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Wu Ting
How would you explain this sentence? Today begins the year of all suffering at the School of Cretins, Deaf-Mutes, and Boys of Bad Character on Avenida Puig. The classroom is like a prison hall full of writhing convicts, its iron-barred windows set high along one wall. Small boys and monkeys for pupils. No one else there could be fourteen or anything near it, they’re the size of baboons. The Holy Virgin feels very sorry but remains outside, on her cement pedestal in the small tidy garden. She has sent her son Jesus in with the other wretches, and he can’t flee either. He is pegged to his cross on the wall, dying all the day, rolling his eyes behind the back of Señora Bartolome, even He can’t stand the look of her clay-pipe legs and those shoes. How would you explain this sentence: Small boys and monkeys for pupils? Thanks!
Feb 8, 2014 4:41 AM
Answers · 3
Is this from The Lacuna? It's not a very common writing style, so sometimes the meanings are difficult to find. In America, "monkey" can be slang for an individual who is forced to do repetitive or boring tasks, even though they are capable of doing more difficult work. So possibly, "monkey" here is figurative for pupils that are being forced to do mindless work, and do not really want to be in the class. The author is showing that this classroom is a dreary place.
February 8, 2014
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language