综合翻译5.2

The American Attitude Toward Manual Labor

Many of the people who settled in the United States were poor. The country they came to was a wilderness. Land had to be cleared of trees in order to make farms; mines had to be developed; houses, shops, and public buildings had to be built. Everyone had to help build them. Manual labor was highly valued. Later it was the man who worked with his head to achieve success in business and industry who was looked up to. Now there is in America a curious combination of pride in having risen to a position where it is no longer necessary to depend on manual labor for a living and genuine delight in what one is able to accomplish with one’s own hands.

The attitude toward manual labor is seen in many aspects of American life. One is invited to dinner at the home of a middle-aged couple. It is not only comfortable but even luxuriously furnished, and there is every evidence of the fact that the family has been able to afford foreign travel, expensive hobbies, and college education for the children; yet the hostess probably will cook and serve the dinner. In addition, she does much of the household work, and even though the husband may be a professional man, he talks about washing the car, digging in the flowerbeds, or painting the house. His wife may even help him with these things, just as he often helps her with the dish washing and other household chores. The son or daughter who is away at college may get a summer job entailing manual labor to earn next year’s school expense.

It has been an American ideal to rise from a humble beginning to a better position. Therefore the “servant class” has not remained a fixed group. In fact, it has almost ceased to exist because people, who in earlier days might have been servants, now get higher wages working in factories. The majority of families cannot afford to pay what people who do housework or gardening charge for their services. Women who do housework by the hour may make nearly as much as stenographers or even public school teachers, if they work the same number of hours.

The expense of household service and of skilled labor, such as painting and

carpentry, and the tradition of working with one’s hands have contributed to keeping alive the spirit of “do-it-yourself”. Many articles in popular magazines are developed to instruction in gardening, carpentry, upholstering, and interior decorating. Night school courses at the local high school teach adults how to sew their own clothes or how to grease their own cars. The average American gets a good deal of pleasure out of telling others about his or her projects, exhibiting them for their neighbors, or taking them to the country fair, where they will surely win a prize.

Foreigners sometimes draw the conclusion that Americans are wealthier than they are because they have such things as vacation houses or beautifully landscaped gardens. Yet they do not always realize that the Americans have these things only because they have made them themselves.

美国人对待体力劳动的态度

当年来美国定居的大多数都很穷,他们所到的国家是一片荒野。他们必须清除树木,垦荒造田,开矿,建造房屋、商店和公共建筑。每一个人都必须参与建设。人们对体力劳工非常看重。到后来,靠脑力劳动在工商业界获得成功的人士才成为人们仰慕的对象。现在美国有一个稀奇的现象:一方面人们为上升到不再需要靠体力劳动而谋生的地位而感到骄傲,另一方面却又对能用自己的双手做成一件事而感到由衷的高兴。

对待体力劳动的这种态度反映在美国人生活的许多方面。有人应邀去一对中年夫妇家里用晚餐。这户人家的住房不仅舒适,甚至可以说是陈设豪华。种种迹象表明,这户人家有钱去国外旅游,享受很费钱的业余爱好,还有能力供子女上大学。然而,这户人家的主妇很可能自己下厨房做饭,上菜端汤。此外,她还干许多其他家务活。她丈夫即使是以为专业人士,也会谈论洗车、在花坛松土或油漆房子之类的话题。妻子甚至会帮忙干这些活儿。同样他也帮她洗碗或干其他家务。他们在上大学的子女可能会在暑假打工,赚钱支付下一学年的学杂费。

从低下的的工作干起,而后上升到较好的地位,一向是美国人的一个理想。因而,“仆人阶层”,没有成为一个固定不变的群体。事实上,这个阶层几乎不复存在,因为早年有可能当佣人的现在都在工厂里工作,获得较高的工资。大多数家庭付不起请人干家务或修剪花木的费用。做家务的终点女工在同样的时间里,其收入同速记员,甚至同公立学校教师的工资差不多。

由于请人做家务或干诸如油漆和木工这样的技术活费用很贵,加上美国人有自己动手干活的传统,这两者促成了“自己动手”的精神长存不衰。通俗杂志上有许多文章传授园艺、木工、做沙发套和室内装潢的技能,当地中学开设的夜

校课程教成年人自己做衣服、给汽车上油。普通的美国人会把自己的制作告诉别人,想邻居展示,或者送县展会参展(相信肯定会得奖),从中得到很大的乐趣。

外国人有时会得出这样的结论:美国人比他们富,因为美国人有度假屋、景观美丽的花园等等。然而,他们并不总是意识到,美国人之所以有这些东西,只不过是因为他们自己动手干出来的。

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