پنجشنبه بیست و نهم جولای 1943

کتاب: آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان / فصل 29

آن فرانک: خاطرات یک دختر جوان

86 فصل

پنجشنبه بیست و نهم جولای 1943

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Dearest Kitty,

Mrs. van Daan, Dussel and I were doing the dishes, and I was extremely quiet. This is very unusual for me and they were sure to notice, so in order to avoid any questions, I quickly racked my brains for a neutral topic. I thought the book Henry from Across the Street might fit the bill, but I couldn’t have been more wrong; if Mrs. van Daan doesn’t jump down my throat, Mr. Dussel does. It all boiled down to this: Mr. Dussel had recommended the book to Margot and me as an example of excellent writing. We thought it was anything but that. The little boy had been portrayed well, but as for the rest. . . the less said the better. I mentioned something to that effect while we were doing the dishes, and Dussel launched into a veritable tirade.

“How can you possibly understand the psychology of a man? That of a child isn’t so difficult [!]. But you’re far too young to read a book like that. Even a twenty-year-old man would be unable to comprehend it.” (So why did he go out of his way to recommend it to Margot and me?) Mrs. van D. and Dussel continued their harangue: “You know way too much about things you’re not supposed to. You’ve been brought up all wrong. Later on, when you’re older, you won’t be able to enjoy anything anymore. You’ll say, ‘Oh, I read that twenty years ago in some book.’ You’d better hurry if you want to catch a husband or fall in love, since everything is bound to be a disappointment to you. You already know all there is to know in theory. But in practice? That’s another story!”

Can you imagine how I felt? I astonished myself by calmly replying, “You may think I haven’t been raised properly, but many people would disagree!” They apparently believe that good child-rearing includes trying to pit me against my parents, since that’s all they ever do. And not telling a girl my age about grown-up subjects is fine. We can all see what happens when. people are raised that way.

At that moment I could have slapped them both for poking fun at me. I was beside myself with rage, and if I only knew how much longer we had to put up with each other’s company, I’d start counting the days.

Mrs. van Daan’s a fine one to talk! She sets an example all right-a bad one! She’s known to be exceedingly pushy, egotistical, cunning, calculating and perpetually dissatisfied. Add to that, vanity and coquettishness and there’s no question about it: she’s a thoroughly despicable person. I could write an entire book about Madame van Daan, and who knows, maybe someday I will. Anyone can put on a charming exterior when they want to. Mrs. van D. is friendly to strangers, especially men, so it’s easy to make a mistake when you first get to know her.

Mother thinks that Mrs. van D. is too stupid for words, Margot that she’s too unimportant, Pim that she’s too ugly (literally and figuratively!), and after long observation (I’m never prejudiced at the beginning), I’ve come to the conclusion that she’s all three of the above, and lots more besides. She has so many bad traits, why should I single out just one of them?

Yours, Anne

P.S. Will the reader please take into consideration that this story was written before the writer’s fury had cooled?


Dearest Kitty,

Things are going well on the political front. Italy has banned the Fascist Party. The people are fighting the Fascists in many places-even the army has joined the fight. How can a country like that continue to wage war against England?

Our beautiful radio was taken away last week. Dussel was very angry at Mr. Kugler for turning it in on the appointed day. Dussel is slipping lower and lower in my estimation, and he’s already below zero. hatever he says about politics, history, geography or ything else is so ridiculous that I hardly dare repeat it: Hitler will fade from history; the harbor in Rotterdam is bigger than the one in Hamburg; the English are idiots for not taking the opportunity to bomb Italy to smithereens; etc., etc.

We just had a third air raid. I decided to grit my teeth and practice being courageous.

Mrs. van Daan, the one who always said “Let them fall” and “Better to end with a bang than not to end at all,” is the most cowardly one among us. She was shaking like a leaf this morning and even burst into tears. She was comforted by her husband, with whom she recently declared a truce after a week of squabbling; I nearly got sentimental at the sight.

Mouschi has now proved, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that having a cat has disadvantages as well as advantages. The whole house is crawling with fleas, and it’s getting worse each day. Mr. Kleiman sprinkled yellow powder in every nook and cranny, but the fleas haven’t taken the slightest notice. It’s making us all very jittery; we’re forever imagining a bite on our arms and legs or other parts of our bodies, so we leap up and do a few exercises, since it gives us an excuse to take a better look at our arms or necks. But now we’re paying the price for having had so little physical exercise; we’re so stiff we can hardly turn our heads. The real calisthenics fell by the wayside long ago.

Yours, Anne

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