GRE作文范例 12

作者:admin

来源:

2012-12-14 16:10

Issue

"When we concern ourselves with the study of history, we become storytellers. Because we can never know the past directly but must construct it by interpreting evidence, exploring history is more of a creative enterprise than it is an objective pursuit. All historians are storytellers."

Sample Essay

There would seem to be two different perspectives presented in the above statement. The first two sentences are concerned with exploring history and would seem to discuss looking at history that has already been written. People who concern themselves with the study of history are not storytellers, but rather story interpreters. The last sentence refers to the people that write about history, the historians themselves. Certainly, to a certain extent, historians must be storytellers because they have a story to tell. But the term "storyteller" seems to imply a greater amount of creativity than what is involved in actually explaining what has happened in history. For the purposes of this essay, I will focus on the perspective of the historian, as it would appear to be the underlying core idea.

From the perspective of the historian, most historians do not have the benefit of having lived through the period of history that they are writing about. By researching through thousands of old letters, legal documents, family heirlooms and the like, historians must look at fragments of history and somehow put these pieces together to reconstruct what actually happened. In this sense, they must be storytellers because inevitably, their personal insights become part of what others will see when they read the historian’s writings. As an example, there are many differing opinions as to whether Thomas Jefferson actually fathered children with one of his slaves. Some historians have written that it is a virtual certainty, while others argue that it was his brother, rather than Thomas himself, that fathered the children. They both cannot be right. Although they are all historians, they are also storytellers giving their opinion on what version of events actually transpired.

Historians that are documenting events as they happen today have much less of an opportunity to fall into the "storyteller" category as they are present as witnesses to these events as they are happening. Television, newspaper and other media coverage is widespread and almost unrelenting. Television captures visuals and audios that are spread rapidly around the world and theoretically can last forever. There is much less room for putting one’s own "spin" on an event, especially regarding the exact details of what happened. But even with today’s events, there is room for opinion on the part of the historian. For example, historians are already arguing what evidence the United States government had regarding potential terrorism prior to the incredible tragedy of September 11, 2001. Looking back now, it seems obvious that the government should have known that something on a large scale was going to happen. With the benefit of hindsight, there were several failures in the government’s counter-terrorism efforts. Historians will now argue over the exact version of what happened, as they become storytellers to try to explain 9/11 to future generations.

Another example showcasing the idea that all historians are storytellers is that of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Variations on who was responsible and what actually happened have been the focus of hundreds, if not thousands, of books and historical accounts. Many historians argue vehemently that his or her account of history is the "true" version. Given the same evidence, historians decide which evidence is credible and which is not to arrive at their own conclusions. Clearly storytelling is a big part of how history is written.

Particularly when it concerns ancient history, all historians must be storytellers to a certain degree. "Connecting the dots" of surviving evidence from the time period or event being examined requires a certain amount of personal intuition and supposition. Historians that write about events from the more recent periods will probably be less inclined to be "storytellers" as the sheer mass of evidence that is presented will likely lead to better documentation of historic events as they happen.


观点陈述型作文/

"当我们关注历史研究时,我们便成为故事讲述者。由于我们永远也不可能直接知道过去。而只能通过对证据的解释来构建历史,因此,探究历史更多地成为一项创造性的事业,而不是一种客观的求索。所有历史学家都是故事讲述者。"

范文:

上述陈述中似乎存在两个不同的视角。开头两个句子所涉及到的是探究历史,所探讨的似乎是审视业已被著述的那种历史。专注于历史研究的人不是故事讲述者,而是故事解释者。毫无疑问,在某种程度上,史学家必须是故事讲述者,因为他们有故事要讲。但"故事讲述者"这一术语似乎暗示着一种更大程度上的创造性,要超过实际解释历史上所发生过的一切这一过程中所涉及的程度。为了本文的目的,我将集中在史学家这一视角,因为这似乎是论题中所包含的核心主题。

从史学家这一视角看,大多数史学家均无幸亲身经历他们所著述的那段历史。通过研究数以千计的古老书信,法律文件,家族的传世之宝等物件,史学家必须分析一个个残缺不全的历史片断,以某种方式将这些碎片拼凑起来,重新构建实际所发生的一切。从这层意义上讲,他们不得不成为故事讲述者,因为他们的个人见解不可避免地成为其他人研读史学家著作时所见到的一部分。例如,围绕着托马斯·杰佛逊实际上是否与他的一个女奴生有几个孩子、这一问题,史学们众说纷纭。有些史学家著述道,这几乎是一个铁定的事实。但其他一些史学家则反驳说,是他的兄弟,而不是杰佛逊本人,才是这些孩子的父亲。双方不可能都对。他们都是史学家,他们也是一些故事讲述者,给出他们自己的观点,以期说明究竟哪个版本才是实际发生的事件。

记载当今正在发生的事件的史学家们,不太可能被归入" 故事讲述者"这一范畴,因为他们作为历史见证者亲身经历了各种事件的发生。电视、报纸和其他媒体的报道铺天盖地,几乎从不间断。电视所捕捉到的视频和音频信息会被迅速地传遍全球,并在理论上可永久地存在。对某一事件作出个人"诠释"的余地越来越小,尤其是有关所发生事件的确切细节。但即使是对于当今发生的事件,史学家仍有表达个人观点的空间。例如,史学家早就在争论美国政府在无法令人置信的2001年9月11日悲剧发生之前关于潜在的恐怖主义活动已拥有了哪些证据。现在回顾起来,情况似乎十分明朗,即政府早就知道某种大规模事件将要发生。得益于后见之明,我们现在可以看清楚,政府的反恐努力中存在着诸多漏洞。史学家从现在起将会针对事件发生的确切版本争论不休,因为他们在试图向后代解释"9.11事件"时都将成为"故事讲述者"。

例证"所有史学家都是故事讲述者"这一观点的另一个实例是约翰·弗·肯尼迪的谋杀事件。谁对这起事件负责?实际上发生了什么?有关这类问题的各种说法构成了成千上万部史学著作的焦点。许多史学家都言之凿凿地宣称,他(她)对那段历史的叙述才是"确凿无疑"的版本。即使在被给予相同证据的情况下,史学家也会去判断哪些证据是可信的,哪些不足为信,并最终得出自己的结论。显而易见,讲述故事在历史著述中占有相当大的一部分。

尤其是在涉及到古代历史时,所有史学家在一定程度上都是故事讲述者。从被审视的历史时期或事件残存的证据中将"蛛丝马迹"串连起来,这需要一定程度上的个人直觉和假设。对较为近期的历史事件进行著述的史学家可能不太愿意成为"故事讲述者",因为所能获得的大量证据可能导致对所发生的事件的过程更为详尽的记载。