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Wu Ting
How would you interpret the last sentence? Is there any causality between the fact that it was not wide enough and the prospect that the Austrians could make a shambles out of it? Or was the prospect another disadvantage of that road, along with the fact that it was under the Austrian fire and the fact that it was not wide enough? Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. the context: The day had been hot. I had been up the river to the bridgehead at Plava. It was there that the offensive was to begin. It had been impossible to advance on the far side the year before because there was only one road leading down from the pass to the pontoon bridge and it was under machine-gun and shell fire for nearly a mile. It was not wide enough either to carry all the transport for an offensive and the Austrians could make a shambles out of it.
Jan 17, 2016 3:52 AM
Answers · 2
I'm not a military strategist , so I may be completely mistaken here. It seems to me that "it" in the last sentence refers to the "offensive last year which was impossible", not to the road. Here is the situation as the author describes it: Last year the author's side could not advance on the enemy's (Austrians') side because 1) There was a river separating the two armies. 2) On the author's side of the river there was only one narrow road leading to the river bank. 3) The road was under enemy fire for nearly a mile 4) The road was not wide enough to carry the required transport for the offensive. All of these factors last year meant that the Austrians could have smashed any offensive coming from across the river. This is the "make a shambles" part. This year, the author's side have managed to capture a "bridgehead" on the other side of the river. bridgehead == a position held or to be gained on the enemy side of a river to cover the crossing of friendly troops. Either the author's side doesn't need to use the road at all, or, some or all of the above factors have been dealt with. This year the offensive can go ahead. Please feel free to comment if I'm wrong.
January 17, 2016
Wu Ting
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Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
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