Lesson Six Death of a Pig

Lesson Six Death of a Pig
• I. Background information
• 1) The Norton Sampler: The text was
selected from the Norton Sampler , 3rd
Edition, edited by Thomas Cooley, New
York and London :W.W. Norton &
Company,1985. The Norton Sampler is a
rhetorically arranged collection of short
essays for composition.
It echoes the cloth samplers once done in
colonial America, presenting the basic
patterns of writing for students to practice
just as schoolchildren once practiced their
stitches and ABCs on needlework
samplers. The edition shows students that
description, narration, and the other
patterns of exposition are not just abstract
concepts used in composition classrooms
but are in fact the way we think—and
• The Norton Sampler contains 63 carefully
chosen readings—classics as well as more
recent pieces, essays along with a few realworld texts—all demonstrating how writers
use the modes of discourse for many varied
Beautifully written, demonstrating its own
lessons about good writing. Students will find
the book accessible and inspiring.
2) E. B. White (1899-1985):
• Leading American essayist and literary stylist
of his time, White was known for his crisp,
graceful, relaxed style. "No one can write a
sentence like White," James Thurber once
stated. White's stories ranged from satire to
children's fiction. While he often wrote from
the perspective of slightly ironic onlooker, he
also was a sensitive spokesman for the
freedom of the individual.
2. About Pigs
Why did E. B. White choose to write about a
pig? Did his stories really happen? Read the
answers in this letter, which he wrote to all
kids everywhere shortly before his death.
• Dear Reader:
• As for Charlotte's Web, I like animals and my
barn is a very pleasant place to be, at all hours.
One day when I was on my way to feed the pig, I
began feeling sorry for the pig because, like most
pigs, he was doomed to die. This made me sad.
So I started thinking of ways to save a pig's life.
• I had been watching a big grey spider at
her work and was impressed by how
clever she was at weaving. Gradually I
worked the spider into the story that you
know, a story of friendship and salvation
on a farm. Three years after I started
writing it, it was published. (I am not a fast
worker, as you can see.)
• Yours sincerely,
• E. B. White
II Discourse analyses
• 1. The main idea of the text.
• By recording the last few days he spent with
his pig, E. B. White empathized with his
ailing pig. His role was changed, from the
butcher in winter to the pig’s friend and
physician and his feeling of caring, sorry
and sympathies were revealed vividly.
Besides, he conveyed in his message that for
humans or animals, time is painfully onedirectional: the lost life can never return.
2. The outline of the text
• Part I (pp 1-14) I bought a pig in the midSeptember and I noticed something wrong
with the pig.
• ① (pp 1—3) using the backshift way of
description to tell my pig died and my feeling
towards it.
• ② (pp. 4—14) with the time sequence, the
author described how they treated the sick pig
after noticing it was ill
• Part II (pp15-35) My pig was suspected to got
a fatal disease and the coming of Doctor
① (pp15-30) I phoned the doctor and
the doctor suspected that erysipelas has to be
② (pp 31-35) the doctor’s
examination of the pig and my feeling of
• Part III (pp36—41) the death of my pig and
his burial.
① (pp 36—37) My pig’s last
activities and final death
② (pp.39—40) My dog’s burial
III. Detailed study of the text
Part 1 (pp 1-14)
1. ailing adj. somewhat ill
He was still ailing, it was said,
and the Squire nursed
him like the proverbial woman.
2. … things might easily have gone the
other way round:
• Things might easily have happened in the
opposite way, say, I died at last, and the
pig lived.
3. recall; recollect
• Recall: to remember; to revoke; to take
back (verbs); the ability to remember
• Recollect: to recall to mind, remember
• He tried to recall how the faulty design
had been tested.
• The company recalled all contracts until
a new design could be implemented.
• General Motors recalled their defective
• He had total recall of all the meetings.
Workers could not recollect a worse
catastrophe for their company.
• 4. This uncertainty afflicts me with a
sense of personal deterioration; if I
were in decent health I would know
how many nights I had sat up with a
• The fact that I cannot remember exactly
when the pig died shows that my health is
deteriorating. Otherwise, I would be able
to remember. Notice the humor conveyed
by the solemn tone as if the event was of
great historical importance.
5. afflict; inflict
afflict: cause distress
inflict: impose something unpleasant
Jack was afflicted with running sores.
Jack wanted to know why God inflicted
pain and sorrow on him.
6. decent
• Waiting for a decent death.
• 活着就是为了死的时候体面一点
• It was decent of her to help the homeless.
• I am a decent girl !!! -----我是正经人家的
• He spent three years in a sweatshop before
he found a decent job.
• His first novel was a flash in the pan, and he
hasn't written anything decent since.
• The director of my factory was very decent
about my being away when my wife was ill.
我妻子病时, 我告假回家去, 厂长对我是
• The new manager is pretty decent to us.
• He's done the decent thing and resigned.
他做了件体面的事, 辞职了.
• We must provide decent housing for the
• The lack of decent public transport is a
great disadvantage.
• You can't have good acting without a decent
• His behavior is so awful that he ought to be
drummed out of decent society.
• His flippancy makes it difficult to have a
decent conversation with him.
他玩世不恭, 很难正经地和他交谈.
• Ragged jeans are not very decent to wear to
a ball.
• 穿着破旧的牛仔裤在舞会 上显得不太得
Most university graduates consider whitecollared position as decent jobs.
• 绝大多数大学毕业生 都认为白领职位是体
面 的工作.
7. It is a tragedy enacted on most farms
with perfect fidelity to the original
• The raising of a pig is like a tragedy,
because it always ends in the killing of
the pig, and the set pattern—buying,
raising and butchering –is strictly
followed on most farms. Notice here the
author follows his metaphor, saying that
most farmers never change the pattern—
the procedure of the buying, feeding and
killing of a pig remains the same.
• 8. enact - act out; represent or perform as if in
a play
• e.g.
• She hated to re-enact
• the character in the play.
• She often enacted the
• Stories told by her father.
• 9. fidelity: A fidelity is loyalty to a
person, organization, or a set of beliefs.
• e.g.
• Fidelity to engagement is a virtue
• His fidelity and industry brought him
speedy promotion
• 10. premeditate: v. consider, ponder, or
plan (an action) beforehand
• e.g.
• The crime was premeditated.
• She carefully premeditated each step of
her plan.
• 11. in the first degree
• e.g.
• murder in the first [second, third] degree
谋[故、误]杀 M-! (惊呼声)杀人啦!
• a principal in the first [second] degree
• 12. The murder, being premeditated,
is in the first degree but is quick and
skillful, and the smoked bacon and
harm provided a ceremonial ending
whose fitness is seldom questioned:
• The tragedy has an ending—the killing of
a pig and the serving of its meat. The
killing, deliberately planned and carried
out efficiently, is the most type of murder.
However, whether pigs should end their
lives that way has never been questioned.
Notice the humorous use of the legal term
• 13. Once in a while something goes
wrong – one of the actors goes up in his
lines and whole performance stumbles
and halts:
• The metaphor is carried on. Occasionally
something goes wrong. One of the actors
in the play, in my case, the pig, performs
its part too early, thus creating the chaos,
and the whole play has to stop. The
author humorously introduces the
premature death of his pig.
• 14. The classic outline of the tragedy
was lost:
• What is the classic outline of the tragedy ?
• To buy a piglet in spring, feed it through
summer and fall, and butcher it in winter.
In other words, the pig is not supposed to
be sick any time in between.
• 15. I found myself cast suddenly in
the role of pig’s friend and
physician—a farcical character with
an enema bag for a prop:
• The author was suddenly made to play
the role of the pig’s friends and
physician—he had to take care of the pig
when it got sick—whereas originally he
was supposed to be the butcher.
16. cast: throw: to place actors in roles;
players in a play or movie
• e.g.
• They often cast loving glances. 他们常常
• The cast bowed as the audience.
applauded. 演员们向鼓掌的观众鞠躬.
• The director cast me as a scientist.
• 17. This was slapstick—the sort of
dramatic treatment that instantly
appealed to my old dachshund, Fred,
who joined the vigil, held the bag, and
when all was over, presided at the
• The whole matter of the pig getting sick
and me taking care of it was like crude
comedy, but my dog liked it very much—
he did not miss any part of it; he was
there when I stayed awake during the
night to take care of the pig ; he was there
to hold the enema bag during medical
treatment; he was even in charge of the
burial after the pig died.
• 18. slapstick: a rough play in which the
humor depends on physical actions rather
than on the clever use of language
• 19. When we slid the body into the
grave, we both were shaken to the
• The author feels deeply upset. Notice
the pomposity of the language and the
exaggeration used to create humor.
• 20. But I’m running ahead of my story
and shall have to go back:
• This sentence concludes the summary,
and prepares the reader for the complete
21. overhang - project over
• e.g.
• The tall trees
• overhang the road.
22. rail fence
23. A pig couldn’t ask for anything better—or
none has, at any rate:
A pig couldn’t ask for better living
condition; at least no pig has ever
complained. Notice the humor here—a
pig couldn’t speak; therefore it couldn’t
let us know whether it was contented
with its living conditions or not.
24. There is never any identification
needed on a country phone; the person on
the other end knows who is talking by the
sound the voice and by the character of
the question:
• It is a small village and everyone knows
everyone else. Therefore you don’t have
to say who you are when you talk to
someone on the phone.
• 25. Henry says roll him over on his
back and give him two ounces of castor
oil or sweet oil, and if that doesn’t do
the trick give him an injection of soapy
• They didn’t even bother to check what
was wrong with the pig and decided on
the treatment straight away, as if the only
disease a pig could suffer from was
indigestion. Castor oil, sweet oil and
soapy water are all for the purpose of
having the vomit and thus solving
26. do the trick: provide a solution; give
the desired result
If we use a piece of cork it might stop
the leaking and do the trick.
I have a fever. Can the tablet do the
• 27. though: ad. (postpositive) however
• He said he would come, he didn‘t, though. 他
• She promised to phone. I heard nothing,
though. 她答应要打电话来. 可我没听到回
信儿.4.I expect you're right I'll ask him,
though. 我认为你说得对--我去问问他也
• 28. catch up on: If you catch up on an activity
that you have not had much time to
• do recently, you spend time doing it.
• e.g.
• I was catching up on doing a bit reading, as I
was fully engaged in the past two weeks.
• 29. odds and ends: a group of small objects
of different types which are not very valuable
or important
• One good thing I got done at the office today
was to clean up my desk. I'd let so many odds
and ends pile up that you could scarcely see
the desk itself. But I got busy and took care of
• 30. Unconsciously I held off, for an hour, the
deed…the even succession of days. I wanted
no interruption, wanted no oil, no deviation.
• The author uses parallelism (no
interruption in the regularity of feeding,
the steadiness of growth, the even
succession of days; no interruption, no oil,
no deviation) to emphasize, or so it seems,
that he was unwilling to accept the failure
of his “scheme”.
31. hold off: to stop or delay doing something
Let's hold off until we have more data.
The rain held off just long enough for us to
have our picnic. 雨一时下不起来,我们有足
• Could you hold off (making) your decision
until next week? 你可以推迟到下星期再做
• 32. desultory - marked by lack of definite plan
or regularity or purpose; jumping from one
thing to another; (≈purposeless)
• e.g.
• He broke into a desultory chat with me over
his business affairs. 他突然开始和我漫无边
• 32. roll by: move away
• e.g.
• I am sure that our difficulties are only
temporary. We must wait until the clouds roll
by. 我相信我们的困难是暂时的,我们一定
• He waited and waited till the clouds rolled
by. 他等了又等,直到时机到来。
33. summon: ask to come; gather or bring
• e.g.
• He summoned his soldiers to fight. 他号召部
• The shareholders were summoned to a general
meeting. 那些股东被召集去叁加股东大
• I was summoned by my boss (to explain my
actions). 老板把我召去(要我对自己的行为
• 34. Clothesline: A cord,
rope, or wire on which
clothes may be hung to
dry or air.
• e.g.
It’s a skid-proof
• from the department
• 35. listless: marked by low spirits; showing no
enthusiasm (=dispirited)
• e.g.
• And between the trees appeared one or two
street lamps, listless as the eyes of someone
• At last, she asked listlessly, “Is that you?”
• 36. right - regain an upright or proper position
(≈change posture)
• e.g.
• The capsized boat righted again.
• The half-drunk man finally righted himself
and sat in chair with a forced smile.
37. In the upset position the corners of his
mouth had been turned down, giving him
a frowning expression:
This is a vivid description of the pig’s
facial expression ( as is a pig was
capable of giving a facial expression)
during the treatment, which shows that
he didn’t like it.
38. They did not look troublesome but at
the same time they did not look like mere
surface bruises or chafe marks, Rather
they seemed blemishes of internal origin:
Those small dark spots immediately puzzled
and worried the author. Although they didn’t
seem too serious, they were not bruises
caused by external force but were symptoms
of internal illness.
39. rehearse: to practice in preparation for
a public performance (= practice)
• e.g.
• He rehearsed the interview in his mind
• If you can rehearse it 10 times in front of
others, it will eventually become a good
presentation. Ask the listeners to comment on
your presentation.
40. List of words ending with -some
• adventuresome; awesome; blithesome;
boresome; bothersome; burdensome;
cuddlesome; cumbersome
darksome; delightsome; dolesome; eyesome;
• fearsome; gamesome; gladsome; gleesome;
• handsome; irksome; lightsome; lonesome;
• meddlesome; nettlesome; quarrelsome; tiresome;
toilsome; troublesome; unhandsome;
unwholesome; venturesome;
• wearisome; wholesome; winsome; worrisome
• 41. at someone else’s expense:
(humorous) being a guest at someone
else’s expense. The author had just had a
good dinner at his friend’s place.
• 42. crave - have a craving, appetite, or
great desire for
• e.g.
• By this time the inner man began to crave
• He knows that if they trust him, he can give
them the happiness which they crave.
43. lusty; lustful
• lusty: full of strength or vitality
• lustful: full of strong drive, desire, or
enjoyment, especially strong sexual desire
• e.g.
• The lustful sailors were driven upon the rocks
by the siren's song.
• The team broke the huddle with a lusty yell.
• 44. vicarious: experienced through the
actions of other people
• e.g.
• His success gave her vicarious pleasure. 他的
• He got a vicarious thrill out of watch his son
score the winning goal.
Part II (15-35) the process of treating the
ailing pig.
• 1. dachshund
2. …made many professional calls on his
• The dog would often even visit the pig
by himself as if he were a doctor or
nurse. Notice the humorous use of the
word “professional”.
• 3. bedridden: confined to bed (by illness)
• e.g.
• They were bedridden all of Wednesday and
Thursday, and seemed to grow more and more
tired and worn, all the time.
4. You could see him sown there at al
hours, his white face parting the grass
along the fence as he wobbled and
stumbled about, his stethoscope
dangling—a happy quack, writing his
villainous prescriptions and grinning his
corrosive gin:
• Fred was quite excited about the event. He
was down at the pigpen all the time.
Because of his swollen joints, he moved
about unsteadily. His face set apart the
grass along the fence as he moves about.
He was like a doctor, with his long,
dropping ears dangling like a stethoscope,
and he scrabbled on the ground as if he
were prescribing some medicine.
• 5. quack - an untrained person who pretends
to be a physician and who dispenses medical
• e.g.
• He is a quack doctor.
• Don't be taken in he's just a
• quack.
• 6. corrosive - of a substance, especially a
strong acid; capable of destroying or eating
away by chemical action
• e.g.
• Rust and acids are corrosive.
• The calling of a man's self to a strict account, is
a medicine, sometimes too piercing and
7. When the enema bag appeared, and the
bucket of warm suds, his happiness was
complete, and he managed to squeeze his
enormous body between the two lowest
rails of the yards and then assumed full
charge of the irrigation:
• When it was time to dose the pig, the
short-legged and long-bodied dog he
became even more excited. He managed
to get through the fence and acted as if he
was taking charging of the medical
• 8. I have noticed that Fred will feverishly
consume any substance that is associated
with trouble—the bitter flavor is to his
• The dog will eat anything that is
connected with trouble—especially he
likes bitter flavor.
9. feverishly: in a feverish manner
• e.g.
• For my own part, I had been feverishly excited
all day.
• They worked feverishly, so that they could
complete the project before October 1.
• 10. to one’s liking: If something is to one’s
liking, he or she likes it or approves of it.
• e.g.
• A gentleman would willingly marry, if he could find a
wife to his liking.
• Jelly fish is not to my liking.
• It isn't to my liking. 它不合我的胃口。
• Whatever my mother cooks is to my liking.
• 11. tower of strength: a person who can be
relied on to give a great deal of support and
comfort (from Shakespeare's Richard III - 'The
king's name is a tower of strength'. ); (= pillar
of strength; ≈sponsor, supporter, patron )
• e.g.
• My mother has been a tower of strength
during my husband's long illness
• The dressers, often inexperienced or
nervous, found her a tower of strength.
• 12. A tower of strength and in convenience:
• Note the humor in incongruity of
“strength” and “inconvenience”.
“Inconvenience” is added by the author,
which means that Fred was always in the
way. He was meddlesome, although he
meant well.
• 13. The pig, curiously enough, stood rather
quietly through this colonic carnival, and
enema, though ineffective, was not difficult
as I had anticipated:
• 1) there is a funny contrast between the
dachshund (enthusiastic and active) and the pig
(quiet and passive)
• 2) colon: the lower part of the bowel (the
tube that takes waste out of one’s body)
• 3) carnival: a lively festival in which
people walk through the streets playing
music , dancing and often wearing unusual
colorful clothes.
• 4) By “colonic carnival”, the author
means when the pig was given irrigation,
the dog was excited. He welcome this
event as a festival.
• 14. stereotype: n. a conventional or formulaic
conception or image; v. treat or classify
according to a mental stereotype
• He doesn't conform to the usual stereotype of
the city businessman with a dark suit and rolled.
他不像典型的城市商人那样, 穿一身深色的
套服、 带一把收好的雨伞.
• It's wrong to stereotype people, as if they were
all alike.把人们看作都是一样的, 这是错误
• 15. stereotyped role: traditional role
Originally, the author was the butcher and
the pig would grow fat, and would
eventually be served as food.
• 16. The pig’s lot and mine were inextricably
bound now, as though the rubber tube were
the silver cord:
• The destiny of the pig and mine were
joined together by the instrument of the
rubber tube, which was used do the
irrigation for the pig.
17. lot
• e.g.
• odd lot 零星货物; 不成套的东西; (交易所)
• Lot 46: six chairs 第46项: 椅子六把.
• Take the whole lot. 把这些全都拿去吧。
• decide by lot 抽签决定
• his little lot 他微少的一份
• pay scot and lot 全额付清
He fabled about his lot. 他编造自己的身世。
It was settled by lot. 这事是以抽签决定的。
They are a sorry lot. 他们是一批糟糕的家伙。
Take all the lot if you want. 你想要就全部拿去.
This lot of shoes sell very well. 这批鞋很畅销。
My lot is a hard one. 我的命运坎坷。
Is there a parking lot nearby? 附近有停车场吗?
He repined at his unhappy lot.
She's the best of the lot/bunch. 她出类拔萃.
I would not want to share his lot.我可不愿和他同甘共
Come on, you dozy lot use your heads.
快点, 你们这群笨蛋--开动脑筋嘛!
For this lot, could you consider prompt shipment.
The successor falls to the lot of Tom.
The price quoted was for the small lot you named, 5
metric tons; we can offer you10% off for a 150.
• He was not such a bad lot as to round on his
• He won 500 and then blued the lot in three days.
他赢了500英镑, 可是才三天就花得精光.
• Nobody in the first lot of applicants was suitable
for the job.
• To hell with the lot of you, I'll do what I please!
你们全都见鬼去吧, 我爱怎麽著就怎麽著!
• 18. The pig’s lot and mine were inextricably
bound now, as though the rubber tube were
the silver cord:
• The destiny of the pig and mine were
joined together by the instrument of the
rubber tube, which was used do the
irrigation for the pig.
19. From then until the time of his death the
pig I held the pig steadily in the bowl of
my mind; the task o trying to deliver him
from his misery became a strong
From the beginning of the illness to the time
of his death, the pig was imbued in my mind
and I found it very hard to free myself from
that unpleasant situation.
20. His suffering soon became the
embodiment of all earthly wretchedness:
• The pig’s suffering soon become the
symbol of all miseries in life.
21. By this time: till now
• e.g.
• By this time, he was hopelessly pickled.
• By this time the inner man began to crave
• They should have arrived in Beijing by this time.
22. My throat felt dry and I went to the
cupboard and got a bottle of whiskey. Deep
hemorrhagic infarcts—the phrase began
fastening its hook in my mind:
• The author was very worried by the vet’s
words about the pig’s getting erysipelas
and the possibility of his catching it, so
he chose to grown his worries with
23. I had assumed that there could be nothing
much wrong with a pig during the months
it was being groomed for murder; my
confidence in the health and endurance of
pigs had been strong and deep,
particularly in the health of pigs that
belonged to me and that were part of my
proud scheme:
• The author was reluctant to accept that
there was something seriously wrong
with his pig, because he had expected all
pigs, especially his, to be healthy and
24.The awakening had been violent and I
minded it all the more because I knew that
what could be true of my pig could also be
true of the rest o f my tidy world:
The realization that something could be
wrong with the pig was sudden, and I felt
even more upset when I thought that what
happened to the pig could also easily
happen to me or my world.
25. all the more: to a greater degree
• e.g.
• I know you find the subject difficult, that is all
the more why you should work harder.
If you are against his plan, he will stick to it all
the more.如果你反对他的计划,他将更加坚
26. stocky: heavy and compact in form or stature
There must have been a hundred of them--short,
stocky men, with great beards that covered
their faces.
27. overhaul: make repairs or adjustments to
You should overhaul your car engine.
Bush is right to be concerned about the longterm shortfall in Social Security funding, but
the shortfall in Medicare is eight times worse,
and Bush isn't campaigning to overhaul
Part III (pp36-41) the burial of the pig
• 1. expressive: characterized by
• e.g.
• She gave us an expressive smile
• It's an expressive piece of music
2. I went back up to the house and to bed, and
cried internally—deep hemorrhagic
It is a mimicking of the doctor’s words
“deep hemorrhagic infarcts”. Behind the
author’s humorous words is his deep
sincere sorrow for the pig.
3. Never send to know for whom the grave is
dug, I said to myself , it’s dug for thee:
The author was sad about the death of his
pig partly because the death reminds
him of the vulnerability of human life.
Notice the parody used here.
• 4. overcast: n. the state of the sky when it is
covered by clouds (= cloud over)
• v. make overcast or cloudy
• e.g.
• It‘s a bit overcast; it might rain.
• It began to overcast.
• His handsome countenance was overcast.
• 5. brink - the edge of a steep place; the limit
beyond which something happens or changes
• e.g.
• The tree grew on the brink of the cliff.
• He stood shivering on the brink, waiting to dive
in. 他站在边上等待跳水时浑身发抖.
• He dissipated most of his money and was on the
brink of bankruptcy.
他挥霍掉了大部分钱财, 濒于破产。
6. loose: not tight; free from confinement; to free from
• lose: to not win; to misplace
• e.g.
• My shoe came loose. 我的鞋带松了。
• She wore loose garments in the summer.
• Can you work the screw loose.
• She helped the child loose the laces of his shoes.
• Keep calm: don‘t lose your composure.
• One false move may lose the game.
• Does your watch gain or lose?
你的表走得快, 还是走得慢?
7.But even so, there was a directness and
dispatch about animal burial, I thought,
that made it a more decent affair than
human burial : … so that the inwards that
had caused the pig’s death preceded him
into the ground and he lay at last resting
squarely on the cause of his own undoing:
• Our procession was a serious and efficient one.
Fred, who acted the pallbearer, walked
unsteadily in the back, though he was not
qualified for that function. The sorrow of losing
a family member was shown clearly in his face.
The autopsy of the body’s inwards was done
right at the side of the grave. The intestines of
the pig were first thrown into the grave, so the
pig could lie exactly on those things that caused
his death.
• 8. dispatch: Speed in performance or movement
• e.g.
• We must act with dispatch.
• She did the job with great dispatch.
• With computers we can solve all problems with
9. stopover - a stopping place on a journey; a
brief stay in the course of a journey
The ticket allows you two stopovers between
London and Tokyo.
• 10. hitch: To fasten or catch temporarily with
or as if with a loop, hook, or noose
• e.g.
• He hitched a horse to a tree.
• 11. businesslike: serious and effective in the
way you deal with things
• e.g.
• The talks were frank and businesslike.
• Negotiations were conducted in a businesslike
• The couple maintained a businesslike attitude
toward their divorce.
• 12. perverse: directed away from what is right
or good; perverted
• e.g.
• She gets a perverse satisfaction from making
other people embarrassed. 她有一种不正常的
• We all wanted to go tomorrow, but she had to be
perverse and insisted on going today.

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