Passage Seven (The Most Important of All Human Qualities is a Sense of Humor)
Biologically, there is only one quality which distinguishes us from animals: the ability to laugh. In a universe which appears to be utterly devoid of humor, we enjoy this supreme luxury. And it is a luxury, for unlike any other bodily process, laughter does not seem to serve a biologically useful purpose. In a divide world, laughter is a unifying force. Human beings oppose each other on a great many issues. Nations may disagree about systems of government and human relations may be plagued by ideological factions and political camps, but we all share the ability to laugh. And laughter, in turn, depends on that most complex and subtle of all human qualities: a sense of humor Certain comic stereotypes have a universal appeal. This can best be seen from the world-wide popularity of Charlie Chaplin’s early films. The little man at odds with society never fails to amuse no matter which country we come from. As that great commentator on human affairs, Dr. Samuel Johnson, once remarked, ‘Men have been wise in very different modes; but they have always laughed in the same way.’
A sense of humor may take various forms and laughter may be anything from a refined tingle to an earth quaking roar, but the effect is always the same. Humor helps us to maintain a correct sense of values. It is the one quality which political fanatics appear to lack. If we can see the funny side, we never make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously. We are always reminded that tragedy is not really far removed from comedy, so we never get a lop sided view of things.
This is one of the chief functions of satire and irony. Human pain and suffering are so grim; we hover so often on the brink of war; political realities are usually enough to plunge us into total despair. In such circumstances, cartoons and satirical accounts of somber political events redress the balance. They take the wind out of pompous and arrogant politicians who have lost their sense of proportion. They enable us to see that many of our most profound actions are merely comic or absurd. We laugh when a great satirist like Swift writes about war in Gulliver’s Travels. The Lilliputians and their neighbors attack each other because they can’t agree which end to break an egg. We laugh because we meant to laugh; but we are meant to weep too. It is too powerful a weapon to be allowed to flourish.
The sense of humor must be singled out as man’s most important quality because it is associated with laughter. And laughter, in turn, is associated with happiness. Courage, determination, initiative – these are qualities we share with other forms of life. But the sense of humor is uniquely human. If happiness is one of the great goals of life, then it is the sense of humor that provides the key.
1. The most important of all human qualities is
[A] a sense of humor.
[B] A sense of satire.
[C] A sense of laughter.
[D] A sense of history.
2. The author mentions about Charlie Chaplin’s early films because
[A] they can amuse people.
[B] Human beings are different from animals.
[C] They show that certain comic stereotypes have a universal appeal.
[D] They show that people have the same ability to laugh.
3. One of the chief functions of irony and satire is
[A] to show absurdity of actions.
[B] to redress balance.
[C] to take the wind out of politicians.
[D] to show too much grimness in the world.
4. What do we learn from the sentence ‘it is too powerful a weapon to be allowed to flourish in totalitarian regimes?’
[A] It can reveal the truth of political events with satire.
[B] It can arouse people to riot.
[C] It shows tragedy and comedy are related.
[D] It can make people laugh.
5. Who is Swift?
[A] A novelist.
[B] A poet.
[C] A dramatist.
[D] A essayist..
1. devoid 没有，缺乏
2. plague n.瘟疫，惹人烦恼的人和事v.给……造成麻烦，痛苦，困难
3. faction 派别
4. comic stereotype 可笑/滑稽的模式
5. commentator (集注)作者，评论员，解说员
6. tinkle n.一连串的丁零声，电话声，v.使发出丁零声
7. fanatic 狂热者(尤指宗教、政治的狂热)
8. lop-sided 不均匀的
9. hover 翱翔，盘旋;彷徨
10. somber 低沉的，暗淡的，严峻的
11. redress 纠正，补偿
12. pompous 自大的，浮夸的
13. arrogant 傲慢的
14. proportion 均衡，匀称，平衡，比例
15. Lilliputian 微型的，极小的，源自《格列佛游记》中的小人国里的人
16. totalitarian 极权主义的
17. regime 政体，政权，统治方式或制度
1. In a divided world, laughter is a unifying force.
2. Human relations may be plagued by ideological factions and political camps,
3. Certain comic stereotypes have a universal appeal.
4. Charlie Chaplin查理•卓别林1889-1977，英国讽刺滑稽剧及电影演员，导演及制片人。
5. At odds with society和社会格格不入。
6. Dr. Samuel Johnson撒缪尔•约翰生，1709-1784，英国辞典编撰者及作家。
7. A sense of humor may take various forms and laughter may be anything from a refined tinkle to an earth quaking roar.
8. If we can see the funny side, we never make the mistake of taking ourselves too seriously.
9. We are always reminded that tragedy is not really far removed from comedy, so we never get a lop-sided view of things.
10. Take the wind out of sb’s sails使某人气馁或泄气。
11. Swift Jonathan swift乔纳森•思维福特1667-1745，英国作家，生于都柏林，曾获牛津大学硕士，三一学院神学博士学位，1688年到英国，后加入英国国教会。他同情英国统治下的爱尔兰人民，积极参加他们为争取自由和民族独立的斗争。他以政治讽刺文著世，其文笔犀利、讽刺尖锐、文章推理严密，用词简洁、语言朴实清晰，被认为是英语的典范，《格列佛游记》是他的代表作之一。
12. We laugh because we are meant to laugh; but we are meant to weep too.
【结构简析】mean to do是打算或注定要…，一般用于被动。
1. A 幽默感。文章一开始就提出人类有别于动物是人有笑的功能，世界纷争繁杂、人际关系因意识观点差异而对峙，国家制度不一，但人们都能笑。笑基于人类最复杂而又微妙的品质――幽默感。反过来说没有幽默感的人恐怕难以笑。第二段正式指出：幽默感表现形式多种多样，而笑可由微笑到狂笑种种，但其效果相同，幽默感有助于我们保持正确的价值观。这是政治狂热者所缺乏的特征。如果我们能看见滑稽可笑的一面，我们就不会犯过于看重自己的错误。我们总会记得悲剧离喜剧不愿，因此，我们不会有偏重某一测的观点。第四段画龙点睛的指出幽默是人类最重要的特征，因为它和笑声结合在一起。而笑又是和幸福联系在一起。勇气、决心、创造力特征，我们和其他生命形式共享，而幽默感是人类所独有的。如果幸福是我们生活的伟大目标，那幽默感就是开启幸福的钥匙。
2. C 作者提卓别林的电影的目的是证明某些喜剧模式对全世界都有吸引力。