教育头条 > 高中英语 > 英文小说连载《朗读者The Reader》Part 2 Chapter 12

英文小说连载《朗读者The Reader》Part 2 Chapter 12

高中英语 01-17 浏览量: 分享:
  精读一本原版英文小说,可以快速提升你的英文水平。只要坚持,每天把一个章节的单词、句子、语法搞明白了,长此以往我们的英文水平一定能可以像美国人那样。但最关键的是,一定要坚持哦!
 

  I DECIDED TO speak to my father. Not because we were particularly close. My father was undemonstrative, and could neither share his feelings with us children nor deal with the feelings we had for him. For a long time I believed there must be a wealth of undiscovered treasure behind that uncommunicative manner, but later I wondered if there was anything behind it at all. Perhaps he had been full of emotions as a boy and a young man, and by giving them no outlet had allowed them over the years to wither and die.

  But it was because of the distance between us that I sought him out now. I wanted to talk to the philosopher who had written about Kant and Hegel, and who had, as I knew, occupied himself with moral issues. He should be well positioned to explore my problem in the abstract and, unlike my friends, to avoid getting trapped in the inadequacies of my examples.

  When we children wanted to speak to our father, he gave us appointments just like his students. He worked at home and only went to the university to give his lectures and seminars. Colleagues and students who wished to speak to him came to see him at home. I remember lines of students leaning against the wall in the corridor and waiting their turn, some reading, some looking at the views of cities hanging in the corridor, others staring into space, all of them silent except for an embarrassed greeting when we children went down the corridor and said hello. We ourselves didn’t have to wait in the hall when our father had made an appointment with us. But we too had to be at his door at the appointed time and knock to be admitted.

  I knew two of my father’s studies. The windows in the first one, in which Hanna had run her fingers along the books, looked out onto the streets and houses. The windows in the second looked out over the plain along the Rhine. The house we moved to in the early 1960s, and where my parents stayed after we had grown up, was on the big hill above the city. In both places, the windows did not open the room to the world beyond, but framed and hung the world in it like a picture. My father’s study was a capsule in which books, papers, thoughts, and pipe and cigar smoke had created their own force field, different from that of the outside world.

  My father allowed me to present my problem in its abstract form and with my examples. “It has to do with the trial, doesn’t it?” But he shook his head to show that he didn’t expect an answer, or want to press me or hear anything that I wasn’t ready to tell him of my own accord. Then he sat, head to one side, hands gripping the arms of his chair, and thought. He didn’t look at me. I studied him, his gray hair, his face, carelessly shaven as always, the deep lines between his eyes and from his nostrils to the corners of his mouth. I waited.

  When he answered, he went all the way back to beginnings. He instructed me about the individual, about freedom and dignity, about the human being as subject and the fact that one may not turn him into an object. “Don’t you remember how furious you would get as a little boy when Mama knew better what was good for you? Even how far one can act like this with children is a real problem. It is a philosophical problem, but philosophy does not concern itself with children. It leaves them to pedagogy, where they’re not in very good hands. Philosophy has forgotten about children.” He smiled at me. “Forgotten them forever, not just sometimes, the way I forget about you.”

  “But . . .”

  “But with adults I see absolutely no justification for setting other people’s views of what is good for them above their own ideas of what is good for themselves.”

  “Not even if they themselves are happy about it later?”

  He shook his head. “We’re not talking about happiness, we’re talking about dignity and freedom. Even as a little boy, you knew the difference. It was no comfort to you that your mother was always right.”

  Today I like thinking back on that conversation with my father. I had forgotten it until after his death, when I began to search the depths of my memory for happy encounters and shared activities and experiences with him. When I found it, I was both amazed and delighted. Originally I was confused by my father’s mixing of abstraction and concreteness. But eventually I sorted out what he had said to mean that I did not have to speak to the judge, that indeed I had no right to speak to him, and was relieved.

  My father saw my relief. “That’s how you like your philosophy?”

  “Well, I didn’t know if one had to act in the circumstances I described, and I wasn’t really happy with the idea that one must, and if one really isn’t allowed to do anything at all, I find that . . .” I didn’t know what to say. A relief? A comfort? Appealing? That didn’t sound like morality and responsibility. “I think that’s good” would have sounded moral and responsible, but I couldn’t say I thought it was good, that I thought it was any more than a relief.

  “Appealing?” my father suggested.

  I nodded and shrugged my shoulders.

  “No, your problem has no appealing solution. Of course one must act if the situation as you describe it is one of accrued or inherited responsibility. If one knows what is good for another person who in turn is blind to it, then one must try to open his eyes. One has to leave him the last word, but one must talk to him, to him and not to someone else behind his back.”

  Talk to Hanna? What would I say to her? That I had seen through her lifelong lie? That she was in the process of sacrificing her whole life to this silly lie? That the lie wasn’t worth the sacrifice? That that was why she should fight not to remain in prison any longer than she had to, because there was so much she could still do with her life afterwards? Could I deprive her of her lifelong lie, without opening some vision of a future to her? I had no idea what that might be, nor did I know how to face her and say that after what she had done it was right that her short- and medium-term future would be prison. I didn’t know how to face her and say anything at all. I didn’t know how to face her.

  I asked my father: “And what if you can’t talk to him?”

  He looked at me doubtfully, and I knew myself that the question was beside the point. There was nothing more to moralize about. I just had to make a decision.

  “I haven’t been able to help you.” My father stood up and so did I. “No, you don’t have to go, it’s just that my back hurts.” He stood bent over, with his hands pressed against his kidneys. “I can’t say that I’m sorry I can’t help you. As a philosopher, I mean, which is how you were addressing me. As your father, I find the experience of not being able to help my children almost unbearable.”

  I waited, but he didn’t say anything else. I thought he was making it easy on himself; I knew when he could have taken care of us more and how he could have helped us more. Then I thought that perhaps he realized this himself and really found it difficult to bear. But either way I had nothing to say to him. I was embarrassed, and had the feeling he was embarrassed too.

  “Well then . . .”

  “You can come any time.” My father looked at me.

  I didn’t believe him, and nodded.

  我决定和我父亲谈谈,不是因为我们彼此之间无话不谈。我父亲是个沉默寡言的人,他既不能把他的感情告诉我们这些孩子,又不能接收我们带给他的感情。在很长的一段时间里,我猜想在这种互不通气的行为背后蕴藏着丰富的、没有发掘的宝藏。但是后来我怀疑那儿是否真的有什么东西。也许他年轻时有过丰富的感情,但是没有表达出来,天长日久这种感情就变得枯萎,就自消自灭了。

  然而,正是由于我们之间存在着距离我才找他谈。我找的谈话对象是一位哲学家,他写过有关康德和黑格尔的书,而且我知道书中写的是有关道德问题。他也应该有能力就我的问题和我进行抽象的探讨,而不是像我的朋友们那样只举些空洞的例子。

  如果我们这些孩子想和父亲谈话的话,他像对待他的学生一样与我们预约时间。他在家里工作,只是在有他的讲座和研讨课时才去大学。想要和他谈话的同事和学生都到家里来。我还记得学生们排着长队靠在走廊的墙上等着,有的阅读点什么,有的观赏挂在走廊里的城市风景图,也有的同学呆呆地东张西望。他们都沉默不语,直到我们这些孩子打着招呼穿过走廊时才回以一个尴尬的问候。我们与父亲约谈当然不必在走廊里等候,但是,我们也要在约定好的时间去谈,敲门后让进去时才能进去。

  我见过父亲的两个书房。第一个书房,也就是汉娜用手指巡摸书脊的那间,它的窗户面向街道,对面有房屋。第二个书房的窗户面向莱茵平原。我们六十年代初搬进的那座房子坐落在山坡上面,面向城市。当我们这些孩子长大以后我的父母仍旧住在那儿。这处房子的窗户和那处房子的窗户一样不是外凸式的,而是内凸式的,仿佛是挂在房间里的一幅画。在我父亲的书房里,书籍、纸张、思想、烟斗和香烟冒出的烟相互交织在一起,足使外来的人产生各种各样的压抑感。我对它们既熟悉又陌生。

  我父亲让我把问题全盘兜出,包括抽象描述和举例说明。"与法庭审判有关,对吗?"但是他摇着头向我示意,他并不期待得到回答,也不想逼迫我和不想知道我自己不想说出的事情。这之后,他坐着沉思起来,头侧向一边,两手扶着椅子的扶手。他没有看着我,我却仔细地打量着他,他的满头银发,他的总是刮得很糟糕的胡腮以及他那从鼻梁延伸到嘴角和两眼之间的清晰的皱纹。我等着。

  当他讲话时,他先把话题拉得很远。他教导我如何对待人、自由和尊严;他教导我把人当做主体对待,不允许把人当做客体来对待。"你还记得你小时候妈妈教你学好时你是如何大发雷霆的吗?把孩子放任到什么程度,这的的确确是个问题。这是个哲学问题,但是哲学不探讨孩子问题,哲学把孩子们交给了教育学,可孩子们在教育学那儿也没有受到很好的照顾。哲学把孩子们遗忘了。"他看着我笑着,"把他们永远忘记了,不是偶尔把他们忘记了,就像我偶尔把你们忘记了一样。"

  "但是…"

  "但是在成人身上,我也绝对看不出有什么理由可以把别人认为对他们有好处的东西置于他们自己认为是好的东西之上。"

  "'如果他们后来对此感到很幸福的话,这样做也不行吗?"

  他摇着头说:"我们谈论的不是幸福而是尊严和自由。当你还是个小孩子时就已经知道它们的区别了。你妈妈总有理,这并没有让你从中得到安慰。"

  现在我很愿意回想和父亲的那次谈话。我已经把它忘记了,直到他去世后,我才开始在沉睡的记忆中寻找我与他的美好会面和美好的经历及美好的感受。当我找到它时,我惊奇不已地思考着它,它使我非常幸福。当时,父亲把抽象的东西和形象逼真的事情混合在一起,这使我最初感到很困惑,但是,我最终还是按他所说的去做了,我不必去找审判长谈话,我根本不允许自己找他谈话。我感到如释重负。

  我的父亲看着我说:"你这样喜欢哲学吗?"

  "还可以。我不知道人们在我描述的上述情况下是否应该采取行动。如果人们必须采取行动却又不允许行动的话,我想,对此我会感到非常不幸。现在我感到……"我不知道说什么好。感到轻松?感到安慰?感到愉快?这听上去不道德和不负责任。我现在感觉不错,这听上去既道德又负责任,但我不能说我感觉不错,而且感到比卸下重负还好。

  "感觉不错吗?"我父亲试探着问。

  我点点头,耸耸肩。

  "不,你的问题不会有愉快的解决办法。当然了,如果你所描述的情况是一种责任重大的情况的话,人们就必须要采取行动。如果一个人知道怎样做对其他人有好处,但他却闭上了眼睛,视而不见,这时,人们就必须努力让他睁开眼睛,正视此事。人们必须让他本人做最后的决定,但是人们必须和他谈,和他本人谈,而不是在他背后和其他什么人谈。"

  和汉娜谈?我该和她说什么呢?说我识破了她的生活谎言?说她正在为这个愚蠢的谎言而牺牲她的整个一生?说为了这个谎言而牺牲不值得?说她应该争取尽量减少蹲监狱的年限,以便在出狱之后能开始更多的生活?到底该说什么呢?说到什么程度?她应该怎样重新开始她的生活呢?我不为她展示一个生活远景就能让她抛弃她的生活谎言吗?我不知道什么是她的生活远景,我也不知道我该如何面对她和该说什么,说她在做了那些事情后,她生活的近期和中期远景就是该坐牢?我不知道该如何面对她,也不知道到底该说些什么。我真的不知道该怎样面对她。

  我问我父亲:"如果人们不能跟他交谈的话,那该怎么办呢?"

  他怀疑地看着我,我自己也知道这个问题已经离题了。这不存在什么道德问题,而是我必须做出决定的问题。

  "我无法帮助你。"我父亲说着站了起来,我也站了起来。"不,你不必走,我只是背痛。"他弯曲地站着,双手压着腰。"我不能说,不能帮助你,我感到遗憾,我的意思是说,当你把我作为哲学家向我求教时。作为一名父亲,我不能帮助自己的孩子,这简直令我无法忍受。"

  我等着,但是他不再往下说了。我发现他把这事看得无足轻重。我知道,他什么时候应该对我们多加关心和他怎样才能更多地帮助我们。随后我又想,他自己也许也清楚这个,而且的确感到难以承受,但是,无论如何我都不能对他说什么了。我感到很尴尬,而且觉得他也很尴尬。

  "好吧,以后……

  "你以后可以随时来。"父亲看着我说。

  我不相信他的话,可我还是点点头。

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01-25 21:17

弯转的我晕

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