a boy’s parents have done all they can

RafaelX

Senior Member
Polish
Context: novel "Mister Max". Larger fragment: “Grown up and grown tall in the bargain. After twelve years, a boy’s parents have done all they can. He’s ready to be independent!

I've already asked about the preceding sentence. Now, I would like to check my understanding of the bit in bold: "After twelve years, a boy’s parents have done all they can. He’s ready to be independent!"

Should I read it more or less as: Twelve years have passed during which his parents have taken a really good care of him. ?


Best,
Rafael


 
  • MuttQuad

    Senior Member
    English - AmE
    Context: novel "Mister Max". Larger fragment: “Grown up and grown tall in the bargain. After twelve years, a boy’s parents have done all they can. He’s ready to be independent!

    I've already asked about the preceding sentence. Now, I would like to check my understanding of the bit in bold: "After twelve years, a boy’s parents have done all they can. He’s ready to be independent!"

    Should I read it more or less as: Twelve years have passed during which his parents have taken a really good care of him. ?


    Best,
    Rafael


    Not quite. It means that when a boy has reached the age of 12, his parents have done all they can do (good, bad, indifferent) to influence his development -- after that, he will be independent of their nurture.
     

    RafaelX

    Senior Member
    Polish
    I need to get back to this thread, because one thing is niggling me... Why would a father say something like that about his own son, using an indefinite article (a boy)?

    Could anyone explain that thing to me?

    Maybe providing another sentence will give you a better insight: Does he look like independence material to you?” he would ask whoever happened to be present for this announcement...
     

    Sparky Malarky

    Moderator
    English - US
    I need to get back to this thread, because one thing is niggling me... Why would a father say something like that about his own son, using an indefinite article (a boy)?

    Could anyone explain that thing to me?

    Maybe providing another sentence will give you a better insight: Does he look like independence material to you?” he would ask whoever happened to be present for this announcement...
    Because he's not really talking about his own son when he says this. That is, he is talking about his son, but the statement "after 12 years, a boy's parents have done all they can" is a general one. He's saying "My son is grown up and is tall. By the time a boy (any boy) is 12, his parents have done all they can do (any parents). My family is no exception. We can no longer influence our son."
     
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