Gone and V-ed

Elizabeth Gregory e-gregory at TAMU.EDU
Tue Nov 7 18:54:51 UTC 2000

Here's my attempt, solely as a native Alabamian (b. 1962, Montgomery), at this:

I'm not sure that the construction "gone and" is equivalent to perfect "done." To me, it indicates Scout's surprise and disgust with Walter Cunningham's application of syrup to his food. The way I interpret it, the construction acts as a kind of intensifer, reflecting the speaker's bad opinion of the action by imputing a certain intentionality, flagrancy, or folly to the actor.

For example, Scout could simply have said, "But he's drowned his dinner in syrup," which would have indicated merely surprise.

Instead, she's disgusted and says, "But he's gone and drowned . . .," implying that Walter intentionally committed this breach of dinner-guest protocol.

Now, if she were really outraged, she might have said, "But he's hauled off and drowned . . .," implying that Walter flagrantly, defiantly poured syrup all over his food. But really this is something I believe I've heard only men and boys say.

Of course, Scout should really have said _none_ of these things . . .

Elizabeth Gregory

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