Read the short story Simply Divine by W. Holden and do the following tasks.

I. Expand your vocabulary.

1. Insert the missing prepositions. Recall the situations from the story where these word combinations were used. Make up your own examples with the same word combinations.
  1. to pin the exact moment;
  2. to throw oneself smb;
  3. to hold for Mr. Right;
  4. to squander time and money smth;
  5. to keep smb’s standards;
  6. to have a grudge smb;
  7. to be intimate terms smb;
  8. to get smb’s feet;
  9. to strike a chord the public;
  10. to have the stomach another party girl;
  11. to hold smb ;
  12. to bow the inevitable;
  13. to mash the rock;
  14. to poke the desk;
  15. to go smb’s word;

2. Make up word combinations as they were used in the story.
  • obvious
  • stately
  • social
  • minute
  • glossy
  • sarcastic
  • imperious
  • successive
  • snappy
  • financial
  • tones
  • disasters
  • dresser
  • breed
  • conviction
  • amount
  • home
  • inferiority
  • magazine
  • generations

3. Match the following phrases with their definitions. Find the episodes in which they were used. Make up your own sentences with these word combinations.
  • to take to smth
  • to have much going for smb
  • to be grand
  • to plight smb’s troth
  • to be courted by smb
  • to run well into six figures
  • to pull smb’s weight
  • to take zero notice
  • to play smb’s trump card
  • to have a blast
  • to bite the bullets
  • to be in demand
  • to be far from home and dry
  • to see smth coming
  • to show no signs of interest;
  • to use one’s most powerful or effective strategy or device;
  • to become engaged to marry;
  • to begin or fall into the habit of;
  • to spend a good time;
  • to be prepared for an event, typically an unpleasant one;
  • to possess many talents;
  • to earn millions;
  • to do one’s share in a common task;
  • to be socially superior;
  • to decide to do something difficult or unpleasant that one has been putting off or hesitating over;
  • not to be safe or successful;
  • to be sought after;
  • to be in the position when smb is trying to gain the favor from you by attention or flattery.

4. Insert the words from the box into the sentences below. If necessary change the form of the word.
rebuff mortgage reciprocate understatement censorious injudicious impenetrable vertiginous sashay ghastly snivel vacuousness unimpeachable unrepentant
  1. Her face was devoid of any expression, nothing marred its perfect .
  2. The range forms a barrier between Europe and Asia.
  3. He is very hard to live with, and that’s the of the year.
  4. His proposals already by the Prime Minister.
  5. The models down the catwalk.
  6. Stop – you got yourself into this mess!
  7. The murderer was while delivering his speech in court.
  8. They decided to live together so that it would be easier to pay the .
  9. Mark is always making these crude remarks, he is so .
  10. After the plane took off I felt for a few moments, but then it got better.
  11. His goodness is , though his leadership capacity raises doubts.
  12. The little brother, Willy, was a beautiful, affectionate child, but in consequence of management, very badly spoiled.
  13. Public opinion, though variable, tends to the .
  14. Perhaps I was expected with some remark of my own.
5. Find in the extracts under consideration examples of wordplay such as “…it wasn’t with all the brio she could muster”. What effect do these phrases produce? Consult the dictionary to find out their meanings. Use them in the sentences of your own.

II. Check your understanding of the story.

1. Choose the answer as appropriate.
1. Nick, Jane’s boyfriend, was famous for being extremely generous.

2. Lulu didn’t want to put up with Josh’s ghastly remarks.

3. Josh prided himself on being politically correct.

4. Models and photographers are a notoriously impervious breed and Champagne D’Vyne is no exception.

5. Tally, just like Jane herself, was a typical upper-class girl.

6. The circulation of Gorgeous was on the up due Champagne’s astounding vacuousness.

7. Champagne had a memory like a sieve and could make a goldfish look like Stephen Hawking.

8. The Fabulous editor Victoria Cavendish wanted Jane to work for the magazine due to her success with Champagne’s column.

2. In what situations did the characters of the story use the following words? When would you use them?

If there’s no beginning to her talents, there’s certainly no end to her demands.
Snobbery is merely an acute awareness of the niceties of social distinction.
It was like a blow upon a bruise.
Fat chance.
I might get more information out of a waxwork.
I’m just not an outdoor type of girl.
Unbelievable was the word.

3. Find evidence in the text proving that Jane’s decision to move in with Nick was caused by her desire to get a marriage proposal. Why was Jane concerned about her relationships with men?
4. Do you believe that the interview in Hello! magazine was Champagne’s doing? Give your reasons. Compare it with her previous statements.
5. The novel is written in a sarcastic manner. What contributes to this effect? Provide examples to support your answer.
6. What image of a typical model does the author create? Find words and word combinations that are used to describe Champagne. Do you share the author’s attitude to celebrities or find it too biased?
7. Jane is offered a job at Fabulous, the main rival of the magazine she is currently working for. Do you think that she will jump at the chance? What are the pros and cons of her getting a new job?
8. Dwell on the following: why are both the public and the media so obsessed with the likes of Champagne? What does it say about modern society on the whole?
9. Role play. You’re a psychologist and Jane has recently become a patient of yours. Give her advice on how to handle stress caused by her work and how to deal with her being unsatisfied with her private life.
10. Role play. You’re Champagne D’Vyne giving an interview for Vanity Fair. You’re talking about the challenges of being a supermodel, starting a career as an actress and your leading role in the upcoming movie.

III. Follow up activities.

1. Imagine that you’re Tally and you have to write a letter to the restoration committee in order to get a grant for your family house. The committee gets hundreds of such inquires so you have to come up with sound reasons for them to choose you.
2. Put yourself in Jane’s shoes and write a column entry about a day in the life of Champagne D’Vyne.
3. You’re a manager of one of the PR agencies and you have to work closely with celebrities every day. Come up with a few tips on how to behave around them.