So I’m a bit of a waste ticket by myself

longxianchen

Senior Member
chinese
Hi,
Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 408, chapter 18) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
(background: Connie met with Mellors in London. She wanted to live with Mellors, saying she didn't want anything more from him, except love. Then Mellors said..…)

It’s more than that. Living is moving and moving on. My life won’t go down the proper gutters, it just won’t. So I’m a bit of a waste ticket by myself.

I feel a bit of to be to a certain extent, and by myself to be on my part or as far as I'm concerned.
Is that possible please? If not, how to understand this sentence?

Thank you in advance
 
  • longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Sorry, I forgot to reply to you. Thank you.
    But I feel by the sentence he meant that he couldn't bring Connie enough money(the ticket for him to lead Connie into his life) and some mental meanings
    but I'm not 100% sure.
    Maybe you are 99.9% right.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    A waste ticket seems to be a farming term. It means that a quantity of material has been inspected and registered as waste, to be disposed of by proper methods. See this quote from a farming forum:
    A waste ticket showing that it has been moved off farm keeps you the right side of the law.
    In other words, Mellors is saying: 'It is no good coming to live with me. My life won't follow a regular path. On my own, I'm just a genuine, certified piece of rubbish'.

    I understand the words 'By myself' to be an implied appeal, alongside the warning he has given: 'on my own, I'm no good (I need someone to keep me straight)'.
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    A further thought: if the term 'waste ticket' is normally used in relation to slurry (animal manure), then Mellors is indirectly calling himself a certified piece of s**t.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    I took "waste ticket" to refer to a ticket that a theatre or cinema prints for a performance, but that nobody buys. A useless article.
    Me too. We all know what it means, or we assume, even nowadays. But who would know farming terms in the 1920's. I think he means he's 'going nowhere' and he's 'missed the train'.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It’s more than that. Living is moving and moving on. My life won’t go down the proper gutters, it just won’t. So I’m a bit of a waste ticket by myself.
    A waste ticket1 is a ticket that has been used and is now waste (garbage, litter rubbish) - In Mellors' world this would be a used bus, tram or train ticket, i.e. where the journey for which the ticket was valid has been made.

    The expression indicates that Mellors has already seen his best days and now considers that he has no real future, and hence he has no ability to, in any way, support (and thus fulfill part of a husband's duty) Connie.

    1 a waste ticket is to distinguished from "a waste of a ticket." which implies that an opportunity to do something would not be fully appreciated by the person to whom it is offered.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It is clear from the following examples that a waste ticket is an official requirement for regulating the proper disposal of waste:

    (1) http://www.transport.gov.scot/system/files/documents/projects/Forth Replacement Crossing/Waste management plan 6 updated May 16.pdf
    It is prudent to ask the haulier for a copy of their waste ticket as proof that the material has been disposed of appropriately.
    (2) http://logansquarefarmersmarket.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/2015LSFMRulesandGuidelinesFinal.pdf
    1. If a vendor or vendor’s representative fails to adhere to the “Load In Load Out” rule, a “Waste Ticket” will be issued by the Market Manager.
    It does not seem at all unlikely that this practice was in force in Lawrence's day.

    Try searching on the phrase: gov.uk "waste ticket".
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    It is clear from the following examples that a waste ticket is an official requirement for regulating the proper disposal of waste:
    1. It is not at all that clear that Mellors could have been referring to this.
    2. The sites quoted are Scottish.
    3. The disposal of waste was not a concern in the 1920s - The proper management of waste is a far more recent concern and now heavily regulated.
    4. It is highly unlikely that Mellors - ex-soldier, now gamekeeper - would have had any waste worth having or had had any dealings with waste in quantity
    5. The idea of reference to such a "waste ticket" is an anachronism.
    6. Bus, tram, railway tickets were exceedingly common in Lawrence's day.
    It does not seem at all unlikely that this practice was in force in Lawrence's day.
    It seems impossible.

    How would modern waste disposal/management regulations [Environmental Protection Act 1990 esp. Ss.33 and 34] appear in a novel from the 1920s? And why would such a phrase have entered common parlance of a gamekeeper in the Nottinghamshire coal fields? And what is the figurative meaning?
     
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    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    It seems impossible.
    It seems very likely to me. How else would you regulate waste?
    There has to be legal control of potentially dangerous waste materials, whether farm slurry or industrial chemicals.

    This was just as necessary, or even more so, in Lawrence's day, in the heyday of British manufacturing.
    How long had Britain been dealing with the by-products of industry and agriculture on a large scale?

    Do please try the search suggested in post 10. There are plenty of other sites besides the two I quoted.
     

    Hermione Golightly

    Senior Member
    British English
    Mellors is saying: 'It is no good coming to live with me. My life won't follow a regular path. On my own, I'm just a genuine, certified piece of rubbish'.

    I understand the words 'By myself' to be an implied appeal, alongside the warning he has given: 'on my own, I'm no good (I need someone to keep me straight)'.
    I've probably read and thought about every word of this book more than I have or ever will any other.
    There's nothing at all to suggest that Mellors had such low self-esteem. Quite the opposite, and that's what the conversation is about.
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    My life won’t go down the proper gutters, it just won’t. So I’m a bit of a waste ticket by myself.
    I cannot think of any interpretation which would make these words into a positive assertion of self-worth, though, can you?

    On the other hand, if he is making an implied appeal to the maternal instincts of Lady C., then that could be why he chooses to run himself down.
     

    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    There's nothing at all to suggest that Mellors had such low self-esteem. Quite the opposite, and that's what the conversation is about.
    I half agree and half disagree:


    Mellor and Connie are talking:

    ’If it’s worth it to you,’ he said. ‘I’ve got nothing.’
    ’You’ve got more than most men. Come, you know it,’ she
    said.


    Mellors then contemplates the events and circumstances of his life and gives what is to me the self-pitying, embittered rant as the possessor of superiority complex of Biblical proportions. However, this is really Lawrence talking at a troubled time of his life and Lawrence intends us to identify with Mellors and feel that Mellors reaction is entirely justified and observant, so we take it at face-value.

    Mellors ends with "What have I to offer a woman? [...] And I’ve no business to take a woman into my life,"

    Mellors' bravado, quick wit and oration, reserved for his "betters", have deserted him - but he is intelligent enough still and he sees the world as it is - this is a reality that affects him now, immediately, not in the same way that the nagging discontents of "society" have affected him.

    For all Mellors' revolutionary talk and railing against the established order of society - he still believe that a man must support the woman and not the other way around.

    The whole theme is as old as chivalry: impoverished but noble hero meets a woman of substance and feels honour-bound to refuse her advances.
     
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    velisarius

    Senior Member
    British English (Sussex)
    A waste ticket1 is a ticket that has been used and is now waste (garbage, litter rubbish) - In Mellors' world this would be a used bus, tram or train ticket, i.e. where the journey for which the ticket was valid has been made.
    :thumbsup::thumbsup:

    I couldn't read it any other way. On old buses there were receptacles for these things, but I think they were labelled "used tickets". It sounds rather pathetic, as does the idea of life going (or not going) "down the proper gutters".
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    Thank you, everybody.
    For all Mellors' revolutionary talk and railing against the established order of society - he still believe that a man must support the woman and not the other way around.
    This statement is helpful for me to master the theme of this novel better.
    The whole theme is as old as chivalry: impoverished but noble hero meets a woman of substance and feels honour-bound to refuse her advances
    Do you mean her supporting him by her advances?
    as the possessor of superiority complex of Biblical proportions
    Mellors' bravado, quick wit and oration, reserved for his "betters"
    And what do you mean by these two?

    And based on all the interpretations above, now I feel Mellors, who didn't like money before(that's why he regards himself as a waste ticket), plans to make momey in future so that he can support Connie when living with her. That is to say, he decides to change himself a little(from hating money to making money), even though he regarded money-based life as proper gutters before.
     
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    PaulQ

    Senior Member
    UK
    English - England
    her advances= The methods Connie uses to show Mellors that she wants to live with him.

    superiority complex = a state of mind, or part of a person's character, that causes a person to believe that he is more intelligent than other people, and thus invariably correct and always has the best explanations and solutions.

    of Biblical proportions (adj. phrase) = Huge; very large; dramatic; overwhelming. (So called because the Bible seems to be filled with events that kill, maim, or injure millions at a time and with globally dramatic events - things that only a god could do.)

    reserved for his "betters" =
    used only when speaking or referring to those who are of a higher social status than him.
     

    longxianchen

    Senior Member
    chinese
    I finally basically understand what you said in post 17, even though it took me a long time.Oh, my poor English
    The whole theme is as old as chivalry: impoverished but noble hero meets a woman of substance and feels honour-bound to refuse her advances
    I will insert this into my footnote.It's another viewpoint, which will help Chinese readers to know this novel better.:thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
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