11-4. But in an old man who has known human joys and sorrows, and has achieved whatever work it was in him to do, the fear of death is somewhat abject and ignoble.


【讲解】whatever work it was in him to do作achieved的宾语从句。这里的in表示能力。in him即他有能力。whatever work相当于any work,作do的宾语。it是形式主语,to do才是真正的主语。who has known…him to do为定语从句,修饰an old man, has known和has achieved为who的并列谓语。


abject:可鄙的,卑鄙的(an abject action or expression shows that your feel very ashamed),

an abject coward 可鄙的懦夫

an abject fear 卑怯

abject另一常见意为“绝望无助的,凄苦可怜的(the state of being extremely poor, unhappy, unsuccessful etc)”,

abject poverty 赤贫
abject failure 惨败

ignoble:卑鄙的;不光彩的;可耻的(ignoble thoughts, feelings, or actions are ones that you should feel ashamed or embarrassed about),

an ignoble purpose 卑鄙的目的
There’s something cowardly and ignoble about such an attitude.

11-5. The best way to overcome it—so at least it seems to me—is to make your interests gradually wider and more impersonal, until bit by bit the walls of the ego recede, and your life becomes increasingly merged in the universal life.


【讲解】so at least it seems to me系插入语,是倒装语序,自然语序是at least it seems so to me,这里的it指整个句子。overcome后的it指fear of death。to make your interests…impersonal作表语。the walls of the ego系暗喻(metaphor)修辞手法,意为“像一堵高墙的自我”。


impersonal:非个人的;非特指某一个人的;不受个人感情(或偏见)影响的,客观的(not showing any feelings of sympathy, friendliness, etc),

The teacher’s criticism of the class was impersonal.
impersonal assessment 客观的评价

11-6. An individual human existence should be like a river—small at first, narrowly contained within its banks, and rushing passionately past boulders and over waterfalls.


【讲解】an individual human…a river是明喻(simile)修辞手法,small at first…over waterfalls构成延伸比喻(extended metaphor),延伸比喻是把原比喻加以延伸,对原比喻作进一步说明。这里的破折号引出说明语。