accustomed the smokingcar

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
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:(
     

    JamesM

    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. :)
     

    bibliolept

    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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