Wu Ting
How would you interpret the second to the last sentence? How would you interpret the second to the last sentence: May he be a gentleman of life? Thanks. And it’s from My Little Boy written by the famous Danish writer Carl Ewald. the context: Here where everything is birth and spring I pray for the child which is being born to me. He shall grow up among the people of the earth as the anemones here---with his feet in the soil and his face lifted high toward the brilliant sun. He shall grow strong and straight. He shall be a person with eyes and a person with power---one of those whom others envy and persecute and who bends the will of the people. May he be a gentleman of life. May his curiosity be fathomless, like his courage, his passion, his love and his anger.
Nov 17, 2017 2:51 AM
Answers · 5
Dang! I thought these questions would be easy! Here is how I interpret that line... The writer hopes that his son will treat everyone and everything with respect, and that his son will not abuse the gift of being alive. That's how I read it. Hope that helps. Evan Franulovich
November 17, 2017
I have a suggestion, Gordon. Do you have a copy of the original Danish version? Why don't you post it here, alongside the English? This would give you a much better opportunity of finding out what the writer really meant. Danish people speak excellent English, and one native Danish speaker who can give you an accurate interpretation of the writer's intention is worth more than dozens of anglophones making guesses. With this translation, the phrases that baffle you also tend to baffle us. To be honest, I don't really know exactly what the 'gentleman' phrase means. Like most English speakers, I could make an intelligent guess and come up with a satisfactory interpretation - but my interpretation may well not be what the original writer intended. Are you familiar with the game we call 'Chinese whispers'? Well, that's what I fear is happening here. The more stages of translation and interpretation something goes through, the more risk there is of misinterpretation. Once this text has gone from Danish to English and then out of English again and into Chinese, the original idea may have been diluted or distorted beyond recognition. If you can cut out the middle phase, you're more likely to end up with a faithful rendering of the original.
November 17, 2017
I’m not familiar with this book and I haven’t been able to find a preview of the Danish original from google books where you can read the passage in which “gentleman of life” occurs. What I did find was a “publisher’s description” for the book from a Danish bookseller: https://www.bog-ide.dk/produkt/min-lille-dreng-e-bog/2351400 There is a quote from the book and it contains the sentence “Må han blive en "gentleman of the life"”=”May he become a gentleman of the life”. So if this quote from the bookseller is to be trusted then Carl Ewald actually used English and my being Danish is of no help in this instance. I noticed some of your other questions regarding this book and I couldn’t find the Danish passages on the internet and was therefore unable to help. If you can provide me with the original Danish text I will be happy to take a look at it.
November 17, 2017
Still haven’t found your answers?
Write down your questions and let the native speakers help you!
Wu Ting
Language Skills
Chinese (Mandarin), English, French
Learning Language
English