The Great American Author  偉大的美國作家 —— 馬克•吐溫

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The Great American Author  偉大的美國作家 —— 馬克•吐溫

  Twain first began his writing career in his mid-teens by writing articles for a local paper. Later, after his days of piloting along the Mississippi, he became known for his humorous and clever travel tales. Readers came to know him as a man with his finger on the pulse of American culture and life.
  In 1876, Twain published The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Set in the fictional town of St. Petersburg, modeled after Hannibal, Missouri, the story follows Sawyer’s adventures along the Mississippi River. The book paints a picture of the American South, at once realistic and fantastic. Sawyer’s boyhood observations are matched with thoughtful descriptions of American society that fascinated the country at large.
Later, in 1884, Twain produced the sequel to Sawyer’s story, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Unlike other novels of the time, this was considered the first in which characters made use of the local slang. Along with the book’s exploration and objection of racism, the story is about the coming of age of Finn. Within the pages, Finn must learn how to live a good life and stay true to his own values.
  Sadly, Twain’s later years were troubled by a deep depression. He died of a heart attack in 1910, leaving behind a literary legacy that, in America, sits second to none.


 

  吐溫在青少年期間(約十六歲時)首次以替一家地方報社寫文章來開始他的寫作生涯。後來,在他沿著密西西比河航行之後,他開始以幽默巧妙的旅遊故事而聞名。讀者開始認識到他這個能掌握美國文化與生活脈動的人。
  1876 年時,吐溫出版了《湯姆歷險記》。這個故事發生在以密蘇里州的漢尼拔鎮為樣本的虛構小鎮聖彼得斯堡,敘述湯姆•索耶沿著密西西比河發生的冒險故事。這本書描繪出一幅美國南方的圖畫,既寫實又有趣。索耶的孩童觀察搭配對美國社會仔細的描述而使全美國人為之著迷。
  後來在 1884 年時,吐溫創作了索耶故事的續集《頑童歷險記》。不像當時其他的小說一樣,這被認為是第一部書中人物使用了地方俚語的小說。這本書除了探究與對種族歧視的異議之外,故事本身是關於主角哈克貝里•芬恩長大成年的經過。故事中,芬恩必須學會如何過好生活並對他自己的價值觀保持始終如一。
  令人傷心的是,吐溫晚年時深感憂鬱。他在 1910 年時心臟病發過世,留下美國首屈一指的文學遺產。

 
  1. pilot vt. 駕駛(船隻、飛行物)& n. 駕駛員;飛行員
    The captain reduced speed in order to better pilot the spaceship into the docking bay.
    機長為了能更順利地將太空船駛入停靠站而減速。
  2. humorous a. 幽默的,詼諧的
    The TV show I saw yesterday was humorous.
    我昨天看的那個影集很幽默。
  3. model vt. 模仿 & n. 模特兒;模型
    model oneself after sb  某人以……為榜樣
    Richard is trying to model himself after Bill Gates.
    理查試著把比爾•蓋茲當做自己的榜樣。
  4. realistic a. 寫實的;逼真的
    The illustrator is skilled at drawing realistic images of people.
    那位插畫家善於畫出逼真的人像。
    * illustrator n. 插畫家
  5. the…at large  整個/全……
    The American public at large wanted a better health care plan.
    全美國民眾都想要一個更好的醫療保健計畫。
  6. produce vt. 創作;生產,製造
    Electric cars produce less pollution.
    電動汽車製造的污染比較少。
  7. come of age  成年
    Johnny got a job and moved out of his parents’ home when he came of age.
    強尼成年時找到了工作並搬出他父母家。
  8. (be) second to none  首屈一指的
    When it comes to baking cookies, Maria is second to none.
    講到烘培餅乾,瑪莉亞絕對是首屈一指的。
  1. boyhood n. 童年時期
  2. observation n. 觀察
  3. description n. 描述,形容
  4. slang n. 俚語
  5. objection n. 反對;異議
  6. racism n. 種族歧視
  7. depression n. 憂鬱,沮喪,消沉
  8. legacy n. 留給後人的東西;遺產

『掌握脈動』怎麼說
本文 "Readers came to know him as a man with his finger on the pulse of American culture and life." 中的片語 with sb’s finger on the pulse (of sth) 表『掌握(某事物的)脈動,了解(某事物的)最新變化發展』。例:
Jason is a fashion designer with his finger on the pulse of fashion and pop culture.
(傑森是一位能掌握時尚及流行文化脈動的時裝設計師。)

此外,此片語中的名詞 finger 也有一些實用的片語,如 not lift a finger(什麼忙也沒幫)和 point the finger at sb(責怪/指責某人)等。例:
Rita cleaned the house all day long, but her husband didn’t lift a finger.
(芮塔一整天都在打掃家裡,但是她先生什麼忙也沒幫。)
Ed pointed the finger at me for the mistake I made.
(艾德指責我犯下的錯。)

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