Wu Ting
How would you interpret this sentence? How would you interpret this sentence ‘Antitetanus please, and mark a cross on both legs’? 1 How would you interpret the first clause ‘Antitetanus please’? Does it mean the captain asked others, his assistants maybe, to inject Antitetanus serum into the protagonist? Or does it mean the captain asked his assistants to hand Antitetanus serum to him to inject it into the protagonist by himself? 2 How would you interpret the second clause ‘mark a cross on both legs’? I’ve no idea about its meaning. What does it mean? Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Chapter 9).the context: They lifted me onto the table. It was hard and slippery. There were many strong smells, chemical smells and the sweet smell of blood. They took off my trousers and the medical captain commenced dictating to the sergeant-adjutant while he worked, "Multiple superficial wounds of the left and right thigh and left and right knee and right foot. Profound wounds of right knee and foot. Lacerations of the scalp (he probed—Does that hurt?—Christ, yes!) with possible fracture of the skull. Incurred in the line of duty. That's what keeps you from being court-martialled for self-inflicted wounds," he said. "Would you like a drink of brandy? How did you run into this thing anyway? What were you trying to do? Commit suicide? Antitetanus please, and mark a cross on both legs. Thank you. I'll clean this up a little, wash it out, and put on a dressing. Your blood coagulates beautifully."
Apr 21, 2016 10:48 AM
Answers · 5
I agree with Michael Chambers, except the doctor was probably not requesting that his assistants give him the serum, but rather that they perform the injection of the serum on the man. Also an "X" on the skin can indicate that the doctor will not operate there or that he will, depending on how the doctor uses those symbols. In this context since they could see the leg wounds, probably the "X" indicates that he will operate there.
April 21, 2016
From the context, they are probably orders from the doctor to his assistants ("Give me the antitetanus serum"). "Mark a cross" means put a cross "x" on a surface, in this case, the patient's skin. The doctor probably intended to make an incision at this particular point on the patient's skin.
April 21, 2016
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