The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself......

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sb70012

Senior Member
Azerbaijani/Persian
In consequence, I'm inclined to reserve all judgments, a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me and also made me the victim of not a few veteran bores. The abnormal mind is quick to detect and attach itself to this quality when it appears in a normal person, and so it came about that in college I was unjustly accused of being a politician, because I was privy to the secret griefs of wild, unknown men.
Source: The Great Gatsby http://www.publicbookshelf.com/ficti...er-vulnerable

Hello friends,
I sort of can not paraphrase the blue part. This is my paraphrase:
The unusual thoughts are quick to be known and .... [I couldn't paraphrase the rest] .... so without any reason,
I became politically condemned in college because I was close to ......[I couldn't paraphrase the rest]......

Thank you
 
  • wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'The abnormal mind' stands for 'Those people with an abnormal mental outlook'.
    'Is quick to detect' means 'rapidly discovers'.
    'This quality' means 'the habit of reserving all judgements'.
    'A politician' probably means 'a schemer or manipulative person'.
    People accused him of being a schemer because he knew the secrets of the most strange undergraduates.
    He had this information because his strange fellow-students would tell him their secrets.
    They did this because they liked his non-judgemental attitude.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    'The abnormal mind' stands for 'Those people with an abnormal mental outlook'.
    'Is quick to detect' means 'rapidly discovers'.
    Thank you so much. But:

    I think "the abnormal mind" stands for a person not people. Right?
    Because if we consider it (the abnormal mind) a plural noun, then we shouldn't say "is quick" and should say "are quick"
    Am I right?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    'The abnormal mind' generalises the idea of an abnormal mind. It is equivalent to 'any person with an abnormal mind'.
    We can paraphrase it as 'people with an abnormal mental attitude' because the author is saying not that one strange student confided peculiar secrets to him, but that many did so.

    If we paraphrase it with a plural phrase, we can only continue the paraphrase by changing the verb to plural also.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Thank you so much.
    This is my last question. Why has the author used the words "wild unknown men"?
    The word "wild" is usually used for animals. But how did you know that it refers to his strange fellow-students?
    I mean it's very hard to detect what the word "wild" refers to. I wish there could be a clue in the text.
     
    Last edited:

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    The word "wild" is usually used for animals.
    Are you using a dictionary? ;) Only one of the 16 adjective definitions of "wild" in the Word Reference dictionary refers specifically to animals. One refers specifically to plants.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    Yes you are right, it can refer to plants too but I have never heard it to be used to refer a person. I
    mean "wild unknown men" doesn't make sense to me.
    Would you please be kind enough to clarify this bold written part to me? How can a student be wild?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    Why has the author used the words "wild unknown men"?
    The word "wild" is usually used for animals. But how did you know that it refers to his strange fellow-students?
    I mean it's very hard to detect what the word "wild" refers to. I wish there could be a clue in the text.
    There are two clues for 'wild' in the context. 'Curious natures' means people who are unusual or eccentric and 'the abnormal mind' means people of abnormal mental outlook. He says these were the people drawn to confide in him.

    We know that 'men' means fellow-students because this is happening in college. 'Unknown' means they were people whom 'nobody knows': in other words, among the students they were outside the main social groups and had few if any personal contacts. 'Wild' I understand as 'untamed': they lacked basic social skills, good manners and conventional conduct.
     

    sb70012

    Senior Member
    Azerbaijani/Persian
    'Curious natures' means people who are unusual.
    But I think "a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me"

    Means: "a habit that has made me have curious characteristics" (the habit has made me a curious person)

    Isn't it?
     

    wandle

    Senior Member
    English - British
    No: it means the habit of reserving judgement - not reacting against the things he was told - caused eccentric people to open up towards him. Other listeners would react with suspicion or rejection; he did not: so these people told him all about themselves.
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    But I think "a habit that has opened up many curious natures to me"

    Means: "a habit that has made me have curious characteristics" (the habit has made me a curious person)

    Isn't it?
    "A habit that has opened up many [people with] curious natures to me." - "A habit that has caused many people with curious natures to open up to me."
     
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