《林中之死》的原型解读

减小字体 增大字体 作者:佚名  来源:www.zhonghualunwen.com  发布时间:2010-08-13 13:26:04

 摘要:舍伍德·安德森的名篇《林中之死》讲述了一个并不可怕但又无法避免的死亡的故事,展现了女主人公悲怆的一生和故事讲述者对她的死亡的反应。认为原型批评能更好地阐释格兰姆斯夫人从天真纯洁的女孩到最后被所有人遗弃的老女人形象。在她的一生中,不幸和悲剧总是陪伴左右,因此,认为格兰姆斯夫人的形象体现了替罪羊原型——她不过是那个冷酷无情的的父权社会中众多无辜女性牺牲品中的一个,她存在的唯一价值就是被男人利用,成为父权社会的替罪羊。
  关键词:《林中之死》;原型批评;格兰姆斯夫人;替罪羊
  中图分类号:I3/7文献标志码:A文章编号:1673-291X(2010)19-0217-03
  
  1. Introduction
  Sherwood Anderson is a special literary figure in American literature. Many literary giants such as Hemingway, Faulkner and Steinbeck all owed a lot to him. In an interview for the Paris Review (Spring 1956), Faulkner stated that Sherwood Anderson was “the father of my generation of American writers and the tradition of American writing which our successors will carry on.” As a pioneer of modernism, Anderson is especially concerned with humanity and the secret of life or the thing “beneath the surface of lives”. (See the dedication to Winesburg, Ohio) His works, especially short stories, often focus on characters we would hardly notice in real life. Frequently, Anderson reveals the hidden value of such insignificant people, their true nature, worth and their futile struggle to maintain their inner worth. A good example is Mrs. Jake Grimes of “Death in the Woods” which marks the highest peak of Anderson’s literary creation.
  The story is presented as a first-person narrative by an unreliable narrator, who tells the story of an old woman, Mrs. Grimes. She lives on the edge of society and survives by selling eggs to make a living for her small family and the animals in her care. Mrs. Grimes’ personal history, according to the narrator, is that she was abandoned and grew up as an indentured servant. Later, it is Jake Grimes, who helps her escape from her malicious German masters. After marrying Jake, she has a son and a daughter, but the latter dies in childhood. The narrator tells us both father and son severely abuse and maltreat Mrs. Grimes, both verbally and physically. She does not know life could be any different as this is all she ever experienced. Her main concern in life is taking care of and feeding the animals and people in her care. On the last day of her life, on the way home from town, Mrs. Grimes reaches a clearing where she sits down to rest. While sitting down, she dies.
  Though relatively a simple story, Death in the Woods brings about great artistic effect and especially the image of Mrs. Grimes lingers on readers’ mind for quite a long time. Mrs. Grimes evolves from an innocent and scared girl through the self-reliant and alienated middle-aged housekeeper to the paralytic and deserted old woman. Yet misfortune and tragedy always accompany her throughout her whole life. Mrs. Grimes’ short life shares many similarities with the image of “scapegoat”. Therefore, the author of this paper intends to analyze the character of Mrs. Grimes from the archetypal perspective, with the aim to try to identify Mrs. Grimes’ manifestation as Scapegoat Archetype——she surely is a victim of the frozen machine society who has been denied any love or tenderness and exists only to be used by men.
 2. Archetypal Criticism
  Archetypal criticism is one of the most important western literary critical schools in the 20th century created by Northrop Frye. The word “archetype”, originates from Greek, arche meaning “root” and “origin” while type means “pattern” or “model”. Archetype refers to a symbol, theme, setting, or character-type that recurs in different times and places in myth, literature, folklore, dreams, and rituals so frequently or prominently as to suggest that it embodies some essential element of “universal” human experience. Focusing on images, symbols, metaphors, characters, plots, events and themes which continually recur in works of literature, archetypal criticism is commonly used to describe an original pattern or model from which all other things of the same kind are made. Its critical strategy is to back up from the text, to find out the underlying correspondences or analogues in works so as to apprehend the recurrences of certain archetypes.
  As a forerunner of archetypal criticism, James Frazer devoted all his life to the research on myth. In his masterpiece The Golden Bough he studies the witchcraft and rituals of many primitive tribes, trying to “show a general development of modes of thought from the magical to the religious and, finally, to the scientific, or the traces of human consciousness from the primitive to the civilized”. His book The Golden Bough is now treated as the earliest document of archetypal criticism.

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