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Frage:
It’s well for you  
von Deseret (SI), Last modified: 2018-10-13, 15:36  like dislike  Spam?  
‘Ah, Steerforth! It’s well for you to joke about the poor! You may skirmish with Miss Dartle, or try to hide your sympathies in jest from me, but I know better. When I see how perfectly you understand them, how exquisitely you can enter into happiness like this plain fisherman’s, or humour a love like my old nurse’s, I know that there is not a joy or sorrow, not an emotion, of such people, that can be indifferent to you.

it's well for you? you find it good to joke about ...?
Antwort: 
von ddr (AT), 2018-10-13, 20:17  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898550
Normalerweise:
Du kannst gut / leicht ... spotten!

In Deinem Kontext scheint es komplizierter zu sein, weil er den Armen ja hilft. Vielleicht:
Du darfst / Dir sei es gestattet ... zu spotten.
Chat:     
von Deseret (SI), 2018-10-13, 21:17  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898551
Danke. I'm thinking it was probably meant ironically. When he says: "It's well for you to joke about the poor!" he means just the opposite: "It's awful for you to joke about the poor!"
Antwort: 
von MichaelK (US), Last modified: 2018-10-14, 01:22  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898553
I agree with ddr's 'permissable.' David is saying that it's OK  to joke about the poor if you are a friend of the poor.

The terrible truth is that Steerforth was not making a joke at all. His unkind remark was just that. David is too naive to imagine that someone who appears to be a friend of a group of people actually doesn't care for these people.
Antwort: 
von Dwight (US), 2018-10-14, 02:47  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898555
From the same text:
"'Oh, it's very well to say you wonder, Edward!' cried my mother, 'and it's very well for you to talk about firmness, but you wouldn't like it yourself.'"
With the intensifier, the connotations are not quite the same in this passage, but the idea is still that the speaker is in a position to say something that, coming from someone else, might seem inconsiderate, presumptuous, or otherwise ill considered.
Chat:     
von Deseret (SI), 2018-10-14, 09:24  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898557
Thank you
Antwort: 
von Zuchi1, 2018-10-14, 12:08  like dislike  Spam?  62.216.202...
 #898560
I think „It’s well for you to joke about the poor!“ means Steerforth is in a position to joke because he himself is not poor.  In the same way that someone not personally suffering from certain
mishap/illness/disadvantage can talk lightly about the situation.   The usually expression is „It is very well for you to say that, ….“

On this occasion the author is actually complimentary about Steerforth, as the author sees through the cheeky tongue of Steerforth, and believes that despite Steerforth‘s jokes, Steerforth has empathy („hide your sympathies“, „not a sorrow ... not an emotion, of such people … indifferent to you“).
Antwort: 
von Zuchi1, 2018-10-14, 12:12  like dislike  Spam?  62.216.202...
 #898561
I disagree with the following interpretation:
MichaelK (US), Last modified: today, 01:22
Antwort: 
von Zuchi1, 2018-10-14, 12:24  like dislike  Spam?  62.216.202...
 #898562
The interpretation of Deseret (SI), yesterday, 21:17 is broadly correct.
"It's well for you to joke about the poor!" means just the opposite.   The author is not condoning the joke.
Chat:     
von MichaelK (US), Last modified: 2018-10-14, 14:04  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898563
4;Zuchi1: Steerforth has no empathy for the poor. David (the speaker) mistakenly believes that Steerforth is a good person. David, also mistakenly, believes Steerforth's unkind remark to be a joke, which it is not.  Steerforth's selfish actions eventually bring great misfortune to the family whose hospitality he pretended to enjoy.
Chat:     
von Zuchi1, 2018-10-14, 16:40  like dislike  Spam?  62.216.202....
 #898572
Someone once summarized the classic Pride and Prejudice as:
Man changed his manner.  Woman changed her mind.  They married.

Never mind what the n hundred pages in between really say, never mind the twists.   MichaelK knows better!
Chat:     
von MichaelK (US), Last modified: 2018-10-14, 23:17  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898573
Well, Zuchi1, I read the whole novel about 55 years ago. I don't recall all the details, but I remember the Steerforth character. I think it's because at that time, I was close to someone sort of like that. Smart and friendly on the outside, but a slimy little shit in reality.

Not sure I could ever read my way through Pride and Prejudice.
Chat:     
von V.V.V.V.V., 2018-10-14, 22:33  like dislike  Spam?  79.251.245....
 #898577
Gladly, there are sites for lazy pupils who don't like to put much effort into their homework. Accordingly, Steerforth is a bit of a mixed character. You wouldn't expect someone to name their hard rock band after him, but the web tells me, that there is a Japanese Uriah Heep cover band called Steerford.

https://www.shmoop.com/david-copperfield/james-steerforth.html
Chat:     
von Deseret (SI), 2018-10-15, 08:48  like dislike  Spam?  
 #898584
Thanks for interesting comments and discussion.

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