The Last Leaf[福说英语][19-11-06]

外语2019-11-06 20:00:34 133



(Behrman was a failure in art.

When the last one falls I must go,too.

Some day I will paint a masterpiece.

It is a sin to want to die.

Pneumonia,too.There is no hope for him. )

The ivy leaf was still there.



Today’s English Panorama will start with a story.

At the top of a squatty ,three-story brick in old Greenwich Village,where the art people came prowling, Sue and Johnsy had their art studio. That was in May.A cold,unseen stranger,whom the doctors called Pneumonia,stalked about the colony,and Johnsy he smote.Johnsy had made up her mind that she’s not going to get well.So,she decided she will die when the last leaf drops from that dying vine outside her window.Her neighbour Behrman,an elderly artist who had been always about to paint a masterpiece but had never yet begun it,painted a leaf on the wall for her. Two days later,Johnsy recovered,but Behrman,who caught pneumonia for,died.



这段话中,stalk means to move slowly and quietly towards an animal or a person,in order to kill,catch or harm it or them,就是“偷偷接近”的意思,一般是为了抓住或伤害所要接近的目标,这里用这个词形象生动地描绘出了肺炎在人群中悄悄传播的画面。Smote,是smite的过去式,在这里是“被疾病侵袭”的意思,如be smitten with flu就是被流感侵袭的意思。这个词也可以表示be strongly attracted to someone or something,就是“深深地迷恋”,she was so smitten with the boy就表示她深深地迷恋着那个男孩。


刚刚给大家讲的这个故事就是O.Henry的The Last Leaf,大家或许不知道这个故事,也不太了解O.Henry这位作家,但大家经过九年义务教育,对“欧亨利式结尾”以及“情理之中,意料之外”应该不陌生吧。这就是欧亨利最具代表性的写作手法,surprise ending.那接下来就让我们一起来了解一下这位作家和他特别的写作手法吧。

William Sidney Porter was born on September 11, 1862 in North Carolina. He now better known by his pen name O. Henry, was an American short story writer.Porter used a number of pen names in the early part of his writing career.Nevertheless, the name "O. Henry" seemed to garner the most attention from editors and the public, and was used exclusively by Porter for his writing by about 1902.Most of O. Henry's stories are set in his own time, the early 20th century. Many take place in New York City and deal for the most part with ordinary people: policemen, waitresses, etc.  



O.Henry’s works basically all contain a surprise ending.They lead you on it the beginning with a thought that everything is going according to plan.He lets the readers think that they have it figured out,but always has something waiting for you at the end of the story.Hyder E. Rollins said “The conclusion is an enigma.”He has something that would seem like it came out of no where.Now many readers are eagerly waiting for a surprise ending,and will be under suspense until the last sentence.

欧亨利的作品通常都会有surprise ending。你阅读它们时,刚开始会觉得“一切尽在掌握中”,你完全明白了故事的走向,但结尾总是会有你意想不到的转折在等着你。Hyder E. Rollins曾评价欧亨利的小说“结局像是个难解之谜”。


This is shown in one of O.Henry’s most famous stories, The Gift of the Magi,where a husband sells his watch to buy his wife some combs she worshiped, and the wife cut and sold her hair to buy her husband a chain for his watch. This was such a surprise because you never expected this in the beginning.




Take The Last Leaf for an example.

“I have something to tell you,white mouse,”she said. “Mr.Behrman died of pneumonia to-day in the hospital.He was ill only two days.The janitor found him on the morning of the first day in his room downstairs helpless with pain.His shoes and clothing were wet through and icy cold. They couldn't imagine where he had been on such a dreadful night. And then they found a lantern,still lighted, and a ladder that had been dragged from its place, and some scattered brushes,and a palette with green and yellow colors mixed on it, and—look out the window,dear, at the last ivy leaf on the wall.Didn't you wonder why it never fluttered or moved when the wine blew? Ah, darling, it’s Behrnman's masterpiece—he painted it there the night that the last leaf fell.”


医生来给Johnsy看病是说:And that chance is for her to want to live.她如果想好起来就要让她对活着有希望。Johnsy因为那片常春藤叶有了活下去的希望,这是她病情好转的关键。


而为什么Johnsy会把常春藤与自己的生命联系在一起,Sue对Johnsy说的那句And you used to love that vine so给了我们答案。在Johnsy病了的那段时间里,只能躺在病床上,望向窗外时,只能看见那棵常春藤,她曾经是那么喜欢它,现在正看着它的叶片一片一片地飘落,而自己的病情也不见好转,她就把那当做是自己生命终结的预兆了。


Behrman这个脾气暴躁、拒绝温情的小老头,或许他内心很清楚冒着暴风雨去画那片常春藤叶的后果是什么,但他为什么依然会这样做呢?在对他的描述中最后有这样一句话:For the rest he was a fierce little old man,who scoffed terribly at softness in any one,and who regarded himself as especial mastiff-in-waiting to protect the two young artists in the studio above.


这些伏笔使得故事经得起推敲,让最后的surprise ending变得合情合理。欧亨利是如何写出这些精彩的故事的,我们无从得知,不过我在他的介绍中看到这样一句:O.Henry had an idea that life is a surprise that the unexpected continually happens.这或许是他灵感的来源吧。


Thanks for listening to English Panorama.This is Jennifer,wish you a surprise but brilliant life,and see you next time,bye~

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