Well . . . the thing is . . .
Find the thing in nothing!
Some of you will recall that I - relying on my hermeneutic of suspicion - posted some speculations about a line in one of the letters (in Jean Webster's novel Daddy-Long-Legs) that Jerusha wrote to her benefactor, about whom she knew almost nothing:
I don't know a single thing about you. I don't even know your name. It is very uninspiring writing to a Thing.My speculations were centered on the remote possibility that there is an authorial pun here on "Thing" as a slang term for the male sexual organ. The thought occurs to me to quote all other expressions of "a thing." First:
I am having sublingual gland swelling. And I've been studying physiology all the year without ever hearing of sublingual glands. How futile a thing is education!Hmm. Glands. A thing. Second:
I don't know what kind of a thing a farm is. I've never been on one in my life.Hmm. Never been on a thing. Third:
If you just want a thing hard enough and keep on trying, you do get it in the end.Ahem. No comment. Fourth:
Amasai, who used to be so obliging about beating rugs and carrying wood, grumbles if you suggest such a thing.Hmm. Beating.Wood. A thing.
Well, these are all out of context, but the "No comment" line is the stand-out here.
Labels: Literary Criticism