You wouldn't read about it, would you?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Toru-chan, Dec 26, 2009.

  1. Toru-chan Junior Member

    Granada (Spain)
    Spanish (Spain)
    I'm writing a composition about a short story by John Morrison, "The Children", following some given questions, and one of them asks me for explaining why the main character of the story says to the reporter "You wouldn't read about it, woud you?", referring to "that bit of cultivation", and why the reporter agrees with him, but I don't know what it means.

    The story is about a man, Mr Allen, who is told to go with his truck to save the children in a school in a fire in Australia. He goes first to his own house to save his wife and children and he does not arrive on time to get into the school for the other children. The story is told from the point of view of a reporter who interviews Mr Allen.

    The "bit of cultivation" referres, according to the question on my book, to a "lot of fern and blackberry cut" that "a bloke just avobe the creek had". I don't know very well what are the fern and balckberry cut and the creek. I think the first two are just heaps of cut plants and the the creek, a place whatever. Anyway, I think what they are exactly is not very important.

    The paragraph is the following:
    Mr Allen says:
    " '(...) And to top it all off my own place got missed! That bit of cultivation down there - you wouldn't read about it, would you?'
    No, you wouldn't read about it." (this is the reporter, narrating in first-person)

    I think Mr Allen mean that no other newspaper has mentioned the bit of cultivation which spoilt his calculations and make the school burn too fast for him to have time to arrive, so he appears as an evil person who did nothing to save the children.

    Is that right? Can anybody explain to me that paragraph?

    Thanks in andvance, try to answer as soon as possible, I have to present my composition after Christmas.

    Merry Christmas and a happy new year!!
     
  2. Loob

    Loob Senior Member

    English UK
    Hi, Toru-chan

    I haven't come across the expression before (perhaps it's characteristically AusE?) but I imagine it means something like "you wouldn't believe it if you read about it, would you?"

    And I very much doubt the "it" refers to the patch of cultivation as such: it's more likely to refer to the fact that his own place was missed - ironically, given that he'd spent time going there which he could have used to save the other children.

    EDIT: second thoughts - yes, the "it" could refer to the fact that the patch of cultivation made the school burn more quickly than he had expected.
     
  3. Aaar

    Aaar Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English -USA
    Just a guess. My "bit of cultivation" is crap and wouldn't be written about if it had burned. So it wouldn't have been printed, so you "wouldn't read about it."

    Pure guesswork.
     
  4. Toru-chan Junior Member

    Granada (Spain)
    Spanish (Spain)
    I'm not sure I've understood you, Aaar. Do you mean... more or less what I thought? That the "you wouldn't read about it" referres to that no newspaper has written about the bit of cultivation?
    What does 'would' mean here? Is a conditional tense, isn't it? Or has any other meaning?
     
  5. Aaar

    Aaar Senior Member

    New Jersey
    English -USA
    Toru-chan, I can't guess much further. I think "you wouldn't read about it.", means the piece of land isn't important enough to be written about. The reporter agreeing (silently?) may be saying "I wouldn't write about it."
     
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum PongoMod

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Mr Allen's children are safe
    Mr Allen's property has not been damaged by the fire, although everything around it has been destroyed.

    Mr Allen says:
    " '(...) And to top it all off my own place got missed! That bit of cultivation down there - you wouldn't read about it, would you?'
    No, you wouldn't read about it." (this is the reporter, narrating in first-person)

    It seems to me that Mr Allen is suggesting that this story is so unbelievable, he has been so fortunate, that no writer would ever put it in a work of fiction ... so "you wouldn't read about it."

    For clarification, it is the entire set of events as they relate specifically to Mr Allen.

    If, in fact, Mr Allen started the fire, my suggestion is completely wrong.
    Did he?
     
  7. Toru-chan Junior Member

    Granada (Spain)
    Spanish (Spain)
    No! Of course Mr Allen did not start the fire! xD Oh! So "my own place got missed" means his home did not cremate? I had understood the contrary ^^U hahaha

    So, anyway, we all seem to agree on "you wouldn't read about it, would you?" means no reporter would write about it, whatever "it" referres to, the whole story told by Allen or the piece of cultivation. And the cause may be the details look unbelievable and unimportant, don't we?

    Now it looks clearer to me ^^. Thank you all you. If anyone has another idea I would like to know too.
     
  8. Toru-chan Junior Member

    Granada (Spain)
    Spanish (Spain)
    Well, I've finished my composition. After Christmas I'll see what the lecturer thinks about it ^^.

    Thank you for your help!
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2009

Share This Page