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I found the source of it, but what does it mean?
Thread poster: Yichen Han
Yichen Han
Local time: 01:46
English to Chinese
Mar 13, 2006

This sentence "On the dance floor half a dozen couples were throwing themselves around with the reckless abandon of a night watchman with arthritis " is from Raymond Chandler's fiction "Playback", Capter 8. I found the whole chapter and read it, but failed to really get the meaning of the later part of this sentence. Can someone help? Some explanation or speculation would be nice.

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Rosa Maria Duenas Rios  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:46
I think Chandler is just referring to the way the couples danced... Mar 13, 2006

Not paying much attention to their posture; without grace. Like a night watchman with arthritis (he won't care for his posture either, as long as his arthritis does not bother him).

[Edited at 2006-03-13 15:14]

Giles is right, of course!

[Edited at 2006-03-13 18:03]


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Giles Watson  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 18:46
Italian to English
It's a humorous comparison Mar 13, 2006

Hi Han and Rosa Maria,

It's not so much a matter of posture as pace.

A night watchman with arthritis would - presumably - do his rounds very slowly and painfully, in other words quite the opposite of "reckless abandon".

The implication is that the couples are almost motionless on the dance floor.

HTH

Giles


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Ken Cox  Identity Verified
Local time: 18:46
German to English
+ ...
agree with Giles Mar 13, 2006

The intention is ironic (Chandler -- or at least his main characters -- was/were fond of irony).

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Rafa Lombardino
United States
Local time: 09:46
Member (2005)
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Nice metaphor Mar 13, 2006

People with arthritis won't WATCH their posture. And if it was a watchman with arthritis working at night, chances are that he's not worried about WATCHING much either.

This is a nice metaphor that could allow a great play of words in some languages.

Good luck!


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Yichen Han
Local time: 01:46
English to Chinese
TOPIC STARTER
Thanks! Mar 14, 2006

Hi guys,
thanks so much for all your help! It reallly makes it clearer to me now. ^_^
(But the tough job hasn't begun: I have to now carry that ironic metapher into Chinese....)
Thank you all once again!!!


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Angus Woo
Local time: 01:46
Chinese to English
+ ...
Giles is right Mar 14, 2006

This is clearly an irony intended to make readers laugh.

BTW, I think this should be posted somewhere else, Kudoz maybe?


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Aurora Humarán  Identity Verified
Argentina
Local time: 14:46
English to Spanish
+ ...
gray area Mar 14, 2006

Angus Woo wrote:

This is clearly an irony intended to make readers laugh.

BTW, I think this should be posted somewhere else, Kudoz maybe?



Hello Angus!

Many prozians come to the fora with terminological questions and we modz refer them to the kudoz area immediately. However, in certain cases we feel that the question will have a better treatment (thus help poster more) here, in the fora. I vetted this thread because I thought poster was not looking for a translation per se but different insights to help her understand something within a literary text. I considered that a potential exchange might enrich us all.

Regards,

Au
(Co-Mod of the Literature & Poetry Forum)


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Wenjer Leuschel  Identity Verified
Taiwan
Local time: 01:46
English to Chinese
+ ...
Not for KudoZ Mar 14, 2006

Angus Woo wrote:

This is clearly an irony intended to make readers laugh.

BTW, I think this should be posted somewhere else, Kudoz maybe?


Nee, Angus, I don't think you would get anything fathomable in Chinese for such a scene, if you put this on KudoZ. Hard work, isn't it?


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