considering cap // all out

gvergara

Senior Member
Español
Hi people:
This extract I have taken from the short story "A little cloud" by James Joyce. I really can't understand what the expressions in bold mean, will you please lend me a hand?. Thanks in advance, see you

Little Chandler remembered (and the remembrance brought a slight flush of pride to his cheek) one of Ignatius Gallaher's sayings when he was in a tight corner:
"Half time now, boys" he used to say light-heartedly "Where's my considering cap?"
That was Ignatius Gallaher all out; and, damn it, you couldn't but admire him for it.
Taken from "Dubliners" by James Joyce

Gonzalo
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  • Yôn

    Senior Member
    English
    Considerng cap - I've heard this more often as THINKING CAP, but I'm sure it has the same meaning. Basically, it just refers to him needing to think. The idea that he has a special cap he needs to put on when he thinks, and that now he needs that hat tells us that he's in the mood for thinking.

    "Where's my considering cap?"
    "Okay, time for me to start thinking."

    The hat isn't a real hat; it's more of a figure of speech.

    All out - I believe this is saying IN HIS ENTIRETY. As in that was EXACTLY the way he was.

    "That was Ignatius Gallaher all out..."
    "That was exactly the way Ignatius Gallaher acted..."


    I've never heard either of these expressions used as they are here, so my guess is just a guess.




    Jon
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    Here's my best effort (which, as you will see, asks more questions than it answers):

    "That was Ignatius Gallaher all out" would be another way of saying "That was a typical Ignatius Gallaher thing to say or to do." In other words, the expression "Where's my considering cap" epitomizes the character of Ignatius.

    This fact makes understanding "Where's my considering cap" vital, and that's where I'm running into problems. The full text of the story is here, and, after having read it, I don't see a great deal in Ignatius's character to show him to be a considering kind of man (though there are a few subtle hints of it)--at least not as I understand the term "considering": someone who reflects and thinks carefully, someone who looks at things thoughtfully. The fact that he asks for his "considering cap" might indicate that,normally, he is the antithesis of "considering"; however, on occasions, he "dons" his "considering cap" and changes.

    My advice would be to wait for Maxiogee or Panjandrum (our 2 Irish experts) to help you. I'm sure they'll see what I've missed.

    Best,
    Joelline
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I have little to add to the explanations given already - which seem to be entirely reasonable. There is no special local significance that I know of.

    I don't think it is the considering that is "Ignatius all out" - we have our attention on that because it is an unusual term. I suspect that what epitomises Ignatius is the attitude of light-hearted, misplaced optimism in the face of overwhelming odds.
    Even when he was out at elbows and at his wits' end for money he kept up a bold face.
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    It would appear that one doesn't need to actually be A Dubliner to fully grasp Dubliners!
    All suggetions seem perfectly sound to me.
    I would probably suggest that all out means "summed up perfectly" - the one little remembrance cuaght his essence.
     

    timpeac

    Senior Member
    English (England)
    Another vote for "thinking cap" as the meaning of "considering cap".

    As for "all out" - I haven't heard this before, but I would guess that this is what I would express as "all over". That was him all over = an action that perfectly represents his habits and characteristics.
     

    emma42

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes, I, too would say "all over" instead of "all out" - I wonder if this is Hiberno-English?

    Considering Cap definitely means thinking cap, but I don't know whether this is also Hiberno-English or whether it is Ignatius' idiosyncratic way of talking.
     

    Joelline

    Senior Member
    American English
    panjandrum said:
    I suspect that what epitomises Ignatius is the attitude of light-hearted, misplaced optimism in the face of overwhelming odds.
    Well put and on the mark!

    Even when he was out at elbows and at his wits' end for money he kept up a bold face.
    Is out at elbows a common phrase or a Joycism? I assume it means that his clothes were so old that he had worn out the elbows of his sweaters or shirts?
     

    maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    I would suggest it is a "common but dying-out" phrase. People don't have clothes like that anymore (with the exception of trouser-bottoms which are "out" from being traipsed through the wet streets of any modern town!).
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    I quoted that sentence because it gave more insight into our hero's personality - not realising that it included more complication:)

    Well-resolved though.
    Out at elbows is not particularly Irish, but may not have crossed the Atlantic. Meaning as Joelline suggests.
    c. to be out at elbow(s: to have a coat worn out at the elbows, to be ragged, poor, in bad condition;
    1841 THACKERAY Second Funeral Napoleon i, Seedy out-at-elbowed coats.
    OED
     
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