"nesting influence"

SaraSan

New Member
Français - France
Hi everybody,

I found this expression in a novel, and I do not completely get the meaning of "influence" in it. Here is the context :

"He had not married until thirty-five and then the choice had been mutually unlikely -the daughter of a vastly wealthy investment banker from Massachusetts. And not that wealth was a part in this absurd nesting influence -he still drew some five hundred pounds a month [...]."

I thought it could be understood as a kind of impulse to nest, to start a family, is that it ?
 
  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Hullo Sara. Could you give us the end of the sentence, and a couple more that follow.
    Also: the title/author:)
     

    SaraSan

    New Member
    Français - France
    Hullo Sara. Could you give us the end of the sentence, and a couple more that follow.
    Also: the title/author:)
    Hi!
    It is from Legends of the Fall by Jim Harrison. Here William Ludlow, the father, is remembering his past.
    " And not that wealth was a part in this absurd nesting influence -he still drew five hundred pounds a month from a Vera Cruz silver mine, nearly four thousand dollars in the exchange of the time. But it gathered in a bank in Helena where he traveled several times a year to look after his investments and carry on at the Cattleman's Club. His marriage had burned out, had gradually transmogrified from its previously Keatsian fire into a remote and cranky elegance." And he goes on about their marriage now, but he doesn't explain more about this first "nesting influence"..
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    I think 'absurd nesting influence' is intended to mean 'incongruous power gained by marriage'. It is not very good English.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    In AE, "nesting" is the process of settling down with someone to form a family or just to live a quiet life at home. So the idea is that he must have come under the effects of some sort of "nesting influence," a force that would have driven him to turn to nesting or to start nesting. Since the choice of partners was "mutually unlikely," I suppose that the idea is that there had to have been such an "absurd" outside force, otherwise the marriage wouldn't have happened; however, money did not play a role in this decision.

    Perhaps "impulse" would be a better word for the author to have used.
     

    lucas-sp

    Senior Member
    English - Californian
    I agree with cyberpedant that "nesting" normally gets stuck to "instinct" or "impulse." But cyberpedant, don't you agree that this is probably the influence driving the person towards "nesting" (in an "absurd" maner), rather than the influence gained from "nesting" (as wandle suggested)? It just seems like the causal relationship between the nouns might be read differently by an American.
     

    cyberpedant

    Senior Member
    English USA, Northeast, NYC
    To tell the truth, the phrase doesn't make much sense to me. But I do agree that it would be the "driving" influence, instinct, impulse.
     

    SaraSan

    New Member
    Français - France
    I was really struggling with this one, "impulse" was my first instinct;) but I wanted to check it out with native speakers. Thank you all!!
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Second thoughts.
    Comparing the text with 'nesting impulse' (which had not occurred to me) would not 'influence' mean the pull or push from without, rather than the drive from within?
    On this basis, 'this absurd nesting influence' seems to mean 'this ridiculous relationship which drew him into marriage'.
     
    < Previous | Next >
    Top