Fences 中的象征意义

前言:Fences是我们英语课上要求阅读的一个剧本,这个剧本主要讲的是美国黑人清洁工Troy默默无闻,自己的才华因为社会的不公而无法得到施展,因为自己的所受到的不公而背叛了自己的妻子,与情人生下了私生女,并将抚养这个孩子的重任交给了妻子。本剧的最后Troy一家人聚在一起参加了他的葬礼。而我们英语老师要求我们从下面的两个题目中选择一道来完成我们的这个作业;实际上这篇essay是due Winter break之前的,但由于我放假前的前一天去考托福去了,我们英语老师人也挺好,就跟我说放假之后再交也行,这一拖,就直接拖到了放假前一天。下面是我们的题目要求。

The questions below all come from past AP English Literature exams. Select one of the questions provided here and write the intro and the first body paragraph. That’s all we are doing for this essay (given the holiday season). The body paragraph should include at least three quotations from the text.

A symbol is an object, action, or event that represents something or that creates a range of associations beyond itself. In literary works, a symbol can express an idea, clarify the meaning, or enlarge literal meaning.

Focusing on one symbol (the fence), write an essay analyzing how that symbol functions in Fences and what it reveals about Troy and about the meaning of the work as a whole.

Choose a novel or play that depicts a conflict between a parent (or a parental figure) and a son or daughter. Write an essay in which you analyze the source of the conflict and explain how the conflict contributes to the meaning of Fences. (Write about Troy’s conflict with Cory.)

因为这个剧本我是在两周之前读的了,所以很多细节其实是记不大清楚了。我的这个英语作业是在两个题目之中二选一:第一个是整个剧本的symbol: fence 在整个剧中的作用以及fence对Troy的影响是啥;第二个题目则是Troy和他儿子之间的conflict。因为第二个题目更偏向于对于细节的分析,而第一个题目则是可以开局一张嘴,其余全靠编的,所以果断选择第一个啦。

“August Wilson did not name his play, Fences, simply because the dramatic action depends strongly on the building of a fence in the Maxson’s backyard. Rather, the characters lives change around the fence-building project which serves as both a literal and a figurative device, representing the relationships that bond and break in the arena of the backyard. The fact that Rose wants the fence built adds meaning to her character because she sees the fence as something positive and necessary. Bono observes that Rose wants the fence built to hold in her loved ones. To Rose, a fence is a symbol of her love and her desire for a fence indicates that Rose represents love and nurturing. Troy and Cory on the other hand think the fence is a drag and reluctantly work on finishing Rose’s project. Bono also observes that to some people, fences keep people out and push people away. Bono indicates that Troy pushes Rose away from him by cheating on her. Troy’s lack of commitment to finishing the fence parallels his lack of commitment in his marriage. The fence appears finished only in the final scene of the play, when Troy dies and the family reunites. The wholeness of the fence comes to mean the strength of the Maxson family and ironically the strength of the man who tore them apart, who also brings them together one more time, in death.”

Excerpt from sparknotes.com

Rose loves her family. She wants to keep everyone together and plays peacemaker to achieve this end. The fence she wants Troy and Cory to build around the yard symbolizes her goal. Troy and Cory can’t understand why she wants the fence, but Bono can. He says to them, “People … build fences to keep people in. Rose wants to hold on … She loves you.” Troy and Cory’s inability to understand why they need the fence is what makes it all the more necessary. The two most important people in her life do not see their house as a loving one and are aching to get out.

The one civil conversation Troy and Cory have is when they begin working on the fence. While building the fence, Cory tells Troy he should buy a television. Troy eventually agrees to form a partnership; if Cory can raise half the money for the television, Troy will match it. The fence-building project comes too late, however, and is not strong enough to hold the family together.

Excerpt from coursehero.com

Another vital symbol in the play is fences. Throughout the play Troy neglects to build fences that Rose has ordered him. His negligence to build the fence symbolically stands for his negligence or irresponsibility towards his family. Troy’s lack of commitment to finishing the fence also parallels his lack of commitment in his marriage. It stands for the physical and emotional barrier between him and his son Cory. The fence is different for different characters in the play. For Rose, it is a means to keep his dear and loved ones within her reach, within the fence. It is positive and necessary for her to build. She frequently tells Troy and Cory to build the fence together, which implicitly means that she wants to reestablish the bond between father and the son. Rose may instinctively feel that her family is disintegrating, and the fence is her way of trying to symbolically hold it together. For Bono, the fence is symbolic to the betrayal of Troy to his wife. For Troy fence is the replica of all the barriers he has faced in his life. It was his cruel and abusive father. Then it was poverty and homelessness. Next it was the racism that kept him from the professional baseball career that he rightly deserved.

Excerpt from bachelorandmaster.com

  在《篱笆》中,篱笆墙这一隐喻具有支配整个语篇脉络的作用,因此全剧是隐喻语篇。贯穿全剧的概念隐喻就是Human relationships are fences。其中的目标域为Human relationships,而喻源域为fences。剧作家通过人物及围绕人物的事件表现出“人与人之间的关系中充满藩篱”这样的基本概念隐喻。他虽然没有创造这个概念隐喻,但他在此基础上,结合剧情,创造出不同的概念表达式,即:Race relationship is fence./Father-son relationship is fence./Husband-wife relationship is fence. 在这三个概念表达式中,同样存在两个义域间实体的对应关系。

  一个有趣的现象是,戏中没有一个白人角色出场,但不可否认他们的影响是弥漫在各处无所不在的。白人缺席的在场反而更加证明隔开黑人和白人种族关系的是一睹不可跨越的篱笆墙。白人可以在墙里墙外闲庭信步,而黑人只能被困在篱笆墙内,不可越雷池半步。

  特洛伊在很小的时候,他的父亲常对他毒打,因此十几岁的特洛伊就离开了家。特洛伊与前妻的儿子莱恩斯年幼的时候,特洛伊就锒铛入狱,所以莱恩斯几乎没有得到父爱,长大后一心追求自己喜欢的音乐,却被父亲嗤之以鼻。二儿子考利同父亲一样,也有很高的运动天赋,被一所大学的橄榄球队录取,并取得了奖学金。但是特洛伊因为有自己的前车之鉴坚决反对儿子从事在他看来没有任何前途的体育运动。考利赌气决定离开家,参加海军。作为儿子,特洛伊、莱恩斯和考利都与他们的父亲间有一堵篱笆墙。而他们长大成人都是从迈出离开父亲的那一步开始的。父子关系具有微妙的双向性。一方面,作为父亲,特洛伊和特洛伊的父亲都做具有相当的责任感,担负起养家糊口的重任,他们在这方面对儿子的影响是潜移默化的。另一方面,他们的暴戾和固执又将儿子驱逐出自己的世界。Harry J. Elam认为,威尔逊“创造了特洛伊这样一个对家庭有高度责任感的高大的形象,尽管他只是一意孤行地从自己的角度理解家庭责任,而他对家庭责任的理解使他没能看清他的所作所为对其他家庭成员的影响。”(Elam, 2005:325)然而也正是这种一意孤行无形间建立了父子间的篱笆墙。
  “Father-son relationship is fence.”这一隐喻表达式深化了“Human relationships are fences.”这一概念隐喻。

  夫妻间的藩篱主要体现在特洛伊私生女的问题上。在第二幕第一场,特洛伊对妻子罗斯坦白了自己的婚外情。他解释说与情人在一起使他可以逃避现实且有成就感,有打棒球时“偷二垒”的感觉。他把与情人的关系看成荣耀的棒球成就。而罗斯则斩钉截铁地说,“我们说的不是棒球!”(Wilson, 1996:960)夫妻双方在私生女这件事上有争执,更重要的是,他们对待事物的认识角度也是有分歧的。这种对事物认识角度的不同在第一幕第一场就有体现。特洛伊对好友博诺夸口说自己常与死神搏斗,罗斯反驳说那是特洛伊根据自己1941年的肺炎的经历胡编乱造的,而且每次特洛伊讲这个故事,细节都不一样。特洛伊不管不顾,继续对博诺讲自己与死神的搏斗。罗斯只好以最简短的方式予以回击:“胡说!”(948)
  在第二幕第三场,特洛伊把私生女接回家。善良的罗斯见孩子可怜,同意收养,但对特罗伊说,“从现在开始…..这孩子就有妈了。但你没了老婆。”(963)至此夫妻间的藩篱达到了顶峰。一直到最后特洛伊死去,这样冰冻的关系才没有得到缓和。
  “Husband-wife relationship is fence.”这一隐喻表达式丰富了剧中的概念隐喻。
  威尔逊将人与人关系(目标域)细化为种族关系、父子关系、夫妻关系三个实体,并分别描绘了各自的藩篱(喻源域)特性,将概念隐喻纵向推进。

  黑人的自尊、自重、人间爱是剧中倡导的推翻种族间藩篱的良药。这个思想与马丁·路德·金倡导的民权运动非暴力方针不谋而合,也体现了威尔逊一贯的黑人民族主义观念。同时,父子、夫妻间的藩篱最终也必将只能由爱来打破。

  通过篱笆贯穿始终的隐喻,威尔逊传达了“我们生活在各种藩篱中,而打破藩篱的最佳武器是爱”这样的理念。对该剧重要概念隐喻及其目标域、喻源域的解读,不仅有助于读者了解隐喻的哲学概念,而且有助于读者更好地理解该剧的主题与意义。

Excerpt from m.xzbu.com

正文

其实感觉这个也不能算是正文吧,这个板块主要就是我边写边整理自己的思维,有点像写我自己思维的“流水账”。

因为本次的essay我们老师只要求了一个开头和一个body paragraph,开头的话先放到一边;如果是要写一篇完整的文章的话,开头肯定是写fence在文中的重要性,接下来的body paragraph肯定就是依次写在剧中各种不同不一样的“fences”。而如果只挑选一个fence来写的话,那写美国社会中黑人与白人的fence是最合适不过的了(因为这个题材可以写的会比较多,换言而之这个会比较好写,虽然可能会写的比较陈词滥调,但明天就开学了还要啥自行车是吧)

Btw,写这篇半成品的文章还有一个比较重要的一点就是我们老师硬性要求需要从书本中摘抄一些有代表性的句子来佐证自己的句子。(然而我的书都不知道在寒假的时候丢到哪里去了,所以希望我能马上找到书回来写作吧)(最后发现自己怎么也找不到书了,只有用网上pdf version凑合凑合用了,页数的话。。。就随便乱编了吧,还是那句话,明天就开学了还要啥子自行车)

现在是第二天的早上,学校。本来是打算今早早点起来写的,结果我不负众望地再一次睡过头了,唉,现在距离英语课上课时间时间只有不到五十分钟了,希望我能按时写完吧。

Thanks God, 我在上课前一分钟写完了,花了二十秒检查了一下格式和拼写,花了另外三十米秒把essay打印了出来,最后十秒冲刺到教室。Perfect Timing。

Here’s my essay:

Fences, written by August Wilson, is a story about its main character, Troy, whose job is to lift the garbage. Because of the unfair treatment he received when he was young, he betrayed his wife. At the end of the play, all the people in his family came to his funeral. “Fence” is a really important object in this play, not only because that it’s the name of this play, but also because that “fence” is the symbol that represents a lot of things in this play. By the use of “fence”, Wilson is able to help his readers to understand the meaning of this play and tell them that “people nowadays live in a lot of fences and the only way to break those fences is the love”.

The first “fence” in the play should be the “fence” between the black people and white people in the United States. Troy was a really good baseball player but he’s not able to get into the Major League because he’s black. This unfair treatment made Troy change a lot, especially his understanding of how to live as a black person. Therefore, when Cory told him that he wanted to join the football team in the college instead of doing his job to earn the money, Troy felt really angry and refused him:” I told that boy about that football stuff. The white man ain’t gonna let him get nowhere with that football”(12). Another “fence” between black people and white people that Troy found is that “ I went to Mr. Rand and asked him—’Why? Why you got the white mens driving and the colored lifting?’ Told him, ‘What’s the matter, don’t I count?’”(3) and this “fence” is found by Troy after he got into work. Even though there’s no single white character in the play, but the effect that the white people and the “fences” between white and black people brought exist everywhere in the play. However, later in the play, there’s some evidence in the play showing that some of the fences between white and black had been broke because Troy finally became a truck driver even though he did not have a driving license: “Driving ain’t nothing. All you do is point the truck where you want it to go. Driving ain’t nothing”(61).

写在后面:这篇在ddl之前赶出来的essay虽然质量还能说得过去,但肯定跟“佳作”的标准还差得远。这次的情况特殊,如果我真的逐字逐句地去写一篇这样的佳作,我的这篇essay肯定就要迟交了,毕竟我们老师都给我推迟了两周了,我再跟老师说能不能推迟一天交就太尴尬了。

但是不管怎么说,Fence这个剧本是个好剧本,以后有机会了我也会重新写一篇心得,这次就先到这里了。

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