a 'the' that comes right out of nowhere

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HSS

Senior Member
Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
Hello, would you please help me interpret how Maren was back home, to stay with and help her father who had been terminally ill? (Let me be more specific. This is concerning the usage of 'the' that comes right out of nowhere)

My take is: Since Bob, the author, mentions 'the bed room' out of nowhere, I presume Maren was sleeping in the only one bedroom of the house, or in the master bedroom. And that temporary bedroom of hers (her bedroom) was a few steps away from Jack and Janice were bedding down because he might have needed some special apparatus for breathing (from reading earlier part of the book, he had difficulty with breathing).

She was sleeping in the bedroom of the house he had built for Janice and her and him, her bedroom just a few steps away from the room where he and Janice slept. When he needed help in the night, she was within the sound of his voice.​
('And You Should Know You Should Be Glad' by Bob Greene)​

Hiro
 
  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    It is a specific bedroom, the bedroom [that] he had built for Janice. That is why 'the' appears here.
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree that this is very confusing, Hiro.

    I suppose that the explanation is that in "the bedroom of the house" "the" is intended to restrict the category to "all the bedrooms she has slept in" or something similar, and is not intended to be defined by "of the house".

    EDIT: I think that Cagey's explanation is more likely. The precedent of the restrictive relative clause "he had built for Janice..." is not "the house" but "the bedroom of the house". I hadn't thought of that possibility.
     
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    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    'The bedroom he had built for Maren' --- Hmm, okay (Maren, not Janice. Janice is his wife). I didn't, couldn't take 'the bedroom he had built for Janice and her and him' could mean 'the bedroom he had built for her. I wonder why 'Janice' and 'him' are mentioned here. What are 'Janice' and 'him' doing here?
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think given the slighlty nested and plodding sentence struture, the author may be trying to convey a sense of careful and far sighted planning on behalf of Jack the builder (if I've got that right), coupled with a sense of slow pacing down the corridor.

    It could be a trick of the way that you've coloured the text, but it seems to me that the author wishes to emphasise that it was her bedroom all along (it had always been her bedroom, sort of thing).

    "She was sleeping in the bedroom of the house he had built for Janice and her and him, her bedroom just a few steps away from the room where he and Janice slept. When he needed help in the night, she was within the sound of his voice."

    ...which would also indicate that you have coloured the text appropriately.
     

    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    I think given the slighlty nested and plodding sentence structure, the author may be trying to convey a sense of careful and far sighted planning on behalf of Jack the builder (if I've got that right), coupled with a sense of slow pacing down the corridor.
    Sorry, Beryl, for lack of understanding of words and a phrase, I can't seem to see what you are telling me. The words and phrase I can't grasp in the context are colored blue. Could you please explain them?

    Hiro
     
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    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Sorry, Beryl, for lack of understanding of words and a phrase, I can't seem to see what you are telling me. The words and phrase I can't grasp in the context are colored blue. Could you please explain them?

    Hiro
    My fault, not yours. I will try.

    Nested like Russian dolls or Chinese boxes: (structure) Plan>house>bedroom>bed>her. Plodding like slow heavy walking: (rhythm) when reading the sentence, it sets up a rhythm in my mind, one that reminds me of someone slowly but steadily bouncing a large (but light) plastic beach ball in an empty room, donk, donk, donk etc.

    Here's where the stresses go (for me):

    She was sleeping in the bedroom of the house he had built for Janice and her and him,[pause] her bedroom just a few steps away from the room where he and Janice slept. When he needed help in the night, she was within the sound of his voice.


    This rhythm makes me think of someone slowly sleepwalking (slow pacing down the corridor).

    Obviously I claim no priviledged knowledge of the author's intention.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    HSS,
    Simplifying the sentence:
    She was sleeping in the bedroom, [it was] her bedroom [which was] just a few steps away from the room where he and Janice slept. When he needed help in the night, she was within the sound of his voice.

    It is called "the bedroom" because it is significant. The author then re-emphasises the bedroom by saying "her bedroom".
     
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    HSS

    Senior Member
    Standard Japanese, Sendaian Japanese
    Thanks, Beryl. Thanks, Paul.

    >She was sleeping in the bedroom of the house he had built for Janice and her and him, her bedroom just a few steps away
    So the bedroom was built for Janice and Maren and himself for the use by Maren?
    Or, the house was built for Janice and Maren and himself, and she was sleeping in the bedroom, her own bedroom all along since it was built, her bedroom of the house, not a house somewhere else?
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Thanks, Beryl. Thanks, Paul.

    >She was sleeping in the bedroom of the house he had built for Janice and her and him, her bedroom just a few steps away
    So the bedroom was built for Janice and Maren and himself for the use by Maren?
    Or, the house was built for Janice and Maren and himself, and she was sleeping in the bedroom, her own bedroom all along since it was built, her bedroom of the house, not a house somewhere else?


    I think that the house was built for Janice, and Maren, and him.
    I think that the layout of the bedrooms was determined before the house was built.
    I think that he shared a bedroom with Janice.
    I think that Maren's bedroom was very close by.
    I think he planned the whole thing, and now he's ill.
     
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