The season of strikes seemed to have run itself to a standstill. Almost every trade and industry and calling in which a dislocation could possibly be engineered had indulged in that luxury. The last and least successful convulsion had been the strike of the World's Union of Zoological Garden attendants, who, pending the settlement of certain demands, refused to minister further to the wants of the animals committed to their charge or to allow any other keepers to take their place.

from The Unkindest Blow, a short story by Saki

Does "calling" include "trade and industry"?

  • 1
    Trade, industry, and calling are separate items. They don't include each other, but are joined together by the conjunction and. – Jason Bassford Jan 1 '19 at 11:59
  • Can't I think trade or industry is one of a calling? – bandaid Jan 1 '19 at 12:08
  • @bandaid You are perfectly free to think what you like, but, as Mr. Bassford's comment makes clear, saki was thinking of a distinction that was relevant to him and that he expected would be relevant to readers in Edwardian England. If you want to understand what was intended, what is important is to understand why Saki distinguished among them and what distinction he might have been trying to convey. The social distinctions among trade, industry, and the "learned professions" in Edwardian England and the history of the idea of a divine calling are probably outside the scope of this forum. – Jeff Morrow Jan 1 '19 at 12:46
  • @Jeff Morrow Does "calling" mean "learned professions" or "a divine calling"? – bandaid Jan 1 '19 at 13:06
  • @bandaid No. The word "calling" as a word describing a person's economic role has a long and complex history with roots in Christian theology. I am not expert in that history. However, one of the employments that has always been especially viewed as a "calling" is the clergy, and the clergy have historically been considered a learned profession. Moreover, in Britain up until at least the First World War, there were material differences in social status based on type of employment. The exact distinction that Saki intended by "calling" requires a specialist in that author. – Jeff Morrow Jan 1 '19 at 13:15

"Trade and industry" is a common collocation. Trades are concerned with "selling something", and industries are concerned with "making something". Together most businesses are a combination of Trade and Industry, and there is, for example, a member of the UK Cabinet who is the minister for "Trade and Industry".

But some jobs are less about making money. Particularly being a vicar is more about serving God and the community than becoming rich. Other jobs have a strong element of service: teacher, nurse, soldier. These are sometimes called "vocations" or "callings". The notion is that you are "called" (by God, or your conscience, or the community) to serve.

Here the writer is extending the normal collocation "trades and industries" by adding "and callings". Strikes in trades and industry are relatively common (workers withdraw their labour to obtain better conditions or pay) but not common among vocational jobs. By mentioning that every calling was affected by strikes, the author emphasises how deep the crisis was.

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