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四级真题详解
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中国四六级考试网 >> 口语
英语四六级口语练习推荐背诵文章(2)
http://www.china-cet.com        来源:新东方        发布时间:2009-08-30 10:02:08
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  05 The Beginning of Drama
       
        There are many theories about the beginning of drama in ancient Greece. The on most widely accepted today is based on the assumption that drama evolved from ritual. The argument for this view goes as follows. In the beginning, human beings viewed the natural forces of the world-even the seasonal changes-as unpredictable, and they sought through various means to control these unknown and feared powers. Those measures which appeared to bring the desired results were then retained and repeated until they hardened into fixed rituals. Eventually stories arose which explained or veiled the mysteries of the rites. As time passed some rituals were abandoned, but the stories, later called myths, persisted and provided material for art and drama.
       
        Those who believe that drama evolved out of ritual also argue that those rites contained the seed of theater because music, dance, masks, and costumes were almost always used, Furthermore, a suitable site had to be provided for performances and when the entire community did not participate, a clear division was usually made between the "acting area" and the "auditorium." In addition, there were performers, and, since considerable importance was attached to avoiding mistakes in the enactment of rites, religious leaders usually assumed that task. Wearing masks and costumes, they often impersonated other people, animals, or supernatural beings, and mimed the desired effect-success in hunt or battle, the coming rain, the revival of the Sun-as an actor might. Eventually such dramatic representations were separated from religious activities.
       
        Another theory traces the theater's origin from the human interest in storytelling. According to this vies tales (about the hunt, war, or other feats) are gradually elaborated, at first through the use of impersonation, action, and dialogue by a narrator and then through the assumption of each of the roles by a different person. A closely related theory traces theater to those dances that are primarily rhythmical and gymnastic or that are imitations of animal movements and sounds.

 06 Television
       
        Television-----the most pervasive and persuasive of modern technologies, marked by rapid change and growth-is moving into a new era, an era of extraordinary sophistication and versatility, which promises to reshape our lives and our world. It is an electronic revolution of sorts, made possible by the marriage of television and computer technologies.
       
        The word "television", derived from its Greek (tele: distant) and Latin (visio: sight) roots, can literally be interpreted as sight from a distance. Very simply put, it works in this way: through a sophisticated system of electronics, television provides the capability of converting an image (focused on a special photoconductive plate within a camera) into electronic impulses, which can be sent through a wire or cable. These impulses, when fed into a receiver (television set), can then be electronically reconstituted into that same image.
       
        Television is more than just an electronic system, however. It is a means of expression, as well as a vehicle for communication, and as such becomes a powerful tool for reaching other human beings.
       
        The field of television can be divided into two categories determined by its means of transmission. First, there is broadcast television, which reaches the masses through broad-based airwave transmission of television signals. Second, there is nonbroadcast television, which provides for the needs of individuals or specific interest groups through controlled transmission techniques.
       
        Traditionally, television has been a medium of the masses. We are most familiar with broadcast television because it has been with us for about thirty-seven years in a form similar to what exists today. During those years, it has been controlled, for the most part, by the broadcast networks, ABC, NBC, and CBS, who have been the major purveyors of news, information, and entertainment. These giants of broadcasting have actually shaped not only television but our perception of it as well. We have come to look upon the picture tube as a source of entertainment, placing our role in this dynamic medium as the passive viewer.

07 Andrew Carnegie
       
        Andrew Carnegie, known as the King of Steel, built the steel industry in the United States, and ,in the process, became one of the wealthiest men in America. His success resulted in part from his ability to sell the product and in part from his policy of expanding during periods of economic decline, when most of his competitors were reducing their investments.
       
        Carnegie believed that individuals should progress through hard work, but he also felt strongly that the wealthy should use their fortunes for the benefit of society. He opposed charity, preferring instead to provide educational opportunities that would allow others to help themselves. "He who dies rich, dies disgraced," he often said.
       
        Among his more noteworthy contributions to society are those that bear his name, including the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, which has a library, a museum of fine arts, and a museum of national history. He also founded a school of technology that is now part of Carnegie-Mellon University. Other philanthrophic gifts are the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace to promote understanding between nations, the Carnegie Institute of Washington to fund scientific research, and Carnegie Hall to provide a center for the arts.
       
        Few Americans have been left untouched by Andrew Carnegie's generosity. His contributions of more than five million dollars established 2,500 libraries in small communities throughout the country and formed the nucleus of the public library system that we all enjoy today.

 08 American Revolution
       
        The American Revolution was not a sudden and violent overturning of the political and social framework, such as later occurred in France and Russia, when both were already independent nations. Significant changes were ushered in, but they were not breathtaking. What happened was accelerated evolution rather than outright revolution. During the conflict itself people went on working and praying, marrying and playing. Most of them were not seriously disturbed by the actual fighting, and many of the more isolated communities scarcely knew that a war was on.
       
        America's War of Independence heralded the birth of three modern nations. One was Canada, which received its first large influx of English-speaking population from the thousands of loyalists who fled there from the United States. Another was Australia, which became a penal colony now that America was no longer available for prisoners and debtors. The third newcomer-the United States-based itself squarely on republican principles.
       
        Yet even the political overturn was not so revolutionary as one might suppose. In some states, notably Connecticut and Rhode Island, the war largely ratified a colonial self-rule already existing. British officials, everywhere ousted, were replaced by a home-grown governing class, which promptly sought a local substitute for king and Parliament.
       

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