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【转】阅读资料「中英对照」In My Day
FMT-  AnnatarVictorNate 2016-03-01 15:48:09 发表于  [  实用英语  ]
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原址:http://blog.sina.com.cn/s/blog_58acfbf60101fgoo.html

本人对原文稍加处理(复制时全黑的)

At the age of eighty my mother had her last bad fall, and after that her mind wandered free through time. Some days she went to weddings and funerals that had taken place half a century earlier. On others she presided over family dinners cooked on Sunday afternoons for children who were now gray with age. Through all this she lay in bed but moved across time, traveling among the dead decades with a speed and ease beyond the gift of physical science.

"Wheres Russell" she asked one day when I came to visit at the nursing home.

"Im Russell," I said.

She gazed at this improbably overgrown figure out of an inconceivable future and promptly dismissed it.

"Russells only this big," she said, holding her hand, palm down, two feet from the floor. That day she was a young country wife in the backyard with a view of hazy blue Virginia mountains behind the apple orchard, and I was a stranger old enough to be her father.

Early one morning she phoned me in New York. "Are you coming to my funeral today?" she asked.

It was an awkward question with which to be awakened. "What are you talking about, for Gods sake?" was the best reply I could manage.

"Im being buried today," she declared briskly, as though announcing an important social event.

"Ill phone you back," I said and hung up, and when I did phone back she was all right, although she wasnt all right, of course, and we all knew she wasnt.

She had always been a small woman — short, light-boned, delicately structured — but now, under the white hospital sheet, she was becoming tiny. I thought of a doll with huge, fierce eyes. There had always been a fierceness in her. It showed in that angry challenging thrust of the chin when she issued an opinion, and a great one she had always been for issuing opinions.

"I tell people exactly whats on my mind," she had been fond of boasting, "whether they like it or not."

"Its not always good policy to tell people exactly whats on you mind," I used to caution her.

"If they dont like it, thats too bad," was her customary reply, "because thats the way I am."

And so she was, a formidable woman, determined to speak her mind, determined to have her way, determined to bend those who opposed her. She had hurled herself at life with an energy that made her seem always on the run.

She ran after chickens, an axe in her hand, determined on a beheading that would put dinner in the pot. She ran when she made the beds, ran when she set the table. One Thanksgiving she burned herself badly when, running up from the cellar even with the ceremonial turkey, she tripped on the stairs and tumbled down, ending at the bottom in the debris of giblets, hot gravy, and battered turkey. Life was combat, and victory was not to the lazy, the timid, the drugstore cowboy, the mush-mouth afraid to tell people exactly what was on his mind. She ran.

But now the running was over. For a time I could not accept the inevitable. As I sat by her bed, my impulse was to argue her back to reality. On my first visit to the hospital in Baltimore, she asked who I was.

"Russell," I said.

"Russells way out west," she advised me.

"No, Im right here."

"Guess where I came from today?" was her response.

"Where?"

"All the way from New Jersey."

"No. Youve been in the hospital for three days," I insisted.

So it went until a doctor came by to give one of those oral quizzes that medical men apply in such cases. She failed completely, giving wrong answers or none at all. Then a surprise.

"When is your birthday?" he asked.

"November 5, 1897," she said. Correct. Absolutely correct.

"How do you remember that?" the doctor asked.

"Because I was born on Guy Fawkes Day."

"Guy Fawkes?" asked the doctor, "Who is Guy Fawkes?"

She replied with a rhyme I had heard her recite time and again over the years:

"Please to remember the Fifth of November,

Gunpowder treason and plot.

I see no reason why gunpowder treason

Should ever be forgot."

Then she glared at this young doctor so ill informed about Guy Fawkes failed scheme to blow King James off his throne with barrels of gunpowder in 1605. "You may know a lot about medicine, but you obviously dont know any history," she said. Having told him exactly what was on her mind, she left us again.

Then doctors diagnosed a hopeless senility or hardening of the arteries. I thought it was more complicated than that. For ten years or more the ferocity with which she had once attacked life had been turning to a rage against the weakness, the boredom, and the absence of love that too much age had brought her. Now, after the last bad fall, she seemed to have broken chains that imprisoned her in a life she had come to hate and to return to a time inhabited by people who loved her, a time in which she was needed. Gradually I understood.

Three years earlier I had gone down from New York to Baltimore, where she lived, for one of my infrequent visits and, afterwards, had written her with some banal advice to look for the silver lining, to count her blessings instead of burdening others with her miseries. I suppose what it really amounted to was a threat that if she was not more cheerful during my visits I would not come to see her very often. Sons are capable of such letters. This one was written out of a childish faith in the eternal strength of parents, a naive belief that age and wear could be overcome by an effort of will, that all she needed was a good pep talk to recharge a flagging spirit.

She wrote back in an unusually cheery vein intended to demonstrate, I suppose, that she was mending her ways. Referring to my visit, she wrote: "If I seemed unhappy to you at times, I am, but theres really nothing anyone can do about it, because Im just so very tired and lonely that Ill just go to sleep and forget it." She was then seventy-eight.

Now three years later, after the last bad fall, she had managed to forget the fatigue and loneliness and to recapture happiness. I soon stopped trying to argue her back to what I considered the real world and tried to travel along with her on those fantastic journeys into the past. One day when I arrived at her bedside she was radiant.

"Feeling good today," I said.

"Why shouldnt I feel good?" she asked. "Papas going to take me up to Baltimore on the boat today."

At that moment she was a young girl standing on a wharf, waiting for the Chesapeake Bay steamer with her father, who had been dead sixty-one years. William Howard Taft was in the White House, America was a young country, and the future stretched before it in beams of crystal sunlight. "The greatest country on Gods green earth," her father might have said, if I had been able to step into my mothers time machine.

About her father, my grandfather, my mothers childhood and her people, I knew very little. A world had lived and died, and though it was part of my blood and bone I knew little more about it than I knew of the world of the pharaohs. It was useless now to ask for help from my mother. The orbits of her mind rarely touched present interrogators for more than a moment.

Sitting at her bedside, forever out of touch with her, I wondered about my own children, and children in general, and about the disconnection between children and parents that prevents them from knowing each other. Children rarely want to know who their parents were before they were parents, and when age finally stirs their curiosity there is no parent left to tell them. If a parent does lift the curtain a bit, it is often only to stun the young with some exemplary tale of how much harder life was in the old days.

I had been guilty of this when my children were small in the early 1960s and living the affluent life. It irritated me that their childhoods should be, as I thought, so easy when my own had been, as I thought, so hard. I had developed the habit of lecturing them on the harshness of life in my day.

"In my day all we got for dinner was macaroni and cheese, and we were glad to get it."

"In my day we didnt have any television."

"In my day..."

"In my day..."

At dinner one evening a son had offended me with an inadequate report card, and as I cleared my throat to lecture, he gazed at me with an expression of unutterable resignation and said, "Tell me how it was in your day, Dad."

I was angry with him for that, but angrier with myself for having become one of those ancient bores whose highly selective memories of the past become transparently dishonest even to small children. I tried to break the habit, but must have failed. Between us there was a dispute about time. He looked upon the time that had been my future in a disturbing way. My future was his past, and being young, he was indifferent to the past.

As I hovered over my mothers bed listening for some signals from her childhood, I realized that this same dispute had existed between her and me. When she was young, with life ahead of her, I had been her future and resented it. Instinctively, I wanted to break free, and cease being a creature defined by her time. Well, I had finally done that, and then with my own children I had seen my exciting future becoming their boring past.

These hopeless end-of-the-line visits with my mother made me wish I had not thrown off my own past so carelessly. We all come from the past, and children ought to know what it was that went into their making, to know that life is a braided cord of humanity stretching up from time long gone, and that it cannot be defined by the span of a single journey from diaper to shroud.


  我的母亲在她80岁时,不幸遭遇了她的最后一次跌倒。之后,她的大脑整天错乱。,她出席过半个世纪前某一天举行的婚礼和葬礼。另外的时间,她在为而今已经步入中年的子女们操持星期日家宴。经历了这些后,她睡在床上,以一种超脱生理科学成果(当今的医学所不能解决)的速度和舒适,穿越时空,漫游于过去的数十年中。

  一天,我到这家私人疗养所去看她时,她问:“是拉塞尔吗?”“我是拉塞尔,”我回答说。

  她以怀疑的目光凝视着眼前这个既是在不可思议的将来也不应该过渡长大的人样子(她的子女应该是孩子),并迅速转移了视线。

  “拉塞尔只有这点大”,她说,伸出手,手掌向下离楼板两英尺高。那个时候,维尔吉丽(Virginia)山脉后面是苹果园,附近区域有蓝色薄雾。她是此地一位年轻的乡下夫人,与她的父亲比起来,我是一个十足的外乡人。

  一天大早,她向纽约给我打电话。“今天,你来参加我的葬礼吗?”她问。

  这是一个谁也会被难倒的问题。“看在上帝的份上,你说什么呢?”。这是我所能作的最好回答。

  “今天我正在被埋葬”,她快活地宣称道,好象通知的是一件重要的社会事件。

  “我会给你回电话”,我厌烦地说。但是当我给她回过去时,她一切正常。当然,尽管我们都知道她有病。

  她是一位形体优美、娇弱矮小的妇女。但是现在盖着医院的白色床单,她正在变得细小。我想到了一个有着大而凶恶眼睛的玩具。

   她始终表现出一个恶人。这种情形表现在她阐述一个观点时,伸出下巴,愤怒的争论,或者表达观点时的为我独尊。

  “我要向人们确切地告诉我头脑里的东西”。她一直喜欢自吹自擂,不管别人是否喜欢。

  “真的,你跟别人讲话总是不够礼貌”,我经常警告她。

  “如果他们不喜欢我所讲的东西,那就太糟糕了”,这是她的一贯回答。“因为我就是这个样子”。

  她就是这样一个决心降服异己,传播一己思想,主张自我方式的可怕妇女。她在生活中被一种能量猛推着,使她好象总是在跑步。

  她手里拿着一把斧头,追着一群鸡,打算宰杀一只放进正餐汤锅里。她跑着整理床,跑着搬桌子。在一个感恩节(Thanksgiving),她拿着过节用的火鸡从地下室向上跑时,绊倒在楼梯上。热乎乎的肉汁、鸡杂内脏、调料涂抹的火鸡洒落一地。她就跌落在这些食物上。于是生病发烧。生活就是战斗,胜利不属于懒汉、懦夫、吹牛家、不能准确表达自己思想的“结巴”人(文盲)。(——小说精华:美国人民的个性与精神源泉!)她在奔跑。

  但现在结束了奔跑。有时我不能接受这种必然的事实。当我坐在她的床边时,冲动地要求她回到现实,变为正常人。在我第一次去巴德摩尔(美国马里兰洲一海口)市医院看望她时,她问我是谁。

  “拉塞尔”,我说。

  “拉塞尔要去西部”,她劝我。

  “不,我该在这里”。

  “猜我今天来自哪里?”是她的回答。

  “哪里?”

  “都从(美国西部的)新泽西洲来”。

  “不,你已经在这所医院住院三天了”,我纠正道。

  直到一位医生对她进行了一次面试,我们的对话才算结束。这种面视(口头测试)是医务人员判断病人是否患有精神病的手段。她全完了。答案不是错误,就是根本不回答。然后就是一阵惊愕。

  “你何时出生?”医生问。

  1897115”,她说。对的,绝对正确。

  “为什么记住那天?”医生问道。

  “因为我出生在‘盖伊佛克斯’日”。(说明:英国每年的115,为纪念“火药的阴谋”历史事件节。当年一小撮天主教叛乱分子密谋炸毁国会大厦,以消灭开会的国王,推翻皇朝。方法是在地下室堆藏‘火药桶’。密谋泄露后,人员以叛国罪处以绞刑!此句揭露政治在人生中的地位——精神病人也清醒!)

  “盖伊佛克斯”医生问道?谁是盖伊佛克斯?

  她用一首多年来我反复多次听到她朗诵的押韵诗回答:

“请记住115

  火药叛国谋反,

  我不知道其叛国原因,

  应该永远记住”。

(说明:进一步表明政治,统治阶级意志不可动摇。子女被教育得听烦了,病人没忘记——融于血液中,资产阶级的残酷统治暴露无一!这是对今天西方所谓的民主、人权的否定)

   1605年,盖伊佛克斯企图以火药桶炸掉兼威斯国王御座的计划失败事件,使她受到了伤害(说明:如前所述,主人翁不明事发原因,对叛乱者下场感到无助、恐惧、迷茫、愤恨,有刻骨铭心的防范意识——对政治、统治阶级的底线退避三舍——上句有“永远不要忘记”表述。)她因此对医生怒目而视。

  “你或许对医术在行,但你明显对历史无知”。她对医生讲。她在确切地表达了大脑的思想后(精神病人唯一清楚的是政治!),再一次离开了我们。

  后来医生们诊断为一种无望的老年性痴呆,或者叫动脉硬化症。我想,其实她的病理要复杂得多。她不甘示弱,克服厌烦,抚平缺少关爱带来的未老先衰。这些,使得她10多年来一直与生命抗争,并且比起现在她的表现(前面提到的“她始终表现呈一个恶人”来,还要凶猛得多。(表明她的精神世界痛苦,尽管要强。从这里还可以看出,10多年前,或许她有丈夫,没有这么艰辛——作者一直未提起父亲)。在她不幸跌倒之后,现在她似乎砸碎了束缚她生命的枷锁,她生气了,回到和爱她的人一起的时光,这是她需要的时光。渐渐地,我明白了。(鉴赏:从一个精神病人的表现,可以看出美国民族的共性。百姓个性呈强,不甘懦弱,但精神上痛苦,未老先衰;国家综合势力强大,但内外矛盾不断,集中表现于恐怖活动猖獗——作者敢于揭露真相,也是难能的。)

  三年前,我从纽约到巴德摩尔,那里是母亲生活过、却是我不常去的地方。前去看望她后,接着给她写了一些要寻求光明前途,包括她的幸福,而不是带给她痛苦、责任之类的平淡忠告信。我想,如果在我看望她时,她不太高兴的话,我就用不着经常去看她。这对她来说,真是一种威胁。这样的“信”子女们是写得出来的。处于对父母永恒优点的盲从,幼稚天真的相信通过她主观努力就会抚平年迈和挫折的伤痕,以及相信她的全部需要就是对一个精神衰弱者的重振旗鼓,于是写出了气话(ONE)。[说明:本段是作者对母亲关爱的检讨——不是经常去看望,还拿气话威胁她!——领略作者的坦诚)

  提及我的看望,她回信写到:“对你而言,有时我似乎不幸,的确如此。但谁也帮不了忙。因为我只是非常累和孤独,我只好睡觉忘记它”。她时年78岁。

  三年后,就是最后这次不幸跌倒后,她忘记了疲劳和孤独,想起了幸福。我立即结束了企图与她争论我所认为的真实人间话题讨论,结束了和她以那些怪延旅行步入过去的痛苦经历。一天,我来到她的床边时,看到她容光焕发。

  “今天感觉好”,我说。

  “为什么不会感觉好呢?”她问我。今天爸爸要带我去坐船,到巴德摩尔。

  那时,她是一位站在码头的少女,和她死于61岁的父亲等待去乞沙比克湾(Chesapeake Bay:大西洋的海口,凸于美国维吉尼亚洲及马里兰州)的汽艇。威廉·霍华德·塔夫特(William Howard Taft1857---1930,美国第27任总统)住在白宫。美国是一个年轻国家,前程似锦。她的父亲或许会讲,如果能够赶上母亲的时代列车(time machine,美国就是“普天下最大的国家”。[说明:该段与标题相扣:精神病人除了没有忘记政治,就是童年——美好的过去,包括国家前程似锦;她的父亲也向往过去,“要是赶上父亲的母亲时代,美国就是第一大国”。这些使人对今天的美国制度产生思索。作者表达深沉、含蓄。]

  有关她的父亲,我的祖父,我母亲的童年和她的亲戚,我知道得非常少。人间有生死,并且比起我所了解的古埃及君王“法老”来,母亲家庭成员要多一点,但也仅是我的家世身骨部分。现在通过母亲寻求这方面帮助是无济于事。她的大脑活动范围难得涉及眼前片刻的交谈者(精力难以集中)。

  坐在母亲的床边,却永远无法了解她。我想知道有关自己孩子、一般孩子、以及为了避免孩子与父母之间相互了解而分家的情况(说明:作者意图为反省社会风气:子女不清楚来世-----自然联想到“性解放”的后果,家庭观念、社会责任单薄,受害者是女性等沉重的历史、民族、社会问题。这也是作者未提及父亲的原因)。孩子们在做父母之前,很少打听谁是他们的父母,既是当年龄最终激发了他们的好奇心时,也没有一个分离的父母告诉他们。倘若一个(母)父亲提及一点生世秘密(吊帘)时,那也是用一些过去的生活是多么艰苦的示范性典故,让年轻人对比今天的幸福生活,让他们为之大吃一惊罢了(教育后代珍惜今天的好日子,全球前辈一个样)。

  早在1960年,当我的孩子还小,生活富裕,我却心绪不安。在我看来,自己的童年是那样的艰苦,孩子们的童年是这样的舒服,于是有了危机感。我发扬了以峥嵘岁月教训他们的传统。

  “过去我们的全部主食都是通心粉和奶酪,并且吃得很高兴”。

  “过去我们没有任何电视机

  “我的过去…….

  “我的过去……”

  在一次晚餐上,一个儿子用一张不及格的学生成绩单惹怒了我。当时,我清理嗓子教训他时,他以一种难以言状的表情看着我说,“爸爸,告诉我你的当年,怎样?。”

  为此,我生他的气。但更生自己的气。因为我是一个执着、刻意守旧,甚至对小孩也明显虚伪的讨厌老人。我力戒此习,但必败无疑。

  我们之间对时代存在争议。他所处的年代,就是我曾经充满矛盾的未来。我的未来成了他的过去(理解:观点精辟——很有哲理,以发展、变化的眼光看待问题,这就是西方人的长处。如果顺势思考,我们所处的周围,将有很多事物、东西值得改革。比如,国家花大量的人、财、物力,保护“古迹”。怎样才算既弘扬传统文化,又为后代留下发展空间,随着“年代”延伸,“古迹”增加,这个课题就会出现),因为他年轻,他不在乎我所讲的过去。

  当我守在母亲床边,聆听一些她的童年回忆时,我觉得我与她之间存在着我与儿子之间同样的时代争议。在她年轻时,有其生活追求,我就是她的未来,我难以接受。我本能地摆脱、停止充当由她那个时代所定义的人。好了,我终于如愿以赏,而且对我自己的孩子而言,我已经看到了我所充满激情的未来,正在变成他们的厌烦过去。

  与母亲闲聊时,灌输给我的这些无望的人生目标,太不负责任地希望我不要遗忘过去。我们大家都来自过去,并且孩子们应该知道,他们正在做的事情早已受制于哪些因素影响,知道生活就是一根人类把时间拉长的编织绳,它不能由从尿布到寿衣的单个旅程时间来解释。

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FMT -  AnnatarVictorNate 2021-06-12 13:12:01 重新编辑

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