accept defeat with a contemptuous good grace

chong lee

Senior Member
türkçe
Hi,
The quote is from the story "Morlvera" by H. H. Munro.

Victor's mother made his son to take a present for Victor's cousin. Victor does not like his cousin. But for some reason he yielded.

How can one "accept defeat with a contemptuous good grace" ? It sounds containing contradiction.

Thank you.

Emmeline and Bert were just moving away from the window when Morlvera made her exit from the shop, very carefully in Victor's arms. A look of sinister triumph seemed to glow in her hard, inquisitorial face. As for Victor, a certain scornful serenity had replaced the earlier scowls; he had evidently accepted defeat with a contemptuous good grace.
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Saki uses many oxymorons in his writing for comic effect - this is one of them. The essence of an oxymoron is that it is only apparently contradictory, but in reality it describes the situation perfectly.

    He "accepted defeat with a contemptuous good grace" = "He accepted defeat with a form of good grace but it was a type of good grace that was calculated to annoy everyone else as, from his expression, it was possible to interpret his "good grace" as contempt."
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    Because I know Saki's work, I'm a great fan of his, and that is what a well-crafted oxymoron does.
     
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