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Is my understanding of this paragraph correct Options
vkhu
Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 8:30:30 AM
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Joined: 6/18/2012
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Quote:
Those who understand such enclosures will think I had very little contrivance when I pitched upon a place very proper for all these (being a plain, open piece of meadow land, or savannah, as our people call it in the western colonies), which had two or three little drills of fresh water in it, and at one end was very woody—I say, they will smile at my forecast, when I shall tell them I began by enclosing this piece of ground in such a manner that, my hedge or pale must have been at least two miles about. Nor was the madness of it so great as to the compass, for if it was ten miles about, I was like to have time enough to do it in; but I did not consider that my goats would be as wild in so much compass as if they had had the whole island, and I should have so much room to chase them in that I should never catch them.

-Robinson Crusoe


Here Robinson is thinking of setting up an enclosures to raise goats. He want it to have food, water for the goats, and away from the sun. Since he lives in a meadow areas, he's sure readers will know he has no trouble finding a good plot of land. But people who know about goats raising would have ridiculed him for fencing an area that is only 2 miles in diameter (I don't have a clue if he's taking about radius, diameter, or size here). I have no idea what the thing about fencing a 10 miles radius areas is, but he says raising goats in such a large area would cause problem, because they have too much room to roam.

So, is my understanding correct? And what is the deal with that 10 miles and madness thing?
Gary98
Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 9:42:32 AM

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My understanding is his hedge or pale is about two miles long. His compass, the enclosure, has a circumference about ten miles.

Nor was the madness of it so great as to the compass, for if it was ten miles about:

The madness of it is not so great compared to the compass, for it has a circumference about ten miles.
NKM
Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 11:05:54 AM

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Location: Corinth, New York, United States
"Two miles about" can only mean perimeter, not radius or diameter.

- "Nor was the madness of it so great as to the compass, for if it was ten miles about …."
I take this to mean "It wasn't so crazy to settle for the relatively small size, because if I made it too big [I could never catch the goats]."
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Friday, May 12, 2017 3:21:55 PM

Rank: Advanced Member

Joined: 9/12/2011
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Location: Livingston, Scotland, United Kingdom
Wow - what language.

Yes - the hedge was a little over two miles long (so the enclosure would be less than half a mile diameter).

That was not so mad - if he had made the hedge ten miles long (a three-mile diameter enclosure), the goats would have been wild and he could not have caught them.

"About" can mean "in circumference" - 'ten miles about' is 'ten miles in circumference', I think.


Wyrd bið ful aræd - bull!
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