before the Golden Gate

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear all
What’s meant by “before the Golden Gate” in the following context from “Manhattan Transfer” by Dos Passos.
Time: 1910s
Joe’s brother Mike has come home drunk. Joe reminds him that he’s been supposed not to come home when he’s been drinking.
“I got to come home sometime aint I? Since you got to be a wardheeler Joey you been pickin on me worsen the old man. I’m glad I aint goin to stay round this goddam town long. . . . If I can get on some kind of a tub that puts to sea before the Golden Gate by God I’m going to do it.”
Golden Gate” is printed italic in the text
 
  • Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    The use of italics very, very strongly suggests that it is the name of a ship. Considering that the rest of the sentence means "If I can get on some kind of ship that puts to sea before the Golden Gate does, I will do it", Franco-filly's interpretation is almost certainly the correct one.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    There may or may not have been another vessel with that name at the time, but (as you have found) it certainly is likely as the name of a ship.
     

    cubaMania

    Senior Member
    The name of the strait that is the entrance to San Francisco Bay is "Golden Gate"*. I know that Manhattan Transfer is about New York, but know nothing about the plot. San Francisco Bay is in California on the other side of the country. You might consult your context to see if it is possible that he speaks of getting on a California-bound ship.

    *There is now the famous Golden Gate bridge over that strait, but at the time of the novel there was the strait named Golden Gate but no bridge yet.
     

    Mahantongo

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    Cubamania, the name of neither the bridge nor the strait is written with italics. The names of ships, on the other hand, are customarily written with italics. Furthermore, a ship's name has little do do with where it travels; while the Golden Gate may be sailing for California, it might also be heading for England, or Brazil, or Bora Bora. Note, for example, the survivors of the Titanic were rescued by the Carpathia -- which was named for an inland area of eastern Europe where no ocean liner could ever go.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top