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VOA慢速英语 2007 1216

时间:2008-03-20 03:06来源:互联网 提供网友:蓝静子   字体: [ ]
    (单词翻译:双击或拖选)

VOICE ONE:

I’m Steve Ember.

VOICE TWO:

 
Kurt Vonnegut
And I’m Shirley Griffith with People in America in VOA Special English. Today we tell about Kurt Vonnegut, a writer and thinker who shook up the country with his unusual writing style and subjects.  He helped energize1 huge numbers of young people to protest the Vietnam War and to always question the powers that be. 

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

It took Kurt Vonnegut about twenty-five years to write his most famous book, “Slaughterhouse-Five.‿nbsp; It was published in nineteen sixty-nine.  The book remains2 required reading in high school and college English classes across the country.  It includes this description of the fire-bombing of Dresden, Germany, by Allied3 forces during World War Two, as witnessed by a soldier named Billy Pilgrim:

READER:

“There was a fire-storm out there.  Dresden was one big flame.  The one flame ate everything organic, everything that would burn.

It wasn’t safe to come out of the shelter until noon the next day.  When the Americans and their guards did come out, the sky was black with smoke.  The sun was an angry little pinhead. Dresden was like the moon now, nothing but minerals.  The stones were hot.  Everybody else in the neighborhood was dead.

So it goes.‿/P>

VOICE TWO:

Kurt Vonnegut, a prisoner of war like Pilgrim, witnessed the bombing of Dresden.  The waste of human life and other treasures greatly angered him.  His novels contain some of that anger.  But Vonnegut always balanced his work with humor and the use of wildly unlikely events presented as normal.  
 

For example, in "Slaughterhouse-Five," Billy Pilgrim visits the make-believe planet Tralfamadore.  He and a beautiful movie star named Montana Wildhack fall in love there in a clear ball of a house.  They are studied by the Tralfamadorians and find happiness.

Kurt Vonnegut compared the science fiction in “Slaughterhouse-Five‿to the clowns in the plays of sixteenth century English writer William Shakespeare.  Vonnegut believed such literary devices give the reader a rest before the story gets serious again.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Kurt Vonnegut’s own life was also filled with tragedy and laughter.  He was born in nineteen twenty-two in Indianapolis, Indiana.  His father was a building designer.  His mother was from an extremely wealthy family. She suffered from mental illness and unhappiness as a failed writer.  Vonnegut said his mother would have periods of madness where she would emotionally abuse his father.  Vonnegut said his father was the gentlest man on the planet.  Edith Vonnegut killed herself on Mother’s Day, in nineteen forty-four.  The act affected4 her son his whole life.

In nineteen fifty-eight, Kurt Vonnegut’s sister and her husband died within two days of each other.  Vonnegut and his wife at the time adopted the couple’s three children.

VOICE TWO:

Kurt Vonnegut was interested in writing from at least his teenage years.  He worked on his high school’s newspaper.  Later he studied at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York and became an editor of that school’s newspaper.  Vonnegut studied biochemistry.  He followed in the footsteps of his older brother, Bernard, who was a scientist.  However, Kurt Vonnegut was not a very good student.  He left Cornell in nineteen forty-three and joined the army during World War Two. German forces captured him during the Battle of the Bulge5 in Western Europe.

Vonnegut’s experiences as a soldier and the bombing of Dresden were among the major influences in his life.  He was a pacifist, someone who opposes war and violence for settling conflict.   He once said: “You can teach people savagery6.  They may need savagery, but it’s bad for the neighbors.  I prefer to teach gentleness.‿/P>

He was not always gentle on himself, however.  He battled depression for most of his life.  In nineteen eighty-four, he tried to kill himself by taking too much sleep medicine. He said later that children of a parent who committed suicide will naturally think of death as a sensible solution to any problem.

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

After World War Two, Vonnegut married a childhood friend, Jane Cox.  They moved to Chicago, Illinois in nineteen forty-five. They had three children.  Vonnegut studied anthropology7 at the University of Chicago.  He also worked as a reporter.

Kurt Vonnegut also began writing short stories.  They were published in literary magazines.  In nineteen fifty-two he wrote his first novel.  “Player Piano‿was influenced by Vonnegut’s work at the power company, General Electric.  Vonnegut said it was there that he got the idea of everything being controlled by computers.  He told Playboy Magazine in nineteen seventy-three that it made perfect sense to have little clicking boxes, as he called them, make all the decisions for humans.  But he said it was not good for human workers to be replaced by machines. 

Vonnegut said that he wrote science fiction because General Electric was science fiction to him. “Player Piano‿describes a place called Ileum where the humans have surrendered to a computer.

Writers of science fiction are often considered less serious than writers of other kinds of fiction.  As a result, Vonnegut’s work was published in paperback8 and ignored by critics for several years.

VOICE TWO:

But people started listening more closely to Kurt Vonnegut’s literary voice in the nineteen sixties.  There was great public anger and protest over American military action in Vietnam.  Distrust for the United States government was growing.  Young people and minorities especially were speaking up against America’s leaders and cultural restrictions9.

Vonnegut’s statements about America, its people and its leaders mixed perfectly10 with that atmosphere.  His novels became favorites of many people involved in the anti-establishment, politically progressive movement of that time.

“Cat’s Cradle,‿published in nineteen sixty-three, is one example. It tells the story of a fictional11 scientist who helped invent the atomic bomb and something even more dangerous ‿a substance called ice-nine.  “Cat’s Cradle‿is an extremely funny condemnation12 of many things. These include the arms race at the time -- efforts by countries to increase their nuclear weapons.  It also makes jokes about organized religion and the United States government.

VOICE ONE:

In nineteen sixty-four, “Cat’s Cradle‿won a Hugo Award for science fiction.  Also that year, Kurt Vonnegut began teaching at the Writers Workshop at the University of Iowa. He was a professor for many years and taught English at several universities and colleges.  He wrote at least fifteen more books, including non-fiction. 

 
 
One of those books was “Breakfast of Champions,‿published in nineteen seventy-three.  Vonnegut tells the story of a wealthy and crazy car salesman named Dwayne Hoover.  Hoover reads science fiction books written by a man named Kilgore Trout13.  Hoover becomes more and more sure that the books are not fiction but reality. 

Here Kurt Vonnegut reads from an early version of “Breakfast of Champions.‿nbsp; The reading took place in New York City in nineteen seventy.

KURT VONNEGUT:

"My name is Dwayne Hoover and I am an experiment by the creator of the universe.  I am the only creature in the entire universe who has free will.  I am the only creature who has to figure out what to do next and why.  Everybody else is a robot. 

I am pooped. I wish I were a robot too. It is perfectly exhausting having to reason all the time in a universe I never made."

VOICE TWO:

Kurt Vonnegut and his wife Jane separated in nineteen seventy.  Vonnegut married photographer Jill Krementz nine years later.  They adopted a daughter.

Vonnegut continued to be politically outspoken14. He used the American political crime called the Watergate scandal in his novel “Jailbird.‿nbsp; He was also an early environmental activist16.  He spoke15 often and loudly about the long-term dangers of fossil fuel use, pollution and waste of natural resources.  Vonnegut also condemned17 the Bush administration and the war in Iraq that began in two thousand three.

VOICE ONE:

Kurt Vonnegut published his last book in two thousand five. “A Man Without A Country‿is a collection of his opinions of many subjects, including issues in modern American society.

 He died in two thousand seven after suffering brain injuries from a fall in his home. He was eighty-four. Kurt Vonnegut’s children placed notes of thanks to his fans on the Vonnegut Web site.  His daughter Nanny wrote:  “I am so sorry for your loss as well as mine.‿/P>

(MUSIC)

VOICE ONE:

Our program was written and produced by Caty Weaver18. Jim Tedder19 read the "Slaughterhouse Five" passage. I'm Steve Ember with Shirley Griffith. You can learn about other famous Americans at voaspecialengish.com. And join us again next week for PEOPLE IN AMERICA in VOA Special English.

 


点击收听单词发音收听单词发音  

1 energize GpyxN     
vt.给予(某人或某物)精力、能量
参考例句:
  • It is used to energize the city.它的作用是为城市供给能量。
  • This is a great way to energize yourself and give yourself more power!这种方法非常棒,可以激活你的能量,让你有更多的活力!
2 remains 1kMzTy     
n.剩余物,残留物;遗体,遗迹
参考例句:
  • He ate the remains of food hungrily.他狼吞虎咽地吃剩余的食物。
  • The remains of the meal were fed to the dog.残羹剩饭喂狗了。
3 allied iLtys     
adj.协约国的;同盟国的
参考例句:
  • Britain was allied with the United States many times in history.历史上英国曾多次与美国结盟。
  • Allied forces sustained heavy losses in the first few weeks of the campaign.同盟国在最初几周内遭受了巨大的损失。
4 affected TzUzg0     
adj.不自然的,假装的
参考例句:
  • She showed an affected interest in our subject.她假装对我们的课题感到兴趣。
  • His manners are affected.他的态度不自然。
5 bulge Ns3ze     
n.突出,膨胀,激增;vt.突出,膨胀
参考例句:
  • The apple made a bulge in his pocket.苹果把他口袋塞得鼓了起来。
  • What's that awkward bulge in your pocket?你口袋里那块鼓鼓囊囊的东西是什么?
6 savagery pCozS     
n.野性
参考例句:
  • The police were shocked by the savagery of the attacks.警察对这些惨无人道的袭击感到震惊。
  • They threw away their advantage by their savagery to the black population.他们因为野蛮对待黑人居民而丧失了自己的有利地位。
7 anthropology zw2zQ     
n.人类学
参考例句:
  • I believe he has started reading up anthropology.我相信他已开始深入研究人类学。
  • Social anthropology is centrally concerned with the diversity of culture.社会人类学主要关于文化多样性。
8 paperback WmEzIh     
n.平装本,简装本
参考例句:
  • A paperback edition is now available at bookshops.平装本现在在书店可以买到。
  • Many books that are out of print are reissued in paperback form.许多绝版的书籍又以平装本形式重新出现。
9 restrictions 81e12dac658cfd4c590486dd6f7523cf     
约束( restriction的名词复数 ); 管制; 制约因素; 带限制性的条件(或规则)
参考例句:
  • I found the restrictions irksome. 我对那些限制感到很烦。
  • a snaggle of restrictions 杂乱无章的种种限制
10 perfectly 8Mzxb     
adv.完美地,无可非议地,彻底地
参考例句:
  • The witnesses were each perfectly certain of what they said.证人们个个对自己所说的话十分肯定。
  • Everything that we're doing is all perfectly above board.我们做的每件事情都是光明正大的。
11 fictional ckEx0     
adj.小说的,虚构的
参考例句:
  • The names of the shops are entirely fictional.那些商店的名字完全是虚构的。
  • The two authors represent the opposite poles of fictional genius.这两位作者代表了天才小说家两个极端。
12 condemnation 2pSzp     
n.谴责; 定罪
参考例句:
  • There was widespread condemnation of the invasion. 那次侵略遭到了人们普遍的谴责。
  • The jury's condemnation was a shock to the suspect. 陪审团宣告有罪使嫌疑犯大为震惊。
13 trout PKDzs     
n.鳟鱼;鲑鱼(属)
参考例句:
  • Thousands of young salmon and trout have been killed by the pollution.成千上万的鲑鱼和鳟鱼的鱼苗因污染而死亡。
  • We hooked a trout and had it for breakfast.我们钓了一条鳟鱼,早饭时吃了。
14 outspoken 3mIz7v     
adj.直言无讳的,坦率的,坦白无隐的
参考例句:
  • He was outspoken in his criticism.他在批评中直言不讳。
  • She is an outspoken critic of the school system in this city.她是这座城市里学校制度的坦率的批评者。
15 spoke XryyC     
n.(车轮的)辐条;轮辐;破坏某人的计划;阻挠某人的行动 v.讲,谈(speak的过去式);说;演说;从某种观点来说
参考例句:
  • They sourced the spoke nuts from our company.他们的轮辐螺帽是从我们公司获得的。
  • The spokes of a wheel are the bars that connect the outer ring to the centre.辐条是轮子上连接外圈与中心的条棒。
16 activist gyAzO     
n.活动分子,积极分子
参考例句:
  • He's been a trade union activist for many years.多年来他一直是工会的积极分子。
  • He is a social activist in our factory.他是我厂的社会活动积极分子。
17 condemned condemned     
adj. 被责难的, 被宣告有罪的 动词condemn的过去式和过去分词
参考例句:
  • He condemned the hypocrisy of those politicians who do one thing and say another. 他谴责了那些说一套做一套的政客的虚伪。
  • The policy has been condemned as a regressive step. 这项政策被认为是一种倒退而受到谴责。
18 weaver LgWwd     
n.织布工;编织者
参考例句:
  • She was a fast weaver and the cloth was very good.她织布织得很快,而且布的质量很好。
  • The eager weaver did not notice my confusion.热心的纺织工人没有注意到我的狼狈相。
19 tedder 2833afc4f8252d8dc9f8cd73b24db55d     
n.(干草)翻晒者,翻晒机
参考例句:
  • Jim Tedder has more. 吉姆?特德将给我们做更多的介绍。 来自互联网
  • Jim Tedder tells us more. 吉姆?泰德给我们带来更详细的报道。 来自互联网
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TAG标签:   voa  慢速英语
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