I wouldn’t preach to the men: only strip ’em an’ say

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 323, chapter 15) by Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: the following is what Mellors told Connie )

‘……But I wouldn’t preach to the men: only strip ’em(=them) an’(=and) say: Look at yourselves! That’s workin’ for money! — Hark at yourselves! That’s working for money. You’ve been working for money! Look at Tevershall!……’

I understand I wouldn’t preach to the men: only strip ’em an’ say to be: I didn't want to teach human beings(=the men), by striping them and say.
In other word, only strip them and say describes the way of preaching.

Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
 
  • PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    I wouldn’t preach to the men: = I would not speak to the men in a metaphorical or religious way
    [I would] only strip ’em = I would do no more than remove their clothes (Knowing Lawrence, this could be, and probably is, literal but it could also mean "remove preconceptions/their traditional ways of thinking")
    an’ say = and then I would tell them.
     
    Last edited:

    Keith Bradford

    Senior Member
    English (Midlands UK)
    It's the men (specific). So it refers to the workers at the colliery in particular. And I do think that strip means take off someone's clothes; colliers are used to doing this after a shift.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It means "miners" but probably also extends to other men of the working classes.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I think he does mean take off their clothes or get them to take off their clothes. He's been talking about how ugly they are, from their work and poor quality of life.
    " ... legs twisted, feet all lumps! What have yer done ter yerselves, wi’ the blasted work? Spoilt yerselves. No need to work that much. Take yer
    clothes off an’ look at yourselves."
    (Funny how he says 'yourselves' at the end not 'yerselves')

    In fact, mining is still extremely hard physical work although there are few if any mines in the UK nowadays, and in those days working conditions must have been horrendous. Injury was common and deformity too from bending over all cramped and the overdeveloped muscles from using pickaxes all day. Not to mention problems associated with vitamin shortage from lack of sunlight and poor diet, and damage to their lungs from coal dust. When I was a child, I often saw the miners trudging home from work, black faced in their filthy rags because even in the 1950's they didn't have bathing facilities at the pits. Their wives bathed them in tin baths when they got home.

    Maybe you don't have a Chinese translation of 'preach'. It's a speech made for moral, often religious, purposes as opposed to a speech made for political purposes. Anyway, he says he wouldn't preach.

    He then goes on to describe the nice outfits he'll dress them in.:rolleyes:

    Edited: This is all about miners. He mentions what he'll do with the mining village too.
     
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