Далее: R. Aldington Death of Вверх: Учебное пособие для студентов Назад: Richard Aldington

Death of a Hero
(extracts and the examples of the analysis)

R. Aldington

Death of a Hero (extract 1)

But more than words about things were things themselves. You looked and looked at them, and then you wanted to put down what they looked like, rearrange them in patterns. In the drawing-class they made you look at a dirty whitish cube, cylinder, and cone, and you drew and re-drew hard outlines which weren't there. But for yourself you wanted to get the colours of things and how they faded into each other and how they formed themselves - or did you form them? - into exciting patterns. It was so much more fun to paint things than even to read what Keats and Shakespeare thought about them. George spent all his pocket-money on paints and drawing-pencils and sketch-books and oil-sketching paper and water-colour blocks. For a long time he hadn't much to look at, even in reproductions. He had Cruikshank and Quiz illustrations which he didn't much care for; and a reproduction of a Bouguereau which he hated; and two Rossetti pictures which he rather liked; and a catalogue of the Tate Collection which gave him photographs of a great many horrible Watts and Frank Dicksees. Best of all, he liked an album of coloured reproductions of Turner's water-colours. Then, one spring, George Augustus took him to Paris for a few days. They did an 'educative' visit to the Louvre, and George simply leaped at the Italians and became very Pre-Raphaelite and adored the Primitives. He was quite feverish for weeks after he got back, unable to talk of anything else. Isabel was worried about him: it was so unboyish, so - well, really, quite unhealthy, all this silly craze for pictures, and spending hours and hours crouching over paint-blocks, instead of being in the fresh air. So much nicer for the boy to be manly. Wasn't he old enough to have a gun licence and learn to kill things?

So George had a gun licence, and went out shooting every morning in the autumn. He killed several plovers and a wood-pigeon. Then one frosty November morning he fired into a flock of plovers, killed one, and wounded another, which fell down on the crisp grass with such a wail of despair. 'If you wing a bird, pick it up and wring its neck,' he had been told. He picked up the struggling, heaving little mass of feathers, and with infinite repugnance and shut eyes tried to wring its neck. The bird struggled and squawked. George wrung harder and convulsively - and the whole head came off in his hand. The shock was unspeakable. He left the wretched body, and hurried home shuddering. Never again, never, never again would he kill things. He oiled his gun dutifully, as he had been told to do, put it away, and never touched it again. At nights he was haunted by the plover's wail and by the ghastly sight of the headless, bleeding bird's body. In the daytime he thought of them. He could forget them when he went out and sketched the calm trees and fields, or tried to design in his tranquil room. He plunged more deeply into painting than ever, and thus ended one of the many attempts to 'make a man' of George Winterbourne.

The business of 'making a man' of him was pursued at School, but with little more success, even with the aid of compulsion.

``The type of boy we aim at turning out,'' the Head used to say to impressed parents, ``is a thoroughly manly fellow. We prepare for the Universities, of course, but our pride is in our excellent Sports Record. There is an O.T.C., organised by Sergeant-Major Brown (who served throughout the South African War) and officered by the masters who have been trained in the Militia. Every boy must undergo six months' training, and is then competent to take up arms for his Country in an emergency.''

The parents murmured polite approval, though rather tender mothers hoped the discipline was not too strict and ``the guns not too heavy for young arms.'' The Head was contemptuously and urbanely reassuring. On such occasions he invariably quoted those stirring and indeed immortal lines of Rudyard Kipling which end up, ``You'll be a man, my son.'' It is so important to know how to kill. Indeed, unless you know how to kill you cannot possibly be a Man, still less a Gentleman.

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