clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety

Irelia20150604

Senior Member
Chinese
The context comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 7

"Madam," he pursued, "I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel; and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might have woven; these, I repeat, must be cut off; think of the time wasted, of--"
===
Hi everyone! I don't quite understand "to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety" here. Does it mean "to dress themselves with modest and plain clothes"?
 
  • bennymix

    Senior Member
    "clothe themselves..." does not MEAN "dress in modest clothes" but it suggests such a way of living.

    The *meaning* is that the person show all the time that they are ashamed of their body and very serious (sober) about life--no decorations or frivolity. This is standard Puritan or Quaker (some of them) or Amish talk (strict protestant). So the demand is NOT to adorn oneself, braid hair, wear colorful clothes, but to appear restrained, plain in speech and dress.

    The context comes from Jane Eyre Chapter 7

    "Madam," he pursued, "I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel; and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might have woven; these, I repeat, must be cut off; think of the time wasted, of--"
    ===
    Hi everyone! I don't quite understand "to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety" here. Does it mean "to dress themselves with modest and plain clothes"?
     

    se16teddy

    Senior Member
    English - England
    Last edited:

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It is meant quite literally and is a quote from the Bible: 1Tmothy:2:9: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

    (Broided -> earlier spelling/pronunciation of braided.)
     

    bennymix

    Senior Member
    I don't see it as literal at all, Paul

    "adorn themselves... with shamefacedness and sobriety" can only be figurative. It's a striking metaphor: Dress yourself up, of course, in your humility and shame about yourself!

    In a word, the passage is fundamentally about demeanor, how she is to carry and deport herself.

    A more modern, standard translation makes it clear that the essential point is how to behave (modestly, etc). Clothing issues follow from that, and are secondary. (You omitted the part after 'gold' which clarifies the central point.)

    [I desire that] the women should dress themselves modestly and decently in suitable clothing, not with their hair braided or with gold [etc] but with good works, as is proper for women who profess reverence for God. Let a woman learn silence with full submission. 1 Tim 2:9-11, NRSV.

    Here the phrase is "dress themselves (modestly and decently) ...with good works."

    Again, "dress ...with good works" can only be figurative.

    It is meant quite literally and is a quote from the Bible: 1Tmothy:2:9: In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;

    (Broided -> earlier spelling/pronunciation of braided.)
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I don't see it as literal at all, Paul
    You should do. The speaker seems to be a fundamentalist Christian preacher, relying directly on the 1Timothy verse as his authority. He is a man whose god is opposed to women dressing as brazen strumpets parading temptation before men. :D rather they should do good works - however he is more interest in the first part of the sentence. And we know the girls have braided (or at least curled) hair.
    Madam," he pursued, "I have a Master to serve whose kingdom is not of this world: my mission is to mortify in these girls the lusts of the flesh; to teach them to clothe themselves with shame-facedness and sobriety, not with braided hair and costly apparel; and each of the young persons before us has a string of hair twisted in plaits which vanity itself might have woven; these, I repeat, must be cut off; think of the time wasted, of--"
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top