Wu Ting
How would you interpret the last sentence? Mrs. Brown noted that Wallace has been reading aloud from his diary in the hearings, as evidence of what was said in the uranium meetings now under scrutiny. “Good thing he kept that diary,” she says, standing in my doorway in a red-and-white-checked tailored shirt. With her, there’s no knowing, it could be the latest fashion or something she made from a tablecloth—or both. Mrs. Brown proves stylish gals can still be thrifty in ’fifty. How would you interpret the last sentence? I guess it means a woman can still be stylish when she is in her fifty, right? Thanks. And this excerpt is taken from The Lacuna by Kingsolver.
Jul 2, 2015 3:03 AM
Answers · 6
The apostrophe suggests something was left off at the beginning of the phrase. I suspect it refers to the year 1950. To describe someone's age, we'd say 'in her fifties'.
July 2, 2015
Hmm - this is a bit odd. The apostrophe at the beginning of the word 'fifty' suggests that something has been taken out and given that 'in' precedes it, the most logical explanation I can think of is that it means 'thrifty in 1950". The two decades before that were during the great depression and its aftermath including WWII, so thriftiness would certainly have been the norm then. The fact that it says 'still be thrifty in 'fifty" lends weight to this interpretation. It can't mean, as you suggest, that she is thrifty at fifty (years of age), because of the 'in' - it doesn't make sense. If that was the meaning it would be written as I have shown with 'at' before the fifty. So Gordon - is the end in sight yet with this novel??!
July 2, 2015
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Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English