buried cowboys and hobo stories,

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me-rav

Member
Hebrew - Israel
In Sullivan's Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore, Lydia, the heroine, describes affectionately the area in which she works, and -
"wondered what she would do when this end of town, with its buried cowboys and
hobo storie
s, began to cast the dull hue of any other.

1. Am I right to assume that the 'buried' refers to the stories, not the people?
2. Why does it say hobo and not hobos in plural?

TIA:)
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    1. Am I right to assume that the 'buried' refers to the stories, not the people?
    I would say so.

    Cowboys is used as synecdoche/metonymy (See Synecdoche - Wikipedia) to mean "books/stories about cowboys."
    Hobo is a noun acting adjectivally and therefore does not inflect.

    hobo stories, = noun1+noun2 = noun2 that is/are associated with noun1 (Compare "Information Technology")
    ,
     

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    I'm not so sure. If these were two types of story, it would (in theory) be buried cowboys and hobo stories. Nouns used as adjectives are almost always singular. Why should there not be part of an American town where cowboys were once buried?
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    I agree. They sound like typical American folk tales. And she’s talking about the neighbourhood, not the bookshop or its contents. This thread needs an American viewpoint…
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    I'm awake! (Jet-lagged, having just returned from Japan.) Where is this town? Is it in the part of the United States where there had been cowboys?
     

    me-rav

    Member
    Hebrew - Israel
    Yes. The story takes place in a bookshop at LoDo, Denver. According to Wiki: "In 1858, after the discovery of goldin the river, General William Larimer founded Denver by putting down cottonwood logs in the center of a square mile plot that would eventually be the current LoDo neighborhood, making LoDo both the original city of Denver, as well as its oldest neighborhood. Then, like now, LoDo was a bustling and sometimes wild area known for its saloons and brothels. During the Sand Creek Massacre, it was LoDo where the heads of the slaughtered Arapaho tribe were paraded in victory."
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    I think she's just referring to the history of the town. Most of the cowboys in Denver are buried now, rather than living, because it's too urban of a place for living cowboys to need or want to be there. (Other than for the Western Stock Show in January.)
     

    me-rav

    Member
    Hebrew - Israel
    Thanks. So you think that the cowboys are buried and the stories refer to the hobos? Is that consistent with the grammar of the sentence? Something does not seem right in this sentence:
    "she wondered what she would do when this end of town, with its buried cowboys and hobo stories, began to cast the dull hue of any other."
     

    WyomingSue

    Senior Member
    English--USA
    Yes, I would take it as meaning that part (end) of town was more interesting to her because of the buried cowboys and the stories about (living or dead) hoboes. And she wonders what she will do when that interest wears off.
    I think the sentence is OK. Maybe a little clunky, but people's reported thought processes aren't always perfectly organized.
     
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