Lesson 1: Face to Face with Hurricane Camille by

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Lesson 1: Face to Face with Hurricane Camille

by Joseph P. Blank
I. Background Knowledge

1. Hurricane

A hurricane is a tropical cyclone, occurring in the North Atlantic Ocean or the Northeast Pacific Ocean, east of the International Dateline.

A tropical cyclone is a storm system characterized by a large low-pressure center and numerous thunderstorms that produce strong winds and heavy rain. Tropical cyclones strengthen when water evaporated from the ocean is released as the saturated air rises, resulting in condensation of water vapor contained in the moist air.

The term "tropical" refers both to the geographic origin of these systems, which usually form in tropical regions of the globe, and to their formation in maritime tropical air masses. The term "cyclone" refers to such storms' cyclonic nature, with counterclockwise rotation in the Northern Hemisphere and clockwise rotation in the Southern Hemisphere. Depending on its location and strength, a tropical cyclone is referred to by names such as hurricane, typhoon, tropical storm, cyclonic storm, tropical depression, and simply cyclone.

Effects of Tropical cyclones

Tropical cyclones out at sea cause large waves, heavy rain, and high winds, disrupting international shipping and, at times, causing shipwrecks. Tropical cyclones stir up water, leaving a cool wake behind them, which causes the region to be less favorable for subsequent tropical cyclones. On land, strong winds can damage or destroy vehicles, buildings, bridges, and other outside objects, turning loose debris into deadly flying projectiles. The storm surge, or the increase in sea level due to the cyclone, is typically the worst effect from landfalling tropical cyclones, historically resulting in 90% of tropical cyclone deaths. The broad rotation of a landfalling tropical cyclone, and vertical wind shear at its periphery, spawns tornadoes (龙卷风). Tornadoes can also be spawned as a result of eyewall mesovortices, which persist until landfall.


The word hurricane, used in the North Atlantic and Northeast Pacific, is derived from huracán, the Spanish word for the Carib/Taino storm god, Juracán. This god is believed by scholars to have been at least partially derived from the Mayan creator god, Huracan. Huracan was believed by the Mayans to have created dry land out of the turbulent waters. The god was also credited with later destroying the "wooden people", the precursors to the "maize people", with an immense storm and flood. Huracan is also the source of the word orcan, another word for a particularly strong European windstorm.


The word typhoon, which is used today in the Northwest Pacific, may be derived from Hindi/Urdu, Persian and Arabic ţūfān (طوفان), which in turn originates from Greek Typhon (Τυφών), a monster from Greek mythology associated with storms. The word is also similar to Chinese "taifeng" ("toifung" in Cantonese) (颱風 – great winds), and also to the Japanese "taifu" (台風), which may explain why "typhoon" came to be used for East Asian cyclones.


Storms reaching tropical storm strength were initially given names to eliminate confusion when there are multiple systems in any individual basin at the same time, which assists in warning people of the coming storm. In most cases, a tropical cyclone retains its name throughout its life; however, under special circumstances, tropical cyclones may be renamed while active. These names are taken from lists that vary from region to region and are usually drafted a few years ahead of time. The lists are decided on, depending on the regions, either by committees of the World Meteorological Organization or by national weather offices involved in the forecasting of the storms. Each year, the names of particularly destructive storms (if there are any) are "retired" and new names are chosen to take their place. Different countries have different local conventions; for example, in Japan, storms are referred to by number (each year), such as 台風第9号 (Typhoon #9).

Hurricane Camille

Hurricane Camille was the third and strongest tropical cyclone and second hurricane during the 1969 Atlantic hurricane season. The second of three catastrophic Category 5 hurricanes to make landfall in the United States during the 20th century (the others being 1935's Labor Day hurricane and 1992's Hurricane Andrew), which it did near the mouth of the Mississippi River on the night of August 17, Camille was the only Atlantic hurricane to exhibit officially recorded sustained wind speeds of at least 190 miles per hour (310 km/h) until Allen equaled that number in 1980, and remains the only Atlantic hurricane in recorded history to make landfall with wind speeds at or above such level. By central pressure, in turn, Camille was the second strongest U.S. landfalling hurricane in recorded history, second only to the Labor Day Hurricane in 1935. It was also the first modern Category 5 hurricane to ever receive a person's name when making landfall in the United States.
2. National Guard

The National Guard of the United States is a reserve military force composed of state National Guard militia members or units under federally recognized active or inactive armed force service for the United States. Militia members are citizen soldiers, meaning they work part time for the National Guard and hold a civilian job as well. The National Guard of the United States is a joint reserve component of the United States Army and the United States Air Force and maintains two subcomponents: the Army National Guard of the United States for the Army and the Air Force's Air National Guard of the United States.

The National Guard of the United States is administered by the National Guard Bureau, which is a joint activity under the Department of Defense.
3. The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its extensive philanthropy and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries.

It was founded in 1865 in the United Kingdom by William Booth and his wife Catherine as the East London Christian Mission with a quasi-military structure. The theology of the Salvation Army is "mainstream Protestant".

In 2006 the organization was operating in 111 countries in the world. Each country has its divisions and local corps, with a commander at the head of all. The army operates hospitals, community centers, alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs, emergency and disaster services, social work centers and recreation facilities. Support of the vast undertakings in all parts of the world depend upon voluntary contributions and profits from the sale of publications.
4. The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement

The International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is an international humanitarian movement with approximately 97 million volunteers, members and staff worldwide which was founded to protect human life and health, to ensure respect for all human beings, and to prevent and alleviate human suffering, without any discrimination based on nationality, race, sex, religious beliefs, class or political opinions.

Jean Henry Dunant (1828-1910), a Swiss citizen, urged the formation of voluntary aid societies for relief of war victims. In 1864, delegates from 16 nations met in Switzerland, and the Geneva Convention of 1864 for the Amelioration of the Condition of the Wounded and Sick of Armies in the Field was signed. It provided for the neutrality of the personnel of the medical services of armed forces, the humane treatment of the wounded, the neutrality of civilians who voluntarily assisted them, and the use of an international emblem to mark medical personnel and supplies. In honor of Dunant’s nationality a red dross on a white background – the Swiss flag with colors reversed – was chosen as the symbol (which in Moslem areas is replaced by a red crescent and in Iran by a red lion and sun.)
The mission of the ICRC and its responsibilities within the Movement

The official mission of the ICRC as an impartial, neutral, and independent organization is to stand for the protection of the life and dignity of victims of international and internal armed conflicts. According to the 1997 Seville Agreement, it is the "Lead Agency" of the Movement in conflicts. The core tasks of the Committee, which are derived from the Geneva Conventions and its own statutes, are the following:

  • to monitor compliance of warring parties with the Geneva Conventions

  • to organize nursing and care for those who are wounded on the battlefield

  • to supervise the treatment of prisoners of war

  • to help with the search for missing persons in an armed conflict (tracing service)

  • to organize protection and care for civil populations

  • to arbitrate between warring parties in an armed conflict

The Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement is made up of three parts:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is a private humanitarian institution founded in 1863 in Geneva, Switzerland by Jean Henry Dunant. Its 25-member committee has a unique authority under international humanitarian law to protect the life and dignity of the victims of international and internal armed conflicts. The ICRC was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize on three occasions (in 1917, 1944 and 1963).

  • The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) was founded in 1919 and today it coordinates activities between the 186 National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. On an international level, the Federation leads and organizes relief assistance missions responding to large-scale emergencies. The International Federation Secretariat is based in Geneva, Switzerland. In 1963, the Federation (then known as the League of Red Cross Societies) was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize jointly with the ICRC.

  • National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies exist in nearly every country in the world. Currently 186 National Societies are recognized by the ICRC and admitted as full members of the Federation. Each entity works in its home country according to the principles of international humanitarian law and the statutes of the international Movement.

5. The Seabee

The Seabees, or SeaBees, are the Construction Battalions (CBs) of the United States Navy. The Seabees have a history of building bases, bulldozing and paving thousands of miles of roadway and airstrips, and accomplishing myriad other construction projects in a wide variety of military theaters dating back to World War II.

II. Language points

1. Face to face with Hurricane Camille.

face to face: The phrase in this context means “confronting one another.” This phrase connotes a sense of urgency and danger.

The confrontation is generally with something dangerous, difficult or hard to resolve, e.g., face to face with the enemy, face to face with the tiger, face to face with the problem.

2. We can batten down and ride it out. (para 4)

A metaphor, comparing the house in a hurricane to a ship fighting a storm at sea. We can make the necessary preparations and survive the hurricane without much damage.

batten: to fasten canvas over the hatches of a ship, especially in preparing for a storm

ride it out: to stay afloat during a storm without too much damage

3. Everybody out the back door to the cars.

an elliptical sentence showing the tension and urgency of the moment. The full sentence might read: “Everybody go out through the back door and run to the cars.”

4. A moment later …through the air.

A personification, the hurricane acting as a very strong person lifting something heavy and throwing it through the air

in one mighty swipe: in a big, hard, sweeping blow

skim: to throw so as to cause to bounce swiftly and lightly

5. a hurricane party …vantage point.

The people in the Richelieu Apartments held a party to enjoy the unusual and impressive spectacle of the hurricane because the apartment provided an unusually clear and broad view of the storm.

spectacular: transferred epithet, modifying the “storm” and not “vantage point”, meaning impressive to see and strikingly unusual.
6. Strips of clothing festooned the standing trees.

A metaphor. Bits of clothing were hanging on the trees as if decorating them with festoons.

festoon: a wreath or garland of flowers, leaves, paper, etc. hanging in a loop or curve
7. blowndown power lines…over the rods.

a simile, blowndown power lines compared to black spaghetti

blowndown power lines: Wires carrying electricity were blown down by the wind. They lay in a tangled mess on the ground.

black spaghetti: Italian noodles, generally white but called black here because of the black color of the power lines

8. Camille, meanwhile … over the Atlantic Ocean.

raked its way: a metaphor. The word “rake” is used figuratively here meaning to attack and devastate as it moved along.

rampaging flood: violent, raging floods

mountain slides: the fall of a mass of rock, snow, earth, etc. down a mountain slope

breaking up over the Atlantic Ocean: the storm clouds finally dispersing as the hurricane reached the Atlantic Ocean
9. But the blues… the adults.

But sometimes the grown-up people felt a bit unhappy and depressed.

the blues: short for blue devils; a depressed, unhappy feeling (American colloquialism)
III: Text analysis

1. Genre: A piece of narration

Narration is to give an account of an event or a series of events. In its broadest sense, narrative writing includes stories, real or imaginary, biographies, histories, news items and narrative poems.

Narration generally includes: introduction, development, climax, conclusion.

(1) Types of narration

1) Chronological order narration--- The actions, that is, incidents and events are generally presented in order of their occurrence, following the natural time sequence of the happening. It is the basic narration. Its effect is to make the event has clear initial and end point.

2) Inverted narration---To narrate the consequence of an event firstly and then come back to narrate the process of development of the event. The effect is to achieve attraction, vividness

3) Interspersed narration---to intersperse a related event in the narration. The effect is to give an explanation or supplementary remarks about the main event.

(2) The key elements of narration:

1) actions (plot), characters, point of view, setting, conflict, climax, theme.

Actions (plot)---a plot is a series of events and character actions that relate to the central conflict. Action usually dominates narration.

Characters---a character is a person, or sometimes event an animal, who takes part in the action of a story or other literary work.

Point of view---two angles: the first person “I”, the third person “he” or “she”.

“I”---to narrate what I see, hear, feel. It is real, hospital to readers. It is also easy for narrator give commence or express the feelings.

“he” or “she”--- it is objective to reflect the events, even the more complicated events or figures.

Setting---the setting is the time and place in which the story happens. The authors often use descriptions of landscape, scenery, buildings, seasons or weather to provide a strong sense of setting.

Conflict--- the conflict is a struggle between two people or things in narration. The main character is usually on one side of the central conflict. The main character may struggle against another important character, against the forces of nature, against society, or even against something inside himself of herself (feelings, emotions, illness).

Climax---as the conflict develops, suspense and tension increase until the highest point or the climax of the struggle is reached.

Theme—the theme is the central idea or belief in a story.

2. Text analysis:

(1) Face to Face with Hurricane Camille is a piece of narration. So it has the typical elements of narration:

Plot---it describes the heroic struggle of the Koshaks and their friends against the forces of a devastating hurricane.

Setting---time: Aug. 17 -- 18, in 1969. place: Gulfport, Mississippi.

Characters---protagonist: the Koshaks and their friends. antagonist: hurricane.

Climax---the paragraph 27: the forceful attack of the hurricane had passed.

Point of view---the third person

Theme---the last para: human lives are more important than the material possessions.

(2) The organization:

This article can be divided into three parts:

Part one (1-6): the introduction of the time, place, characters and background of the story.

Part two (7-27) the Koshaks and their friends struggled against the onslaughts of the devastating hurricane.

Part three (28-end) something happened after the hurricane. The family came through the hurricane.
(3) Writing skills

1.  making effective use of verbs

2.  using many elliptical and short, simple sentences to achieve certain effect
IV: The rhetorical devices

(1) Personification

Personification is a figure which represents inanimate objects as having life.


Time will tell.

The moans of the autumn wind

盼望着,盼望着,春风来了,春天的脚步近了。 ——朱自清

(2) 比喻

比喻是英语中最常用的辞格,是以此喻彼(to speak of one thing in terms of another) 手段。它有一个基础,四个要素:



本体(the signified):即所要表述,描绘的对象,是被喻者。

喻体(the signifier):即用来表述,描绘本体的比喻者。




The growing savings and loan scandal is a time bomb for President Bush, that might not go off this year but could cause him serious political troubles by 1992.



A simile is a figure of speech in which a similarity between two objects is directly expressed. (H. Holman, A Handbook to Literature)


New China is like a red sun rising in the east.

本体 比喻词 喻体

从结构上讲,明喻包括“本体”、“喻体”、和 “比喻词”。本体是被比喻的对象,喻体是用来做比喻的对象,比喻词用在本体和喻体之间起着连接介绍作用。

Simile一词来源于拉丁语similis, 意义相当于英语介词like(像),因此明喻中常用like做比喻词,此外,用作比喻词的还有as ,as if, as though, as…as, (just) as…so, similar to, to bear a resemblance to etc.

许多以as为比喻词组成的词组,如fresh as a rose, brave as a lion, cunning as a fox, proud as a peacock, as busy as a bee, as timid as a mouse, as white as snow 等等。


Metaphor is a figure of speech in which one thing is descried in terms of another. …A comparison is usually implicit, whereas in simile it is explicit. ( A Dictionary of Literary Terms)



Money is the lens in a camera. (照相机的镜头能反映出一个人的不同面貌,金钱则能检验出一个人的不同品质,故而两者有共同之处。)

Simile metaphor 用法中的两个问题:




比喻是一种常见的修辞方法,其心理基础是对世间万物某些共同特点的联想。若以英语和汉语相比,我们会发现许多惊人的相似之处。如都以绵羊比喻温顺,以钢铁比喻坚强,用狐狸比喻狡猾等等,还有不少成语和习语中的比喻简直不谋而合,如“火上加油”(add fuel to the flames), “晴天霹雳”(a bolt from the blue),“空中阁楼”(castles in the air), “滴水穿石”(constant dropping wears the stone), “船到桥头自会直”(you will cross the bridge when you get to it)。


  • 四面楚歌

  • meet one’s Waterloo

  • carry coals to Newcastle (比喻多此一举 )

  • 洛阳纸贵(比喻著作风行一时)

  • have a Christian concern for others

  • 立地成佛

Metonymy: 借喻,转喻

Metonymy is a figure of speech which expresses a relation between the thing spoken of and the thing meant, in such a way that the mention of one suggests other.

借喻是指同类事物之间的比拟,不是同类的概念(similarity),而是接近(contiguity)的概念,两个概念关系密切,唇齿相依。如White House 指美国政府,the Pentagon 即美国国防部。



She was a girl who excited the emotions, but I was not the one to let my heart rule my head. 她十个让人动情的姑娘,而我则不是让感情支配理智的人。


(1) 以典型的人体组织、器官多部位代指人的抽象行为或能力。

He has an eye of beauty. (见教参 P 3)

office of brains 人才办公室

Mark Twain honed and experimented with his new writing muscles. (L9) 马克·吐温磨练他的新的写作能力。 muscles 指ability

(2) 以作家名借代作品或观念

Have you read Shakespeare?

I’ve never read Homer.

(3) 以局部地名代整体名,或以产地代产品名

Would you care for a cup of Longjing? 龙井茶

Capital Hill 国会大厦 以建筑物代美国国会

A few weeks ago, U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates trooped up to Capital Hill to answer questions about the new Pentagon budget. Time, June 8, 2009

(4) 以资料或工具代替事物的名称

The pen is mightier than the sword. (文胜于武。pen 文才,sword 武功)

His pen would prove mightier than his pickax. (L9) 他的笔将证明比他的镐头力量大。 pen 写作能力,pickax指马克·吐温年轻时淘过金,但失败了,后来开始写作,成功了。这两个词生动形象地写出了他的不同经历。

(5) 以容器、房舍借代内含之物

He is fond of the bottle. bottle 酒

What dishes would you like? (您要什么菜?)


Our Sony worked well. Sorry: 索尼牌收音机

But after that the police will know they’re looking for a Jaguar. Jaguar是英国产的一种轿车商标


a. The blue eyes walked into the office

b. She studied in Blue Grass for four years. Blue Grass 指美国肯塔基州的Lexington.

c. She said coldly: “I asked how much.”

The piggy eyes blinked. “Ten thousand dollars.” The piggy eyes 指the man with piggy-like eyes.


  • British Lion: England / the English government

  • The bear: the former Soviet Union

  • Ivan: the Russian people (俄罗斯人民)

  • John Bull: England /the English people

  • Uncle Sam: the U.S.A

  • Downing Street: the British government / cabinet

  • Hollywood: American film-making industry

  • Fleet Street: the British press

  • Foggy Bottom: U.S State Department (美国国务院)

  • Madison Avenue: American advertising industry

  • Wall Street: U.S financial circles

  • The Kremlin: the government of the Soviet Union

  • brain /head: wisdom, intelligence, reason

  • heart: feelings, emotions

  • Quisling: traitor

  • Romeo: lover

  • Helen: beautiful woman

  • Milton: poet

  • the bar: the legal profession

  • the bench: position (or office) of judge/ magistrate

  • the press: news reporters, journalists, newspapers

Synecdoche 提喻(举偶法,提偶法 )

A figure of speech in which a part is used for a whole, an individual for a class, a material for a thing, or the reverse of any of these. (Ex: bread for food, the army of a soldier, or copper for a penny)



Many hands make light work. (用hand 表示干活的人)

They came to live under the same roof. (用roof表示整个房子)


It (the volleyball match) was a close contest. In the end, China won. (用China代替中国队)


She is another Madam Curie. (Curie Marie 生于波兰的法国物理学家,化学家,1903诺贝尔物理学奖,1911诺贝尔化学奖)


There is a mixture of the tiger and the ape in the character of a Frenchman. (tiger: 残暴;ape: 狡猾)


“Einstein is my admiration,” the little girl said. (admiration 指所崇拜的人物)


With thunders from her native oak,

She quells the flood below. – by Thomas Campbell


*Metonymy 和Synecdoche: 两种辞格十分相似,其共同点是不直接说出所指对象的名称,而采取某种替代形式。不过,换喻/借喻中的替代是一物体代另一物,两者之间的关系密切;二提喻中的替代体现于一体中,通过替代词想象出被替代词,需要凭借读者的理解力。
(3) Transferred Epithet 移就,转类



He insisted that our assumptions were all wet. 他坚持说我们的假定错了。(wet修饰语浸水有关的名词,现在可用以修饰与概念有关的名词,如理念等。)

His dry humor doesn’t seem intentional. 他的冷面幽默似乎并非有意装出来的。(dry通常修饰语气候有关的名词,如干旱,现在可用以修饰语态度有关的名词,如反应等。)

After several arid years, Europeans conceived the design of a very large jet air craft for carrying passengers on short flights, commonly referred to as the Airbus. 荒芜了几年之后,欧洲人构想出了一种喷气式客机的设计:容量较大,适宜于短程飞行。这种客机俗称空中客车。(arid 原意是干旱,引伸为贫瘠的,例句中为after unproductive, 指研究无结果的,属于形容词转类。)


The new tendency has raised many a conservative eyebrow. 这种新趋势引起了许多保守党人士的非难。 (眉毛本身没有倾向,移就的是保守党派人士的倾向于感情。)

Of the thousands of people who stand under Michelangelo’s heroic ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, very few are aware that they are looking at perhaps the greatest watercolor painting in the world. 成千上万的访问者来到西斯廷教堂,屋顶上画有米开朗基罗的雄伟壁画;但鲜有参观者意识到她们仰望着的也许是世界上最伟大的水彩画。(Michelangelo was Italian sculptor, painter, architect and poet. He was a towering figure of the Renaissance. For four years, Michelangelo worked on a 30-feet high scaffolding in the Sistine Chapel, lying on his back and looking upwards, to cover the whole ceiling and vault of the building with nine scenes from the Bible.)

这是一则典型的移就。雄伟的(heroic)指的是米开朗基罗1508年至1512年受罗马教皇Julius II的委托,在教皇礼拜堂屋顶含辛茹苦绘就的、以“创世纪”为题材的史诗性壁画(fresco);屋顶本身是称不上heroic的,Michelangelo’s heroic ceiling 即Michelangelo’s heroic fresco on the ceiling。由于结构紧凑,heroic移就了ceiling, 但含义是不可误解的。

V: Writing:

1) Ask students to write a short narration of around 300 words relating their own unforgettable experience.

2) Ask students to collect some materials about tsunami happened in Southeast Asia.
Read, Think and Comment

1) This passage is a piece of narration. It tells how an accident happens.

2) The writer narrates the actions in the order of their occurrence.

3) The first sentence of the paragraph gives the setting of the accident: the time and place. It then introduces the character, or the protagonist, to whom the accident is to happen. A few words are given to pave the way for the main action. The second paragraph focuses on the action, namely the accident. The vividness of the narration is achieved through the writer’s accurate description of details and effective use of specific verbal phrases. The third paragraph tells the results, which is unexpected and rather bizarre. The man who was wounded fatally in the head did not die, but miraculously he was able to speak and walk.

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