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    #1

    two questions from a sf novel

    Hello, teachers.

    I have two questions about the passage from SF novel "Brain Twister".(http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/22332/pg22332.html)

    Malone, an FBI agent, and Dr. Harman have found a telepath, and the latter in particular is upset by the discovery that his mind had been read for a long time. Then there is a call from Burris, the head of the FBI.
    ==========
    "This is Andrew J. Burris," it said. "Is
    Kenneth J. Malone there?"

    "Mr. Malone?" the psychiatrist said. "I mean, Mr. Burris? Mr. Malone is
    here. Yes. Oh, my. Do you want to talk to him?"

    "No, you idiot," the voice said. "I just want to know if he's all tucked
    in
    ."

    "Tucked in?" Dr. Harman gave the phone a sudden smile. "A joke," he
    said. "It _is_ a joke, isn't it? The way things have been happening, you
    never know whether--
    "
    ==========

    (1) What does "tuck in" mean here? (I know it does not mean "to make him sleep in bed".)

    (2) What does Dr. Harman intend to say after "you never know whether..."?

  1. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #2

    Re: two questions from a sf novel

    Quote Originally Posted by imchongjun View Post
    Hello, teachers.

    I have two questions about the passage from SF novel "Brain Twister".(http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/22332/pg22332.html)

    Malone, an FBI agent, and Dr. Harman have found a telepath, and the latter in particular is upset by the discovery that his mind had been read for a long time. Then there is a call from Burris, the head of the FBI.
    ==========
    "This is Andrew J. Burris," it said. "Is
    Kenneth J. Malone there?"

    "Mr. Malone?" the psychiatrist said. "I mean, Mr. Burris? Mr. Malone is
    here. Yes. Oh, my. Do you want to talk to him?"

    "No, you idiot," the voice said. "I just want to know if he's all tucked
    in
    ."

    "Tucked in?" Dr. Harman gave the phone a sudden smile. "A joke," he
    said. "It _is_ a joke, isn't it? The way things have been happening, you
    never know whether--
    "
    ==========

    (1) What does "tuck in" mean here? (I know it does not mean "to make him sleep in bed".)

    (2) What does Dr. Harman intend to say after "you never know whether..."?
    I've never met with "tucked in" except in connection with beds and clothing, so I've no idea what it might mean. It's not possible to say what Dr Harman is going to say next.

  2. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #3

    Re: two questions from a sf novel

    I suspect the person who called was being highly sarcastic.

    "Yes, I would like to speak to him please" would be the polite, direct, non-sarcastic way to have responded.

    "Well of course I want to talk to him! I didn't call just to see if he's all cozy in his bed!" would be a ruder, but not exactly sarcastic, way to have responded.

    "No, I just want to see if he's all cozy in his bed!" is a sarcastic answer that the person is supposed to understand means the same as the one above.

    Now, substitute "all cozy in his bed" with "tucked in" and you'll be all set.
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

  3. bhaisahab's Avatar
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    #4

    Re: two questions from a sf novel

    Quote Originally Posted by Barb_D View Post
    I suspect the person who called was being highly sarcastic.

    "Yes, I would like to speak to him please" would be the polite, direct, non-sarcastic way to have responded.

    "Well of course I want to talk to him! I didn't call just to see if he's all cozy in his bed!" would be a ruder, but not exactly sarcastic, way to have responded.

    "No, I just want to see if he's all cozy in his bed!" is a sarcastic answer that the person is supposed to understand means the same as the one above.

    Now, substitute "all cozy in his bed" with "tucked in" and you'll be all set.
    I didn't think of it that way, I see it now.

  4. Barb_D's Avatar
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    #5

    Re: two questions from a sf novel

    I am fluent in sarcasm and typo :)
    I'm not a teacher, but I write for a living. Please don't ask me about 2nd conditionals, but I'm a safe bet for what reads well in (American) English.

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    #6

    Re: two questions from a sf novel

    Sarcasm! Yes, that makes sense.
    Thank you everyone for your help.

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