So I was baffled when the women at college accused me and my sex of having cornered the world's pleasures.

I know about the meaning of all of the words in this sentence, but I don't know the expression and I want to know about meaning of "having cornered" in this sentence

And I want to know this sentence too: "I realize now how ancient these identities are, how deep the tug they exert on men,the undertow of a thousand generations."

These sentences written by Scott Russell Sanders In patterns book lesson (Women and Men)

2 Answers 2


The metaphor 'to corner something' means to grasp it to oneself. It is easier to defend your physical possessions if you are holding them in a corner e.g. of a room, so that people cannot take them from you. Hence one can 'corner'both animate and inanimate things if one holds them metaphorically to one's bosom in a corner.

Sometimes businesses 'corner the market'. This means they buy up all the competitive companies selling a particular product so they are able to control the price at which it is sold etc.

So the OP's writer is accusing men of 'having cornered the world's pleasures' presumably to the exclusion of women.

In the second example, an 'undertow' is powerful current that flows beneath the surface of a river, a lake or the ocean. So the argument is that there is a very powerful 'under-current' based on the attitudes of ancestors going back 1,000 generations. (i.e. back in time through the last two or three ice-ages! A modest touch of hyperbole there. )

I think these explanations may help you toward a full understanding, but if I can assist you further, please say.

  • Sorry I didn't understand paragraph one and three. Can you explain more about it?
    – user57550
    Nov 30, 2013 at 17:31
  • @user57550 Using what I have said already, can you perhaps explain what it is that is still causing you a problem?
    – WS2
    Nov 30, 2013 at 17:42
  • I didn't understand the exact meaning of (corner)
    – user57550
    Nov 30, 2013 at 18:02
  • Imagine I wanted to stop you taking something from me which you believed was yours. If I went and stood in a corner and clutched the said thing to my chest it would be difficult for you to remove it from me. Do you agree with that? I would have 'cornered' the item. Now imagine me using 'cornering' metaphorically. Let's say in our town I 'corner' the market in beer by buying all the pubs. Do you understand that meaning of 'corner'? If you understand that you should understand 'cornering all the world's pleasures'.
    – WS2
    Nov 30, 2013 at 20:49
  • yes understand thx
    – user57550
    Dec 1, 2013 at 10:52

To "corner" something is to put all of it in a small, private corner for oneself.

To "corner the world's pleasures" is to monopolize them.

Frankly, the accusation makes no sense, because "pleasure" is a hard thing to monopolize. But apparently, the women were claiming that men have a monopoly on life's pleasures (or at least the means to buy them, such as money).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.