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《所罗门之歌》对黑人口头传统的活用

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时间:2019-03-25

《所罗门之歌》对黑人口头传统的活用

  当代美国文学中,托妮?莫里森以她的独特的创造才能和文学技巧,得到了诸多赞誉。到目前为止,她已经出版了九部长篇小说:《最蓝的眼睛》(1970),《苏拉》(1973),《所罗门之歌》(1977),《柏油孩》(1981),《宠儿》(1987),《爵士乐》(1992),《天堂》(1998),《爱》(2003)和《慈悲》(2008),这些作品都引起了广泛的关注。1993年,莫里森获得了诺贝尔文学奖,成为享受如此殊荣的第一位黑人作家和第二位美国女作家。

  作为一名黑人女作家,莫里森不仅掌握了像意识流写作等传统的西方技术,在作品中进行零散叙事和象征,她也擅长于在作品中反映非洲特有的文化遗产。莫里森曾不止一次地在各种场合表达自己对黑人传统文化的关注,她极力地想在自己的作品中表现出自己的文化根源。

  托妮?莫里森是一个不折不扣地扎根于黑人“口头传统”的作家,她的每一部小说几乎都回响着黑人“口头传统”文化的雄浑之音,同时又激荡着现代艺术气息。没有黑人口头传统,就没有莫里森的创作。在当今波及全球的“人类口头与非物质文化遗产”保护和研究热潮中,从“口头传统”切入对莫里森小说创作进行研究,不仅是必要的,而且是可行的。

  Toni Morrison, the second of four children, was born Chloe Anthony Wofford in 1931. Her father, a shipyard welder good at storytelling and her mother, a religious woman skillful in singing church songs, moved to Ohio from the South, desiring to raise their children in an environment more friendly to the blacks. Although moving to the North, the Woffords maintain a family atmosphere where the oral traditions of the South blacks exercise great influences as before. And undoubtedly the family atmosphere filled with songs, stories, and women’s gossip made a great impact on her literary creation. A great part of Morrison’s struggle has been to create a literary language of black Americans that draws strength from the oral art forms of Afro-American culture.

  莫里森对“口头传统”的深刻认识和感受首先来自于家庭的熏陶。她的父亲,一个船厂焊工擅长讲故事;她的母亲,一个虔诚的女人,擅长各种宗教音乐。他们一家从南方搬到俄亥俄州,期冀自己的孩子能生活在一个对黑人更友好的环境中。虽然远离了黑人文化的起源地,但在莫里森的家庭中却一点不缺少黑人文化氛围,“口头传统”在他们家中仍旧施行着重要的影响。她的家里永远被各种歌曲,故事甚或女人的闲话围绕着,这些都对她的文学创作影响很大。

  Examples of oral tradition are found everywhere in Morrison’s novels, where music is employed as an instrument to reveal the joys and ameliorate the sorrows of the blacks. This Africanist musical language would not be decoded by the white men. And she consciously stands away from Anglo-American writers in her literary craftsmanship placed in black music tradition. Through her multi-layered lyrical narration, through interweaving stories with music, myth and other oral traditions, Morrison provides readers with vivid portrayals of the African-American experience: their love and loneliness, their struggle and quests, their tradition and history. The characters and places she has created, the scenes she has imagined, the exploration she made on humanity and the bittersweet love ? all these make up an oeuvre that is unparalleled in the contemporary American literature.   口头传统的例子在莫里森的小说中随处可见,它们是用来揭示黑人的喜怒哀乐的完美工具,但这些是不被传统的白人文化所接纳理解的。莫里森正是自觉地远离英美作家的传统文学技巧。

  讲故事的传统植根于非洲本土文化,Morrison tries to equate her art with both music and storytelling, which directs us to focus on the forms arising from the oral tradition, in which song and story intertwine and are often inseparable. Morrison consciously draws upon the storytelling tradition that springs from native African culture. Morrison's awareness of this tradition is effectively established in novels like Song of Solomon, which is structured around ideas based on folktales from the black oral tradition. Song of Solomon has its roots in traditional African tales of the Salt-Eaters, in which black people, gifted with the ability to fly ? even after having been taken as slaves to America ? lose that ability after adopting the practice of eating salt (Bonetti, 1983).

  莫里森有意识地借鉴了这一口述传统。这种有意识地借鉴非常明显地反映在《所罗门之歌》里。《所罗门之歌》以“黑人会飞”这古老的民间传说为故事的主线和象征的核心,塑造了以奶娃为代表的黑人主人公形象,讲述了他与父母间新老两代的冲突,与母亲、姐姐之间男尊女卑的冲突。奶娃发现自己永远陷于种种矛盾和混乱之中:出身富有的黑人家庭,却苦于不能自立;同自私无情的父亲格格不入,母亲的过度关爱变成无边桎梏,被两个姐姐视若仇敌;越过伦常爱上外甥女,得来的只是追杀…他离家出走,去寻找一袋父辈流失的金子。最终能让他感到有归属感的,是先辈留下的无数传说、神话和歌谣,以及家族的源头和自己真实的姓名,通过这些他才能真正找寻到自己的根。故事中很多情节都是基于黑人口头传统的民间故事。

  As for the intricate way to draw on the oral tradition in the novel, Morrison’s personal experience of oral tradition provided her with rich knowledge. In an interview with Betty Fussell in 1992, Morrison stated that she considers herself lucky in learning two languages, “one from books and the other from family talk at mass gatherings that always took place when somebody came up from the South” (Taylor-Guthrie 284). Her personal experience with language as a child is reflected in the combination of modern and ancient forms of discourse which has found its way into her writing style as a novelist.

  It is interesting to note that Morrison’s childhood experience endowed her with a magic feeling for music. As mentioned before, we know Morrison surrounded by a family of musicians ? mother, grandfather and grandmother and so on. Every morning she woke up to the sound of her mother’s voice, and she could understand her mother’s tone quality, volume and timbre which expressed the information about whether her mother was happy or sad or angry. So in Morrison’s childhood environment, the sound of music spoke of much more than the words accompanying it.

  Though nourished in such a music-based environment, Morrison was only a listener of music instead of a performer. Claiming no natural gift for music, she reminisces the frustration of being sent with her sister to learn piano out of a book. And we can trace the experience in Song of Solomon. Macon Dead II is totally fascinated by the songs of his sister, her daughter and grandfather. Being quite well-off and successful, Macon has helped his family climb up the social ladder. As a result, he refuses to accept his sister Pilate because of her low social status. By all connotations Pilate is a queer old woman, who lives her living by selling bootleg whiskey and lives without electricity and running water. Though without a navel, she possesses a beautiful voice and a sack full of a dead man’s bones, which is always hanging in the middle of her house. In Pilate’s eyes, by the way of her father’s ghost, she is dictated that she has the responsibility to maintain the family’s history and mythology in the song she sings. Regardless of his snobbishness, he cannot resist the temptation of sneaking around Pilate’s window, listening to the three women inside singing in the candlelight. He is put in a dilemma of choosing between sophistication and restrictions which are necessary components for moving upward to upper society and the unrestricted musical expressions arising from his sister’s house which can console his soul.   在小说中,麦肯?戴德二世成功而富有,所以他一开始是厌弃彼拉多的,因为她低下的社会地位。彼拉多的确是一个奇怪的老女人,她生活窘迫,靠卖威士忌为生,生活中连水和电都不能正常使用。但是正是这样一个如此底层的人,却天生拥有一副好嗓子。同时,她保留着她父亲的骨灰,因为她深深地相信,通过父亲的灵魂,她就有权利通过她所演唱的歌曲来传承家族的历史和神话传统。虽然戴德二世如此势力,但他却无法抵抗住偷偷在彼拉多窗下听三个女人在烛光中唱歌的诱惑。他面临一个两难的选择:是选择克制,这是成为人上人必要的条件,还是选择毫无保留地用音乐表达自我,那让他感到无法放松和慰藉。最终Eventually, Macon II chooses to reject Pilate and her music, which detaches himself from his family’s history in that Pilate is the key to be related to the story of their ancestors through music. Things Milkman as his mother intentionally allows him to suckle until he was six years old, begins to seek self-identity. This gesture signifies the re-establishment of the musical connection with their ancestors. Along with Milkman’s discovery of his own heritage, the song persists and finally exposes the mythic center of his ancestors.

  戴德二世选择拒绝彼拉多和她的音乐。

  主人公奶娃也一直在一首歌谣中寻求自我认同。The song is for the first time unfolded in the novel on the night of Milkman’s birth. Standing on the hospital steps, Pilate watches a suicidal man in blue wings. “The singing woman wore a knitted navy cap pulled far down over her forehead. She had wrapped herself up in an old quilt instead of a winter coat” (Song of Solomon, 6). To show respect of the man on the roof, she begins to sing, “in a powerful contralto”

  在奶娃出生的当天夜晚一首黑人民间歌谣“所罗门之歌”就伴随着主人公飘扬回荡。站在医院的台阶上,奶娃的姑妈彼拉多看见一个有蓝色的翅膀的自杀的男人,彼拉多用浑厚有力的低音唱道:

  “甜大哥飞走了

  甜大哥走啦

  甜大哥掠过天空

  甜大哥回家喽……”(P6)

  Considered the most valuable treasure of the novel, the song which is sung by children and old women and changed and refined by those passing it along, interweaves the myth of a slave who had not forgotten how to fly, a gesture which mixes Afro-American mythology into the history of the Dead family handing down from generation to generation in a musical oral tradition.

  这里显然和作品中那个自杀的男人的死和奶娃的生相对应,在生死之间形成了一段令人深思的节奏韵律。“所罗门之歌”无疑是这部小说中最宝贵的财富,是贯穿整部小说的重要线索。第二次响起这首歌是在彼拉多的家里。这次唱得比较完整和洪亮,就像在为奶娃的成长铺垫引路。派拉特成为了奶娃的精神引路人,听着这首歌谣,奶娃感到了前所未有的放松、温暖和愉快。而奶娃对派拉特的亲近,也成为了他后来理解歌词、掌握飞行诀窍的铺垫,让歌曲和作品的主旋律在一个更深的背景中得到了全面展示和升华。这种对音乐因素的加强也使作品的主题内蕴得到了进一步提升,表明黑人确立自我文化主体地位的意识更加明确,奶娃的成长和对飞行的渴望反映了黑人民族群体与文化希望自身力量增长的内在要求。

  “所罗门之歌”第三次是由一群游戏的孩子来完成歌曲的演唱:“吉是所罗门的儿子/来卜巴耶勒,来卜巴镗哗/扶摇直上,飞抵太阳/来卜巴耶勒,来卜巴镗哗”。(p303)这是对“所罗门之歌”的改编,又或是另一个版本,但这来自于孩子之口朴素毫无修饰的语言才更加使人信赖和顿悟。奶娃突然就从这个版本的歌词中寻找到了原来所唱之人正是他的曾祖父,而“所罗门之歌”所唱内容也正是他曾祖父的故事。至此他身世之谜得以揭开,也同时实现了他寻金过程的精神升华。

  “所罗门之歌”的三次出现绝非偶然,而是作者的匠心独运。它在奶娃寻找金子和寻找祖先两件事中起着连接和转换的关键作用,更为重要的是,它出现在每次奶娃成长的关键时候,为奶娃的自我实现和认同起到了关键作用。莫里森通过这种故事叙述,象征性地表达概括了美国黑人自解放以来的一百多年间为探求种族的出路所做出的不懈努力,分析了在这个过程中美国黑人屡次受挫的原因,并对黑人种族出路做出了新的探寻和思考。   Speaking of the “flying African” myth, Morrison explains that she tries to explore the myth in the slave narratives and discovers some examples of people who have heard about it but she cannot collect any hard data about its origins. She adds that she believes myth is “the way people learn narrative. Myth is the first information there is, and it says realms more than what is usually there” (Jones, 183). It is obvious that Morrison has faith in the ability of myth to communicate nonspecific knowledge. Morrison gives voice to music to bring out the mythic center which provides a framework of Song of Solomon’s themes of history, identity and freedom.

  A critic once claims the achievement of Song of Solomon is that through the network of narrative that transforms the central character Milkman, Toni Morrison takes on the role of griot and tells how we, her community of readers, could be transformed not only by the song in the story but by the story in the song (Mobley 133). Milkman once dreams about gold and ends up in a failure but his quest for it turns up a surprise understanding of the “story in the song.”

  The song is about the story of Milkman’s grandparents, who are possessing a mysterious talent to fly among the African slaves, one of whom is Milkman’s great-grandfather, Solomon. And Susan Byrd, Milkman’s cousin, understands the song in a doubtful way: “Oh, it’s just foolishness, you know, but according to the story he wasn’t running away. He was flying. He flew. You know, like a bird. Just stood up in the fields one day, ran up some hill, spun around a couple of times, and was lifted up into the air” (p.323).

  In this layer of music, Morrison attempts to mingle the music into her stories deliberately with an aim to imitate and recover black oral tradition. In an interview with Nellie McKay, Morrison admits that she is glad that the inclusion of oral tradition in her books “haunts” the readers after the reading is done:

  莫里森试图将音乐和神话融入她的故事,意图模仿和恢复黑人口头传统。在内尔?麦凯采访时,莫里森承认,她很高兴她书中的“口头传统”和文本的紧密结合使读者念念不忘:“That is important because I think it is a corollary, or a parallel, or an outgrowth of what the oral tradition was…I want a very strong visceral and emotional response as well as a very clear intellectual response, and the haunting that you describe is a testimony to that” (Taylor-Guthrie 147).

  “这很重要,因为我觉得它是一个必然的结果,它要么是一个等同于口头传统的东西,要么是一个口头传统的进一步发展……我想要得到一个强烈的情绪反应,以及一个非常明确的智力上的反应,而口头传统和文本的结合就是一个证明。”(泰勒?格思里,147)。

《所罗门之歌》对黑人口头传统的活用

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