knowledge ratio

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Swamp-landia

Senior Member
NYC
Mandarin; Shanghainese
There's a line from Karen Russell's Swamplandia! that reads,

"Whip gave me what I guess you'd call a rueful smile, which I understood as a kid to be a smile without joy. A smile with a pretty bad joy: knowledge ratio."

How can I understand "knowledge ratio" here?

Thanks in advance!
 
  • Perseas

    Senior Member
    To me, knowledge ratio is used here to show that she/he as a child with restricted knowledge/experience could only interprete Whip's rueful smile as a smile without joy.
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    I'd see it differently from Perseas: I'd read it as "a smile with a pretty bad {joy:knowledge} ratio". In other words, a smile with less joy in it than knowledge:).

    EDIT: Perhaps Swamp-landia could tell us whether the original punctuation was "joy:knowledge" or "joy:[space]knowledge"?
     
    Last edited:

    Swamp-landia

    Senior Member
    NYC
    Mandarin; Shanghainese
    I'd see it differently from Perseas: I'd read it as "a smile with a pretty bad {joy:knowledge} ratio". In other words, a smile with less joy in it than knowledge:).
    Wow, I should take this into consideration. Thank you Loob!
     

    Loob

    Senior Member
    English UK
    Sorry, Swamp-landia, I was editing as you were answering....

    Can you tell us whether the original punctuation is "joy:knowledge" or "joy:[space]knowledge"?
     
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