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糟糕的文章都是相似的。優秀的文章各有各的優秀 —楊老師教學筆記(4)

作者:楊立勇  於 2014-7-20 03:41 發表於 最熱鬧的華人社交網路--貝殼村

通用分類:英文分享|已有1評論

關鍵詞:文章, 教學

多年以後,我躺在墳墓里,準會想起寫這篇文章的那個遙遠的下午。

 

為什麼會有如此令人毛骨悚然的弔詭開場白?

 

因為這篇文章談的就是文章的開場白。

 

如何給一篇文章一個好的開場白?

 

我們可以從經典找到一些啟示:

 

1.「多年以後,奧雷連諾上校站在行刑隊面前,準會想起父親帶他去參觀冰塊的那個遙遠的下午。」 《百年孤獨》(1967

 

這樣的開場白,把時間和空間像兩個水晶球一樣在手上任意把玩,為敘事鋪設了一條康庄大道。

 

2.「毫無疑問,單身鑽石王老五都渴望有嬌妻相伴。」《傲慢與偏見》(1813

 

3.「幸福的家庭都是相似的,不幸的家庭各有各的不幸。」《安娜卡列麗娜》(1876

 

主題先行,吊起讀者的胃口。後面的故事,全都是為了證明這個主題。

 

4,「那是最美好的時代,那是最糟糕的時代;那是智慧的年頭,那是愚昧的年頭;那是信仰的時期,那是懷疑的時期;那是光明的季節,那是黑暗的季節;那是希望的春天,那是失望的冬天。」 《雙城記》(1859

 

自相矛盾的對仗排比句,有一種詩歌般的音韻美和文字上的結構美。

 

5. It is time, at last, to speak the truth about Thanksgiving, and the truth is this. Thanksgiving is really not such a terrific holiday. . . .

        (Michael J. Arlen, "Ode to Thanksgiving." The Camera Age: Essays on Television. Penguin, 1982)

6. I've finally figured out the difference between neat people and sloppy people. The distinction is, as always, moral. Neat people are lazier and meaner than sloppy people.

(Suzanne Britt Jordan, "Neat People vs. Sloppy People." Show and Tell. Morning Owl Press, 1983)

 

上述兩個開場白則是布下疑陣,有意誤導讀者,最後的結論出人意料,讀者的智商受到莫大挑戰。他們欲罷不能,非把文章讀到底弄個水落石出才善罷甘休。

 

7. It was in Burma, a sodden morning of the rains. A sickly light, like yellow tinfoil, was slanting over the high walls into the jail yard. We were waiting outside the condemned cells, a row of sheds fronted with double bars, like small animal cages. Each cell measured about ten feet by ten and was quite bare within except for a plank bed and a pot of drinking water. In some of them brown silent men were squatting at the inner bars, with their blankets draped round them. These were the condemned men, due to be hanged within the next week or two.

        (George Orwell, "A Hanging," 1931)

8. One October afternoon three years ago while I was visiting my parents, my mother made a request I dreaded and longed to fulfill. She had just poured me a cup of Earl Grey from her Japanese iron teapot, shaped like a little pumpkin; outside, two cardinals splashed in the birdbath in the weak Connecticut sunlight. Her white hair was gathered at the nape of her neck, and her voice was low. 「Please help me get Jeff』s pacemaker turned off,」 she said, using my father』s first name. I nodded, and my heart knocked.

        (Katy Butler, "What Broke My Father's Heart." The New York Times Magazine, June 18, 2010)

9. I like to take my time when I pronounce someone dead. The bare-minimum requirement is one minute with a stethoscope pressed to someone』s chest, listening for a sound that is not there; with my fingers bearing down on the side of someone』s neck, feeling for an absent pulse; with a flashlight beamed into someone』s fixed and dilated pupils, waiting for the constriction that will not come. If I』m in a hurry, I can do all of these in sixty seconds, but when I have the time, I like to take a minute with each task.

        (Jane Churchon, "The Dead Book." The Sun, February 2009)

 

文章一開始也可以營造一種弔詭驚悚的恐怖片氣氛。上面三段開場白都與死亡有關。第一個描述關在死囚牢里等待死亡的囚徒;第二個描述母女倆密謀害死父親;第三個是驗屍官用冷峻的語氣描述他驗屍的過程。

 

《紅燈記》里李玉和說,「媽,有你這碗酒墊底,什麼酒都能對付過去。」

 

學生對我說,「老師,有你這些經典開場白墊底,什麼文章都能對付過去。」

 

我回答說,「糟糕的文章都是相似的。優秀的文章各有各的優秀。」

 


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回復 心路獨舞 2014-7-20 11:33
楊老師的文章短,但很有看點,

facelist doodle 塗鴉板

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