As the title suggests.
In the movie Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, a classic example of "could NOT bear to" would be when Charlie brings home some chocolate to his family and no one in the house at it, letting him eat it instead.
To address some of the comments: When I say "could not bear" I mean, could not bear the idea of losing something. The key idea is loss or pity/sympathy: Examples:
"He couldn't bear to let his little sister go hungry so he gave the last piece of bread to her."
This particular sentence in Chinese would be written, 'the brother [couldn't bear] to eat the last piece of bread (ie could not bear the thought of using up a precious resource) lest his sister go hungry.'
"She couldn't bear to let the child go hungry."
"She couldn't bear losing him."
"She couldn't bear to sell the house as it was her grandparent's house."
"The migrant worker was the family's sole breadwinner so he didn't [bear to] buy expensive groceries and survived on 99 cent instant noodles."
There is such a word in Chinese, and it is "舍得" which is a a positive/affirmation word (that is more emotional based rather than financial) that means "bear to" part with something, lose something. It can be used as a negation "can NOT bear to/not willing to part with/lose something" as well as an affirmation, voluntarily "willing to" lose something (however this has a somewhat bad connotation. It usually insinuates that the person is reckless, or is willing or forced to lose something they shouldn't lose/do).
I have not found a suitable equivalent in English, which seems like it only has the negation version, "could NOT bear to". I'd like a word or phrase that removes the "not".
Some examples of usage would be:
The poor migrant worker could only [insert word. NOT 'afford'] to eat 99 cent noodles because he was the sole bread winner of the family and there were hospital bills waiting to be paid.
"How could you [insert word] to do that to your own child?"
'Bear' does not sound right in these cases, especially since there is no past tense.
In Chinese it would be:
- 穷困的移民工人只 舍得 买99分的方便面，应为他全家靠他一个人的收入,而且还有医疗费需要付款。
- “你怎么舍得 对你自己的孩子做那种事？”