Lesson Thirteen Soldier`s Heart by Louis Simpson

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Transcript Lesson Thirteen Soldier`s Heart by Louis Simpson

Lesson Thirteen
Soldier’s Heart
by Louis Simpson
A Brief Introduction to Author
Louis Simpson (1923~ )
was born in Jamaica, West
Indies. The son of a lawyer
of Scottish descent and a
Russian mother, he
emigrated to the United
States when he was 17 and
went to study at Columbia
University in New York
Louis Simpson
(1923~ )
He served in the Second World War on active duty
in France, Holland, Belgium and Germany. When
the war was over, he returned to Columbia
University to finish his studies. After that he
became a teacher at that school and later at the
University of California, Berkeley, and the State
University of New York at Stony Brook. Louis
Simpson has published 17 books of poetry and is
widely acclaimed as a literary critic.
A Brief Introduction to the Text
War, this complex phenomenon in our life, has
been one of the most favorite subjects in art and
literature as well as in serious academic studies. In
literature, was has been described as a conflict
between justice and evil; a battle of wits and a
demonstration of military powers; a display of
noble patriotism and courage as well as a revelation
of human wickedness, cruelty and stupidity. The
text, however, does not deal with any of this. It is a
first-person narration of World War II veteran
about his personal experience, his feelings and
sufferings during the war and the physical and
psychological scars the war left him with.
Detailed Discussion of the Text
Paragraph 2:
… the life and death of an infantry
infantry: the combat arm made up of units
trained to fight on foot.
Paragraph 4:
I was discharged from the U.S. Army in
1945 and went home.
to discharge : to allow or tell sb to go
eg.She was discharged form the intensive
care unit last week and transferred to a
general ward.
The judge found him not guilty and
discharged him.
Paragraph 5:
One person had it that…
to have it that…: to say that sth is true
eg. We don’t know for sure what caused the
accident. One rumor has it that the princess
was trying too had to get rid of the
Paragraph 7:
Posttraumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, is a
psychiatric disorder that can occur following the
experience or witnessing of life-threatening events
such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist
incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal
assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD
often relive the experience through nightmares
and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel
detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be
severe enough and last long enough to
significantly impair the person's daily life.
Paragraph 8:
Their main duty was
to … play playing cards
or board games or
reading a magazine.
board game:A game of
strategy, such as chess or
backgammon, played by
moving pieces on a board
and sometimes involving
Paragraph 9:
Two of the guards were the
kind Chekhov describes in
“Ward No.6.”
Russian playwright and one
of the great masters of
modern short story. In his
work Chekhov combined the
dispassionate attitude of a
scientist and a doctor with
the sensitivity and
psychological understanding Chekhov (1860~1904)
of an artist.
“Ward No.6” is a short story written by
Chekhov. It describes a ward in a own
hospital in Russia for patients who are
suffering from mental illness. It is gloomy,
damp, stinking and overcrowded. The ward
guards treat the patients as prisoners,
beating and abusing them constantly.
Weapons Mentioned in the Text
Machine gun
Paragraph 13:
This a region in northern France along the
English Channel where the allied invasion
took place in the Second World War (June 6,
1944), thus opening the second front against
the German fascists.
This is a wooded plateau region in northeast
France, southeast Belgium and Luxembourg
where a bloody battle took place in the
Second World War between 1944 and 1945.
Paragraph 21:
This is the name of the 150-mile long river in
northern France where in the First World War the
allied forces of France and Britain launched a
bitter attack against the Germans (July, 1916). The
bloody battle lasted four months with extremely
heavy casualties on both sides (about 420
thousand for Britain, 192,000 for France
and440,000 for Germany).
Questions for Discussion:
Is the author eulogizing the heroic spirit shown by
the American soldiers in the Second World War?
Is war a permanent human condition as the author
What are the causes of international conflicts?
How do we determine whether a war is just or
Is there anything positive to be said about war?
Synopsis of the Text:
Part I. (Para. 1~Para. 3):
The description of the author’s war memories in
France in he summer of 1944.
Part II. (Para.4~ end):
The description of his life immediately after the
war: how he goes back to the university to
continue his education and how he breaks down
and is diagnosed as suffering form “soldier’s
heart”, a mental illness resulting form being shot
at and shelled for months on end.
Recount the narrator’s experience in about
200 words.
1. How did he get “combat fatigue”?
2. What were the symptoms?
3. How was he and other veteran soldiers
like him treated?
4. How did his experience change him?
Peace or War?