of the essay”, yet he gives no
further explanation. Think it over. What
does he mean?
3. How do you understand the title
“Writing for Myself”?
Useful Expressions
1. 断断续续
off and on
2. 对…感到腻味
be bored by ...
3. 觉得…枯燥难懂
find ... dull and difficult
4. 以…而出名
have a reputation for...
5. 据说某人…
sb. be said to be ...
Useful Expressions
6. 拘谨刻板,落后于时代
formal, rigid and out-of-date
7. 随笔小品文
an informal essay
8. 躺在沙发上
lie on a sofa
9. 不得不面对…
face up to ...
10. 围坐在晚餐桌旁
be seated around the
supper table
Useful Expressions
11. …重现在我脑海中
... reawake in my mind
12. 自得其乐
for my own joy
13. 违反规定
violate the rules
14. 不及格分
a failing grade
15. 别无选择,只好做…
There is no choice but to do...
Useful Expressions
16. 更不可思议的是
what’s more
17. 专心听讲
listen attentively
18. 乐乎乎地开怀大笑
laugh with open-hearted
19. 心花怒放
pure delight
20. 最后的时刻
at the eleventh hour
Find out the synonymous words and phrases from Text A
for the words and phrases below.
dull (L. 4):
turn out (L. 5):
anticipate (L. 8):
formal (L.10):
Find out the synonymous words and phrases from Text A
for the words and phrases below.
vivid memories of sth. come flooding back to sb. (L.25):
recapture (L. 35):
pleasure (L. 54):
contempt (L. 52):
topic (L. 22):