How could one say <Yes? for years and years>

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 64, Chapter Five) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford and Connie were going around in their wood. Clifford suggested Connie have a son with another man,who should be from upper-class. Connie hesitated: go on weaving herself into his life all the rest of her life? Nothing else?……)

Was it just that? She was to be content to weave a steady life with him, all one fabric, but perhaps brocaded with the occasional flower of an adventure.

But how could she know what she would feel next year? How could one(=I/Connie) ever know? How could one(=I/Connie) say Yes? for years and years? The little yes, gone on a breath!

How should I understand the blue sentence please?
I take it to be how could I say: "Yes, (I love you) for years and years"

Is that possible?
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Is that possible?
    No. This is a series of rhetorical questions designed to make the question more general. This style is used to indicate that Connie wants a general justification rather a personal one - she is looking for a principle that will justify her thoughts that are worrying her - she is rationalising:

    But how could she know what she would feel next year?
    How could anyone ever know [what they would feel the next year]?
    How could anyone say 'Yes' [to such an idea]?
    [How could that answer be valid] for years and years?

    It is clear that she is questioning the validity of her marriage to Clifford, and marriage in general.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Sentence one:How could anyone say 'Yes' [to such an idea]?
    Sentence two: [How could that answer be valid] for years and years?
    Please note the for, which is not capitalized. So I suspect "How could one say Yes? for years and years" to be how could everyone say "yes " to the idea(which idea?) for years and years? (one sentence, not two)
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Please note the for, which is not capitalized.
    I had already noted that before I answered... ;)
    (which idea?)
    You quoted it "She was to be content to weave a steady life with him, all one fabric, but perhaps brocaded with the occasional flower of an adventure."
    how could everyone anyone say "yes " to the idea(which idea?) for years and years? (one sentence, not two)
    I don't think so. The question mark after "Yes" seems to preclude this. And the meaning, if it were one sentence, would be slightly different.

    The style is clearly that of a flow of thoughts, rather than speech, and is done in a disjointed manner - there is ellipsis - the reader is left to "fill in the blanks" and Connie appear to be startled by her own reasoning.
     
    Last edited:

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    It's not really clear what the Yes means here. But I would think it's the Yes that Connie's considering giving Clifford in answer to his somewhat monumental proposition that she have a child by another man, with his blessing but without overly disrupting their marriage. She's worrying about the long-term consequences.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    How could anyone say 'Yes' [to such an idea]?
    But nobody would know Connie would have affairs with other men. So they couldn't say "yes" to an idea and fact they didn't know.

    And in another thread(here), bennymix said:
    She is being asked to say 'yes' to staying married 'integrally' with Clifford over a long term, even though having outside passing sex and maybe even bearing a lover's baby. But 'yes' [I'll stay with you] could only be fleetingly true.
    I infer bennymix thought it was Connie that said yes, rather than anyone.:D
     

    lingobingo

    Senior Member
    English - England
    But nobody would know Connie would have affairs with other men. So they couldn't say "yes" to an idea and fact they didn't know.
    I think you've misunderstood PaulQ's point. His references to "anyone" were meant as examples of the sort of rhetorical questions that were going round and round in Connie's head as she deliberated over her husband's suggestion.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    It is a question of whether you think that Connie is making a general or a personal argument - I think she is broadening the argument - seeing the matter as a general case.

    From your understanding of the book, you should make your decision. :)
    I think you've misunderstood PaulQ's point.
    :thumbsup:
     
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