a busy proper advisory soul

Tea Addict

Senior Member
Republic of Korea Korean
Hello everyone. I would like to know what "a busy proper advisory soul" means in the following sentences:

Carol's mother died when she was nine. Her father retired from the judiciary when she was eleven, and took the family to Minneapolis. There he died, two years after. Her sister, a busy proper advisory soul, older than herself, had become a stranger to her even when they lived in the same house.

- Sinclair Lewis, Main Street, Chapter 1

Carol's only relative now was her sister. That was because her mother passed away when she was nine, and her father also passed away when she was eleven. But she felt little affection towards her sister, who was "a busy proper advisory soul."

In this part, I could not understand what was "a busy proper advisory soul."
Does "busy" here mean "nosy", which makes a synonym for "advisory"?
And what does "proper" mean here?

I would very much appreciate your help. :)
 
  • suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    It’s a few more words than you’d expect to see. Busy and advisory probably denote that she keeps herself busy and is quite bossy, offering advice is not always a positive characteristic. Proper suggests that she behaves according to strict social rules.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear suzi br,

    Thank you very much for the explanation.
    So is it right to see that the three words here--busy, proper, advisory--are all adjectives?
    Actually, I had a faint doubt as to whether "proper" is an adverb modifying "advisory," making the phrase mean "a busy, real advisory soul," so I just wanted to confirm.

    And about the meaning of "busy," does it mean that she kept herself occupied, rather than that she was a nosy person?
     

    suzi br

    Senior Member
    English / England
    I read them all as adjectives. I don’t think we can assume busy means nosey. Busybody is a set phrase for a nosey person but it’s not used that way generally.
     

    Tea Addict

    Senior Member
    Republic of Korea Korean
    Dear suzi br,

    Thank you very much for the additional explanation!
    So they are all adjectives, and Carol's sister was an occupied, correct, and bossy person.
    I sincerely appreciate your help.

    By the way, I love your new picture! :)
     
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