accustomed the smokingcar


Senior Member
Dear all
Please kindly tell me what's meant by "accustomed the smokingcar--- accustomed the jumble of faces" in the following context, taken from "The Camera Eye (49)" in "The Big Money" by Dos Passos:
(---) represent spaces in the original context
accustomed the smokingcar--- accustomed the jumble of faces rumble cozily homelike towards Boston through the gathering dark---how can I make them feel how our fathers our uncles haters of oppression came to this coast--- how say--- Don't let them scare you--- how make them feel who are your oppressors America
Does it mean that the narrator is accustomed to the smoking car, accustomed to the jumble of faces...?
  • Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Here's one commentator's interpretation of the wider passage:
    Dos Passos sums up the goal that has animated USA from the start: his desire to shatter the complacency of the "accustomed" by forcing them to think in fresh and new patterns

    If he's right, then you could translate "accustomed" in your sentence as something like 'in the habitual/customary way". Maybe the idea is: The same old smoking car and its same old jumble of faces rumble towards Boston....

    But I'm clutching at straws here:(


    Senior Member
    Just as a note to readers who are new to these Dos Passos threads, this is a very unusual style of English that I suppose could be called "experimental." I would not use passages from Dos Passos as material for learning standard English. :)


    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    What Loob suggested is certainly possible: he is already quite accustomed to rail travel, to the "same" smoking car and to being surrounded by strangers. He's so used to it that it's cozy, almost like a second home. At the same time, he may be trying to underscore how this could also be in some way as unnatural or peculiar.
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