He could deal with primal cases, but parallel ones worsted him

stephenlearner

Senior Member
Chinese
Hi,

Sarah Peen, when her husband was gone for a short while, moved to the newly built barn, without talking with her husband about it. The minister came, trying to talk with her, but she said he had done this just as the forefathers left their old country to move here, because they did not have what belonged to them.

Then we have the quotation here:

"He (the minster) could expound the intricacies of every character study in the Scriptures, he was competent to grasp the Pilgrim Fathers and all historical innovators, but Sarah Penn was beyond him. He could deal with primal cases, but parallel ones worsted him. " (from The Revolt of Mother by Mary Freeman (1852-1930), an American writer)

What does the underlined part mean? Does it mean he could deal with the basic principles of life, but could not deal with the practical problems in life?

Thank you very much.
 
  • Chez

    Senior Member
    English English
    I'm sorry, unless somebody knows this book well, we'd need an awful lot more information to decide what this means. Clearly, the author is calling Sarah Penn a 'parallel case', but what this means and how it relates to her personality/character is completely obscure. I also don't really understand why characters in Scripture and the Pilgrim Fathers should be 'primal' cases either.
     

    Ponyprof

    Senior Member
    Canadian English
    Hi,

    Sarah Peen, when her husband was gone for a short while, moved to the newly built barn, without talking with her husband about it. The minister came, trying to talk with her, but she said he had done this just as the forefathers left their old country to move here, because they did not have what belonged to them.

    Then we have the quotation here:

    "He (the minster) could expound the intricacies of every character study in the Scriptures, he was competent to grasp the Pilgrim Fathers and all historical innovators, but Sarah Penn was beyond him. He could deal with primal cases, but parallel ones worsted him. " (from The Revolt of Mother by Mary Freeman (1852-1930), an American writer)

    What does the underlined part mean? Does it mean he could deal with the basic principles of life, but could not deal with the practical problems in life?

    Thank you very much.
    I'm going to guess that he can deal with historical instances of revolt, as in the Pilgrims and Puritans breaking with the Church of England and moving to the American colonies in the 1620s, and of course the American Revolution of 1776. But he can't deal with people rebelling or seeking their human rights in the present day.

    Sarah Penn (Mother) has just made an explicit link between her rebellion and the foundation of the USA as a democratic nation.

    Note also she has been given the last name Penn, which should remind us of the founders of Pennsylvania which was the most democratic and tolerant of the 13 colonies.
     
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