amish 3

The Amish, III



shun bonnet mains electricity
refuse britches under threat
treat code (2) it turns out
plain vehicle carpenter
sect stuff (2) washing up
chores rest (2) Born-Again Christian
invite modestly self-sufficient
land separate generation






Newscaster: For centuries America’s Amish communities have shunned the world, living the simple life, refusing to drive or use mains electricity. They still dress as if they had stepped out of a period drama, with bonnets and britches.

BBC reporter Justin Rowlatt was given the rare chance to film Amish families, and he found that their way of life is under treat.

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .

I’ve been given an invitation into one of the most closed communities in America.

Journalist: “Can I help? Although I don’t know what I’m doing; I’m not great with horses.”
Elam Graber: “Oh these bite. But other than that they….”

I’ve been invited to stay with an Amish family.

The Amish are member of a Christian sect that settled in America in the eighteenth century. They are known as the Plain People because traditionally they’ve shunned modern technologies like electricity and motor vehicles.

For centuries, the Amish have kept themselves separate from the rest of the world.

But now that is changing.

As I talked to Elem, the elder of this family, it’s clear that Amish lifestyles have already changed a lot.

Elam Graber, Amish Community Member: “My dad, when he was a young boy, they bought sugar and that was one of the only things they bought. And the rest of the stuff, they made on the farm.”

Just how much has changed becomes clear in Elam’s home. His wife Rachel, still lights the old gas lamps, but they now have mains electricity too. And ice.

But still no television or radio.

They won’t let me help with the washing up, but say I can help with the chores in the morning.

There’s a lot to do.

It turns out that only one of Elam’s six children is still Amish. The rest, like Leah, are born-again Christians.

Journalist: “But you wear Amish clothes?”
Leah Graber, Amish Community Member: “We don’t have a code, but we dress modestly.”

Elam believes the reason young people are leaving the Amish community is because the self-sufficient farming lifestyle his parents followed isn’t possible anymore — land is just too expensive.

Elam Graber: “Everybody farmed when I was a little kid. There were no factory workers. Now all the young generation, younger than me, works in a factory, or works carpenter work or works away from home.

And that’s what’s bringing the rest of us down.

He believes the Amish way of life is doomed.

Elam Graber: “Plain life, the simple life is just not possible anymore. And when the young generation comes along, I don’t know what’s going to happen.”

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1. Is it normal or unusual for the Amish to invite outsiders to their homes?

2. The Amish drive cars, watch TV and use electricity. True or false?

3. Why do they live the way they do?

4. The Amish way of live has changed over the years. Is this right or wrong? How did they live before?

5. How do the Amish dress?

6. These days, do the Amish only do farmwork?

7. Elam thinks that the traditional Amish way of life will last forever. Is this correct or wrong?


A. Are there people who live like the Amish in your country?

B. My friends and I would like to live like the Amish. Yes or no?

C. What are the advantages and disadvantages of an Amish lifestyle?

D. Can ordinary people learn something from the Amish? Can the Amish teach others a lesson in life?

E. Nobody, not even the Amish, can resist or withstand globalization. Do you agree? What will happen in the future?


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