盖茨比背后的秘密
The real secret behind Gatsby

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    《牛津大学出版社博客精选》第006期

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    牛津大学出版社
    Oxford University Press

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    双语

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《了不起的盖茨比》是美国最为知名的小说之一,可它对盖茨比本人的描写却十分怪异,让人费解,以致于这部小说也是很少有人能够完全读懂的书之一。

在小说里,我们发现了盖茨比隐藏的事情:不光是非法贩卖私酒,还有他的姓氏“盖茨”以及他少数族裔美国人的贫寒出身。也正是由于这个原因,他最终还是未能如愿进入英裔美国人上层的社交圈。我们理解他破灭的美国梦,也理解他为什么要为自己编造一个贵族家庭的身世和一个英国味儿的姓氏——盖茨比。

盖茨比能够在战争期间出现在黛西家的正门前要归功于他的军官身份。小说清楚地揭示出,当战争让盖茨比成为一名军官时,同时赋予了他新的社会地位。当披上“军装这件隐形斗篷”时,他越过了阶级之间“看不见的铁丝网”。

小说没有回答的问题是:盖茨比,这个北达科他来的农场穷小子、明显的德裔美国人,在当时德国还是敌对国家的情况下,是如何成为美国军队中的一名军官的。小说肯定在这一点上“保守了秘密”。小说的叙述者尼克•卡拉韦很自然地对盖茨比的军事任命状产生了怀疑,觉得它可能是根据虚构的上层社会背景而颁发的。

The Great Gatsby is one of the best-known American novels, but weirdly, and strangely reflective of Gatsby himself, one of the least understood.

In the course of the novel, we find out what Gatsby is hiding: not only his criminal bootlegging, but also his family name, Gatz, and his poor, ethnic-American roots, which in the end exclude him from the upper-class Anglo-American social circles he hoped to enter. We understand his frustrated American dream, and we understand too why he felt the need to fabricate for himself the pedigree of a patrician family with the Anglo-sounding surname Gatsby.

Of course, what got Gatsby in the front door of her house during the war was his officer status. The novel makes clear how the war gave Gatsby a new social status when it made him an officer. He crossed the “indiscernible barbed wire” between classes when he put on the “invisible cloak of his uniform.”

What the novel doesn't answer is how Gatsby, a poor farm boy from North Dakota and apparently a German-American to boot, got to be an officer in the US Army when Germany was the enemy. The novel definitely “guards secrets” on this point. The novel's narrator Nick Carraway naturally comes to doubt Gatsby's account of a military commission that was supposed to have been issued out of a made-up upper-class background.

简而言之,美国为一战而进行的特别军事动员使得盖茨比等无名小卒们被选中参加军官训练,有些人甚至在训练营时就被提升为上尉。我们对美国军队鲜为人知的历史不熟悉,而主人翁扑朔迷离的身世又恰恰是小说触动我们的地方之一。

新电影会揭开盖茨比发迹的秘密吗?让我们拭目以待。

  • 盖茨比背后的秘密

  • The real secret behind Gatsby

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  • The Great Gatsby is one of the best-known American novels, but... 全部评论(1) 去书内

    了不起的盖茨比是美国最为著名的小说之一,然而事有蹊跷,书有隐言,正如书中的主角盖茨比,此书很少有人真正读懂。

    2013-08-28 喜欢(2) 回复(0)