A man’s a poor bit of a wastrel blown about.

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover( page 294, chapter 14) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(context: Connie told Mellors that his wife would come back to him and he would have to take her in)
‘You might be right. I was a fool ever to come back here. But I felt stranded and had to go somewhere. A man’s a poor bit of a wastrel blown about. But you’re right. I’ll get a divorce and get clear. I hate those things like death, officials and courts and judges. But I’ve got to get through with it. I’ll get a divorce.’

The sentence in blue is almost not understandable for me. I guess: a man's poor bit=a poor bit of a man, rather than a man is a poor bit.
Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    I understand it as: A man who is blown about (has no fixed residence or roots) is a poor bit of a wastrel (a poor specimen and a wastrel).
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you. But does the is a poor bit of wastrel refer to is a wastrel to an extent(=a bit of, here?)?
     
    Last edited:

    Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Yes. "A bit of" is probably meant to be an understatement if anything. A bit of a wastrel = A wastrel to some extent, or even a complete wastrel.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    It's funny, I immediately understood 'wastrel' to mean an orphan/waif/abandoned child but only one dictionary gives this meaning and says it's 'archaic'! I'm not as old as all that! I think this idea is far better than the idea of Mellors becoming a wastrel in the sense of a ne'er-do-well and all the other pejorative similar words.
    His mother and child are in the area (not that he cares about them either) and it's where he was born and brought up, even if he can't stand his wife; this is where his roots are.
    I read 'poor' as being 'sad' and 'pitiful'; 'bit of' as meaning both 'not complete' and 'to some extent'; and 'blown about' as a metaphor, like the dead leaves of a tree, or anything or anybody that has nothing to keep it in place.
     
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