I am a Cat (Chapter 7 b) Section 232 Study Guide

Practice text with full furigana

細君さいくん面倒めんどう顔付かおつきで「かしてなんになさるんですか」といながら、またぴしゃりとおいでになった。こう先方せんぽう目的もくてきがわかればわけはない、鳴いてさえやれば主人しゅじん満足まんぞくさせること出来できのだ。主人はかくのごとく愚物ぐぶつだからいやになる。鳴かせるためなら、ためとはやえば二返にへん三返さんべん余計よけい手数てすうはしなくてもすむし、吾輩わがはい一度いちど放免ほうめんになること二度にど三度さんどえされる必要ひつようはないのだ。ただってと云う命令めいれいは、打つ事それ自身じしんを目的とする場合ばあいのほかにもちべきものでない。打つのはむこの事、鳴くのはこっちの事だ。鳴く事をはじから予期よきしてかかって、ただ打つと云う命令のうちに、こっちの随意ずいいたるべき鳴く事さえふくまってるようにかんがえるのは失敬しっけい千万せんばんだ。他人たにん人格じんかくおもんぜんと云うものだ。ねこ馬鹿ばかにしている。主人の蛇蝎だかつのごとくきら金田かねだくんならやりそうな事だが、赤裸々せきららをもってほこ主人としてはすこぶる卑劣ひれつである。しかしじつのところ主人はこれほどけちなおとこではないのである。だから主人のこの命令は狡猾こうかつきょくでたのではない。つまり智慧ちえりないところからいた孑孑ぼうふらのようなものと思惟しいするめしえばはらきまっているればに極っている。ころせばに極まっている。それだから打てば鳴くに極っていると速断そくだんをやったんだろう。しかしそれはどくだがすこ論理ろんりわない。そのかくかわちればかなら死ぬ事になる。天麩羅てんぷらを食えば必ず下痢げりする事になる。月給げっきゅうをもらえば必ず出勤しゅっきんする事になる。書物しょもつめば必ずえらくなる事になる。必ずそうなっては少しこまひとが出来てくる。打てば必ずなかなければならんとなると吾輩は迷惑めいわくである。目白めじろときかね同一どういつ見傚みなされては猫とうまれた甲斐かいがない。まずはらなかではでこれだけ主人をへこましておいて、しかるのちにゃーと注文ちゅうもんどおり鳴いてやった。

Rough translation

"Why do you want him to mew?" The wife asks in response, with a look of exasperation, before rapping my head yet again. Having understood the other party's objective, the resolution is simple enough. All I have to do is mew, and the master will be happy. The master's a dolt, as this episode demonstrates, and that makes things difficult. If it's a mew he's after, he could have just said so. No need for the wife to go to lengths, two times then three times, and no need to subject yours truly to multiple provocations. Unless the desired outcome is a rap on the cat's head, ordering another to rap the cat on the head is misguided. The directed party can rap at will, but the mew is mine to yield. If the whole point is to elicit a mew, which is mine to yield or withhold at my own discretion, then scheming to do so through a roundabout rap on the head is the height of presumption. It's utter disregard for individuality and freedom of choice. It's trifling with this cat. From a fellow like Kaneda, whom the master detests with a passion, such would be par for the course. From the master, however, who proudly cavorts with the naked masses, it's most disappointing. The master, in fact, is not so petty. His directions were not crafted from any abundance of wiliness. They were hatched rather, as I see it, from lack of insight. When one eats a meal, one's belly swells. When one is cut, one bleeds. When one is killed, one dies. In like manner, rap a cat's head, and it mews. Or so it seems the master has rashly concluded. Sad to say, though, his thinking is flawed. Applying the same logic, to fall into a river means death by drowning. To eat tempura means a loose stool. To receive one's pay means one does one's duties. And to read books means enlightenment. Assignment of such foregone consequences is not without hazard. In particular, the master's idea, that a rap on the cat's head means a mew, does not sit well with yours truly. I was born a cat, not a clock. To be viewed in the same vein as the hourly bell at Mejiro is a slight to my felinity. Having repudiated the master's logic in my mind, thoroughly and to my own satisfaction, I acquiesce and yield his sought-after mew.

Vocabulary

細君さいくん the wife面倒めんどうな bothersome; burdensome顔付かおつき facial expressionかして cause to cry; cause to mewなん whatいながら asking; questioning先方せんぽう the other party目的もくてき objective; aimわけはない simple; easy enough主人しゅじん master満足まんぞくさせる satisfyこと出来できる can ...; am able to ...愚物ぐぶつ foolいや objectionable; not to one's likingはやく soon; readily; without delayえば say; state; make known二返にへん two times; twice三返さんべん three times余計よけいな needless; superfluous; unwarranted手数てすう trouble; bother; effort吾輩わがはい I; me; myself一度いちど one time; once放免ほうめん letting go; setting freeこと case; situation二度にど two times; twice三度さんど three timesえされる be repeated必要ひつよう need; necessityってろ try hitting; try striking命令めいれい order; commandそれ自身じしん (that) itself場合ばあい case; situationもちう use; applyむこう the other side; the other partyはじめ beginning; start予期よきして expect; anticipateかかって engage随意ずいいたる be at one's discretionふくまってる be includedかんがえる consider; think失敬しっけい千万せんばん most disrespectful; the height of impertinence他人たにん other person人格じんかく character; individualityおもんぜん not value; not respectねこ cat馬鹿ばかにして play for a fool; trifle with; make light of蛇蝎だかつ snakes and scorpionsきらう hate; dislike; loathe金田かねだ Kaneda (name)くん (suffix of familiarity for males)赤裸々せきらら nakedness; nudityほこる be proud of; take pride in卑劣ひれつ contemptible; despicable; baseじつのところ in truthおとこ man; fellow狡猾こうかつ wiliness; craftinessきょく exteme; height (of)でた came (from); arose (out of)智慧ちえ wisdom; wit; intelligenceりない be insufficient; be lackingいた hatched (from)孑孑ぼうふら mosquito larva思惟しいする consider; think of (as)めし meal; foodえば eatはら bellyる tighten; swellきまっている it's a given that ...; it follows that ...れば cut bloodる come forth; emergeころせば killぬ die速断そくだん rushed conclusionどく regrettably; sad to sayすこし a little; a bit; somewhat論理ろんり logicわない not agree; not be consistent (with)かく rule; dictum; statuteく go with; followかわ river; streamちれば fall (into)かならず invariably; without fail天麩羅てんぷら tempura下痢げりする get diarrhea; get the runs月給げっきゅう (monthly) salary出勤しゅっきんする show up at work; attend to one's duties書物しょもつ booksめば readこまる be at a loss; be in a bad spotひと persons迷惑めいわく inconvenienced; put out目白めじろ Mejiro (place name; district of Tōkyō)ときかね hour bell同一どういつ the same; one and the same見傚みなされて be seen; be viewed (as)うまれた was born (as)甲斐かい worth; use; availはらなかでは inside; to oneselfへこまして rebuff; repudiateしかるのち then and only then注文ちゅうもんどおりり as ordered; as requested