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高考零分作文,对“正确答案”的嘲弄

更新时间:2015-7-1 9:46:31 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

The Satirical Relief After China’s Pressure-Cooker College Exam
高考零分作文,对“正确答案”的嘲弄

Every June, millions of students in China take the all-important gaokao, the national university entrance exam that determines whether they can continue their educations and where. And just as regularly, the essay questions on the exam become the target of social commentary and a brand of humor known as the “zero-point composition.”

每年6月,数百万中国学生要参加一场无比重要的高考,即普通高等学校招生全国统一考试。高考决定了这些学生能否继续接受教育,以及在哪里接受教育。同往年一样,作文题引发了社会热议,还产生了一种叫做“零分作文”的幽默题材。

The two- to three-day exam tests students’ ability in mathematics, science, the humanities, a foreign language and Chinese, with some variations by region and for special programs, such as art. About a third of the grade for Chinese comes from the composition segment, in which students are presented with a situation and asked to expound on it in about 800 characters. These “composition prompts,” once they have circulated publicly after the exam, typically inspire discussions of which ones would have been the hardest to write up and, more entertainingly, what would be guaranteed to score a failing “zero-point” grade by deviating from a presumably “correct” response.

高考为期两到三天,测试的是学生的数学、理综、文综、外语和语文能力,各地区之间略有不同,艺术类等特殊专业也会有所不同。作文约占语文总分的三分之一。在作文这一部分,命题人会给考生提供一个场景,要求考生围绕这个场景展开,写一篇大约800字的文章。一旦在考后流传开来,这些“作文话题”通常会引发人们的讨论,内容涉及哪些话题最难写,以及更具娱乐性的——哪些会因为偏离可能的“正确”答案而被判“零分”。

Here is one example of a composition prompt that has attracted a good deal of attention, in a version of the exam that was administered in the provinces of Hebei, Henan, Jiangxi, Shaanxi and Shanxi:

以下就是一个引起了广泛关注的作文话题,出现在河北、河南、江西、陕西和山西的考试中:

Because her father kept answering his mobile phone while driving on the highway and ignoring his family’s admonishments, Ms. Chen, a university student, in the interests of safety, reported her father to the police via Weibo. After the police confirmed it, they fined Mr. Chen and lectured him and posted Ms. Chen’s report on their official Weibo account. Ms. Chen’s action attracted many likes from commenters, but also some criticism. The news media then reported the story, prompting a broader discussion.

“因父亲总是在高速路上开车时接电话,家人屡劝不改,女大学生小陈迫于无奈,更出于生命安全的考虑,通过微博私信向警方举报了自己的父亲;警方查实后,依法对老陈进行了教育和处罚,并将这起举报发在官方微博上。此事赢得众多网友点赞,也引发一些质疑,经媒体报道后,激起了更大范围、更多角度的讨论。

How do you view this incident? Please write a letter to Ms. Chen, Mr. Chen or one of the other parties. Present your opinion and elaborate. You must consider the story and its meaning, choose an angle well, set up the theme and carry it through.

“对于以上事情,你怎么看?请给小陈、老陈或其他相关方写一封信,表明你的态度,阐述你的看法。要求综合材料内容及含意,选好角度,确定立意,完成写作任务。”

Given this prompt, many Chinese students, hoping to second-guess what the exam-graders would consider a “correct” response, might decide to praise the daughter for upholding the law by calling the police, even at the expense of her father.

很多中国学生看到这个话题后,都会希望猜测判卷人心目中的“正确”答案。他们可能会选择赞扬材料中的女儿,虽然父亲受到了处罚,但她报警维护了法律。

One online commenter went further. Xie Mingbo, a teacher at New Oriental, an educational services company that coaches students for exams such as the gaokao, suggested that students faced with this prompt could argue that informing on one’s father represents a loftier order of filial piety. Mr. Xie quoted an ancient commentary on the teachings of the philosopher Mencius, on the error committed when “children intentionally follow adults in the wrong way and tolerate their mistakes because of the blood relationship.” Therefore, he wrote, the daughter’s report was actually “a sign of responsibility toward society and her father.”

网上的一名评论人士更进了一步。为参加高考等考试的学生提供培训的教育机构新东方的老师谢明波称,考生在面对这个话题的时候,可以说举报父亲的行为是一种级别更高的孝道。谢明波引用了古人对哲学家孟子的教诲的阐释,称“孩子有意的曲从大人之意,即使大人犯错了也不指正”是不孝的表现。由此可见,谢明波写道,材料中女儿举报父亲违法,正是“有社会责任感和孝道的表现”。

But a widely reposted zero-point composition took a radically different approach, questioning the presumption of the composition prompt that any students seeking higher education must be familiar with the trappings of urban, middle-class life — and therefore that a university education is not for the rural poor.

但是,一篇被大量转发的零分作文选取了一个完全不同的角度,质疑这个作文话题假设所有追求高等教育的学生都熟悉城市的设施和中产阶级生活,因而质疑大学教育不是面向农村穷人的。

My father is a peasant who has never left his hometown. For 365 days a year, he toils in the fields. …For me, highways only appear on TV, in newspapers and in books. I’ve never seen a highway in my life. …The material in the prompt is so strange to me. I can’t even imagine such things happening in real life. …If the material were about the countryside, such as raising crops or livestock, I could seriously write something about it because I’d at least be familiar with it.

“父亲是个不折不扣的农民,一辈子都没有离开过户县,一年365天都是过着面朝黄土背朝天……高速公路对我而言,也只是电视上,报纸上和书本上的事。我仍然没有目睹过“她”的芳容……材料里的这些事对我是陌生又陌生的,我甚至都难以想像这样的事情发生……如果作文材料是有关农村的事,比如种庄稼的事,比如养猪牛羊的事,我绝对熟悉,绝对可以写出点东西来。”

Several other zero-point compositions berated the daughter for turning in her own father to the authorities, a common practice during the Maoist era. Said one:

还有几篇零分作文斥责这个女儿向当局举报自己的父亲,这样的行为在毛泽东时期很常见。有篇文章是这样写的:

Sister, how dare you “place rightness above family” [a Chinese idiom] and become an informer? Don’t you know how hard your father has worked for you?

“姐姐,你怎么能‘大义灭亲’举报你爸呢?你难道不知道你爸这么辛苦工作都是为了你吗?”

Here’s another composition prompt, from the version of the exam given in the southwestern municipality of Chongqing:

下面是另一个作文题目,出自西南直辖市重庆的考卷:

A little boy asked a bus driver to wait for his mother. After a minute, other passengers started complaining that the mother and son were wasting their time. When the mother finally boarded the bus, the passengers could see her legs were crippled. They fell silent.

“一个刚上车的小男孩请公交司机等一等他妈妈,过了一分钟,孩子妈妈还没到,车上乘客开始埋怨,说母子俩耽误了大家的时间。这时那位腿有残疾的母亲一瘸一拐的上了车,所有人都沉默了。”

Dong Xiaoyu, the dean of journalism at Southwest University in Chongqing, analyzed this prompt on Chongqing Daily’s Weibo account. She recommended that students respond to the prompt by expressing an appreciation for tolerance, respect, virtue and calm.

重庆西南大学新闻传媒学院院长董小玉在《重庆日报》的微博上分析了这篇作文题目。她建议学生从表达对包容、尊重、道德和冷静欣赏的角度入手。

“The prompt focuses on real life and points to a clear direction,” Ms. Dong wrote. “It tells people to calm down, reflect upon themselves and society, and re-evaluate their lives and values.”

“在当今浮躁的社会文化语境下,这一材料作文具有很强现实的针对性和鲜明的思想导向性。它能引导人们,沉静下来、反思自己、反思社会,重新认识生命、认识价值、认识崇高。”

Enter the zero-pointer, dismissing any such lofty reflections:

零分作文完全不理会这些崇高的反思:

Time is money, my friend! Even online gamers want to speed things up, let alone those who are on their way to work!

“时间就是金钱,我的朋友!连玩个游戏都被要求加速,更何况是别人的工作和行程?”

Rather than wasting other passengers’ time, the boy should simply have waited for the next bus, since some buses in Chongqing run as frequently as every five minutes, the zero-pointer wrote, adding:

“我们重庆车流比较密集的地区,快的话可能5分钟就有下一班车,小朋友你可以带你妈妈坐下一班车的嘛!何苦为难别人。”零分作文接着写道:

Virtue cannot hijack our judgment of right and wrong, and having tolerance and respect for the weak doesn’t mean that the weak are always right.

“美德不能绑架是非对错,对弱者的宽容、百般迁就不等价于弱者即正义。”

Here’s yet another example of a composition prompt, from the exam given in 13 provinces and regions including Tibet, Inner Mongolia and Xinjiang:

这里还有一个作文题的例子,出自包括西藏、内蒙古和新疆的13个省和地区考卷:

There are three finalists in the contest for “Contemporary Distinguished Figure”:

“当代风采人物评选活动已产生最后三名候选人。”

Xiao Li, who studies hard and thinks fast, concentrates on innovation and has contributed to discoveries in the life sciences. He has led his team to the frontiers of international scholarship.

“小李,笃学敏思,矢志创新,为破解生命科学之谜做出重大贡献,率领团队一举跻身国际学术最前沿。”

Lao Wang loves his job and has honed a set of skills, transforming mundane manual labor into an art and following a life course from vocational school student to master welder.

“老王,爱岗敬业,练就一手绝活,变普通技术为完美艺术,走出一条从高职生到焊接大师的‘大国工匠’之路。”

Xiao Liu loves photography and travels around capturing breathtaking views. His blog garners praise from his followers: “You help us appreciate the beauty and diversity of the world.” “You help us preserve the beauty of home.”

“小刘,酷爱摄影,跋山涉水捕捉世间美景,他的博客赢得网友一片赞叹:‘你带我们品味大千世界’、‘你帮我们留住美丽乡愁’。”

Which of the three finalists do you think is the most distinguished?

“这三人中,你认为谁更具风采?”

According to Gao Fang, another teacher at New Oriental, the three candidates “represent innovation, hard work and sacrifice respectively, the themes and core values of our society and also the values that we lack the most.” Therefore, he wrote on the education channel of Sina.com, exam takers could make a good case in their compositions for any one of the finalists.

据新东方的另一位教师高放说,这三位候选人“代表着创新、务实和奉献,是我们当今社会的主题和核心价值观,我们当今社会目前也最缺少这三个核心的价值取向。”因此,他在新浪网的教育频道写道,考生可以从三个候选人中任选一个角度,都能写出好作文。

A commenter from Tianjin disagreed:

一位天津的评论者不同意。

The “experts” [like Gao] only talk nonsense. They don’t understand the challenges the students face.

他写道,像这样的“‘专家’就只知道说废话,一点也不体谅学生的难处”。

And, once again, a zero-pointer attacks the prompt itself. A zero-point composition posted on 51test.net and many other sites, titled “Whoever Conducts Himself Decently Is the Most Distinguished,” asks why anyone should have to choose “the most distinguished” in the first place.

并且,又有一篇零分作文攻击了作文题目本身。一篇题为“谁会表演谁就最有风采”的零分作文,发布在了51test.net以及其他许多网站上。该文质疑为什么从一开始,人们就必须要选一个“最有风采”的。

The common people are the most honorable, but they keep to themselves and work hard, and never promote themselves as elegant. … Why stage a contest for the most elegant when what will really make people happy is to lower prices and raise incomes?

“人民是最可爱最值得尊重的集体,但人民没有自吹自擂,一直默默的工作劳动着……整天非要选几个典型让百姓觉得社会很风采,生活很美好。与其那样还不如让百姓真实地获得一些物质上面的实惠。把价格给降下来,把工资给提上来。”

The zero-pointer also lists figures who courted fame but later fell in disgrace, such as the politician Bo Xilai, now serving a life sentence for corruption.

这篇零分作文也列举了一些追求名望但最后人仰马翻的人物,比如政治人物薄熙来,他因为腐败罪名被判处无期徒刑,正在服刑。

In this society, as long as you are brazen enough, you can self-advertise and trumpet how distinguished you are. … In the end, it’s no more than petty tricks.

“在这个社会,只要你脸皮够厚,只要你敢说,你就能把自己推销出去……到最后,其实就是个人的鬼把戏。”

The emergence of these alternative compositions, as a form of social criticism clad in the humorous embrace of a willfully incorrect “zero grade,” has attracted its own share of analysis. According to an editorial in Guangming Daily:

这些另类作文故意不合规范,幽默地接受了“零分”。但它作为一种社会批评的形式,也受到了专门的分析。《光明日报》的一篇评论写道:

This criticism of the gaokao prompts reflects people’s assessment of China’s basic education system. The questioning of the prompts reveals people’s desire for higher educational standards. … and signals the possibility for improvements in education. This possibility depends on the freedom of thought in society.

“对作文题目的批评可以延伸为人们对基础教育的批评,批评者对作文题深度和开放性的追问,也再次重申了人们对教育更高的诉求……而基础教育功能提升的可能性,则是以社会思想的自由程度为阈值的。”

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