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顽童流浪记

2006-03-01 00:00

MARK TWAIN'S "THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN"

  作者简介:

  马克吐温本名克雷门斯( Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1835-1910),是最能代表美国的作家。他的生平也是典型的美国故事。他十二岁丧父,干了几年印刷工之后,出外到密西西比河上谋生。后来还考得领航执照。南北战争后,他到报馆当记者,开始以马克吐温笔名写书,居然一举成名。此后二十年是他最盛产的写作时期,他的作品最令人津津乐道的是二部写顽童的小说:「顽童流浪记」和「汤姆历险记」。

  Huckleberry Finn tells his own story, explaining that a "Mr. Mark Twain" first introduced him in a book about Huck's friend, Tom Sawyer. Huck says that Mr. Twain" stretched some things but mainly told the truth." In the previous book, Tom and Huck had found a box of gold in a robber's cave and had received $6000 apiece for it, an amount invested for them by a kindly Judge Thatcher so that they each earned one dollar a day interest.

  Huck, whose mother is dead and whose father is the town drunk, has been taken in by the Widow Douglas and Miss Watson. The two women try to reform him, but he doesn't like the rules: no swearing or smoking, being forced to go to school, wearing clean clothes, sleeping in a bed. Then one day he notices some tracks in the snow which reveal a cross in their left heel. He recognizes them as his father's footsteps, so he rushes to sign his money over to the Judge. That way he knows his father can't get it.

  When Huck's father finds him, he beats him and takes him away from the Widow's. They go to a cabin in the woods where the old man keeps close watch on Huck, locking him in at night. Huck starts enjoying the freedom of fishing and swearing and not worrying about school and manners, but he is afraid his "Pap" will kill him some day. One night he cleverly escapes and takes a canoe he'd found over to Jackson's Island. He makes a bloody path by using a dead pig so people will think he's been killed.

  After a few days, Huck comes across another runaway on the island: Jim, Miss Watson's Negro slave. Against Huck's better judgment, he decides not to report Jim, who has escaped because he's heard he was to be sold down the river. They stay together on the island for several days, and they generally have a good time, once finding a house floating in which Jim finds a dead man. One night Huck dresses up like a girl and goes to town to find out what people are saying. He learns that everyone thinks he has been murdered by Jim, that his father has disappeared, and that there is a $300 reward for Jim.

  Huck hurries back to Jackson's Island and the two head down the Mississippi on a raft they'd found. They plan to go to Cairo, a city in the "free" state of Illinois. Jim plans to work hard and eventually to buy his wife and children from their masters down South. Huck still feels guilty about helping a slave escape, but he reasons that he'd feel worse if he betrayed his friend.

  As they drift slowly downstream, they encounter one incident after another. At one point, they find a wrecked steamboat and, on investigating, encounter three robbers. Huck and Jim in turn steal their rowboat, which holds their booty, and barely escape them. Another time their raft breaks loose from its towhead and the two get separated, Huck being in their canoe and Jim on their raft. When they get back together, Huck teases Jim and claims that Jim only dreamed that they'd been separated. Later Huck apologizes to his trusting friend for playing such a joke on him.

  They encounter fog and drift past Cairo without realizing where they are. Suddenly a steamboat appears in front of them and plows right through the feeble raft. Jim and Huck are thrown to opposite sides and both fear the other has died.

  Huck swims ashore and meets up with a friendly aristocratic family, the Grangerfords. He soon learns that this family has been feuding with a neighboring family, the Shepherdsons, for many years. After several days, one of the slaves takes Huck to the river to show him some snakes. There Huck finds Jim, who has repaired the raft. That night, one of the Grangerford daughters elopes with a Shepherdson, and the shooting begins. During the melee, Huck and Jim head down the river again.

  A few days later, while Huck is searching for berries in a newly found canoe, two men come crashing through the brush and beg for his help. He and Jim take them aboard the raft, and the younger man, about 30 years old, claims that he is the rightful Duke of Bridgewater, the older-about 70——counters that he himself is the Dauphin of France.

  The King and the Duke manage to pull off some clever schemes in the river towns, once finagling hundreds of dollars in a Shakespearian ruse. Huck helps them to some degree, but he doesn't really like them much. One time Huck also witnesses a murder and an attempted lynching. In another town the schemers hear about the death of a Mr. Peter Wilks, learning that Wilks left his large estate to his three daughters and to his two brothers, brothers who had been notified but whom no one in town had ever seen since they were living in England. The King and the Duke decide to try to cheat the girls out of their inheritance by claiming to be their British uncles.

  As Huck watches this fraud unfold, he becomes more and more upset. He comes to greatly respect the girls, one of whom he claims has "more sand than any girl I ever see." He cleverly steals the money from the impostors and hides it in the dead man's coffin. When the real brothers show up, the fraud is exposed and, in the turmoil, Huck manages to get back to the raft. Unfortunately, the King and the Duke also escape and once again join Huck and Jim.

  In the final episode, Huck discovers that the King has sold Jim to a Mr. Phelps for $40, so he goes out to the Phelps' place to try to get Jim back. When he arrives he is mistaken for-of all people-Tom Sawyer. Tom is the Phelps' nephew, and he's expected that very day. Huck tips Tom off in time and Tom then claims to be his own brother, Sid. They concoct a wild and imaginative scheme to save Jim, whom they discover is locked in a nearby shack. Tom insists that the rescue be "by the book," referring to the medieval romances and pirate stories he's been so taken by. After three weeks of planning, they carry out their plan. Tom gets shot in the escape, but he wears his wound with great pride. Jim is recaptured, but Tom then reveals that Jim has been legally set free by Miss Watson. Since Tom knew this all along, Huck can't understand why he'd so elaborately planned the rescue. Huck is relieved to know, however, that Tom isn't a "slave stealer," which Huck still considers to be wrong and unfitting of someone with Tom's social class.

  Finally Tom's Aunt Polly arrives and the boys' identities are straightened out. Jim gets his freedom and Tom gives him $40. Then Tom says Huck's money is safe with Judge Thatcher, but Huck is sure his Pap will get it. So Jim reveals to Huck that his father was the dead man Jim had discovered in the house they'd found floating down the river. Huck decides to "light out for the Territory" since he's certain that if he stays there Mrs. Phelps will surely try to "sivilize" him, and he doesn't want that.

  注解:

  stretch 夸大;曲解

  apiece 每人

  interest 利息

  town drunk 市井醉汉

  swearing 口出脏话

  reveal 揭露

  rush 赶忙

  cabin in the woods 林中小屋

  manners 礼貌;规矩

  canoe 独木舟;小舟

  come across 碰到

  runaway 逃跑的人

  report Jim 把 Jim 送进官府

  floating 漂流

  murdered 被谋杀

  raft 筏;木排feel guilty 内疚

  betray 出卖;陷害

  drift downstream 漂向下流

  encounter 不期而遇

  investingating 查究

  booty 抄掠品;战利品

  separated 失散

  apologize 道歉

  feeble 弱小

  aristocratic family 贵族家庭

  feuding 争执;不和

  elpoe 私奔

  melee 混战;殴斗

  head 向…前进

  berries 钱;上等东西

  pull off 驶离

  finagling 欺骗

  ruse 奸计

  lynching 私刑;制裁

  schemer 阴谋者

  estate 地产

  inheritance 祖先遗产

  claim 声称;要求(权利)

  fraud unfold 骗计败露

  coffin 棺材

  concoct 捏造;编造

  shack 小木屋

  medieval romance 中世纪骑士故事

  recapture 夺还;收回

  identities 身分

  straighten 解决

  territory (尚未成为州的)领域;地方

  sivilize(=civilize) 教化

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