what does "He knows us daren’t call our souls our own.”"mean? Martha’s face became red with fright. “Eh! Miss Mary!” she said half crying. “Tha’ shouldn’t have done it-tha’ shouldn’t! Tha’ll get me in trouble. I never told thee nothin’ about him—but tha’ll get me in trouble. I shall lose my place and what’ll mother do!” “You won’t lose your place,” said Mary. “He was glad I came. We talked and talked and he said he was glad I came.” “Was he?” cried Martha. “Art tha’ sure? Tha’ doesn’t know what he’s like when anything vexes him. He’s a big lad to cry like a baby, but when he’s in a passion he’ll fair scream just to frighten us. He knows us daren’t call our souls our own.”
Jan 15, 2017 1:20 PM
Answers · 3
Wow - I'm impressed. The Yorkshire dialect in the Secret Garden must be very difficult for a non-native speaker. First, to translate from dialect into standard English, this would be "He knows we daren't call our souls our own" (or "He knows we don't dare to call our souls our own"). I assume you understand the individual words and it's the phrase you are asking about. It isn't a standard English phrase and I would say a lot of native speakers would struggle to explain it - I do! However I think it refers back to Martha's fear that she will be sacked ("I shall lose my place...). Everyone has to do what Colin wants and Martha is scared of doing even the smallest thing to upset him - so she says he knows she doesn't dare to "call her soul her own" as an exaggerated, metaphorical way to say that Colin knows she feels she has no choice about obeying him (because she might be sacked if she upsets him). Obviously everyone should be able to say that their soul is their own, so the phrase is emphasising how unreasonable Colin is. Hope that helps!
January 15, 2017
This is a very interesting passage! I believe what the speaker means is: (the boy) knows Martha and Mary are under strict rule from the Lord of the house and the housekeeper, so if he flies into a rage, Martha can be fired, or Mary can get in trouble. But I'm also not sure!!! It's a great example of the Yorkshire dialect! :)
January 15, 2017
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