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    #1

    rusty

    Dear teachers,

    Would you help me to make a proper choice from the mentioned bellow interpretations of the word in bold in the following sentence?

    Halfway down a by-street of one of our New England towns stands a rusty wooden house, with seven acutely peaked gables, facing towards various points of the compass, and a huge, clustered chimney in the midst.

    rusty = ancient; old, antiquated, obsolete
    rusty = neglected, in despair, requiring renovation

    Thank you for your efforts.

    Regards,

    V
    Last edited by vil; 10-Oct-2010 at 08:53.

  1. Tullia's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: rusty

    Hmm, that's interesting. Wood can't be rusty in the literal sense of the word, because "rust" is something that happens to metal.

    I would probably be more inclined to think it meant that it was "rust-coloured" (a kind of dark reddish brown). There's nothing else in the short extract you have given us to signpost us to what meaning is meant, but rusty in the sense of "not working, needing repair" is something I associate more with machinery and moving parts than with a house. However, further context might well make that a valid interpretation here.

    I'd avoid "old/ancient" as a meaning because something doesn't have to be old to be "rusty".


    rusty - definition of rusty by the Free Online Dictionary, Thesaurus and Encyclopedia.

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    #3

    Re: rusty

    Hi Tullia,

    Thank you for your willingness to give me a leg up.

    The further context concerning the expression in question you may find in the Hawthorne’s “House of the Seven Cables”
    The street is Pyncheon Street; the house is the old Pyncheon House; and an elm-tree, of wide circumference, rooted before the door, is familiar to every town-born child by the title of the Pyncheon Elm. On my occasional visits to the town aforesaid, I seldom failed to turn down Pyncheon Street, for the sake of passing through the shadow of these two antiquities, -the great elm-tree and the weather-beaten edifice. The House of the Seven Gables, antique as it now looks, was not the first habitation erected by civilized man on precisely the same spot of ground. In my humble opinion, it (the context) didn’t redound to your advantage.

    I felt a genuine satisfaction that even a so smart and know-legible person as you was found it difficult to give a definite answer.

    I hope, you could imagine how difficult is for us, the poor foreigners, to get the precise interpretation of the tricky English terms and expressions.

    Regards,

    V.

  2. Tullia's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: rusty

    I've found references to wood being rusty quite hard to find; the best might be this;

    "The feathers of the willow
    Are half of them grown yellow
    Above the swelling stream;
    And ragged are the bushes,
    And rusty now the rushes,
    And wild the clouded gleam."
    (Richard Watson Dixon)

    Even there, though, I think it's more likely to apply to colour rather than anything else, although there is a rust fungus to which it could perhaps refer.

    I was fully aware the context of your quote might suggest a different interpretation than colour, which is why I myself suggested you would need to look around in the text for clues.

    However, just because the age of the house is mentioned elsewhere does not automatically mean that rusty is simply a synonym for old/ancient, as you suggested in your first post. It is most emphatically not a perfect synonym for such and I would still, despite the additional context you have now provided, not believe it was meant simply as a reference to the age.

    I would probably be happier to go along with the "needing repair" meaning - possibly because of the age, true, but that doesn't make "old" the meaning of the word.

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    #5

    Re: rusty

    Hi Tullia,

    Thank you for your steady backing. I agree with you that "neglected" (needing repair, requiring renovation) is the most suitable the case. Something of the kind "overgrown garden" or "uncultivated garden"


    Thank you also for the reminding of the fantastic Dixon’s “Autumn Song”.

    I was drifted from the magical power of the poetry to the dream-world of the metamorphoses.

    Every change in form and shape, every transformation is of great interest for me. I take an interest in the great mass of metamorphoses since the creation of the world. Always I identify even the most insignificant metamorphosis with the divine conversion. I consider the poetical verse “a fresh green leaf transmutes into a sere, yellow leaf” as a very eccentric one, to say nothing of the description of the transformation of a maggot into an adult fly and a caterpillar into a butterfly and, in amphibians, the changing of a tadpole into a frog.

    Here is also a poetical description of nature which deserves to be presented to our close attention.

    All at once, as with a sudden smile of heaven, forth burst the sunshine, pouring a very flood into the obscure forest, gladdening each green leaf, transmuting the yellow fallen ones to gold, and gleaming a down the gray trunks of the solemn trees. (Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter”)

    I couldn't help myself astonishing to your native language. Recently I have heard the sentence: "Her English is a bit rusty."

    Thank you again for your kindness.

    V.
    Last edited by vil; 11-Oct-2010 at 17:08.

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