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Report of the Slow Reading Requirement

2015-06-29 来源: 51due教员组 类别: Report范文

这是一篇书评report,作者一开始看的时候觉得味如嚼蜡毫无兴趣,后来引人至胜的内容慢慢的把作者的带进去了书的内容,还发现了大的宝藏写下了这篇有趣的书评

The title of this book, The Histories, made me first wonder whether it would be a serious and tedious textbook. The next minute, however, I was totally immersed in the fantastic exotic phenomena told by Herodotus. Reading his collections of Indian and Arabian culture was relaxing to me, because the author was like a curious child, observing carefully and writing down lively and interesting stories.
This extract from The Histories, in my view, was a traveler’s journal. From the details he offered in this extract, I could infer that the author endeavored to be a truthful recorder of his encounter with a bizarre land. But, it was not a report, because some of these stories were not seen by himself but told by the Persians, such as the gold-digging “ants”. Thus, we need to hold a skeptical attitude towards his descriptions. This book seemed to be a complex mixture of truth-telling and exaggeration, which I couldn’t give it a simple label using “memoir”, “report” or something else.
In his narration, an image emerged in my mind that an energetic man with a weather-beaten face travelled across the world. Whenever he heard or saw something bizarre, he took out a well-thumbed note and never missed even the tiniest details. Following his track, I broke into an incredible ancient land. I caught a look of the barbaric lifestyle of the Indians: how they brutally treated ill compatriots; how their reproductions went; and how they fed themselves.
According to Herodotus, cannibalism was a common act. The Indian tribes had a “feast” whenever a man or woman showed a tiny sign of illness. I think it was understandable at that time when those ancient Indians’ minds were still primitive and they suffered from starvation easily because of a retarded agricultural world. Though reasonable, it was still unacceptable to me, to any civilized men I believe.
Yet, I have to admit that they were great masters of camels. They knew well of camel’s strength of load-bearing and utilized it in digging gold. They rode three camels, two males for assistance, one female for carrying men and gold. Herodotus stressed that it was important to make sure that the female camel gave birth to cubs recently. When the gold-seekers had to run at full speed to avoid being eaten by those horrible “ants”, they abandoned male camels without hesitation, whereas the female camel cared too much about its babies to die in the desert, so it ran at its best and saved the Indians’ lives. Perhaps human beings gained their intelligence in such struggles for life.
Through close reading, I noticed that Herodotus well presented his value in paragraph 108. He compared the Arabian snakes to something familiar, vipers, and came to the conclusion that “divine providence is wise”. He suggested that an invisible forces had arranged the nature so that powerful and harmful creatures produced much fewer young than the weak ones. Examples of hares and lions helped prove this point. Yet, this book was written almost 2,500 years ago. Our general knowledge might be inapplicable to that era. Even though few records supported that a lion’s cub would scratch the lioness’ womb during pregnancy, which caused the mother’s death eventually, I couldn’t deny it because of lack of evidence.
It also led to an interesting angle of reading this book that I learned how ancient people described objects we’ve already known, such as marmots and cotton. When I first saw the giant “ants” that dug up gold in India, I was totally amazed since it appeared to be unnatural. I tried to google a picture of this weird animal, but to find a sad fact that Herodotus had possibly mistaken the Persian word “marmot” for “mountain ant” since it was not seen by his own eyes as I mentioned before. This mistake inspired me to look at the whole story from another angle, so I was calm enough when the wool-producing wild trees came into my view. With the clue of its quality and usage, it was not hard to presume that he was actually describing cotton.
Based on these clues, I think it was possible that the Arabian snakes were something else. This kind of snakes was known for killing husband in the process of mating and killing mother by eating its belly according to Herodotus. These signs could be found in creatures we knew. For instance, a type of crab spiders regarded its mother as a source of nutrition, which resulted in the mother’s death. A type of female mantis sometimes killed its husband during mating. So I made a brave guess that even if the Arabian snakes did exist, the dread was bombastic as people attached these known features into this particular species.

Reading this extract was the first time I took an sight into that ancient world. After reading it, I started to understand why people called Herodotus “ The Father of History”. Within the small scope of this reading material, I could notice his systematic record of foreign cultures and his enthusiasm in being a “history-collector”. I respect his insight and dedication into completing this book and opening the door for generation after generation to a world we had no opportunities to see. This short extract has also aroused my interest of reading more of this book and taking one more step closer to that ancient land.


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