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    #1

    snares and pitfalls

    Dear teachers,

    Would you tell me whether I am right with my interpretation of the expression in bold in the following sentence?

    Both George and Edna seemed to be going on all right just then, and this, too, was a great source of pleasure to Mr. Smeeth, who saw them – and had seen them ever since they were babes – surrounded by snares and pitfalls without number. (Priestly’s “Angel Pavement”, chapter VI)

    snares and pitfalls = temptation, seduction

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V

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    #2

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    "Snares and pitfalls" do not literally mean temptation/seduction, no.

    They are kinds of traps. A snare is usually a kind of noose, a pitfall is exactly what it sounds like - it's a pit you can fall into. "Snares and pitfalls" has become a set phrase for any kind of trap lurking for the unwary, not just physical ones. One could fall into the snare of laziness, for example.

    One might succumb to a temptation to do something which turns out to be a snare or pitfall, and temptation might be part of the snare (think of the cheese in a mousetrap) but they aren't quite the same thing.

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    #3

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    I think "temptation and seduction" may be too narrow without more context.

    In general, a snare or pitfall is an unexpected problem or obstacle, which may include unexpected temptations. However, there is not enough information in the sentence you quoted to infer temptation and seduction specifically. Relationships can suffer all kinds of "snares and pitfalls" that have nothing to do with temptation or seduction, no?

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    #4

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    Like other mid-eighteenth-century authors they wished to satisfy demands of both nature and morality, but unlike Gleland and the early Smollett neither could be happy with the argument that showing “nature as it is”, namely as corrupt and fallen, satisfied a moral purpose. To them depicting “the snares and pitfalls of life” which were to act as warnings to the young, was not enough.

    snares and pitfalls = summary common noun = temptation and seduction


    V.

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    #5

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    Quote Originally Posted by vil View Post
    Like other mid-eighteenth-century authors they wished to satisfy demands of both nature and morality, but unlike Gleland and the early Smollett neither could be happy with the argument that showing “nature as it is”, namely as corrupt and fallen, satisfied a moral purpose. To them depicting “the snares and pitfalls of life” which were to act as warnings to the young, was not enough.

    snares and pitfalls = summary common noun = temptation and seduction


    V.

    In this context you could perhaps use those words as an alternative but they are not synonyms.

    It is possible to simply fall into "snares and pitfalls" without seeing them in advance, so you cannot use "temptations and seductions" as an all-purpose synonym: the meanings are different.

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    #6

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    Hi Tullia,

    Thank you for your kindness.

    I see what you mean.

    Usually I don’t like to stick rigidly to the literal interpretation. I don’t like to press the words. I try my luck to feel the things in my bones.

    Naturally, I more often than not see how the land lies by asking you, my teachers.

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 08-Oct-2010 at 16:58.

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    #7

    Re: snares and pitfalls

    Correct.

    You certainly read a wide range of literature from many periods and of different styles, Vil.

    Rover

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