The rector was reduced, personally,, almost to a nonentity...

Discussion in 'English Only' started by longxianchen, Jul 7, 2017.

  1. longxianchen Senior Member

    Here are some words from the novel Lady Chatterley's Lover(page 17, Chapter One) by DH Lawrence (planetebook,here):
    (background:There was an impassable gulf betwen Clifford and Connie, and the villegers. ……)

    Yet the village sympathized with Clifford and Connie in the abstract. In the flesh it was--You leave me alone!--on either side.

    The rector was a nice man of about sixty, full of his duty, and reduced, personally(=the rector thought), almost to a nonentity by the silent--You leave me alone!--of the village. The miners' wives were nearly all Methodists.

    I feel a rector was of upper-class at that time, so he became less important than among other people, because the villegers( lower class), who didn't believe in Anglicanism, refused upper-class people.

    Is that right please?
    If not, how should I understand this sentence?
    Thank you in advance
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2017
  2. Trochfa

    Trochfa Senior Member

    English - England
    Hello Longxianchen,

    "It became a pattern in many families that while the eldest son would inherit the estate and enter politics, the second son would join the army, the third son go into law, and the fourth son join the church."
    Wikipedia, the free encyclopediaLanded_gentry

    In addition to the class difference between a rector and the working class villagers, there is also the religious difference mentioned. He is not of their class, or religion, and so they don't speak to him.

    In this context, a rector is a type of parish priest in the Church of England. The Church of England was, and still is, the standard protestant church in England, whose head is the monarch. When this church was first established by Henry VIII, everyone was expected to attend the local parish church, and accept Henry as their spiritual leader, in place of the Pope. Those who tried not to do either were considered heretics. However, over several centuries, certain groups of non-conformist protestants, such as the Quakers, Methodists and Baptists, broke away from the established church because their beliefs did not conform with those of the established church.

    By the time in which this novel is set, the rector in most villages would still have been a very important person as the majority of the inhabitants would have worshiped in his church. However, in the village mentioned in the OP his personal status, or position, was hugely reduced because the majority of people in the village were from working class families where: "The miners' wives were nearly all Methodists. The miners were nothing."
    In other words the miners' wives attended Methodist Chapel, and the miners didn't go to any church at all. This meant that the majority of the village didn't go to the rector's church, giving him very little influence, or importance, in the villagers' lives. This in turn meant that he had almost become a non-entity.

    "nonentity" = "an unimportant person or thing."
    nonentity - definition of nonentity in English | Oxford Dictionaries

    (I realise that this is a very simplified version of the English Reformation and the rise of Non-conformism! :))
  3. longxianchen Senior Member

    Thank you very very much. I've learnt a lot from you.
    But what does the personally mean in the OP please?
  4. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    'personally' = 'in his person'
  5. longxianchen Senior Member

    'personally' = 'in his person'=in his own person=himself?
    Or, does it mean (the rector) himself was reduced to a nonentity ……?
  6. bennymix

    bennymix Senior Member

    Ontario, Canada. I grew up in US.
    English (American).
    As far as being a person is concerned, the rector was reduced to nothing because his
    parish were either Methodists (critical of the main Church of England) or agnostics--both of whom wanted him to leave them alone.
  7. longxianchen Senior Member

    I get it. Thanks

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