Wild as their land is wild?

Discussion in 'English Only' started by Bunoc, Jul 31, 2013.

  1. Bunoc Member


    Reading "Overthrow" by Stephen Kinzer, I'm stuck with this paragraph, it's quoted from an article in a European newspaper about the US in the end of 19th century:
    "Americans have never worried too much about diplomatic questions. Wild as their land is wild, they have their own opinions, their own politics and their own diplomatic code. Economically and psychologically, they have all that is needed for this. They go forward on the road they believe they must travel and do not care at all what Europe says."

    The phrase of "Wild as their land is wild" is quite strange. Can you help me to identify its grammatical structure? Is it correct if I understand it like this "Americans are wild because their land is wild"? Or it has to be understood as "Americans are as wild as their land"?

    Many thanks.
  2. Parla Senior Member

    New York City
    English - US
    Yes, that's the way the writer intended it. He saw America as a "wild" place inhabited by "wild" people.
  3. Beryl from Northallerton Senior Member

    British English
    I think he's saying that the opinions, politics, and diplomatic code are as wild as the lands from which those idea emerged, (or in which they were forged, or in which they evolved).
  4. sdgraham

    sdgraham Senior Member

    Oregon, USA
    USA English
    "Wild" has many meanings and nuances as you will see if you check our dictionary for wild

    The United States in the 19th Century was still relatively untamed, particularly in the western portion. Bison and wolves roamed the prairies and forests and law and order was tenuous at best in many areas. The people who survived in such a situation tended to be rugged individualists, including being a bit isolationist as far as Europe was concerned ... except for accepting the hoards of immigrants seeking a new life in America free of the class distinctions and economic domination in 19th Century Europe, of course.

    The writer is comparing Americans of that era to the land itself.

    (cross-posted with Beryl from that place with the long name :))

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