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Re: Heaven help us all

Posted by ESC on May 16, 2004

In Reply to: Re: Heaven help me! posted by R.Berg on May 16, 2004

: : : : Smokey, thank you very much for your profound answer. Would you please elaborate more on the following:

: : : : 1. "And they didn't have to skip anything either" - They were not allowed to skip anything?

: : : : 2. "Heaven help me!"
: : : : Can you please say it in another words in the context of the excerpt?

: : : 1. They should not skip over the racy parts, that is, omit them, to spare my tender years from indecency. He wants to hear all the naughty bits. "They didn't have to skip," in this context, means they'd better not skip.

: : : 2. Heaven help me! Well, if it could be expressed in plain English, it wouldn't be an expletive or ejaculation, would it? I'm tempted to suggest, "For my sins," or "Heaven knows," but we have the same problem. He's saying, colorfully, that he and God both know that he's a sinner and has been sinning, but how much this bothers him is not clear from this small excerpt. Perhaps "Heaven help me" could be construed as a plea for God to give him the strength to do better (to help him to do better), but I don't know that much about him or his state of mind. Expressions invoking God should not be taken literally unless you know enough to be sure that they should. And unless you are sure, guessing won't advance the story or enlarge our knowledge of the narrator's intent in saying something. God and the heavens are pretty casually invoked by most English-speakers. Perhaps someone will step up and give a better explanation. SS

: : "Heaven help me" is a mild expression of distress or exasperation.

: In this context, "Heaven help me!" is more or less an appeal to God's mercy. The writer knows he's been bad (he's left obligations undone, as Granny predicted). He expects to be punished, but he hopes to be forgiven.

"Heaven help the boy who won't reach twenty-one,
Heaven help the man who gave that boy a gun.
Heaven help the people with their backs against the wall,
Lord, heaven help us all."