Indian Camp | 小说赏析

写在前面

海明威(1899-1961),出生于美国伊利诺伊州芝加哥市郊区奥克帕克,美国作家、记者,被认为是20世纪最著名的小说家之一,是美国“迷惘的一代”(Lost Generation)作家中的代表人物。

他有两个十分闻名的写作技巧,“冰山一角”与“惜字如金”,本文非常严格贯彻了这两项准则。

由于担心影响阅读体验,前面就不对本文进行任何的背景介绍,这不会影响小说的精彩。

对于本篇文章的欣赏依据来自于三个方面:笔者上过的“英语短篇小说欣赏”课程中导师的观点,网络上流传的观点,以及笔者自己的一些观点。如有不准确,欢迎在评论区批评与讨论!

正文

At the lake shore there was another rowboat drawn up. The two Indians stood waiting.

Nick and his father got in the stern of the boat and the Indians shoved it off and one of them got in to row. Uncle George sat in the stern of the camp rowboat. The young Indian shoved the camp boat off and got in to row Uncle George.

The two boats started off in the dark. Nick heard the oarlocks of the other boat quite a way ahead of them in the mist. The Indians rowed with quick choppy strokes. Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him. It was cold on the water. The Indian who was rowing them was working very hard, but the other boat moved further ahead in the mist all the time.

“Where are we going, Dad?” Nick asked.

“Over to the Indian camp. There is an Indian lady very sick.”

“Oh,” said Nick.

Across the bay they found the other boat beached. Uncle George was smoking a cigar in the dark. The young Indian pulled the boat way up on the beach. Uncle George gave both the Indians cigars.

They walked up from the beach through a meadow that was soaking wet with dew, following the young Indian who carried a lantern. Then they went into the woods and followed a trail that led to the logging road that ran back into the hills. It was much lighter on the logging road as the timber was cut away on both sides. The young Indian stopped and blew out his lantern and they all walked on along the road.

They came around a bend and a dog came out barking. Ahead were the lights of the shanties where the Indian bark-peelers lived. More dogs rushed out at them. The two Indians sent them back to the shanties. In the shanty nearest the road there was a light in the window. An old woman stood in the doorway holding a lamp.

Inside on a wooden bunk lay a young Indian woman. She had been trying to have her baby for two days. All the old women in the camp had been helping her. The men had moved off up the road to sit in the dark and smoke out of range of the noise she made. She screamed just as Nick and the two Indians followed his father and Uncle George into the shanty. She lay in the lower bunk, very big under a quilt. Her head was turned to one side. In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.

Nick’s father ordered some water to be put on the stove, and while it was heating he spoke to Nick.

“This lady is going to have a baby, Nick,” he said.

“I know,” said Nick.

“You don’t know,” said his father. “Listen to me. What she is going through is called being in labor. The baby wants to be born and she wants it to be born. All her muscles are trying to get the baby born. That is what is happening when she screams.”

“I see,” Nick said.

Just then the woman cried out.

“Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?” asked Nick.

“No. I haven’t any anaesthetic(麻醉剂),” his father said. “But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.”

The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall.   

The woman in the kitchen motioned to the doctor that the water was hot. Nick’s father went into the kitchen and poured about half of the water out of the big kettle into a basin. Into the water left in the kettle he put several things he unwrapped from a handkerchief.

“Those must boil,” he said, and began to scrub his hands in the basin of hot water with a cake of soap he had brought from the camp. Nick watched his father’s hands scrubbing each other with the soap. While his father washed his hands very carefully and thoroughly, he talked.

“You see, Nick, babies are supposed to be born head first but sometimes they’re not. When they’re not they make a lot of trouble for everybody. Maybe I’ll have to operate on this lady. We’ll know in a little while.”

When he was satisfied with his hands he went in and went to work.

“Pull back that quilt, will you, George?” he said. “I’d rather not touch it.”

Later when he started to operate Uncle George and three Indian men held the woman still. She bit Uncle George on the arm and Uncle George said, “Damn squaw bitch!” and the young Indian who had rowed Uncle George over laughed at him. Nick held the basin for his father. It all took a long time.

His father picked the baby up and slapped it to make it breathe and handed it to the old woman.

“See, it’s a boy, Nick,” he said. “How do you like being an interne?”

Nick said. “All right.” He was looking away so as not to see what his father was doing.

“There. That gets it,” said his father and put something into the basin.

Nick didn’t look at it.

“Now,” his father said, “there’s some stitches to put in. You can watch this or not, Nick, just as you like. I’m going to sew up the incision I made.”

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time.

His father finished and stood up. Uncle George and the three Indian men stood up. Nick put the basin out in the kitchen.

Uncle George looked at his arm. The young Indian smiled reminiscently.

“I’ll put some peroxide on that, George,” the doctor said.

He bent over the Indian woman. She was quiet now and her eyes were closed. She looked very pale. She did not know what had become of the baby or anything.

“I’ll be back in the morning.” the doctor said, standing up.

“The nurse should be here from St. Ignace by noon and she’ll bring everything we need.”

He was feeling exalted and talkative as football players are in the dressing room after a game.

“That’s one for the medical journal, George,” he said. “Doing a Caesarian with a jack-knife and sewing it up with nine-foot, tapered gut leaders.”

Uncle George was standing against the wall, looking at his arm.

“Oh, you’re a great man, all right,” he said.

“Ought to have a look at the proud father. They’re usually the worst sufferers in these little affairs,” the doctor said. “I must say he took it all pretty quietly.”

He pulled back the blanket from the Indian’s head. His hand came away wet. He mounted on the edge of the lower bunk with the lamp in one hand and looked in. The Indian lay with his face toward the wall. His throat had been cut from ear to ear. The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk. His head rested on his left arm. The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets.

“Take Nick out of the shanty, George,” the doctor said.

There was no need of that. Nick, standing in the door of the kitchen, had a good view of the upper bunk when his father, the lamp in one hand, tipped the Indian’s head back.

It was just beginning to be daylight when they walked along the logging road back toward the lake.

“I’m terribly sorry I brought you along; Nickie,” said his father, all his post-operative exhilaration gone. “It was an awful mess to put you through.”

“Do ladies always have such a hard time having babies?” Nick asked.

“No, that was very, very exceptional.”

“Why did he kill himself, Daddy?”

“I don’t know, Nick. He couldn’t stand things, I guess.”

“Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?”

“Not very many, Nick.”

“Do many women?”

“Hardly ever.”

“Don’t they ever?”

“Oh, yes. They do sometimes.”

“Daddy?”

“Yes.”

“Where did Uncle George go?”

“He’ll turn up all right.”

“Is dying hard, Daddy?”

“No, I think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.”

They were seated in the boat. Nick in the stern, his father rowing. The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water. Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing; he felt quite sure that he would never die.

赏析

冰山一角

一、George与Indian camp之间隐秘的联系

  • Uncle George sat in the stern of the camp rowboat. The young Indian shoved the camp boat off and got in to row Uncle George.
  • At the lake shore there was another rowboat drawn up.The two Indians stood waiting.
  • The Indian who was rowing them was working very hard, but the other boat moved further ahead in the mist all the time.

要知道海明威不常用very,那为什么强调George这么心急?

  • Uncle George was smoking a cigar in the dark.The young Indian pulled the boat way upon the beach. Uncle George gave both the Indians cigars.
  • “Pull back that quilt, will you, George?” he said.”I’d rather not touch it.”

Uncle George是辅助Nick’s father的医生吗?一个旁人似乎并不适宜观看分娩的过程。

  • Uncle George looked at his arm.The young Indian smiled reminiscently.

Reminiscently(怀旧地;回忆地)非常值得寻味,这句话是对Uncle George人物分析中的关键,而这句话最重要的一个词便是reminiscently,因为Hemingway简单犀利的语言风格告诉我们他基本不会用复杂adj/adv与复杂的句式,他一生中所有的作品都印证了这一点,而这么一个reminiscently,在Hemingway小说中突兀至极的一个复杂副词,更是关键。这可能在暗示George之前与Indian man的关系,也可能只是轻描淡写的回忆咬手这件事。

其余的语句不多赘述了,总而言之上述论证只是为了这么一件事:UncleGeorge是即将降生的小孩的父亲。分娩时全文篇幅较大的事件,Uncle George自然扮演着重要角色。

二、一些关于种族背景的隐喻

They walked up from the beach through a meadow that was soaking wet with dew,following the young Indian who carried a lantern.Then they went into the woods and followed a trail that led to the logging road that ran back into the hills.It was much lighter on the logging road as the timber was cut away on both sides. The young Indian stopped and blew out his lantern and they all walled on along the road.

第一句话再次使用了through,前几个段落中不断地through各种meadow/bay/mist,这种穿越也是figuratively的,意指某种种族隔阂(这也是全文一个小小的主题),种族文化的冲突,对Indian的不理解。同时这种figuratively的穿越也可以指Uncle George对Indian woman的侵犯。

The two boats started off in the dark.Nick heard the oarlocks of the other boat quite away ahead of them in the mist.The Indians rowed with quick choppy strokes. Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him. It was cold on the water.The Indian who was rowing them was working very hard, but the other boat moved further ahead in the mist all the time.

前两句中mist和shore某种程度上象征着Indian与白人的文化隔阂。

三、Indian Husband的自杀

He pulled back the blanket from the Indian’s head. His hand came away wet.He mounted on the edge of the lower bunk with the lamp in one hand and looked in.The Indian lay with his face toward the wall.His throat had been cut from ear to ear.The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk.His head rested on his left arm The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets.

这个Indian自杀了,自杀的原因大致可以解读,但是没办法很确切的认定是某种情绪导致了自杀。从Hemingway的The Snows of Kilimanjaro来看,Hemingway本身是一个Existentialism思想很厚重的作家,他塑造的小说人物也往往带有战后的迷惘,existentialism独有的那种荒诞。这个Indian似乎一直在等待着孩子的降临,如果这个孩子一这个变态的文化交融产物——没有降生的话,可能他活着还有一丝希望。人在生命中必然是痛苦的,而人生人简直是灾难——这个Indian没法忍受。

这个Indian是什么时候自杀的呢,推测是在进行手术之前:

“No. I haven’t any anaesthetic(麻醉剂),” his father said. “But her screams are not important. I don’t hear them because they are not important.”

The husband in the upper bunk rolled over against the wall.   

稍微分析一下,这段文字透露出相当多的信息

  1. Nick’s Father的语言表现出他身经百战的冷酷和熟练,因而从这里其实已经完全可以确认这位孩子必将诞生,而这对这位Indian Husband无疑是非常致命的,从他后面的手法来看他完全不畏惧死亡和疼痛,但有趣的是之前为什么会自杀失败呢?

In the upper bunk was her husband. He had cut his foot very badly with an ax three days before. He was smoking a pipe. The room smelled very bad.

他很可能在赌这个孩子说不定流产了,他的心里还是有他的夫人的,只要孩子没出生,他就能再忍受。但是显然在此时他已经没机会了

2、如果上述推测成立,那么显然Nick’s Father的话已经深深地刺痛了这位Husband,他已经在崩溃的边缘了:就算在Indian的领域,他也没办法守护他的夫人,其他人早已背叛了他(前文分析的迹象相当明显)。此时推波助澜的效果可见一斑,因而也有这位Husband是硬汉的说法,他至少用自杀向这个世界发出了最后的抗议。

惜字如金

“That’s one for the medical journal, George,” he said. “Doing a Caesarian with a jack-knife and sewing it up with nine-foot, tapered gut leaders.”

Nick父亲的观点一览无遗,在这篇小说中他基本是个没有变化的扁平人物。整篇小说中,只有他对孩子的诞生充满欢喜。同时Caesarian表示剖腹产,同时也是凯撒的——意喻某种残暴。

“Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?” asked Nick.

“No.l haven’t any anesthetic,” his father said.”But her screams are not important. l don’thear them because they are not important.”

同时anesthetic与aesthetic仅仅相差了一个n,第一眼扫过去的时候很容易看错。生命的诞生也并不是aesthetic,生命不美,生命是承受,是痛苦。

“Do many men kill themselves, Daddy?”

“Not very many, Nick.”

“Do many women?”

“Hardly ever.”

“Don’t they ever?”

“Oh, yes. They do sometimes.”

“Daddy?”

“Yes.”

这是全文结尾处最为核心的一段对话。最后的”Daddy?” “Yes.”当然不是Hemingway在浪费墨水(Hemingway永远不会那么做)。整体来看,Nick是在询问生命真的这么痛苦吗?死亡(自杀)是什么呢?所以Nick问的先是Do men kill … 然后是Do women … 最后他问的Daddy?其实是Do Daddy kill himself?的意思。

“Ought to have a look at the proud father. They’re usually the worst sufferers in these little affairs,” the doctor said. “I must say he took it all pretty quietly.”

Affairs这个单词本身就有多种意思,放在这里显得尤其巧妙。

“Those must boil,” he said, and began to scrub his hands in the basin of hot water with acake of soap he had brought from the camp. Nick watched his father’s hands scrubbingeach other with the soap. While his father washed his hands very carefully and thoroughly,he talked.

接生Indian小孩要clean carefully and thoroughly也是职业要求,亦是种族偏见。这与之前的忽略叫声有异曲同工之妙。

文章主旨

在海明威的小说中,一定要找到象征“硬汉”的这位人物,这是洞悉整个文章主旨的关键。

而George(更像是反面角色)与Nick’s Father(过于扁平)肯定没法担任此重任,这位Husband有可能是,但是所给他的笔墨实在是太少了,让他担任主人公很多额外的细节就显得没有意义了

所以个人认为Nick是主角。

事实上,熟知Hemingway短篇小说的人会知道,在他的小说里,以Nick为名的角色总是充当着一个刚接触世界的年轻人的角色。他们胸怀正义,却见识到了世界的黑暗。Hemingway尤其喜爱这个。

海明威给出了诸多Nike在中的描写:

Nick lay back with his father’s arm around him.

这这话可以看出Nick对父亲的依赖,Nick的形象便是一个小孩子,Nick的父亲也本来想带他去看生命的诞生——希望、未来、光明的象征。

“Over to the Indian camp.There is an Indian lady very sick.”

“Oh,” said Nick.

Oh后面用的是逗号,十分奇妙。表现Nick说不出话但又想讲的感觉。这段话是为了提示全文的情节。

It was much lighter on the logging road as the timber was cut away on both sides. The young Indian stopped and blew out his lantern and they all walled on along the road.

这一段最关键的是It was much lighter,因为Hemingway特别喜欢有light和dark来做象征,这在他的短篇小说中频率极高,比如A Clean, Well-Lighted Place,The End of Something等等;这里的light指的是生命——Nick的父亲想展示给Nick的生命,美好,希望。

“Oh, Daddy, can’t you give her something to make her stop screaming?” asked Nick.

“No.I haven’t any anesthetic,” his father said.”But her screams are not important. l don’t hear them because they are not important.”

这是Nick第一次在Indian camp开口,仅仅因为他无法忍受叫声,一直伴随着的叫声。因为本来父亲想给他见识的是光明和生命,然而Nick看的却是痛苦发出的喊声,对一个小孩子来说,这是难以料到的:生命的诞生同样充满了痛苦。Nick逐渐领会了这点,这对于一个认定生命是美好的小孩子来说,是一个巨大的冲击。

Nick did not watch. His curiosity had been gone for a long time.

感觉最后这句His curiosity had been gone for a long time非常奇怪,兴趣的消失从语言中已经明显的看出了。然而Hemingway还是再次强调了—遍。

这一段之前是Nick三次拒绝观看,因为他发现生命的诞生充满了恶心,不适,痛苦;作为一个小孩子,Nick承受着某种巨大的压力,粗糙的现实世界无情地带给Nick的压力,生命的沉痛。这也可能是Hemingway强调兴趣尽失的理由所在。

The Indian lay with his face toward the wall.His throat had been cut from ear to ear.The blood had flowed down into a pool where his body sagged the bunk.His head rested on his left arm The open razor lay, edge up, in the blankets.

见证死亡无疑是小Nick所经历的最痛苦的事情,全篇在此达到高潮。正因为如此,有这种观点:“模糊而不确定的自杀,是因为Hemingway本身不要读者关注自杀的因果,而是自杀这个事件带给Nick的影响和精神冲击。”来说明Husband并非主角。Nick是个小孩子,孩子刚出生时,自然不知道有死亡。理解死亡本身,把死亡带入个人,意识到自己的死亡——这对普通人来说可能更是一个渐进的过程。Nick的过程既是快速的,又是一种压缩。这种死亡本身带来的存在的痛苦,对一个小孩子Nick本是没法承受的。Nick的父亲本来想给Nick见识生命的美好,没想到却见识到了生命的痛苦,甚至是死亡。

“ls dying hard,Daddy?”

“No, l think it’s pretty easy, Nick. It all depends.”

这里的hard既可以指难,也可以指痛苦(之前Nick已经问了Women having babies是否hard)。Daddy的回答给Nick这次旅行带来的精神成长画上了句号。

They were seated in the boat. Nick in the stern, his father rowing.The sun was coming up over the hills. A bass jumped, making a circle in the water.Nick trailed his hand in the water. It felt warm in the sharp chill of the morning.

Sun coming up Nick经受了如此沉痛的打击,仍然站了起来,这便是Hemingway笔下的硬汉形象。A bass jumped, making a circle in the water.生命在画圈,象征着生死的轮回——在Indian camp有小孩出生,也有男人死去。water的暖与与开头的冷形成对应。

In the early morning on the lake sitting in the stern of the boat with his father rowing; he felt quite sure that he would never die.

he would never die和a bass making a circle有点联系,同时这种自信在正常人身上是不多见的,死亡对多数人来说是可怕的,必须逃避的。然而了解了死亡的Nick仍然有这种自信。存在时必无死亡,死亡时必将不存在。这正是Hemingway的硬汉形象,和大多数存在着的不同的形象。

文章主旨到此已经十分明显。

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