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The novel: What's in a word?

A friend of mine got in touch recently and asked me why, in one instance, I decided on one particular word rather than another, seemingly more appropriate. It was a fair point and it raised an interesting issue...

Instalment 2 of the novel ends  with Boom's remark to Matt:


‘I’ll try and save a couple of fallen women for you.’


Kim, an Australian friend (@EestiGirl1) wondered why I hadn't continued with the pseudo-religious language of the preceding paragraphs and used the phrase 'fallen angels'. It was a valid point and what's more Kim, perhaps without realising it, had given a nice illustration of how the connotative level of the language we all use can be tricky when you're addressing a wide audience. A specific reference, with clear connotations for one person (my imaginary reader?) can be lost on another simply because they're from a different cultural background.


The reference to 'fallen women' comes from an old joke:


Man (addressing vicar) : 'Is it true, Reverend, that you save fallen women?'

Vicar (glowing with quiet satisfaction) : 'Indeed, my Son, we do.'

Man: 'Good! Can you save me a couple for Friday night?'


The merits of the joke may be debatable, but its mechanics are clear, hinging on the misunderstanding of the word 'save'. The vicar (and the rest of us) understand it to mean something like 'redeem the soul of,' whereas the man clearly intends it to mean 'keep to one side so he can collect later.'


The point is that Boom and Matt, being from similar backgrounds, would both know the joke, and Matt would appreciate the double entendre implicit in the remark. The concept of 'fallen women' is of course the product of a less enlightened time.


Whilst I cannot promise to analyse every word of my scribblings, I will always welcome suggestions and queries. Thank you, Kim!

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