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Wu Ting
How would you interpret ‘mutual tolerance’ in the context? I understand why it was tolerance to the Austrians, but I don’t understand why it was tolerance to the Italians? It was tolerance to the Italians because it was a dangerous place for them? What do you think? 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.But the Italians had crossed and spread out a little way on the far side to hold about a mile and a half on the Austrian side of the river. It was a nasty place and the Austrians should not have let them hold it. I suppose it was mutual tolerance because the Austrians still kept a bridgehead further down the river. The Austrian trenches were above on the hillside only a few yards from the Italian lines. There had been a little town but it was all rubble. There was what was left of a railway station and a smashed permanent bridge that could not be repaired and used because it was in plain sight.
Jan 17, 2016 4:39 AM
Answers · 2
I think that it means that each of them allows the other to keep a bridgehead on the respective other side of the river. They could probably each repulse the other, but politically, having a bridgehead on the other side appears positive to the politicians and public. Forcing the opposition out of your side, would likely result in them forcing you out of their side, with a resulting loss of face. It's therefore easier to let the situation stay as it is.
January 17, 2016
Wu Ting
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Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
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