<outwardly, it came as> the most terrible blow and shock to him

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 426, chapter 19) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Clifford received a letter from Connie to Clifford, saying she hoped Clifford to divorce her, Clifford was not surprised…)

Clifford was not inwardly surprised to get this letter. Inwardly, he had known for a long time she was leaving him. But he had absolutely refused any outward admission of it. Therefore, outwardly, it came as the most terrible blow and shock to him,(should be ".") He had kept the surface of his confidence in her quite serene.

I take the red words to be looking from his appearance(=outwardly), it happened as(=came as) the most terrible blow and shock to him, (but in fact he didn't care about it).
Is that right please?
Thank you in advance
 
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  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You must link "outwardly" with "refused any outward admission"
    Outwardly - in the manner of the exterior actualization of an event.

    The passage summarises Sir Clifford state of mind: On the one hand, he was certain in his belief that the end of his marriage was near but, because he did not want this, he refused to fully accept this as a fact until the undeniable evidence arrived and thus would noever never have admitted to it or mentioned it.

    The letter was the exterior evidence that forced him to address his belief, which then became a fact. The letter was an unwelcome confirmation of his fears, and the letter was the outward (from the outside) blow that caused him to move from "fearful" to "accepting."
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    We often chose not to talk or even think about an unpleasant event even when we know deep down, 'inwardly', that it is inevitable. We deny the reality and nobody would guess that there was anything wrong.
    Faced with the reality, he was very shocked and extremely upset. He cared very much indeed about it.

    A comparable situation is when somebody we care about is dying from an incurable illness. Even though we know they are gradually dying, their death when it happens affects us as strongly.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    but what do you mean by it?
    His worry was internal - he would not have spoken of it to anyone.

    Perhaps you should look upon his worries/suspicions/thoughts/beliefs, etc., as pressure that originates "inward", i.e. from inside him, and the letter as the pressure that originates from the outside - "outward".
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Now I notice two different tenses: the past perfect tense and the past simple tense.
    Lawrence was saying:
    1. Before, he had refused any outward admission of it.(past perfect)
    2. before, he had kept the surface of his confidence in her quite serene.(past perfect)

    3.
    past simple: Therefore, (this time, things became different), so Clifford began to show his pain and worry outwardly (=outwardly, it came as the most terrible blow and shock to him).
    In other word, later, Clifford couldn't refuse outward admission any more.

    Lawrence was talking about things of different time: before, he pretend to be peaceful and quiet, but later, his outside expression showed his feelings.

    I feel this is the logic of this paragraph.
    Is that right this time?
     
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    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Address his belief means acknowledge and deal with knbwoing the marriage was already over.
    You're right about the tenses - past perfect for what came before the past.
    He had stayed outwardly calm because he had denied knowing the marriage was over. The letter made him accept that fact and he could no longer stay calm and appear normal.
     
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