学习啦【英语美文欣赏】 编辑：韦彦 发布时间：2016-09-30
Genius Sacrificed for Failure
Wliilam N. Brown
During my youth in America’s Appalachian mountains, I learned that farmers preferred sonsover daughters，largely because boys were better at heavy farm labor (though what boysanywhere could best the tireless Hui’an girls in the fields of Fujian!)
With only 3% of Americans in agriculture today，brain has supplanted brawn, yet culturalpreferences, like bad habits，are easier to make than break. But history warns repeatedly of thetragic cost of dismissing too casually the gifts of the so-called weaker sex.
About 150 years ago，a village church vicar in Yorkshire, England，had threelovely，intelligent daughters but his hopes hinged entirely on the sole male heir, Branwell, ayouth with remarkable talent in both art and literature.
Branweir s father and sister hoarded their pennies to pack him off to London' s Royal Academyof Arts, but if art was his calling, he dialed a wrong number. Within weeks he hightailed it home,a penniless failure.
Hopes still high, the family landed Branwell a job as a private tutor, hoping this would free himto develop his literary skills and achieve the success and fame that he deserved. Failureagain.
For years the selfless sisters squelched their own goals， farming themselves out as teachersand governesses in support of their increasingly indebted brother, convinced the world musteventually recognize his genius. As failures multiplied, Branwell turned to alcohol，thenopium，and eventually died as he had lived: a failure. So died hope in the one male8 _ butwhat of the three anonymous sisters?
During Branwell ’ s last years，the girls published a book of poetry at their own expense (undera pseudonym，for fear of reviewer’ s bias against females). Even Branwell might havesnickered: they sold only 2 copies.
Undaunted, they continued in their spare time, late at night by candlelight, to pour out theirpent-up emotion，writing of 9 what they knew best, of women in conflict with their naturaldesires and social condition — in reality, less fiction than autobiography! And 19th centuryliterature was transformed by Anne ’ s Agnes Grey, Emily， s Wuthering Heights, andCharlotte ’ s Jane Eyre.
But years of sacrifice for Banwell had taken their toll. Emily took ill at her brother’s funeral anddied within 3 months, aged 29; Anne died 5 months later, aged 30; Charlotte lived only to age39. If only they had been nurtured instead of sacrificed.
No one remembers Branwell ’ s name， much less his art or literature，but Bronte sister' stragically shot lives teach us even more of life than of literature. Their sacrificed genius cries outto us that in modem society we must value children not by their physical strength or sexualgender, as we would any mere beast of burden, but by their integrity, strength, commitment,courage—spiritual qualities abundant in both boys and girls. China，a nation blessed by moreboys and girls than any nation，ignores at her own peril 10 the lesson of the Bronte tragedy.
Patrick Bronte fathered Branwell，but more importantly, he fathered Anne, Emily and Charlotte.Were he alive today he would surely urge us to put away our passe 11 prejudices and avoidhis own tragic and irrevocable error of putting all of his eggs in one male basket!
Glories of the Storm
It begins when a feeling of stillness creeps into my consciousness. Every thing has suddenlygone quiet. Birds do not chirp. Leaves do not rustle. Insects do not sing.
The air that has been hot all day becomes heavy. It hangs over the trees, presses the heads ofthe flowers to the ground, sits on my shoulders. With a vague feeling of uneasiness I move tothe window. There, in the west, lies the answer - cloud has piled on cloud to form a ridge ofmammoth while towers, rearing against blue sky.
Their piercing whiteness is of brief duration. Soon the marshmallow rims flatten to anvil tops,and the clouds reveal their darker nature. They impose themselves before the late-afternoonsun, and the day darkens early. Then a gust of wind ships the dust along the road, chillwarning of what is to come.
In the house a door shuts with a bang, curtains billow into the room. I rush to close thewindows, empty the clothesline, secure the patio furnishings. Thunder begins to grumble inthe distance.
The first drops of rain are huge. They splat into the dust and imprint the windows withindividual signatures. They plink on the vent pipe and plunk on the patio roof. Leaves shudderunder their weight before rebounding, and sidewalk wears a coat of shiny spots.
The rhythm accelerates; plink follows plunk faster and faster until the sound is a roll of drumsand the individual drops become an army marching over fields and rooftops. Now the first boltof lightning stabs the earth. It is heaven's exclamation point. The storm is here!
In spite of myself, I jump at the following crack of thunder. It rattles the windowpane andsends the dog scratching to get under the bed. The next bolt is even closer. It raises the hairon the back of my neck, and I take an involuntary step away from the window.
The rain now becomes a torrent, flung capriciously by rising wind. Together they batter thetrees and level the grasses. Water streams off roofs and out of rain spouts. It pounds againstthe window in such a steady wash that I am sightless. There is only water. How can so muchfall so fast? How could the clouds have supported this vast weight? How can the earth endurebeneath it?
Pacing through the house from window to window, I am moved to openmouthed wonder. Lookhow the lilac bends under the assault, how the day lilies are flattened, how the hillside steps area new made waterfall! Now hailstones thump upon the roof. They bounce white against thegrass and splash into the puddle. I think of the vegetable garden, the fruit trees, the crops inthe fields; but, thankfully, the hailstones are not enough in numbers or size to do real damage.Not this time.
From this storm is already beginning to pass. The tension is released from the atmosphere, thecurtains of rain let in more light. The storm has spend most of its energy, and what is left willbe expended on the countryside to the east.
I am drawn outside while the rain still falls. All around, there is a cool and welcome feeling. Ibreathe deeply and watch the sun's rays streaks through breaking clouds. One ray catches thedrops that form on the edge of the roof, and I am treated to a row of tiny, quivering colors -my private rainbows.
I pick my way through the west grass, my feet sinking into the saturated soil. The creek in thegully runs bank - full of brown water, but the small lakes and puddles are already disappearinginto the earth. Every leaf, brick, single, and blade of grass is fresh-washed and shining.
Like the land, I am renewed, my spirits cleansed. I feel an infinite peace. Fro a time I haveforgotten the worries and irritations I am nurturing before. They have been washed away by theglories of the storm.
Han Suyin's China
China: her size roughly that of Canada or the United States. Her population one billion onehundred million, 22 per cent of the planet's human beings.
China: very young, 60 per cent of the Chinese under 25 years of age. Very old, millennia ofaccumulated and still potent history, pride of remembered greatness motivating her marchtowards the new technological era which is changing the world, and changing her.
China: her history not unitary, but made up of many histories; as she is made up of manydifferent peoples, altogether 56 nations. Yet she is a oneness, coherent, whole. THE GREATWITHIN.
There is a China of the plains, easily travelled, a tourist delight. Here are the wealthiest, themost advanced metropolises: Beijing, Tianjin, Shanghai, Nanjing, Guangzhou...fertilealluviallowlands which seem vast, yet are less than 15 per cent of her total territory. AndChina's arable, cultivable acres make up only seven per cent of the world's total acreage. Onthis she feeds almost a quarter of the world's people. A prodigious achievement!
This China of the plains stretches from Manchuria to Hong Kong; most of it lies eastwards, witheasy access to the ocean. Here both urban and rural areas have greatly profited from therecent economic reforms. Most of the foreign investments, the special economic zones, the newindustrial plants,are sited here. Here are the skills, the manpower, the markets, thecommunication network. Most of the universities are also here, and more than 80 percent ofthe population. Prosperity is evident-over 60 per cent of new houses in the villages, over 20per cent of families with television installed in the last ten years, large new apartment houses forurban dwellers, modem hotels...
But there is the other China, 85 per cent of the total surface of the land. This China is not easilyvisited, for communication is still a problem. It stretches in an immense bow fiom North toSouth, and in it live, besides the "typical" Chinese, who call themselves the Hans, fifty-oddother races or ethnic groups called "national minorities". These hark back to China's verybeginning. With them the Hans both warred and traded; co-existed, intermarried ostracized, fornearly 5,000 years.
This other China has many mountain ranges, thousand kilometre long chains stretching fromwest to east dividing the land into enclosed plateaus and basins whose rivers never reach anysea. It has many deserts; more than a million square kilometres of deserts-almost 15 per centof her total area of nine million six hundred thousand square kilometres. It has immensegrasslands and steppes, oases and salt lakes, jungles and troughs lower than the Dead SeamPalestine.
This China we must lcnow in order really to know China. It is this conglomerate of manynations, mosaic of peoples, languages and customs, which shaped Chinese culture as we knowit today and it is in developing and modernising this area that her future lies.
North, Northwest, Southwest...for administraave purposes, this other China,nearly seven millionout of the nearly ten million square kilometres of the land,is conveniently divided into regions,each one holding several provinces. I have walked, ridden,jeeped, explored this China severaltimes in the course of the last three decades. I have leamt the local names of mountains,rivers,deserts; for everything here has two names, the Han Chinese name, and the name (ornames) given by the national minorities which inhabit the area.
Mountains: the majestic Altai, whence came thudding on thick-legged Mongol ponies so manynomad hordes. The Bogden or Heaven's mountain, sitting in vast skirts of their own crumbledstone. From their slopes flow streams feeding the oases strung along the rim of inlanddeserts. The Kunlun and the Karakoram, the Pamir and the Himalayas-here Mount Everest isiknown as Chomolungma.
Deserts: the stone deserts of the Gobi and the Ordos, the Tanguli and Kurban Tungu and thedreadful Taklamakan.
Plateaus and basins: Dzungaria and Tarim and Tsaidam, and the Roof of the World, theimmense plateau of Tibet.