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  Part I Writing (30 minutes)

  Directions: For this party you are allowed 30 minutes to write an essay commenting on the remark "Good habits result from resisting temptation." You can cite examples to illustrate your point. You should write at least 150 words but no more than 200 words.

  Part II Reading Comprehension (Skimming and Scanning) (15 minutes)

  Directions: In this part, you will have 15 minutes to go over the passage quickly and answer the questions on Answer Sheet 1. For questions 1-7, choose the best answer from the four choices marked A) , B) , C) and D) . For questions 8-10, complete the sentences with the information given in the passage.

  A Nation That's Losing Its Toolbox

  The scene inside the Home Depot on Weyman Avenue here would give the old-time American craftsman pause.

  In Aisle 34 is precut plastic flooring, the glue already in place. In Aisle 26 are prefabricated windows. Stacked near the checkout counters, and as colorful as a Fisher-Price toy, is a not-so-serious-looking power tool: a battery-operated saw-and-drill combination. And if you don't want to do it yourself, head to Aisle 23 or Aisle 35, where a help desk will arrange for an installer.

  It's all very handy stuff, I guess, a convenient way to be a do-it-yourselfer without being all that good with tools. But at a time when the American factory seems to be a shrinking presence, and when good manufacturing jobs have vanished, perhaps never to return, there is something deeply troubling about this dilution of American craftsmanship.

  This isn't a lament (伤感) - or not merely a lament - for bygone times. It's a social and cultural issue, as well as an economic one. The Home Depot approach to craftsmanship - simplify it, dumb it down, hire a contractor - is one signal that mastering tools and working with one's hands is receding in America as a hobby, as a valued skill, as a cultural influence that shaped thinking and behavior in vast sections of the country.

  That should be a matter of concern in a presidential election year. Yet neither Barack Obama nor Mitt Romney promotes himself as tool-savvy (使用工具很在行的) presidential timber, in the mold of a Jimmy Carter, a skilled carpenter and cabinet maker.

  The Obama administration does worry publicly about manufacturing, a first cousin of craftsmanship. When the Ford Motor Company, for example, recently announced that it was bringing some production home, the White House cheered. "When you see things like Ford moving new production from Mexico to Detroit, instead of the other way around, you know things are changing," says Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.

  Ask the administration or the Republicans or most academics why America needs more manufacturing, and they respond that manufacturing gives birth to innovation, brings down the trade deficit, strengthens the dollar, generates jobs, arms the military and brings about a recovery from recession. But rarely, if ever, do they publicly take the argument a step further, asserting that a growing manufacturing sector encourages craftsmanship and that craftsmanship is, if not a birthright, then a vital ingredient of the American self-image as a can-do, inventive, we-can-make-anything people.

  Traditional vocational training in public high schools is gradually declining, stranding thousands of young people who seek training for a craft without going to college. Colleges, for their part, have since 1985 graduated fewer chemical, mechanical, industrial and metallurgical (冶金的) engineers, partly in response to the reduced role of manufacturing, a big employer of them.

  The decline started in the 1950s, when manufacturing generated a sturdy 28% of the national income, or gross domestic product, and employed one-third of the workforce. Today, factory output generates just 12% of G.D.P. and employs barely 9% of the nation's workers.

  Mass layoffs and plant closings have drawn plenty of headlines and public debate over the years, and they still occasionally do. But the damage to skill and craftsmanship- that's needed to build a complex airliner or a tractor, or for a worker to move up from assembler to machinist to supervisor - went largely unnoticed.

  "In an earlier generation, we lost our connection to the land, and now we are losing our connection to the machinery we depend on," says Michael Hout, a sociologist at the University of California, Berkeley. "People who work with their hands," he went on, "are doing things today that we call service jobs, in restaurants and laundries, or in medical technology and the like."

  That's one explanation for the decline in traditional craftsmanship. Lack of interest is another. The big money is in fields like finance. Starting in the 1980s, skill in finance grew in importance, and, as depicted in the news media and the movies, became a more appealing source of income.

  By last year, Wall Street traders, bankers and those who deal in real estate generated 21% of the national income, double their share in the 1950s. And Warren Buffett, the good-natured financier, became a homespun folk hero, without the tools and overalls (工作服).

  "Young people grow up without developing the skills to fix things around the house," says Richard Curtin, director of the Thomson Reuters/University of Michigan Surveys of Consumers. "They know about computers, of course, but they don't know how to build them."

  Manufacturing's shrinking presence undoubtedly helps explain the decline in craftsmanship, if only because many of the nation's assembly line workers were skilled in craft work, if not on the job then in their spare time. In a late 1990s study of blue-collar employees at a General Motors plant (now closed) in Linden, N. J., the sociologist Ruth Milkman of City University of New York found that many line workers, in their off-hours, did home renovation and other skilled work.

  "I have often thought," Ms. Milkman says, "that these extracurricular jobs were an effort on the part of the workers to regain their dignity after suffering the degradation of repetitive assembly line work in the factory."

  Craft work has higher status in nations like Germany, which invests in apprenticeship (学徒) programs for high school students. "Corporations in Germany realized that there was an interest to be served economically and patriotically in building up a skilled labor force at home; we never had that ethos (风气)," says Richard Sennett, a New York University sociologist who has written about the connection of craft and culture.

  The damage to American craftsmanship seems to parallel the steep slide in manufacturing employment. Though the decline started in the 1970s, it became much steeper beginning in 2000. Since then, some 5.3 million jobs, or one-third of the workforce in manufacturing, have been lost. A stated goal of the Obama administration is to restore a big chunk of this employment, along with the multitude of skills that many of the jobs required.

  As for craftsmanship itself, the issue is how to preserve it as a valued skill in the general population. Ms. Milkman, the sociologist, argues that American craftsmanship isn't disappearing as quickly as some would argue - that it has instead shifted to immigrants. "Pride in craft, it is alive in the immigrant world," she says.


  1. How did the author feel looking at the scene inside the Home Depot?

  A) He felt proud that he was a do-it-youselfer himself.

  B) He was inspired by the way the wares were displayed.

  C) He felt troubled about the weakening of American craftsmanship.

  D) He was happy to see the return of the do-it-yourself spirit in America.

  2. What does the author think of mastering tools and working with one's hands?

  A) It shapes people's thinking and behavior.

  B) It is no longer important in modern times.

  C) It helps politicians connect with workmen.

  D) It is essential to advanced manufacturing.

  3. How did the White House respond to Ford's announcement to bring some production

  A) It worried publicly.

  B) It felt much relieved.

  C) It made no comment.

  D) It welcomed the decision.

  4. How does the author view manufacturing?

  A) It encourages craftsmanship.

  B) It is vital to national defense.

  C) It can change the self-image of workers.

  D) It represents the nation's glorious past.

  5. What do we learn about America's manufacturing in the 1950s?

  A) It generated just 12% of the gross national income.

  B) It constituted 28% of the gross domestic product.

  C) It was the biggest employer of American workers.

  D) It was the most active sector of American economy.







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