In the movie 'Lincoln', Abraham Lincoln portrayed by Daniel Day-Lewis says this to Representative Ashley:

"Why for instance is this thus, and what is the reason for this thusness."

What does that even mean?

  • 4
    Why is it like that? And for what reason is it like that? – user66974 Aug 23 '15 at 7:02
  • I think it is a bit of statesman's licence, rather like some things attributed to Churchill such as ...up with which I will not put. – WS2 Aug 23 '15 at 9:24
  • 1
    As Josh says, for the meaning. But the tone is contemptuous: Lincoln is using assonance to reduce what he is asking about to complex gibberish. It's an angry and witty retort. He was a great orator, Lincoln... – Margana Aug 23 '15 at 11:13
  • en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Artemus_Ward – TRomano Aug 23 '15 at 12:33
  • 1
    Why "even"? What is the reason for this evening? – David Jun 10 at 17:43

Lincoln was re-quoting Artemus Ward. James Joyce does it too (with paraphrase), in 'Portrait of the Artist': "if it is thus, I ask emphatically whence comes this thusness."

  • 1
    Provides color, but does not answer the question. – Jim Jun 10 at 17:33

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