In one of the Chronicles of Narnia movies Susan is saved from bear that is about to attack her when Trumpkin shoots it. Susan is surprised as she expected the bear to be friendly and thought it was playing a game.

Susan: Why wouldn't he stop?

Trumpkin replies: I suspect he was hungry.


Would here is used with overtones of two lexical meanings:

  1. be willing (which is actually the oldest meaning of will), as in "Would you pick up a pizza on your way home?" and
  2. act habitually, as in "Whenever I saw him he would smile"

Susan believes that under the circumstances of the story a bear ordinarily (would2) stops, so this bear must have had some unusual reason for refusing (would1) to stop.

  • She can also say that ' why didn't he stop' . Since the sentence was in the past, Trumpkin kills the bear first then Susan says' why wouldn't he stop? – Scottish Mar 26 '17 at 11:54
  • @Scottish What disturbs Susan is not just that the bear did not stop but that it would not stop--deliberately refused to stop--despite her friendly words. It's not like the bears she knew formerly in old Narnia. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 26 '17 at 12:53

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