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English to Chinese translations [PRO] Art/Literary - Poetry & Literature / Common Expression
English term or phrase:the suffocating rules of the parlor
Read in the User's Guide of a website:
We teach decent, well-educated people how to be really fresh to mean people. Since mean people break all the rules, we replace the vicious law of the jungle, and the suffocating rules of the parlor, with the warmth, humor and kindness of understanding.
Question: What is the parlor and why its rules are suffocating?
Reference information: The term "parlor" may refer to the "parlor culture" of the 19th century (possibly during the Victorian Era).
Huck's naive description of the Grangerfords' "stylishness" is of course meant to be funny, but Mark Twain's satire of the family's genteel pretensions depends for its humor on his audience's knowledge of what might be called "parlor culture." By the mid-nineteenth century, middle-class Americans had come to believe that the appearance and physical layout of their homes could both express and construct an aura of domestic harmony, social success, and moral rectitude. In particular, the parlor--a formal space set aside for social ceremonies such as receiving guests or hosting tea parties--came to signify the refinement and comfort of respectable family living. Primarily designed for display rather than use, the parlor was generally the "best room" in the house and usually contained furnishings and knick-knacks that cost more than the objects in the house that were intended for everyday use. The fact that the Grangerfords do not have a bed in their parlor--that is, they can afford to devote the space to formal display rather than stock it with furnishings designed for private, daily use--marks them as genteel and cultured in Huck's eyes.
By refining themselves and preoccupying themselves with the conscious construction of their character, they pretended to be cultured and refined. That is why the rules of the parlor culture were suffocating and made people uncomfortable as if there were not sufficient fresh air in the parlor for them to breathe, because everyone in the parlor attempted to mimic their social betters and behaved in a refined and cultured manner.
Shirley Lao Taiwan Native speaker of: Chinese PRO pts in category: 4