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  1. #1
    gookenhaim is offline Junior Member
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    Talking all getting' on 'em broke in?

    Hello! I am reading Uncle Tom's Cabin now.

    Wh, I don't see no harm in their crying', 'says I; 'it's natur,' says I, 'and if natur can't blow off one way, it will another .Beside Tom,' says I, 'it jest spiles your gals; they get sickly, and down in the mouth; and sometimes they gets ugly, -particularly yallow gals do, - and it's the devil and all gettin' on 'em broke in.

    I don't know what "it's the devil and all gettin' on them broken in" means in this context.
    I guess 'it' refers to "crying" but I don't know the connection between "it's the devil" and "all getting on them broke in"
    Does it mean crying is bad for this girls, but it takes time until they don't do it?(then what does all getting on?)

    Thank you for reading this post and have a good day!
    Last edited by gookenhaim; 21-Jun-2018 at 10:57.

  2. #2
    probus's Avatar
    probus is offline Moderator
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    Re: all getting' on 'em broke in?

    As a native speaker, I too find this passage troublesome. Without the final "on" it's easy: the devil is getting them broken in, in other words getting them used to their current reality, and if that entails crying, so be it.

    With the "on" I'm not sure what it means. My only suggestion is to mark the "on' as archaic and move on without it.

  3. #3
    gookenhaim is offline Junior Member
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    Re: all getting' on 'em broke in?

    probus Thank you so much for explaining it in detail! Now I can understand this sentence thanks to you:) Have a good day!

  4. #4
    JMurray is offline Key Member
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    Re: all getting' on 'em broke in?

    "and it's the devil and all gettin' on 'em broke in"

    This construction seems to be a peculiarity of the speaker.
    There are other examples in this passage of the book, where the same person is speaking.

    "… what's the use o' crackin' on 'em over the head, and knockin' on 'em round?"
    "… and bringin' on him up too well…"
    Not a teacher.

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