阅读理解古典文学作品的三种方法

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How to Read and Understand Classic Literature

如何阅读理解古典文学作品

Classic literature includes older works that have withstood the test of time and that are still widely read today. Some well-known examples of classic literature include The Aeneid by Virgil, The Odyssey by Homer, Inferno by Dante, and Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Whether you’re a student or just an avid reader hoping to delve into classic literature, you may be wondering where to begin. Familiarizing yourself with a text before you read, using reading strategies to improve your understanding, and finding ways to reflect on the text can all help you to understand a work of classic literature.

古典文学包括了那些经受时间考验的古老作品,至今它们仍然被广泛阅读,比如维吉尔的《埃涅伊德》,荷马的《奥德赛》,但丁的《地狱》,和莎士比亚的《罗密欧与朱丽叶》。无论你是一个学生或者是一个渴望钻研古典文学的读者,你可能想知道从哪里着手。阅读之前先让自己熟悉一下文本,用阅读技巧去提升你的理解力,并找到一些方法来反思文本,这些都能帮助你去理解经典文学作品。

1
Familiarizing Yourself with the Text

了解作品

01
Read summaries of what the work is about. You can find descriptions or summaries of classic works of literature online, or read the back cover of the book to gain a basic idea of what the story is about. Knowing a bit about the plot, characters, and setting may make it easier for you to follow and understand the writing when you begin reading.

Just make sure that you do not substitute summaries for reading the actual text. Remember that a summary is someone else’s interpretation of what happened. Even if the summary is quite objective, it may contain some bias about character motives and potential meanings behind events.

阅读有关作品内容的总结摘要。你可以在线找到关于古典文学作品的描述或者总结,或者阅读这本书的封底,以了解故事的主要内容。对剧情,人物和设置了解一点可以让你在阅读时更加轻松的跟上并且理解作者的行文。

只要确保不要用摘要总结来替代阅读原著。记住,总结是别人对作品的解释。即使总结是相当客观的,它也可能包含一些故事中的人物动机和潜台词的偏见。

02
Learn about a book’s historical period. Understanding the time period in which a book was written can either help or hinder how you read that book. By researching the historical events that are depicted in the book or otherwise influenced its writing, you can come away with a better understanding of that novel’s narrative.

You can get a quick understanding of a given time period and/or the author’s life experiences by searching online.

了解原著的历史背景。了解作品的创作时间关乎你选择读原著的方式。通过调查书中描述或者影响其写作的历史事件,你可以更好地理解小说的叙述。

你可以通过在线搜索来快速了解的当时的历史背景和作者的生活经历。

03
Consider skimming. You can also skim a book or other work of classic literature if reading it seems too hard. Skimming will help you to gain a basic understanding of the plot, characters, setting, and concepts.

Read the first and last paragraph of each chapter to get a sense of what happens on the pages within.

Read the first and last sentence of each paragraph to get a sense of what happens in that chapter.

考虑略读。如果读起来太难的话,你也可以略读一本书或选择其他的古典文学作品。略读将帮助你获得对情节、人物、背景和概念的基本理解。

阅读每一章的第一段和最后一段,可以了解这一章发生了什么。

阅读每一段的第一个和最后一个句子,可以了解这一段落发生了什么。

04
Ask questions. If you know someone who has already ready this piece of classic literature, then asking him or her some basic questions may help you. You could ask the person to give you a basic explanation of the:

Characters – the people (and sometimes animals) in a work of fiction.

Setting – the place, time, and culture in which a novel takes place.

Plot – the things that take place over the course of the novel.

Theme – the underlying concept, idea, or belief that runs through the entire novel.

Conflict – a struggle that creates tension in the novel.

Climax – turning point at which the tension (created by conflict) cannot rise anymore and must be resolved.

Narrator – who tells the story (a character in the story or someone else?).

设置问题。如果你知道有人已经读了这一篇古典文学,问他/她一些基本的问题,比如:

人物-小说中的人(有时候会出现一些动物)。

设置-小说发生的地点,时间和文化背景。

情节-整本小说发生了什么事。

主题-贯穿整部小说的基本概念、观点或信念。

冲突-在小说中出现的紧张矛盾冲突。

高潮-冲突造成的紧张局势不能再持续发展,必须解决的转折点。

叙述者-谁讲了这个故事(故事里的一个人物或是其他人?)。

2
Improving Your Understanding

提升理解力

01
Consider reading an annotated edition. Many classic texts were written with a vocabulary or historical context that may be lost on contemporary readers. Reading an annotated version, which includes supplemental information and explanations, is an easy way to engage with an otherwise complicated text.

In addition to reading an annotated text, try keeping a dictionary or reader’s guide on hand when you read. These supplemental materials can help you work through difficult terms and confusing chapters.

考虑读一个带注释的版本。许多古典著作都是用有一些过时的词汇或语境,现在的读者可能已经不再使用。阅读带注释的版本,包括补充信息和解释,是一种处理复杂的文本的简单方法。

除了阅读带注释的文字外,当你阅读时,尝试拿着一本字典或读者指南。这些补充材料可以帮助你克服难懂的术语和章节。

02
Start reading and keep reading. Even if you struggle with the text, it is important to stick with it if you want to understand it. After sticking with it for a while, the language, setting, and characters may start to become more familiar to you.

If you encounter a difficult passage that you do not understand, mark the page and skip it for now. You can always come back to it after you have a basic understanding of the text.

Skip footnotes on your first read because these may slow you down.

Keep in mind that with difficult texts, it is often necessary to read through them more than once. After you have read through a piece of classic literature once, your second read through should be much easier and concepts that were confusing to you should make more sense.

开始阅读并且一直读下去。即使文本很难理解,如果你想理解它,坚持阅下去非常重要。在坚持了一段时间后,作品中的语言、场景设置和角色会开始变得更加熟悉。

如果你遇到了一个你不懂的困难段落,标记一下页面,暂时跳过它。在你对文本有了基本的了解之后,你可以再返回重新阅读。

在你第一次读的时候跳过脚注,因为这会让你慢下来。

记住,对于困难的文本,需要不止一次地阅读。在你读完一篇经典文学作品之后,你的第二遍阅读应该会更容易一些,而且你会更加了解那些曾让你困惑的地方。

03
Make comments in the margins of the text. If you’re trying to gain a better understanding of a difficult text, underlining passages may not be enough. Instead, try making comments in the margins to fully engage with the text. Your comments/notes can do any of the following to help you gain a better understanding of the material:

summarize the attached passages

make notes on passages that relate to other passages from earlier/later in the text

write (and answer) questions on anything you didn’t understand

agree or disagree with what a passage is saying

在文本边缘进行批注。如果你想尝试对于困难的文本有一个更好的理解,仅仅在页面上画上下划线是远远不够的。相反,试着在空白处进行批注来充分利用文本。你的批注/笔记可以通过以下方式帮助你更好地理解材料:

概括相互连接的段落;

在与前几章相关的段落做笔记;

写下(并且回答)你不懂的问题;

同意或者反对原文的观点。

04
Try reading and learning with a group. Some readers learn better while working within a group setting. Joining a book club or enrolling in a literature class at your local community college can give you the opportunity to discuss a novel with other readers and gain valuable insight from an instructor.

You can find book clubs in your area by searching online.

If you’re not able to enroll in a class at your local college, you may want to consider taking a massive open online course (MOOC). These courses are often free or very affordable and are frequently offered through prestigious educational institutions.

尝试以小组的形式来阅读。一些读者在小组中学的更好。加入一个读书俱乐部或者在当地的社区大学注册一个文学课能够给你提供机会与其他读者讨论,并且能从老师那里获得有价值的见解。

你可以通过在线搜索来寻找你附近的读书俱乐部。

如果你没办法在你当地的大学注册一门课,你可能想要考虑一下互联网上的公开课。这些课程一般都是免费的或者十分便宜的,并且经常是通过著名的教育机构提供的。

3
Reflecting On What You Have Read

反思阅读内容

01
Write a summary or summaries. After you finish the text or finish a chapter, commit to writing a brief summary of everything important that happened. Restrict yourself to about a half page or less, and make sure you address the major plot points, how those points affected each character, and how that chapter fits into the context of the larger book.

Write your chapter summaries without consulting the text or your notes. This will help test your understanding of what you’ve read.

写总结。在你读完了文章或者读完了一章时,简短总结文中的主要内容。总结需要限制在半页以内,并且确保你解决了主要的情节,以及这些情节如何影响到每个角色,以及这一章节如何融入整本书中。

写篇章总结的时候不能够看原文或是笔记。这将有助于测试你对所读内容的理解。

02
Tell someone about what you have read. Telling something about something you have learned is a good way to help you understand better yourself. If you have a friend who also has an interest in classic literature, then you might consider telling him or her about the text.

Even if you have not yet finished reading a text, you may benefit from describing what has happened so far in your own words.

给别人讲讲你读了什么。告诉别人你所读的东西是一种帮助你更好了解自己的好方法。如果你有一个对古典文学有兴趣的朋友,那么你可以考虑告诉他/她关于这本书的内容。即使你还没有读完, 你也会受益于描述目前的进度。

3
Watch a film adaptation. For many readers, visualizing the characters, setting, and plot points of a book make it easier to absorb the narrative. While watching a movie is not a substitute for reading the actual book, it may help you arrive at a better understanding of the book.

For example, if you are reading a play by Shakespeare, then check out a filmed version of the play. While some versions use creative staging, and may cut some of the dialogue, you will still be able to see most of the text come to life.

看改编的电影。对许多读者来说,通过屏幕观看书中的人物、场景和情节,能够让他们更容易理解故事的叙述。然而,看电影并不能代替阅读纸质的书,但它可以帮助你更好地理解这本书。

例如,如果你正在读莎士比亚的戏剧,那就去看一个电影的版本。虽然有些版本的电影使用了创作性的表演,并且可能会减少一些对话,但你仍然可以看到大部分的文本活灵活现在眼前。

4
Read commentary and critical analyses of the book online. After you finish reading, it may be useful to learn about what others have learned and interpreted from the text. Go online and see if websites such as Spark Notes and Cliffs Notes have any valuable information on your book. These often have information on themes, symbols, characters, and more, which may help you think about the book on a deeper level.

阅读书评和批判性分析。读完之后,了解别人从文本中所学到的东西也许会很有用。到火花笔记(Spark Notes)和科勒夫笔记(Cliffs Notes)之类的网站,搜索关于你所读的书的有用信息。这些网站通常都有关于主题、象征、人物等的信息,可以帮助你在更深层次上理解这本书。

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