You think you need your job. But I've lived abroad as a vagrant, abstaining from my own money to rely on the charity of strangers. Most were beggars themselves, yet they were happy, and So, for that summer, was I. Your job needs you, not the other way around.

This is a quotation from Severance, a latest TV show.

The sentence "most were beggars themselves" is incomprehensible to me. "Most" here is, in my view, a pronoun referring to the strangers. And as a whole I assume this line indicates that the author was given money by strangers who are also vagrants like the author. But the following sentence "yet they were happy" is not coherent with the former. Is it because they are happy about helping each other? This logic doesn't sound convincing, at least to me.

  • 1
    They were happy despite being beggars. Being a beggar is generally seen as suffering, and the author notes it wasn't the case for the people they've met (as well as themselves). Why they were happy isn't mentioned - perhaps it was because they were helping each other, perhaps they found the vagrant lifestyle liberating and fulfilling as opposed to holding a job. Mar 27, 2022 at 10:00

2 Answers 2


You should understand "Most" to mean "Most of those strangers".

The two parts of the sentence are contrasting, and linked with the conjunction "yet", which here has the same meaning as "but". You would expect beggers to be unhappy, because they have no money. So the second part contrasts with the first

So "most of the money-giving-strangers were beggers. You expect beggars to be unhappy, but these beggars were happy." It doesn't say why the beggars were happy, but reading between the lines, it seems to be because they don't have the stress of having a job.


I think you understand the grammatical meaning perfectly. However, this is an example of irony. This bit of text is not "real" in the sense that it is part of the "script" of a fictional story (the TV show "Severance").

The passage is from a book that doesn't exist in our world, only in the fictional world of the show "Severance." And in that show, the author of the book is a silly person who always acts a bit ridiculously.

Since the supposed author of the passage is a buffoon, we should not expect that the passage itself will make a lot of sense. The contradictions and nonsensical results are the joke--one more example of the author/brother-in-law character's foolishness.

PS--I apologize if this is all clear to you already and the above reads as condescending. It's just that learning how to interpret humor in another language is hard! Especially when the humor relies on words not meaning what they usually mean. (That's "irony.")

  • This seems to be contradictory to the accepted answer, which explains that the sentence is correct (grammatically, which is what we're focusing on here). What exactly is the irony here?
    – Joachim
    Apr 1, 2022 at 8:48

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