首页考试吧网校万题库直播雄鹰网校团购书城模考论坛实用文档作文大全宝宝起名
2016中考
法律硕士
2016高考
MBA考试
2016考研
MPA考试
在职研
中科院
考研培训 自学考试 成人高考
四 六 级
GRE考试
攻硕英语
零起点日语
职称英语
口译笔译
申硕英语
零起点韩语
商务英语
日语等级
GMAT考试
公共英语
职称日语
新概念英语
专四专八
博思考试
零起点英语
托福考试
托业考试
零起点法语
雅思考试
成人英语三级
零起点德语
等级考试
华为认证
水平考试
Java认证
职称计算机 微软认证 思科认证 Oracle认证 Linux认证
公 务 员
导游考试
物 流 师
出版资格
单 证 员
报 关 员
外 销 员
价格鉴证
网络编辑
驾 驶 员
报检员
法律顾问
管理咨询
企业培训
社会工作者
银行从业
教师资格
营养师
保险从业
普 通 话
证券从业
跟 单 员
秘书资格
电子商务
期货考试
国际商务
心理咨询
营 销 师
司法考试
国际货运代理人
人力资源管理师
广告师职业水平
卫生资格 执业医师 执业药师 执业护士
会计从业资格
基金从业资格
统计从业资格
经济师
精算师
统计师
会计职称
法律顾问
ACCA考试
注册会计师
资产评估师
高级经济师
审计师考试
高级会计师
注册税务师
国际内审师
理财规划师
美国注册会计师
一级建造师
安全工程师
设备监理师
公路监理师
公路造价师
二级建造师
招标师考试
物业管理师
电气工程师
建筑师考试
造价工程师
注册测绘师
质量工程师
岩土工程师
注册给排水
造价员考试
注册计量师
环保工程师
化工工程师
暖通工程师
咨询工程师
结构工程师
城市规划师
材料员考试
消防工程师
监理工程师
房地产估价
土地估价师
安全评价师
房地产经纪人
投资项目管理师
环境影响评价师
土地登记代理人
宝宝起名
缤纷校园
实用文档
入党申请
英语学习
思想汇报
作文大全
工作总结
求职招聘 论文下载 直播课堂

大学英语精读第六册 Unit 04


  Unit Four

  Text

  As a black boy growing up in America in the early 1900s, Richard Wright knew well the meaning of racial prejudice. He was not allowed to play in a park or borrow books from a library. While working as an office boy in a bank, though, he found a way into the library and discovered the power of the written word. In the following story, Richard Wright tells us how his thirst for books grew with each passing day and what changes took place in him as he did more and more reading.

  THE LIBRARY CARD

  Richard Wright

  One morning I arrived early at work and went into the bank lobby where the Negro porter was mopping. I stood at a counter and picked up the Memphis Commercial Appeal and began my free reading of the press. I came finally to the editorial page and saw an article dealing with one H. L. Mencken. I knew by hearsay that he was the editor of the American Mercury, but aside from that I knew nothing about him. The article was a furious denunciation of Mencken, concluding with one, hot, short sentence: Mencken is a fool.

  I wondered what on earth this Mencken had done to call down upon him the scorn of the South. The only people I had ever heard enounced in the South were Negroes, and this man was not a Negro. Then what ideas did Mencken hold that made a newspaper like the Commercial Appeal castigate him publicly? Undoubtedly he must be advocating ideas that the South did not like.

  Now, how could I find out about this Mencken? There was a huge library near the riverfront, but I knew that Negroes were not allowed to patronize its shelves any more than they were the parks and playgrounds of the city. I had gone into the library several times to get books for the white men on the job. Which of them would now help me to get books?

  I weighed the personalities of the men on the job. There was Don, a Jew; but I distrusted him. His position was not much better than mine and I knew that he was uneasy and insecure; he had always treated me in an offhand, bantering way that barely concealed his contempt. I was afraid to ask him to help me to get books; his frantic desire to demonstrate a racial solidarity with the whites against Negroes might make him betray me.

  Then how about the boss? No, he was a Baptist and I had the suspicion that he would not be quite able to comprehend why a black boy would want to read Mencken. There were other white men on the job whose attitudes showed clearly that they were Kluxers or sympathizers, and they were out of the question.

  There remained only one man whose attitude did not fit into an anti-Negro category, for I had heard the white men refer to him as "Pope lover". He was an Irish Catholic and was hated by the white Southerners. I knew that he read books, because I had got him volumes from the library several times. Since he, too, was an object of hatred, I felt that he might refuse me but would hardly betray me. I hesitated, weighing and balancing the imponderable realities.

  One morning I paused before the Catholic fellow's desk.

  "I want to ask you a favor," I whispered to him.

  "What is it?"

  "I want to read. I can't get books from the library. I wonder if you'd let me use your card?"

  He looked at me suspiciously.

  "My card is full most of the time," he said.

  "I see," I said and waited, posing my question silently.

  "You're not trying to get me into trouble, are you, boy?" he asked, staring at me.

  "Oh, no, sir."

  "What book do you want?"

  "A book by H. L. Mencken."

  "Which one?"

  "I don't know. Has he written more than one?"

  "He has written several."

  "I didn't know that."

  "What makes you want to read Mencken?"

  "Oh, I just saw his name in the newspaper," I said.

  "It's good of you to want to read," he said. "But you ought to read the right things."

  I said nothing. Would he want to supervise my reading?

  "Let me think," he said. "I'll figure out something."

  I turned from him and he called me back. He stared at me quizzically.

  "Richard, don't mention his to the other white men," he said.

  "I understand," I said. "I won't say a word."

  A few days later he called me to him.

  "I've got a card in my wife's name," he said. "Here's mine."

  "Thank you, sir."

  "Do you think you can manage it?"

  "I'll manage fine," I said.

  "If they suspect you, you'll get in trouble," he said.

  "I'll write the same kind of notes to the library that you wrote when you sent me for books," I told him. "I'll sign your name."

  He laughed.

  "Go ahead. Let me see what you get," he said.

  That afternoon I addressed myself to forging a note. Now, what were the name of books written by H. L. Mencken? I did not know any of them. I finally wrote what I thought would be a foolproof note: Dear Madam: Will you please let this nigger boy -- I used the word "nigger" to make the librarian feel that I could not possibly be the author of the note -- have some books by H.L. Mecken? I forged the white man's name.

  I entered the library as I had always done when on errands for whites, but I felt that I would somehow slip up and betray myself. I doffed my hat, stood a respectful distance from the desk, looked as unbookish as possible, and waited for the white patrons to be taken care of. When the desk was clear of people, I still waited.

  The white librarian looked at me.

  "What do you want, boy?"

  As though I did not possess the power of speech, I stepped forward and simply handed her the forged note, not parting my lips.

  "What books by Mencken does he want?" She asked.

  "I don't know, ma'am," I said, avoiding her eyes.

  "Who gave you this card?"

  "Mr. Falk," I said.

  "Where is he?"

  "He's at work, at M -- Optical Company," I said. "I've been in here for him before."

  "I remember," the woman said. "But he never wrote notes like this."

  Oh, God, she's suspicious. Perhaps she would not let me have the books? If she had turned her back at that moment, I would have ducked out the door and never gone back. Then I thought of a bold idea.

  "You can call him up, ma'am," I said, my heart pounding.

  "You're not using these books, are you?" she asked pointedly.

  "Oh, no, ma'am. I can't read."

  "I don't know what he wants by Mencken," she said under her breath.

  I knew now that I had non; she was thinking of other things and the race question had gone out of her mind. She went to the shelves. Once or twice she looked over her shoulder at me, as though she was still doubtful. Finally she came forward with two books in her hand.

  "I'm sending him two books," she said. "But tell Mr. Falk to come in next time, or send me the names of the books he wants. I don't know what he wants to read."

  I said nothing. She stamped the card and handed me the books. Not daring to glance at them. I went out of the library, fearing that the woman would call me back for further questioning. A block away from the library I opened one of the books and read a title: A Book of Prefaces. I was nearing my nineteenth birthday and I did not know how to pronounce the word "preface". I thumbed the pages and saw strange words and strange names. I shook my head, disappointed. I looked at the other book; it was called Prejudices, I knew what that word meant; I had heard it all my life. And right off I was on guard against Mencken's books. Why would a man want to call a book Prejudices? The word was so stained with all my memories of racial hate that I cold not conceive of anybody using it for a title. Perhaps I had made a mistake about Mencken? A man who had prejudices must be wrong.

  When I showed the books to Mr. Falk, he looked at me and frowned.

  "That librarian might telephone you," I warned him.

  "That's all right," he said. "But when you're through reading those books, I want you to tell me what you get out of them."

  That night in my rented room, while letting the hot water run over my can of pork and beans in the sink, I opened A Book of Preface and began to read. I was jarred and shocked by the style, the clear, clean, sweeping sentences. Why did he write like that? And how did one write like that? I pictured the man as a raging demon, slashing with his pen, consumed with hate, denouncing everything American, extolling everything European or German, laughing at the weaknesses of people, mocking God, authority. What was this? I stood up, trying to realize what reality lay behind the meaning of the words … Yes, this man was fighting, fighting with words. He was using words as a weapon, using them as one would use a club. Could words be weapons? Well, yes, for there they were. Then, maybe, perhaps, I could use them as a weapon? No. It frightened me. I read on and what amazed me was not what he said, but how on earth anybody had the courage to say it.

  I ran across many words whose meanings I did not know, and either looked them up in a dictionary or, before I had a chance to do that, encountered the word in a context that made its meaning clear. But what strange world was this? I concluded the book with the conviction that I had somehow overlooked something terribly important in life. I had once tried to write, had once reveled in feeling, had let my crude imagination roam, but the impulse to dream had been slowly beaten out of me by experience. Now it surged up again and I hungered for books, new ways of looking and seeing. It was not a matter of believing or disbelieving what I read, but of feeling something new, of being affected by something that made the look of the world different.

  I forget more notes and my trips to the library became frequent. Reading grew into a passion. My first serious novel was Sinclair Lewis's Main Street. It made me see my boss, Mr. Gerald, and identify him as an American type. I would smile when I saw him lugging his golf bags into the office. I had always felt a vast distance separating me from the boss, and now I felt closer to him, though still distant. I felt now that I knew him, that I could feel the very limits of his narrow life. And this had happened because I had read a novel about a mythical man called George F. Babbitt.

  I read Dreiser's Jennie Gerhardt and Sister Carrie and they revived in me a vivid sense of my mother's suffering; I was overwhelmed. I grew silent, wondering about the life around me. It would have been impossible for me to have told anyone what I derived from these novels, for it was nothing less than a sense of life itself. All my life had shaped me for the realism, the naturalism of the modern novel, and I could not read enough of them.

  Steeped in new moods and ideas, I bought a ream of paper and tried to write; but nothing would come, or what did come was flat beyond telling. I discovered that more than desire and felling were necessary to write and I dropped the idea. Yet I still wondered how it was possible to know people sufficiently to write about them? Could I ever learn about life and people? To me, with my vast ignorance, my Jim Crow station in life, it seemed a task impossible of achievement. I now knew what being a Negro meant. I could endure the hunger. I had learned to live with hate. But to feel that there were feelings denied me, that the very breath of life itself was beyond my reach, that more than anything else hurt, wounded me. I had a new hunger.

1 2 3 下一页

  推荐:牢记八个秘诀 “完美”英语张口就来

     英语习语的口语色彩

     练好英语中语音和语调的三大注意

文章责编:yangzhili1106  
看了本文的网友还看了
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 09  (2008-11-19 15:52:48)
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 08  (2008-11-19 15:32:31)
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 07  (2008-11-19 15:21:07)
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 06  (2008-11-19 15:15:45)
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 05  (2008-11-19 15:10:59)
·大学英语精读第六册 Unit 03  (2008-11-19 14:58:31)
文章搜索
贴图排行
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
英语学习栏目导航
版权声明:如果英语学习网所转载内容不慎侵犯了您的权益,请与我们联系800@exam8.com,我们将会及时处理。如转载本英语学习网内容,请注明出处。