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海明威的<The snows of Kilimanjaro>赏析

(2011-07-30 21:34:28)
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杂谈

 

    在英语101的课程里,要做一篇关于美国现代小说的分析,我选择了海明威的《乞力马扎罗山的雪《作为对象。按照教授的要求,我们得找5个以上的secondary sources.最后总算是给弄好了。按照我们以往在大学学习的时候的分析作品的方法和习惯,我觉得这样的文章实在是不怎么样。但是按照美国的教授的要求,这文章大约就是这样子的。现在我把它放到这里来,一来作为一个纪念;二来也算给部分喜欢海明威的文字的人一个英语版本的鉴赏的文章了。

    文章是按照MAL的格式去书写和排版的,引用的格式也是。

 

 

 

 

The Thinking of Life

 

An Analysis of Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows Of Kilimanjaro"

 

 

 

 

            Ernest Hemingway is one of the greatest writer in the world in twenty contrary. His short story The Snows Of Kilimanjaro is one of his representative works. In this story, the author tells people a profound connotation of life via the story of a writer, Harry. Readers can feel the perplexed of Harry, and this kind of perplexed, is also the thinking of life. During evaluate the story, readers could be conscious of a deeply thinking of the significant meaning of one's life could cause the change of expectation, and the change of one's expectation can lead different decision.

            The protagonist of the story, "Harry, a writer who has abandoned his craft to live  a life of aimless pleasure, marrying ever richer woman as his driver to write fades away" (Plot Summary of "The Snows of Kilimanjaro",69) who is from Paris. He takes a trip to the African to track his happiness of ideal, and also, he is trying to figure out a way to handle his life problems, just like Harry states, "that is some way he could work the fat off his soul"(Hemingway, 261). He want a new life, "He had had his life and it was over and then he went on living it again with different people and more money, with the best of the same places, and some new ones."(261) He suffers the gangrene which cause by a trauma and finally, died of it.

            Harry has a lot of confusions and conflictions in his life.

            He does so many things inconsequently. He lies to others, especially his woman, " He slipped into the familiar lie he made his bread and butter by"(260). When he awakens his wife is hurt again by his attacks, he tells her the he never loved her. But when she cries, he tells her "You know I love you."(260) And at the same time, he call her " You bitch," he said. "You rich bitch. That's poetry. I'm full of poetry now. Rot and poetry. Rotten poetry."(260)

             At the same time, Harry believes that he has the talent of writing, but he wastes it, " he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all. "(261)" It was a talent all right but instead of using it, he had traded on it."(261),instead of writing, he lie to others to earn money, " He had traded it for security, for comfort too, there was no denying that, and for what else?(263). He hates this, "He had been in it and he had watched it and it was his duty to write of it; but now he never would."(268) He want to write a lot of story that he believes he should have to write, but he didn't. "He knew at least twenty good stories from out there and he had never written one."(274)

            Most of his writing are for money, " He had sold vitality, in one form or another, all his life and when your affections are not too involved you give much better value for the money."(262) He even doesn't have time and energy and willing to do what he should to do, " He had found that out but he would never write that, now, either. No, he would not write that, although it was well worth writing."(262)

            He is weary of his life, he cannot find out the right way to go for the future. That's the reason that he comes back to the African. He hope he can review the happy time here again like before, " Africa was where he had been happiest in the good time of his life, so he had come out here to start again."(261). He hope he can find out the right way that he should to go, " That in some way he could  his soul the way a fighter went into the mountains to work and train in order to burn it out of his body."(261). He wish he can even find the answer of his uncle's conundrum.

            Harry thinks a lot, a lot about his life, his history, and his behaviors.

            Even though the author doesn't give the answers of all those questions, readers can understand that Harry have already found out his answer. He realizes that he need to be revived, he should to give his faulty life up, let his dirty body die and spirit with pursuit immortal. He makes the choice.

            In this story, Hemingway uses a lot of high-level writing skills to represent his ideas.

            Symbolism, as a important writing skill which can interprets deep meaning with very few words, be used in the story for many times.

            First all, the snows is a symbol of death and revive. As we know, snow is white and cold, and in this story, on some way, it means death and holy, and it foreshadows the ending of Harry----he will dead in front of the snows of Kilimanjaro, which is white and holy, near the gate of heaven. "Its western summit is called the Masai "Ngaje Ngai." the House of God." (255) 

            Leopard is another symbol of  Harry's moral nature.

            Harry's life is full of conflicts of "fundamental moral idealism and the corrupting influence of aimless materialism." (Walcutt, 74) 

            On one hand, Harry is falling into the aimless materialism----he lie to others to make money, he doesn't write anything that he should to write, he wastes his talents of writing, he sale his vitality. His life is full of blemishes, just like the spots on the body of leopard.

            On the other hand, he has the dream of pursuing the fundamental mortal idealism----"He has, in short, lived with an impulse toward truth, an obscure respect for man, and a sense of human dignity and integrity that constitute a set of values."(74) Like the leopard trying to approach the top of the mountain. Walcutt states, "Gazing on the white peak of Kilimanjaro, he sees a symbol there of truth, meaning,----or an incarnation of the ideal, The mountain represents the undefined ideal for which he has struggled. From a purely naturalistic point of view, it is illogical that Harry should have such ideals, for they are not found in or justified by the environment in which he has lived."(75)

            The realization of all those, causes the deep thinking of Harry. The final death of leopard on the top of Kilimanjaro inspires him that he should to try to find a way to correct all mistakes, like Stallman states, "these multiple interrelationships of recollected scenes with their recurrent motifs of death, deception, betrayal, and fight.", and "the final death-dream is itself a scene of flight, flight from the Dark Continent to the House of God."(80)

            Hyena is also a symbol of Harry's life. The hyena, as we know, is a kind of animals that cannot hunt by itself, they live depend on the other animals dead body. Harry is a writer with talents, he is also a hunter. He like to hunt very much, and goes to so many places such as Europe, such as African. His writing life is also like the hunting----writers always wander all around the world to search more materials to write, just like a hunter wanders in a forest to find animals. But he even can't write anything now, "But he would never do it, because each day of not writing, of comfort, of being that which he despised, dulled his ability and softened his will to work so that, finally, he did no work at all."(Hemingway, 261)  He hate his behaviors like the hyenas. At this moment, it's the hyenas that lead his thinking about his life deeply.

            One inconspicuous symbol is the gangrene. The gangrene, as well as Harry states, " The marvelous thing is that it's painless"(Hemingway, 253) but it's deadly and could kill one insensibly. similar as Harry's life, he wastes his talents, he doesn't want to do anything that he should to do, his spirit is already dead while his body laying on the cot waiting for death. He doesn't afraid of death, as Hovey states, "the gangrenous leg suggesting the long-standing castration anxiety, its stench the decay of Harry's moral nature. He admits that for years he has been "obsessed" by death." " He has, in fact, been steadily destroying himself."(82) The painless deadly disease enlighten Harry to do the deep thinking of  death, "that he neglected the thorn scratch which turns out of to be fatal points to Harry's unconscious wish to die." (82)

            All those symbolism in the story have a same function is to lead reader thinking deeply about life.

            As a very high level and rare writing skill, the spatial form is also be used in this story by Hemingway. The spatial for, as Pound states, "the modernist conception of 'spatial form', in which temporal narratives are unified through recurring motifs and scenes composed of vivid images."(Gale Virtual Reference Library: Imagism, 4-5)   In the story, the time frame is started in the afternoon and finished in the middle night. How could Hemingway deal with those many loose and complex things such as Harry's thinking, his histories, his women, his experiences in Paris and other countries, his memories of war, etc.? How could Hemingway handle the whole story in a compact, completed, and smooth firm?

            Hemingway uses his incomparable writing skill and the excellent technique to represents Harry's whole life within only a half day.

            Usually, a traditional classic novel always characterize plots according the time line or the space, and also, reveal the relationship of different circumstances explicitly. The using of spatial form, mainly, abandons the consecutiveness of occurrence of events.

            Hemingway leaves the traditional writing habits away, doesn't care about all of restrictions of time frame and space, and use the spatial form to make Harry's story as a 3-D cube. That means, the events happened in different time and different space appear in the same scene.  It makes the whole story as a special compact unite, just an umbrella----everything related with Harry are connected with him directly, such as his life, his ideals, his dream and realities. All elements confound together, not only his attitudes, but also his perspectives of relationship with man and women, friends, wars, death, etc.       Hemingway doesn't represent elements of this story sequent, but by Harry's thinking. For example, there are a lot of fragments of Harry's thinking often "flash" back to somewhere in some old time. On some way, Harry's painful fragmentary and bitty memories can be feel empathy by readers, and it can lead readers start their deep thinking of life.

            In conclusion,   the story "Snows of Kilimanjaro" tells readers a story of a writer, Harry's death. Hemingway uses his perfect writing skills to interprets some deep meaning of human's life, and it also lead people into the deep thinking: what's the real meaning of life? How could a man or a woman to life? How should people to choice when they are facing some ordeal of life? Only the deep thinking can gives the conclusion.  

 

 

 

Works Cited

 

1. The Leopard and the Hyena: Symbol and Meaning in 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro'. Marion Montgomery. The University of Kansas City Review 27.4 (June 1961): p277-282. Rpt. in Short          Story Criticism. Ed. Lawrence J. Trudeau. Vol. 25. Detroit: Gale Research, 1997. Word     Count:3153. From Literature Resource Center.

2. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Materer, Timothy. "Imagism."American History Through Literature

1870-1920. Ed. Tom Quirk and Gary Scharnhorst. Vol. 2. Detroit: Charles Scribner's Sons, 2006. Gale Virtual Reference Library. Web. 20 July 2011.

3. Bloom, Harold. "Plot summary of 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro.'" (n.p.)(1999). (69-72).

4. Charles Child Walcutt, "Hemingway's 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,'"The Explicator 7, No. 6 (April 1949): item 43

5. Robert Wooster Stallman, "Erenest Hemingway, A New Reading of 'The Snows of Kilimanjaro,'" The House that Built and Other Literary Studies (Ann Arbor: Michigan State University Press, 1961): 198-199

6. Richard Hovey, Hemingway: The Inward Terrain (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1968): 127-128

 

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