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Thread: Can anybody help

  1. #1
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Can anybody help

    I'm reading Slaughterhouse 5 by Kurt Vonnegut and I'm not sure about this fragment. Can anybody clarify this for me:

    There was a still life on Billy's bedside table -- two pills, an ashtray with three lipstick-stained cigarettes in it, one cigarette still burning, and a glass of water. The water was dead. So it goes. Air was trying to get out of that dead water. Bubbles were clinging to the walls of the glass, too weak to climb out.
    The cigarettes belonged to Billy's chain-smoking mother. She had sought the ladies' room, which was off the ward for WACS and WAVES, and SPARS and WAFS who had gone bananas. She would be back at any moment now.


    I have no idea on what the blue text is about...

    And am I guessing right that chain-smoking means smoking cigarettes one after another without any breaks?
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  2. #2
    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    They were Women's branches of the US military during WWII. WAVES and SPARS were Navy, WAFS were Army Air Corps
    Congratulations finding Kurt. He used to live near me on Cape Cod, a few miles down route 6A. Some of the places he speaks of are very close to my house. "Welcome to the Monkey House" takes place in Hyannis, MA... It used to be a "Howard Johnson's".. more if you wish

    You got chain smoking about right... If you light a new cigarette from an old cigarette, that is chain-smoking.

    "gone bannas" means went slightly crazy/insane
    I'm easily amused late at night...

  3. #3
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    What about bananas thing?
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    Почтенный гражданин capecoddah's Avatar
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    Bannanas = small crazy
    I'm easily amused late at night...

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    I think crazy in this way:
    go bananas to become uncontrollably or unreasonably angry or excited (slang)
    Encarta(R) World English Dictionary [North American Edition] (2007) http://encarta.msn.com/dictionary_/bananas.html

  6. #6
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Thanks, that phrase has really got me baffled
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  7. #7
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    Here is a more complete explanation:
    go bananas . . . To be or go crazy; to lose one's mind; to get excited.
    Example:
    Come quick! Your brother has gone bananas.
    Etymology:
    This saying comes from 20th century America. Bananas are the food most associated with monkeys. When people think of monkeys ("monke business", "more fun than a barrelful of monkeys," etc.) they think of silly, uncontrolled behavior. If a person is in a weird mood because he or she feels frustrated or bored with a situation, he or she might "go bananas" and start acting like a monkey.
    Synonyms: freak out, go ape, go ballistic
    Belinsky, Natalia, Glossary of Colloquialisms http://www.translationdirectory.com/glo ... y014_g.htm

  8. #8
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    Slaughterhouse 5. The number of the abatoir in which the prisoners sheltered from the bombing of Dresden.

  9. #9
    Завсегдатай Ramil's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave T
    Slaughterhouse 5. The number of the abatoir in which the prisoners sheltered from the bombing of Dresden.
    Yes, slaughterhouse that is. Been absentminded, the book was right in front of my eyes but I'd managed to write the title wrong somehow
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