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Lesson Fourtheen Argentia Bay
by Herman Wouk
I . Background Knowledge
1. Author introduction
Herman Wouk (191- ): American novelist. He was born in New York City, into a
Jewish family that had immigrated from Russia, and received an A.B. from
Columbia University. He was first a radio scriptwriter, and worked with Fred Allen,
then in 1941 worked for the US government on radio spots selling war bonds.
Wouk then joined the United States Navy and served in the Pacific Theater, an
experience he later characterized as educational; "I learned about machinery, I
learned how men behaved under pressure, and I learned about Americans." His
first ship was the USS Zane, then he was second-in-command on the Southard. He
started his writing career onboard, working on a novel during his off-duty hours.
He married Betty Sarah Brown in 1945, with whom he had three sons, became a
fulltime writer in 1946, and published his debut novel, Aurora Dawn in 1947. In
1952, The Caine Mutiny received the Pulitzer Prize. In 1998, he received the
Guardian of Zion Award. His novels include The Caine Mutiny (1951), a Pulitzer
Prize novel of events aboard a naval vessel, The Winds of War (1971) and War and
Remembrance (1977).
2. Works introduction
The Winds of War was best-selling novellist Herman Wouk's second book about World War II, the first
being The Caine Mutiny (1951). Published in 1971, it was followed up seven years later by War and
Remembrance. Originally conceived as one volume, Wouk decided to break it in two when he realized it
took nearly 1000 pages just to get to the attack on Pearl Harbor. In 1983, it became a hugely successful
mini-series on the ABC television network.
3. Notes:
1). Argentia Bay: better known as Placentia Bay, wide inlet of Atlantic Ocean, SE Newfoundland, Canada.
Here on the British battleship Prince of Wales the Atlantic Charter was signed on Aug. 14, 1941 by
President Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill.
2). Newfoundland: island in Atlantic Ocean, off sea coast of Canada, became (with Labrador on the
mainland) a province of Canada in 1949.
3). H.M.S.: his (Her) Majesty’s Service, Ship, or Steamer.
4). Prince of Wales: sunk by the Japanese in the South China Sea in December 1941.
5). Bismarck: German battleship of 45,000 tons, completed early in 1940, for operations against British
convoys in the North Atlantic. In an encounter with the British fleet on 24 May, 1940, it sank the British
cruiser Hood and damaged the Prince of Wales; the Bismarck was also hit by the guns of the Prince of
Wales. The Bismarck was finally sunk on 27 May, 1940.
6). The Star-Spangled Banner: This is the official national anthem of the United States, by a Bill which
passed the Senate on 3 March 1931.
7). God Save the King: the British national anthem. It is usual in Britain to play the tune
whenever the monarch appears in public.
8). Averell Harriamn: (1891-1986) American financier, diplomat and cabinet member; became
successively chairman of the Business Advisory Council of the Department of Commerce,
overseas administrator of lendlease, and ambassador (1943-46) to the U.S.S.R. Enjoying the
confidence of President Roosevelt, he was present at the Quebec, Casablanca, Moscow, and
Tehran conferences, participated in the San Francisco Conference which established the United
Nations, and accompanied President Truman to the Potsdam Conference.
9). The president: referring to F.D. Roosevelt (1882-1945), 32nd President of the United Sates.
10). Sumner Wells: (1892-1961) American diplomat, political columnist and author. He served as
U.S. assistant secretary (1933-37) and under-secretary (1937-43) of State. He later was a political
columnist for the New York Herald Tribune.
11). Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr. (1941-), third son of President Roosevelt. He served (1941-46)
in the U.S. Navy and in 1949 was elected to Congress as Liberal.
12). “My country” Tis of Thee: the first line of “America”, a patriotic hymn of the United States
composed by the Rev. Samuel Francis Smith in 1831 and sung to the music of the British national
anthem, “God Save the King (Queen)”.
13). Harry Hopkins: (1890-1946) American social worker and public administrator, intimate
associate and adviser of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, and U.S. secretary of commerce (193840). As the personal representative of President Roosevelt, he went on missions to London and
Moscow, conferring with Churchill and Stalin. He also attended the major was conferences at
Washington, Casablanca, Quebec, Cairo, Tehran, and Yalta.
14). Admiral King: Ernest Joseph King (1878-1956), American naval officer. He was
appointed commander in chief of the U.S. Atlantic fleet (1940) and of the entire U.S. fleet
(December, 1941). He served (March, 1942-December, 1945) as chief of naval operations
during World War Second. He was appointed (December,1944) admiral of the fleet (fivestar rank).
15). Archangel: or Arkhangelsk, city in U.S.S.R., on right bank of Northern Dvina near its
mouth about 460 miles NE of Leningrad.
16). Oops-a-daisy: a consolatory cliché, rather than a catch phrase, uttered as one picks up
a child that has fallen. A baby-talk alteration of “up-a-daisy” or “upsadaisy”.
17). Pickwick: Samuel Pickwick, founder of the Pickwick club, central character in
Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens. He is short, stout, good-hearted and benevolent.
18). Burne-Wilk: a British senior staff officer.
19). U-boat: the German unterseeboot, or submarine. During the Second World War the
term was used to describe all submarines Italian, Japanese and German operating against
the allied forces, while those of the allies were always called submarines.
20). “arsenal of democracy”: referring to the United States; first used by F.D. Roosevelt in
his Fireside Chat broadcast on 29 December, 1940.
21). Crete-like invasion: Crete, Greek, island in East Mediterranean Sea, captured by German
airborne forces May 20-30, 1941, first successful use of airborne forces in a major campaign
in world War Second.
22). air commodore: a rank in the Royal Air Force equivalent to that of Brigadier in the
British Army.
23). the Hun: term of contempt applied to German soldiers especially in World War Second.
24). Admiral Pound: Sir Dudley Pickman Rogers Pond, (1877-1943) British admiral of the
fleet, became First Sea Lord and chief of the Naval Staff.
25). Tirpitz: a 42,500-ton German battleship, sister ship of the Bismarck. From Jan. 1942 to Nov. 1944
she served in Norwegian waters, where she constituted a permanent threat to the British convoys to North
Russia. It was finally sunk on 12 Nov. 1944.
26). Iceland: island between North Atlantic and Artic Oceans, became an independent republic in June,
1944; placed under British and American military occupation in World War Second. British forced landed
on May 10, 1940, American marines on July 7,1941.
27). Sonoma: country in California.
28). Winnie: a diminutive form of Churchill’s first name “Winston”.
29). Smolensk: a city in U.S.S.R. and some other navies equivalent to that of midshipman or sublieutenant.
30). Laurel and Hardy: an American film team (1926-1952) whose comedies were among
the most popular in the world.
31). Surgeon-General: the title of the chief of the Army Medical Service and of the United
States Public Health Service.
32). Clement Attlee: (1883-1967) English politician, Labour Party leader, and prime
minister (1945-51). In World War Second he served in Churchill’s cabinet as lord privy seal
(1940-42), deputy prime minister (1942-45), dominion s secretary (1942-43), and lord
president of the council (1943-45).
33). The Atlantic Charter: a statement of principles in World War Second by President
Franklin D. Roosevelt and Prime Minister Winston Churchill. The Charter, announced
publicly on Aug. 14, 1941, resulted from a series of conferences (August 9-12) between the
two leaders aboard the U.S.S.R. August off Newfoundland. The Atlantic Charter was
employed effectively as a propaganda weapon against the axis powers during World War
34). Lend-Lease: in World War Second, the furnishing of goods and services to any country
whose defense was deemed vital to the defense of the United States, under the terms of the
Lend-lease Act passed by Congress on March 11, 194.
35). Munich pact: the pact of September 29,1938, signed by Nazi Germany, Great Britain,
France, and Italy, in which the Sudetenland as ceded to Germany.
36). Chamberlain: Arthur Neville Chamberlain (1869-1940), prime minister of reat Britain
(1937-1940), main advocate of the policy of appeasement toward Nazi Germany that
culminated in the Munich Agreement of 1938.
II. Questions after the detailed study of the text.
1. On the problem of aid to Russia, did Churchill and Roosevelt see eye to eye? In
what way did their opinions differ?
2. What was Britain’s immediate need? Why did the author consider this need
3. On the last day of the conference, Admiral King called Henry in. He informed
him of three important things. Say what they were.
4. For the American guest, it was a bad half hour. Why was it a bad half hour for
5. Why did the part about free trade and independence for all peoples mean the end
of the British Empire?
III. Analysis and Appreciation of the text
1. The outline of the text:
Part One: Argentia Bay
Part Two: Harry Hopkins
Part Three: Churchill calls
Part Four: Roosevelt hobbles across
Part Five: A request from the British
Part Six: U-boat sightings
Part Seven: “We will have to the price”
2. Type of literature: novel
IV . Rhetorical Devices
1. transferred epithet:
He threw a reassuring arm round my shoulder = He threw his arm round my shoulder
1). Gray peace pervaded the wilderness-ringed Argentia Bay in Newfoundland.
2). Droves of blue jackets were doing an animated scrub-down.
3). They prolonged the clasp for the photographer, exchanging smiling words.
4). Pug observed that not one of them was shooting this crippled walk.
5).The sailors swarmed into a laughing, cheering ring around the two men.
6). Franklin Roosevelt listened with bright-eyed smiling attention.
2. metaphor:
1). Passing from the Augusta to the Prince of Wales in King’s barge,… Victor
Henry went from America to England and from peace to war.
2). On the superstructure raw steel patches were welded here and there – sticking
plaster for the wounds from the Bismark’s salvos.
3). Hitler’s bitten off a big bite this time.
4). This is the changing of the world.
 5). This plain truth… ran a red line across every request.
 6). This simple yardstick rapidly disclosed the poverty of the “arsenal of
 7). You are dry as a bone in your service, aren’t you?
 8). The President is the source of all Navy regulations, sir, and can tailor them
to his desires.
 9). Blockade,… would in time weaken the grip of Nazi claws on Europe.
 10). The predicament of England seemed soaked in their bones.
 11). They vote their political hunched to protect their political hides.
 12). The war’s ball game they can watch. You are the home team, because
you talk our language.
 3. repetition:
 Haze ad mist blended all into gray: gray water, gray sky, gray air, gray hills
with a tint of green.
 4. hyperbole:
 Clouds of airplanes… same as the French were yelling for last year.
V. Detail study of the text:
1. ring: circle or surround
Ring the spelling mistakes with red ink.
Police ringed the building.
Grandmother lived in an old house ringed with trees.
2. await: v.
I shall await hearing from you.= I shall wait to hear from you.
3. blend: v. cause to make together
How well their voices blend!
Those two colors blend well
4. a primeval hush: like the silence in very ancient times when the world was first
5. Quiet fell: Quiet came upon the place
Dusk had fallen heavily over the scene.
A leaden silence fell over the hall.
 6. brace: v. to make stronger (sth. used for supporting, stiffening, or
 His weak back was heavily braced.
 7. beckon: v. make a silent sign, as with the finger
 She beckoned me to follow her.
 I would like to stay – but work beckons, you know.
 8. give sb. a hand: help or assist one
 After the party several students offered to give a hand with the cleaning-up.
 Could you give me a hand with these books?
 9. tick sth. off:
 Please tick off the names of those present.
 The jobs which are done have been ticked off.
 10. press for:
 The bank is pressing us for repayment of the loan.
11. shore up:
She used this evidence to shore up her argument.
12. magnitude: n.
You don’t appreciate the magnitude of her achievement.
13. diminish: v.
His illness diminished his strength.
As people approach old age their energy may diminish.
14. flap: v.
The sails were flapping gently in the wind.
The bird flapped off across the lake.
15. there were meetings going at 3 different levels:
1). The summit 2). Chiefs of staff 3). Planners
16. dictate: v.
I refused to be dictated by you.
You cannot dictate to people how they should live.
17. wrap up: bring... to the end
The salesmen had already wrapped up a couple of deals by lunch-time.
 18. cluster: v.
 The village clusters the church.
 19. An American destroyer slowly moved paralleled with the battleship so
that its bridge was side by side with the main deck of the battle ship.
 20. hear about: be told or learnt about
 I have never head about him.
hear of: receive news of, have knowledge of
 She hadn’t heard of my husband’s death when I met her.
hear from: receive a letter from
 21. detach: v.
 A number of men were detached to guard the city.
VI. Assignment
 1. Write an essay to comment on the different attitudes of President
Roosevelt, of Congress and of the American people towards the war when
Hitler had invaded the Soviet Union.
 2. Words for dictation: pervade, blend, chore, primeval, shatter, parade,
salt-crusted, august, aghast, escort, double-breasted, scrounge, stagger,
assault, magnitude, triumph, pathetic, arsenal, hypothetic, stupendous,
sneak, subversion, full-fledged, detach, smatter, dispatch, ruby, equivocate