Author Topic: ---- defection  (Read 60 times)

Offline t k

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---- defection
« on: June 11, 2018, 04:55:04 am »
Colonel Newton was a painfully shy man with excellent manners, a West Pointer. Rumor claimed he had never had a woman in his life -- since this was in the jungle of the South Pacific, Hearn had never had an opportunity to observe the Colonel's defection at first hand.  (from The Naked and the Dead by Norman Mailer; a larger context is here; use ctrl-f to locate the sentence)

Please explain "defection".  Thanks.  --- tk

Offline Darryl

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Re: ---- defection
« Reply #1 on: June 11, 2018, 10:03:56 am »
Not the usual meaning, as in defecting from one's country or changing allegiances. I think it means the Colonel's departure from the norm, in not having had a woman in his life.

Offline t k

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Re: ---- defection
« Reply #2 on: June 13, 2018, 04:18:28 am »
Thanks, Darryl.  But wouldn't "observe at first hand" suggest some "doing" rather than "not doing"?  Thanks again.  --- tk

Offline admin

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Re: ---- defection
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2018, 09:45:38 am »
As Darryl suggests, the norm was that he had never had a woman; so, defection here is a departure from the norm - he did have a woman but it was not witnessed.
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Duncan Baker
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