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    people are so put together

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    people are so put together

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    STAGE MANAGER: Y'see, some churches say that marriage is a sacrament. I don't quite know what that means, but I can guess. Like Mrs. Gibbs said a few minutes ago: People were made to live two-by-two.

    This is a good wedding but people are so put together that even at a good wedding there's a lot of confusion way down deep in people's minds and we thought that ought to be in out play, too.

    The real hero of this scene isn't on the stage at all.....

    (Thornton Wilder, Our Town, Act II)


    Hello everyone,

    What does are so put together mean in this context? It sounds that simple that I suspect it could have a specific - a figurative meaning here. Please help. Thank you very much in advance.


    Please post in English if you like

    Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  29 Nov 22, 15:12
    Comment

    Wo hast du schon nachgesehen?

    Was könnte das deiner Meinung nach bedeuten?


    #1Author buttermaker (826321)  29 Nov 22, 15:36
    Comment

    This meant nothing at all to me at first.

    My guess now is that "so" is being used, slightly unusually in informal language, to mean "in such a way" (rather than "to such an extent"). The meaning might then be that "people are made, or constituted, in such a way that ...", or in other words, "people's nature is such that ..."


    But I may be quite wrong.

    #2AuthorHecuba - UK (250280)  29 Nov 22, 17:21
    Comment

    Hello Hecuba - UK, thank you.

    Yes, I thought along the same lines: people are constituted differently. They differs in how they feel, think and behave etc.. Maybe it's an American/ New England phrasing (New Hampshire) and we'll get a reply of a native speaker of American English. Many thanks again 🙂

    #3Authorkeeblerelf (908281) 29 Nov 22, 20:34
    Comment

    people are constituted differently. They differ in how they feel, think and behave etc.


    Das ist aber nicht das, was Hecuba geschrieben hat, deshalb finde ich "thought along the same lines" etwas verwirrend.

    #4Author Gibson (418762) 29 Nov 22, 20:39
    Comment

    Yes, agreed! People's behavior is just meant here.

    #5Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  29 Nov 22, 20:52
    Comment
    people are constituted differently. They differ in how they feel, think and behave etc.



    ... verstehe ich eher als Gegenteil von dem, was Hecuba geschrieben hat - auch Gibson hat versucht, dich darauf hinzuweisen, actually.
    #6Author schwäble (951819) 30 Nov 22, 08:05
    Comment

    Ich denke, es bedeutet: "Die Menschen sind so gemacht" (zu wörtlich) oder "So sind die Menschen eben" oder "Es liegt in der Natur der Menschen".

    Das hat m.E. auch Hecuba UK ausgedrückt.

    #7Author Nirak (264416) 30 Nov 22, 11:49
    Comment
    To be so put together ...
    So = so well
    It means these people are attractive, well-groomed and well-dressed.
    They fit in seamlessly.
    #8Author RES-can (330291) 30 Nov 22, 13:07
    Comment

    Das ist die normale Bedeutung, die passt aber doch nicht zum Rest des Satzes, oder? Ich konnte mit dem Satz erst auch nicht so recht was anfangen, halte Hecubas Theorie aber für plausibel.


    people are so put together that even at a good wedding there's a lot of confusion way down deep in people's minds 


    Ich verstehe nicht, wie da "elegant, gut angezogen etc" in den Satz passt.

    #9Author Gibson (418762) 30 Nov 22, 14:02
    Comment

    @ #8:

    It means these people are attractive, well-groomed and well-dressed.

    They fit in seamlessly.


    Hello RES-can, thank you very much for your reply. I much appreciate your help.


    When you say these people are well-groomed, and well-dressed, and fit in seamlessly I don't understand why even at a good wedding there's a lot of confusion way down deep in people's minds - or is are so put together meant ironically/ironicly? There is a correlation between people are so put together and that even at a good wedding there is a confusion way down deep in people's mind in my opinion. It puzzles me🥶. Thanks again 🙂

    (x-posted)

    #10Authorkeeblerelf (908281)  30 Nov 22, 14:12
    Comment

    Gibson, ich glaube, wir brauchen uns keine Mühe zu geben. It's not appreciated.

    #11Author Nirak (264416) 30 Nov 22, 16:30
    Comment

    Ich habe dich keblerelf, in #2, nicht gefragt um dich zu ärgern, sondern weil viele deiner Fragen schon erklärt werden und zwar hier: https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/ourtown/quotes...


    Das Ganze ist ein Bühnenstück in 3 Akten, wo der STAGE MANGER zum Publikum spricht um die Schauspieler mit dem Publikum einzubinden. Das sind natürlich Voraussetzungen, die wir, bei aus dem Zusammenhang gerissenen Texten nicht wissen können. Wir wissen auch nicht das die Akteure eigentlich schon verstorben sind, weil das erfährt man auch nur wenn man das Stück im Ganzen liest oder bei Sparknotes die Kommentare dazu liest. Das Stück ist eine Retrospektive auf das, was wohl hätte sein können, wäre Emily noch am Leben.


    Hier (https://www.sparknotes.com/lit/ourtown/section3/) wird einiges erklärt zu deiner Frage. Ich will es dir aber gerne übersetzen mit einigen Kommentaren von mir.


    Der STAGE MANAGER tritt vor das Publikum und sagt

    Y'see, some churches say that marriage is a sacrament.

    Schauen Sie, manche Kirchen sagen, die Ehe sei ein Sakrament.


    I don't quite know what that means, but I can guess.

    Ich weiß nicht genau, was das bedeutet, aber ich kann es mir denken.


    Like Mrs. Gibbs said a few minutes ago: People were made to live two-by-two.

    Wie Mrs. Gibbs vor ein paar Minuten sagte: Die Menschen wurden geschaffen, um zu zweit zu leben.

    (Das Stück wurde also unterbrochen, Mrs. Gibbs ist die Tante, alle sind schon lange tot, es werden uns Denkmuster vorgehalten.)


    This is a good wedding but people are so put together that even at a good wedding there's a lot of confusion way down deep in people's minds 

    Dies ist eine gute Hochzeit, aber die Menschen sind so aufeinander eingespielt, dass selbst bei einer guten Hochzeit eine Menge Verwirrung, tief in den Köpfen, herrscht,

    (Es geht um die Hochzeit von George und Emily, die in der Realität gar nicht stattfindet, weil alle ja schon tot sind. Hier will Wilder auf eingetretene Pfade im Denken der Menschen hinweisen, dass nicht normal sein kann, was nicht normal sein darf. Alleine Leben zum Beispiel.)


    and we thought that ought to be in out play, too.

    und wir dachten, das sollte auch in unserem Stück vorkommen.

    (Das Bühnenstück, welches gerade aufgeführt wird)


    The real hero of this scene isn't on the stage at all.....

    Der eigentliche Held dieser Szene steht gar nicht auf der Bühne.....

    (Hier kann nun jeder selber mutmaßen, welcher Held denn wohl gemeint sein kann. Auf jeden Fall kommt noch ein 3. Akt, vielleicht mit mehr Hinweisen dazu.)


    Habe das Stück selbst nicht gelesen, nur ein wenig in der Webseite Sparksnote nachgeschaut, die ich oben verlinkt habe.

     




    #12Author buttermaker (826321) 30 Nov 22, 17:38
    Comment

    aber die Menschen sind so aufeinander eingespielt,


    halte ich allerdings a) für eine sehr freie Übersetzung, die b) für mich auch keinen Sinn ergibt.


    Nirak, mir ist auch schon aufgefallen, dass ich für den OP seltsam unsichtbar werde, wenn es mehrere Beiträge gibt (wenn ich als einzige antworte, ist es anders). Aber ich würde auch für mich gerne wissen, wie RES-can die Übersetzung in den Satz kriegt.

    #13Author Gibson (418762) 30 Nov 22, 20:19
    Comment
    Dann diskutieren wir halt untereinander! Mich überzeugen die Interpretationen von RES-Can und buttermaker beide nicht, es erscheint mir einfach nicht logisch im Zusammenhang.
    #14Author Nirak (264416)  30 Nov 22, 20:33
    Comment

    Dann diskutieren wir halt untereinander!


    Das wird schwierig, wenn wir uns einig sind ;-)

    #15Author Gibson (418762) 30 Nov 22, 21:01
    Comment

    Bei erneutem Lesen und nachsinnen ist wohl "Menschen sind halt so gemacht" eine bessere Wahl.

    Ich hatte erst, Menschen sind halt so gestrickt, mich aber dann anders entschieden. Manchmal ist der erste Gedanke einfach der Bessere.



    #16Author buttermaker (826321)  01 Dec 22, 12:01
    Comment

    Variante : So sind die Menschen nun mal gemacht / gestrickt


    ... falls letzteres genehm sein sollte ... :-)

    #17Author no me bré (700807) 01 Dec 22, 12:04
    Comment

    I know this thread is a bit old, but I was kind of intrigued by this odd usage and didn't want Gibson and Nirak to feel ignored :)


    There is a modern usage of "put together" to mean something like "appearing to have everything under control, poised," and the so would just be an intensifier. This is what RES-can is responding to.


    But that makes less sense here, and my initial inclination went the way of Hecuba, Gibson, and nirak, to read the "so" like a German "so", such that the sentence would mean "are put together [sc.: constructed, made] in such a way that."


    The problem is that this would be a highly unusual inversion of word order in English, and we are perhaps all misled by our collective familiarity with German syntax, where it would be less unusual to use 'so' in this way. My ultimate conclusion is that the "so" is a standard intensifier here, but the "put together" is odd -- in this usage, I suspect, it actually means something like zusammengebastelt. That would give the (more logical) meaning of "individuals are so haphazardly constructed or pieced together that, even in a good wedding [i.e., even in what seems like a good pairing], there's not a lot of internal unity to the individual, and so there can be confusion deep down in their minds."

    #18Author Lonelobo (595126)  14 Dec 22, 08:27
    Comment

    buttermaker, thank you for all the information in #12. But what you say about the sentence in question doesn't help me to understand it.


    #18 ... even in a good wedding [i.e., even in what seems like a good pairing], there's not a lot of internal unity to the individual, and so there can be confusion deep down in their minds

    Oh -- do you mean that it's the bride and groom themselves who have this confusion in their minds?

    Your suggested explanation of the sentence could be right, who knows.


    There's a noticeable lack of "US-Amerikaner" here commenting on this passage in an American play. Perhaps it's equally obscure to them.

    #19AuthorHecuba - UK (250280)  14 Dec 22, 10:27
    Comment

    Ich verstehe die Diskussion hier nicht,. Für mich ist das einfach eine recht normale Verwendung von 'put together', nämlich Menschen zusammenführen bzw. -bringen, so dass sie eine Gruppe, Gemeinschaft, Paar o.Ä. bilden.


     2. verb To combine two or more people or things into a pair, group, mixture, etc. In this usage, a noun or pronoun can be used between "put" and "together."Just make sure you don't put those three together—they always cause trouble when they're in a group.

    When you put these two chemicals together, you get an explosive reaction.

    https://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/put+together


    2 to form people or things into a group

     We are currently putting together a sales and marketing team.

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/put-to...



    In diesem Fall geht es um das Zusammenführen zweier Menchen zu einem Paar. Da geschieht in der Gesellschaft durch die Konventionen, Traditionen, Umfeld, Verwandten usw. so, dass sich beim Paar auch bei einer guten Hochzeit eine Verwirrung( confusion) einstellt. 'Confusion' ist hier ein Euphemismus für Zweifel, Bedenken usw.

    Denn sowohl der Bräutigam als auch die Braut werden in der Kirche kurz vor der Vermählung unabhängig voneinander von Zweifeln gepackt und wollen eigentlich die Hochzeit absagen. Das Zureden der Verwandten verhindert das.


    Das ist zumindest mein Verständnis und ich sehe keinen Grund für die Interpretation von 'put together' als Aufbau des individuellen Menschen. Diese Bedeutung erscheint zumindest mir gänzlich ungewöhnlich ( ich kenne diese Verwendung 'zusammengesetzt', 'aufgebaut' nur in Bezug auf Gegenstände und nicht auf Lebewesen) und eine Übersetzung als ' der Mensch sei so gestrickt' bügelte diese Ausgefallenheit glatt.

    #20Author theah (1325760) 14 Dec 22, 10:56
    Comment

    Alas, I am (now) a US-Amerikaner, but I don't know the play!


    OED attests put together as 'makeshift': That has been put together (see to put together 2c at put v. Phrasal verbs 1); assembled, combined; (occasionally) makeshift, improvised.


    A roughly contemporaneous use from Kerouac is given where that sense is used:


    1957   J. Kerouac On the Road i. iii. 21  Country boys in a put-together jalopy.


    I've just read the 2nd act of the Wilder play and feel more confident about my interpretation of put-together here as "cobbled together" or "imperfectly made." What happens right after this speech is that both the bride and the groom have moments of internal (and external) hesitation just before their marriage, where they panic and second-guess the decision, even though it's a love match and they have decided to marry young. They are each calmed down by their respective parents and proceed to marry. This would seem to fulfill the Stage Manager's assertion that "we thought that [confusion deep down] ought to be in our play too."


    #21Author Lonelobo (595126)  14 Dec 22, 11:02
    Comment

    Just saw theah's answer in # 20.


    Theah, you are certainly right that there are some situations in which one can "put people together." The problem is that 'put together' is here functioning as a predicate adjective modifying 'people.' It's not really possible in English to read it as a verb, for a couple of reasons (including the so); it would have to say something like 'people get put together with one another in such a way that ...', and even then it would be a really odd usage.

    #22Author Lonelobo (595126) 14 Dec 22, 11:18
    Comment

    #20 I considered that interpretation for a while, too, but it’s not idiomatic at all to speak of people being “put together” by conventions, etc. —in that case one standard option, I think, would be “brought together,” there may be others. And while “put together” is not commonly used of the human psyche, I nevertheless find it idiomatic enough. I’m pretty sure it is the intended sense here (and see below).

     

    #19 That the “people” who are confused deep down, in this case, are the couple about to be married was my tentative reading of the passage, too. That’s corroborated by a piece of secondary literature I stumbled upon: Felicia Hardison Londré, “Collaborations to Counter Menace: Freudian Influence in Wilder’s World War II-Era Works,” in Jackson R. Bryer et al. (ed.), Thornton Wilder in Collaboration: Collected Essays on His Drama and Fiction [2018]. In a long passage (pp. 126 f.). Londré specifies George’s (the bridegroom’s) regressive panic before the wedding and Emily's (the bride’s) resurgent “Oedipal attachment,” etc. (In the preceding paragraph she mentions Wilder’s intense involvement with Freudian ideas, even meeting Freud in 1939, as well as the fact that he read his works in the original German—which might do something toward explaining the unusual “so”-inversion Lonelobo detects in #18.)

    #23AuthorBion (1092007)  14 Dec 22, 11:20
    Comment

    P.S. @23


    Is that “so” + “put together” so unusual after all? Substituting “constituted” for “put together”:

     

    “We are so constituted that we can gain intense pleasure only from the contrast, and only very little from the condition itself.” (Freud)

     

    von L Sandon Jr — Marriage does not bring ultimate fulfillment because we are so constituted that no human relationship can satisfy us totally. Those of us who have lived ...

     

    von TR Blakeslee · 1996 — We are so constituted that we believe the most incredible things; and, once they are engraved upon the memory, woe to him who would endeavor to

     

    We are so constituted that the properties and especially the relations of space and number, are more clearly apprehended by us than those of mind.




    Three further examples of “so put together” in much the same sense as Wilder uses it here:

     

    The one thing we cannot do as Christians is to pretend we are so put together that we are no longer in need of Jesus and his cleansing.

     

    We are so put together that our organic instincts anticipate punishment. From this we reason to its correlate, as we reason from the fin of the fish to ...

     

    We are so put together that we need high days, times that are different from the routine. Such days help us to look upon ourselves with greater self-regard.

    #24AuthorBion (1092007)  14 Dec 22, 11:31
    Comment

    @22 "The problem is that 'put together' is here functioning as a predicate adjective modifying 'people.' It's not really possible in English to read it as a verb, for a couple of reasons (including the so)"


    Wie immer man das 'put together' interpretiert ( ob eine Gruppe oder die menschliche Psyche des einzelnen bildend), ist das für mich eine Passivkonstruktion mit dem Partizip II von 'put' und kein prädikatives Adjektiv. In dieser Konstruktion gibt es 'so' im literaischen Englisch.

    10

     literary or formal in the way that is described

     Dorothy and Sarah continued to write to each other, and so began a lifelong friendship.

    so ... that

     The furniture is so arranged that the interviewee and the interviewer are not physically separated by a desk.

    https://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/so


    Das 'arranged' im Bespielsatz oben ist auch kein prädikatives Adjektiv, sondern Partizip II einer Passivkonstruktion. Dennoch mag aus andren Gründen die Interpretation 'zusammenführen' natürlich irrig sein. Wenn Muttersprachler sagen, dass dies eine seltsame Bedeutung sei, überzeugt mich das.

    #25Author theah (1325760)  14 Dec 22, 11:56
    Comment

    fwiw, the G. original of the Freud quote at the top of #24:


    "Wir sind so eingerichtet, daß wir nur den Kontrast intensiv genießen können, den Zustand nur sehr wenig." (Das Unbehagen in der Kultur, Kap. II)

    #26AuthorBion (1092007) 14 Dec 22, 12:53
    Comment

    #24

    I think that the three example sentences with "so put together" clinch the matter -- if they were written by native English speakers and are not translations from German.


    If so, I would only repeat what I said in #2 and others have also said: that it's unusual for "so" to be used in this way in informal speech. But that doesn't make it impossible.

    #27AuthorHecuba - UK (250280) 14 Dec 22, 13:19
    Comment

    Hecuba, yes, in informal speech, and I wasn’t so much meaning to call into question as to raise another aspect, although I can see my language was misleading. Sorry.

     

    Erudite and self-conscious as he was as a writer, though, Wilder varying his language from informal through more formal and back again comes as no particular surprise, does it?

     

    Hmmm. The three certainly don’t read or sound translated to me. Checking them out: Andrew G. Mills (California), then a “Report of the Rev. Mr. Cook's Lecture ... supplied from the shorthand notes of Mr. Kinsella, "Herald" reporter, ... the proofs ... revised by that gentleman” (New Zealand, 1882 (!)), finally Dr. J. Ellsworth Kalas, The Ten Commandments from the Back Side: Bible Stories with a Twist (US born and bred).

     

    But they’re the only examples (search: “we are so put together that”) I found. “we are so constituted that” comes up many more times. Perhaps Wilder used “constituted” instead of “put together” in an early draft. From the fabric of the surrounding language one can see how dissatisfied he would have been with such an abstract, Latinate word.


    P.S. Perhaps also worth bearing in mind that the play was written not a lot short of a century ago (85 years).

    #28AuthorBion (1092007)  14 Dec 22, 14:43
    Comment

    No, if anything it looks as if I was the one expressing myself in a misleading way!


    Anyway, I think the suggestion that Wilder initially wrote "constituted" but then thought that "put together" would fit better with the Stage Manager's way of speaking is very plausible.

    #29AuthorHecuba - UK (250280) 14 Dec 22, 21:48
    Comment

    @25: I believe you may be being misled by the use of 'to be' in English as both a copula and an auxiliary verb in the formation of the passive, because English does not distinguish via verbs between Vorgangspassiv and Zustandspassiv the way that German does. Compare "The lawn is mown" to "Der Rasen wird gemäht / Der Rasen ist gemäht," or if you prefer "Der Mensch wird zusammengestellt / Der Mensch ist zusammengestellt". In your example, I would be hard-pressed to read "The furniture is so arranged that the interviewer and interviewee are not separated by a desk" as a true dynamic passive and not simply a predicate in which the past participle arranged is being used as an adjective. "The furniture is arranged by teams of workmen every morning", however, would be a true passive. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passive_voice#S...


    The dynamic passive of 'People are put together' would, I think, have to be formulated differently, as something like 'People are put together in groups of two', but as Bion already noted, this is an unidiomatic usage in English because of the noun 'people'. The dynamic passive would tend towards either 'People are brought together by many different things' or something like 'Employees are put together in teams of two at the start of each project.'


    @24: The three examples are interesting! It is worth noting that the first of them in is in the more contemporary sense of put together, with a radically different meaning than the latter two.


    @ 28: "Erudite and self-conscious as he was as a writer, though, Wilder varying his language from informal through more formal and back again comes as no particular surprise, does it?"


    Here, I agree with you and Hecuba that such a usage would be a remarkable shift in tone, but disagree that this makes it more plausible -- it would be a significant surprise if a talented writer could not refrain from being erudite and maintain a folksy tone for three sentences when writing dialogue for a character who has just announced that he "doesn't quite know" what sacrament means.


    I don't deny that "so constituted that (+ description of how constituted)" is a legitimate construction in English, but I still think it's much more likely that there is an informal usage of the term, more widespread at that time, to mean 'cobbled together' or 'makeshift,' the way that one would now say 'haphazardly put together' or 'thrown together'.

    #30Author Lonelobo (595126)  15 Dec 22, 00:31
    Comment

    Yes. I missed that first one.

     

    Your final two paragraphs make good arguments. The “makeshift” sense of “put-together” that OED lists might possibly be an option there.

    #31AuthorBion (1092007) 15 Dec 22, 10:34
    Comment

    Interesting.

    I am not convinced by makeshift. That it allows the "so" to be understood as an intensifier is the best thing about it.

    "Country boys in a put-together jalopy" - Not sure that is a telling example. I think the jalopy was built out of parts from other cars, or repaired so extensively that is no longer the same car it was when purchased.


    The Stage Manager seems to be explaining why people would have confused emotions at a good wedding, rather than simply rejoyce. Does it seem likely that the Stage Manager thinks the reason for this is that people are so makeshift? Not that they are complex or are not built in a way that allows them to take unalloyed pleasure in an event that significantly impact the relationships within their familes (as sons, daughters, mothers, fathers?)


    My initial reading was very similar to Hecuba's and Bion's and Lonelobo's (initial) thought, - people are assembled in such a way that. I still think that is the most likely. I don't think the Stage Manager is supposed to come across as poorly educated. I think, for instance, that he knows what a sacrament is, he is just saying that he does know what it means that marriage is a sacrament - but his guess is that it means that God intends for people to live as wedded couples.

    What causes me uncertainty is the very first entry for "put together" in my 1955 Oxford Universal Dictionary

    "P. together. a. To combine unite (parts) into a whole; to join, e.g. in a marriage."  

    It seems to me that it could actually mean "people are so joined [by a marriage?] that" ?

    (...What God has joined together let no man put asunder... the Stage Manager is "playing the minister" here...).


    #32AuthorAE procrastinator (1268904)  15 Dec 22, 17:23
    Comment

    "People are assembled in such a way that" works fine for me, too. I don't find “so” + “put together” at all strange but perhaps that's because I'm ancient.

    #33Author FernSchreiber (1341928) 15 Dec 22, 18:03
     
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