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
  • – 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

Your Answer

By clicking "Post Your Answer", you acknowledge that you have read our updated terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy, and that your continued use of the website is subject to these policies.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.