a steadfast bulwark for great interests to rest upon; but, at the fireside, too often a cold column

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Irelia20150604, Jul 8, 2016.

  1. Irelia20150604

    Irelia20150604 Senior Member

    China Shanghai
    Chinese
    The quotation comes from Charlotte Brontë – Jane Eyre (Chap. 34) | Genius

    Quotation: I understood, as by inspiration, the nature of his love for Miss Oliver; I agreed with him that it was but a love of the senses. I comprehended how he should despise himself for the feverish influence it exercised over him; how he should wish to stifle and destroy it; how he should mistrust its ever conducting permanently to his happiness or hers. I saw he was of the material from which nature hews her heroes—Christian and Pagan—her lawgivers, her statesmen, her conquerors: a steadfast bulwark for great interests to rest upon; but, at the fireside, too often a cold cumbrous column, gloomy and out of place.
    ===
    Hi everyone! I don’t quite understand the bold part. I try to interpret it as below. Is it correct?

    Nature => 1. the natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization;
    To hew => similar with “to shape”

    The sentence => I saw he was made of the material with which nature creates Christian and Pagan heroes, lawgivers, statesmen, conquerors: he could be a steadfast bulwark, supporting the cause of benefiting human beings; but , at the fireside, he was too often a cold bulky column, gloomy and not in the proper place.

    The essential meaning => I saw he could become…: he was suitable for great causes, not cozy domestic life.
     
  2. natkretep

    natkretep Moderato con anima (English Only)

    Singapore
    English (Singapore/UK), basic Chinese
    Yes, I think you have understood the sentence. St John was suitable for grand things, but would be awkward in a domestic setting.
     
  3. Irelia20150604

    Irelia20150604 Senior Member

    China Shanghai
    Chinese
    I see. thank you for your explanation. :idea:
     

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