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  1. Selection One


James T. Farrell

  1. Selection Two


Jerome David Salinger

  1. Selection Three


Sinclair lewis

  1. Selection Four


William Faulkner

  1. Selection Five


John Dos Passos

  1. Selection Six


Ernest Hemingway

  1. Selection Seven


John Steinbeck

  1. Selection Eight


Theodore Dreiser

  1. Selection Nine


Jack London

  1. Selection Ten


Jack London

Giving a final scrupulous part to his hair, he left his bedroom, and in the parlor, his mother examined him approvingly.

"Yessir ! Um, the girl will be proud of her tall, handsome cake eater today" his father said, distracted from his Saturday Questioner.

"I ain't gos any girl. I'm just going to walk down to the beach and see the fellows, " Don protested.

"Old stuff !" Mr. Bryan snorted.

"Nokidding !" Don said.

"Now, Donald, do be careful, because these girls nowadays, they just are looking for husbands. And I won't stand for none of those fast, cigarette Smoking immoral girls stealing my son from me, " Mrs. Bryan said.

She disconcerted him with a kiss.

" I was young myself once, lad I know. You're going to see young girl, and don't try to kid an old duck like myself," Mr. Bryan said good - naturedly.

"No kidding, I ain't got a girl, " Don said.

" That's splendid, Donald. You listen to your mother and don't let any of these here fast living cabarelting girls get their hands on you. Yor're too young".

"No kidding... It's just that .. well , that I'm a lone wolf"

(cf. JAMES T. FARRELL, Looking'Em Over)


If you really want to hear about it, the first thing you'll probably want to is where I was born, and what my lousy childhood was like, and how my parents were occupied and all before they had me, and all that David Copperfield kind of crap, but I don't feel like going into it, if you want to know the truth. In the first place, that stuff bores me, and in the second place, my parents would have about two hemorrhages apiece if I told anything pretly personal about them. They're also touchy as hell. Besides, I'm not going to tell you my whole goddam autobiography or anything I'll just tell you about this madman stuff that happened to me around last Christmas just before I got pretty run down and had to come out here and take it easy. I mean that's all I told D.B about, and he's my brother and all. He's in Hollywood. That isn't too far from this crumby place, and he comes over and visits me practically every weekend. He's going to drive me home practically every weekend. He's going to dreve me home when I go home next month maybe. He just got a Jaguar. One of those little Einglish jobs that can do around two hundred miles an hour. It cost him damn near four thousand bucks. He's got a lot of dough, now . He didn't use to. He used to be a regular writer when he was home. He wrote this terrific book of short stories, the secret Goldfish, in case you never heard of him. The best one in it was "The Secret Goldfish." It was about this little kid that wouldn't let anybody look at his goldfish because he'd bought it with his own money. It killed me. Now he's out in Hollywood, D.B, being a prostitute. If there's one thing I hate, it's the movies. Don't even mention them to me.

(Cf. J.D. SALINGER, The Catcher in the Rye)


He was conscious of her as an exquisite thing, and when he tried to impress his personality on her he spoke as awkwardly as a country boy at his first party:

"Well, kinda hot to be working today".

"Oh yes, it is hot. You cut your own nails, last time, did'nt you".

"Ye-es, guess! must've"

" You always ought to go to a manicure".

" Yes, may be that's so. I...."

"There's nothing looks so nice as nails that are looked after good. I always think that's the best way to spot a real gent. There was an auto salesman in here yesterday that claimed you could always tell a fellow's class by the car he drove, but I said to him, " " Don't be silly," I says "The wisenheimers grab a look at a fellow's nails when they want to tell if he's a tin - horn or a reas sent."

" Yeh, may be there's something to that. Course that is with a pretty kiddy like you, a man can't help coming to get his mitts done".

" Yes, I may be a kid , but I'm a wise bird, and know nice folks when I see um - I can read character at a glance and I'd never talk so frank with a fellow if I couldn't see he was a nice fellow".

" I suppose you have a lot of fellows who try to get fresh with you".

" Say, gee, do I! Say, listen, there's some of these cigarettestore sports that thank because a girl's working in a barber shop,, they can get away with anything. The things they say! But, believe me, I know how to hop those birds".

I just give um the north and south and ask um, "Say, who you think you're talking to? " and they fade away like love's young nightmare and oh, don't you want a box of nail-paste? It wil keep the nails as shiny as when first manicured harmless to apply and lasts for days."



Selection 1

A final scrupulous part

Rẽ lại đường ngôi một cách cẩn thận lần chót.

The parlor

Phòng khách.

Cake eater

Thằng cu, đứa nhỏ (tiếng nói nựng của cha mẹ )


Bị làm cho đãng trí

To see the fellows

Thăm mấy thằng bạn

To protest

Phản đối

Old stuff

(Tiếng lóng) = ba cái lý do cũ rích ! (ý nói đây biết hết , đừng bày đặt dấu diếm )

To snort

Khịt mũi thật mạnh


đừng đùa !

I won't stand for

Mẹ không chịu ...


Phóng túng, bừa bãi

To disconcert

Làm bực mình


Chú nhóc, thằng con nít

To kid an old duck

đánh lừa một thằng gìa bợm

Good - naturedly

Xởi nởi, vui vẻ

That's splendid

Thế thì tuyệt quá

Fast - living

Sống phóng túng


Tối ngày say sưa ngoài quán

To get one's hands on

Chụp lấy, tóm lấy

A none wolf

Cu ky, chả có mà nào thèm ngó

Selection 2


(tiếng lóng, phát xuất từ louse = con rận) ấm ớ... bê bối... nhăng nhít...

To be occupied

Làm việc gì

David Copperfield kind of crap

Ba cái loại kể truyện vớ vẩn theo kiểu David Copperfield (D . C là tên nhật vật chính trong một cuốn tiểu thuyết nổi tiếng của Charles Dickens) Copperfield đóng vai trò của một adjective.

To go into it

Ði sâu vào việc đó (kể lể chi tiết về đời tư của tôi)

That stuff

Lời văn kể chuyện như thế


(Nghĩa đen là xuất huyết )tức học máu mồm.


Dành cho mỗi người


Rất kỵ, rất ghét

And all

Tiếng đệm kem theo (rất phổ thông trong đặc ngự Mỹ )

As hell

Thấy mẹ, bỏ mẹ


Mẹ kiếp, khốn kiếp


Tự truyện

This madman stuff

Một biến cố hết sức bê bối

I got gretty run down

Tôi bi "sạc" cho một mẻ

To take it easy

Tỏ ra đứng đắn, đàng hoàng hơn


Hắc ám, cà chớn


Xe hơi

To do



đô la


Hay dễ sợ


Một thằng nhóc ti

It killed me

Ðọc sướng muốn chết!


Bán văn nuôi miệng

Selection 3


Tuyệt vời, hết sức xinh đẹp

To impress his personality on her

Dùng cá tính của mình để gây ấn tượng với cô ta

Country boy

Một chàng nhà quê


Phát âm của từ "kind"

Guess I must've

(= I guess have) tôi nghĩ tôi đã làm việc ấy rồi


Việc săn sóc móng tay, móng chân nói chung.

To look after

Chăm sóc

To spot a real gent

Xác định một người đàng hoàng


Người khôn ngoan


Một tên cà chớn

To come to get his mitts done

đến sửa cắt móng tay

A wise bird

Một người không ngoan

Nice folks

Dân đàng hoàng


Phát âm của từ them

To read character

Hiểu được bản chất

To get fresh with

Dở trò tán tỉnh sàm sỡ

Cigarettestore sports

Mấy tên ăn chơi chuyên lượn quanh mấy hiệu thuốc lá

To get away with anything

Dụ dỗ bằng bất cứ cái gì

To hop those birds

Tổng cổ những khứa ấy đi

To give um the north and south

Làm cho chúng một trận ra trò

To fade away like love's young nightmare

Xìu như bánh tránh nhứng nước

Nail - paste

Kem thoa móng tay cho bóng



To apply

Bôi (kem) vào


Qua bài trích dẫn trên từ ba tác giả Mỹ nổi tiếng: Jamé T. Farrell, J.D. Salinger, và Sinclair Lewis, ta rút ra nhận xét sau đây về phong cách hội thoại (colloquial style).

1. Về mặt từ vựng: Thiên về sự việc sử dụng rất nhiều tiếng lóng (slangs) hay thành ngữ (idioms).

Ví dụ : tinhorn, cigarettestore sports, wisenheimers, cake - eater, lone wolf v.v...

2. Trong một câu nói: (Utterance) thường có rất nhiều tiếng đệm theo.

Ví dụ: goddaam, damn, as hell, and all, and anything...

3. Về mặt ngữ pháp: thường các quy luật ngữ pháp thông thường không được tôn trọng. Ví dụ : I says (ngôi thứ nhất lại có s sau động từ).

There's nothing looks so nice as. (Đúng ra looks phải chuyển thành looking).

Nails that are looked after good (Good dùng như một adverb, đúng ra phải dùng well).

4. Mô phỏng theo lối phát âm thực sự của người nói.

Ví dụ : The things they saaaaasy !

I just give um the north and south.

Well, kinda hot to be working today.


"I don't know why you are trying to make me fire you, he says. "You know you could quit anytime and there wouldn't be any hard feelings between us"

"Maybe that's why I dont quit, " I says " As long as I tend to my job, that's what you are paying me for. I went on to the back and got a drink of water and went on out to the back door. Job had the cultivators all set up at last. It was quiet there, and pretty soon my head got a little easier. I could hear them singing now, and then the band played again. Well, let them get every quarter and dime in the country; it was no skin off my back. I've done what I could, a man that can live as I have and not know when to quit is a fool. Especially as it's no business of mine. If it was my own daughter now it would be different, because she wouldn't have time to she'd have to work some to feed a few invalids and idiots and niggers, because how could I have the face to bring anybody there. I've too much respect for anybody to do that. I'm a man, I can stand it, it's my own flesh and blood and I'd like to see the colour of the man's eyes they would speak disrespectful of any woman that was my friend it's these damn good women that do it I'd like to see the good, church - going woman that's half as square as Lorraine, whore or no whore. Like I say if I was to get married you'd go up like a ballon and you know it and she says I want you to be happy to have a family of your own not to slave your life away for us. But I'll be gone soon and then you can take a wife but you'll never find a woman who is worthy of you and I says yes I could".

(Cf . WILLIAM FAULKNER, The Sound and The Fury )
Two stout men and a lean man sit at a table by a window. The light of a zinc sky catches bright edged glints off glasses, silver ware, oystershells, eyes. George baldwin has his back to the window. Gus Mc Niel sits on his right, and Densch on his left. When the waiter leans over to take away the empty oystershells he can see through the window, beyond the graystone parapet, the tops of a few buildings jutting like the last trees at the edge of a clff and the tinfoil reaches of the harbor litered with ships "I'm lecturing you this time, George.. Lord knows you used to lecture me enough in the old days. Homest it's rank foolishness, " Gus Mc Niel is saying "...It's rank foolishness to pass up the chance of political career at your time of life... There's no man in New York better fitted to hold office."

"Look to me as if it were your duty, Baldwin ," says Densch in a deep voice, taking his tortoiseshell glasses out of a case and applying them hurriedly to his nose.

The waiter has brought a large planked steak surrounded by bulwarks of mushrooms and chopped carrots and peas and frlled browned mashed potatoes. Densch, straightens his glasses and stares attentively at the planked steak.

" A very handsome dish Ben, a very handsome dish I must say.. It's just this Baldwin... as I look at it... the country is going through a dangerous period of reconstruction.. the confusion attendant on the winding up of a great conflict... the bankruptcy of a continent.. bolshevism and subversive doctrines rife.. America... " he says, cutting with the sharp polished steel knife into the thick steak, rare and well peppered. He chews a mouthful slowly. "America” he begins again "is in the position of taking over the receivership of the world. The great principles of democracy, of that commercial freedom upon which our whole civilization depends are more than ever at stake. Now as at no other time we need men of established ability and unblemished integrity in public office, particulary in the offices requiring expert judicial and legal knowledge."

(C.f. JOHN DOS PASSOS, Manhattan Transfer)
It wasn't about anything, something about making punch, and then ws started fighting and I slipped and he had me down kneeling on my chest amd choking me with both hands like was trying to kill me and all the time. I was trying to get knife out of my pocket to cut him loose.

Eveybody was too drunk to pull him off me. He was choking me and hammering my head on the floor and I got the knife out and opened it up and I cut the muscle right across his arm and he let go of me. He couldn't have held on if he wanted to. Then he rolled and hung onto that arm and started to cry and I said:

"What the hell you want to choke me for?" I'd have killed him. I couldn't swallow for a week. He hurt my throat bad.

Well, I went out of there and there were plenty of them with him and some come out after me and I made a turn and was down by the docks and I met a fellow and he said somebody killed a man up the street. I said "Who killed him ?" and he said "I don't know who killed him but he's dead all right," and it was dark and there was water standing in the street and no lights and windows borke and boats all up in the town and trees blown down and everything all blown and I had had her inside of Mango Key and she was all right only she was full of water. So I bailed her out and pumped her out and there was a moon but plenty of clovels and still plenty rough and I took it down along; and when it was daylight I was off Eastern Harbor.

(Cf. . E. HEMINGWAY, After the storm)

Selection 4

To fire

đuổi, tống cổ

To quit

Rời đi, bỏ việc, nghỉ việc

Hard feelings

Giận hờn, tình cảm sứt mẻ

As long as I tend to my

Chừng nào tôi còn thích




Máy vỡ đất trước khi cày cấy

To get every quarter and dime

Vét xu, vét tiền (= quarter = đồng 25 xu, a dime = đồng 10 xu)

It was no skin off my back

Cũng chẳng làm tôi sầy sứt miếng da nào. Cũng chẳng nhằm nhò gì đối với tôi.


Người tàn tật


Bọn khùng điên


Bọn da đen

To have the face

Có mặt mũi nào...


Tự trọng(nghĩa trong bài)

Damn good

Tốt thấy mẹ

Good, church-going women

Bọn đàn bà đạo đức chuyên đi lễ nhà thờ


Ngon lành (tướng tá hấp dẫn)


đĩ, điếm

To go up like a balloon

Phồng lên như trái banh lông (khoái trí)

To slave one's life away

Làm như mọi cả đời

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