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Wu Ting
How would you interpret this sentence? How would you interpret the first sentence of the third passage ‘Vice is a wonderful thing’? What did the speaker refer to? PS: They were in a hotel and the room was furnished with red plush. The girl felt like a whore in the room. Thanks. It’s from A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway (Chapter 23). the context: "It's a fine room," Catherine said. "It's a lovely room. We should have stayed here all the time we've been in Milan." "It's a funny room. But it's nice." "Vice is a wonderful thing," Catherine said. "The people who go in for it seem to have good taste about it. The red plush is really fine. It's just the thing. And the mirrors are very attractive." "You're a lovely girl." "I don't know how a room like this would be for waking up in the morning. But it's really a splendid room." I poured another glass of St. Estephe. "I wish we could do something really sinful," Catherine said. "Everything we do seems so innocent and simple. I can't believe we do anything wrong."
Oct 8, 2016 1:02 PM
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Answers · 1
"Vice," same root as "vicious," means anything considered to be evil or immoral, including prostitution, gambling, narcotics. A "vice squad" is a police division concerned with this kind of (often) nonviolent crime. VICEX is a mutual fund that intentionally invests in things like tobacco, gun manufacturers, and gambling resorts. In the time of Hemingway's novel, as at all times, unmarried couples went to hotel rooms to have sex--but it was considered a far more serious thing than it is today. Catherine is not making any kind of carefully reasoned observation, she's just talking. She feels that she is engaged in "vice." She also imagines that the hotel has intentionally furnished the room with the idea that people will have sex in it, and that it reflects the style and taste of people who engage in "vice." I think (I haven't read the book) that it's the first time she's been in a room like this. She is surprised to find that she likes the decor, finds it "tasteful." I'm guessing that her acceptance of the room as "tasteful" is related to her acceptance of what they are doing: "I can't believe we do anything wrong."
October 8, 2016
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English