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Ключевые слова (Key words)

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Пожалуй, самый частотный прием расставления авторских акцентов – ключевые слова. Это лексические повторы, которые значимо соотносятся с идеей произведения. Так, в рассказе ‘The courting’ наблюдается повторение слов dare, sunshine, fence, suddenly, if . Можно ли все их считать ключевыми словами? По сюжету на протяжении многих лет к Сюзане Шеридан сватается Джим. Теперь ей 47. Она уверена и в его чувствах, и в своих, ничто не препятствует их свадьбе и отъезду в Новый Южный Уэльс, кроме того, что Сюзан панически боится реакции своей матери. Почти весь текст – это разговор Сюзан и Джима в лесу, за пределами усадьбы её матери, её размышления о том, что было бы, если бы она осмелилась сказать матери и его настойчивые уговоры наконец-то решиться. В конце концов Сюзан говорит матери о помолвке и внезапно для себя узнает, что та абсолютно не против. Мы видим, что понятия dare, fence, suddenly, if принципиально важны для понимания сути произведения. Sunshine вряд ли можно назвать ключевым словом. Оно помогает создать колорит и может быть названо лейтмотивом (leitmotif).

The courting by Margaret Trist

Susan Sheridan looked back towards the house. It had the appearance of dozing in the summer afternoon sunshine. An old, old house, mellow, comfortable and, for the first time she realized it, beloved. The forty-seven years of her life had been spent there. It seemed incredible that she should ever live anywhere else. Panic swept over her that she should even dare to think of leaving it. “I can't," she thought, "not at my age. If he'd asked me ten years ago—“ Colour surged in her face. Her face was so clean that the skin shone. Her forehead and cheeks were tautened by her tightly drawn black hair. A mauve print frock, a miracle of laundering, hung loosely on her tall, gaunt figure. Round the middle of the frock a belt hung more loosely still. The frock denied emphatically that Susan had a body. There were a head, a pair of large, work- roughened hands, a small portion of cotton-clad legs and a pair of large, low-heeled shoes.

Abruptly she turned away from the house and stooped to clamber through the three-wire boundary fence. Walking quickly across the clearing Susan took a little path, more a sheep pad than a path, that wound among the trees. They were as much part of her life as her narrow, well-scrubbed bedroom and the kitchen that she scrubbed and polished each morning. They were trees growing in close proximity to her home. They provided a pleasant walk of a hot afternoon. At times they looked pretty but mostly they did not—straggly, untidy twisty sticks which did not appeal to her at all. Today for the first time she looked at them minutely, noting how the sunshine softened and warmed the ruddy, brown trunks, and the way the branches flung themselves outward like human limbs. She ran her fingers over patches of creamy smoothness and rough bark. For a long tune she loitered, fingering, examining, sniffing even, then suddenly she shook herself and hurried on. She came to a fallen log that was well out of sight of the house. She prodded at it to satisfy herself that there were no snakes. Then she sat down. The colour in her face had faded to a dull red. She bit at the tips of her fingers.

“If he'd asked me ten years ago,” she thought again, knowing while she thought it that if he had asked her ten years ago she would have been in the same panic as she was now. She couldn't blame it on Jim that they had not been married ten years ago—twenty for that matter. The blame lay with herself. There had always seemed to be some reason why she could not go to her mother and say, “Mother, Jim and I want to be married.” Once she had felt that she was too young and that her mother would sneer at her. Now, inexplicably, she had grown too old and the expected taunt could not be borne. Her mother, that tyrannical, utterly charming woman, who by a mere matter of scarcely noticing her existence had given Susan forty-seven years of fear-ridden life. At times Susan wondered if she had even dared to cry as a baby. "Wouldn't she talk now!" thought Susan and flushed deeply as in imagination she heard her mother's light tones delightedly broaching the subject of Susan's forthcoming nuptials. “There never lived a goose so grey, that some day soon or late...” Susan winced. No. It was too late. She couldn't get married at forty-seven. Jim, who had waited so patiently for twenty years, must go to the farm he had bought in New South Wales alone. That, of course, as far as she was concerned, would be the end of Jim. She would never see him again. If Jim could wait around for twenty years he wasn't, going to come chasing her from the remoteness of New South Wales. If only Jim had had a bit more go in him. If only ten years ago he had challenged her mother—if only - but it was too late now. Susan sighed and got up. There was desolation in the afternoon peace among the trees. The sunshine was fading across the wastes of still grass.

Suddenly, in the quietness, footsteps rang out. Heavy footsteps, solid, slow but very sure. It seemed to Susan that her heart turned completely over. Jim came towards her through the trees. A big man, sun-tanned, awkwardly dressed in a suit of good clothes. A good man, too, as Susan knew. There was a certain pathos in that very goodness.

"Well?" asked Jim. He stood facing her, towering above her. It gave Susan a small, precious feeling. Susan looked at him but did not speak. "I went to the house," Jim said. "No one knew where you'd be. I guessed though." He looked at her, then burst out indignantly. "How is it they never know where you are up there?" He jerked his thumb back towards the house.

"You'd think yon were a blooming lump of wood the way they talk. How is it they know where to look for you when they want something done 'and not other times?"

Susan looked at him dumbly. There was a silence.

"Well," queried Jim again, "have you thought?" "I've thought," answered Susan, "but—"

Jim turned away from her. "I guess that's all there is to it," he said. "You've been butting me for twenty years and more. I guess you love your mother more than you love me, that’s all."

"Oh, Jim—" protested Susan, "don't make it harder for me. It's just—well I couldn't leave mother now— she depends on me for everything."

"Why should she? She's got Maudie and Henry, and that kid of your brother’s. She hasn't got eyes for anyone else but Annette. Cheeky little swipe she is too."

The thought of Annette filled Susan with sudden bitterness. It was true. Her mother had no thought for anyone else but Annette. She was a perfect fool about the child. And Annette had come to shooting looks of triumph out of those still, dark eyes of hers at Susan. Cheek Susan could have stood, but not those long cool looks. And she, Susan, a woman of forty-seven years of age, was not allowed to raise a finger to protect herself or even dare correct her. No, that was too much.

Jim had turned back towards her and was looking at her intently. He grasped her hands. "You'd only have to tell your mother, and we could go," he said.

It occurred to Susan how monotonous her life had been; what greater monotony would lie ahead. If only she dare. A warmth crept into her veins and sent the blood circulating fiercely in her body. A hammer began to beat in her head. Why not? Why ever not? For the first time in her life she longed for adventure, сhange, a new road to travel, a new-life to live. Her mother's autocratic tones came to her and Maudie's constant ridiculous laugh. She could see Henry, silent as the grave, dense as a block of wood; the triumph gleaming in Annette's still, dark eyes.

"What would I say to mother?" she whispered.

"Say we're going to be married—tomorrow."

"Tomorrow?" she faltered.

"Tomorrow," he said firmly.

There was a long silence. Then in the stillness among the timber Susan Sheridan laughed, a pleasing sound that floated away on the quiet afternoon air.

"I'll have to be going," said Jim. "I've to show the man who's taken over a few things. You'll go and tell her now."

"Yes," replied Susan.

They smiled at each other. .They walked soberly to the fence where his horse was tethered. Susan stood listening while the hoofbeats died away.

Then with firm steps she started retracing her way homeward.

She had been down the reserve a long time and the sun had set by the time she reached the boundary fence. Even the flame had faded from the west, leaving the sky pale and opaquely clear.

Her mother was gardening, prodding ineffectually with a small fork. Annette was beside her, watering just as ineffectually with a very small can. They were both very happy.

"I would fain go back to the old grey river," recited her mother as she dug, and each time she finished, Annette stopped watering to say, "Say it again, Grandmother."

Susan let herself in the garden gate and walked towards them. The flowers were pale in the evening light. There was a smell of crushed mint and wet earth. The house was dark behind them. To the right of them a yellow light shone from the kitchen. The clatter of tea things filled the air.

"I am going to be married," said Susan. She stood squarely in front of her mother and looked down at her where she knelt among the phlox. "She's getting old," thought Susan. "Funny I never noticed it before. She stood there, waiting and looking down. Her mother loosened the soil with her fork and got up slowly. For once it was her mother who was taken aback.

"What did you say?" she queried to gain time.

"I am going to be married," repeated Susan, "tomorrow."

"Well!" gasped her mother, "you are a close one."

They stood staring at each other.

"God bless you, my child," said her mother, suddenly remembering something from out of the past. It pleased her that she had remembered what was the right thing to say. Triumphant, she called, "Come, Annette," and together the old woman and the little girl went round the corner of the house.

It had all been so easy after all. Was it the fear of this that had kept her from happiness for twenty years? Susan, her self-control deserting her, stood and cried in the darkening garden.


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