Wuthering Heights - The latter had never been under-drawn ...

nanami

Member
chinese
The latter had never been under-drawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it.

Here's another sentence that i can't understand.
What does the "the later" stand for? Is it "the pewter dishes"?
Does it mean that the pewter dishes has never been used to be laden with food?
How to understand "concealed it"?
Await your instruction. thanks

nanami

Mod note: I have split this question from the previous Wuthering Heights thread . I know both sentences are from the same book, but they are seperate topics. Please take a new thread for a new topic - otherwise we will end up with the whole book in this thread:D
Panjandrum
(Moderator)
 
  • maxiogee

    Banned
    English
    "The latter" (note the two "t"s) refers to the last mentioned item of a previous list. It is usually used nowadays to refer to the second of two, but it is eqaully valid to use it for the last of many.

    When two items are mentioned, be it people, places or things, the first-mentioned is referred to as "the former" and the second-mentioned is referred to as "the latter".

    To work out what is being referred to in the sentence you give us we would need to know what was said immediately prior to this.

    --edit--

    The latter had never been under-drawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it.

    I would imagine that "a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it." refers to a well-stocked table of some sort which is concealing whatever is behind it, from the viewer's stance - be it a wall or a dresser or some other structural item.
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    One step brought us into the family sitting-room, without any introductory lobby or passage: they call it here 'the house' pre- eminently. It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter: at least I distinguished a chatter of tongues, and a clatter of culinary utensils, deep within; and I observed no signs of roasting, boiling, or baking, about the huge fireplace; nor any glitter of copper saucepans and tin cullenders on the walls. One end, indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof.

    dear maxiogee,

    these are the sentences right before "The latter had never been under-drawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it. "

    thanks
     

    panjandrum

    Lapsed Moderator
    English-Ireland (top end)
    The latter refers, I think, to the vast oak dresser (CLICK HERE or HERE or HERE for a picture of an oak dresser). The Wuthering Heights dresser sounds as if it is much bigger than this, and the text lists the items that are to be seen on its shelves.

    Now, you need to imagine the dresser against the wall of the room and in front of the dresser imagine maxiogee's well-stocked table (the frame of wood) which conceals part of the dresser (a very clever guess by maxiogee:) ). Probably a table like THIS ONE

    <<A small mod note - be careful when you are quoting text from somewhere else. WR Rule #16 allows up to four sentences to be quoted in a post. your latest post includes exactlhy four sentences - well done:) >>
     

    river

    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    The language appears to be sexual: Lockwook focuses on what "the huge fire-place" does not disclose: "culinary utensils," "cullenders" (italics added). Similarly, to his way of seeing and saying things, while the room possesses ["silver jugs on"] a "dresser, to the roof," the latter[the dresser] "had never been underdrawn [the place lacked underdrawers, by one construction]: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye" except where "legs ... concealed it." (Nelson Hilton) cul = french for butt, bottom
     

    foxfirebrand

    Senior Member
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    It seems to me if the dresser "had never been underdrawn," the cabinetmaker had simply not finished it-- i.e. hadn't made and fitted the drawers. So the bottom half of the dresser was a big open storage space, made more useful by inserting a "wooden frame" as a makeshift shelf to store the oatcakes, etc on.

    I had another plausible impression that "the latter" referred to the roof that hadn't been cieled, and the wooden frame was a makeshift cupboard attached to the lower rafters-- but I decided that "underdrawn" must certainly refer to the lack of lower drawers.

    Gosh, river, what do you think? Did Ms Bronte really have such a feverish predeliction for sexual innuendo? Or is that a trait of the critic who unearthed all that fascinating stuff? My head is still spinning.
    .
     

    DaleC

    Senior Member
    Obviously, "the latter", the last thing listed, is the roof. "It's entire anatomy lay bare". The anatomy of a roof is of course beams and outer panels. The roof "had never been under-drawn". The use of "draw" is one of those obtuse UK usages :rolleyes:. But the writer means that the roof had not been given an interior covering. Then the writer informs us that cured meats and oatcakes are hung on racks ("frames") affixed to the bare roof.

    In English, "roof" usually means the exterior surface, and "ceiling" usually means the interior surface. So, this is a family sitting room with a roof but without a ceiling.

    Google <underdrawn ceiling>, 16 hits (that's extremely few!); <underdrawn dresser> zero hits. All 16 seem to be from sites in the British Isles, and one site uses the phrase "suspended/underdrawn ceiling". 'Suspend' is Latin for "hang underneath".
    nanami said:
    One step brought us into the family sitting-room, [. . . .]

    It includes kitchen and parlour, generally; but I believe at Wuthering Heights the kitchen is forced to retreat altogether into another quarter [. . . .]

    One end -- [i.e., one end of the family sitting room -- DaleC] -- , indeed, reflected splendidly both light and heat from ranks of immense pewter dishes, interspersed with silver jugs and tankards, towering row after row, on a vast oak dresser, to the very roof.
    The latter had never been under-drawn: its entire anatomy lay bare to an inquiring eye, except where a frame of wood laden with oatcakes and clusters of legs of beef, mutton, and ham, concealed it.
    Is "Wuthering Heights" required reading in school or college? That would be a disgrace, now that I see a sample of the prose. What bloated, trashy, gaudy prose! I saw the Hollywood movie, I've never looked at a Bronte book. The prose of course is especially poorly suited to teaching English to foreigners because it's full of antiquated senses for words. Just that first page (that's where this paragraph is found) is full of outdated meanings. Another thing: the writer just doesn't do an adequate job of maintaining her chains of references. For example, I had to read the paragraph four times before I was sure that "one end" referred to "one end of the family sitting room".

    (Actually, not all ceilings are suspended, so that makes me doubt whether "underdraw a roof" is exactly equal to "install a suspended ceiling". If the ceiling pieces (the panels, planks, or tiles) are attached directly to the roof, then it's not a suspended ceiling.)
     

    nanami

    Member
    chinese
    Dear all,

    Thanks for your explanation. This is novel that our literature teacher picked for us, and we believed it represents some aspects of literature at the time when Miss bronte lived.

    Certainly, the use of language is out of date, but it will help us to see how you language developed.

    As the use of language is quire old fashioned and I am not a native speaker, it is really hard for me to imagine what the novel is about, and this is why i turned to you all for help.

    You all really helped, and I want to thank all of you heartfully, and surely, I will came up with question upon this novel sooner or later.

    thanks again

    nanami
     
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