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Please explain the meaning of the passage in Little Dorrit by C. Dickens. Options
compunk
Posted: Monday, July 19, 2021 7:23:27 PM
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Please explain the meaning of the passage in Little Dorrit by C. Dickens.


The famous name of Merdle became, every day, more famous in the land. Nobody knew that the Merdle of such high renown had ever done any good to any one, alive or dead, or to any earthly thing; nobody knew that he had any capacity or utterance of any sort in him, which had ever thrown, for any creature, the feeblest farthing-candle ray of light on any path of duty or diversion, pain or pleasure, toil or rest, fact or fancy, among the multiplicity of paths in the labyrinth trodden by the sons of Adam;nobody had the smallest reason for supposing the clay of which this object of worship was made, to be other than the commonest clay, with as clogged a wick smouldering inside of it as ever kept an image of humanity from tumbling to pieces. All people knew (or thought they knew) that he had made himself immensely rich; and, for that reason alone, prostrated themselves before him, more degradedly and less excusably than the darkest savage creeps out of his hole in the ground to propitiate, in some log or reptile, the Deity of his benighted soul.
FounDit
Posted: Tuesday, July 20, 2021 12:31:02 PM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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compunk wrote:
Please explain the meaning of the passage in Little Dorrit by C. Dickens.


The famous name of Merdle became, every day, more famous in the land. Nobody knew that the Merdle of such high renown had ever done any good to any one, alive or dead, or to any earthly thing; nobody knew that he had any capacity or utterance of any sort in him, which had ever thrown, for any creature, the feeblest farthing-candle ray of light on any path of duty or diversion, pain or pleasure, toil or rest, fact or fancy, among the multiplicity of paths in the labyrinth trodden by the sons of Adam;nobody had the smallest reason for supposing the clay of which this object of worship was made, to be other than the commonest clay, with as clogged a wick smouldering inside of it as ever kept an image of humanity from tumbling to pieces. All people knew (or thought they knew) that he had made himself immensely rich; and, for that reason alone, prostrated themselves before him, more degradedly and less excusably than the darkest savage creeps out of his hole in the ground to propitiate, in some log or reptile, the Deity of his benighted soul.


Wow, that is some kind of word salad.
Since the Bible says humans were made of clay, Merdle is one such clay form. Therefore a paraphrase might go like this::

No one had the smallest reason to think of Merdle as being anything but the most common clay. His life force is the common smoldering wick all have and is that which keeps him alive, as it does everyone.
Drag0nspeaker
Posted: Wednesday, July 21, 2021 11:04:40 PM

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FounDit wrote:
Wow, that is some kind of word salad.
And that's only half of the sentence! I really hated Dickens when I was at school.

The body (physical part of a person) is "clay"; the spirit or mind, the personality, is the flame (wick smouldering in him)

Nobody had any reason to think that Merdle was better than anyone else, physically or mentally.
FounDit
Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 11:56:30 AM

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Joined: 9/19/2011
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Drag0nspeaker wrote:
FounDit wrote:
Wow, that is some kind of word salad.
And that's only half of the sentence! I really hated Dickens when I was at school.

The body (physical part of a person) is "clay"; the spirit or mind, the personality, is the flame (wick smouldering in him)

Nobody had any reason to think that Merdle was better than anyone else, physically or mentally.


An excellent description. I loved to read when I was in school, but somehow never got around to reading Dickins. If this is an example of his writing, I'm sure I would have put it down after one chapter, and stuck with the movie versions...Whistle I find verbosity tiring.
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