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美文好心情:奥哈拉给女儿的信

2012-10-16 09:33

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奥哈拉给女儿的信

这是奥哈拉写给女儿的一封信。女儿将从中学毕业,这就意味着她将不再是小孩了。在这人生关键时刻,作为父亲,他既对女儿过去的表现表示满意,也对女儿的将来充满信心。然而,他却不忘再次重复自己对女儿立身行事的一句忠告:真诚地对待自己。这是要求女儿具有自信、自助、自律、自尊、自爱的品质。这句话显然是作者丰富的生活阅历和人生经验的总结,也是对女儿的谆谆教诲,赋予思想一种真切动人的感情力量。虽然信是写给予自己女儿的,但是这句忠告却具有普遍性的教育意义,是天下父母对子女的最真挚的希望。作者的语言温馨自然,平和亲切,看似叙述家常,却在平常中显示了令人惊叹的智慧,又让人产生一种贴心的感觉。

约翰·奥哈拉(John O' hara,1905-1970)是美国著名小说家。他生于宾夕法尼亚州的波茨维尔,中学毕业后父亲去世,就离家出走,开始独立的生活。他东奔西走,经过广泛的旅行之后,终于在纽约市当上记者,撰写文艺批评,短篇小说作品常常出现在著名杂志《纽约人》,此外还为好莱坞和百老汇改编电影和戏剧,如音乐喜剧《好友乔依》(1940年)。从第一部长篇《在萨马拉的约会》(1934)到死后出版的短篇小说集《萨马拉好人及其他小说》(1974),他的作品是20世纪20—40年代积极上进的美国社会史,以对20世纪美国生活习俗和价值的敏锐目光而著称。作为现实主义作家,他的风格是客观的,实事求是的。

John O'hara to His Daughter

TLS,1 p.Mrs. Doughty

Quogue, Long Island

16 September 1962, Sunday

My dear:

Well, here we are — but not here. You at St. Tim's, Sister in Princeton, and me in Quogue, and another brand new year is about to start for you. For me, too. I always seem to approach the autumn in the frame of mind that spring induces in most people. The excitement of new things; the new plays, the new books, new clothes, etc., etc., etc. At the same time the autumn for me is a season of a sweet melancholy that is hard to explain. I love the early evenings, the leaves burning, the lights in houses.

It is the beginning of a big year for you, in many respects your biggest so far. By the time June comes around you will be 18, and graduating from school. In the past week or so I have called you “Kid” but subconsciously I have been doing that because your kid days are over, or just about. I suspect that you are going through the experience of first love, and no matter what else happens, after that experience you are never a kid again.

Most of the nice things we associate with being a kid are okay — while you are still kid. But you gain more than you lose. You gain in understanding standing, in appreciation of people, in understanding and appreciation of yourself. You begin to see the wisdom in that quotation I have so often repeated to you: to thine own self be true. Every year at this time I have repeated that quotation to you, and the time is not really too far distant when you will be passing it on to your own children. It is probably the best single piece of advice I can give you, or you can give them.

You have done well, and I am pleased with you, not only for what you have done, but for what you are. As Miss Finnegan said to Sister, “Wylie has the right reactions.” So good luck in your Senior Year, and always know that the old man loves you very much.

Always

Dad

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