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    #1

    Roughing it

    Hi again,
    I hope it is alright to ask a new question about Twain's "Buck Fanshaws Funeral."
    To start with, what does "roughing it" mean? Does it mean he is trying to tell his stories "roughly," or he had a "rough" life?
    Now to the story.
    (2ND paragraph)
    He had "killed his man"--not in his own quarrel, it is true, but in defence of a stranger unfairly beset by numbers.
    What does he mean by "man"? Does he mean his friend?
    (2ND paragraph)
    He had been the proprietor of a dashing helpmeet whom he could have discarded without the formality of a divorce.
    I know that a helpmeet is a maid, but whas is implied by the sentence? I think a girlfriend befits the description more appropriately.
    (16Th paragraph from below)
    He waltzed in with a spanner in one hand and a trumpet in the other, and sent fourteen men home on a shutter in less
    than three minutes.
    What does he mean by a shutter? Does he mean a window shutter for example? But is it reasonable to put fourteen people on a window shutter?
    Sorry I seem to ask so many questions, but I really like Twain's literature and would like to translate it as honestly as possible.
    Thank you.
    Last edited by karitaru; 12-Sep-2006 at 17:09. Reason: Spelling Mistake


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    #2

    Re: Roughing it

    Helpmeet generally refers to a wife; not necessarily a servant. In this case, yes, a girlfriend would also meet that criteria.

    "Roughing it" is what a person does when they go out into nature. For example, if you go camping, you could say that you would be "roughing it", for you would take away all outward influences, such as TV and the computer and even running water. It is an experience where one must use only the necessities.

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    #3

    Re: Roughing it

    "Killed his man" must have some earlier reference to his killing a man.

    I believe that in this case, Twian's helpmeet is a combination maid/girlfriend who is doing the things for him that a wife would do, but without the entanglement of marriage.

    A spanner is a type of wrench. In Twain's time it would have been common to use a window shutter or interior door to make a makeshift stretcher for a wounded person. It seems to me that "sending someone home on a shutter" must have been an expression meaning "beat him senseless."

    Keep up the good work! Understanding Twain is a daunting task, even for native (American) English speakers. Twain wouldn't be Twain without those colorful first-hand descriptions of mid-nineteenth century America.

    Keep asking.

    Mike


    • Join Date: Mar 2006
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    #4

    Re: Roughing it

    Quote Originally Posted by karitaru View Post
    Hi again,
    I hope it is alright to ask a new question about Twain's "Buck Fanshaws Funeral."
    To start with, what does "roughing it" mean? Does it mean he is trying to tell his stories "roughly," or he had a "rough" life?
    Now to the story.
    (2ND paragraph)
    What does he mean by "man"? Does he mean his friend?
    (2ND paragraph)
    I know that a helpmeet is a maid, but whas is implied by the sentence? I think a girlfriend befits the description more appropriately.
    (16Th paragraph from below)
    What does he mean by a shutter? Does he mean a window shutter for example? But is it reasonable to put fourteen people on a window shutter?
    Sorry I seem to ask so many questions, but I really like Twain's literature and would like to translate it as honestly as possible.
    Thank you.
    This Twain story seems to crop up frequently - is it a set text ?

    Rose has explained 'roughing it' well.

    "He killed his man" - he killed the man he directly opposed. The narrator is saying he killed the man he directly confronted, although that man was actually originally the man who had attacked a stranger, and on whose side 'he' intervened.

    The 'helpmeet' is a euphemism for a whore, not a girlfriend. He was her 'proprietor' (owner), because he 'kept' her financially, and so 'could have discarded' her. You have to understand that Twain is being ironic in the terms of polite 19th Century society. What would be regarded as a 'wife' in the 19th Century American West would not equate to a 'wife' in 19th Century New England. He is saying that he treated this woman 'well' by the standards of his peers, even though she had no social status. In this respect, he was a good man in the eyes of the narrator - from our perspective, we may not think so.

    To send someone 'home on a shutter' just means to knock them out. Twain doesn't mean all 14 were put on the same window shutter - it's just a euphemism like 'sent them home on their backs'.

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    #5

    Re: Roughing it

    Thank you guys
    "He killed his man" - he killed the man he directly opposed. The narrator is saying he killed the man he directly confronted, although that man was actually originally the man who had attacked a stranger, and on whose side 'he' intervened.

    The 'helpmeet' is a euphemism for a whore, not a girlfriend. He was her 'proprietor' (owner), because he 'kept' her financially, and so 'could have discarded' her.
    I agree with you coffa on the helpmeet issue. It seems to be the most logical one. As for the "man," your theory seems to be the most fitting one
    In Twain's time it would have been common to use a window shutter or interior door to make a makeshift stretcher for a wounded person.
    I like mykwyner's idea about shutter, I think I am going to go with it.

    Thank you guys. I hope you can forgive me for my endless questions.
    Last edited by karitaru; 13-Sep-2006 at 05:31. Reason: Spelling Mistake

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