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《杀死一只知更鸟》第十章

《杀死一只知更鸟》(1960)是美国作家哈珀• 李的一部经典现代小说,主题深刻,文辞隽永。还曾多次经过改编搬上大银幕,受到了全世界读者的喜爱。故事发生在上个世纪30年代美国经济大萧条时期,小说主人公阿提克斯•芬奇是一个充满正义感和同情心的律师,常常不计报酬地为穷人们伸张正义。他告诫孩子,杀死知更鸟是一种罪恶,因为它们只为人类歌唱,从来不做危害人类的事情。从比喻意义上说,知更鸟代表着纯洁无辜的人,当你杀死它时就好像是在杀死无辜的人。

 

《杀死一只知更鸟》第十章(节选)

 

 

 

 

Our father didn't do anything. He worked in an office, not in a drugstore. Atticus did not drive a dump-truck for the county, he was not the sheriff, he did not farm, work in a garage, or do anything that could possibly arouse the admiration of anyone.[1]

Besides that, he wore glasses. He was nearly blind in his left eye, and said left eyes were the tribal[2] curse of the Finches. Whenever he wanted to see something well, he turned his head and looked from his right eye.

He did not do the things our schoolmates’fathers did: he never went hunting, he did not play poker or fish or drink or smoke. He sat in the living room and read.

With these attributes, however, he would not remain as inconspicuous as we wished him to: that year, the school buzzed with talk about him defending Tom Robinson, none of which was complimentary.[3] After my bout[4] with Cecil Jacobs when I committed myself to a policy of cowardice, word got around that Scout Finch wouldn’t fight any more, her daddy wouldn’t let her. This was not entirely correct: I wouldn’t fight publicly for Atticus, but the family was private ground. I would fight anyone from a third cousin upwards tooth and nail.[5]

When he gave us our air-rifles[6] Atticus wouldn’t teach us to shoot. Uncle Jack instructed us in the rudiments[7] thereof; he said Atticus wasn’t interested in guns. Atticus said to Jem one day, “I’d rather you shot at tin cans in the back yard, but I know you’ll go after birds. Shoot all the bluejays[8] you want, if you can hit 'em, but remember it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

That was the only time I ever heard Atticus say it was a sin to do something, and I asked Miss Maudie about it.

“Your father’s right,” she said. “Mockingbirds don’t do one thing but make music for us to enjoy. They don’t eat up people’s gardens, don’t nest in corncribs[9], they don’t do one thing but sing their hearts out for us. That’s why it’s a sin to kill a mockingbird.”

“Miss Maudie, this is an old neighborhood, ain’t it?”

“Been here longer than the town.”

“Nome[10], I mean the folks on our street are all old. Jem and me’s the only children around here.Mrs. Dubose is close on to a hundred and Miss Rachel’s old and so are you and Atticus.

“I don’t call fifty very old,” said Miss Maudie tartly[11]. “Not being wheeled around yet, am I? Neither’s your father. Maybe you’re right, Jean Louise, this is a settled neighborhood. You’re never been around young folks much, have you?”

“Yessum[12], at school...”

When Atticus came home to dinner he found me crouched down[13] aiming across the street. “What are you shooting at?”

“Miss Maudie’s rear end[14].”

Atticus turned and saw my generous target bending over her bushes. He pushed his hat to the back of his head and crossed the street. “Maudie,” he called, “I thought I’d better warn you. You’re in considerable peril[15].”

When Atticus returned he told me to break camp[16]. “Don’t you ever let me catch you pointing that gun at anybody again,” he said.

我们的父亲什么也不做,他在办公室里工作,不是药店。阿提克斯不为我们县开自卸式卡车,也不是县治安官,不在农场耕作,也不在修车厂修车,或做着任何其他可能令人钦佩的事情。

除此之外,他还戴着眼镜。他的左眼几近失明,他说左眼是芬奇家族的诅咒。当他想看清某样东西时,就偏着头用右眼看。

他不做同学的父亲们经常做的事情,从不打猎,也不打扑克、钓鱼、喝酒或吸烟,而是坐在起居室里读书。

拥有这些特质,他还不肯如我们所愿地保持默默无闻。那年,整个学校都在嘁嘁喳喳地议论他为汤姆• 鲁滨逊辩护的事情,没有一句赞美之词。在我奉行“懦弱政策”期间,我与塞西尔• 雅各布斯打了一架,之后便有传言:斯科特• 芬奇不会再打架了,因为她爸爸不允许。这并非完全正确:我不会在公共场合为阿提克斯打架,但家庭是私人场所。我会和远房表亲及关系更近的任何家里人拼了老命。

当阿提克斯给我们气枪时,他不肯教我们射击。杰克叔叔给我们提供了一些入门指导,他说阿提克斯对枪不感冒。阿提克斯有一天对杰姆说:“我宁愿你朝着后花园中的铁罐开枪,但我知道你还是会去捕鸟的。你可以射杀所有你想杀的蓝松鸦,如果你能打中它们的话,但须切记,杀死知更鸟是一种罪恶。”

那是我惟一一次听阿提克斯说做什么事情是一种罪恶,我为此询问了莫德小姐。

“你父亲说得对。”她说。“知更鸟只会做一件事情,就是为人类歌唱。它们不会吃光人们的花园,不会在玉米仓库中筑巢,而只会为我们呕心沥血地歌唱。这就是为什么说杀死知更鸟是有罪的。”

“莫德小姐,这是一个很老的社区,对吗?”

“比这个镇更有些年头。”

“不是啊,我是说居住在街区里的人都很老。杰姆和我是这里仅有的孩子,杜博斯太太都快100岁了,瑞秋小姐也很老了,你和阿提克斯也是。”

“我不会说50岁左右的人老,”莫德小姐酸溜溜地说道。“我还不用坐着轮椅到处走,对吧?你父亲也还不用。或许你说得对,珍• 路易斯,这是一个稳定的社区。周围不能经常看见很多年轻人,对吧?”

“对滴,在学校里……”

当阿提克斯回家吃饭时,他看见我蹲在地上,瞄准街对面。“你想朝什么开枪?”

“莫德小姐的屁股。”

阿提克斯转过身,看到我那庞大的靶子正弯腰伏在灌木丛上。他把帽子转到了后面,走到街对面去。“莫德,”他叫道。“我想我最好给你一点提醒,你的处境很危险。”

阿提克斯转过身,告诉我应该撤了。“不要再让我看到你用枪指着任何人,”他说。

 

 

Vocabulary:

1. dump-truck: 自卸式卡车; sheriff:(美国的)县治安官。

2. tribal: 部落的,部族的。

3. Tom Robinson: 一个在种植园工作的诚实黑人,被诬陷犯有强奸罪。最终在逃跑中被射杀;attribute:(人或物的)特征,品质;inconspicuous: 不显著的,不引人注目的;buzz: 低声谈论,散布;complimentary: 赞美的,恭维的。

4. bout: 较量,比赛。

5. tooth and nail: 拼命地,全力以赴地;upwards: 本义是“向上地”。根据西方人的亲缘关系图表,越往上则关系越为接近,third cousin 是属于比较远的亲戚,在表中位置靠下。

6. air-rifle: 气枪。

7. rudiment: 基本原理,入门知识。

8. bluejay: 北美产的一种体型较大的蓝色鸟,有多种中文叫法,如蓝松鸦、冠蓝鸦、蓝鸟、北美蓝鸟等。它极其好斗,常常集体袭击侵入者和掠夺者或驱赶其他鸟远离食物。

9. corncrib: 玉米穗仓库。

10. Nome: 美国南部地区的一些人将“No Ma'am” 读成“Nome”。

11. tartly: 辛辣地,刻薄地。

12. Yessum: 美国南部地区的一些人将“Yes Ma'am” 读成“Yessum”。

13. crouch: 蹲下,屈膝,蜷缩。

14. rear end: 臀部。

15. peril: 危险,冒险。

16. break camp: 打好背包,撤离营地。

 

Atticus's Quotes

阿提克斯精彩名言

“First of all, if you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along a lot better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

“首先,如果你能学会一个简单的技巧,斯科特,你就能和形形色色的人相处得更好。你永远无法真正理解一个人,除非你从他的角度考虑问题,除非你钻进他的身体,设身处地地想问题。”

“The one thing that doesn't abide by majority rule is a person's conscience.”

“唯一不用遵守多数人决定制的事情就是一个人的良心。”

“Courage is not a man with a gun in his hand. It's knowing you're licked* before you begin but you begin anyway and you see it through no matter what. You rarely win, but sometimes you do.”

“勇气不是一个人手里握有枪,而是你在开始一件事情之前就知道会失败,但你还是开始了,并且无论发生什么,一路坚持下来。赢的几率很低,但偶尔你还是能赢。”

*lick:〈 俗〉击败,失败。

(来源:英语学习杂志 编辑:中国日报网英语点津 陈丹妮)


 

 


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