1.Read the text.
HOW TO DIE
By George Mikes
A ___ The English are the only race in the world who enjoy dying. Most other people contemplate death with fear; the English look forward to it with gusto. They speak of death as if it were something natural. B___ Foreign insurance agents speak of “certain possibilities” and the “eventuality” that “something might happen to you”. The English make careful calculations and the thought that the insurance company will have to pay up always sweetens their last hours. C ___ Nowhere in the world do people make so many cruel jokes about the aged and the weak as here. In Continental families you simply do not refer to the fact that a parent or a grandparent is not immortal. D___ But not long ago my two children burst into my room and asked me:
“Daddy, which of us will get your camera when you die?”
“ I’ll let you know,” I replied. “By the way, I’m sorry to be still alive. It’s not my fault. I can’t help it.
They were a little hurt.
“ Don’t be silly. We don’t really mind at all. We only wanted to know who’ll get the camera.”
E___ And when the moment comes, the English make no fuss. They are not great people for famous last words. Dead or alive, they hate being conspicuous or saying anything unconventional.
I will never forget the poor old gentleman who once travelled with me on the Channel boat. Only the two of us were on deck as a violent storm was raging. We huddled there for a while, without saying anything. Suddenly a fearful gust blew him overboard. F___ His head emerged just once from the water below me. He looked at me calmly and remarked somewhat casually:
“ Rather windy, isn’t it?”
2.Find words or phrases in the article which are similar to these words and phrases.
1) to rise, to come into view;
a) enjoy b) burst c) emerge d) huddle
2) It doesn’t depend upon me, I can do nothing about it;
a) I will never forget b) I’ll let you know c) It’s not my fault d) I can’t help it
3) to speak of, to mention, to allude to;
a) refer to b) contemplate c) pay up d) burst into
4) don’t complain, don’t get nervous or excited;
a) don’t be silly b) don’t mind at all c) make no fuss d) look forward to
5) keen enjoyment, agreeable excitement;
a) insurance b) eventuality c) gusto d) gust
6) a euphemism, a phrase used to avoid offensive words such as death and the like.
a) careful calculations b) insurance agents c) cruel jokes d) certain possibilities
Choose the answer ( A,B,C or D) which you think fits best according to the text
According to the writer, the English are the only race in the world who enjoy dying because they
A contemplate death with fear
B speak of certain possibilities
C hate being conspicuous
D look forward to it with gusto
What does the writer say about their attitude to death?
A They sweeten their last hours.
B They are great people for famous last words.
C They speak of it as if it were something natural.
D They make careful calculations.
The author was rather upset because
A his children had burst into his room.
B he realised that he was not immortal.
C the children asked who he would give his camera to after his death.
D he was sorry to be still alive.
When the moment comes, the English
A don’t get nervous or excited.
B make many cruel jokes about the aged and the weak.
C start preparing their last words.
D contemplate death with fear.
The author will never forget the old gentleman because
A they once travelled together on the Channel boat.
B there were only two of them on deck when the violent storm started raging.
C a sudden fearful gust had blown the old gentleman overboard.
D despite the extreme situation the old gentleman wasn’t panicky at all.
Find the words and phrases in the text to replace the words in italics in these sentences.
The English are the only people who think about dying without fear.
On his deathbed the Englishman always enjoys thinking of the sum the insurance company will have to pay when he breathes his last.
On the Continent people usually avoid speaking about the possible death of an aged or sick relative
One day the children rushed into Father’s room.
He promised to inform the boys which of them would inherit his camera.
He apologized for being still alive and added that he could do nothing about it.
When the last moment comes the English show neither fear nor anxiety.
Answer the following questions.
In what way does the author believe the English differ from most other people?
They contemplate death with fear.
They simply do not refer to the fact that a parent or a grandparent is immortal.
They are the only race in the world who enjoy dying.
They travel on the Channel boat.
How do they speak of death?
They make many cruel jokes about it.
They speak calmly and casually.
They speak of it as if it were something natural.
They speak of “certain possibilities” and the “eventuality” that “something might happen to you”.
What calculations do they make?
a) When will the moment come?
b) How many times did the old gentleman’s head emerge from the water?
c) How much will the insurance company pay up?
d) Who will inherit everything after their death?
What sweetens their last hours?
Cruel jokes about the aged and weak.
Appropriate last words.
The fact that they are immortal.
The thought that the insurance company will have to pay up.
What is never done in Continental families?
People never say anything unconventional.
They never make any fuss when the moment comes.
They do not refer to the fact that their relatives are not immortal.
They never deal with insurance agents.
Why did the author’s children burst into his room?
They were silly.
They wanted to know who would get the camera?
They wanted to find out what their father’s fault was.
They were disappointed that their father was still alive.
How do the English behave when the last moment comes?
They enjoy dying.
They huddle for a while without saying anything.
They speak of death as if it were something natural.
They make no fuss.
Where did the author find himself in the company of an old English gentleman?
In the Continental family.
On the Channel boat.
In the water overboard.
In the insurance company.
What happened to the gentleman?
He was blown overboard by a sudden fearful gust.
He had to pay for the insurance company.
He burst into the author’s room and asked him.
He was given a camera.
What did he remark when his head emerged from the water?
“It’s not my fault”.
“I can’t help it”.
“I’ll let you know”.
“Rather windy, isn’t it?”
Match each noun to the correct activity.
camera a) make
jokes b) come
death c) pay up
gentleman d) blow
head e) get
storm f) emerge
gust g) travel
moment h) look forward to
calculations i) rage
children j) make
insurance agents k) burst into
For questions 1-16, choose from the people (A-E). The people may be chosen more than once. When more than one answer is required, these may be given in any order. A THE AUTHOR
B THE ENGLISH
C THE CONTINENTAL FAMILIES
D THE CHILDREN
E THE OLD GENTLEMAN
...look forward to death with gusto. ___ ___
...was sorry to be still alive. ___ ___
...travelled on the Channel boat. ___ ___
...make many cruel jokes about the aged and the weak. ___ ___
...never refer to the fact that people aren’t immortal. ___ ___
...speak of death as something natural. ___ ___
...was blown overboard. ___ ___
...was on deck when a violent storm started raging. ___ ___
...wanted to know who would get the camera. ___ ___
...make no fuss when the moment comes. ___ ___
...contemplate death with fear. ___ ___
... looked calm in an extreme situation. ___ ___
...burst into the room and asked. ___ ___
...hate being conspicuous or saying anything unconventional. ___ ___
...are not great people for famous last words. ___ ___
...will never forget the old poor gentleman. ___ ___
These sentences show the main idea of each paragraph. Choose from the sentences 1-9 the one which fits each letter(A-F). There are some extra sentences which you do not need to use.
Different attitudes to death.
“Cowards die many times before their deaths”.
Famous last words.
Some people face death with calm and dignity.
Death brings not only sorrow but also profit.
The valiant never taste of death but once. (W. Shakespeare)
Children are unable to understand the phenomenon of death.
An Englishman is known for his reserve, his distaste for all kinds of emotional outbursts.
How does an Englishman behave in a crisis?