My neighbors did not thus salute me

gil12345

Senior Member
chinese
Hi there,

"It was formerly the custom in our village, when a poor debtor came out of jail, for his acquaintances to salute him, looking through their fingers, which were crossed to represent the grating of a jail window, “How do ye do?” My neighbors did not thus salute me, but first looked at me, and then at one another, as if I had returned from a long journey. I was put into jail as I was going to the shoemaker’s to get a shoe which was mended."

The Project Gutenberg eBook of On the Duty of Civil Disobedience, by Henry David Thoreau

Thoreau depicts his return from the prison for refusing to pay his tax. Based on the underlined part, what is the attitude of "my towards" Thoreau's release. Were they surprised, thinking how come he came out so quickly? It seems not.

Thanks

Gil
 
  • The Newt

    Senior Member
    English - US
    [...]

    Thoreau depicts his return from the prison for refusing to pay his tax. Based on the underlined part, what is the attitude of "my towards" Thoreau's release. Were they surprised, thinking how come he came out so quickly? It seems not.

    [...]
    I'm guessing that you meant to ask "What is the attitude of 'my neighbors' towards Thoreau's release?" We don't know their attitude; all we are told is that they didn't make the customary crossed-fingers sign when he came out. Anything beyond that isn't a language question and can't be addressed here.
     

    Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    From the context you have given, Thoreau was not imprisoned for debt but for refusal to pay taxes, which was probably not viewed by his neighbours in such sympathetic light.
     
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