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By Yangfan Helynna Lin, VI Form
Preservation of Metaphor in Translation: Analyzing the Chinese Poet Su Shi
“Bad translations communicate too much” (1). In After Babel, George Steiner points out that a bad translation strips the original text of something important by unnecessarily applying new elements to the original text. In English translations of Chinese poems, one type of bad translation attempts at over-explaining the metaphors, or metaphorical objects, in the poem, which puts readers at the risk of accessing less information that the metaphor otherwise would have presented to the reader- – that is, a fuller image that the poem originally presents.
Let’s compare the following two translations of the same poem: Nian Nu Jiao: Chi Bi Huai Gu by Chinese poet Su Shi (2). *Literally translated into “Nian Nu Jiao: At Chi Bi Cherishing the Past”, with which Nian Nu Jiao is the tune that the poem rhymes.
By Lulu Eastman, V Form
Moral Obligation…in Hamlet & a Fetus
Hamlet, a Shakespeare play, follows the tragic tale concerning a deeply troubled Danish prince of the same name. Hamlet is forced to confront his traitorous mother and uncle in order to avenge his murdered father, who, as a ghost, has requested Hamlet takes his uncle’s life in order to bring him justice. However, Hamlet is distressed by the thought of committing such a bloody deed. As he wavers through indecision regarding his proposed mission, he also struggles against the drowning weight of his depression, as the toxic environment of the palace causes him to lose faith in the goodness of people. In the novel, Nutshell, by Ian McEwan, the story of the fetus is based off of Hamlet. With the reflective fetus entangled in the plotting of his traitorous mother and uncle, he finds himself in a predicament similar to that of the Danish prince. Although he has yet to even experience life for his own, the fetus has already lost hope for the vitality and decency of humanity. Every moment of his being is spent listening to conversations that only reveal more and more of the villainous and duplicitous ways of his mother and uncle, Trudy and Claude. Both Hamlet and the fetus reach a point where they contemplate committing suicide, as it seems to be the only way to put an end to their pain. However, both decide to live instead. Though both Hamlet and the fetus have cynical views of the world, and both consider suicide, they continue living through their suffering because they have moral obligations, beliefs, and fears that bind them to life. (more…)
By Logan King, IV Form
Seamus Heaney: The Pen and The Spade
“The Forge” by Seamus Heaney expands upon the theme of strength that he first established in his poem, “Digging.” However, instead of exploring the similarities between using a pen and a spade like in the latter, in “The Forge”, Heaney examines the craftsmanship and beauty a blacksmith uses despite the force required to do his job. The bluntness of the short words used contrast with their meaning to create the image of a tough, rhythmic job that creates art. He does this similarly in “Digging,” where his word choice creates a non stereotypical image of farmwork, all underscored with the rhythmic act of digging. Linking both poems is not only the sense of wonder and appreciation the author holds for the two jobs, but also regret, because he can only recognize instead of participate in the art of their work. (more…)
By Samantha Sarafin, John Hart, George Littlefield, and Ginny Walsh, V Form
U.S. Historical “I am” Poems
Each of our United States History courses revolves around eight major themes prevalent throughout history. One of those themes is the question of “Who is an American” at any given time in the nation’s history. In keeping with our work and also trying to connect what we do inside our classroom to the broader St. Mark’s community and world at large, each class took their Community and Equity Day “I am” poems and looked at them from a historical angle. Each student was asked to look at an “I am” poem from the perspective of a figure from history. Some students were asked to be someone as specific as Alexander Hamilton, while others were (more…)