Could see there was a person in there

kahroba

Senior Member
Persian
Dear all
Happy to be back here after a long absence!
Could you please tell me what's meant by above sentence in the following context from "The History of Bees" by Maja Lunde:
We went to school together, Gareth and I. He was a sluggish guy. Ate too much, worked out too little, afflicted with eczema. Girls weren't interested. Not us guys, either. For some reason or other he took a shine to me. Maybe because I couldn't bring myself to bad-mouth him all the time. Could see there was a person in there.
Does it mean that he thinks the guy could have some good things in him too?
 
  • Barque

    Senior Member
    Tamil
    Yes, sort of. He means there was some substance in him, or that he had a distinct personality.
     

    Jimbob_Disco

    Senior Member
    British English
    I disagree with Barque - I wouldn’t say it’s to do with him having a distinct personality at all. It means he could see that the person had a bit of soul and conscience. I guess I pretty much agree with kahriba, though.
     

    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    "Maybe because I couldn't bring myself to bad-mouth him all the time. Could see there was a person in there."

    The reason the narrator refused to bad-mouth him all the time tells us more about the narrator than it does about Gareth. He could not help recognising that Gareth was a human being, capable of having his feelings hurt.

    I don't think we can assume anything more from "there was a person in there". He doesn't actually say that there was an interesting or unique personality behind the facade.
     
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