notes that he hasn't bothered with the rubber boots

Lamb67

Senior Member
China/Mandarin
Source: The Newyoker Fiction

Stone Mattress

by Margaret Atwood
They’ve landed and have shed their life jackets and rubber footwear and are lacing up their hiking boots. Verna strolls closer to Bob, notes that he hasn’t bothered with the rubber boots. He’s wearing a red baseball cap; as she watches, he turns it backward
Does it mean that Bob has never worn that rubber boots from the beginning?
Admittedly this is bound to be of divided opinions because it is a novel after all.
Thanks.


 
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  • dreamlike

    Senior Member
    Polish
    Hi Lamb67,

    that's exactly what I would read it to mean -- that Bob didn't take the trouble to put on the rubber boots. :)
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    Thank you for providing the context, Lamb67, but...we do need to know what specific question you have. Is it that you don't understand the meaning of "hasn't bothered"?

    (Cross-posted with several people. :))
     

    Lamb67

    Senior Member
    China/Mandarin
    Yes, to a certain extent.
    Some people from my end would say that Bob has kept wearing the rubber boots instead.
     

    JustKate

    Senior Member
    I actually can't tell exactly what's meant here. It seems to be saying, as Dreamlike says, that he didn't take the trouble to put on his rubber boots. What confuses me is the reference to hiking boots - rubber boots and hiking boots aren't ordinarily the same thing. It might be clear in context, of course. Could it possibly mean that while everybody else had to change out of rubber boots and into hiking boots, Bob didn't because he hadn't bothered to wear rubber boots in the first place?
     

    Lamb67

    Senior Member
    China/Mandarin
    In that case, it would be written as something along the line of 'he hasn’t bothered with taking off the rubber boots.'
    By THAT CASE , I mean some people from my end.
     

    Beryl from Northallerton

    Senior Member
    British English
    Yes that's a possible reading. Either he hasn't bothered to remove his rubber boots, or he didn't bother to bring them in the first place. I'd go with the former, seeing as his lack of rubber boots would more naturally have been noticed in the boat, or whatever craft they've just landed in.
     

    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    I think that they were wearing rubber footwear - maybe wellington boots - (presumably they were on a boat) and when they reached the shore they took off the rubber boots and put on hiking boots.
    I can't work out what Bob was wearing either. The only thing that makes sense is that he was wearing hiking boots all the time (I think :confused: ). In other words they all started off in hiking boots. When they boarded the boat/ship they changed into rubber footwear, then when they reached land they put the hiking boots back on.
     

    Lamb67

    Senior Member
    China/Mandarin
    I think that they were wearing rubber footwear - maybe wellington boots - (presumably they were on a boat) and when they reached the shore they took off the rubber boots and put on hiking boots.
    I can't work out what Bob was wearing either. The only thing that makes sense is that he was wearing hiking boots all the time (I think :confused: ). In other words they all started off in hiking boots. When they boarded the boat/ship they changed into rubber footwear, then when they reached land they put the hiking boots back on.
    So it is up to everyone's guess up to now regarding what Bob's wearing. Anyway what seems clearer to me is that the rubber boot is personal effects rather than being provided by the tour company.
     
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    Bevj

    Allegra Moderata (Sp/Eng, Cat)
    English (U.K.)
    You haven't mentioned anything about a tour company.....
    From the context which you have provided, we can't form an opinion as to who the boots belong to.
     

    Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    I agree with the people who interpret it as meaning that Bob hadn't put rubber boots on. He had simply worn his hiking boots.

    -- :warning: Spoiler alert --> I am about to tell the ending :warning: ---
    This is important to the narrator becausethe narrator is planning to kill Bob. When she does, she will take everything that Bob had with him back to the ship and put it in the cabin, so that no one will notice that he is missing until the cruise is over and the ship is back at port. If he hasn't bothered to wear rubber boots, that is one less thing she has to worry about. If he had worn the boots, they would have been left, unclaimed, when everyone returned to the boat. That might have caused people to ask questions and look for him.

    Perhaps it would have been easier to understand if it had been written in the past tense, rather than the present: Verna strolled closer to Bob, noted that he hadn’t bothered with the rubber boots.
     
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