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She was bareheaded, as if she were staying in the house—a fact which conveyed perplexity to the son of its master, conscious of that immunity from visitors which had for some time been rendered necessary by the latter's ill-health.

Who does latter refer to? Also, who needs immunity here? master or visitors?

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    What's the source please? I could guess but I can't tell for certain without more context. It sounds as if it's the master has been sick for a while. Also here "immunity from visitors" means he doesn't receive visitors (because of his illness), not that he need some kind of immunity against something. – Andrew Jul 29 '17 at 13:07
  • It refers to "the son of its master," whoever or whatever that may be. – Robusto Jul 29 '17 at 13:11
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    The latter refers to "its master" (i.e. the master of the house) and father of the son to whom perplexity has been conveyed by the fact of her being bareheaded. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 29 '17 at 13:57
  • Only Henry James could write this: His attention was called to her by the conduct of his dog, who had suddenly darted forward with a little volley of shrill barks, in which the note of welcome, however, was more sensible than that of defiance. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jul 29 '17 at 14:04
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo I think any of us could write it, but few of us would. – StoneyB Jul 29 '17 at 14:05
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She was bareheaded, as if she were staying in the house—a fact which conveyed perplexity to the son of its master, conscious of that immunity from visitors which had for some time been rendered necessary by the latter's ill-health.

Since only 2 bodies are mentioned (bolded), the latter, as its name suggests, refers to the latter body, the son of its master.

As is currently given, it's hard to tell who the italicized she is referring to. Further information will help greatly.

  • Yes, without further context it could be the latter of "she" and "the son of the master". Or it could be the latter of "the son" and "its master". I couldn't say for certain, which is why I asked for more context before answering. Even the next sentence would probably help. – Andrew Jul 29 '17 at 14:00

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