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  1. #1
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default 'Give the lie to...'?

    In that same story, there is a line I can't understand and I hope you can help me:

    They never forgot that it was death, and the touch of the man's dead body gave them strange emotions, different in each of the women; a great dread possessed them both, the mother felt the lie was given to her womb, she was denied; the wife felt the utter isolation of the human soul, the child within her was a weight apart from her.
    Idioms
    give the lie to something (formal): to show that something is not true

    eg These new figures give the lie to the belief that unemployment is going down

    But this time OALD is useless; I find DH Lawrence's meaning unintelligible.

    If in the examination, I would say it means the mother doesn't feel there is an unborn child in her womb.

    Could anyone help me out?

  2. #2
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    5jj is offline VIP Member
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    As this question is completely unrelated to the question in the other thread, I have moved it to a new thread.

  3. #3
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    Thank you for the moving.

    Is there anyone who can help me?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    The mother, seeing her dead son, felt that her womb, in which the son had been carried, had somehow been shown to be untrue, unfaithful.

  5. #5
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    BobK is offline Harmless drudge
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    D. H. Lawrence was a pretty creative user of language. At first I thought this was an OCR-generated typo for 'word'.

    But I think Lawrence did mean womb. I wouldn't agree with 5jj's interpretation though; I don't think it's a question of fidelity (being disloyal or untrue). In Lawrence's view there was a truth, a unique value, to having a womb (all right, being a woman). The mother felt cheated - children should mourn dead parents, not the other way round..

    But I see from the context that there's another issue; the pregnancy. Maybe my 'mother' idea is wrong, and she just felt that her child-to-be's not having a living father was wrong (a contravention of that truth I mentioned).

    b

  6. #6
    nelson13 is offline Member
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    Quote Originally Posted by BobK View Post
    D. H. Lawrence was a pretty creative user of language. At first I thought this was an OCR-generated typo for 'word'.

    But I think Lawrence did mean womb. I wouldn't agree with 5jj's interpretation though; I don't think it's a question of fidelity (being disloyal or untrue). In Lawrence's view there was a truth, a unique value, to having a womb (all right, being a woman). The mother felt cheated - children should mourn dead parents, not the other way round..

    But I see from the context that there's another issue; the pregnancy. Maybe my 'mother' idea is wrong, and she just felt that her child-to-be's not having a living father was wrong (a contravention of that truth I mentioned).

    b

    Thank you very much.

    For the red words, do you mean Annie and John, the children?

  7. #7
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: 'Give the lie to...'?

    All going well, children will outlive their parents- if parents outlive their children, then we're looking at premature death. It applies to everybody- parents are older than their children.

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