Художественное произведение создается вокруг вопросов, волнующих писателя, в поисках ответов на эти вопросы. Примитивно это можно обозначить следующим образом: в каждом рассказе автором задаются вопросы (problems) и в каждом автор предлагает некую идею, ответ на эти вопросы свое послание нам (the message).
Однако на деле все сложнее. Идея может быть глубоко скрыта и даваться имплицитно (through implications) – через параллелизм, контраст, повторы, символы, детали. Авторское отношение также может быть завуалировано (например, если ситуация показана глазами одного из персонажей, как в случае с рассказом ‘Impersonating Elvis’).
Нужно также помнить, что идея может совпадать с проблемой, то есть авторским посланием в таком случае является сам вопрос (так называемая «идея-вопрос» [1, 84]). Более того, авторское решение поставленных проблем может быть с точки зрения читателя определенной эпохи неадекватным («идея-ошибка» [1, 84]).
Приведенные ниже тексты являются примером того, насколько разнородные вопросы ставит перед читателем автор и как субъективно читателями может пониматься идея. Рекомендуем при работе над рассказами записывать все дилеммы и вопросы, приходящие вам в голову во время чтения (Is Soams sensitive or hard-hearted? Is he capable of deep feeling? / What can destroy the relationship when we are happy? May it work with the same person for the second time?). Просматривая вопросы, вы наверняка наткнетесь на мысль о том «послании», которое автор хотел донести до читателя.
The Man of Property by J. Galsworthy
The happy pair were seated, not opposite each other, but rectangularly, at the handsome rosewood table; they dined without a cloth — a distinguishing elegance — and so far had not spoken a word.
Soames liked to talk during dinner about business, or what he had been buying, and so long as he talked Irene's silence did not distress him. This evening he had found it impossible to talk. The decision to build had been weighing on his mind all the week, and he made up his mind to tell her.
His nervousness about this disclosure irritated him profoundly; she had no business to make him feel like that — a wife and a husband being one person. She had not looked at him once since they sat down; and he wondered what on earth she had been thinking about all the time. It was hard, when a man worked as he did, making money for her — yes, and with an ache in his heart — that she should sit there, looking as if she saw the walls of the room closing in. It was enough to make a man get up and leave the table.
The light from the rose-shaded lamp fell on her heck and arms — Soames liked her to dine in a low dress, it gave him an inexpressible feeling of superiority to the majority of his acquaintance, whose wives were contented with their best high frocks or with tea-gowns, when they dined at home. Under that rosy light her amber-coloured hair and fair skin made strange contrast with her dark brown eyes.
Could a man own anything prettier than this dining-table with its deep tints, the starry, soft- petalled roses, the ruby-coloured glass, and quaint silver furnishing; could a man own anything prettier than the woman who sat at it? Gratitude was no virtue among Forsytes, who, competitive, and full of common-sense, had no occasion for it; and Soames only experienced a sense of exasperation amounting to pain, that he did not own her as it was his right to own her, that he could not, as by stretching out his hand to that rose, pluck her and sniff the very secrets of her heart.
Out of his property, out of all the things he had collected his silver, his pictures, his houses, his investments, he got a secret and intimate feeling; out of her he got none.
In this house of his there was writing on every wall. His business-like temperament protested against a mysterious warning that she was not made for him. He had married this woman, conquered her, made her his own, and it see-med to him contrary to the most fundamental of all laws, the law of possession, that he could do no more that own her body — if indeed he could do that, which he was beginning to doubt. If anyone had asked him if he wanted to own her soul, the question would have seemed to him both ridiculous and sentimental. But he did so want, and the writing said he never would.
She was ever silent, passive, gracefully averse; as though terrified lest by word, motion, or sign she might lead him to believe that she was fond of him; and he asked himself: Must I always go on like this?
Like most novel readers of his generation (and Soames was a great novel reader), literature coloured his view of life: and he had imbibed the belief that it was only a question of time. In the end the husband always gained the affection of his wife. Even in those cases — a class of book he was not very fond of — which ended in tragedy, the wife always died with poignant regrets on her lips, or if it were the husband who died — unpleasant thought — threw herself on his body in an agony of remorse.
He often took Irene to the theatre, instinctively choosing the modern Society plays with the modem Society conjugal problem, so fortunately different from any conjugal problem in real life. He found that they too always ended in the same way, even when there was a lover in the case. While he was watching the play Soames often sympathized with the lover; but before he reached home again, driving with Irene in a hansom, he saw that this would not do, and he was glad the play had ended as it had. There was one class of husband that had just, then come into fashion, the strong, rather rough, but extremely .sound man, who was peculiarly successful at the end of the play; with this person Soames was really not in sympathy, and had it not been for his own position, would have expressed his disqust with the fellow. But he was so conscious of how vital to himself was the necessity for being a successful, even a "strong", husband, that he never spoke of a distaste born perhaps by the perverse processes of Nature out of a secret fund of brutality in himself.
But Irene's silence this evening was exceptional. He had never before seen such an expression on her face. And since it is always the unusual which alarms, Soames was alarmed. He ate his savoury, and hurried the maid as she swept off the crumbs with the silver sweeper. When she had left the room, he filled his glass with wine and said:
"Anybody been here this afternoon?"
"What did she want? " It was an axiom with the Forsytes that people did not go anywhere unless they wanted something. "Came to talk about her lover, I suppose?"
Irene made no reply.
"It looks to me," continued Soames, "as if she were sweeter on him than he is on her. She's always following him about".
Irene's eyes made him feel uncomfortable.
"You've no business to say such a thing!" she exclaimed.
"Why not? Anybody can see it."
"They cannot. And if they could, it's disgraceful to say so".
Soames' composure gave way.
"You're pretty wife!" he said. But secretly he wondered at the heat of her reply; it was unlike her. "You're cracked about June! I can tell you one thing: now that she has the Buccaneer in tow, she doesn't care twopence about you and you'll find it out. But you won't see so much of her in future; we're going to live in the country".
Return to Paradise by Eliza Riley
Lisa gazed out over the Caribbean Sea, feeling the faint breeze against her face - eyes shut, the white sand warm between her bare toes. The place was beautiful beyond belief, but it was still unable to ease the grief she felt as she remembered the last time she had been here.
She had married James right here on this spot three years ago to the day. Dressed in a simple white shift dress, miniature white roses attempting to tame her long dark curls, Lisa had been happier than she had ever thought possible. James was even less formal but utterly irresistible in creased summer trousers and a loose white cotton shirt. His dark hair slightly ruffled and his eyes full of adoration as his looked at his bride to be. The justice of the peace had read their vows as they held hands and laughed at the sheer joy of being young, in love and staying in a five star resort on the Caribbean island of the Dominican Republic.
They had seen the years blissfully stretching ahead of them, together forever. They planned their children, two she said, he said four so they compromised on three (two girls and a boy of course); where they would live, the travelling they would do together - it was all certain, so they had thought then.
But that seemed such a long time ago now. A lot can change in just a few years - a lot of heartache can change a person and drive a wedge through the strongest ties, break even the deepest love. Three years to the day and they had returned, though this time not for the beachside marriages the island was famous for but for one of its equally popular quickie divorces.
Lisa let out a sigh that was filled with pain and regret. What could she do but move on, find a new life and new dreams? - the old one was beyond repair. How could this beautiful place, with its lush green coastline, eternity of azure blue sea and endless sands be a place for the agony she felt now?
The man stood watching from the edge of the palm trees. He couldn't take his eyes of the dark-haired woman he saw standing at the water's edge, gazing out to sea as though she was waiting for something - or someone. She was beautiful, with her slim figure dressed in a loose flowing cotton dress, her crazy hair and bright blue eyes not far off the colour of the sea itself. It wasn't her looks that attracted him though; he came across many beautiful women in his work as a freelance photographer. It was her loneliness and intensity that lured him. Even at some distance he was aware that she was different from any other woman he could meet.
Lisa sensed the man approaching even before she turned around. She had been aware of him standing there staring at her and had felt strangely calm about being observed. She looked at him and felt the instant spark of connection she had only experienced once before. He walked slowly towards her and they held each other's gaze. It felt like meeting a long lost friend - not a stranger on a strange beach.
Later, sitting at one of the many bars on the resort, sipping the local cocktails they began to talk. First pleasantries, their hotels, the quality of the food and friendliness of the locals. Their conversation was strangely hesitant considering the naturalness and confidence of their earlier meeting. Onlookers, however, would have detected the subtle flirtation as they mirrored each other's actions and spoke directly into each other's eyes. Only later, after the alcohol had had its loosening effect, did the conversation deepen. They talked of why they were here and finally, against her judgement, Lisa opened up about her heartache of the past year and how events had led her back to the place where she had married the only man she believed she could ever love. She told him of things that had been locked deep inside her, able to tell no one. She told him how she had felt after she had lost her baby.
She was six months pregnant and the happiest she had ever been when the pains had started. She was staying with her mother as James was working out of town. He hadn't made it back in time. The doctor had said it was just one of those things, that they could try again. But how could she when she couldn't even look James in the eye. She hated him then, for not being there, for not hurting as much as her but most of all for looking so much like the tiny baby boy that she held for just three hours before the took him away.
All through the following months she had withdrawn from her husband, family, friends. Not wanting to recover form the pain she felt - that would have been a betrayal of her son. At the funeral she had refused to stand next to her husband and the next day she had left him.
Looking up, Lisa could see her pain reflected in the man's eyes. For the first time in months she didn't feel alone, she felt the unbearable burden begin to lift from her, only a bit but it was a start. She began to believe that maybe she had a future after all and maybe it could be with this man, with his kind hazel eyes, wet with their shared tears.
They had come here to dissolve their marriage but maybe there was hope. Lisa stood up and took James by the hand and led him away from the bar towards the beech where they had made their vows to each other three years ago. Tomorrow she would cancel the divorce; tonight they would work on renewing their promises.
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