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语序与描写—学习英语写作(七)  

2010-04-27 06:46:28|  分类: 翻译写作 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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    下面是《The Present》一文的末尾两段:

Almost reluctantly she tore the envelope open. Folded in the card was a piece of paper. Written on the card was a message under the printed Happy Birthday---Buy yourself something nice with the check, Myra and Harold. 

The check fluttered to the floor like a bird with a broken wing. Slowly the old lady stooped to pick it up. Her present, her lovely present. With trembling fingers she tore it into little bits. 

第一句中“reluctantly”前置,与后面“Slowly the old lady stooped to pick it up”一句中把“Slowly”提到句首一样,都突出了状语。“Slowly”在句首,镜头所展现的不仅是弯腰,而且是弯腰时是如何的缓慢。这个表现“缓慢”的特写镜头,体现的是老太太的对女儿所送礼物的失望。

第二句“Folded in the card was a piece of paper.”也是一个特写。镜头忽略了周围的人与环境,聚焦于打开的贺卡上:原来是折叠着的一张纸。也仍然是失望。八十岁大寿,女儿就是不来,必定会寄礼物来。肯定会有大礼物,信封里装不下。老太太一直这样想,却不料只有一封信,信内一张纸。对比一般语序“A piece of paper was folded in the card”,我们就能体会出这种特别语序如何成功地描写出惊讶失望。

第三句依然是倒装语序。这样,一方面把这个较长的message放在句尾,保持句子平衡,另一方面,也强调了这个message:“用这张支票给自己买点好东西吧。”老太太祈盼的不是钱与物,实际上是女儿的亲情。老人的失望是不言而喻的。

这里的“under the printed Happy Birthday”也不是可有可无的。它说明了女儿迈拉忙碌得连祝福的话都不能写上一句,祝福语是印刷上去的,冷冰冰的,没有手写字的所体现的个性与温情。如此对待自己年长的母亲,对于因善待老人而获奖的迈拉来说,实在是一个讽刺。

The check fluttered to the floor like a bird with a broken wing”,这一句还是写老太太不在意钱,而对缺少亲情感到失望。两段七个句子中唯一一句正常语序的句子。

Her present, her lovely present.”这个sentence fragment,连同重复的修辞,极其有力地表达出了老太太的失望。她一直盼望的礼物,所盼望的美好的礼物,就是这些。

最后一句“With trembling fingers she tore it into little bits”,也一样倒装,突出强调了“trembling”,镜头集中到因失望气愤而颤抖的手上。

如果我们用“紧句”“松句”来标记,那么,两段七句中只有“支票像断了翅膀的小鸟一样飘落到地上 ”一句是松句。紧句略显多而集中了些,但它们确实很有力地表现了老太太的失望,较一般句子,描写性更强,更具文学味。

附:《The Present》一文

They say that blood is thicker than water, that our relatives are more important to us than others. Everyone was so kind to the old lady on her birthday. Surely her daughter would make an even bigger effort to please he?

The Present

    It was the old lady's birthday.
    She got up early to be ready for the post. From the second floor flat she could see the postman when he came down the street, and the little boy from the ground floor brought up her letters on the rare occasions when anything came.
    Today she was sure the would be something. Myra wouldn't forget her mother's birthday, even if she seldom wrote at other times. Of course Myra was busy. Her husband had been made Mayor, and Myra herself had got a medal for her work the aged.
    The old lady was proud of Myra, but Enid was the daughter she loved. Enid had never married, but had seemed content to live with her mother, and teach in a primary school round the corner.
    One evening, however, Enid said, "I've arranged for Mrs. Morrison to look after you for a few days, Mother. Tomorrow I have to go into hospital--just a minor operation, I'll soon be home."
    In the morning she went, but never came back--she died on the operating table. Myra came to the funeral, and in her efficient way arranged for Mrs. Morrison to come in and light the fire and give the old lady her breakfast.
    Two years ago that was, and since then Myra had been to see her mother three times, but her husband never.
    The old lady was eight today. She had put on her best dress. Perhaps--perhaps Myra might come. After all, eighty was a special birthday, another decade lined or endured just as you chose to look at it.
    Even if Myra did not come, she would send a present. The old lady was sure of that. Two spots of colour brightened her cheeks. She was excited--like a child. She would enjoy her day.
    Yesterday Mrs. Morrison had given the flat an extra clean, and today she had brought a card and a bunch of marigolds when she came to do the breakfast. Mrs. Grant downstairs had made a cake, and in the afternoon she was going down there to tea. The little boy, Johnnie, had been up with a packet of mints, and said he wouldn't go out to play until the post had come.
    "I guess you'll get lots and lots of presents," he said, "I did last were when I was six."
What would she like? A pair of slippers perhaps. Or a new cardigan. A cardigan would be lovely. Blue's such a pretty colour. Jim had always liked her in blue. Or a table lamp. Or a book, a travel book, with pictures, or a little clock, with clear black numbers. So many lovely things.
She stood by the window, watching. The postman turned round the corner on his bicycle. Her heart beat fast. Johnnie had seen him too and ran to the gate.
    Then clatter, clatter up the stairs. Johnnie knocked at her door.
    "Granny, granny," he shouted, "I've got your post."
    He gave her four envelopes. Three were unsealed cards from old friends. The fourth was sealed, in Myra's writing. The old lady felt a pang of disappointment.
    "No parcel, Johnnie?"
    "No, granny."
    Maybe the parcel was too large to come by letter post. That was it. It would come later by parcel post. She must be patient.
    Almost reluctantly she tore the envelope open. Folded in the card was a piece of paper. Written on the card was a message under the printed Happy Birthday -- Buy yourself something nice with the cheque, Myra and Harold.
    The cheque fluttered to the floor like a bird with a broken wing. Slowly the old lady stooped to pick it up. Her present, her lovely present. With trembling fingers she tore it into little bits.

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