the bear shit in the buckwheat

galisany

Member
Korean
Could you tell me what does the 'bear shit in the buckwheat'?

Look at the following dialogue from the movie 'Shawshank Redemption.'

The situation is Andy, after listening to the guard's complain about having to pay hefty tax,

accosted him to say that the guard didn't have to pay tax. Then the violent guard dragged Andy

to the edge of the roof of a tall building to scare him.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Guard: 'You are that smart banker what killed his wife, aren't you?
Why should I believe a smart banker like you? So I can end up in here with you?

ANDY: It's perfectly legal. Go ask the I.R.S., they'll say the same thing. Actually, I feel stupid telling you this.
I'm sure you would've investigated the matter yourself.

Guard: Yeah, fucking' -A. I don't need no smart wife-doing banker to tell me where the bear shit in the buckwheat.'
------------------------------------------------------------------------

Sorry for the repugnant words. I just want to know the meaning of it.
 
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  • Cagey

    post mod (English Only / Latin)
    English - US
    This is not a familiar idiom. Please give us some more context.

    What is happening in this scene? It seems that the speaker is responding to something that someone else said. What was it?

    For more explanation of the kind of information that will help us give you a good answer, please read: Context and Background.
     

    bibliolept

    Senior Member
    AE, Español
    I can only guess that he is saying that he doesn't need Andy to tell him something obvious or simple. Finding bear excrement, presumably, is something that anyone with a functioning nose can do.
     

    La Pie

    Senior Member
    English-US and UK
    Bibiolept is correct.

    This is a variation on the old-fashioned but still used (rude) expression "does a bear s**t in the woods?" meaning, "isn't it completely obvious"? (because obviously the woods is where bears do their business...)
     

    dcx97

    Banned
    Hindi - India
    It's really strange a scriptwriter would use an almost unknown idiom. Perhaps it's more common in Maine, where the story is set.
     

    Copyright

    Senior Member
    American English
    The context is that the guard Byron Headley's brother has died and left him $35,000. Headley is bitching to another guard – within hearing distance of Andy – that after the government takes its share, all he'll end up with is enough to buy a new car, which he'll have to pay tax on, plus repairs and maintentance down the line. So it's not much at all.

    Andy, the banker who is in prison for murdering his wife, walks toward Headley and asks him if he trusts his wife. Approaching a guard is totally out of line for a prisoner, plus the guard is suspicious of what Andy might be insinuating, so he verbally warns him off, but Andy continues: "What I mean is, do you think she'd go behind your back? Try to hamstring you?"

    That sets the guard off and he propels Andy to the edge of the roof, ready to throw him over. As Andy is dangling at the edge, the guard tells him he's better start making sense, and Andy says, "If you want to keep that money, all of it, just give it to your wife."

    Then comes the conversation in the OP. This is a turning point in the film, because Andy starts doing the income tax returns for all the guards, and they in turn don't want him messed with by the prisoners who have been taking advantage of Andy for so long – to the extent that they beat up Andy's worst tormentor and send him to the hospital, never to be seen again.

    When Andy says "It's perfectly legal. Go ask the I.R.S., they'll say the same thing. Actually, I feel stupid telling you this.
    I'm sure you would've investigated the matter yourself,"
    he's flattering the guard in order to further ingratiate himself and not look like some know-it-all.

    Post 4 covers the meaning of "... where the bear shit in the buckwheat." And if if the scriptwriter made up the expression, or resurrected an expression few people have heard of, it's because he's a creative writer. The last thing we need is dialogue filled with cliches and familiar sayings. The phrase also tells us something of the background and upbringing of the guard, who is not a social sophisticate. :rolleyes:
     
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    nowt000

    Senior Member
    Mandarin
    When Andy says "It's perfectly legal. Go ask the I.R.S., they'll say the same thing. Actually, I feel stupid telling you this.
    I'm sure you would've investigated the matter yourself,"
    he's flattering the guard in order to further ingratiate himself and not look like some know-it-all.
    Is 'would've investigated' conditional here? I think it basically means 'must have investigated', right?
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Bibiolept is correct.

    This is a variation on the old-fashioned but still used (rude) expression "does a bear s**t in the woods?" meaning, "isn't it completely obvious"? (because obviously the woods is where bears do their business...)
    It seems to have an existing life of its own. This Google search finds many uses of this. I never heard it before and I assumed it meant the same as "does a bear shit in the woods", and that meaning is the same. How it is used seems a bit different however.

    where the bear shit in the buckwheat - Google Search
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Good point, nowt000. I think the guard used "shit" as the past simple of "shit". "Shat" is better, in my opinion, but it's very rare in the United States.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    If sh*t is a verb here, why not say 'where the bear shits in the buckwheat'?
    I would caution that "shit" is still considered quite vulgar, and you should consider that before using any phrase that contains that word. It might not be suitable for many (or even most) situations.
     

    london calling

    Senior Member
    UK English
    The film was based on a novella by Stephen King. it wouldn't surprise me if the expression were coined by Mr. King himself, as he is well-known for his unusual (but often very effective) descriptive language.
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    The phrases seem to have the same (or similar meaning) but despite the "bear" and the "shit" they go about it in a different way.

    Does a bear shit in the woods? Well, he lives in the woods, and he eats in the woods, so logic says that he shits in the woods too.


    Now this is buckwheat:


    If a bear shit in a large area containing buckwheat you would likely have a very easy time finding it. You would not likely cook with the bear shit.

    You would have little difficulty locating "where the bear shit in the buckwheat". It would be totally obvious by both the size, color, shape and odor.

    Do I have to show you where the bear shat in the buckwheat? Or are you going to figure it out yourself?
     

    Myridon

    Senior Member
    English - US
    Or alternatively, this is (a field of buckwheat):

    I imagine if a bear passed through this field, you would have little problem finding where it went whether it stopped to defecate or not. :)
     

    Packard

    Senior Member
    USA, English
    Or alternatively, this is (a field of buckwheat):

    I imagine if a bear passed through this field, you would have little problem finding where it went whether it stopped to defecate or not. :)
    My point was that while both the bear shitting in the woods and the the bear shit in the buckwheat mean pretty much the same thing, they get there travelling on different roads.
     
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