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[文化博览] 【整理】2013-02-15 狄更斯其人 Charles Dickens—5

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“The first objects”, he says, “that assume a distinct presence before me as I look far back into the blank of my infancy, are my mother with her pretty hair and youthful shape, and Peggotty, with no shape at all. And eyes so dark that they seem to darken the whole neighborhood in her face.” That’s that thing of children, remembering things much, much larger than they actually were in objective reality. “Eyes so dark that they seem to darken the whole neighborhood in her face. And cheeks and arms so hard and red that I wondered the birds didn’t peck her in preference to apples.” Again, everything is very simple at this stage. Dickens, the great words *, the literary showman, is actually putting everything back into his box of tricks and shutting that box tight. So everything is in monosyllables, “cheeks and arms so hard and red”, and then that little image, the bird pecking at her in preference to apples. Of course, that’s an image a child would understand. The bird pecking, he wouldn’t have anything more sophisticated to compare Peggotty’s cheeks to.

But David’s idyll shatters as his mother remarries to a cold and heartless man called Mr. Murdstone. And now David can only see harshness wherever he gazes.

“I could not look at her. I could not look at him. I knew quite well that he was looking at us both. And a I turned to the window. I looked out there at some shrubs that were drooping their heads in the cold.”

The young Copperfield is the camera in this picture and everything we’re perceiving, everything we’re reading about is done as it’s perceived through his eyes. “I turned to the window”, and that thing of childhood where as you grow up, if you receive bad news, or if there’s been a sudden dramatic moment, you instantly recall the first image you saw at the time, an image that, no matter how insignificant it appears, still burns there at your heart with significance. This whole process in these first few chapters of David Copperfield...
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