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 「romance」的圖片搜尋結果

 

Prologue

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.

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On Failure 

失敗是人生中不可避免的經驗。如何從失敗中汲取教訓,重新出發進而轉敗為勝,是大家共同的生命課題。以下三位不同領域的名人,分別在美國名校的畢業典禮上,分享自己的人生故事,談到如何從失敗中學習而後扭轉逆境,值得借鏡深思。

第一位是電視界名人歐普拉。她縱橫脫口秀節目二十餘年,收視長紅,另闢一個新節目觀眾卻不捧場。她在失敗後對哈佛大學畢業生講了以下這段話:

不管你多成功,如果你不斷鞭策自己要往上爬,到某個點你勢必跌倒。中庸法則早已預告會如此,希臘神話也如此明示。(伊卡魯斯(Icarus), 不聽父親戴德勒斯(Daedalus)的叮嚀,逃離迷宮後飛行要盡量緊貼海面。他越飛越高,翅膀無法承受太陽的高溫而融化,最後跌落大海淹死。)但記住這點: 沒有失敗這回事,失敗只是意味生命必須轉換方向而已。你可以給自己一點時間哀嘆因失敗而失去的東西,但重要的是,要從每一次錯誤中學習,它會教導你、逼迫你成為真正的自己,然後再去思索下一步該怎麼走。生命中要緊的是建立自我內在的道德及情緒定位系統,指引著自己該何去何從。畢業自名校哈佛的高材生,頂著榮耀的光環,未來在社會上勢必是舉足輕重的人物,不乏律師、參議員、執行長、物理學家、諾貝爾獎、普立茲獎得主之人才。但生命真正的挑戰不在於你的履歷有多風光,不在於你的頭銜地位是甚麼,而在於你想要成為甚麼樣的人,你的人生目的是甚麼。你的生命履歷表內,不僅是記載你成就了哪些豐功偉業,而是你為何而做?將來你失敗跌倒時,問問自己初衷何在?你當初的目的和使命是甚麼? 靠這個使命感你就能再站起來,走出困境。

(Oprah Winfrey in Harvard, 2013)

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前言

我們習慣分享彼此不幸的遭遇,以為把它說出來,心裏會好過些,至少從別人那裡,得到些許的鼓勵或安慰,或者聽到別人也有類似遭遇,自己的苦就不顯得特別。這篇散文告訴我們,不能用訴苦的方式處理苦難,緘默堅忍以對才是良策

In this short essay, British novelist and journalist Mark Rutherford (the pen name of William Hale White) encourages us to deal with our misfortunes by practicing "the art of self-suppression."

I. 找人談心事前要先釐清自己的思緒,以免講出來的話,不是事先審慎構思好的產物,而是塑造思想的源頭。

We may talk about our troubles to those persons who can give us direct help, but even in this case we ought as much as possible to come to a provisional conclusion before consultation; to be perfectly clear to ourselves within our own limits. Some people have a foolish trick of applying for aid before they have done anything whatever to aid themselves, and in fact try to talk themselves into perspicuity. The only way in which they can think is by talking, and their speech consequently is not the expression of opinion already and carefully formed, but the manufacture of it.

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Across the broad continent of a woman's life falls the shadow of a sword. On one side, all is correct, definite, orderly; the paths are strait, the trees regular, the sun shaded; escorted by gentlemen, protected by policemen, wedded and buried by clergymen, she has only to walk demurely from cradle to grave and no one will touch a hair of her head. But on the other side all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course. The paths wind between bogs and precipices. The trees roar and rock and fall in ruin. There, too, what strange company is to be met---in what bewildering variety!                                                                

Virginia Woolf, “Harriette Wilson”

This time, it’s not the vulgar prima donna, Harriette Wilson, that will be discussed. Instead, it’s Christabel LaMotte, the female protagonist in the movie, Possession, that steps across the borderline.

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美國名校衛斯理高中英文老師David McCullough的畢業演說,引起很大的迴響及討論。不同於一般的畢業演講,總是讚美肯定畢業生的成就,這位獨特的老師再三叮嚀學生的卻是”You are not special!”這篇演講在網路上一夕爆紅,有人認為這是近幾年來最好的畢業演說;當然也有人不喜歡,認為不過是這位老師想標新立異意罷了。到底他談了甚麼,為何會激起這麼多共鳴,本文試圖分析並探討之。

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聖經和希臘神話,被視為是西方文學的源頭。兩者所講述的故事,成為後世文學取之不盡的題材。聖經這部經典分舊約及新約兩部分,文學主要探討的是舊約,時間大約從西元前1000年至300年,地點相當於今日的中東兩河流域地區。舊約可稱為猶太人的文化及建國史,分三部分,第一為妥拉或律法(Torah),其中有5部書;第二為先知書(Prophets),內有8部書;第三為聖卷(Writings),含11部書。所以舊約共有3部分24部書。本文介紹這三部分中較知名的故事,並詮釋其內涵。

第一部妥拉(Torah)創世紀(Genesis)出埃及記(Exodus)利未記(Leviticus)民數記(Numbers)、及申命記(Deuteronomy)五部書。文學上主要談的是創世紀故事的內涵,共可歸納為三點。第一,人的自由意志(free will)意味對上帝的不服從(disobedience);第二,人的生命注定是短暫而充滿痛苦的。第三,上帝是公平、正義及慈悲的化身。創世紀從第一到第三章,講述上帝如何在七天內創造世界,之後人類又如何因撒旦的引誘而墮落。上帝創造世界與二元對立(binarism)、數字3和平行法則(parallelism)息息相關。上帝在第一天創造日/夜;第二天天/地;第三天陸地/海洋。到第四天,又回過來和第一天成平行:太陽/月亮,此二元對立之物和第一天日/夜相關而平行。太陽是日的主體,而月亮是夜晚的主體。同樣的,第五天的天空生物/地面生物又和第二天的天/地呼應。第六天的陸地生物(包括人)/海洋生物又和第三天的陸地/海洋相呼應。上帝這六天的創造,以三為主軸,互相對稱。在宗教上,三這個數字是神聖的數字,從聖經的創世紀可見端倪。例如位一體(Trinity)的神,包含天父(Father)、天子(Son)及聖靈(Holy Spirit)。在審視這六天完美的創造物後,上帝讓第七天成為休息日。所以對耶教徒而言,星期天做禮拜是神聖而莊嚴的,這一天不是用來耽溺享樂的,而是省思過去這六天忙碌勞動後的收穫及意義。七代表一個完整的循環,周而復始,生生不息。另西方文化論述二元對立的觀點,例如男/女;同性/異性戀;西方/東方等,也可在創世紀找到源頭。

創世紀1-3章中另有兩點較細緻的內涵。先舉原文如下:

1. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

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李安於1995年執導的電影「理性與感性」,改編自19世紀珍奧斯丁的原著小說,當年榮獲最佳改編劇本獎,由女主角艾瑪湯普遜(Emma Thompson)撰寫。電影中的對白精確掌握小說的精髓,以雋永的語言,深刻剖析世事人情,溫和敦厚中不乏一針見血的批判。影評家總認為改拍自經典小說的電影,吃力不討好,因為影像無法詮釋文字的無盡意蘊。但「理性與感性」這部電影,卻獲得一致的讚賞,咸認為它不減損原作的精彩,珍奧斯丁地下有知,也會感到滿意。本文列舉電影中代表理性與感性的對話並詮釋其意涵,一窺經典小說的迷人殿堂。

Sense Sensibility

 

 

MR DASHWOOD: A romantic poet with flashing eyes and empty pockets?(像浪漫詩人般,有熱情的雙眸和羞澀的阮囊嗎?)

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希臘詩人荷馬的兩大史詩之一「奧德賽」(The Odyssey),描述希臘英雄奧迪修斯以木馬之計攻陷特洛伊城後,又歷經十年才得以返家的故事。詩人開宗明義寫道: 「謬斯女神啊,請賜予我靈感,讓我寫出這位足智多謀的人,在攻陷神聖的特洛伊城後,如何屢屢被迫駛離航道」(Sing to me of the man, Muse, the man of twists and turns driven time and again off course, once he had plundered the hallowed heights of Troy) 所謂被迫,指的是無法抗拒的的外在環境,讓英雄耽擱了行程,無法順利回家,並不是遭綁架或被威脅的意思。英雄的返鄉,和人的回歸生命起始點意義相同,指涉一段曲折的人生旅程所必須面對的危機及誘惑。把「奧德賽」視為一則人生的寓言毫不為過;稱它為文學的經典,更是理所當然。本文分析奧迪修斯返鄉行中遇到的四種誘惑,闡明它們在實際的人生中所展現的相貌。這四項分別是1. 蓮花島(Lotus Island),代表的是出離人世的誘惑。 2. 賽喜女妖(Circe),代表佳餚。 3. 賽倫女妖(Sirens),代表權力。 4. 克利普索女神(Calypso),代表安逸。 以下逐一分析其內涵。

Lotus Island:當奧迪修斯來到蓮花島時,他先派一群士兵查看環境,自己則留在岸邊等候消息。他們發現島上的居民喜歡吃一種類似蓮藕的食物,吃了之後精神呈現出離狀態,將世間的悲喜遺忘得一乾二淨。靈魂似乎脫離了肉身,徜徉在極端的平和寧靜當中。於是有些士兵也吃了這種食物,之後再也不願返鄉,把家鄉和夢想拋諸腦後。蓮花島這一站的寓意十分明顯。它象徵人不願承擔世間痛苦的逃避心態,當生活的壓力太過沉重,有些人選擇吸食毒品以得暫時的解脫。因此蓮花島民可解讀成吸毒者,而蓮藕是幫助他們逃離世間悲苦的毒品。就精神的出離現象來探討,我們亦可以說蓮花島民是看破世間苦的宗教人士,他們藉由某種食物達到入定的狀態,靈魂出竅和宇宙的能量合而為一。這種精神的出離是宗教上的神祕經驗,帶領人走入一切皆空的涅槃狀態,無悲亦無喜。對曾經承受巨大痛苦的人們而言,這樣的出離該是多大的誘惑! 蓮花島的食物使人遺忘過去的一切,喪失對生命的憧憬,耽溺於虛無飄渺的時空裏。吸毒後的恍惚以及出離人世的宗教經驗恰可為其代表。

Circe: 奧迪修斯的手下來到賽喜女妖之島時,已是飢腸轆轆。幾位先鋒去勘察環境,發現林中深處有一宮殿,門外雖獅虎群聚,對訪客卻異常友善。賽喜女妖隨即邀請他們進入宮殿,款待以美酒佳餚,他們因飢餓便狼吞虎嚥大吃起來。等酒足飯飽之際,Circe便拿出手杖,把所有嚐過美食的人變成豬,趕到豬圈去。其實在宮殿中所有的動物,都是人變來的,他們都因觸怒了女妖,被變成和其性格類似的動物。逞勇鬥狠的人變成獅虎,饒舌之人變成鸚鵡,而貪食者變成豬。其中一個手下較機靈不敢吃,遂沒有被變成豬,逃回船上報告此事。奧迪修斯得到神的幫助,才能夠制伏女妖,命令她把所有的士兵變回人形。美食對人的誘惑在此處表露無遺。貪食(gluttony)是基督教七大死罪之一,其原因在於貪食者滿足口腹之慾後,接下來往往墮入罪惡的深淵,所謂飽暖思淫慾。「暖」還排在「飽」之後呢!貪食者的吃,不只是為了生存的基本需求,他們為追求味蕾的刺激而吃,或因貪婪的習性,像累積財富般,塞越多食物越好,也不管食物到底對自己的身體有無好處,這就是貪食者的形相。所有吃到飽的餐廳,無限供應美食,讓客人愛不釋手,一盤接一盤的吃,唯恐虧待了自己的荷包。稍加覺察,不難發現這些餐廳和賽喜女妖的宮殿無異,裏頭的客人衣著容或光鮮亮麗,實乃豬隻而已。貪食的誘惑令人腦筋昏沉,無法做出清明的判斷或抉擇,飽足之際身體異常笨重,行動困難,其形相和豬沒有差別!

Sirens: 傳說中Sirens是像美人魚的美麗女妖,擁有迷人的歌聲。航行經過的水手,凡是被她們的歌聲吸引而靠岸者,都成了一具具枯髏。這一站的誘惑是屬於精神層次的,她們的歌是真理的傳達,允諾聽者將得到艮古以來天地之間所有的知識。凡人侷限於時空,無法得知過去、現在及未來的真相,Sirens女妖在歌聲中引誘著好奇的人們,欲知天地一切真相者到我們跟前來,我們將告訴你們所有發生在人世間的事。好奇是表相,人類就像他們的始祖夏娃一樣,對知識樹上的果實垂涎欲滴。在好奇的底層下潛藏的是一顆驕傲的心,想穿越時空,上通天文下通地理,擁有和造物者一樣的全知全能。浮士德(Faustus) 如果知道有Sirens的存在,他必粉身碎骨在所不惜,前來聆聽其歌曲,也用不著出賣靈魂給魔鬼,下地獄受罪還不如死在歌聲悠揚的海岸。Sirens的歌聲是一種隱喻,代表人對權力的渴望,想要像造物者一樣,通曉一切,主宰一切。預知未來要發生的事,可以阻止它發生;知悉過去發生的事,可以引以為鏡。在驕傲心的趨使下,人會偏離正途,追求僭越本分的事情,終致越走越遠,忘記了初衷。如航行者貪戀屬於造物主的權力,因而喪生異邦,永無返鄉之日。奧迪修斯逃過此誘惑的方式是靠近此島時,命令手下耳朵塞著臘不去聽女妖的歌聲,而他自己不塞臘,因為好奇想聽,但防護措施是讓手下將他捆綁起來,以防他掙扎想下船隻接近島嶼。存在於人世間的誘惑無法消滅,重要的是要有覺察力,知道它可怕危險之處,進而防護自己不要靠近。

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學生在英文寫作中,最常遇見的瓶頸是詞彙不夠精準,時常用一堆淺顯的字來表達一個概念。許多程度不錯的學生會覺得自己寫到某個程度就難以再進步,全篇看來沒有文法或用字的錯誤,但讀起來平淡而無味。犀利或高人一等的見解,須要個人長期的閱讀思考,外加一點資質及慧根才有可能,但是對字義的掌控,下苦功絕對是可以手到擒來的。

以下試舉字義浮泛和精準的例子作為比較。通常我們會用甚麼詞語來形容他人的說話方式呢? 負面的字有沉默寡言(say few words) / taciturn; 結結巴巴(say incoherently) / inarticulate; 聒噪不休(say without stopping) / vociferous; 老生常談( say something commonplace / banal)等;正面的有言簡意賅(say briefly / laconic); 雄辯滔滔(say convincingly / cogent),口若懸河(say eloquently / voluble)等。當學生想表達這些概念時,經常用動詞”say”,然後再加上其它的名詞或副詞來描述,雖說表達無誤,但字義的掌握總嫌不足。”say”和它後面一串的字加起來,其實可以只用一個確切的形容詞來替換,如紅字所標示。

除了形容詞外,掌握精準的動詞也是寫作的要領。用過多的名詞而非有效能的動詞,會使文章的節奏沉緩。例如: Improvement of the global warming is achieved by the variation of the energy-saving policies. 明明是冗長又累贅的句子,許多學生卻誤以為是用字高深的漂亮句子。這句的節奏要流暢,必須要改成: Various energy-saving policies improve the global warming. (多樣化的節能政策改善溫室效應) 相較於”improve”這個動詞,”is achieved by”就顯得無力。同樣的道理,Enumeration of three reasons why the learning of English has become so important is made by the authorities concerned (相關當局列舉三個理由說明學習英文的重要), 這個句子沒有利用關鍵的動詞來表達,反而用抽象的名詞”enumeration”阻礙了它的流暢度。較簡潔有力的表達應該是: The authorities concerned enumerate three reasons why learning English has become so important.

堆砌過多的字來表述一個概念是學生寫作的通病。解決之道在熟讀有效能的單字,動詞為首,其次是形容詞或名詞。用字卡隨時記錄一些字義豐富的字而後經常讀誦是不二法門。另外要善選和周遭經驗相關的字,而非冷僻的字來記憶。像我們認識的人或虛構的角色當中,不乏一些性格類型,我們不妨做一個字卡,把這些類型統整在「人格特徵」(personality type) 這個項目底下去記憶。例如這個人很狗腿,那他就是 sycophant: a person who flatters fulsomely; 很標新立異的話就是 iconoclast: an attacker of established beliefs; 色欲薰心則為lecher: a person with excessive sexual desire; 附庸風雅則是dilettante: an amateur lover of fine arts 這些令人厭的負面特質可以歸為一類來記。相反的,正面特質亦可歸為一類。例如這個人見解犀利,字字璣珠,可以用形容詞 perspicacious來表達;心胸開闊不計前嫌,則用magnanimous形容; 言談幽默又慧詰,用scintillating;永遠有用不完的精力,則是indefatigable

在閱讀英文讀物當中,隨時注意和週遭的人事物有關的辭彙,記下字義豐富的生字,為相同屬性的歸類後一起記憶,這樣字彙的運用能力才會提升,也才能解決為表達一個概念,堆砌一堆平淡又無效能的字之通病。

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前言

希臘神話中不乏唯美浪漫的愛情故事。這些故事中,神多少都佔有一席之地。不同於基督世界的耶和華或東方的佛陀,希臘的神不具有崇高的神性(transcendent divinity),有的卻是凡夫的貪嗔癡。以下的8個故事,筆者將之分為3種類型。其一是男女熾熱的情愛(Pyramus and Thisbe)、其二是堅如磐石的夫妻之愛(Orpheus & Eurydice); (Baucis & Philemon); (Ceyx & Alcyone)、 其三是求不得的單戀情殤。(Pygmalion & Galatea); (Endymion & Selene); (Daphne & Apollo); ( Alpheus & Arethusa)

I. Pyramus and Thisbe

Love cannot be forbidden. The more that flame is covered up, the hotter it burns. Also love can always find a way. It is impossible to keep apart the two whose hearts are on fire.

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  • Jul 04 Mon 2011 12:33
  • 父愛

在西方的文學傳統裏,父與子經常處於對立矛盾的關係。天神宙斯(Zeus)必須打敗自己的父親(Cronus)才能稱霸於奧林卑斯山(Mt. Olympus)。伊底帕斯王命中註定會殺死自己的父親,娶自己的母親而後繼承王位。希臘三大悲劇詩人之一Euripides所寫的悲劇Hippolytus中,亦涉及父親(Theseus)對兒子(Hippolytus)的猜忌與不信任,最後導致忠貞的兒子被控與後母(Phaedra)有染,含冤而死。父子之間的爭戰衝突亦是現代電影經常探討的主題。從李安的「推手」到最近坎城影展的得獎影片「永生樹」(The Tree of Life),探討的都是父親的價值觀,強加於兒子身上時,所造成的情感暴力、傷害與束縛。

有別於父子矛盾如此熟悉的主題,本文要列舉一篇英詩來探討父親那種說不出口,卻真實細膩的愛。

那些冬日的星期天 

作者: 羅伯海登

Those Winter Sundays 
by Robert Hayden
 
Sundays too my father got up early 
and put his clothes on in the blueblack cold, 
then with cracked hands that ached 
from labor in the weekday weather made 
banked fires blaze. No one ever thanked him. 
 
I'd wake and hear the cold splintering, breaking. 
When the rooms were warm, he'd call, 
and slowly I would rise and dress, 
fearing the chronic angers of that house, 
 
Speaking indifferently to him, 
who had driven out the cold 
and polished my good shoes as well. 
What did I know, what did I know 
of love's austere and lonely offices? 

 

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speech at Stanford, 2005

 

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海明威於1899年出生於美國的伊利諾州,從小喜歡釣魚或打獵等戶外活動,他熱愛大自然,也因此他的作品多有人與大自然接觸的經驗。此外,他本身也相當喜愛拳擊、鬥牛以及足球,是位喜愛運動的作家。高中時期開始,海明威在寫作方面逐漸嶄露頭角,並擔任學報編輯。高中畢業後,他不顧父親的反對,堅持不就讀大學,而在堪城星報(Kansas City Star) 當記者。數月之後,他辭去記者一職,參加了美國軍隊,希望能在前線親身體驗第一次世界大戰。雖然海明威身材健壯,但由於視力不好,被分發到救傷隊工作。在戰場上,海明威充分體驗到戰爭的殘酷與無情,人類在死亡邊緣的無助與渺小。也因此他早期的作品都與戰爭相關。在一次大戰之後,他繼續擔任作者一職,先後在多家報社工作,並開始了他的寫作生涯。在這期間,他陸續發表了一些作品,但成績並不是很理想。直到1926年,海明威發表了一部長篇小說《旭日又升》(The Sun Also Rises) ,藉由故事表達人們在戰後感到失落與茫然。這部作品讓他開始嶄露頭角,隨後的《戰地春夢》(A Farewell to Arms) 、《戰地鐘聲》(For Whom the Bell Tolls)和《老人與海》(The Old Man and The Sea)都是相當受到喜愛的長篇小說。其中又以晚期作品《老人與海》最受到肯定,海明威因這部小說得到普立茲獎與諾貝爾文學獎。 

《老人與海》的主題似乎很明確,人對抗大自然,即便最後一無所獲,仍堅毅不屈,不因挫折而喪志。故事中的老人費盡千辛萬苦,終於把魚釣到,但返回港口時,發現魚肉早已在回返途中被大魚吃掉,最後他得到的,只是魚的殘骸和眾人的嘲笑罷了。看似單調的情節,卻富含深意。大部分的人把它解讀成海明威式的人生哲學---(man v.s. nature),故事凸顯的是不畏惡劣的環境,仍奮力抵抗,雖敗猶榮的強人。但另一種詮釋卻更加精采。老人辛苦所捕獲的魚,不就是我們一生汲汲營營所追求的各種有形、無形的成就嗎?學位、名利、財富等,就是老人手中的那條魚。只是當我們生命要結束時,就如老人返港之時,卻發現手邊空無一物,唯有殘骸以見證一生所經歷之奮鬥罷了。殘骸何用,只能引來眾人訕笑,但我們卻還要緊緊抱持著它,捨不得放手。所謂一生的成就,到頭來只成空,在他人眼裏不過是廢物罷了。,只能在自己的記憶中憑弔。莎士比亞在皆大歡喜(As You Like it) 一劇中,早已看透此生命相狀。老人與海的主題,可以用莎翁的經典佳句來涵括: ---

"a soldier, / Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,  / Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, / Seeking the bubble reputation / Even in the cannon's mouth."---老人拼命與大自然搏鬥,就像火氣方剛、準備壯烈犧牲當砲灰的士兵。老人為了證明自己的勇氣,士兵為了留取丹心照汗青。但那顆丹心恐怕來不及被寫入歷史,就已淪為泡沫了吧!

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I. 引言

希臘神話中,有著名的三朵花,分別是水仙、風信子和秋牡丹。它們的模樣色彩,和今日見到的大不相同。拿水仙來說吧,古希臘的水仙是銀紫色的,跟現在的黃、白色差別甚大。但這不影響我們對它美好的想像。為何希臘神話對這些花情有獨鍾,並為它們留下傳誦千古的一頁呢? 答案有二。第一是地理環境的因素。地中海的風情,有的是崎嶇的丘陵、嶙峋的島嶼、湛藍的蒼穹與壯闊的大海。在如此肅穆的氛圍中,偶爾望見從岩壁處伸展出的彩色花朵,那種驚喜,就像是得到上天的禮物。花的神話於焉誕生,目的是要讓珍貴稀有的東西永垂不朽。第二個原因是贖罪。在遠古文化未開的時代,血祭時有所聞。當農作欠收導致飢荒時,就必須犧牲個人,將他的血灑在大地上以祭祀大地。因為人須要吃的一切取之於大地,我們是被大地所滋養;當大地變貧脊的時候,我們須要反過來滋養它.”There must be a deep connection between themselves and the earth and that their blood, which was nourished by the corn, could in turn nourish it at need.” 花之神話的誕生,無非在掩飾這種殘忍的謀殺。在神話的歌詠中,美男子的死變得如此淒美不朽,我們再也感受不到血祭的殘酷野蠻!

II. 三朵花的故事

Narcissus (西洋水仙)

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第一次為母親登台演唱畫面出現在四分鐘處

 

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Punctuality is the thief of time 準時是時間之賊。   

Patriotism is the virtue of the vicious. 愛國情操是邪惡之人的美德。 

I never put off till tomorrow what I can possibly do - the day after. 後天可能要做的事,我絕不延後到明天。

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I. What is the film about?

The film Prayers for Bobby deals with the controversial issue of homosexuality. Based on a true story, it depicts the conflicts and reconciliation of a devout Christian mother toward her homosexual son. The scene of her speech for homosexual rights in the city council summarize the theme of the film:

I deeply regret my lack of knowledge concerning gay and lesbian people. Had I allowed myself to investigate what I now see as Bible bigotry and diabolical dehumanizing slander against our fellow human beings, I would not be looking back with regret---  我深深懊悔自己對同性戀的無知。如果我早能覺察聖經對此等人是一種偏執又殘酷的詆毀,我現今也無須頻頻回顧,深自悔恨--

God is pleased that Bobby has a kind and loving heart. In God's eyes, kindness and love are what life is about. I did not know that each time I echoed 'Amen' to the eternal damnation, referring to Bobby as sick, perverted and a danger to our children that his spirit was broken---- 巴比因一顆和善慈愛的心而得上帝的讚賞。在上帝眼中,慈愛是生命最可貴之處。我從前不知道的是,當我每次說「阿們」,呼應對同性戀萬劫不復的詛咒,把巴比視為是病態、墮落、危及子孫之人時,他的靈魂是如此受創。

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圖書館 by 楊小濱

一本書是一個情人的夜晚。一萬本

插在所有情人的骨架裏。

 

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The British author and journalist George Orwell (1903-1950) was famous for his satire against totalitarianism.  Nineteen Eighty-Four , for example, is a very popular novel with the term“Big Brother”becoming a synonym of governmental surveillance. His political writings, together with his essays, established him as one of the most influential voices of the 20th century.

     For those who want to have a good command of academic writing, Orwell’ s essays are the right source for imitation. His style is lucid, vivid and precise. The following passages embody his perspicacious insight on childhood experience, national characteristics and sainthood.

About childhood experience, he perceives child’s distaste for grown-ups, which, I must admit, is an undeniable truth:

A child which appears reasonably happy may actually be suffering horros which it cannot or will not reveal. . . . Not to expose your true feeings to an adult seems to be instinctive from the age of seven or eight onwards. Even the affection that one feels for a child, the desire to protect and cherish it, is a cause of misundertanding. One can love a child, perhaps, more deeply than one can love another adult, but is rash to assume that the child feels any love in return. . . . Love, the spontaneous, unqualified emotion of love, was something I could only feel for people who were young. Towards people who were old, I could only feel reverence, respect, admiration or compunction. . . . Part of the reason for the ugliness of adults, in a child’s eyes, is that the child is usually looking upwards, and few faces are at their best when seen from below.      

As for the national characteristics, he remarks that there is something “distinctive and recognizable” in every civilization, a flavor of its own, so to speak. For the English, it is the one characterized by "solid breakfasts,” “gloomy Sundays,” “smoky towns,” “winding roads,” “green fields” and “red pillar-boxes.” Such a flavor is continious and persisting, stretching into the future and past. However much you hate or or laugh at it, you will never be happy away from it for any length of time. It has “entered into your soul.” Good or evil, it is yours; you belong to it. Despite the changing of the world, national characteristics can change only in certain directions because certain alternatives are possible and others are not, like a turnip seed never growing into a parsnip.

He further elaborates on this point, illustrating the unique cultures of the world: "Spaniards are cruel to animals; Italians can do nothing without making a deafening noise; the Chinese are addicted to gambling."  Ah, what a precise label of the Chinese culture! if there is one word to grasp the essence of Chinese culture, "gambling" is the very word!! 

As a journalist, he observed and analyzed the world events happening during WW2. He gave us a candid portrait on Ghandi, a much respected political/religious leader then. In Ghandi, he saw the incompatibility of humanity and sainhood:

The essence of being human is that one does not seek perfection, that one is sometimes willing to commit sins for the sake of loyalty,that one does not push asceticism to the point where it makes friendly intercourse impossible, and that one is prepared in the end to be defeated and broken up by life, which is the inevitable price of fastening one's love upon other human individuals. No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid, but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid. . . . In this yogi-ridden age, it is too readily assumed that "non-attachment" is not only better than a full acceptance of earthly life, but that the ordinary man only rejects it because it is too difficult: in other words, that the average human being is a failed saint. It is doubtful whether this is true. Many people genuinely do not wish to be saints, and it is probable that some who achieve or aspire to sainthood have never felt much temptation to be human beings. If one could follow it to its psychological roots, one would, I believe, find that the main motive for "non-attachment" is a desire to escape from the pain of living, and above all from love, which, sexual or non-sexual, is hard work. But it is not necessary here to argue whether the other-worldly or the humanistic ideal is "higher". The point is that they are incompatible. One must choose between God and Man, and all "radicals" and "progressives", from the mildest Liberal to the most extreme Anarchist, have in effect chosen Man.

George Orwell

 

 

 

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A Reverie on Emily Dickens (1830-1886)

A sunny Sunday morning overflowing

Sublime songs from the church next door

Shafts of sunlight piercing the sedate heart

Thus comes to life the apparition of Emily Dickens----

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