Upper-middle-class, horizon-in-his-irons

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james.zeng

Member
Chinese
The following paragraph is from the "the dead road" author DW WILSON.

"On the West Coast she bops around with a university kid who wears a sweater and carries a man purse. Her dad showed me a picture of the guy, all milk-jug ears and a pinched nose that'd bust easy in a fight. Upper-middle-class, horizon-in-his-irons, that type. Not that I can really complain, I guess. Vic never mentioned him and I never mentioned him and we went about our business like we used to, like when we were sixteen and bent together in the old fur-trading fort up the beach on Caribou Road."

She refere to vic, the girlfriend of narrator,the guy is her ex. What is the Upper-middle-class, horizon-in-his-irons? What type it is?
 
  • Crockett

    Senior Member
    US English
    Hmmm. From the definition of 'irons' - great strength, hardness, or determination (merriam webster dot com) - 'horizon-in-his-irons' probably means he is a very ambitious person (with his eye on the horizon). This person is probably very career or future oriented and very optimistic. I get the impression this person hasn't had much dissapointment in life and everything just seems to go his way.
     

    james.zeng

    Member
    Chinese
    thanks for your explain about the Horizon-in-his-irons. But how about the upper-middle-class? If the guy is so good why it is upper-middle-class? And as the position of the narrator, I don't think he will descibe this guy so great!
     

    Crockett

    Senior Member
    US English
    The term 'upper-middle-class' is referring to his economic standing. I believe 'middle-class' is the average, and 'upper-middle-class' would be slightly above average. The way the narrator uses this adjective, he or she clearly looks upon the upper-middle-class with disdain. It's as if the upper-middle-class is more priviledged and gets everything they want (a free ride through life).
     

    TacoNight

    Senior Member
    English - USA
    Hmmm. From the definition of 'irons' - great strength, hardness, or determination (merriam webster dot com) - 'horizon-in-his-irons' probably means he is a very ambitious person (with his eye on the horizon). This person is probably very career or future oriented and very optimistic. I get the impression this person hasn't had much dissapointment in life and everything just seems to go his way.
    I agree that 'horizon-in-his-irons' means that he is ambitious. I think 'irons' here refers to an iron sight for a gun, so that he is aiming at the horizon.
     

    james.zeng

    Member
    Chinese
    The term 'upper-middle-class' is referring to his economic standing. I believe 'middle-class' is the average, and 'upper-middle-class' would be slightly above average. The way the narrator uses this adjective, he or she clearly looks upon the upper-middle-class with disdain. It's as if the upper-middle-class is more priviledged and gets everything they want (a free ride through life).
    Is the "middle class" /the class always referring to economic standing?
     

    GreenWhiteBlue

    Senior Member
    USA - English
    Is the "middle class" /the class always referring to economic standing?
    The term middle class in American English has a very different meaning from how it is used in British English. In AE, "middle class" is an economic category: everyone who is not "rich" or "poor" considers himself "middle class". It would make perfect sense in AE to speak of a plumber, or a construction worker, or a trash collector, as being "middle class". In BE, the term refers to a social class above the working class but below the nobility and gentry. There is no contradiction in AE in describing someone as being working class and middle class at the same time, while in BE there would be.
     
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